2:00PM Water Cooler 10/5/2020

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1571 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser, what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, more original reporting.

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day



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:

Concerning, steady rise in the Midwest….

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

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

91-DIVOC has a new chart on the Big 10 schools:

What a variation! Quite a story here, no doubt, for somebody to write….

MA: “The state once used this measure to calculate coronavirus test positivity. Here’s what it says now” [Boston Globe]. “The state’s closely watched daily COVID-19 data dashboard highlights a measure that simply divides the number of positive tests by the number of total tests administered. Every day on Page 2 of its report, the state recalculates a weekly average, summing the number of positive tests for the past seven days and dividing them by total tests administered. That measure has held steady at roughly 1 percent for weeks. But the overall number of negative tests each day has dramatically increased due to a relatively recent surge in the repeated testing of asymptomatic people, such as students on college campuses. That has played a role in driving this rate down. A different story emerges when you remove the repeated tests from the equation and show the rate of positive tests per people tested, rather than positive tests per total tests administered. The seven-day rate of positive tests per people tested, according to data available elsewhere on the state’s website, has been climbing since late August, reaching 3.2 percent in recent days.” • So the students came back, and…

OR: “Coronavirus in Oregon: 220 new cases, four deaths; state identifies six schools with cases” [Oregon Live]. “Since it began: Oregon has reported 33,509 confirmed or presumed infections and 559 deaths, among the lowest totals in the nation. To date, 684,235 Oregonians have been tested.” • Since Federalism, modified rapture, has enabled an enormous natural experiment in Covid policy, it would be nice if a study appeared summarizing the lessons learned to date. I haven’t seen such a study, but did I miss it? Readers?


“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. For all the sturm and drang, and the polls, the consensus on the electoral college remains remarkably static: Biden ahead, Trump within striking distance. Of course, if Trump is still in striking distance on Election Day, that will count as a loss. Maybe.

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

The election countdown:

Here is an early voting calendar. Maybe we’ll have a whole series of October surprises, since election day is gradually being devalued as an event.

And here are mail-in voting ruies, which naturally differ state by state.

NEW “2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Elections Project (SlayTheSmaugs)].

“How to Vote in 2020: Everything You Need to Know” [Bloomberg]. “Casting a ballot in the U.S. isn’t always easy, with a complex web of varying state rules governing how and when you can vote. The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced even more complexity in 2020, as many states have made significant changes to allow for more early voting or voting by mail. More changes could come as lawsuits in several states wind their way through the courts. That’s why Bloomberg News is answering these critical questions so you’ll know what you need to do to make sure your vote is counted in the 2020 election.”

Here are is an enormous spreadsheet on voting equipment, so you can check your own jurisdiction (hat tip, UserFriendly. I should really aggregate these onto a map…).

* * *


Lambert here: Despite liberal Democrat triumphalism, note the changes in the Electoral College map above. National polls are meaningless with respect to actual election results, as one would think liberal Democrats and the press would have learned from 2016.

Trump’s Case of Covid

“Meadows: Decision on Trump’s discharge to be made later today” [NBC]. “White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told NBC News on Monday morning that a decision on whether to discharge President Trump from the hospital ‘will be made later today between the president and his medical team.’ In an interview on Fox News, Meadows said he was ‘optimistic’ that Trump would be released, but that the president’s doctors will perform an evaluation sometime late morning, and then Trump, in consultation with the doctors, will make a decision.” • Stoller:

“UNLOCKED: The F**k It List (w/ special guest Aaron Thorpe)” (podcast) [Trillbilly Worker’s Party]. • A hilarious play-by-play of the media coverage since the news broke.

“Why the White House’s testing-only strategy to shield Trump from Covid-19 fell short” [Stat!] This is good reporting, unsurprisingly not from the mainstream: “By and large, the administration’s only precaution has been the frequent use of Abbott’s ID Now diagnostic test: West Wing staffers, guests, and reporters have been required to take rapid Covid-19 tests upon entering White House grounds, but little else. Aides have frequently appeared maskless, even in cramped indoor spaces. Though epidemiology experts had cast doubt on the White House’s testing-only strategy since long before Trump’s positive test, health secretary Alex Azar doubled down on the Trump family’s testing-only strategy during a congressional hearing on Friday. ‘Now, the first family and the protective aspect around the president is a different situation than the rest of us because of the protocols around the first family,” said Azar, the administration’s top health official. Other Americans, he added, should wear masks, practice social distancing, and wear face coverings.” • The key point: “Beyond highlighting the limitations of testing as a sole preventive strategy, Trump’s positive test also calls attention to the unreliability of the diagnostic tests themselves. For months, the White House has relied on Abbott’s ID Now Covid-19 tests, which return results within five to 15 minutes of sample collection… Those tests have been criticized for their high detection limit — in other words, they only return positive results if individuals tested submit samples with large amounts of viral material. As a result, it’s possible that early in the course of an infection, or as an infection is waning, the test could return a “false negative” result even if its subject is still contagious.” • And more from KHN on the tests used–

“Inside the Flawed White House Testing Scheme That Did Not Protect Trump” [Kaiser Health News]. “The White House has been using a new antigen test from Abbott Laboratories to screen its staff for COVID-19, according to two administration officials. The test, known as BinaxNOW, received an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in August. It produces results in 15 minutes. Yet little is independently known about how effective it is. According to the company, the test is 97% accurate in detecting positives and 98.5% accurate in identifying those without disease. Abbott’s stated performance of its antigen test was based on examining people within seven days of COVID symptoms appearing.”

“The White House hoped testing would keep the coronavirus out — but it didn’t” [CNBC]. “Public health specialists, including Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, who leads the U.S. testing effort, have long emphasized that testing alone is not a public health intervention. It should be implemented, they’ve said, alongside strategies like masking, social distancing, washing of hands and the quarantining of suspected patients.” • The truly weird thing about all of this is that Trump is, in fact, if not an obsessive hands-washer, at least a concerned one. Politico, “The Purell presidency: Trump aides learn the president’s real red line“: ‘He asks visitors if they’d like to wash their hands in a bathroom near the Oval Office. He’ll send a military doctor to help an aide caught coughing on Air Force One. And the first thing he often tells his body man upon entering the Beast after shaking countless hands at campaign events: ‘Give me the stuff’ — an immediate squirt of Purell. Two and a half years into his term, President Donald Trump is solidifying his standing as the most germ-conscious man to ever lead the free world. His aversion shows up in meetings at the White House, on the campaign trail and at 30,000 feet. And everyone close to Trump knows the president’s true red line. ‘If you’re the perpetrator of a cough or of a sneeze or any kind of thing that makes you look sick, you get that look,’ said a former Trump campaign official. ‘You get the scowl. You get the response of — he’ll put a hand up in a gesture of, you should be backing away from him, you should be more considerate and you should extricate yourself from the situation.’ The president’s admitted germaphobia has been a fixture throughout his career — from real-estate deal rooms to casino floors — and it’s now popping up in more public ways.” • Purell cannot claim efficacy against Covid because of FDA restrictions, but Canada lists PURELL®Advanced Hand Rub Gel as “accepted under Covid-19 interim measures.'” • Here is Zeyneb Tufecki on WHO Guidelines:

Here also is WHO on masks:

So, if you believe in droplet transmission (Trump avoids people who cough), and you believe in hand-washing with hand-sanitizers (Trump uses them obessively), you don’t believe in aerosols (WHO doesn’t), you believe three feet of social distancing is enough (WHO does), and you don’t believe in widespread public use of masks (WHO doesn’t), then you can (1) follow “the science” and (2) behave as Trump did, even (3) adding a redundant layer with frequent testing. Since I believe in public health, and also believe that the aerosol paradigm has overthrown the droplet paradigm, and therefore believe that masking and attention to ventilation are critical, I think Trump’s behavior is as wrong as it can be. But the yammering and frothing and stamping in the press is absolutely not helpful in determining what actually happened (which would obviously provide lessons for other places where governing and politics are done).

Biden (D)(1): The Great Assimilation™ continues:

Obama drank that glass of Flint water, so everything’s OK, right? It’s like Michelle accepting candy from Bush.

Biden (D)(2): “Bonus Episode: Our Next VP” (podcast) [You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton]. “In this midweek special, Hillary sits down with U.S. Senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris to talk about their families, their shared admiration for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and making history. And they laugh. A lot.” • I’ll bet.

Biden (D)(3): You’d think the Biden campaign would, in the spirit of unity, wish to include Sanders in their marketing collateral:

Sanders (D)(1): No no no no no:

Oops, Federal taxes do not pay for Federal spending.

