2:00PM Water Cooler 10/6/2020

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, Trump’s case of Covid has completely thrown me off my plan to cover more stories at the state level (as opposed to national punditry and polling) both yesterday and today. I’m now going to go back and add that in. So a pantry clearout awaits. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

I love the caption: “Display calls heard near the beginning, middle and end of the recording, amidst the marsh’s dawn chorus, splash of a beaver tail, and take-off of a duck.” Bitterns are said to boom, but if I’m right, I’m hearing more of a gulp “near the beginning, middle and end.” Lovely dawn music, though!


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:

Slight but unmistakable rise in all regions now. Ugh.

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

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


“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. 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: After being stuck in neutral for some time, the 270toWin map — based on consensus among pundits — is starting to move, with this the second change in two days, and the movement is not good for Trump. 27 days is a long time in politics, but it looks to me like Trump is running out of runway. His last debate performance didn’t cause Biden to slip a cog, the Durham Report won’t drop ’til after the election, the economy is slipping without a stimulus, a colorable claim of having made a vaccine is looking less and less likely, and early voting makes October Surprises less decisive. It is true that Trump’s return from the hospital creates enormous narrative opportunity, but we don’t know the outcome yet (beyond reinforcing everybody’s priors). Brunch awaits!

Trump’s Case of Covid

“Moment Trump appears to gasp for air after tearing off mask on return to the White House: Biden leads critics accusing Trump of downplaying COVID by telling America ‘don’t be afraid of the virus'” [Daily Mail]. “Trump, 74, appeared to be grimacing and taking labored breaths as he stood on the White House balcony, with one doctor saying he was ‘clearly in some distress with his breathing’… Biden, 77, said on Monday night that the president was ‘responsible’ for his COVID-19 infection and blasted the president’s ‘macho’ attitude of avoiding mask-wearing. ‘Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying, masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter, I think is responsible for what happens to them,’ Biden said after Trump posed without a face covering. ‘What is this macho thing, ‘I’m not going to wear a mask?’ What’s the deal here? Big deal, does it hurt you? Be patriotic for god’s sake! Take care of yourself, but take care of your neighbors,’ the Democratic nominee said.”

* * *

My timeline was full of theorizing about what dexamethasone was doing to Trump, so here is the basic information I could find. More welcome from readers!

“COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines” [National Institutes of Health]. “The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial, a multicenter, randomized, open-label trial in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, showed that the mortality rate was lower among patients who were randomized to receive dexamethasone than among those who received the standard of care.1 This benefit was observed in patients who required supplemental oxygen at enrollment. No benefit of dexamethasone was seen in patients who did not require supplemental oxygen at enrollment… [T]he COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) recommends using dexamethasone 6 mg per day for up to 10 days or until hospital discharge, whichever comes first, for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients who are mechanically ventilated (AI) and in hospitalized patients who require supplemental oxygen but who are not mechanically ventilated (BI).” • And on the RECOVERY trial–

“Role of corticosteroid in the management of COVID-19: A systemic review and a Clinician’s perspective” [Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome]. From the Results section: “Of the 5 studies (4 retrospective studies and 1 quasi-prospective study) conducted for evaluating the role of corticosteroids, 3 studies have shown benefit, while 2 studies shown no benefit and there was a suggestion of significant harm in critical cases in one sub-study. RECOVERY trial is the only randomized controlled trial that has shown a significant reduction of death by 35% in ventilated patients and by 20% amongst patients on supplemental oxygen therapy with the dexamethasone, although no benefit was observed in mild cases.”

“Dexamethasone in the management of covid-19” (PDF) [British Medical Journal]. “Unresolved questions remain, however. RECOVERY investigators did not explore optimal type of corticosteroid nor timing, dose, or duration of giving this drug class. The dose of dexamethasone used was roughly half the functional corticosteroid dose used to prevent treatment induced acute respiratory distress syndrome in moderate or severe pneumocystis pneumonia. Even though dexamethasone worked, it is not clear whether corticosteroids are the best option for all patients in the second phase of the illness or whether treatment may be less beneficial for some subsets, such as people with diabetes…. Virological measures such as viral load were not reported and would be helpful in future studies as they may ultimately guide treatment decisions, including timing.” • Here is a thread on dexamethasone that seems to be knowledgeable:

(Most of the press coverage on Trump and dexamethasone is the well-worn liberal Democrat trope that Republicans are insane, but with medicalese.)

“Trump’s Covid-19 antibody treatment was partly developed using Singaporean blood plasma” [South China Morning Post]. “One of the two antibodies used in an experimental treatment for US President Donald Trump was developed using blood samples from three patients in Singapore, according to a report by Asian Science Magazine published on Monday The science and technology publication noted that Trump had on Friday received a ‘high dose’ of an experimental antibody therapy known as REGN-COV2 developed by American biotechnology company Regeneron….. Trump received the antibody cocktail before he was admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and while he was there for three days, he was also given multiple doses of the antiviral drug, Remdesivir and a steroid dexamethasone, usually used to treat inflammation in people who have severe cases of Covid-19…. Dr Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN: ‘The president might be the only patient on the planet ever to receive this particular combination of medicines.'”

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) (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) (crime victims)

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!

“In big states, tiny counties, Trump attacking voting rules” [Associated Press]. “When Donald Trump’s campaign took issue with a new rule on processing some votes in North Carolina, it didn’t just complain to the Board of Elections and file a lawsuit. It wrote to some of the state’s 100 local election offices with extraordinary guidance: Ignore that rule. ‘The NC Republican Party advises you to not follow the procedures,’ Trump campaign operative Heather Ford wrote in an email to county officials last week. The email urging defiance was a small glimpse at the unusually aggressive, hyperlocal legal strategy the Trump campaign is activating as voting begins. Through threatening letters, lawsuits, viral videos and presidential misinformation, the campaign and its GOP allies are going to new lengths to contest election procedures county-by-county across battleground states. That means piling new pressure on the often low-profile election officials on the frontline of the vote count, escalating micro-disputes over voting rules and seeking out trouble in their backyards. The local approach already is producing a blizzard of voting-related complaints. Trump and his allies have then seized on the disputes, distorted them and used them to sow broad doubts of fairness and accuracy.”

FL: “Why Donald Trump is doing surprisingly well in Florida” [The Economist]. ” Should Mr Trump win his adopted home state, our model reckons he would be about 50:50 to win in the electoral college. Should he lose Florida, he has almost no chance. The state will probably announce its results on election night, so a win for Mr Biden would make Mr Trump’s inevitable doubt-casting about the results that much hollower. Polls show a tight race—much closer than the overall national picture…. Two groups hold the keys to Florida’s fortunes: Latinos and the elderly. Mr Trump is overperforming with the first group and underperforming with the second…. Florida’s demography—larger than average shares of African-Americans and Latinos—would seem to favour Democrats. Yet too often that has been a curse in disguise, leading Democrats to assume votes rather than hustle for them. Republicans are taking no such chances. Says Mr Gruters, “I was the Trump co-chairman in 2016 for the state, and at the very peak we had 62 staffers. We have 190 on the ground right now…Usually we have multiple events going on across the state on a daily basis.” Republicans are fighting for Florida as though Mr Trump’s presidency depends on it—which it probably does. He will be hard to beat on his home ground.”

FL: “‘He just lies’: Florida’s senior voters suddenly are in play” [Politico]. “Retirees have long flocked to Florida’s warm climate and white sandy beaches, where they’ve gained outsized political sway in the nation’s largest swing state. In the 2012 presidential election, voters 65 and older comprised 26 percent of all votes, a number that jumped to 30 percent in 2016…. Trump continues to dominate with older white voters in the state, 54-43, and trails Biden among senior voters of color by 17 points, a much smaller margin than the 54-point advantage Biden has among that group nationally, the Monmouth poll found…. To break out, Biden has put more than $700,000 into a Florida ad highlighting Trump’s “planned cuts to Social Security.” The ad references an August executive order from Trump that would temporarily suspend the collection of payroll taxes, which fund Social Security. ” • No, they don’t.

GA: “Glitches in Georgia’s High-Tech Electronic Voting System Raise Concerns” [Lifewire]. “The voting problems in Georgia began when officials found a programming error on the state’s voting touchscreens. To fix the problem, the state’s 30,000 new touchscreens, called ballot-marking devices, will need to be reprogrammed.” • And there’s no time to debug the patch properly. What could go wrong? Acitvists have their hair on fire, rightly:

Here is a “Summary of Voting System Software Change Issue” (PDF) prepared for the Georgia counties, one lawyer’s brief on why the software change is illegal.

NC: “North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate admits to sending sexual texts to strategist” [NBC]. • Ripping a page from the John Edwards playbook, I suppose. And the texts are the pawkiest, dorkiest texts you can imagine!

NV: “Joe Biden is counting on Nevada. Has the COVID-19 pandemic hurt his chances?” [Los Angeles Times]. “Nevada — once reliably Republican but more recently Democratic — is something of a question mark in these closing weeks of the campaign…. Polls taken before President Trump’s hospitalization with COVID-19 gave Biden a small but consistent lead over the incumbent, who narrowly lost the state four years ago. However, the great strength of Democrats — the work of political foot soldiers like Magana, 45, who helps tidy the casino at the MGM Grand hotel, and Salgado, 35, a line cook at Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar — has been significantly reduced as a result of the pandemic…. Typically, Democrats prevail by out-registering Republicans and out-hustling them to make sure their partisans vote — especially Latino, Black and Asian American residents of Las Vegas and its sprawling surroundings. While registered Democrats continue to outnumber Republicans both statewide and here in Clark County, the GOP narrowed the gap a bit over the summer by resuming its canvassing weeks before the Culinary Union took to the streets again in August.” • Hmm. The Culinary Workers had gone for Sanders when he won the state.

OH: “Trump’s mistake by the lake: Taking his own voters for granted” [National Journal]. “The new Fox News poll of Ohio, showing a 5-point Biden lead, pinpointed why Trump is in so much trouble: Members of labor unions, who swung from President Obama to Trump in the previous election, have returned to the Democratic fold. Union households in Ohio now favor Biden by 8 points, 52 to 44 percent. In 2016, Trump carried that same constituency by 13 points, 54 to 41 percent, according to exit polling. That’s a whopping 21-point turnaround. Trump’s marked decline with white working-class voters is the underappreciated story of this election. It’s easy to conflate Trump’s base of hard-core supporters with the much larger pool of his 2016 voters. His base is with him regardless, but Trump won in 2016 by picking off a critical mass of onetime Democrats and independent voters in the Midwest, many of whom have since grown disillusioned with his antics. Amid their disbelief that anyone could vote for Trump without being “deplorable,” Democrats once thought these voters were lost for good [identity politics, anyone?]. They belatedly realized that tried-and-true appeals to their economic interests—centered on health care in the midst of a pandemic—still constitute an effective message in these tribal times.” • And the beauty party is that they can make that “economic appeal” with a piece of crap like ObamaCare, and not offer anything better!

OH: “In Appalachia, people watch COVID-19, race issues from afar” [Associated Press]. This has an excellent photo essay, too. Very meditative, probably doesn’t even belong in this section. But: “In Phil Stevens’ little office, crowded with desks piled with paperwork, the occasional car part and the sweet smell of engine oil, he derided the idea that everyone can just get along. ‘I’m not going to have a Muslim best bud, you know, because there’s a line that you can’t cross,’ he said. ‘But by the same token, the Muslims don’t want nothing to do with me. And I’m okay with that because they’ve got their reasons for it.’ Yet, it turned out, he’d fallen in love with a woman who is part Native American. They’ve been happily married for nearly 44 years.”

TX: “Joe Biden can end the drama on election night. All he has to do is win Texas.” [Beto O’Rourke and Tory Gavito, WaPo]. “Thanks to Republican efforts to suppress voter turnout, Texas did not expand vote by mail in midst of a global pandemic. As a result, we will know the winner of the Texas presidential election on election night. If Texas turns blue that night, and its 38 electoral votes go to Biden, then Trump would have no viable path to victory, and the election would be over that night, before Trump’s lawyers can get through the courtroom doors to stop the vote counts in other states. If Biden wins Texas along with the likely blue states of Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota and Virginia, he would still win the White House even if he loses all the swing states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona and Florida. Trump, on the other hand, cannot win without Texas.”

TX: “Gov. Abbott forces Harris County to close 11 mail ballot drop-off sites, leaving just one” [Houston Chronicle]. “Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday declared that counties can designate only one location to collect completed mail ballots from voters, upending some counties’ election plans and drawing condemnation and accusations of voter suppression from across the state and country…. Most immediately, it forced Harris County to abandon 11 sites set up to allow voters to drop off their absentee ballots. The proclamation takes effect Friday.”


* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Biden promises to make Roe v. Wade the ‘law of the land’ if Amy Coney Barrett gets confirmed on the Supreme Court and overturns the 1973 abortion ruling” [Daily Mail]. • Only possible with Democrats having a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate plus the House, obviously. From 2019, a timeline of Biden’s views on abortion.

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “A new challenge for transition planners: Building a government over Zoom” [Politico]. “‘If I went to a Hill meeting or a social gathering on Capitol Hill, I would see a lot of people there, and they’d say, ‘Hey, you’re working on the transition — what’s it like? Can we grab coffee? Here’s my résumé. A friend of mine is looking to work in Commerce or in Treasury.’ Something like that,” the aide said. ‘You’d see that a lot.’ That sort of inside-the-Beltway networking is now a lot harder to come by.” • You could view the Adminstrations failed frequent testing policy as an attempt to preserve that easy, natural level of Before Times physical contact.

