2:00PM Water Cooler 11/11/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Today I’m doing the Election 2020 pantry clear-out. Hopefully this is enough to get you started. There’s more, much more… –lambert UPDATE All for now…

Bird Song of the Day


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

Case count by United States region:

Slight decrease in slope. Could be noise.

Test positivity by region:

I don’t understand why the sudden dip around a week ago, in every region except the (organge) Northeast (and why does the Northeast keep being the exception?)

Case fatality rate by region:

The Northeast (orange) really stands out. We’ll need to watch this to see if it changes with the increased case count.

Hospitalization by region:

It’s odd that the Northeast hospitalization rate is so low. If the third wave is due to returning students, why is the Northeast seemingly not affected, since it’s such a college-heavy area? Do Northeastern college kids not party? Also, the Northeast (green) stands out for its enormous spikes.


“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

Election Legitimacy

UPDATE MI (1): “Trump Campaign Sues to Stop Michigan From Certifying Election” [Bloomberg]. “President Donald Trump’s campaign has filed another lawsuit in Michigan challenging the election results. The federal lawsuit, which the campaign said it filed late Tuesday, seeks to stop the state from certifying results that show Democrat Joe Biden leading by almost 146,000 votes. The campaign asked a judge to stop Michigan from certifying fraudulent ballots, those received after Election Day, those processed when observers weren’t present, and any counted with defective tabulating machines or software. At least two prior suits contesting the state’s election results have already been rejected by Michigan judges.” • There’s no way to tell if the software is defective or not, even leaving the fact that it’s proprietary. I fear a fabulously destructive decision that legitimizes digital voting, which would be in line with the general Democrat theme that “Elections in our democracy are perfect! Perfect!”

MI (2): “Claims that dead people voted went viral. These are the facts” [CNN]. “One of the supposed pieces of evidence was a list that circulated on Twitter Thursday evening allegedly containing names, birth dates, and zip codes for registered voters in Michigan. The origin of the list and the identity of the person who first made it public are not known. CNN examined 50 of the more than 14,000 names on the list by taking the first 25 names on the list and then 25 more picked at random. We ran the names through Michigan’s Voter Information database to see if they requested or returned a ballot. We then checked the names against publicly available records to see if they were indeed dead. Of the 50, 37 were indeed dead and had not voted, according to the voter information database. Five people out of the 50 had voted — and they are all still alive, according to public records accessed by CNN. The remaining eight are also alive but didn’t vote. The sample CNN reviewed is not representative, but the trend was clear — not a single one of the names examined was of a dead person voting.”

MI (3): “Republican challenge to Maricopa County election involves fewer than 200 ballots, attorneys say” [AZ Central]. “Republican officials behind a lawsuit alleging poll workers “incorrectly rejected” votes cast in person on Election Day will make their case in front of a Maricopa County Superior Court judge later this week. The defendants — Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors — also will have a chance to produce evidence and make oral arguments, according to Judge Daniel Kiley. But it appears unlikely the case would affect the outcome of the presidential vote. A lawyer for the county said fewer than 200 ballots are at issue.”

PA (1): Whoops:

PA (2): A thread on the recanting PA postal worker:

PA (3): “2020 Post-Election War Room” [Democracy Docket]. This morning I complained about the lack of a central place where all the affidavits could be stored. This looks kinda like it. So I go to the active cases in PA to look at this transcript… And it’s only three pages, not the entire transcipt (even though it’s billed as “Read the transcript of the oral argument here”). The site is run, as one might expect I suppose, by Marc Elias of Perkins Coie, of Steele Dossier fame. Elias was the general counsel for the 2016 Clinton campaign. Dudes, come on. Why not the whole transcript?

* * *

Propaganda works:

Not only did the Democrat base in the PMC achieve class consciousness in 2016-2020, they lost their minds doing it. Kidding! But not entirely…

2020 Democrats in Disarray

AOC was right. Thread:


The Florida Democrat Party is notoriously useless, and has been for years. Why has this been allowed to continue?

UPDATE “Tlaib lashes out at centrist Dems over election debacle: ‘I can’t be silent'” [Politico]. “‘We are not interested in unity that asks people to sacrifice their freedom and their rights any longer,’ said Tlaib, whose Michigan district is among the poorest in the country. ‘And if we truly want to unify our country, we have to really respect every single voice. We say that so willingly when we talk about Trump supporters, but we don’t say that willingly for my Black and brown neighbors and from LGBTQ neighbors or marginalized people.’ Only a few days after the presidential race was called, Tlaib and other progressive leaders are making it clear there will be no honeymoon for Joe Biden. They have their own takeaways from the election: Top progressive groups are circulating a postelection memo that criticizes centrists for playing into Republicans’ ‘divide-and-conquer racism.'” • Yes, I noticed AOC, when taking Democrats to task the other day, did mention racism. But not the working class.