Trump (R)(1): “The Missing Populist” [National Review]. “Donald Trump in 2016 ran against the Washington consensus on globalization and military engagement. In Hillary Clinton he had the perfect foil. Just as Boris Johnson would a few years later in the United Kingdom, Donald Trump broke down the electoral wall of support for his opponents by winning heavily in areas that had been hammered by globalization. This crumbling wall was the bill come due for parties on the left that had embraced globalization as an economic creed and ‘cosmopolitanism’ as their moral ethos. Filmmaker Michael Moore memorably described Trump’s success in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as his win in the “Brexit states.”… Trump’s slogan, his policies, and his rhetoric about the “forgotten man” and “American carnage” all helped him connect with an independent type of voter who doesn’t like a GOP that seems too dominated by politicians who are comfortable in loafers and seersucker in the summer. Trump talked compassionately and forcefully about drugs in American communities, blending it with his message of economic and cultural populism. Voters rewarded him for it. If Trump loses this race, it will be because he was too self-obsessed and forgot the forgotten man that he campaigned for in 2016.”

West (I)(1): Interesting nugget:

The American Independent Party is on the California ballot to deke voters who want to be genuine independents (“no party preference”) into registering with it, meaning they can’t vote in Democrat primaries. I had no idea the AIP’s first nomination was George Wallace; I’m pleased that California’s liberal Democrats are putting Wallace’s legacy to such good use.

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.

Employment Situation: “September 2020 Conference Board Employment Index Improves But Remains Deep In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index – which forecasts employment for the next 6 months recovered marginally for the fifth month after the coronavirus crash with the authors saying ‘The labor market has rebounded better than expected, but with the virus still proliferating, it will not be able to return to its full capacity any time soon.'”

Manufacturing: “September 2020 ISM and Markit Services Surveys Remain Modestly In Expansion” [Econintersect]. “The ISM improved and remained in expansion whilst the Markit PMI marginally declined but remained in expansion. The ISM services survey is and the Markit Services index show almost similar modest growth. I have a hard time believing services are in expansion with many restaurants, bars, and gyms running nowhere near full potential.”

Tech: “SCOOP: Amazon COVID Outbreak Followed Trump Officials Helping Bezos Block Worker Safety Initiative” [David Sirota, Daily Poster]. “Amazon executives on Thursday admitted that nearly 20,000 of the company’s employees were infected or presumed infected by the coronavirus. The admission comes just months after The Daily Poster broke the news that Amazon management — with the backing of the Trump administration — shut down a shareholder initiative designed to force the retail giant to better protect the health and safety of its employees…. Late last month, Trump’s SEC passed an initiative that makes it much more difficult for shareholders to have resolutions qualify to be voted on. The higher threshold was a big win for large corporations pushing for the change.”

* * *

Mr. Market: “Global stocks rise after Trump’s doctor said he could leave hospital soon” [CNN]. “Global markets and US stock futures are rising after Trump’s physicians said that the president could be discharged from Walter Reed National Medical Center as early as Monday. A quick recovery could ease some of the huge uncertainty surrounding the US election with just four weeks left in the campaign.” • So that was what the limo ride was really about….

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 43 Fear (previous close: 40 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 49 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 5 at 12:28pm.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.)

Our Famously Free Press


Guillotine Watch

Dude from Austin gentrifying a ghost town. Thread:

“Business ethics guru accused of cheating shareholders” [Financial Times]. • This article should be more exciting than it is. This strikes me as odd, or maybe not: “[Dov Seidman’s LRN] provides ethical advice and compliance training to dozens of blue-chip businesses, which have included pharmaceuticals company Pfizer, media conglomerate Viacom, and Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes. The New York Times Company has been a client, and the paper’s star columnist Thomas Friedman has called Mr Seidman his ‘teacher and friend.'” • The cigarette maker and The Moustache of Understanding aside, the model seems to be that businessmen are fundamentally amoral, and can acquire ethics, for a fee, from an outside vendor. What would their mothers say?

Class Warfare

“Coronavirus can afflict the powerful. Yet food workers remain the most vulnerable.” [The Jeff Bezos Daily Shopper™]. • Everything’s going according to plan!

“‘There was nothing to help me’: how the pandemic has worsened opioid addiction” [Guardian]. • Everythiing’s going according to plan!

News of the Wired


* * *
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 (AF):

AF writes: “Every year I like to try something new in my vegetable garden. This year I added Marina Di Chioggia pumpkin. Johnny’s Seeds said this pumpkin is a favorite in Venice and used for ravioli and gnocchi. This one might have been picked too early but I was so drawn to the colors and textures. Can’t wait to cook it up and see how it tastes!” ‘Tis the season!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Duck1

    Maybe we could have another thread about Trump’s tour de parking lot.
    (Faints, clutching pearls)

    1. Wukchumni

      (Faints, clutching pearls)

      The way to tell if pearls are real or man-made was to lightly bite into them and if they’re gritty, they are the real deal.

      There generally wasn’t much of a market for them as far as I could ever tell, important baubles once upon a time.

    2. Carolinian

      That is a rather amazing thread. Clive’s fingers must be tired.

      But aren’t we here to argue? Don’t wanna be DailyKos. Let it be about ideas I say, never about personal attacks (and it wasn’t,was it?)

  2. jo6pac

    [coming shortly; I’m just putting something together].

    I knew it. I get up from my nap and this happens;-)

    Oh well I need to take a short drive to my landlords house.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I started looking at what the White House was actually doing instead of aggregating a metric fuckton of Beltway Rolodex-emptying and yammering, and that took more time than I expected.

      See under “Trump’s Case of Covid.”

      I’m now going to do a pantry clearout of 2020 material, because there’s a lot of it. In fact, from here on in, sadly, I’m going to make 2020 my first priority instead of my last.

  3. Grant

    From the NY Times article, “This is what Donald Trump has brought us to”

    He has, like the right basically everywhere, sped up the trajectory we have been on, sped up things getting worse, but he didn’t bring us here. A healthy country, an economy and political system working well wouldn’t have seen Trump win and get power. This type of mentality is depressing, because people like this fundamentally miss what we are facing. Decades of disastrous neoliberal policies brought us here. Liberal indifference to the suffering of the working class and the poor, indifference to the fundamental reasons why capitalism is driving the environmental crisis, their choices for information (many times, especially for older liberals, MSNBC and CNN), and the rottenness and corruption of the Democratic Party, that has all brought us here. The right is entirely beatable, but there is no real opposition to the right at this point. No plan to get us off the trajectory Reagan and the like set us on, no real alternatives, no coherent policy and no worldview, no solutions to most of society’s problems, that is why we are here. These people may be able to beat Trump in a single election, but they are incapable of beating fascism, or the context that produces Trump because that requires that very structural changes they continuously vote against in primaries and general elections.

    In addition to that, rats like Jennifer Rubin, Bloomberg and Bill Kristol have started to gravitate towards the Democratic Party, Biden and Rahm want to make the suburban Republican re-alignment permanent. So, not only is that party corrupt and worthless, it will be even more so with those ghouls in charge.

      1. chris

        If it’s any consolation, the sources I have spoken to in media research and purchasing are saying that the biggest casualty of this election cycle will be the notion that ad buys get you anything. There has been this sacred concept that once TV spending and newspaper spending was eclipsed by internet advertising that money spent there would give you similar results. But it seems like what we’re going to see is that the people involved could have burned all that money instead and gotten the same results. I’m waiting on people to start sharing the reports but the current data is suggesting for every dollar you spend on internet advertising you get something like 0.05$ in return based on engagement and viewing. Literally no one is watching these ads. And people hate seeing ads on their phones and tablets, so there’s not a lot of upside for spending the money.

        Which is a long way to say the easy ride for the democrat consultant class may be over, or at least nowhere near as lucrative as it has been in the next cycle.

        1. Gc54

          But “the Russians” are so much more effective. Maybe US electoral ads should copy “Putin’s” influential puppy videos?

          1. Procopius

            Yes. According to the stories, Internet Research Agency spent $100,000 on ads compared to DNC, DCCC, DSCC, and PACs of over $1,000,000,000. Talk about effective! Moreover, at least half of IRA’s ads didn’t even appear until after the election!!! Genius!

    1. Janie

      Well, that about sums it up – Trump’s just sped up the trajectory. I, too, am appalled by the rats who are swimming toward a ship that’s, perhaps, sinking more slowly. It will continue to sink slowly, until it capsizes.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Would having a functioning (and not simply performative) opposition have “sped up” or “slowed down” the trajectory?