Trump (R)(1): “Trump on Twitter: ‘Don’t be afraid of COVID … I feel better than I did 20 years ago!'” [Concord Monitor]. • Commentary:

Trump (R)(2): “Trump’s Covid Debacle” [Rod Dreher, The American Conservative]. “I have mentioned in this space — and I write about inLive Not By Lies— how the Imperial Russian government’s botched handling of the 1891-92 famine was a key turning point in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Why? Because it badly shook the confidence of the Russian people in their government’s competence. Marxist radicals never really got much traction with the broader Russian public until the famine debacle made people wonder if the system really could be counted on to keep them safe. People began to wonder if maybe the radicals were onto something in their critique of the regime. The Tsarist establishment lost a great amount of credibility with the public, and never, of course, got it back. Trump’s failures on Covid, epitomized by his own failure to manage his exposure with regard to White House staffers and supporters, come at a time of historic loss of public faith in institutions. …[W]e are living in an era of great insecurity because of this loss of trust — and Millennials and Generation Z are the most dramatically affected by it…. [T]he fear, anxiety, and eagerness for protection running rampant among Millennials and Gen Z are exactly the things that Hannah Arendt observed as present in pre-totalitarian Russia and Germany. What Trump has done with his own Covid diagnosis is a monumental act of self-sabotage. What he is helping to sabotage is more than his own administration and re-election campaign, I fear.”

* * *

About that stimulus:

If Biden believes he can legislate Roe v. Wader, that means he thinks the Democrats will control both the House and the Senate. In that case, there’s absolutely no reason for Pelosi not to take the trillion or so on offer, and bump it up in January. No reason, of course, except to deny the Republicans a legislative success.

* * *

“More than 4 million Americans have already voted, suggesting record turnout” [Reuters]. • Good if you think politics is a team sport; not so good if you think democracy requires candidates and their campaigns to be judged in their entirety.

UPDATE “The face mask ‘is almost as much of a symbol as a MAGA hat'” [Poltico]. “But masks are still in heavy rotation in Covid-related TV ads for both parties in suburbs around the country, according to a POLITICO review of more than 400 political ads that aired in September and were collected by Advertising Analytics… [W]hile masks are commonplace for ads in urban or suburban areas — likely a reflection of those places’ experience with the coronavirus — masks are less prominent in ads for Democrats and Republicans alike in rural, more GOP-leaning House districts.” • This is good reporting, and also describes the effect of social distancing and masking on the industry that produces the ads.

MN: O’Keefe has form:

NY: The Great Assimilation™ continues:

The Debates

UPDATE “Pence and Harris to debate through plexiglass because of coronavirus concerns” [Los Angeles Times]. • Hard to find a better metaphor…

“You Won’t Hear Kamala Harris Saying “Shut Up, Man” In The VP Debate” [Buzzfeed]. “As they prep her in Salt Lake City, Harris’s team has shaped a strategy in part around the reality that she is likely to be perceived differently than the white male candidate standing opposite her. Aides have reviewed studies — including those by the Barbara Lee Family Foundation — about how women candidates pay a high price for negativity and can be harshly punished by voters over issues of honesty, a Biden aide said. For that reason, a campaign aide said, Harris likely won’t take on the role of fact-checking Pence, or try to confront him frequently over falsehoods. Harris and her team are weighing, too, the question of how to deal onstage with stereotypes that paint women, and especially Black women, as angry and overly emotional. They are especially aware of how that dynamic could play out with Pence, who is so even-tempered that, in his first vice presidential debate in 2016, he made the mild Sen. Tim Kaine look aggressive.” • It will be interesting to see how Pence’s staff has prepped him, particularly on Trump’s Covid policies, especially Operation Warp Speed.

“End the Corporate-Sponsored Presidential Debates” [Common Dreams]. ” I would bet that the vast majority of viewers think the Commission on Presidential Debates is some sort of government agency, established by Congress. Instead, it is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation sponsored by corporate and foundation support. In 2016 major contributors included Anheuser Bush and AARP. In our contemporary politics both candidates compete in trashing Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. CPD expresses a desire to impose a structure that will encourage orderly discussion. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. The notion of orderliness the Commission endorses and promotes is a major cause of the lowest common denominator politics displayed in the debate. The commission has a history of making it more difficult if not impossible for third parties to participate in the debates…. Members of the two-party establishment complain that third parties are spoilers. Lately, however, there has been little for the third parties to spoil. Historically despite the barriers and outright repression, they have faced third-party populist and socialist movements had a productive influence on the New Deal. There is no perfect electoral system, but especially in the present contest, we need beware of ‘reforms’ that hide their origin and deprive citizens of an opportunity to participate in their reconstruction.” • Certainly every single CPD debate I have seen, and I’ve seen many, has had the gravitas of a half-time football show. Worse, the focus is on the moderators, and staging suggests that the moderators — drawn from the press — are representatives of the voters to whom the candidates must answer, which is laughably untrue.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“QAnon Supporters Aren’t Quite Who You Think They Are” [Wired]. “[W]hile you might also expect the overwhelming majority of the QAnon group to uniformly embrace its core theories, the results were far more mixed. The highest-polling statement was ‘Democratic politicians and Hollywood stars are part of a global network that tortures and sexually abuses children in Satanic rituals’—62 percent of QAnon supporters rated it as definitely or probably true. The other three QAnon theories polled—Trump is preparing mass arrests, Mueller was secretly ordered by Trump to investigate pedophiles, and celebrities harvest adrenochrome from children—registered between 44 and 54 percent. Those numbers, however, heavily overstate the level of belief. Toward the end of the poll, Schaffner asked respondents which statements they had heard of before taking the survey. A large number of Qanon supporters, it turned out, were rating as “true” statements that they were encountering for the first time. The “global network” statement only polled at 38 percent when discounting people who had never heard it.” • Blood-drinking elites seems pretty on-brand for fin de siecle neoliberalism to me, but apparently that’s not a core theory. Interestingly, and oddly, the sourcing “according to Q, the anonymous poster who started the movement” passes without a murmur. Why the heck isn’t Q’s identity the topic of investigative reporting?

And speaking of The Great Assimilation™:

I assume readers are familiar with this image? If not, I should really do a post on the Bush years, because they were genuinely horrific, and probably slaughtered many more people than Covid in the United States, albeit faraway brown ones, and with bipartisans support.

Fauci makes a diagnosis:

The same people who named their dogs after Mueller?

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.

Leading Indicators: “03 October 2020 New York Fed Weekly Economic Index (WEI): Index Little Changed Since End Of August” [Econintersect]. “The New York Fed’s Weekly Leading Index (WLI) continues to show an economy that is below the worst seen during the Great Recession. However, this index remains on a recovery trend but the index is only marginally improved since the end of August.”

Employment Situation: “August 2020 Headline JOLTS Job Openings Year-over-Year Growth Rate Declined” [Econintersect]. “The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) can be used as a predictor of future job growth, and the predictive elements show that the year-over-year growth rate of unadjusted private non-farm job openings year-over-year rate of growth declined and remains in contraction…. The unadjusted data this month remained well below average for the rate of growth seen since the beginning of 2019. However, the pandemic effects will drive this data, and forecasts using this data are simply guesses.”

Trade: “August 2020 Trade Again Improved But The Trade Deficit Continues To Grow” [Econintersect]. “Trade data headlines show the trade balance grew with both imports and exports increasing…. The 3-month average rate of growth improved for imports and exports – but remains in contraction.”

Housing: “August 2020 CoreLogic Home Prices: Home Price Appreciation Jumped to 5.9%” [Econintersect]. “CoreLogic’s Home Price Index (HPI) home prices increased 5.9% in August 2020, compared with August 2019, and the gain was up nearly 1% compared to the prior month, when home prices increased 5.1% year over year.” • If your assets are in housing or stocks, you’re doing OK with Trump, still, amazingly enough.

* * *

UPDATE Fodder for the Bulls: “Silver and Copper Prices Gained in the Quarter. That’s a Bullish Sign for the Economy” [Barrons]. “Industrial metals posted gains in the third quarter, with silver up sharply and copper touching its highest prices in over two years, suggesting that the worst of the coronavirus hit to the economy may be over…. The third quarter economic backdrop was ‘very supportive of the overall commodity complex,’ including industrial metals, says John Caruso , senior asset manager at RJO Futures. ‘The ‘reflation’ trade, assisted by the reopening of the economy and record [Federal Reserve] and government stimulus, helped the metals complex gain plenty of fervor’ following the second quarter Covid-19-related shutdown and economic collapse.” • “Fervor,” you say!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 47 Neutral (previous close: 44 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 6 at 1:09pm.

The Biosphere

“Amid COVID-19, Urban Growers Collective distributes nearly one million pounds of produce” [Chicago Reader]. “[Urban Growers Collective (UGC)] operates eight urban farms on 11 acres of land in Chicago, mostly on the south side, that are aimed at giving underserved and disinvested communities the healthy food they desperately need. And in keeping with its mission, UGC’s farms help cultivate economic opportunities for the community alongside their produce production… ‘Our biggest pivot was from affordable sales of produce to hunger relief,’ says Erika Allen, who cofounded UGC with Laurell Sims in 2017. ‘So, donating produce to folks in need as opposed to the economic development model that we’ve continued.'” • Impressive!

Health Care

“The percentage of Americans who say they would get a Covid-19 vaccine is falling, CNN poll finds” [CNN]. “If a Covid-19 vaccine were widely available at a low cost, 51% of respondents in the survey said they would try to get vaccinated, 45% said they would not try and 4% had no opinion, according to poll findings released on Monday…. The percentage of respondents in the poll who would try to get vaccinated appears to have fallen when compared with results in CNN polls from previous months.” • So much for public health. Well done, all.

Also well done, all:

Liberal Democrats have now weaponized a perfectly useful medical term (and a phenomenon that aerosols also help to explain). Of course, it’s not every day you get to demonize your opposition as literally disease-bearing, so one understands the appeal. The savage irony, of course, is that the virus entered the country though globalist entrepots like SEATAC and JFK (and not from Sturgis, ffs): Blue cities, in other words, spreading thence to the rest of the coutnry, as the New York Times shows. And so projection, othering, and complete lack of self-reflection skip merrily onward, together…

UPDATE This thread shows a scientist changing his mind (adopting a new paradigm):

UPDATE This talking point was virulent for a few days, but seems to have disappeared. Here in any case is the definitive takedown:

Screening Room

I leave this to your imaginations:

“The 100 Sequences That Shaped Animation” [New York Magazine]. ” Animators continue to fool us into believing still images can move and breathe, and we in turn remain delighted to live between the frames.” One example: “‘Whoever’s in charge here: Where’s the scenery?’ Daffy asks through a ruptured fourth wall after his background has turned into a blank white space. From there, the backdrops keep changing and Daffy keeps trying to adjust. But eventually everything goes haywire: The sound goes out, the frame collapses and nearly crushes Daffy, and even Daffy himself gets erased more than once by the butt end of a pencil that enters the frame, presumably via some God-like figure. Every person who worked on Duck Amuck matters, this short tells us, because every piece of a story, if altered or absent, transforms the narrative. That said, special shout-outs go to Mel Blanc for his signature, hilarious escalation of Daffy’s exasperation and to legendary composer Carl Stalling for changing up the music with impeccable timing. The big twist is, once again, very Chuck Jones: Turns out it’s Bugs Bunny, ever the stinker, who’s been sitting at the drafting table and messing with Daffy the whole time. A lot of the works on this list are perfect cartoons, but seriously: This is a perfect cartoon.” From YouTube:

Almost as old as I am, and yet very on-brand for gaslit 2020.

UPDATE “On the Origins of “Gaslighting”” [Los Angeles Review of Books]. “Patrick Hamilton’s stage play Gas Light (or Angel Street, its United States title) premiered in December 1938, just weeks before Time magazine named Adolf Hitler the “Man of the Year.” The events of that tumultuous year include the Blomberg–Fritsch affair, the Anschluss of Austria to Nazi Germany, the annexation of the Sudetenland, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the Munich Agreement….” • Amazingly, our understanding of “gaslighting” is inverted from the play’s, and the real functionality of gaslit, Victorian homes! Read the whole article for why….

News of the Wired

How did I not know there was a Lovecraft bot:

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (AM):

AM writes: “A view of the kitchen garden at Rough Point in Newport, the Doris Duke mansion, now open to the public, July 31. Possibly some squash blossoms in the foreground.” Squash, the most vital of all vegetables. I love it when they climb trees.

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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. Wukchumni

      Now would be an opportune time for BLM protesters to march in front of the White House holding ‘I CAN’T BREATHE’ signs aloft.

      1. D. Fuller

        Someone on twitter had the exact same thought. I turned it into a nice graphic.

        Speaking of twitter, apparently calling Trump’s display of fake machismo, “selfish pansy” is “hateful”. They must not have seen my other tweets about Biden & Trump. Well, if I feel like posting, that’s why we have new email accounts and Tor and Qubes where browser fingerprinting is all but destroyed. Twitter is run by morons.