Biden Transition

“Harris’s husband leaving law firm for role in Biden administration” [The Hill]. “‘Mr. Emhoff is working with the Biden-Harris transition team to develop the portfolio he will focus on to support the work of the administration,’ the [Biden campaign] spokesperson said.” • Oh.


UDPATE This entire section now finished.

AK: “Alaska Offers Biden the Slimmest of Hopes for a Democratic Senate” [The New Republic]. “But there’s still one more Senate race in the balance, well to the north: Alaska, where election officials will begin counting absentee ballots on Tuesday…. It’s easy enough, after witnessing the dramatic surge in mail-in Joe Biden ballots putting the Democratic president-elect over the top in a fistful of swing states, to imagine that a similar come-from-behind count could catapult Gross (a nominal independent candidate who plans to caucus with the Democrats) into the Senate.”

CA (1): “Why California Rejected Racial Preferences, Again” [The Atlantic]. “{ast week, a majority of voters in this Democratic stronghold, where no single ethnic group constitutes a majority, reaffirmed their long-standing preference for neutrality: California voters defeated Proposition 16, an attempt by progressives to remove the provision in the state constitution that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or gender in public employment, education, and contracting. The margin of defeat, 56 to 44 percent, was striking to students of political history, because it suggests that race neutrality is more popular now than when it was initially mandated by a 1996 ballot initiative that passed by a slightly smaller margin. Disappointed progressives fear that Prop 16’s defeat will stymie their efforts to reduce racial inequality. But California voters looking to the future of their wildly diverse state were correct to conclude that permitting its officials to treat racial groups differently would be dangerous.”

CA (2): “California’s 40-Year-Old Tax Revolt Survives a Counterattack” [New York Times]. “The new law, Proposition 15, would have removed commercial properties like office buildings and industrial parks from Proposition 13’s limits, and it would have given labor and progressive groups a long-sought victory to increase funding for education and local services. The Associated Press called the result of the Nov. 3 vote on the measure on Tuesday night, when the count was 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent against it.”

GA (1): Interesting:

GA (2): Profile in courage:

GA (3): “Does Biden Really Want to Win The Senate Runoffs in Georgia?” [Policy Tensor]. “Does Biden really want Democrats to control the Senate? Or is divided government a blessing in disguise from the point of view of the unity of interests? One reason divided government may be a blessing is that it gives the Biden White House considerable leverage against ascendant progressive forces within the party. Bobby Jindal, the Indian-American governor of Louisiana, spelled it on the pages of the Journal yesterday: ‘Strange as it sounds, Mr. Biden needs a Republican Senate majority to serve as a foil. It will give him someone to blame when he proves unable to deliver on left-wing environmental, tax and health-care policies. He can’t say this publicly, but he should be rooting for the Republicans to win the Georgia Senate runoffs.'” • Rather like Cuomo.

LA (1): “Louisiana voters reject new tax break in a landslide, after opponents put on full-court press” [The Advocate]. “Louisiana lawmakers earlier this year voted overwhelmingly to ask voters to add a new tax break to the state constitution that would allow manufacturers to negotiate lower tax bills with local governments. On Tuesday, voters rejected the idea in a landslide. All 64 parishes, including GOP and Democratic strongholds, voted against it.”

MA (1): Hmm:

MA (2): “The Massachusetts Democratic Party’s dirty tricks” [Boston Globe]. “According to the investigation done by Cheryl Jacques, a lawyer and former state lawmaker, Gus Bickford, the state party chairman, encouraged a group of college Democrats to send a letter to Morse raising allegations of sexual misconduct — and to send it just weeks before the Sept. 1 state primary. That letter triggered news stories that essentially dominated the final chapter of the primary contest. The report found that Bickford also encouraged the students to talk to a reporter about the accusations. Those actions violated party rules against interference in a contested primary, the report said. Veronica Martinez, the party’s executive director, also kept ongoing contact with the college students and later told them to delete the text messages and phone records of those communications, according to the Jacques report.” • “Democrats steal primaries….”

NY (1): “After Significant Help for State Senate Democrats in 2018, Cuomo Largely Absent from 2020 Races” [Gotham Gazette]. “But as Senate Democrats faced tough races in a number of districts, including some they had won by narrow margins amid a “blue wave” two years ago, New York’s top Democrat seemed to take a relatively hands off approach and did what some believe is the bare minimum to help his party-mates defend or win new seats. Though in 2018, when he was on top of the ticket seeking a third term, Governor Andrew Cuomo was active helping Democrats flip State Senate seats in swing districts from Brooklyn to Long Island to the Hudson Valley, this year he was absent but for a handful of virtual fundraising events and robocalls. Some Democrats believe he mostly prefers the split Legislature he had for his first two terms and very much wanted to avoid the possibility of veto-proof majorities in the two legislative houses.” • Presidential timber!