        Doctors attempt to diagnose and treat diseases, not just symptoms. It’s extremely useful to cast Trump as the singular embodiment of the disease, despite the fact that this ignores the only two things that actually matter: 1. What did they put in the bill? and 2. How did they vote on it? Line them up, D’s and R’s, and tally not what fancy noises emerged from their pie holes along the way but rather how they performed their function in government by creating legislation and then making it the law of the land.

        I’ll argue that a fake opposition is MUCH worse than none at all, because it gives the illusion of representation where none exists. Best of luck rewarding them for their deception, decade in and decade out, and then hoping for anything other than “where else are they going to go?” policy as the window continues to race ever rightward. Would that progressives could elect Eisenhower or Nixon today, but we can’t. People might have a think about why that is, what that means, and then cast their votes accordingly and strategically.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If we can be sure the Good Ship Democrat is really is really sinking, then we should help all possible rats get aboard. But that only works if the Good Ship Democrat really will sink, guaranteed.

        If the rats make it unsinkable, then we are not better off.

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              Rat corpses, bloated from the sun, infested with plague fleas, bobbing like an army of evil gourds attacking the shoreline? Its too early for that visual.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                I was thinking of buoyant rats keeping the ship afloat.

                As to plague flea intestation, the rats will get attacked by plague fleas AFter they board the Good Ship Democrat. Its the Catfood Democrats who carry the plague fleas.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      …but there is no real opposition to the right at this point.

      This is what I keep telling my friends who want Trump out at all costs – I have never voted Republican for anything and I’m not about to start now by voting for Biden.

    3. Noone from Nowheresville

      there is no real opposition to the right at this point.

      I disagree. There is no right or left, only story narrative used to distract us from trying to find, diagnosis and attempt to heal the rot. The best we’re doing now is looking at some tiny branches out in the middle of bum f**k nowheresville while fighting amongst ourselves about which disease it looks like MAYBE, just maybe, it might be. At the rate we’re going, the branch is gonna’ die before we attempt to administer any type of treatment at all.

      But sooner or later enough branches will die off then we’ll be lead to the root because it will be the only thing left rotting away. So there’s that.

      1. Grant

        Yeah, there is a right and a left, you can’t erase history, political and economic theory just to make an argument. It can sometimes be murky, left-libertarians sometimes have odd positions here and there that are had to categorize. Some libertarians take positions often ascribed to the left. But, there are clearly things that place people in a broad category as far as being on the left or the right. Do you want the economy to be democratic, down to the enterprise level? What is your position on markets and economic planning? Are you concerned with equitable outcomes? Are you opposed to public ownership and widespread cooperative ownership of enterprises? Do you acknowledge the limits of growth in regards to throughput? Are you willing to be honest about what that, and the failures of markets themselves, mean for capitalism? When someone talks about equality, what exactly do you they mean by that? Milton Friedman had a way of thinking about equality, radically different than radical economists on the left like Robin Hahnel. Are you comfortable with the idea of class conflict?

        Someone on the right, the left and the “center” will generally be predictable on how they answer the above questions. The “left” is a broad term, and it can be attached to anything from social democrats to Maoists, at least in regards to economics and economic class. But, there are things that apply to anyone on the left, even if not to the same degree. Same is true of the right.

        The right in both parties has been dominant for decades and there has been no real opposition. No real alternative institutions being pushed forward, no alternative policies that radically break with the Reaganite trajectory, certainly no alternative system, from groups that have a national reach. That is slowly changing, but no fast enough to save us.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Thank you for the nice list of usefully specific questions forcing the answerer to situate themselves on an economically left-right continuum— even if they deny such a continuum meaningfully exists.

          Left and right are real, and they are very different too. Pick a side or take the easy way out!

          1. JTMcPhee

            Please indicate what characteristics define and delineate right and left any more? My take is that there are some people who think continuing existence of humanity on a large scale is a condition worth putting some effort into, especially when it comes to keeping our collective waste products from choking us and the rest of the living planet. Then there’s a largely much more effective group of people who either intentionally or out of learned idiocy are all about that religious dogma from the Reagan era, where we are told by Holy Scripture that God gave us dominion over everything and if you read between the lines, the instructions are to use everything up and He will be really pissed when He comes back if we haven’t managed to do that. And it appears there must be a hidden Gospel that now extends that directive to all the other planets and smaller bodies whizzing through whatever this universe might be.

            Of course humans are plotted to identify with groups, and the second bunch of us have figured out how to use that failing to their very great, yuuge advantage. Bernie likes the F-35 for parochial reasons — left, or right? Carbon trading is a great idea, left, or right?

            1. Grant

              “Bernie likes the F-35 for parochial reasons — left, or right?”

              One issue wouldn’t determine such a thing. But, that stance is in opposition to his state worldview.

              “Carbon trading is a great idea, left, or right?”

              Not a great idea, neither are offsets, don’t have a good record, but better than doing nothing. They are a right wing idea, basically what Mises argued for during the socialist calculation debate. When there aren’t markets for stuff that impacts us, create markets. That way the economy can be rational, as he defined it. Leftists would support straight economic planning. Frank Ackerman, Joan Martinez Alier, Karl William Kapp, they critiqued the capacity of markets to deal with the environmental crisis. I see nuanced support for cap and trade for people on the left like Robin Hahnel, better than doing nothing, but ultimately markets aren’t up to the task.

              There are clear differences between people on the left and right. This would be obvious if we didn’t live in the US, where the left doesn’t exist and the “left” sounds very much like the “right” on economics and class. But, at the same time, I think making arguments on behalf of policies from an ideological perspective is a mistake, given that the left’s ideas are popular largely for non-ideological reasons and people don’t have the time to hear some impressive analysis of environmental issues through the lens of Capital Volume 3 or whatever.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > on the left or the right.

          I view politics not as a two-dimensional line but a three-dimensional plane, the three points determining being liberals, conservatives, and the left. There is no “center,” only overlaps between the sets located at each of the three poles.

          Yes, left is not “more liberal,” an assumption that vitiates most polling.

  4. Keith

    Lambert here: Despite liberal Democrat triumphalism, note the changes in the Electoral College map above. National polls are meaningless with respect to actual election results, as one would think liberal Democrats and the press would have realized in 2016.”

    Perhaps they did. Maybe they are pushing expectations to be overwhelming pro-Biden. If he doesn’t win, harness the shock and drive for massive nation-wide protests in an attempt to de-legitimize the election. Ramp out foreign interference and voter suppression conspiracies and ensure Team Biden does not back down and presses ahead with his govt.

    Paralyze the economy and govt, blame the Donald and press for his removal by maximizing the pain and de-legitimacy protests. Its work in other countries.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        My vote is still available.

        I would gladly turn out to vote, but first Joe Biden has to give me something besides spittle and the back of his hand.

        1. polecat

          He’ll just give you that dead-eye stare .. shark’$ eyes … If they roll up, that’s the time to quickly paddle away!

          Better yet, stay afar.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          All Biden has to do to get my vote is irrevocably commit to universal health care as a citizen’s right, as it is in the civilized world. I’ll put aside all my lengthy list of other weighty objections to him if he will. I know— we know— he won’t and so, I won’t. Familyblog him.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            For me, it’s not enough to say health care is a “right.” That’s verbiage it’s going to take another ten years to untangle, as we discover that markets can’t be used to deliver rights (because rights are not alienable).

            Biden must commit to a plan. There are two #MedicareForAll bills on the table, Sanders and Jayapal’s. Jayapal’s is better, so he should commit to that one. Alternatively, Biden could commit to a plan “like” another country’s — Taiwan, or Canada, or even South Korea; or Germany, even, which the Neera Tanden’s of this world love, because it preserves the private health insurance companies.

            1. Dr. John Carpenter

              This +1000. I have considerable reservations about Biden, but this is one of the things that would have won him my vote. Commit to a plan or I don’t believe you (and considering I’ve already cast my mail-in ballot, I should add I don’t believe this will happen in the next month.)

      2. Upwithfiat

        Why should they if the system is just in their eyes except for it’s exclusion of minorities, women, and any other group that can win public sympathy?

        But the system isn’t just and that’s its weakness …

      3. John k

        Including lose to a fascist clown.

        Bernie is trying harder to get votes for Biden than anybody else… I didn’t like him throwing in the towel, and I don’t like what he’s doing now, and seems his supporters aren’t lunging for the poisoned chalice. I’m not. I suppose I have a price, say m4a from Biden I could believe in, but have yet to see such an offer.