          1. D. Fuller

            Sure, if one is a criminal. Better than using various tools to randomly route your non-Tor traffic through other IP addresses to make it appear as if one is not coming from one IP. Or request a renewal and IP reassignment from your Internet company if one assigned through dynamic IP.

            As for VPN? That’s been tracked since forever. VPN traffic gets higher priority in being scrutinized by authorities. Especially if VPN traffic is international.

            1. Late Introvert

              Agreed, both are targets and why I sit out here in the crowd. Which of course is no defense if you become a target, but might help avoid becoming one. Short of Snowden’s approach, and that has issues if you’re not NSA/living in Russia, best to believe you are not in private at any time.

              This world we live in. I was a Sys Admin during the late 90s and set up my company’s first email server, this was in San Francisco at a video post house, so not the pioneers but the early adopters. SOMA, near South Park and Wired offices, pre-dot-com-bust.

              When I realized I had total access to everyone’s private messages and no one would ever know? I felt chills.

              I got out of that world before they aged me out. My biggest claim to fame/infamy is I turned down a job at ILM, the Star Wars place. It was in Marin, I would have had to drive, and work 60 hours a week. I was way too lazy for that.

    2. Krystyn Podgajski

      I have a bad feeling regarding Trump’s health. Something in his eyes. My mother had COPD towards the end of her life and it looked familiar. Not talking about his breathing, just…something.

      1. Arizona Slim

        His gasping for breath reminds me of my mother’s in the final weeks of her life. Among other things, she had pulmonary fibrosis.

        1. Goyo Marquez

          Same thought. My mom passed away July 7 not from covid but her lungs were filling and that’s how she looked trying to get a breath. I kind of feel sorry for him, nothing scarier than not being able to get a breath.

    3. cocomaan

      A buddy of mine had a terrible case of covid and was telling me that taking the steroids (he got the same ones as Trump) was one of the worst experiences of the disease. He isn’t even sure they helped. He said he had immense thirst, threw up a lot of that water, and said that he felt as if he were tripping on psychedelics: time slowed and moments felt like they lasted forever.

      1. hemeantwell

        My experience with corticosteroids for shoulder inflammation would predict new frontiers of bizarro coming our way. The pharmacokinetics in his case may be very different from the injections I received, but I was told to expect results over several weeks. That in fact did happen, both in the form of control of the inflammation and lack of control over my temper.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      Excellent, thank you. The section on Key Concepts of the EVMS Treatment Protocol is really good because it helps make the course of the disease more clear. It might, in fact, be possible to reverse engineer Trump’s condition from his treatment by matching what we know to the steps in the protocol.

      (I do think one key fact we don’t know is when Trump actually fell ill. I have heard, I forget where, that he only walked to the helicopter because the staff told him if he didn’t, he’d be going on a gurney soon.

      1. anon

        Correct. Clinically, I suspect he was in phase 2 – changes of ground glass opacities on CT, O2 sats <94%, requiring 2-4 lpm O2 by nasal cannula – hence remdesivir and dexamethasone with some mAbs thrown in. The references on Zinc and vitamin D are consistent with what has been written previously here.

    5. The Historian

      Interesting. Reading that and the other articles Lambert has linked makes me wonder about Trump’s supposed medical treatment.

      But then Dr. Blaylock stated yesterday: “Since the President arrived at Walter Reed, he’s received medical management that remains in line with national clinical societal guidelines for treatment of Covid 19.” ???
      It doesn’t appear that Dr. Blaylock is all that truthful either.

      Nothing about Trump’s Covid makes any sense.

    6. Henry Moon Pie

      So how do you place your bet?

      Between now and January 20, Trump will most remind us of:

      1) Harry Truman pulling off the upset that shocked the Establishment;

      2) Captain Queeg;

      3) Jim Jones; or

      4) Hitler and his Gotterdammerung order.

      I can imagine the argument going on in the WH now:

      Meadows: Doc, you gotta wean him off those steroids.

      Doc: You don’t understand.

      Voice: (from the next room). Damn, I’m out. Doc, I need more dexy!

      1. km

        I dunno, but the Trump cultists insisting that the man is winning, just ignore all that negative data remind me of nothing so much as Nazi fanatics holed up in the Führerbunker.

        “Victory is at hand! You just gotta believe! See Führer has a plan, but you gotta have faith!” they scream.

        Meanwhile, bombs rain on German cities every single day and night, Mustangs and Thunderbolts roam German skies with impunity, looking for things to kill, refugees from the East are pouring in with horrifying tales to tell, satellite countries are defecting while they still.can, and, by far the most ominous of all, the Red Army is bearing down on Berlin.

        1. Phillip Cross

          Based on the confidence of his devoted, but utterly revolting online followers, it would certainly be a pleasant surprise if he lost.

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          I really like that analogy, but I keep thinking Pacific Theater with Trump and the Republicans trying the kamikaze approach to the virus.

  1. Carolinian

    Trump outtahere? Probably a good thing except that the Dems will then think it was all about them. When will Presidents learn that they only got elected so we could get rid of the other one or their party? Humility would be a refreshing change.

    1. D. Fuller

      The problem with Biden is that he has surrounded himself with the usual coterie of Wall Street bankers, neocon foreign policy failures, neoliberal economists; promising more of the same that gave rise to Trump.

      The next “Trump”? Might not be incompetent, will be articulate, and far more effective at populism (not a bad thing until The Establishment types get a hold of it to twist it) than Trump ever could be. The next FDR, but Republican and fascist.

      What is funny in a morbid sense? People crying “Marxism” or “Socialism” when the see current events that are actually fascism. Corporate welfare is not Socialism; it is fascism. If it were socialism, the public would own the companies & corporations that receive government support. I digress, however.

      Back to Trump & Biden. Lets hope that Biden does not get the silly idea to oversample Democrats in polling using their polling & media contacts. That didn’t work well for Hillary Clinton & Podesta. Team Hillary tried to discourage Republican voter turnout by proclaiming her “inevitable”, backed by manipulated polls.

      Two of many strengths of Republicans has always been & always will be: they unite around a candidate with more loyalty even if they despise their own candidate. Their mastery of slogans substituting for actual policy. Their greatest electoral strength being voter suppression/vote count fraud. Which Democrats do also engage in. However, Republicans for all practical purposes have it down to a science.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Their greatest electoral strength being voter suppression/vote count fraud. Which Democrats do also engage in. However, Republicans for all practical purposes have it down to a science.

        Democrats steal elections in the primaries; Republicans steal them in the general.

        I really haven’t seen an effort like the one the Republicans are putting in this year. (Of course, it’s been obvious that our electoral system has been an ever worse disaster waiting to happen since 2000 and Bush v. Gore, and as usual the Democrats have done nothing about it (except to make the situation worse by supporting electronic voting machines).

        I envision multiple simultaneous challenges working their way through the system (unless there is an enormous outright Biden win, like he takes Texas and Florida). That will get extremely ugly very fast, not least because some of the challenges will be valid because our systems are so bad.

        1. D. Fuller

          Democrats steal elections in the primaries; Republicans steal them in the general.

          Thanks for the reminder.

          As for Republican efforts? Greg Palast has plenty on that. As does blackboxvoting dot org which documents both sides.

          As for prior efforts? Ohio 2004. Florida 2000. Georgia, in every year since e-voting came along.

          In 2008 & 2012 (to a lesser extent), Obama generated massive voter registration to overwhelm Republican efforts at voter suppression. 2016 saw some efforts. Hillary Clinton herself & her cohorts were her most effective enemy, doing more to sabotage her own campaign. Spending $700 million on 5 consultants & computer models predicting 340!, for instance, instead of plowing that money into voter registration & outreach? Is what really cost her the election.

          As for the Russians, they did put a minimal effort in creating the appearance of interference – itself interference. The ROI for Russia of their efforts was at least 10 magnitudes larger than even they expected. Yes, Russia did interfere. But not in any way that either party will ever admit. For the potential embarrassment and destruction of credibility for both would be too much of a risk for them to admit what actually happened. As for the Russians? I’d love to meet the people who came up with such a brilliant, cheap, and all too effective way of disrupting American leadership at the highest levels for so long. Much of the blame being on Democrats.

          As for 2020? IMHO, Republicans are simply being upfront about it whereas they would have done a better job of concealing their efforts. “Honesty” in voter suppression?

          1. lyman alpha blob

            The Russians didn’t interfere in order to influence the election. Some Russian for-profit companies produced clickbait ads so they could make money. Like companies from many different countries do on pretty much every website out there, except for, thankfully, this one.

            There is no evidence that I’m aware of that the Internet Research Agency had any concrete, direct ties to the Russian government, and in fact they called Mueller’s bluff after they were indicted and asked for discovery, which caused the Feds to clam up real fast. Because then Uncle Sugar would have to admit they had no evidence of any Russian government interference (which is maybe what you were getting at).

            As you pointed out, our homegrown politicians do just fine interfering with our elections all by themselves, with some foreign coups thrown in for good measure.

            1. km

              Exactly. The whole “Russia interfered to cause chaos” imagines Putin as The Joker, and ignores the very real and very bipartisan negative consequences for Russia.

              Meanwhile, Biden and Trump have done more to discredit Muh Democracy than anything “Russia” could ever have said or done.

              1. D. Fuller

                Actually, having attended diplomatic functions at Russian consulates & embassies as a private citizen? Interesting conversation.

                The Russian diplomats know that an alliance between The US & Russia is advantageous to both. I happen to agree with those Russian diplomats. I wholly support such an alliance.

                The consternation that Russian diplomats have expressed about such an alliance? Is that, eventually, the rest of the world would stagnate under such an overwhelmingly powerful alliance. I also agree that if such an alliance were not properly managed, what those Russian diplomats have expressed would come about.

                Private conversation with Russian diplomatic services personnel, no policy discussions involved. We were expressing private views to each other.

                As for others? When we talk about “Russia” or “America”, it is the leadership that is really the topic of conversation.

                US leadership – not representative of The American People? Who have engaged in warfare – financial at that – against Russia since The USSR fell. At the great suffering and expense of Russia. Putin put a stop to that. As much as he could. Who was around and part of that initiative? The Clintons and many others. Republicans participated. Mostly on behalf of American/Western financial & commercial interests.

                Special interests represented in the American Government have hated Putin & Russia for ending Western machinations in Russia starting in 1998. American Cold Warriors – leftovers who felt that the job wasn’t finished – who wanted to finish off Russia once and for all. American financial interests who wanted to bind Russia with contracts, to control the resources. To dictate terms to a puppet state ruled by people who owed their American & Western masters.

                Biden & Trump are a natural consequence of such misguided efforts. Not only efforts concerning Russia, but other actions around the world.

                As for Russian leadership? They are concerned with discrediting their enemies within the American Government who are representing special interests and their own desires. And if it takes efforts? They do it.

                Naturally, the tension between the two powers has ratcheted up. The tensions really began rising regarding 2010 in Ukraine.

                Russian interference had a very simple objective, the methods were incredibly simple, the outcome unpredictable. They threw a dart at the dart board hoping to hit the center target. The dart hit the board, which was good enough.

                The hysteria generated by Democratic leadership was astounding. The fake Russia!Russia!Russia! narrative. About as far from the truth as to what really occurred, as one could get. The acts were so simple, yet the paranoid response by American leaders simply stupefying.

                It was like picking up a penny and having a ton of gold being delivered to your doorstep. Really amazing to watch from the sidelines.

                If anyone did not know in Sept. of 2016 that Hillary Clinton would blame Russia for her loss, they were blind. The real question was? Would Republicans blame Russia for a Hillary win? This was the greatest unknown that the Russians could not answer and we’ll never know. Hillary lost.

                Uranium One scandal would have had figured into that. By the way, John Solomon got that wrong. There’s a question he can’t answer because he has zero proof. A question that cripples his narrative. Surprising that most people have not figured the question out.

            2. D. Fuller

              Russia did not interfere to influence the election. Certain Russian agencies interfered to sow discord among American leadership no matter who won. If a few freelancers wanted to join in for fun? Why stop them? The more the merrier. Encouraged even.

              People imagine a vast monolithic conspiracy coordinated out of the Kremlin. Laughable. Never underestimate the power of Russian patriotism to motivate actors.

              As for the Internet Research Agency? If anything? A big “IF”. They did do anything? It is because they wanted to, not because they were paid. Those types are great to use when you need something done to achieve an objective. One just has to provide the right motivation to get them interested.

              As for American agencies? They probably never had the proof and were just casting about for anything. Just another lie added on top of other lies.

              The Russian people are interesting. Lot of difference in some aspects of psychology, otherwise being the same i.e. greed. Your typical analyst in America? Doesn’t know jack about their areas. Most have attended American schools, DLI, etc… in America. Too often, they apply the American perspective to foreign perspectives which ends up in tears for Americans.

              The Americans who have been to Russia? Who have direct experience with Russian culture, who don’t get noticed that much? They do know what they are talking about.

              As for getting any proof out of Russia that can be authenticated? Good luck. American intelligence agencies have been piss poor about being able to do so. What are they to do since they can’t? Manufacture it.

      2. Glen

        So for the sake of discussion and from where I sit in the cheap seats:

        Biden IS the next Trump.

        I realize there are differences, but honestly, Biden has promised that nothing will fundamentally change, and I believe him. Except, like with Obama, everybody “goes back to brunch” and Biden BECOMES MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE than Trump at implementing the neoliberal and neocon polices that have WRECKED this country. As you point out, he has surrounded himself with many of the same advisors that worked for Obama and now includes many of the never Trumpers that created Trump from Bush.