TX (1): “Rio Grande Valley Republicans” [London Review of Books]. “In the end it was the economy that sunk hopes of a Democratic landslide. It was a gigantic mistake to make the election a plebiscite on Trump’s bungling of the pandemic without making an all-out effort to convince voters that a Biden administration would sustain family incomes and small businesses until Covid was defeated. The 2.2 trillion dollar relief bill passed by the House should have been the basis for an aggressive campaign, but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, allowed the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, to take it hostage and Biden, mumbling through the two presidential debates, never really crusaded to free it. Meanwhile, the third-quarter employment figures, however misleading, gave Trump an unexpected boost; they were proof, he claimed, of the shining future ahead. A new national lockdown would send that ‘recovery’ to hell. The Democrats underestimated the resonance this argument had with the shop-owning and entrepreneurial middle classes facing extinction or digestion by Amazon. It wasn’t so hard to convince bar owners, building contractors, franchise managers, small manufacturers and the like that closures were a greater evil than half a million more Covid deaths. (This is, of course, a global phenomenon: just look at the role played by hysterical small business owners in the violent protests against new lockdowns in Western Europe.) As for working people, forced every day to choose between income and health, Biden’s vow to put science in charge of the pandemic was easily spun by Republicans as proof of a economic apocalypse overseen by the dread Dr Fauci. ” • Excellent article worth reading in full. Starts with Democrat organizational blunders in South Texas, but broadens out.

TX (2): “Amid record election turnout in Tarrant County, many Latinos stayed home. Here’s why” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]. “The turnout in precincts where Latinos make up the majority of registered voters was 35% lower than the rest of the county, according to a Star-Telegram analysis of election data…. Experts say Latinos’ concerns vary by gender, geography and national origin, and both parties have largely failed to understand or have ignored the issues that motivate each community to vote. Yolanda Gomez said she did not cast a vote because the lack of outreach by candidates made her feel like her vote doesn’t matter. Gomez, who lives and works at a hair salon in Diamond Hill, voted in 2016 but this time neither candidate connected with her. ‘They only think about the rich people on top,’ she said. ‘They don’t think about us.'” • Needless to say, that’s not what exiled Batista supporters in Miami would say…

“How Indigenous voters swung the 2020 election” [HIgh Country News]. “In Arizona and Wisconsin, Native turnout — which often leans liberal — made the difference in Biden’s slim but winning margin.” • Very interesting!

“The election-night fiasco in the states that will haunt Democrats for a decade” [Politico]. “One reason it will take a good long time to make sense of the 2020 election is that the results look very different — almost contradictory — when viewed from top-down versus bottom-up. More voters came out than ever in American history to dislodge Trump from the White House. At the same time, his party largely preserved and, in many cases, fortified its advantages deep in the states, where both establishment Republicans and a new breed of Trump loyalists had a very good election. The first question: How bad was the Democratic setback in the states? The answer, the journalists all agreed: Pretty damn bad. It was a comprehensive failure for the Democrats’ hopes of replicating the big GOP victory in 2010, which reached far down into statehouses and allowed Republicans to dominate the redistricting process that gave them a structural advantage for the decade that followed.” • Looks like Obama’s failures continue under Biden, then.

* * *

“Bernie would have already won” [Carl Beijer]. “The answer to that last one is clear: if you wanted to landslide Trump, you should have nominated Bernie Sanders. There are two basic prongs to this; let’s address them both in turn. (1). Biden’s supposed advantages over Sanders have proven to be grossly overstated. One major argument for Biden, promoted by everyone from his campaign to Lincoln Project / Never-Trump pundits, was that his candidacy would be uniquely appealing to conservatives and Republicans…. Despite highly publicized defections from Trump among elites and a historically unprecedented outreach campaign to Republicans and conservatives, Joe Biden has performed worse among these groups than Hillary Clinton did in 2016…. (2). Biden’s weaknesses were Sanders’s strengths… Biden may have slightly improved on Clinton’s poor showing with poor voters, but he is still significantly underperforming the standard set by Obama in previous years. We have good reason to believe that Sanders — running on a platform of single payer healthcare, generous welfare benefits, and other programs aimed specifically at the poor – would have fared much better…. Note that Sanders also had a higher proportion of voters among the middle income bracket: the group where Biden overperformed, winning a 13 point margin among voters that Democrats have lost since 2008. Meanwhile, the only income group that Biden tended to fare better among — the wealthiest — is the group that he lost to Trump by a decisive 11 points. These numbers correspond directly with standard socialist intuitions about how a Sanders campaign would have played out. He would have run on class war, running up his margins among the poor and middle income brackets (IE, the overwhelming majority of voters) while boxing Trump in among the wealthiest voters. … Sanders also performed strongly among another major voting group that Biden struggled with: Latinos.” • Plausible (even if it is based on exit polling).