        1. polecat

          Biden couldn’t buy me at ANY price!

          … as for Sanders? I can’t stand to see his cheap mug anymore. He has become essentially, a Democrat Ring Wraith!

          1. chris


            And I love the idea of Bernie being a ring wraith. 9 rings for self obsessed democrat leaning candidates, doomed to die… :p

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Holy lord, Sander a Nazgul? Really?

            I’m trying to think what LoT character Sanders is, but there isn’t really one. He’s not a ring-bearer, for good or evil; maybe Ghân-buri-Ghân, the chief who shows the Rohirrim the road to attack the Dark Lord’s flank… Except in this LOTR timeline, the Rohirrim don’t take that road…

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Sanders’s actions make sense if he believes that Trump is the greatest danger America faces and that Trump is a fascist.

          To Sanders this election is serious. To the Catfood Democrats this election is an inside joke, including an inside joke on Sanders.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Oh my . . . . I do feel validated by these kind words.

              As Huckleberry Hound used to say . . . . ” I’m honored, and hummmble . . . and hummmble . . . and honored . . . and hummmmble . . . “

      4. JTMcPhee

        Following what Keith said, the Dems have no need to appeal to “voters” than the Mardan colored or Guatemalan thugs did. The delegitimizing playbook is freely available on the ‘net, and the CIA and special ops types are happy not only to publicize the methods but brag about their successes.

        My favorite example is a book by CIA operative Gary Schroen, “First In: An Insider’s Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan.” Palletloads of $100 bills to fund and bribe selected warlords in Afghanistan, to give Rome to maneuver in that dusty place. The bool’s available from several sources as an ebook or pdf. Makes me a little nauseous just remembering how a few not-so-good men were able to set the stage for the “war on terror” that is tearing things apart in so many ways.

        1. Keith

          Another good book is “All the Shah’s Men.” It is when Kermit Roosevelt (nephew of FDR, I think) overthrew the pro-US PM and installed the Shah in Iran. It was the first successful use of the “color revolution.” It interesting from a historical and current events point of view.

          It also shows how the powers in charge did not always worst in the best interest of the US. Here, it was for the benefit of BP and the British.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I do think the British deserve some credit for their role in that overthrow, don’t you?
            To say “America diddit” all by itself is to adopt a Noamly Chomskian American Exceptionalism. Chomsky believes that America is The Evil Nation and is uniquely responsible for all the great crimes in the world. This could be called American Exceptional Evilism, which is simply American Exceptionalism standing on its head.

            1. apleb

              If you are the biggest bully on the schoolyard, one could argue it is your responsibility to cough loudly if one of the lesser bullies shakes down a poor kid for his lunch money, and help that poor kid to keep it.
              See Suez crisis a few years before.

              Instead the big bully helped the small bully and got his share of the lunch money plus the obvious blowback a few years later.

              So basically a mafia of bullies who divided the spoils every day, until it all went downhill.

    1. neo-realist

      I don’t believe the voter suppression will be a delusional conspiracy, the GOP is actively working at that and may well be a factor in the election. However, the democratic candidate himself may well be a suppressant of sorts, not to the extent “Herstory” was 2016, but to some progressives, he will be.

      1. hunkerdown

        Right, the Democrat Party’s voter suppression’s position in the cycle has passed. Both parties know their jobs and their employers, and only in the marketing panderganda has it ever been us.

        1. neo-realist

          But dems use voter suppression against left candidates of their own party in primaries. Republicans, assuming they control the Governor’s mansion and the legislature, use voter suppression against the opposition party in state and national elections.

          Neither is good, but dems don’t use it against the GOP, to the best of my knowledge.

          1. John k

            It all makes sense.
            The reps job is to win. The dems job is to keep progressives from the ballot, for which they are well paid plus occasionally get to win so the rubes don’t know it’s all a show.
            the donors were all ok with it being Hillary’s turn, who could trust the clown? besides, she is just as much a republican as Obama, so donors all lined up.

            1. JTMcPhee

              They’re not “donors,” the are BRIBERS. The money transferred is in no way any kind of gift. Payment for services past, present and future, isn’t that clear?

              It might help to sharpen the contradictions to always call “campaign money” what it is.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > the Democrat Party’s voter suppression’s position in the cycle has passed

          Exactly. Democrats rig primaries, Republicans rig the general. It is known.

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        Including those in Michigan who’ve been waiting 32 days so far for the Biden Time campaign to repudiate the Rick “Tough on Us” Snyder endorsement, perhaps. . . .

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > massive nation-wide protests in an attempt to de-legitimize the election.

      FWIW, I think there’s very little reason to believe that nation-wide protests (unless armed and involving property destruction) will achieve anything. The Iraq protests did not. The pink pussy hats did not.

      I do expect a good deal of protest theatre, quite possibly more pink pussy hats. I expect any (successful) outcome to be attributed to them, “triumph of democracy,” blah blah blah. I still think the main line is an Electoral Commission a la Hayes-Tilden, where the elites broker a deal.

      1. Keith

        I agree there need to be some pain in the protests, e.g. looting and cities burning, showing the authorities are not in control. Also, I think labor would need to be a factor, too, with strikes and such, resulting in the disruption of the economy and people’s lives. I agree that if protestors can be contained nicely in “1st Amendment Zones,” then it will not amount to much.

  5. Dr. John Carpenter

    Thank you again for introducing me to the Trillbillies. Catching that episode this morning set my day up much better than it otherwise would have been.

  6. ChiGal in Carolina

    Excellent Michael Moore podcast with one of the Black mom/activists from Flint about Biden touting the Snyder endorsement.

    She describes the medical conditions her kids are still dealing with due to the heavy metals their bodies and how unlike the healthy teenagers they would have been they now must isolate during the pandemic.

    Even the somewhat apologist MM seems retraumatized by the betrayal. He says Biden just lost the Black vote in MI.

    They demand repudiation and M4A for life for the residents of Flint. Apparently a mine in Montana poisoned a town and that was part of the settlement.

    It is good to hear the righteous anger of someone so knowledgeable and articulate who doesn’t live in an ivory tower, and he lets her do most of the talking.


    1. montanamaven

      The Montana town was Libby where Max Baucus grew up. He was chairman of the committee that hatched the Affordable Care Act. So he slipped that into the Act.

      1. DJW

        Max Baucus grew up in Helena Montana where he graduated from high school. He did slip the Libby provision in to the ACA but I forget what the reason was.

  7. Lee

    In my town of about 80K we have a case rate of ~600 per 100K population and zero deaths. In immediately adjacent communities we have case rates of about ten times that of ours and people are dying. This, in spite of our having quite a few older residents and nursing homes here in town, and ambulances zipping, sirens on, past my house many times a day. I’m guessing they are taking the critically ill over to Oakland to the county hospital. Voila, an immaculate deception. Nobody dies in Alameda.

  8. Wukchumni

    Knew somebody (now deceased) that owned this gold mine that can be yours for just $300k including lots of acres and a perennial creek. The Mountain Lily was a productive mine for 50 years, and when FDR ordered all that glitters operations be shut down in 1942, they all flooded like this one.

    I think my friend paid $125k for it around the turn of the century.

    It needed say $3 million to get it going again, as in that will never happen.

    25.58 acres in Tuolumne County, California
    Rare opportunity to own one of Tuolumne County’s historical landmarks in Columba. The patented, 5 Mile and Mountain Lily Mining sites, site on 25 acres, surrounded on three sides by BLM/Forest Service land. With a small miners cabin overlooking the waterfalls, which flow all year round. And an entrance to one of the mine shafts. Also, was owned by Glen W. Bell, the Founder of Taco Bell.


        1. Lee

          We are a mutual aid, helpful hints, and moral support group as well as a whetstone for sharpening our wits and critical thinking skills.

              1. Anonymous

                The problem isn’t THAT inexpensive fiat is created but that it is created and distributed unjustly.

                Also, it’s unjust that all citizens (at least) may not have accounts at the Central Bank itself alongside those of the banks.

                A dumb shiny metal isn’t the solution but justice is.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Money stores labor so it can be transported across space and time. Money that took no labor to create has never reliably stored labor over time. Then it goes to zero. Imagine you’re a scientist looking at evidence, and in a series of experiments performed in countries around the globe over centuries the result is uniform. 100% of the time there is the same final result. What would you conclude?

                  So, yes, a dumb shiny metal is the solution. The dumber the better. Precisely because mankind has *never* shown itself to be capable of resisting the temptation to try to print prosperity. Never, as in “not ever”.