        I realize that what I’m saying has to be a massively unpopular thing right now, and I expect to be flamed for saying it, but come on, the odds of Biden doing ANYTHING close to FDR’s New Deal are about the same as me pissing off my back porch and hitting the moon. Not going to happen.

        1. Massinissa

          What Milton said. If you knew the NC commentariat, you would know that at least a plurality of us know that already.

        2. The Rev Kev

          But I must respectfully disagree. Trump only wanted to get rid of Obamacare as a way at getting back at Obama who humiliated him. Biden on the other hand will dedicate himself to privatizing Social Security as that is what his donors want. He has said time and again throughout his career that this is a priority for him. When he said that nothing will change, he meant for the 10%, not the other 90%.

        3. Arizona Slim

          Unpopular? Heck no! This is NC and Arizona Slim is about to toast you with some home-made mead!

          ‘Scuse me. Gotta go test the specific gravity on that mead. Then I drink to you, Glen!

        4. edmondo

          The only way Biden is going to be “like FDR” is that he will die in office and leave us with his crappy Vice President.

          1. Drake

            That’s by design. Biden is a Trojan horse for someone who couldn’t win her home state in the primaries and would literally never become president through her own efforts.

  2. Wukchumni

    Went to a rose garden party to share with a coterie of friends
    A wish to banish RBG memories and put dogma in the SC again
    When I got to the rose garden party, they all knew my name
    No one recognized me, I was invisible to fame

    But it’s all right now, They learned their lesson well.
    You see, ya can’t hug everyone, so ya got to protect yourself

    The right people came from miles around, everyone was there
    Elaine Chao brought her turtle, things went viral in the air
    And over in the corner, much to their surprise
    Coronavirus hid in plain sight wearing its disguise

    But it’s all right now, they learned their lesson well.
    You see, ya can’t hug everyone, so ya got to protect yourself

    Played them all for fools, thought that’s why they came
    No one wore a mask, was the name of that game
    Say hello to my little friend, paying no heed
    No thought about blatant disregard, they just didn’t believe

    But it’s all right now, they learned their lesson well.
    You see, ya can’t hug everyone, so ya got to protect yourself


    1. carl

      FYI, the Western District of Texas encompasses San Antonio, Austin, Laredo and points west to El Paso.

  3. dcblogger

    Biden is basically saying anything that will get votes, more than usual. He is completely cynical and does not consider he is bound by anything he says to the voters.

      1. Grant

        Yes, but a politician running for president in a country imploding from the very policies Biden has supported for decades is a bit different than a garden variety run for office. I mean, we needed someone to come into office and to start to push for structural changes, to change the trajectory Reagan set us on. Instead, we have a right wing, corrupt Democrat promising large donors that he won’t change anything. I get that politicians are liars and frauds, but we need more than the typical worthless hack and won’t get it. I think Biden being the nominee is nothing short of catastrophic. Even if he beats one fascist in one election, he will do nothing about the context helping fascism to grow.

        1. neo-realist

          The fire down below from electing more progressives in the down ticket races along with the dire economic conditions may make for a situation where the center won’t be able to hold and a push for more progressive policies may be in the offing. I don’t expect much in way of short term success due to the donors Biden had to satisfy to get into the white house, assuming he gets in. But at least, unlike a second Trump administration, there will be a playing field for those in the street as well as the legislative branch (the progressive bench and one that will grow after November) to start the process of beating fascism back.

          1. josh

            If both Schumer and Pelosi retain their leadership positions all is lost. Progressives must pick that fight.

        2. km

          Expecting Biden to transform after 40 years of faithful, slavish service to capital is about as realistic as expecting Konstantin Chernenko becoming General Secretary of the KPSSR (Bolshevik) in 1982 and suddenly embarking on a crash course of free market reforms.

    1. cocomaan

      He’s got the Obama thing going for him now: let everyone project their preferred policies on to you (for instance, by simultaneously being for Medical4All, while also against it), run, win, and then do nothing for as many years as you can.

      1. neo-realist

        You didn’t have players on the scene in Congress like Tlaib, Jayapal, Omar, Pressley, etc. pushing the agendas and the policies when Obama was in office.

    2. flora

      Biden had a TV ad up saying “if you work for minimum wage you could earn [thousands] more if I’m elected, If you are on social security you could get up to [thousands] more if I’m elected, etc etc”

      I thought, “Sure, and if I enter the Publishers’ Clearinghouse Sweepstakes I could win millions.”

      Too cynical? ;)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Nothing wrong with concrete material benefits but I don’t believe for a moment Biden will deliver on them. (Note the National Journal article on economic appeals? Remember when voters were too racist to be moved by them?)

        Do you know where the ad ran? Do you have a link?

          1. flora

            No luck finding a link. I only saw it once. Maybe the campaign was test marketing the ad in a non-swing states metro. Mo & KS aren’t swing states.

            1. cocomaan

              You get a car! You get a car! And YOU get a car!

              Except after the show is over, Oprah delivers no cars.

            2. savedbyirony

              I saw it in NE Ohio Sunday. Not absolutely sure, but I think was during the Brown’s afternoon football game. It stuck in my head because I did not believe a word of it and because it was a positive ad as opposed to the attack ads that had been running.

              1. flora

                Yes! It was aired here on Sunday afternoon during a Chiefs football game. My response was the same as your’s.

                    1. Elizabeth

                      That ad is running in Iowa – he also promises seniors will get $1300!! Parents will receive $7,000 for childcare and home buyers will receive $14,000 tax credit. For some reason, this doesn’t excite me – probably because it’s BS..

          2. Phil in KC

            I saw that ad. I was bit intrigued by it for two reasons: what’s the deal? Deets, man. Second: why is the Biden campaign making media buys in western Missouri? Dems haven’t competed so late in the game in this state for decades. Do they think they have a chance to carry Missouri? Or do they want to bump up turnout in the KC Metro area. Remember that Kansas is on the other side of the state line. Those suburbs will turn blue this fall but won’t be enough to flip Kansas.

            1. flora

              KS has “three” parties: the right wing GOP, the moderate (not “centrist” ) GOP, and the moderate (not “centrist”) Dems. There’s currently a big race for US Senate between incumbent right wing GOP Sen. Marshall and (recently changed from GOP to Dem) candidate Bollier. Maybe the ads are meant to boost her chances. The Dem estab would count coup if they could win a US Senate seat in Kansas. (Even with a candidate who until 4 or 5 years ago was a Republican and left the party only after it became too right wing. Think of Brownback and Kobach.) Lots of ads in Kansas for her with guys saying “I’m a life long Republican and I’m voting for Trump, but I’m also voting for Bollier.”

              1. Phil in KC

                I see those too, and it looks like Bollier has the best chance of any Democrat in the last 90 years of winning a Senate seat in Kansas. I wonder if Tom Perez or Chuck Schumer care.

  4. dcblogger

    people have been dying for months and only now that they are directly threatened are the celebrity press corps taking covid seriously.

    1. Wukchumni

      AIDs was a yeah whatever thing outside of the gay community, and then Magic Johnson came down with it…

      …I see name brand afflicted people

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > people have been dying for months and only now that they are directly threatened are the celebrity press corps taking covid seriously.

      By months you mean years, if we’re talking about mass deaths from all causes, as I never tire of saying. Since when does life expectancy fall in a first world country?

  5. UserFriendly

    (Most of the press coverage on Trump and dexamethasone is the well-worn liberal Democrat trope that Republicans are insane, but with medicalese.)

    I’ve read a couple first and secondhand accounts of people on it. Lets just hope he forgets he has the nuclear football.

  6. carl

    Now that’s a damn fine-looking garden. I wish mine were so symmetrical, but it’s a lot more chaotic than that one. On the other hand, I kept a bunch of kale alive through the South Texas summer, so there’s that.

  7. allan


    … Peter B. Bach, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, told the Washington Post a well-known effect of the drug is euphoria and the tendency to over-exaggerate how well they feel. …

    So, basically Dunning-Kruger in a bottle.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m getting a little tired of “the science” and “what the press reports as the science” being treated as the same. I mean, do you really think the Post would have quoted a doctor who said anything else? The drug is in TMC’s protocol. Here’s a list of the side effects in chemo (could be different in chemo, I don’t know):

      Side Effects:
      Important things to remember about the side effects of dexamethasone:

      Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
      Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration.
      Side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after treatment is complete.
      There are many options to help minimize or prevent side effects.

      The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking dexamethasone:

      Increased appetite
      Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
      Swelling in your ankles and feet (fluid retention)
      Muscle weakness
      Impaired wound healing
      Increased blood sugar levels. (Persons with Diabetes may need to have blood sugar levels monitored more closely and possible adjustments to diabetes medications).

      The following are less common side effects (occurring in >10%) for patients receiving dexamethasone:

      Mood swings
      Cataracts and bone thinning (with long-term use)

      Do you see “euphoria’ on that list? No? Well done. Note that “mood swings” is a less common side effect, and presumably the White House medical staff will be on lookout for them.

      Got a better list of side effects? Let’s see it.

      1. D. Fuller

        I went to a Canadian website, the first to pop-up in google search for the information I wanted. Completely inadequate. As where other “informative websites”. The sheets were terrible on those websites. Hence, the FDA to the rescue with an actual information sheet that should be very similar to what is in the packaging that should be present.

        Dexamethesone Tablet

        Dexamethesone Injection (sodium)

        Under Neurological/psychiatric: euphoria.

        Though, they don’t give the percentage, or I simply did not notice.

        The use of dexamethasone with chemo probably is different (for most) given the other medications & chemicals used in chemo. With euphoria being of such low probability as to be negligible when used in chemo in conjunction with other chemicals & medication; not impossible however.

        That can be discounted since Trump is not receiving chemo.

        Also, underlying conditions could affect the expression of adverse reactions.

        Any doctors in the forum care to comment?

        My interest is, what if a person is suffering from multiple adverse reactions that affect, for instance, mood in various ways? Is each adverse reaction separate? Are some adverse reactions noted, results of other adverse reactions from the same medication (most likely)?

        As for Trump? IMHO, he’s just naturally that way. It’s a good feeling – euphoria – to have after a frightening experience in which one faces mortality. Trump is a naturally over-confident person.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        From drugs.com:

        A wide range of psychiatric reactions including affective disorders (e.g., irritable, euphoric, depressed, labile mood, and suicidal ideation) psychotic reactions (e.g., mania, delusions, hallucinations, aggravation of schizophrenia), behavioral disturbances, irritability, anxiety, sleep disturbances and cognitive dysfunction (e.g., confusion, amnesia) have been reported. These reactions have been reported in adults and children. In adults, the occurrence of severe reactions has been estimated to be about 5% to 6%.[Ref]

        (This is for Dexamethasone Intensol, Generic Name: dexamethasone.)

        1. D. Fuller

          5% to 6% is a very high percentage. 1-in-20. A little perspective, though perhaps apples & oranges. If that percentage were the mortality rate of ingesting dexamethesone? At the very least, it would receive a black label. More likely, the medication would be banned.

          I’m not arguing for Trump being affected by dexamethesone. My opinion is that Trump is expressing a natural reaction to a dire event. Resulting in what some perceive as euphoria, and definitely being over-confident.

          As for Trump? I doubt the dexamethesone is affecting his mood to any great degree. People experience euphoria after life-threatening (real or imagined) occurrences. A natural reaction. Overconfidence being but one side effect of such reaction.

          As for Trump’s mental instability, malignant narcissism? No one has to worry about dexamethesone affecting him in such a way, except as agent that magnifies his already present instabilities. The two likeliest outcomes should he be affected would be him expressing his malignant personality traits to a greater degree, or – if dexemethesone were truly affecting him as a major adverse reaction? A complete psychotic break. Or euphoria – people are believing what they want to believe.

          Since the latter is not occurring? Dexamethesone can be discounted as a major influence on his expression of personality.

          Trump is simply happy that he “beat Covid”. Feeling like Superman, etc. Some people feel invincible after a brush with mortality. Natural. Does not have to be drug induced.

          Forgot to add, one thing I’ve noticed with medication is that sometimes side effects would be present. Another time, same individual, other side effects would express themselves.

        2. D. Fuller

          Sorry, my last reply was choppy. Forgot to add… the political dimension.

          In politics, it is undesirable for a politicians to show weakness. Trump perhaps overacts to cover for perceived weaknesses he does not wish to display… “its only the flu”, etc.

          That his opponents mistake for “euphoria”. Resulting in his opponents seeking any explanation – such as dexamethesone – for his “euphoria”. In other words, what his opponents allege is solely a product of their own wishful thinking.

          Russia!Russia!Russia! being a fine example of Trump’s opponents & wishful thinking.

          If you don’t post the reply I made earlier? That is fine with me. Too damn choppy. Rereading it was a pain for me. I would actually consider it a favor if you didn’t.

        3. Dickeylee

          Well, they can try this regimen on Stephen Miller next, side by side comparison so to speak.

      3. Vikas Saini

        Well Lambert I gotta say I’m fairly immune (so to speak) to COVID bloviating of journalistic TDS, but as someone who has prescribed steroids for several decades, I can tell you Peter B is right. The first thing I thought when I head Trump crowing about how great he felt: It’s the ‘roids talkin’ .