“The difficult lessons of Democrats’ 2020 victory” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “It is increasingly clear that, even with Trump horribly bungling the pandemic response and the ongoing economic crisis, the political background conditions were not as favorable for Biden as they seemed. Polling and reporting confirm that the strong economy of 2018-19 was very popular, as well as the CARES Act checks and boost to unemployment — the most blatant and obvious government support that most Americans have seen in their entire lives. It turns out Trump’s instinct to take credit for all that free money was politically smart!” • No wonder Pelosi wouldn’t take the deal Trump was offering.

“Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” [Commonweal]. “Now, there are some things Trump had going for him that I will grant immediately. The pre-pandemic economic expansion helped lift many people’s standard of living; it makes sense to me that they would appreciate and remember that, and give the president credit. But he didn’t mention the economic numbers during his rallies these past months as much as he mentioned Fox News scandals and celebrity gossip and the problems with toilets today. He didn’t have a concise or cogent critique of Biden. Was he Sleepy or Crooked? Too mean to cops or too mean to criminals? I’m not on Facebook much, and I don’t watch swing-state TV commercials, so I have no idea if his messaging was more policy-based there. Maybe those were the ads that brought in the new voters. Maybe it was door-to-door canvassing. Maybe it was QAnon. I don’t know. What I do know is that Trump creates a feeling. More than any policy, more than any idea, he makes people feel a way that no one else makes them feel. Powerful. Connected. In on a joke. It’s a celebration and he’s the host. It’s a revival and he’s the preacher.” • I think “in on a joke” is important. I’ve often said that Trump is like a Borscht Belt comedian, and is often very funny (and most of his jokes generate humorless hysteria in liberals, which is probably very satisyfying to those who “get it.” “If you’re listening….”)


Polling debacle (1):

Polling debacle (2):

There are plenty of others, including Collins in Maine.

“Not fixable”:

“So what the heck happened with the polls in Pennsylvania? Here are some theories” [The Inquirer]. “For years, pollsters have asked Americans if they have vacations planned, one of many questions intended to take the temperature of the country. But when [Patrick] Murray’s team at the Monmouth University Polling Institute asked in June, the results seemed off: 75% of Democrats said they were planning a summer vacation before the coronavirus struck, compared to just 43% of Republicans. That was an absurd gap for a question that usually elicited little partisan difference. Murray surmised why: Respondents knew the next question would be about if they had to cancel those plans due to the pandemic. And Democrats were eager to blame President Donald Trump for mishandling it, while Republicans didn’t want to make the president look bad.” • “Not fixable….”

“What Went Wrong With Polling? Some Early Theories” [Nate Cohn, New York Times]. • I read this twice, and I didn’t see any indication that Cohn considers those polled as active agents when being polled, unlike the two links above. To him, the problems are all technical.

* * *

This focus group thread is quite illuminating:

Worth reading in full.

Our Famously Free Press

“Americans Didn’t Vote Against Trump, They Voted Against More Media Psychological Abuse” [Caitlin Johnstone (JZ)]. “Instead, they were psychologically terrorized. Made frightened, sick and traumatized by mass media pundits who only care about ratings and clicks, as was made clear when CBS chief Les Moonves famously said that Trump is bad for America but great for CBS. Dragged through years of Russia hysteria and Trump hysteria with any excuse to spin Trump’s presidency as a remarkable departure from norms, when in reality it was anything but. It was a fairly conventional Republican presidency…. In reality, though most of them probably did not realize it, this is what Americans were actually voting against when they turned out in record numbers to cast their votes. Not against Trump, but against this continued psychological abuse they’ve been suffering both directly and indirectly from the mass media. Against being bashed in the face by shrieking, hysterical bullshit that hurts their bodies and makes them feel crazy, and against the unpleasantness of having to interact with stressed-out compatriots who haven’t been putting up well with the abuse. It wasn’t a ‘Get him out’ vote, it was a ‘Make it stop’ vote.” • Intriguing, but I haven’t heard any anecdotes that support this….

Health Care

One for the centrists:

Realignment and Legitimacy



Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

There are no statistics of note today.

One FANG Rout Doesn’t Make a Market Revolution Bloomberg

Mr. Market: “One FANG Rout Doesn’t Make a Market Revolution” [John Authers, Bloomberg]. “Kriti is unquestionably right that we don’t yet know if Monday’s extraordinary market convulsion is the beginning of a wider rotation. She’s also right that we can only know for sure with hindsight. But it would still help to know if we are at the beginning of that process. So let’s examine the issue.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 65 Greed (previous close: 58 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 34 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 11 at 12:19pm. Tooling along nicely now.