                  1. skippy

                    Too bad about the wars and environmental – social devastation factored in as labour.

                    The whole comment above is utterly fact free … ask the Phoenicians for starters … or the Roman coins during the dark ages … or how copper was once more supreme than gold …

                    I get the wiff of barter theory with a side of Say law working here.

                  2. eg

                    Debt predates coinage and remains the most efficient way for states to provision themselves, which always becomes obvious during wars, efforts to obscure the fact notwithstanding.

    1. Lee

      Back around 1970 near Big Oak Flat, CA, I squatted with a group of back to the land hippies on an abandoned gold mine in the pinyon pines behind the local cemetery. It was a teeny town of a few hundred souls back then but now it has been subsumed into the larger entity of of Groveland with a population of a few thousand. During the gold rush the town had about thirty thousand inhabitants.

      1. Wukchumni

        The one time we visited golconda on a weekend there was 6 of us there and initially the hints from the owner that we should become investors were subtle and as the hours wore on became increasingly strident, but in the end as we made our getaway never to return: No Sale.

  9. Dr. John Carpenter

    “Indiana moves from Safe to Likely Republican” If Trump can’t win Indiana, he’s toast. Biden is the kind of Democrat Indiana likes (aka a Republican with a minority or LGBTQ friend) and Obama did win here in 2008, which still surprises me. I wouldn’t think it’s a sure thing, but even moving out of safe territory is interesting.

  10. D. Fuller

    Caught a discussion earlier today on NC forum regarding Trump and his limo ride and NBC protection. US Army(Ret.) here.

    1. Active NBC protection in military vehicles includes use of separate air supply that soldiers can hook into.
    2. If no separate air supply exists, we use gas masks. Which FULLY seal when donned properly.
    3. If we had been “slimed” with chemical agent or biological agent, our vehicle hatches would usually be open. The inside of the vehicle is already contaminated. We had 30 seconds to done full protective gear (MOPP 4). Even then, casualties will occur.
    4. Military vehicles also use air systems that provide positive pressure (overpressure) on the inside with air filtered through the NBC protection system.
    5. Cabin air in vehicles fitted with NBC protection is not filtered from the inside. Filtered air is introduced from the outside.

    Now, Trump and his little stunt ride.

    1. None of the protection above was available. No overpressure, no air filtration system, no separate air supply.
    2. If there would have been a chemical or biological agent slowly released in the interior of that vehicle, they would all be dead or dying. Fortunately, Covid-19 is not as deadly as military grade agents.
    3. The restricted space, even when wearing masks (that do not fully catch all viral particles) means that the viral load will increase at a far more rapid pace than if one were outside the vehicle in the open air.
    4. Even with an active system providing positive air pressure on the inside of the vehicle pushing air through the any faulty seals? Air flow can not be that great as it defeats the system. Positive air pressure must be maintained on the inside and air leaks reduce the effectiveness of such a system.
    5. Any viral agent being expelled by breathing on the inside of Trump’s SUV will build up, the longer one remains in the vehicle. Increasing the effective transmission of Covid-19.
    6. Masks do not contain all virus. They do help contain virus spread through aerosols or droplets when exhaling. They are less effective at protecting from viral agent when inhaling. Better than NOTHING, however.

    The closer one is to the agent, the less effective any protection becomes.

    As a side note? Our MOPP gear had a maximum life of 30 minutes under active chemical or biological attack before needing replacement. Try changing while under CW or BW conditions. After 30 minutes, it is safe to assume that one would be dead or dying. Depends on the concentrations present. Dropping concentrations of CW or BW agents is a good thing. Which is why they made persistent agents.

    Trump endangered those people inside that vehicle. FULL STOP. Any argument to the contrary is simply fallacy.

    1. jo6pac

      trumpster doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Sadly the SS follows his orders. I wonder how many of them are sick?

      1. Janie

        Hope you had a nice nap.

        SS for Secret Service – is that now an ok shorthand? It has serious negative associations for those of us oldsters and for history buffs. Maybe its trending is deliberate – I dunno.

        Not asking or criticizing you. Jo. Just wondering if I’m in a small minority whose mind instantly goes there.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          My mind always goes there. That’s why I don’t acronymise Social Security as “SS”.

    2. Splashoil

      I believe at least one SS agent was wearing a N-95 with the ostracized filter exhale bypass check valve. Look at the photos.

      1. Solar Hero

        This. The TDS on this short ride is incredible. Of course the Secret Service agents would be wearing N95 masks, so no chance of infection. People have really gotten so stupid

        1. marym

          Trump was wearing a mask when he left WR but took it off before he went into the WH where lots of people work.

        2. Nakatomi Plaza

          Masks don’t mean zero chance of infection. It’s OK to condemn Trump for his ridiculous and unnecessary ride around the block. TDS is a real thing, but noting that Trump’s joyride was criminally stupid is definitely not TDS.

          1. D. Fuller

            Masks means reducing chances for infection.

            Or not wearing masks means increasing chances for infection resulting in possible death, debilitating effects, etc.

            Plastic is bad for us. We ingest small quantities. Doe it mean it’s safe to drink a liter of liquid plastic? No.

            Would you prefer less chances or greater chances of infection? Breathing in fewer viral particles or inhaling as many as you can?

            The fallacy that is engaged in by many boils down to: we die anyways. Yes, but would you rather die later or much, much earlier.

            For the next 10, 20, 30 years and longer… those who have taken damage from Covid-19 will be dropping dead earlier than if they had not contracted Covid-19.

            That is guaranteed.

            People who hold to “we die anyways” or “masks don’t prevent infection completely” are what I term as “surrender monkeys”, followers who are resigned to accepting their fate in life. Whether imposed by others or not.

            As for TDS? Trump is being used as an example for everyone. Since Trump was mentioned in the article regarding his reckless disregard for others. No TDS. If we were talking about flowers or the color of the sky (which has nothing to do with Trump) and someone mentioned Trump? Then yes there is TDS.

            Since what should apply to Trump would apply to everyone? Trump is just an example. People who would mention TDS are themselves sufferers of a form of TDS.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Follows as the night the day. It would be interesting to know when the rise started.

      Adding, that’s actually a well-reported CNN story, for a change. One billionaire does another billionaire a favor!!!

  11. Roquentin

    I look at the electoral map and I can only think the question every pollster and election forecaster worth his or her salt should be asking is, “Why did the polls and those who aggregate them get 2016 so wrong, more importantly what were the specific reasons this went wrong, and how are we adjusting the results to make sure it doesn’t happen again?” It still looks good for Biden, but if you assume that the polls overstate support for Biden and/or understate support for Trump then it’s anyone’s game. If memory serves me right, the HRC campaign was obsessed with algorithms and data to a fault, which makes it all the more baffling that they were so wrong about the outcome.

    I can’t be the only one with a sense of deja vu from 2016.

    1. Sensei Tiger

      The polls in 2016 weren’t that far out. Hillary was only ever ahead by about 4% in the national polls and she won the popular vote eventually by a shade over 2%.

      Trump won by hitting a sequence of coinflips in battleground states that were always going to be tight.

      Biden’s lead is double what Hillary’s was, and he’s well ahead in the key states that really matter, like Pennsylvania.

      It seems to me that the only fair reading of all the polling data over the last six months is that Trump has a moutain to climb and he’s currently making zero inroads.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The Rising the other day interviewed an experienced and established pollster who was outlining the well-known difficulties pollsters generally have. Of course their universal 2016 prognostications were the object example.

      But this pollster said there is one metric that consistently outperforms all the others: when they ask voters who they think will win. I suppose the logic is that actual people have a pretty good feel for what their neighbors are saying, what they hear at the mall and at the bar and at the gym, and this is very difficult to measure accurately using telephone polls.

      Anyway this pollster concluded by saying that everywhere they asked this question, from Minnesota to Florida, people are almost uniformly saying that Trump will win. You could supplement this with anecdotals about Trump rally enthusiasm and attendance versus Biden lack thereof.

      Having said this I would not be surprised to learn on election day that there was an absolute landslide for either candidate (to the extent that we will be allowed to know who won that is). Such odd times.

      1. chris

        I find myself hoping that whoever wins, wins in a landslide so we don’t have months of chaos. I just don’t want to see anymore needless strife this year.

      2. Biph

        In 2016 most people thought HRC would win, so maybe that metric ain’t quite all it’s cracked up to be. I see most people thinking Trump will win as bad news for Trump. Since Biden voters are voting more against Trump than for Biden it makes it more likely they go out and vote. In a close election everything matters, but I think the triumphalism around the HRC campaign did her in. People not voting, voting 3rd party or leaving the POTUS line blank in key states was enough to give Trump the EC.