    2. Wukchumni

      Great, now we have somebody hooked on dexameth, I wonder if he starts selling paintings on the White House walls to support his habit?

  8. fresno dan

    Well, I got my medicare card (Part A only) yesterday. This should help me with my HICAP volunteering because they change the medicare website a little bit every year. Every other year, when a client comes in I can generate a user name and password for them and see the website in use as I take the client through there medicare options. Now with covid, we are just doing over the phone consultations, and none of the clients want to go through the tedium of signing up for user names and passwords over the phone (plus all the clients who don’t have computers or are not computer literate). Now with my Part A I can generate a user name and password for myself and see exactly what the changes are….

    Went to my doctor today to get my flu vaccine (double strength since I am so close to 65, plus I have a boatload of conditions). The doctor was going to schedule my pneumococcal vaccine (this would be my second) for December 30, one day after my 65 birthday as Part B covers that shot. I told my doctor I am not getting Part B because being a retired federali, I’m in a better situation sticking with blue cross.

    I probably shouldn’t have, but it was a beautiful day yesterday, and after some shopping I decided to stop into an outdoor mall that has a number of restaurants. Been quite a while and I just didn’t feel like going home. One that I used to frequent has a couple of outdoor patios, so I gave it a shot. You couldn’t sit at the bar (outdoor or indoor) and you had to order some food. I am not sure about how full the restaurant could be (25% – does that apply to the outside area too?)
    Had a salad and a couple of glasses of the more expensive vino just to try and help out the restaurant and gave a generous tip.

      1. fresno dan

        October 6, 2020 at 3:00 pm

        though right now I don’t live in Fig Garden, but maybe next year…

    1. Jomo

      Fresno Dan, I don’t usually advise on Health Care matters, but if you are a retired Fed and have the lower cost BCBS plan, BCBS will rebate $800 to you if you sign up for Medicare Part B. This does not apply to the high cost Fed BCBS program. So instead of paying around $1800 ($150 a month), your cost is $1000 a year. Plus you have little to no copays because of Medicare Part B and BCBS both paying the bills, so this saves you say $400 or more depending on your medical needs. So you have an additional cost of about $600 or $50 a month for Medicare Part B. An additional cost, but if you have a medical event that requires hospitalization and managed care, you will pay very little out of pocket for this. I keep the BCBS for prescriptions because I take a very expensive med ($24,000 a year retail) that they cover with only a small copay. You will have to pay the cost of Medicare Part B for a year before getting the rebate, but if you have the lower cost BCBS plan, this is worth checking out.

      1. fresno dan

        October 6, 2020 at 4:45 pm

        I have read about a zillion articles on Federal retirees keeping their Federal health insurance and signing up for Part B. I tell clients (none of whom are Federal retirees) that they make the choice they feel comfortable with, as I do with my Federal friends. I have plenty of Federal friends who retired and got both. The article below though provides actual comparison of costs – there is a high price to be paid for belts and suspenders…but people need the coverage that they can sleep at night with.


        The problem IS trying to shop for health care, because one doesn’t know the future. I tell clients imagine if you had to shop for fire insurance for your home, not based JUST on price, but on coverage? How do you know if lightning, a defective toaster, or a forest fire caused your house to burn down? I would expect my fire insurance to cover ALL of those contingencies. I expect my health care to cover any medical service and provide any prescription drug that is medically necessary – without impoverishing me – that is the point of insurance.
        Yet we expect people to be able to predict their future medical needs. Or WORSE, we impoverish people with medical needs or high need for prescription drugs. Americans only accept this irrational methodology because they have been indoctrinated to. By people who bribe the government to make rules that benefit them and harm us. Until people see through it, we all suffer.

    2. Jackson

      Good for you. You have taken precautions and needed a break. I plan to do the same thing in the next couple of weeks. Stay safe.

    3. Katiebird

      My parents were Federal Retirees and had Medicare +GEHA. It was great. They never paid anything out of pocket (maybe they took GEHA cost out of Retirement Check? I did their bills and never paid a premium) Mom got free hearing aids. No bills for any doc visit or hospital or surgery. I keep looking at their website to see if they’ve opened it to non Federal Employees (since they seem to cover the Kansas City Chiefs now)

    4. flora

      fresno dan,

      Bravo, bravo to you for helping newbies thru the complex maze of choices when signing up for Medicare.

  9. fresno dan

    “More than 4 million Americans have already voted, suggesting record turnout” [Reuters]. • Good if you think politics is a team sport; not so good if you think democracy requires candidates and their campaigns to be judged in their entirety.
    Kinda reminds me of the people who blame the last batter who strikes out for the loss. There are 27 outs in a game and the 26 previous outs have a lot more to do with the loss than the very last one.
    There are 48 months in a presidency – Out of all the months of the Trump presidency, you need October of the last year to make a decision?
    Now I am voting on election day, but that is because after reading the mail in/drop off ballet, I have no faith that I am actually gonna complete it properly.

    1. Another Scott

      Except there are a lot of other people and issues on the ballot besides the presidential election. Not just senator and congress, but state legislatures and some municipalities, along with a large number of ballot initiatives. It takes time to analyze them and their impacts. These are the places where there could be problems.

    2. Carla

      In Ohio, if you request and receive an absentee ballot, you must vote it, or lose your change to vote. There is no option to go to the polls on election day if you have requested to vote absentee.

    3. D. Fuller

      Could reported numbers of mail-in ballots actually encourage the either side to vote out of fear that the other side would win through mail-in ballots?

      What an odd way if voters were motivated out of fear, to get those voters to vote.

  10. fresno dan

    ‘I feel better than I did 20 years ago’

    If your gonna reference Alien, you gotta go full A L I E N

    If you don’t know what Alien is, I suggest you stay in that state of unknowing, and NOT watch: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

    NOW, the only question: Who was more shocked – the spaceship crew or the punditocracy on the night Trump won???

    1. polecat

      You’ll have to ask the Queen b***h. She’ll continue to screech how she/HER -> REALLY feels, spewing bloody acid in spite!

      .. on second thought … don’t go there. It’s definitely not a better world worth building.

  11. Drake

    “finally someone is bringing to the screen the sweltering eroticism of tolkein’s original text”

    I’m sure Tolkien would have been proud to see his torrid romance between Sam and Frodo brought to life by Peter Jackson. This is just icing on the cake.

    1. shtove

      Scottish comedian, Frankie Boyle, was on the case years ago –

      Sam [bent double, looking back over his shoulder]: “Frodo, when I said you should destroy the ring I didn’t mean … aaagh!”

  12. Pookah Harvey

    A tweet has been going viral since Trump’s “FEELING GREAT!”:

    A humbling Herman Cain/coronavirus 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

    1. Tom Doak

      If Trump followed the exact same timeline, he would be saying he’s really getting better on Halloween.

  13. Grant

    “BREAKING: Liban Osman tells FOX 9 he was offered $10,000 by phony Project Veritas & James O’Keefe “insider” Omar Jamal to say he was collecting ballots for Rep. Ilhan Omar.”

    How is the ghoul James O’Keefe not in jail, given all he has done? It really is amazing that people get thrown in jail for such minor offenses but this rotten person does all he has done and avoids jail time and/or serious fines. Not only the ridiculous stunts he has pulled, but he also helping to end ACORN. What parents raised that person? Must be proud.

    1. D. Fuller

      Civil versus criminal law. It might become a matter if a criminal investigation were initiated based on O’Keefe’s fake reporting forming the bases of a criminal complaint.

      1. Bruno

        Planned Parenthood had an overwhelming civil case against his slander. Like a good Demoncrudic front it did absolutely nothing except squeal.

        1. D. Fuller

          Planned Parenthood was vindicated. Project Veritas manufactured BS in an attempt to smear PP.

          Texas was able to actually shut down most PP clinics in the State. Their maternal mortality rate became that of Albania in response. Women’s health suffered considering that PP was perhaps the largest provider in terms of women’s issues. I actually had to move my sister out of Texas so that she didn’t die. Texas even has to tax poor people with traffic tickets to attempt to fund trauma clinics. Which is not working out so well. As for the medical scams going on in Texas? My brother-in-law works as a paramedic.

          Over 96% of Planned Parenthood health care was not for abortions. Then again, it says something when 70% of abortion traffic through Planned Parenthood is from Christian women. As for God? God is PRO-ABORTION. If one bothers to actually read the Bible, there are many instances (and one COMMANDMENT by God) in which forced abortion, sterilization, abortion by the sword, treatment of loss of a fetus as a property crime; is committed by God, by God’s command, mandatory, or in the name of God.

          Christians who are anti-abortion? Should learn their own pro-abortion text.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The infant mortality that rose in Texas was probably among the classes and ethnoculture-racialegious groups among whom the Texan leadership elite would like to see even more infant mortality.

    2. D. Fuller

      The Democratic Party allowed the destruction of ACORN. By not defending. Could be that Democratic leadership saw ACORN as a “Leftist threat” to be crushed.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        How strong or real was ACORN to begin with? If a group can be folded like a tent just by canceling funding, then it was never a real culture-based politicohesive group to begin with.

        The fact that no ACORN 2.0 has ever arisen makes me think there was no there there right from the start.

  14. John k

    No reason, except to deny trump a legislative success…
    But what if the dem-rep party is actually tired of stimulus for workers when that money could be so much better used for stimulus for the donors? Forget what pols say, what would they do?

    ‘Ok, you insist on a ridiculously high bill, we insist on something less, stalemate, so we save that deficit for later. Then, if your almost dead guy wins, he finds the cupboard is bare, all he can afford are some selected tax cuts. And if our twitter guy wins we just go for bigger selected cuts. Deal? Great, let’s elbow bump! Now remember, wipe thar smirk off, when we face the cameras, look like you just lost granddad.’

    1. hunkerdown

      “Everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.” -Arthur Young, 1771

      “If we don’t take away the little people’s resources, they’ll just use it against us.” -every ruling class, ever

      1. D. Fuller

        Rich people don’t like competition for the same resources. Eugenics – loved by early 20th century American & British “elites” – was an attempt at eliminating the “mud people” – poor people of every color including Whites. Eliminating competition. If memory serves me correctly, the first woman sterilized under eugenics laws here in The U.S. was a poor, White woman.

        Rich people who can afford the luxuries of life, call people such as that woman, “breeders”. Too many poor people and not enough resources to go around? The wealthy become nervous.

        Hell, the wealthiest can barely stand each other. They unite when presented by any threat – imaginary or otherwise – from poor people.

  15. UserFriendly

    About that stimulus:

    So Trump resurrects “Just the Flu” and kills an economic stimulus package on the very same day

    Literally goes all in on his two most unpopular positions with less than a month go to before the election

    1. D. Fuller

      Which is why Republicans are counting on the courts for voter suppression. Obama & Biden made a serious error when they acquiesced to Senate tradition where Senators suggested to the President, candidates for various Federal courts. Despite the fact that anyone in the know, knew that Republicans had stated that they would defeat Democratic legislation through the courts by stacking the courts.

      Reid attempted too little, too late. Republicans took the Senate and obstructed many court nominees. Not all, but just enough. Then, Garland. McConnell violated his oath of office by not even holding hearings before The Senate Judiciary Committee, which would have satisfied the Constitutional requirement of “advice by the Senate”.

      With Hillary Clinton being inevitable – which Democrats supposed to mean Congressional majority in both houses of Congress? Democratic leadership was caught with their pants down. As usual.

      Trump came in. And Republicans packed the courts. All thanks to Democrats & Obama.

      However, since McConnell wants to play games and has now completely politicized the judicial selection process? Democratic leadership is free to change the Judiciary Act to stack the courts. I doubt they will. Which will result in defeats of their legislation at the hands of an ideological judiciary practicing dogma instead of rule of law.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > McConnell violated his oath of office by not even holding hearings before The Senate Judiciary Committee, which would have satisfied the Constitutional requirement of “advice by the Senate”.

        I don’t think when the advice is to be given is specified. So McConnell put on, as he does, a display of raw power to achieve political ends he believes in. If when you smash a guy in the mouth, and all they do is complain “He smashed me in the mouth!” why on earth wouldn’t you do it again? We’ve had the same dynamic for 40 years.

        1. D. Fuller

          McConnell is not the Senate. In government, there are forms to follow. Otherwise, as you posted, it becomes raw power.

          Now, The Senate has its own rules agreed upon by either party and independents as to how they conduct business. Judicial nominees are first considered by the Senate Judiciary committee. At that point? It’s good enough. If a judicial nominee does not make it past the Senate Judiciary Committee? The Constitutional requirement is met per Senate rules as agreed upon and practiced by parties who hold Senatorial seats.

          McConnell is not The Senate. He does not represent all parties. It was a personal, naked display of “one man, one rule”. Which is anathema to democracy. It does not matter that the results would have been the same. Constitutional requirements are not optional even though many consider it to be.

          Since the Senate is made up of individuals? One side effect of holding Senate confirmation hearings before the Senate Judicial Committee is to have individuals who hold office, in public, record where they stand. Allowing educated voters more information when it comes to voting.

          As for the time of “when”? The current President nominates. The Senate has until the last day of that current Presidents time in office, to give their advice or consent. The President who nominates the candidate, must receive an answer from The Senate.

          “one man, one rule” does not cut it. Senate Judiciary Committee votes on record means that individual Senators are put on record as to where they stand. Then the voters decide. Something politicians fear when it comes to certain issues.