Health Care

“Pfizer CEO unloads $5.6M of stock as coronavirus vaccine hopes send shares soaring” [FOX]. “Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sold $5.6 million of company stock Monday as shares soared 15% on the news that a late-stage trial found the company’s COVID-19 vaccine to be 90% effective… ‘The sale of these shares is part of Dr. Bourla’s personal financial planning and a pre-established (10b5-1) plan, which allows, under SEC rules, major shareholders and insiders of exchange-listed corporations to trade a predetermined number of shares at a predetermined time,’ a Pfizer spokesperson said in a statement.” • Doesn’t Bourla expect his stock to appreciate? I’m still queasy.

“Biden’s pandemic plan: Restore Obamacare, mandatory masks, paid sick leave and free COVID-19 tests” [MarketWatch]. • But not free treatment. Seems a little minimalist. And the article doesn’t even mention contact tracing, whether forward or backward.

“Nursing Home Quality, Covid-19 Deaths, and Excess Mortality” (PDF) [Christopher J. Cronin, William N. Evans NBER]. “Quickly after the pandemic hit the US, most nursing homes banned all visitors, disrupting the daily routines of many residents. An abundance of qualitative evidence from nursing home staff, administrators, and resident family members suggests that the lack of in-person contact with loved ones and other residents is not only generating feelings of loneliness, isolation, and despair, but may also expedite death (Aronson, 2020; Paulin, 2020; Graham, 2020). Population-wide trends in mortality support this claim. ”

“Government gears for unprecedented challenge of Eli Lilly antibody rollout as efficacy questions linger” [EndPoints]. “On Tuesday, CDER chief Janet Woodcock, who stepped away from the FDA to run the treatment arm of Operation Warp Speed, outlined the government’s plan to distribute the 300,000 doses they’ve agreed to purchase from Eli Lilly. They will rely largely on a system that officials eventually developed for distributing remdesivir: Rather than give the drug directly to medical centers, they will allocate it to states and territories according to how many Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations they have. Local governments would then allocate it within their jurisdictions.”

“Speed, Evidence, and Safety Characteristics of Vaccine Approvals by the US Food and Drug Administration” [JAMA]. “Since 2010, most novel vaccines approved by the FDA required about 8 years of clinical development and were based on evidence from a median of 7 clinical trials, including at least 2 pivotal efficacy trials that were randomized, masked, and used a comparator group. These pivotal efficacy trials enrolled a median of 5000 patients, who were followed up for serious adverse events for at least 6 months. Given the urgency of developing a COVID-19 vaccine, trials will need to be larger than those supporting prior vaccine approvals and include sufficient follow-up time for emergence of adverse effects.”

“Biden Wants To Lower Medicare Eligibility Age To 60, But Hospitals Push Back” [NPR]. “Of his many plans to expand insurance coverage, President-elect Joe Biden’s simplest strategy is lowering the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 60. But the plan is sure to face long odds, even if the Democrats can snag control of the Senate in January by winning two runoff elections in Georgia. Republicans, who fought the creation of Medicare in the 1960s and typically oppose expanding government entitlement programs, are not the biggest obstacle. Instead, the nation’s hospitals — a powerful political force — are poised to derail any effort. Hospitals fear adding millions of people to Medicare will cost them billions of dollars in revenue.”

“Opinion: Picking the wrong health insurance is a $2,000 mistake” [MarketWatch]. “Almost a quarter of employees faced with the choice of two employer-sponsored health-care plans picked the one that left them worse off financially, even though they offered the same non-cost benefits, according to new unpublished research we conducted. Using data from a large university in the Midwest that offered to subsidize one of two health-care plans, we wanted to see how hard it is for people to make the better choice when given only two options. The plans were identical in every respect other than their costs. One plan had much higher premiums but lower out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and co-payments for the employee. Our analysis found that 97% of the 2,300 employees would have been better off with the other plan, which had lower premiums but higher cost-sharing. Yet 23% chose the higher-premium plan anyway. The average cost per year of choosing the wrong plan was over $2,000, according to our paper, which we plan to submit for publication soon.” • First, why are people even forced into this insane choice? What is the point? Second, perhaps the “high premium”/”low deductibles” plan let those who chose it sleep better at night. Who wants to stump $10,000 as soon as they need care?