    3. Procopius

      October 5, 2020 at 2:55 pm

      If memory serves me right, the HRC campaign was obsessed with algorithms and data to a fault, which makes it all the more baffling that they were so wrong about the outcome.

      From campaign workers in Michigan, the Clinton campaign headquarters was obsessed with algorithms and data that came from the high priced consultants in Brooklyn. Workers on the ground in Michigan, and, I think, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, tried to warn them about the situation on the ground there and were blown off. I think the same thing is happening now.

  12. Noone from Nowheresville

    Trump testing: Why didn’t he just get a dog and take him everywhere? In fact, multiple dogs for every major event location so that everyone could be subject to the pre-, during and post-sniff tests.

    ETA: Of course in ADDITION to all the other tests.

    1. Wukchumni

      Every dog has it’s day, and i’m thinking an Afghan Hound would be the cat’s meow, as said cur has a temperament similar to the Chief Executive.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        @Wuk: Come on, Wuk, you know the Afghan Hounds belong with Bush & Cheney. Along with the poppies of course. Spot of color never hurts.

        Wait, wait, I’m sure I meant to write lots of puppies.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Trump testing: Why didn’t he just get a dog and take him everywhere?

      NC commenters know about medical dogs. I doubt that anybody in Trump’s circle does but I also doubt that Fauci et al. to. Not invented here, and also cheap, not technical, no rent to charge.

      1. clarky90

        North West (Kanye West’s oldest daughter) ……”I would make everybody love each other,” she told CR Fashion Book, per Page Six. “And make the coronavirus go away and make everyone have more dogs.”

  13. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

    Trump just tweeted that he is leaving Walter Reed at 6:30 pm tonight and that his Admin has developed Covid therapies and no one should be afraid.

    (Popcorn in air fryer.)

    1. Wukchumni

      “Yes, and what makes one man an exceptional leader? We see indications that it’s his negative side which makes him strong, that his evil side, controlled and disciplined, is vital to his strength. Your negative side removed from you, the power of command begins to elude you.”

      1. Jessica

        Once again, the Good Kirk, Bad Kirk episode from the original Star Trek.
        Bad Kirk got things done but was quite ill intentioned. Good Kirk meant well but couldn’t get anything done.

    2. ChrisAtRU

      Ha! I’m officially in #ConspiracyBrutha mode till the election’s over.

      This is gonna be historic. Someone is lying. If it’s team Trump, the third wave will surpass the first. People in Trump’s base are going to believe they can get over COVID in three days, not realizing there will be no heli-lift to Walter Reed or exotic drug cocktails for them. If it’s the doctors, Trump’s gamble may backfire in the worst way if he succumbs to COVID after claiming to recover.

      [Popcorn in microwave]

        1. ChrisAtRU

          I dunno … check out the Cain Timeline:

          6/24: Attends Trump rally, maskless
          7/2: Tests positive for Covid-19
          7/10: Says he’s improving
          7/15: Says his doctors seem happy
          7/27: Says he’s really getting better
          7/30: Dies

          37 days … which for the super-spreader Rose Garden event takes us to 11/1. I’ll take the under on Trump.

          1. ChrisAtRU

            I should qualify … not meaning he’ll die before the election, but that his condition will deteriorate sufficiently so as to impede his campaign (my original assertion).

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I thought you were referring to a general third wave throughout the whole American population.
          Did I misunderstand your meaning?

    3. lcn

      “… his Admin has developed Covid therapies and no one should be afraid.”

      Not everyone can afford designer drugs and steroid injections.

    4. Lee

      Trump claims he feels 20 years younger. He’s high as a kite on his meds. Wait for the come down. Given numerous case histories, he may just be in the eye of the storm. Not to wish him ill. Okay, okay, I do wish him ill, if only that he may serve as a public health warning.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > 20 years younger

        Maybe he meant that he hasn’t felt that relieved since his last big debt restructuring.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Just watching Trump’s chopper land aka Marine One, and getting ready to receive him and take him back to the White House. The second shoe awaits dropping. Trump’s first statement-

      ‘It’s just the flu, bro!’

    6. Sailor Bud

      FOX just sent out an update with Trump telling America “not to let COVID dominate your lives.” Great.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      The polling stations turn out to be portals to a giant alien ant farm where voters are forever trapped as pets.


    2. shtove

      In The Visit, M.Night has a brother and sister from a broken home visit the farm of their long estranged grandparents – except [spoiler] gramps and nana have been murdered by a couple of escaped inmates from the local loonie bin, who take their place and consider what to do with these pesky teens.

      Nana is particularly chilling.

  14. fresno dan

    October 5, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    I did not know the founder of Taco Bell was named Glen W. Bell.
    It just never occurred to me that Taco and Bell is not a natural conflation; an admixture of taco and bell is what a taco shack would intrinsically be named….because the tacos came from Taco Bell…
    On the other hand, there was no Del Taco (at least in Fresno) and after coming home after decades, the name seemed jarring and unnatural.

    1. Wukchumni

      When I was a kid there was a chain in LA called Pup n’Taco, either one setting you back 19 Cents.

    2. polecat

      And all this time, I’ve been under the *impression it was all taco Hell.

      * making one’s own is hella better!

    1. jo6pac

      Sad news day but I’m not surprised by this news. I sure if biden win he’ll make it right again./s

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        He may, especially if he mechanically undoes (as much as possible) the actions of the Trump/Koch administration.

        Note: not a Harris/Biden fanboi by a long stretch, just noting Trump’s revenge on Obama’s roast.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          But this Biden-revenge you contemplate would be bad for rich people. So Biden, if President, would not do any such thing.

  15. The Hang Nail

    NK is ignoring key aspects of the WHO mask recommendations. The WHO says it does not recommend widespread use of masks “for control” of Covid. In other words, they don’t want people putting on masks and then believing they can go about their business. This is the argument used by Fauci and the CDC back in February. Notice that at the end of the statement they say recommends governments recommend the use of masks.

    So why is NK and so many Republicans willfully ignoring these important caveats? Never has anyone said masks are perfect. They have always feared that by recommending masks people would assume they are safe and NK is showing that this prediction is being born out! Masks merely mitigate and do not control Covid.

    1. John Wright

      I’d like to see a message printed on the front of masks.

      “lowering the risk of contracting/spreading Covid-19”

  16. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

    Obama drinking the water (or any politician engaging in the act of consuming something in order to show people it is safe to do so), is what the Trillbillies term ‘Drinking the Devil’s Milkshake.’ They have an episode of the same title where they go into deep, hilarious detail. Episode 134, it looks like.

    1. The Rev Kev

      One of the most sociopathic things that I have ever seen – and Obama did it twice! Fun fact. The water that he drank actually came from Air Force One which he flew down on so it was all planned out in advance.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > One of the most sociopathic things that I have ever seen

        Come on, man. None of our guys are sociopaths. That said, I can’t find anywhere that Obama’s water came from Air Force One. I find many mentions that it was filtered Flint water, but none of those mentions are sourced.

        Obama’s visit was horridly cynical enough, though. USA Today:

        Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder greeted Air Force One at Bishop International Airport in Flint, ending days of speculation about whether the governor would participate. He was later booed by Flint residents as he tried to apologize for the state’s handling of the crisis.

        When the crowd booed Snyder again as Obama recognized him, Obama calmed the crowd: “No, no, no, he’s here. We’re doing some business here.”

        As you can see, The Great Assimilation™ has been under way for some time. Detroit News:

        “Although I understand the fear and concern that people have, and it is entirely legitimate, what the science tells us at this stage* is you should not drink any of the water that is not filtered but if you get the filter and use it properly, that water can be consumed,” Obama said in a speech at Northwestern High School. “That’s information that I trust and I believe.”

        “When our filtered water smells like bleach, there’s no way possible it’s safe to drink,” said Lulu Brezzell, the mother of Amaryana Copeny, the 9-year-old girl known as “Little Miss Flint” who is credited with getting Obama to visit Flint. “There are so many more issues than just lead.”


        Obama’s visit to Flint came nearly four months after he declared a limited federal emergency that doesn’t allow the city to seek the kind of disaster relief funds afforded to communities ravaged by hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters. The president did not address that issue in his speech or remarks to reporters Wednesday afternoon after getting briefed on the federal government’s relief efforts in Flint at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

        But in his speech, Obama vowed to stay attuned to Flint’s needs in his final eight months in office.