          Otherwise? We should dispense with our democratic institutions and skip all the unnecessary steps to bring the US to “one man, one rule”. Hyperbole, most definitely. Not all that far-fetched.

          1. anEnt

            The constitution does not contemplate the existence of political parties, probably one of its greatest shortcomings. However, saying as you did that this is “one man, one rule” misses the point. The other 99 members agreed to these rules, even if by a bare majority. ‘Twas ever thus. Complaining about how the senate has worked forever when one issue comes up that your side is about to lose on is peak cakeism.

          2. Big River Bandido

            Actually, according to the rules of the Senate, McConnell pretty much has control over any aspect of the body’s business which he can contrive for himself. The Constitution specifically gives the House and Senate the power to make their own rules. The Senate can delegate its entire authority as a body to a single Senator on any given issue. Certainly the Leader’s office comes with that power.

            The “advise” part of “advise and consent” was rendered irrelevant (at least in any formal context) after George Washington attempted to solicit the Senate’s advice without success. He vowed never to ask for it again, and that set the precedent which has held ever since. The “advise” portion, by tradition, is usually given in advance of an appointment.

    1. a different chris

      This is so Trump, and they just refuse to get it, My italics of course –

      I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill

      I’ll gladly pay you on Wednesday for your vote on Tuesday! He has almost completely nailed the modern J Wellington Wimpy, he just needs a shorter tie and bigger hands.

      He doesn’t mention there are a lot of Wednesdays in the future, which one will it actually be?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill

        Never interrupt your enemy when they’re in the process of making a mistake!

        1. chris

          The die hard trumpers I know don’t want more stimulus, they want all the coronavirus restrictions lifted. Then the magic of the market and Christmas will make everything right again…

          1. TBellT

            I just don’t know what restrictions even are being protested at this point to the extent they even exist. In a blue state with red governor, I can go to the mall, gyms are open, restaurants can do indoor dining, even nursing home visitations are coming back. Im just not going because I don’t want to. It’s not worth the risk, at the current rate of infection. And it wouldn’t change if they opened up the last remaining events, concerts and such either.

            Maybe it’s the schools, people need them open as daycares because they’re children are driving them crazy.

            Its the reasonable fear of the virus that’s killing demand, not the restrictions. It’s such backwards logic. Otherwise states with high infection rates and minimal restrictions would be doing great economically, while states like NJ/NY which are being pretty cautious while having pretty low new case rates would be doing comparatively worse economically. Is their any evidence of that?

      2. Wukchumni

        Can you cash a post toast dated check in the more liberal states though without having your great grandmother along?

    2. Glen

      I have been SHOCKED at how crummy Trump’s political instincts have become. That whole thing about being in the political bubble in DC seems to have some truth to it. He seems to be losing to a guy that has pledged to do nothing but take the country BACK to what the country rejected in 2016. That is a pretty amazing feat.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I have been SHOCKED at how crummy Trump’s political instincts have become.

        The Trillbillies put it that he was a one-man hit factory from 2015 to 2016, cranking out the hits. Then, for whatever reason, he lost it.

        And it wouldn’t have taken very much, either. I mean, if Biden can make an economic appeal with ObamaCare

        1. Sensei Tiger

          It’s possible he made the decision today on the spur of the moment, completely on his own, while dosed to the eyeballs with mood-altering drugs.

          If so, the next few days could be quite a ride.

        2. Dr. John Carpenter

          Chappo had a good episode on this today too. Part of their take was that it’s as if Trump has adopted all the weaknesses of his vanquished foes from 2015-16.

          And you are absolutely right. It wouldn’t have taken much at all to be wiping the floor with Biden. 2015 Trump would be running the boards.

          Ironically, it looks like Biden might end up being the beneficiary of Hillary’s “pied piper” strategy.

  16. Noone from Nowheresville

    Pelosi on Roe v. Wade 2 weeks ago


    kara swisher: All right, let me give you one of your arrows in your quiver. If the court overturns Roe but you have Biden and a Democratic Senate, what will you do specifically to help protect abortion rights in red states, and can you do anything if the GOP keeps the Senate?

    nancy pelosi: Well, that would be much harder. That’s why we want people to vote now. Let me just say this. They’ve had the House and Senate and Republican president for a while. They’ve, by and large, been fakers on Roe v. Wade when they could have done it. They didn’t. They just like to use it. But now, I think with the, shall we say— I don’t what the word is to use about this president, but the lack of balance that is there, you never know what he may try to do. But this is vital. And if the court cares anything about precedent, they will not overturn Roe v. Wade.

    kara swisher: All right, but specifically, what can you do? Are there things you can pass to protect these? Because there will be abortions in certain states if it’s overturned, and there won’t be in others. And of course, abortion rights have been made smaller all over the country and restricted. What specifically do you have in mind to protect those rights?

    nancy pelosi: Right now, what we’re fighting is some decisions in the court, which may not overturn Roe v. Wade but will enable states to effectively deprive a woman of that right.

    kara swisher: Well, that’s the game.

    nancy pelosi: Well, that is, or they could overturn the whole law, which would, I think, caused such an outcry for them that they might even find that, as we say, too hot to handle. But again, the fight that we have is still the fight that’s going on in the states, and that’s a fight that we make in the courts. Now, we can see what our options are, depending on how the election goes, as to how we can protect a woman’s right to choose. But I do think that this is a big issue in our country. Now I’m an Italian-American Catholic family. My family I came from doesn’t share my position on this issue, but I, as a mother of five children in six years almost to the day, I’m just overjoyed that my husband and I are but don’t think that we should be making that decision for anybody else.

    kara swisher: So this is a show about power. What do you think was the power of RBG?

    1. The Historian

      Why is everyone focusing on abortion? That is NOT what is important about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee – it is her stance on corporations that is going to do the greatest damage to all of us.

      Abortions are going to be a never, never, never ending social battle and the pendulum will swing both ways as long as one or the other of the political parties can use it as a distraction. Meanwhile……

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        Me: Not focused on abortion. I think it’s a game just like Pelosi admits that it is. That Biden recently elevated Roe on his media platform? It’s hypocrisy and it burns.

        Yet you get to the heart of. Now we can have the sequel to the Kavanuagh dog & pony show. Again with nothing substantial brought up to hint at the final pro-capital anti-citizen / resident / worker destination.

        It’s the journey that counts, dontchayaknow?

        And since Trump cut off the Senate aid bill negotiations we can have more time to focus on that Supreme stage. That is if we can peel our gawker eyes away from the ongoing car wrecks and continuing pile-ups.

  17. UserFriendly

    Dear god, What could possibly go wrong now?


    BREAKING: The head of the Navy, head of the space force, & the chairman of the joint Chiefs of staff are all working from home – in quarantine – because the top Coast Guard official tested positive for COVID19 & senior Pentagon leaders were exposed to him, reports @barbarastarrcn

    Well at least if someone nukes us we probably won’t be able to do anything back.

      1. edmondo

        Perhaps they’d feel better if we increased the Defense Budget by another couple hundred billion?

    1. Glen

      These guys get over $1T a year (by the time you throw in all the black budget stuff), and they get laid low by CV.

      Maybe we can call CV a terrorist and divert some of that money to public health care for everybody.

  18. Judith

    Bitterns and rails are shy birds. I have only seen American bitterns a few times. Last summer, I was birding early one Sunday morning in some nearby wetlands in a National Wildlife Refuge, and heard two American bitterns calling. Very exciting even to hear them. A truck was parked along the path and later that morning someone was loading a canoe onto the truck. Since this was a NWF, only someone official could have permission to be canoeing in the wetlands. I stopped to chat and it turned out he was conducting an official ongoing survey of bittern and rail populations. When I mentioned that I had heard two bitterns, he said that it might have been him imitating the bittern’s calls. I was about to be seriously disappointed; we compared times and he was in a different part of the wetland when I heard the calls. Then I was happy. I have run into him a few times since then; the last time we were talking about least bitterns. He proceeded to imitate some calls for the least and then for Virginia rails. He was very good. Told me then that he especially loves least bitterns.His joy in what he was doing was so clear. (And moments like these are why I would rather be birding.)

    1. carl

      Really sorry to hear that one. Those old VH songs with David Lee Roth were the best of his career. VH was never the same after the split. David Lee Roth was pretty bad on his own as well.

      1. petal

        Agree, carl. The VH Roth era songs were the best, I think. Love driving in the car with the windows down and those songs playing. Takes me back. 2020 can get lost, though I don’t think 2021 will be any better.

        1. Late Introvert

          Well, you got old too didn’t you? First two VH albums are the soundtrack to my (still magical, not yet ruined by life) youth, along with Wish You Were Here and Steely Dan Greatest Hits.

    2. Glen

      So sorry to hear this. I bought his records, and loved his band. It was a different time.

      Maybe I’m getting old, maybe it’s the family members we have lost this year, but it has been a year of sorrow in so many ways for so many people.

      Hoping everyone finds a way to get some peace and humor back in their lives.

      1. Wukchumni

        I knew who Eddie was, of course. A major talent and/or namesake. VH might’ve been the last rock n’ roll band.

        But as of late I only learn a good many of the band members names after they pass away @ around the usual life expectancy.

  19. Bill Carson

    I am convinced that Trump’s team knew he had been exposed to COVID when he showed up at the debate last week “too late” to take the rapid test. Maybe they didn’t know for sure that he had contracted the virus, but they weren’t going to take a chance that he might test positive, nor were they concerned that they might expose Joe Biden and all the others.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > when he showed up at the debate last week “too late” to take the rapid test.

      Link? (That would support the idea that he had it early. On the bright side, he may no longer be contagious.)

      1. Katiebird

        Here’s a link from The Hill, Chris Wallace: Trump arrived too late to be tested in Ohio before debate, relied on ‘honor system’

        Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said President Trump did not arrive in Cleveland ahead of the first presidential debate in time to get tested in Ohio before the event took place.

        Wallace, who served as the moderator for the event, said the president “didn’t arrive until Tuesday afternoon” in Cleveland to face off against Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The time of the debate was Tuesday at 9 p.m.

        The timing of the arrival did not allow enough time for the president to be tested for the virus there and receive a result, according to the anchor.


        “[The Trump family] didn’t arrive until Tuesday afternoon. So for them to get tested, there wouldn’t have been enough time to have the test and have the debate at 9:00 that night. They didn’t show up until 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 in the afternoon. There was an honor system when it came to the people that came into the hall from the two campaigns.”

    2. marym

      Media references to arriving too late to test seem to be quoting a Chris Wallace interview, but from the way it’s described this may have been the expected schedule and “honor system” for the campaigns – more about honor than about arrival time? Of course CC didn’t enforce their own rules about masks, so who knows?

      “The difference was I arrived on Sunday, you arrived on Monday,” Wallace told fellow Fox News colleague Bill Hemmer.

      “[The Trump family] didn’t arrive until Tuesday afternoon. So for them to get tested, there wouldn’t have been enough time to have the test and have the debate at 9:00 that night. They didn’t show up until 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 in the afternoon. There was an honor system when it came to the people that came into the hall from the two campaigns.” “

      “All attendees were required to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test on the hospital campus within 72 hours of the debate to gain admission….But that didn’t apply to candidates or their traveling parties, according to the Cleveland Clinic, which partnered with Case Western Reserve University to host the debate in Ohio on Tuesday. Campaigns were responsible for testing their own personnel.”

      1. Bill Carson

        Here’s another article that mentions Trump arriving too late to take the tests set up by the Cleveland Clinic.

        How Trump Could Have Exposed Biden and Others to COVID at the Debate

        USA Today: Fact check: Trump could have been exposed to COVID-19 before Sept. 29 presidential debate [Note: the headline is misleading.]

        “During an Oct. 2 interview on Fox News, debate moderator Chris Wallace said everyone attending the debate had to take a test administered by the Cleveland Clinic. In a later interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer, Wallace said members of Biden’s and Trump’s camps arrived too late to get tested.

        “I arrived on Sunday, I think you arrived on Monday,” Wallace told Hemmer. “They didn’t arrive ’til Tuesday afternoon. So for them to get tested, there wouldn’t have been enough time to have the test and have the debate that night. They didn’t show up until 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 that afternoon. So yeah, there was an honor system when it came to the people who came into the hall from the two campaigns.”

        There are other articles online that say the same thing. Wallace is the source, as marym said.

        Keep in mind what we’ve been told about the progression of the symptoms—doctors have said that days seven through ten are the most critical. If Trump was exposed on September 26 during the ACB rally, then last Friday, when he was admitted to the hospital, was day seven. He stayed in the hospital until day ten. This is why they were confident (enough) to let him go back to the WH–the window of typical worsening condition had closed.

        Why Days 5 to 10 Are So Important When You Have Coronavirus [from April 30]

  20. Noone from Nowheresville

    Trump’s Covid Debacle (American Conservative): So if we use the Russia Revolution 1917 and the Czarist’s government botched response to the 1891-92, then we should have a similar revolution in say 24 years in the US? Should that be my take away to Rod Dreher’s article?

    Oh and more promotion of Russia Russia Russia just not in the direct RussiaGate vein. And of course trust. Right now it’s loss of trust. Lack of faith.

    But there, yes over there, in the background is the tacitly understood bit that if only we can restore trust (and the norms fairy) then, and only then, can we avoid the coming revolution.

  21. Lambert Strether Post author

    I completed my promised tour of the Swing States; please refresh your browsers.