“On Animal Crossing and the Ghosts of Empire” [Amy Stanley] “This brings us to Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It goes like this: Your avatar is sent to a deserted island with a unique layout and a certain kind of indigenous fruit tree (mine is an orange) and a certain kind of indigenous flower (mine is a lily). An enthusiastic but dimwitted capitalist named Nook has sponsored the journey, and he expects to be paid back, but – as will be the case throughout the game – he charges no interest. You arrive along with other newcomers, your “villagers,” and your task is to develop the island by creating habitations and infrastructure. The best way to earn money is to harvest the natural resources of the island and sell them to a petty shopkeeper; you can also use these resources to construct tools that will aid you in development. Eventually, you meet a naturalist who wants to build a museum on your island, so you donate materials for his collections. You can do all this while dressed in an increasingly varied and ridiculous series of outfits. That, more or less, is the game. All of this – including the construction of new infrastructure, the intense interest in natural phenomena, and the ridiculous outfits – sounds a lot like an early twentieth-century colonial enterprise. In fact, it is distressingly reminiscent of the Japanese empire itself.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The Only Successful Coup in the US Began as a Campaign to Curb Black Voting Rights” [Literary Hub]. “One of the main Democratic campaign themes was that if their party were not returned to power, there would be an epidemic of attacks by black men on white women. To stoke those fires, a statewide Democratic newspaper, The News and Observer, reprinted an August 1897 speech by Rebecca Latimer Felton, a Georgia suffragette, who would later become the first woman to serve in the United States Senate. ‘If it requires lynching to protect woman’s dearest possession from ravening, drunken human beasts.'” • Yikes! Worth reading in full.

News of the Wired

“Are Straight People OK? How We Can Improve Heterosexuality” [Teen Vogue]. “Even though straight culture is understood as flawed, it’s still our society’s default, reinforced by everything from the wedding industrial complex to romantic comedies to Beyonce songs. We’re told by pop culture and capitalism alike that it is easier and safer to participate in straight culture than it is to be queer. Jane Ward, a professor of gender and sexuality at UC-Riverside and a lesbian who identifies as an ally to the straights, wants to change that presumption—but also our cynicism about the possibility of straight sex and love.” • “Identifies as an ally.” Is that the same as actually being an ally?

“One hundred years of ‘We'” [The New Criterion]. “Yevgeny Zamyatin wrote We in 1920, during the Russian Civil War. Composed at the dawn of the Soviet era—a not-so-distant mirror of our own troubled and dangerous times—We was first published in the USSR in 1988, at its dusk. The manuscript, a stunning prophecy of totalitarianism and a classic of dystopian literature, was one of several works that prompted a newspaper and magazine campaign against the author…. Zamyatin is among the few gifted twentieth-century writers who responded to ideological tyranny by poetically integrating mathematical science into a philosophical anthropology…. A trained scientist, Zamyatin designed and supervised the construction of icebreakers in England during the Great War. In We, mathematics (the language of the totalitarian OneState) and poetry (the language of its revolutionary opponents) are the antipodes around which humanly fundamental oppositions coalesce: necessity and freedom; order and chaos; entropy and energy; rationality and irrationality; utility and beauty; force and love; tameness and wildness; social totality and individual infinity. The drama of We plays out in the charged space between these poles: a field of electrical attraction and repulsion where opposites merge, unities split apart, and nothing stands still for long.”

For Bob and Ray fans:

At least there’s no means-testing….

For golf fans:

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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 (CR):

CR writes: “Autumn color in Shaker Heights, Ohio, 10/26/2020. A political sign for a Trumpian Congressional candidate adds seasonal flare.”

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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

    On the 11th hour (pst) of the 11th day of the 11th month, no armistice was forthcoming, despite there being a climb proof wall of votes needed in order to get the nod, and claim victory.

    So far the only implied threat is one of being impolite, in not attending the Presidential Inauguration.

  2. Anonymous

    “Even though straight culture is understood as flawed, it’s still our society’s default, reinforced by everything from the wedding industrial complex to romantic comedies to Beyonce songs.

    And the fact that a straight couple can reproduce?

    Peak insanity?

    1. D. Fuller

      How about… …our culture is understood to be flawed.?

      We are bombarded with what it takes to be the perfect American. Have the right friends, go to the right schools, get the right test scores, have the right job, know the right people.

      From peers and friends. By media and ads. Exacerbated by social media. Beginning with reinforcement by peers in early childhood. Add in online bullying through social media. On top of the social crucible and hellscape that is American schooling. No offense, teachers – it is not your fault. It’s a social hellscape and crucible. Underfunding in poor neigborhoods, being another factor.

      Americans are under assault as soon as they are born. The base instinct that drives that assault: greed.

      Our worth to American society is solely predicated on how much we can buy. Compensation for 9/11 survivors who lost loved ones? The money was divided based on class. Banker’s stay at home wife? Millions of dollar in compensation. That banker being a vastly more valuable member of society. The janitor’s wife and kids? Maybe $35,000. A poor-class person dies? Their life is not worth as much in compensation than a higher-class person’s life.

      Does not matter if one is straight, LGBTQ, or by skin color.

      America is the most depressed, drug-addled, conspiracy-minded, wackadoodle advanced nation in the industrialized world. Which most of our “peasantry” want to ignore in favor of imagining that America is some sort of “Land of The Free, Home of The Brave” meritocracy.

      With Minorities and LGBTQ being treated worse off. Our culture demands and makes it so. Racism and Sexism (sexual orientation) being tools of class warfare. Hate the other to ignore one’s own circumstances. Blame the other while ignoring the monetary elite in our society impoverishing us all.