        Well…. How was brunch?

        NOTE * “At this stage” is doing a lot of work. What stages? Are there stages?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          What I remember seeing from the Obama water video (without watching it again to be sure) is that Obama merely lip-touched the water while being very careful NOT to drink ANY of it.

  17. Basil Pesto

    Lambert posted a link last month about an uptick in rounds played at golf courses this year

    Similar data were released for Australia. That’s not really surprising. But what I found interesting was this:

    Importantly for the industry and its future, rounds played by people in the 20-49 age range have skyrocketed in the past four months.

    Since the “first wave” of Covid-19 restrictions in April, demand in that cohort has climbed by 44 per cent, meaning a total 22 per cent lift on 2019.

    That strikes me as rather astonishing. It’s not as if the game suddenly became sexier among that cohort. There are plenty of less time-consuming exercise activities that are relatively Covid-safe too (running, walking/hiking, cycling). There are plenty of other competitive activities/challenging hobbies too – video games, board games, puzzles – though it’s true that golf combines those two things very adeptly, I’m not sure that can account for such a surge in that age bracket. So what is?

    An occasional recurring theme in comments this year has been the rediscovery of time – through job loss/furloughing or hour reduction, necessitated by lockdown, or even just reduced commuting. ‘Networking’, too, would appear to be curtailed, given the hospitality closures. Following on from that is the idea that people might be re-evaluating how they spend the time they do have when the pressure to spend it unthinkingly for careerist pursuits in work they don’t enjoy is diminished.

    One of the recurring themes of criticism of neoliberalism is the demands that it makes on our time, often just for the sake of it (indeed, this was one of the themes of ‘Bullshit Jobs’ – relating iirc Keynes’ observation that the advances in productivity in early capitalism should’ve logically led to a shorter work week which, obviously, it hasn’t). Golf of course is a very time-consuming activity, especially when playing a full round, which takes 3.5 hours if you’re quick. In Australia, and presumably the US and UK, young people are typically introduced to it by their parents, usually Dad, and it’s a nice father-son/daughter bonding activity – then the kids get older and, while there are of course many other things to do, there’s also much less time. It may be fun and relatively inexpensive (or really expensive, if you’re so inclined), but what young person trying to make their way in the world with all the pressures and expectations that entails has 4+ hours to play 18 holes on even a semi-regular basis?

    That may have changed this year. The big, salient changes induced by the virus are well documented, but there’s something about these more imperceptible social changes, and shifts in what we value that’s very interesting, I think (while acknowledging that this is more hypothesis than rigorous analysis so it’s all a bit spit-bally).

    1. Wukchumni

      Until the SQF Fire rudely interrupted our lives, the summer seemed no different really than any of the many i’ve had to compare to, the parking lots for the trailheads were consistently near full or so full that people parked their cars alongside the road for 1/2 a mile distance from the lot.

      Talking to a number of them it was their first time in the area, and were pleased to have found it, salvaging something of value from a not so great 2020, in hindsight. We wore fortunate to sneak in a family backpack trip to Franklin Lakes before the shift hit the fan.

      There is no indoors in the great outdoors which makes it naturally safer than down in the Big Smoke where it’s the other way around.

      Hiking & backpacking were already on the upswing in a big way, I think the virus opened up people to the idea of doing it, combined with the gyms being closed, so walking wins by default, and by the way, how many golfers walk the course in Aussie?

      1. Basil Pesto

        Thanks, I do remember reading your posts throughout the year on how busy the parks have been.

        No figures so speaking anecdotally, but most. I walk and carry; most walk with a little pull buggy (sometimes hands-free, particularly for older players); carts are predominantly used when in a hurry, or for medical reasons. Carts are a lot less prevalent than they are in the US.

    2. CanCyn

      Golf allows you to socialize and drink alcohol, with Covid restrictions at bars and pubs perhaps that is why it appeals to the younger guys.The club houses are not open but there are bar carts zooming around providing sustenance on the course. My husband played a round a few weeks ago. When you show up on your own, they put with other guys to make a foursome. The 3 guys he played with had 4 beers each during the round. Only 1 of them was a serious golfer. the other 2 were just there for the outing.

      1. Basil Pesto

        That’s a very good point, an oversight on my part probably because 99% of the time I play alone

      2. albrt

        Yeah, other than being an excuse to drink with your friends, nobody I know actually finds golf enjoyable. It is very frustrating most of the time.

        Find a way to monetize walking slowly and drinking without having to play golf and you’d make a fortune.

  18. Jessica

    “Public health specialists, including Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, who leads the U.S. testing effort, have long emphasized that testing alone is not a public health intervention”

    FFS*. Yes it is. It is just not an adequate one. In that sense, it is the same as masks and social distancing: helpful but not perfect.

    *Apologies for the acronym, but this is a family blog.

  19. Biph

    I have disagree with assessment that the national numbers don’t matter. Last time the national polls were right in 2016 they had HRC up by around 2-4% and she came in at the low end of that number. That margin of victory nationally was small enough to allow Trump to win enough States to garner an EC victory, but if you move around 100,000 votes in PA, WI, and MI then HRC wins the EC. Biden has been up by about 6-8 points for several months now if he comes in even at the low end of the number it makes it very difficult for Trump to win the EC. Using last election’s turnout as a basis Biden winning by 6% would net him some 4-5 million votes over Trump than what HRC received. All those extra votes wouldn’t come from CA, NY and IL alone. If Biden’s numbers drop even a little say to the 3-5% range then I think he’ll be in some trouble, but so long as his numbers stay were they are now it’s a very strong likelihood he wins the election

      1. Biph

        Which is why I base my numbers on the RCP average, it’s been pretty accurate within about 1% of the result since 2004. The one exception was 2012 where the final average had Obama up by 0.7% and he won by 3.9%. The other polls all had the Dems doing about 1% better than they did in the election except 2008 were it was off by 0.3%. I also don’t look at just the final number but the direction of the polling over the last week or so, there was a lot more fluctuation in 2016 Biden’s been up 6-8% consistently for about 2 months. In 2016 Ohio and Iowa were off the board for HRC at this point in the cycle they are not for Biden and while I’m not predicting Biden wins in either State even a move from high single digit to low single digit wins would be disastrous for Trump if he saw similar drops across the Midwest, remember he won MI, WI and PA all by less than 1%.
        If anything I would expect the infotainment business to try and reduce or play down Biden’s lead both for horse race purposes and to light a fire under the ass of reluctant Biden voters.

        1. John k

          Maybe dangerous for somebody with little enthusiasm to be showing a large lead. If 1/10 of those intending to vote for him decide their vote isn’t needed, why waste their time… and they’ve got other things to do after work… dark, drizzling, long lines…
          Trump voters will be enthusiastic.
          Hillary had more enthusiasm among the resistance.

          1. Biph

            If 2016 hadn’t happened you’d be right, but I think Trump ekeing out a win in 2016 certainly dampens the chances for a repeat of that scenario.

    1. notabanker

      FWIW, I live in the heart of 2016 Trump country, and the sign count for Biden is much, much higher than it was for Clinton. Still overwhelmingly in support of Trump, but Clinton signs were hen’s teeth rare. Biden, not so much.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > if you move around 100,000 votes in PA, WI, and MI then HRC wins the EC

      Like I said. National polls don’t matter. Unfortunately, the reporting at state level is so bad that we can’t disaggregate the national numbers.

      Part of the reason I’m so mistrustful of the pollsters is that I view the press and the pollsters as explicitly political actors at the tactical level, to the degree that 2016 looks like a paragon of objective journalism and scientific sampling. The entire enterprise is a ginormous, self-reinforcing push poll, at this point. Push polls “work,” of course, but if the polling is accurate, it is “accurate” in the sense that a push poll is.

      This is a product of the “airtight consensus” Thomas Frank talks of. There’s no central switchboard deciding the tactics; it’s just a hive mind in action.

      1. eg

        “pollsters as explicitly political actors at the tactical level” — or as I glossed them in the early ‘80s, “Poll-masters of the Universe” TM.

  20. JWP

    An unusual turn of events from school: cases of on campus students have plummeted, with the positivity rate around 0.7%. While these stats do not cover off campus students who tend to be a bit more reckless, the school has done a good job of enforcing masks everywhere and limiting the amount of time people can spend in any one place. Hopefully the trends continue. The school is smaller, about 5,000, so it is easier to control and makes scaling the operation to larger ones more difficult, but pending some statistic meddling, this is a small bright spot.