    Suffice to say that although the Republican Party apparatus seems as feral as ever, a lot more has to go right for Trump this year than it did in 2016.

  22. anEnt

    I, too, would not try to get one of these goal-sought vaccines…

    In the first three months of availability. The effort/risk profile of social distancing and mask wearing is well established. The full safety profile of any of these rushed vaccines is not and cannot be.

    A false sense of security provided by ineffective vaccines will bend the curve… straight up.

    I’ll be happy to get one of the ones that proves both safe and effective after three months of market data, adverse incident reports, and 91-divoc trends back them up.

    I rather doubt these polls are designed to catch any sort of nuance, and so here we are as they say.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      FWIW, I received the second round of the Pfizer trial vaccine yesterday. No reactions noted (50/50 if I got the vaccine or placebo/saline). I know you are afraid. It’s okay.

  23. LilD

    The Bush / Xmas snark is somewhat misplaced – there were two Pres. Bush, one preceded Abu Ghraib by a decade. G HW Bush was a patrician. I certainly believe he’d delay a trip to let the staff have a special day. Then kill some third worlders.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      One of my inlaws crossed paths with Poppy and Babs back in the New Haven CT days, before they started pretending to be cowboys and were just snobby old New England money. The inlaw was a secretary at Yale and said the Bushes were roundly despised by her cohort at least. They were not nice people.

  24. Swamp Yankee

    Report from the Provinces:

    Here in Southeastern Massachusetts, we have a very interesting, and frankly troubling, race for State Representative in the 6th Plymouth District (Duxbury, Pembroke, Hanson). The incumbent, Josh Cutler, a fairly bland centrist Business Dem and local notable (his family owns, e.g., the paper of record in Duxbury), is facing a challenge from a far-right Soviet emigre who can accurately be described as unhinged, Tatyana Medvedev Semyrog.

    I have no brief for business Dems but am forced to support Cutler because Semyrog is so insane. She accuses Cutler of being a Communist sympathizer, alleges that if we put any restrictions on the police at all it’s a direct road to Stalin’s USSR, and has repeatedly insulted the electorate in strange, rambling Facebook posts. Recently blog items by her from 2016 have emerged via google where she a) said Islam was “the anti-Christ”; b) that gay people hate Christianity; c) only Orthodox and Catholic Christianity are valid religions — yes, she actually is re-litigating the Reformation!

    Add to this the fact that she has been putting up signs on businesses’ property without their permission…..They get mad when they find out her views and take them down. Still, tons of them in the more conservative towns.

    It’s a pretty conservative district in a quite conservative part of Massachusetts, but it traditionally was a mixture of coastal WASP wealth and interior blue-collar conservatism. Now it seems like the far right is making inroads.

    Again, I hold no brief for centrist Dems, but I do think Semyrog has to be crushed at the polls.

    1. a different chris

      What? She sounds like she learned some really good lessons living in the Soviet Union (up to 10 years old, and we all know how clued in you are up to that age).

      And she’s going to apply those lessons, good and hard!

      Seriously, what a family-blog head. “My family history goes back to terrible persecution, people giving their lives and going to the Gulags for their faith,””

      So the logical conclusions is of course to assure everybody that “We need more law-and-order, not less,” she said. “Our police are the last line of defense between safety and chaos and we cannot lose them.”

      Um, who do you think supposedly persecuted your family? Were they not wearing badges?

      I wonder what her family story actually is. I wonder why they skeddadled out of Russia, not everybody left to get away from the Soviet Union. Some left to get away from the people who wanted to wring the necks of those enforcing it as it came apart. 1998 is an interesting time to leave for sure.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Right? It’s totally internally incoherent. And she only moved to the district within the last two years. That strikes me as a fairly hubristic move, to move to a new place and immediately seek significant public office (To be fair, I thought they left the USSR in 1988, not 1998, but I could be wrong).

        She’s been doing some serious red-baiting that is not only utterly inapplicable to Business Dem Cutler, but I think — I hope — seriously misreads the political culture of the district.

        She also claims that she can’t remember making those blog posts, as she was sedated for much of 2016 with various health and personal issues. But people have looked at the actual timeline of 2016 and she makes a number of them before her health and personal struggles begin.

        It’s seriously strange. But I have real fear a Trumpian turn in the more conservative towns could put her over the top. We’ll see. The police unions endorsed her and refuse to comment after the blog stuff came out. Local talk radio Francoist Howie Carr is for her. The SEIU and the building trades unions just endorsed Cutler, on the other hand. Local notables, incl. many who are real Chamber of Commerce style GOPers, have tacitly endorsed Cutler. Many of the younger, particularly female voters, are from affluent backgrounds, the HRC brunch crew, and Cutler’s brand of vague good government inoffensiveness without much of an economic platform, appeals to them. Not to mention the cultural cache of being against pretty overt and over-the-top bigotry.

        So we shall see.

  25. Glen

    Trump says he will not negotiate on COVID relief until after election

    Funny, but I’m pretty sure Trump the businessman would take the $2.2T vs. the $1.6T if he was offered them. And apparently a poll showed 72% of the American people support more CV bailout.

    From the article:
    “A Trump campaign adviser said of the president’s decision to own pulling out of the talks: “You have to try to be this politically inept. What is going on in the White House? Where is Mark Meadows?”

    I have to agree. What in the world is going on with Trump? He has a Congress that handed out like $3T to corporations after Wall St had a bad week, and now he wants to be the guy that leaves people hungry, and getting kicked out of their homes? Has anybody told him that corporations DON’T VOTE?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Based on the current state of affairs in this rapidly crumbling country, it is understandable why neither party seems to want to win this thing. M4A would be the obvious issue to run on, and both parties are running away from it as fast as they can.

      The political calculations really are mind boggling lately.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Everybody trying to pick the winner, when we already know the loser. It’s us, and it’s a lock.

        Pity we can’t have one party for Capital and one for Labor. Instead we have two for Capital, one of which pretends they are for Labor so that Labor is guaranteed never to get a single solitary thing.

    2. petal

      Maybe he figures he’s about to be evicted and is attempting to trash the apartment on his way out(making a bigger mess for those coming in after him to clean up)? (Not that the dems are going to attempt to make things better for us little people.)

      1. LibrarianGuy

        I think you just hit the bonus sweepstakes.

        I’d put his odds at living until the election at less than 50% given all his co-morbidities and what happened to his 999 buddy Herman Cain. The US is totally linked to the God Emperor’s good fortune in his mind, so he may be blowing it all up on his way out the door– whether that door is to the White House, or to life itself.

        1. chris

          I just hope he lives long enough to win the election decisively or be defeated decisively. Any other result means chaos. A close result combined with him dying…that’s a worst case scenario in my opinion.

          1. RMO

            Well, another possible result that wouldn’t lead to chaos would be if both Biden and Trump slipped this mortal coil before election day… I mean immediate, after-the-vote chaos of course. Either Harris or Pence as president would naturally lead to chaos after a couple of years at most.

    3. Samuel Conner

      Lambert above suggested that DJT might lose interest in further stimulus if not re-elected. I think this announcement confirms that suggestion.

      My sense is that DJT is willing for the country to suffer further deep economic contraction if it doesn’t re-elect him. It’s sort of a hostage situation. Perhaps we’re getting a sense of what it is like to be a creditor negotiating a debt restructuring with businessman Trump.

      It may be a long Winter.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        My sense is that the two-faced political coin is sowing chaos pure & simple. The show must go on and they must be able to keep our eyes focused on what they want us to see for at least the next 3 or 4 months.

        Of course dumb luck or karma can play unexpected roles. Or just screw plans up.

        Winter is coming, The Lannisters always pay their debts AND The spice must flow.

  26. John k

    So…no negotiating before election.
    Afterwards? If Biden wins Reps will offer less than now, maybe much less.
    Dems say cupboard is bare.
    If trump wins dems offer less, maybe much less?
    No deal until after Biden inaugurated? That’s 15 weeks… Then what… reps will be sulking… do dems win senate too? And even if they do, some of the dems vote with the reps…
    And what if donors don’t want a deal?
    What about eviction moratoriums?
    If they really don’t do anything market will be sad. But smart money likely out.

    1. chris

      Well, I’m on record as saying it all hits the fan this Thanksgiving. I think the lack of any further stimulus just adds to my earlier hypothesis :/

      I don’t think we’re getting another stimulus without some outside force acting on the players. I don’t think the Dems are going to put stuff forward either. I’m confident the Reps will do their best to be unhelpful. And everyone will hope all the urgency fades away by Christmas.

    2. Glen

      Well, I hate to say it, but if Trump shuts this down, he’s just giving the Biden more room to say so sorry, but we gave all the money to corporations and billionaires so you guys will just have to starve.

      But our heart strings would be plucked to see the Republicans and Democrats finally doing that “centrist” thing and cooperating on something – letting tens of millions go hungry and lose their homes…

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Well, Trump does like to take extreme Negotiating tactics so maybe by ‘No’ he means ‘Yes.’ Like a .23 Negotiation.

  27. chris

    Interesting take from the American Conservative.

    They list a number of items that I would think are front of mind for a lot of voters. And even more that would depress turnout. Yet it looks like we’re going to have a lot of people voting and all the polls have Biden growing his lead. I really don’t know who to believe anymore.

    1. flora

      There’s been a huge, large, enormous, very big push to send out vote-by-mail ballots to registered Dem voters. Can’t tell you how many I’ve received in the last month. Remembering that Bernie won CA this time and other states on the strength of early vote-by-mail ballots this year, I imagine the Dem estab took note of that strategy. If Hills “won” the 2016 primary based on pre-banked super-delegate votes it’s easy to imagine the Dem estab suddenly thinking they can win the whole enchilada on pre-banked mail-in votes. I wonder if the GOP is matching this strategy for absentee or mail-in votes?

  28. The Rev Kev

    “You Won’t Hear Kamala Harris Saying “Shut Up, Man” In The VP Debate”

    What you might hear is Pence channel Tulsi Gabbard and rip Harris a new one. You can bet that Pence has studied that video clip and let us remember that Biden was standing right next to Harris when this happen and saw her eviscerated by Gabbard up close and personal. Not a confidence builder that-


    Kudos on putting in that Daffy Duck clip – pure genius. I saved that clip myself years ago as it was so great.

    1. a different chris

      Yeah but.. .quick name anything that Pence has ever said. Do you even remember his last speech? Any speech? Any clever quotes?

      He ain’t no Gabbard, heck he makes John Delany seem like a clever raconteur, and to be fairish (as much as I can stand) although I think Ms Gabbard would win a bloody 12-rounder between her and Harris, that was a sucker-punch in the debate.

      Again couldn’t happen to a nicer more deserving person, but Pence is no Gabbard. He’s probably afraid she will mentally undress him… this is one-on-one and she will be prepared.

    1. Late Introvert

      Better to be a dog in times of tranquility than a human in times of chaos.

      Dogs are the best. Zappa was wrong about that. Dogs first, music second. Here Fido.

    1. flora

      I think T has made ‘vigor’ a near religious theme of his candidacy. But that might not be the best idea to bank (/heh) on in this campaign.

      Not hard to see how Joe could sucker T and others into this idea. Especially with Joe acting all ‘weakling’ as a feint, a la Weinstein and his sudden need for a walker when going into federal court to face federal charges on sexual assault. “Oh, but your honor, I’m only a poor invalid.” T took the Biden campaign “weakling” bait by spending the first debate trying to prove Joe was as weak as he claimed (by actions) to be, only to find out that hitting that pinata got nothing. Joe suckered T. /heh

    2. Samuel Conner

      It has seemed to me from pretty early in the cycle that leaving a good gig to become a senior official in the DJT admin was not a great career move. Going forward, it may also be hazardous to one’s health. That’s not a helpful mentality to have in one’s herd. What will this do to recruitment?

      1. John k

        When you consider the kind of corporates both trump and Biden hire, who cares? They’ll do less harm if they’re sick, and suits me if they decide to pass on gov gigs.

  29. debug

    The author of the piece on ‘gaslighting’ is gaslighting us. The term is not now and has never been a literally descriptive term about one small piece of the story, but a figurative one that refers to the whole plotline of the play/movie. I’ve not seen the play but I’ve seen the movie at least a dozen times. The term ‘gaslighting’ refers to all of the tactics used by Boyer’s character against Bergman’s character — like hiding things from her and claiming that she lost them, removing pictures from the wall and claiming she took them down, and telling people she was mentally ill when she was not. All of those things taken together mean that she is being ‘gaslighted’ by him. It’s a grand plot-level scheme reference, not a laser-focused literalization of a plot minutia.

    The accurate comparison would not be to a specific term in “1984” like ‘doublethink’ but to the whole of the “1984” story itself. The analogous term would be ‘1984-ing’ as in “This current government is 1984-ing us by using all the methods used in 1984 like continuous surveillance, continuous propagandizing, and perpetual war, etc.” Or “My boss is ‘1984-ing’ me — following me around and watching me on surveillance cameras, criticizing every second of idle time I take, and telling me lies about the other workers that keep me mad at them all the time.”