      There are other reasons & methods, of course. in America? The Big One is GREED.

      1. JBird4049

        In the last seven deals that I’ve been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pretax profit of 12 billion dollars. Thank you. I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.

        –Gordon Gekko

        Somehow, in these United States of America, you are a terrible person if you do not believe in the obviously divinely inspired words of Mr. Gekko in the movie Wall Street.

          1. chuck roast

            It is so written in the heavens…

            I was walking down Corne Street on Saturday and heard a small plane. I looked up, and a little single engine plane was skywriting. He had finished what looked like stick figure that was blowing away. When I spotted him he was putting the finishing touches on the biggest erect penis and gonads that I had ever seen. Boys will be boys.

        1. D. Fuller

          We in America made everything about money. Now, despite all that money? We can’t make anything work properly.

          Once everything is about money? We are doomed.

          A certain Big Box store does not even allow associates to modify computer orders. Instead of shipping a movie for pickup from 40 miles away? The computer has ordered it from 300 miles away. Apparently, that is more cost-effective. Same Big Box store can’t modify shipping routes for truckers to lower costs. Once the computer has determined that a route is “cost-effective”, any deviation from said route results in penalties including termination of employment. Despite the route being obviously cost-ineffective.

          Perhaps tax law and reimbursement of losses through tax rebates has something to do with it. Losses are now more profitable than gains, in many instances.

          Now that corporate losses in one year can be stretched out as tax deductions for an infinite number of years (technically, until that specific year’s losses are recouped)? Losses are profitable. 2017 tax code change. There is no cap now.

          1. LifelongLib

            Once talked to a truck driver who said he and his fellow drivers were very happy with the new computerized delivery system at their warehouse. Instead of the old way of loading as many deliveries as possible and not returning to the warehouse until all were completed, the new system allowed each truck to carry only one delivery at a time, requiring the drivers to return to the warehouse for the next one. “We’re really racking up the overtime” he said.

            This was several years ago, so the system has probably been “fixed”, but apparently not all automation is bad…

        2. km

          The best, the most interesting, the most compelling villains think that they are the heroes.

          Not only that, but a really good villain’s villainous logic actually has to sort of make sense from a certain perspective.

    2. Alfred

      Part of the ideology of straightness is the claim that straight = heterosexual. While it is true that human reproduction requires a heterosexual interaction, it does not require straightness. There have been many gay people (men and women) who reproduced, and likewise many straight people who did not, or even could not. I dare say that many people have known similarly situated couples. I have also known several heterosexual couples who have rejected the opportunity to identify as “straight,” for various reasons, including the discovery that they had gay offspring. “Heterosexual” describes a particular biological circumstance. “Straight” designates a particular social attitude (or frame). Jane Ward is well known for her book, _Not Gay_, which explores the phenomenon of “straight” men engaging in homosexual practices. The book, whose title ironically undermines the notion that gay=homosexual, makes an important contribution to de-coupling the equally misleading straight=heterosexual dyad, by looking in detail at how homosexual practices can be framed as “straight.”

      1. D. Fuller

        Nice comment.

        Humanity’s obsession with classification of all aspects of life & science producing ever narrower definitions, is a serious issue. For science, narrowing classifications means increased specialization. Leading to specialists who are not trained in other branches of science that are applicable to their narrow field of choice – they become technicians. For social classification? Having to deal with racism and sexism and sexual orientation as a result of narrow definitions based on physical and social characteristics; with drastic social consequences that further divide societies.

        Perhaps one problem is simple over-classification. It is SEX, people. We are sexual beings no matter which way we do it, or not do it.

        Sex between consenting adults is simply just that. Then come the myriad classifications. Many Americans have this need to be special – not only in America though. We over-classify. Vegisexual? Yes, awhile back on a certain well-read website, that was a thing. Or so marketing & advertising types tried to make it so. What idiocy.

        Heterosexual is both a biological means of preproducing and a social-sexual orientation. LGBTQ is cultural and social-sexual orientation where it still takes a heterosexual means to reproduce. Until science is ever able to catch up. Until then? The basics remain, spermatazoa must still meet ova no matter how it is done – naturally or through artificial insemination.

        People like to classify LGBTQ a sub-culture. A sub-culture of what? American culture? Sexual culture? Quite frankly, IMHO, any cultural differences should make it simply a cultural lifestyle. Sub- is so offensive. Sub-culture, sub-human; don’t agree with that. Personal picadillo. I prefer a culture with different lifestyle and sexual choices. Too many make a big deal out of it. We’re trained and indoctrinated that way in our American society with ideals through social and media pressures to conform.

        I liked that gay bar in Poland. Poland being quixotic. Good music, good people. Lots of laughs. With a cute lesbian friend of mine, the first time I met her, asking me, “Do you know what kind of bar this is?”