  21. Darius

    Regarding the National Review article. NR says Trump rode in on recognizing and doing something about the plight of working people, then just making everything about himself. Obama did the same thing. He rode in on a promise of hope and change. Then, me made everything about what an awesome guy he is. It worked well enough again in 2012.

    With so many as bad off or worse than in 2016, I wonder if Trump’s playing the big bad hombre will carry him to victory in 2020.

  22. deplorado

    I just noticed the slogan “Build Back Better” behind Rishi Sunak during a speech he has given very recently.

    That is the same as Biden’s campaign slogan.

    So this time around Biden steals campaign slogans from the Tories (look up his plagiarizing of Neil Kinnock in the 80ies). Or maybe, we are looking at a single multinational party of austerity serving international capital that’s captured the globe. Tories, Democrats, UK, US – all the same. Great.

    What a farce.

    Not to mention that Sunak refers to a “sacred duty to balance the books”. I have little doubt Biden will copy that too, all the while saying he is doing it for our children.

  23. John k

    Does the data exist to compare 2016 polls in early October for some of your swings with current polls?
    And somebody wondered if pollsters have modified their calc based on 2016 results… a good question…

    1. Biph

      RCP has a daily average of national and swing State polls and a daily spread on the difference between those numbers in 2020 vs 2016, they use days out from the election not same dates FWIW. Today Biden is + 3.3 (+8.5) in national avg and Trump is +.4 (-4.1) in swing States vs 2016 30 days out from election day.

  24. BobWhite

    In Delaware news…:
    “Delaware dissolves shell companies created to pay off women by Trump-fixer Michael Cohen”
    “A state judge ordered the dissolution of Essential Consultants LLC and Resolution Consultants LLC last Thursday.”

    “Judge rejects GOP challenge to universal voting by mail in Delaware”
    The judge noted that the plaintiffs’ challenge to the law could not stand unless they were able to demonstrate clearly and convincingly that the legislature’s finding that the law is necessary was either false or unwarranted.
    “On the facts of record, the plaintiffs do not come close to meeting that standard,” he [Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III] wrote.

  25. The Rev Kev

    The Marina Di Chioggia pumpkin looks different but can you use it for a Halloween pumpkin?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      sort of hard to carve, though…but that may be because i let them harden on the vine, and don’t harvest until the vine dies.
      and, all those french and italian heirloom pumpkins(the many i’ve trialed)…with the warts and weird appendages…have turned out to be great storage pumpkins for winter…and squashes in general are superfoods..loaded with vitamins and such…just what one needs in the dark of winter.
      these are my favorite:https://territorialseed.com/products/squash-winter-galeux-deysines

      please remember to save your seeds.

      1. furies

        If grown in isolation. Curcubits are promiscuous pollinators, and if grown near other pumpkin/squash the seeds saved will produce some surprising progeny.

  26. anon

    On the Texas covid data, there is still reporting of old cases. I suggest going to the TMC website and looking at their daily updates as they stratify truly “new” vs newly reported “old” cases. For instance, there were over 2000 old cases add in on Saturday to the 9 county area served by TMC facilities.

  27. anon

    Also, TMC hospitals are using dexamethasone for cases with mild hypoxemia in association with ground glass opacities on chest CT, not just for severe cases.

  28. Annus Horribilis

    Bernie’s not on DNC merchandise because Bernie is not a member of the Democratic Party, but rather insists, as an independent, he caucuses with the D’s. Believe it or not, this pedanticism might of have been the biggest stumbling block to Sanders gaining the nomination. Although some claim the D’s are a nest of reactionary vipers, a Biden endorsement may have been a boilerplate DNC stipulation as a requirement for the DNC picking up the tab for outstanding expenses owed by the bailing campaigns, a common agreement in the down-ballot races. This absorption, plus on-going employment for your people, is part of the greater coordination of party affiliation.

    War metaphors may be dehumanizing, but also communicate hard-earned truths: “Dilettantes talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.” Bernie Sanders is theoretically electable in every race except for the races in which he runs. Might that not suggest technical errors of electioneering rather than possessing verboten theories of government? What if Trump had insisted on not being a Republican in 2016, would this not have cost him votes in a two-party system?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Bernie’s not on DNC merchandise because Bernie is not a member of the Democratic Party, but rather insists, as an independent, he caucuses with the D’s.

      So you’re saying liberal Democrats, when making their merch design decisions, value legal boilerplate over appealing to potentially disaffected voters? After vociferously virtue signaling about “unity”? That certainly does tie in with everything else we know about them.

      > Bernie Sanders is theoretically electable in every race except for the races in which he runs.

      Sanders lost the race because he lost Texas by four points on Super Tuesday, although he won California, speaking of logistics. I don’t know why he lost. If he had won, he, his campaign, and all his supporters would look like geniuses. Politics is a sporty game.

  29. jr

    Just caught Warren huckstering on YouTube for DCCC, vowing that the fight (?) for the Supreme Court isn’t over.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Who? Oh I remember now, that woman who pretended she was a Native American #MeToo supporter progressive when it suited her ambitions

  30. drumlin woodchuckles

    I have read the WHO “faith-based” statements on masks, how close to people, etc. I have suggested before that the WHO has promulgated these beliefs and guidelines to the non-China world in order to disable the “Outer Barbarians” from possessing the same knowledge and cautions as China. I again implore the readership to at least consider secret agentry for China as being the real reason the WHO still promulgates such obsolete nonsense.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > secret agentry for

      I think CT is the equivalent of “intelligent design” in political economy, We often quote Frank Herbert:

      “Then, as his planet killed him, it occurred to Kynes that his father and all the other scientists were wrong, that the most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error.”

  31. VietnamVet

    What an October surprise. The White House turned into a plague infested Princess Cruise with a germaphobe at the helm. Government failed. Inevitable due to the lack of a federal public health system and inadequate preventive measures which neither political party nor their donors want.

    Much like Jim Comey finding Hillary Clinton’s lost e-mails on Anthony Weiner’s sexting laptop proved Donald Trump’s corruption charges true. If he survives the next two weeks, like a Pro-Wrestling Match, and throws coronavirus to the mat for a three count, Donald Trump will win reelection.

    We shall see what the fates decide. But the corruption and failure to support a national public health system in midst of a pandemic have almost assured the Democrats defeat. Again the Russians will be blamed. Not their failure to act in the best interests of the American people.

  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a short video which I will submit as possibly being worthy ‘antidote’ material. It features a woodpecker – which is animal, and a whole buncha lotta acorns – which is plant.

    It is some guy video-ing an Acorn Woodpecker ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acorn_woodpecker ) which he saw on his grill, then videoing himself walking out of the house and over to the grill and opening up the grill to find a whole grill-full of acorns. ( Now, if he knew how to prepare those acorns for eating, he would have several meals-worth of acorns right there).

    Here is the link.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Sadly, “most trusted” doesn’t actually mean trustworthy; I don’t know enough about mother-daughter dynamics in the Conway family to assess the value of the daughter’s now-taken-down Tik Tok video, but it strikes me as a limit case of access journalism.

      If the reports of Tr\ump’s treatment can be accept, I think the way forward is to reverse engineer diagnosis from treatment, but I don’t know whether that it is logically permissible. In particular, if we’re not seeing Trump’s lung X-Rays, that’s one indication the disease has reached them.

      I believe that Trump hates hospitals. Perhaps he thinks Walter Reed is a death trap (which is not unreasonable, even if not supported by the very latest studies).

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        the Carp on the Dock Impression during trump’s Evita Moment is what gets me….looked like Gasping, to me…and wincing in pain from the other angle.
        but who the hell can tell any more what’s real or not?
        the whole 4 day incident could be some masterful trolling exercise….doubtful, fer sure, but it still must be kept in mind.

        the rabid maga nurse that comes to deal with stepdad every day has been uncharacteristically silent, when passing by the permanent msdnc tv in the living room./…and from my facebook duckblind, i’ve observed mostly silence on the whole trump covid adventure from the local yokels.
        but all that was before the triumphant return(tm) and victory lap.
        cursory drive-by of the handful of militia types out here revealed no activity.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          I think it possible he needed supplemental oxygen to walk to/from Marine One. Would not be surprised to learn that he was hooked up to a supply everytime he wasn’t on camera, image being everything. In for a penny, in for a pound.

    2. ChrisAtRU

      LOL … not trusted so much as it’s basically all we got as an insight into those within Trump’s orbit. Sitting here watching Mysteries Of The Universe: Jupiter. So, to use an inter-planetary exploration metaphor: Claudia Conway is like the Juno probe … ;-)

Comments are closed.