  30. Brunches with Cats

    NY: The Great Assimilation™ continues:

    The following is an on-the-ground report and commentary, based not only on living in a Blue Dog district (NY-22), but on attending numerous town halls with the congressman and on firsthand experience working with his congressional office:

    A Down with Tyranny! article NC featured on Sunday named my congressman (Anthony Brindisi) among the “mangy Blue Dogs” who screwed up chances of quicker pandemic relief by voting against Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion package. The writer predicts that these “garbage Democrats” will win in November only because of the anti-Trump wave and will be defeated in 2022 after four miserable years of a Biden administration. Meanwhile, Pelosi’s House Majority PAC and the DCCC are spending millions on Blue Dog campaigns, which the writer speculates is solely to keep the progressive wing at bay — an opinion mirrored in NC commentary on the influence of the the Chamber of Commerce.


    With the caveat that I can speak only for my own congressional district, I deem these opinions as misguided and uninformed of the realities of running as a Democrat in a historically red district (among registered voters in my county, Republicans outnumber Democrats nearly 2-to-1).

    First, consider the ads being run by the opposition. The attacks started in January, insinuating that Brindisi was Pelosi’s lapdog and cared more about impeaching Trump than issues that “really matter” to constituents. “Pelosi’s lapdog” is repeated ad nauseam in comments on his Facebook page, along with complaints that he promised not to impeach Trump and then did so twice(!). Ads over the past few weeks claim he supported Pelosi’s bill to defund the police, or some such nonsense. They’re very dark and no doubt effective. For added punch, the state troopers association endorsed his opponent, Claudia Tenney, the one-term nutcase he barely beat in 2018, despite Trump’s winning the district by a wide margin.

    The ads I’ve seen so far haven’t come from the Tenney campaign, but from conservative political organizations and the Congressional Leadership Fund, the counterpart to the House Majority PAC. Since the primary, which Tenney won handily, she’s put up giant signs all over with her standing next to Trump. In fact, her biggest accomplishment in two years in office was getting a sitting president to visit our lowly, forgotten region, which doesn’t even get flyover status. The purpose of Trump’s visit was a private fundraiser for her, where the price of entry started at $15,000 (local media reported that several of the big donors were from out of state).

    Given that every opposition ad I’ve seen associates him with the devil Pelosi, it makes sense that Brindisi would offer “proof” of his independence by voting against her pandemic relief bill. In a press release, he justified his vote on the grounds that there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of its passing in the Senate. I might be more concerned about the political theater — and I do believe that’s what it is — if his vote had been needed to pass the bill. Again, I know nothing about the circumstances in other districts, but I assume that at least some of the other Blue Dogs are in the same boat. Moreover, if I’m right about this, Pelosi had to have known about it in advance and maybe even wrote the script, in which case Down with Tyranny! fell for the side show and is just blowing more aerosols into the auditorium’s toxic air.

    Brindisi has said time and again in town halls that his first priority right now is passing another pandemic relief bill, with adequate funding for state and local government. Sure, it could be all talk, but to his credit, he has held telephone town halls for the express purpose of informing people about the money that’s available from past legislation, bringing in panels of experts to answer questions, and directing staff to follow up with constituents having problems with actually getting the money.

    The fact of the matter is that Brindisi is a Democrat in a very Republican district. He barely got elected the first time and wouldn’t have a chance of winning again if he didn’t reflect at least some conservative values. As it is, he’s accused of being “too liberal” for this district. What’s the guy supposed to do?

    One of the more gut-wrenching moments to witness came during the impeachment hearings. I was sitting in the public library in a small village, waiting to talk to a field rep holding “mobile office hours,” a feature Brindisi set up whereby his local staff travel to out-of-the way villages every couple of weeks to meet in person with residents who can’t get to one of his regional offices (suspended during the shutdown, but WFH staff take phone calls). On that day, constituents from several surrounding areas were lined up out the door with “pitchfork” written all over their faces. Trump supporters were calling Brindisi a liar and worse and swore they’d throw him out in 2020 if he voted for impeachment. His Democrat supporters were calling him a coward and worse, and swore they’d throw him out in 2020 if he didn’t vote Trump out of the White House immediately (obviously not understanding impeachment). At the end of two hours, the caseworker was drained white and close to tears. I could overhear some of the conversation and can tell you that the Democrats were more aggressive than the Trumpers. They simply refused to accept that Brindisi wanted to hear all of the evidence before making up his mind.

    Pollsters are calling the Brindisi-Tenney race a toss-up a this point. Without having seen any actual numbers, I’m wondering whether they’re basing that assessment on the likelihood that Trump will win a decisive victory here and that Tenney will ride his coattails. I wouldn’t bet on it. She didn’t do well in 2018, because the only people who benefitted from her first term were a few very wealthy business owners and corporations like Spectrum. She did nothing for average people, didn’t hold a single town hall that I know of, and had a reputation for refusing to meet with Democrat constituents or anyone with a complaint about her.

    Conversely, Brindisi has been one of the hardest-working legislators I’ve ever seen. He began holding town halls almost immediately after taking office and held them regularly throughout a sprawling district that extends from Lake Ontario to the Pennsylvania border. Since the shutdown, he has done several call-in town halls. Whether in-person or virtual, the bulk of time is spent listening to audience questions and comments. Before the shutdown, he traveled the district nonstop end-to-end. Yes, he met with lots of business and trade groups, typically by either visiting individual companies or attending roundtables and workshops. He did the same with workers, farmers, and veterans. As of a month ago, he was endorsed by three labor unions.

    Ironically, the Trumpers are more right than wrong about his capitulation to Pelosi. This is my biggest complaint about him (I supported Bernie). However, I believe that elected officials have to represent their constituents. Failing an unfathomable sea-change event, voters here just aren’t going to elect a Bernie or an AOC in the near future. In the meantime, Brindisi has been extremely accessible and responsive, as have his staff (one has been helping me through a major headache with a giant federal agency). Only the most partisan, hardened cynic could watch this guy up close in action and conclude that he’s just in it for the money and doesn’t care about anyone who can’t shell out $15k for a private audience.

  31. Goyo Marquez

    Pearl clutcher here, on his fainting couch, recovering from a moral panic, with respect to this New York Times story,
    ‘We Need to Take Away Children,’ No Matter How Young, Justice Dept. Officials Said

    ““We need to take away children,” Mr. Sessions told the prosecutors, according to participants’ notes. One added in shorthand: “If care about kids, don’t bring them in. Won’t give amnesty to people with kids.”

    Rod J. Rosenstein, then the deputy attorney general, went even further in a second call about a week later, telling the five prosecutors that it did not matter how young the children were. He said that government lawyers should not have refused to prosecute two cases simply because the children were barely more than infants.”

    Waiting for all my leftist friends to explain to me again how treating illegal immigration as a criminal offense was really the best possible policy.

    1. Chris

      Well, if they’re really leftist friends of yours they’ll no doubt mention a large part of why these people are moving north to be tres veces mojado is because of the unrest we caused throughout Central America. As part of new policies to humanely handle this crisis I would hope we will stop using sanctions and war to make those places so awful.

      As for making it illegal and criminal to cross a border without a visa, what would you suggest that still let’s us be a sovereign nation and have expanded benefits for citizens?

      1. Goyo Marquez

        I don’t have any problems with walls, or rounding up illegal aliens and sending them home, it’s the criminalization of an act that isn’t criminal, that isn’t one of the common law categories of crime, that I object to. I also object to avoiding sanctions on the employers. If you want people to stop entering this country illegally to look for work, then you need to punish the people, who pay them to do that.

  32. Apparently unworthy non criminal human

    trying to post the comment below, regarding a worthy essay, the second time:

    Some may appreciate (as I did) this essay by Anne Boyer:

    an election tale
    found at the bottom of a ballot box
    in which all of the responsibility is shared but none of the resources are

    ( https://anneboyer.substack.com/p/an-election-tale )

    If that link is firewalled (it wasn’t for me) it can be read at this BLCKDGRD post where I gratefully discovered it: I Will Admit That I, Too, Have Been a Sad President https://www.blckdgrd.com/2020/09/i-will-admit-that-i-too-have-been-sad.html

    (For the record, I’ll be writing in NOA for President, as I have for quite a while now. Bootstrapping™, no matter how diligently, has not worked for untold millions of us.)

    (The first time I tried to post the above comment, it inexplicably showed as a comment which passed moderation (https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/10/why-im-voting-for-donald-trump.html#comment-3440588), yet never posted. I’d love to know why not? I’d already asked about comments passing moderation – yet oddly not showing up – in this comment, which went to moderation hell and never showed up (although, one of the comments I was refering to as not showing up finally showed up, way too late, after I made that query):

    Can someone please respond as to whether comments which appear to have passed moderation and been assigned a comment number that’s not being held in moderation, yet don’t post, might still be in moderation? It feels stunningly brutal when one has poured out their gut, not insulted or attacked anyone at the website – yet is muzzled? Are the moderators aware that comments are appearing to pass muster and assigned a non moderated comment number –repeatedly – yet never post?

    If those non moderation posts assigned non moderated comment numbers are being blocked by your website moderators, that should be made clear, people wouldn’t bother trying a second and third time if they knew it was your website blocking them, and you would be saved the moderation time, a win-win™.


    1. Yves Smith

      While I appreciate the first part of your comment as well as your interest in contributing to the discussions here, we do not appreciate your second part. It makes very clear you haven’t bothered reading our Policies, which explain how moderation works. Your assumptions bear no relationship to reality.

  33. michael99

    It might be a break for Biden/Harris that Trump returned to the Whitehouse and is claiming he feels fine before the VP debate. Harris has more latitude to really attack Trump vs. if he was still in the hospital.

    The Buzzfeed article though discusses how Harris has to watch her tone and choice of words especially because she’s a woman and black. Karen Finney, a senior Clinton official who helped Tim Kaine prepare for his VP debate, said “the elephant in the room is that the ‘angry Black woman’ stereotype is something she has to be mindful of.”

    This will be a big moment for Kamala Harris and her backers, who hope she is the future of the Democratic party. Harris is on a very similar trajectory to Obama; she just got to Washington in 2017 and is already making the leap to presidential politics. I’m not a fan but it will be interesting to see how she does tomorrow.

    1. albrt

      I will not be interested to see how Harris does tomorrow. The only thing Harris could do to win my vote would be to push Joe Biden out of an upper story window ASAP.

      That’s the kind of decisive action I could get behind in this election.

  34. kareninca

    It looks like if there is an election, Trump will lose. Trump hates to lose. If Trump dies, then Biden can’t win against him. Trump will immediately become a Christ figure (as opposed to his present status as flawed-vessel King David figure) to a big chunk of the population. He will be seen by many as having died trying to save them. At the same time his opponents will mostly lose interest in attacking him or his memory (they’ll be too busy looting along with the Republicans). I wonder if Trump’s subconscious is at work here, aiming for undying (by human standards) glory by fearlessly working himself to death. It is not in fact uncommon for men to try to work themselves to death in order to gain love.

    I know that psychologizing is a no science at all, but all the same it is true that people are driven by emotional needs; sometimes it is useful to guess at them. After all Trump never needed to work for money, and he works like a demon; what is that about?

  35. Apparently unworthy non criminal human

    Yves Smith
    October 7, 2020 at 12:21 am

    While I appreciate the first part of your comment as well as your interest in contributing to the discussions here, we do not appreciate your second part. It makes very clear you haven’t bothered reading our Policies, which explain how moderation works. Your assumptions bear no relationship to reality.

    Actually I made no assumptions, I asked a very valid question (for the second time now), yet to be answered:

    Can someone please respond as to whether comments which appear to have passed moderation and been assigned a comment number that’s not being held in moderation, yet don’t post, might still be in moderation? It feels stunningly brutal when one has poured out their gut, not insulted or attacked anyone at the website – yet is muzzled? Are the moderators aware that comments are appearing to pass muster and assigned a non moderated comment number –repeatedly – yet never post?

    If those non moderation posts assigned non moderated comment numbers are being blocked by your website moderators, that should be made clear, people wouldn’t bother trying a second and third time if they knew it was your website blocking them, and you would be saved the moderation time, a win-win™.

    I doubt you experience it much, if ever at all, Yves, but there’s psychological damage – and precious time lost – in repeatedly writing non offensive comments which never see the light of day.

    1. Yves Smith

      As I again said, you still have not bothered reading our Policies. I can’t even have a conversation with you when you keep repeating totally incorrect ideas about how moderation works.

      We explicitly tell you NOT to post comments multiple times. It trains our software to see you as a spammer, which means your comments go not into moderation but our spam folder, which gets over 4000 messages a day and we therefore do not review at all.

  36. Apparently unworthy non criminal human


    I have read your comments policy; but that was quite some time ago, I’ve now read them again. I was only referring to those comments which are not marked as unapproved. I should have worded my question better; when I used the word repeatedly I was referring to it both: happening with various different comments; or, after waiting many hours, trying the same comment again. For example, I never attempted to repost the above comment till 2 days later, and I was going to stop trying to post any comments at your site and move on if it failed to post the second time.

    I’m trying to discern whether a comment that’s not marked as unapproved when it’s made is snagged by the software, despite it not being marked as unapproved, or by a human moderator (i.e. when I initially tried to post it on 10/03/20, the above comment was noted as …#comment-3440588, as if it was going to post, versus …?unapproved=3440588&moderation…). I don’t want to have my feelings hurt and waste my time – or a website’s time – if despite not being offensive in any way to the site or its commenters my comments are determined to be unacceptable by a site’s moderators (versus their spam software). I generally rarely comment on sites, and then usually when I think the comment might be helpful or explanatory for someone.

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