        “Sure. Kind of hard not to know when you see the two guys walking in while holding hands.”

        What was most interesting was how normal the bar-club-restaurant was. There was no sense that the establishment was a gay establishment. People mingled freely. Whatever one liked to call oneself. Perhaps that establishment could be classified as a mixed-orientation bar?

        It is a BAR. Where people with differing sexual orientations went to eat, drink, and dance. Skinheads for the most part kept to their own establishments and were very not welcome. The establishment was not known as a gay-anything or straight-anything. It simply just was. A rarity.

        In contrast, there were many gay males in Poland who have wives and children. Who hide their sexual orientation yet find the time to visit gay male sex clubs which are somehow, hidden and well known all at once. Yet, the wives I met were fully aware of the sexual orientation of their husbands. Curiously, I am not aware of meeting any lesbians who had husbands & children.

        Perhaps the most disturbing question I had to field from Poland to Bulgaria and elsewhere from gay friends and acquaintances was, “What is wrong with American gays?” As in, why do they have to be so loud and flamboyant? I have no answer for that. Perhaps my foreign friends watched too many movies or the cultural impressions from American television & news affected their perception of American gays.

        What I will say is? There is a vast difference between American gay establishments and the gay establishments I visited in Europe. There is just some sort of normalcy overseas that seems to be lacking in American gay establishments regarding presentation and attitude – some sort of vibe in the air. Different attitude maybe? It is hard to put one’s finger on why that is. And this, despite the Conservative cultural attitudes in countries such as Poland.

        Perhaps it is the extreme focus by Social Conservatives waging Social warfare on LGBTQ community here in America. Producing a counter-reaction to raise visibility and awareness. Though it is hard to imagine such as being any worse of social warfare than found in Poland.

        In the end? Sexual orientation should not be a THING. Sexual orientation simply IS. No matter what one prefers as consenting adults. Perhaps our obsession with division (classification) helps drive the problems. As well as cultural indoctrination and other factors.

        Am I straight? Am I gay? I AM A PERSON.

        1. urblintz

          Having spent much of my professional life in Europe ( I sang opera) I concur with your observation. I remember meeting, in Spoleto, the wife of a very famous German stage director along with the director’s male lover… when I did a double take (although I am gay) she laughed and responded with tongue firmly planted in cheek; “Ja, ja ich weiss, überwältigend” (Yeah yeah, I know, overwhelming).

        2. km

          I’ve spent as much time in eastern Europe as anyone, and I’ve met plenty of gays there as loud and flamboyant as any American gay.

    3. polecat

      reproduce? Can’t have that now …

      Guess that’s one way to take some pressure off Gaia. All the fault of those damndirty straight folk … double plus bad if you white.

      I’m so so sick of all the idpol intersection traffic! What a critical wreck it’s all become!

    4. Aumua

      And the fact that a straight couple can reproduce?

      Well if human overpopulation is a problem here on Earth, and I think a lot of people in this thread would agree that it is, then maybe it is appropriate that our society’s ‘default’ sexuality should shift towards the gay.

      1. ambrit

        Joe Haldeman posits exactly that in his future Terran society construct in his book “The Forever War.”. Homosexuality becomes the ‘default’ social norm to quell overpopulation.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Robert Heinlein approached Joe Haldeman at the 1975 Nebula Award banquet which the book had just won and said the book “may be the best future war story I’ve ever read!” High praise indeed.

    5. B flat

      “wedding industrial complex” etc — I’ve noticed the monetizing of lgbtetc in everything from rainbow-festooned doodads to the medical industrial complex pushing drugs and surgery on children that is in no way an improvement.

    6. Michael Fiorillo

      Peak insanity?

      No, that would be trans women, and their woke alliies, telling us that they, while not having a uterus, nevertheless have monthly periods.

      Yes, really.

  3. Samuel Conner

    re: “Pfizer CEO unloads $5.6M of stock as coronavirus vaccine hopes send shares soaring”

    I guess this next thought shows how cynical I am, but this line — combined with a prior headline about selling %60 of his shares — stimulated the first thought — “he had only $9M of company stock?”

    The appearance of insider trading (why not hold on for further appreciation; what does he know?) is troubling, but I’m so jaded that the thing that struck me was that it wasn’t an order of magnitude larger.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      cnbc has been on this all day. Although there is copious shoulder shrugging and no-big-dealing, they seem to have at least a tiny inkling that the “optics” are not great.

      Here’s a comment from an “analyst,” Karen Finerman(?), who is supposed to have some sort of expertise in corporate “governance” and admits to “liking the guy” and wanting to make the most “innocuous” comment possible, accompanied by shoulder shrug, that I thought was too good not to share:

      “Look, remember, the stock was only up 15%…..He’s a great trader….Ya know, buy the pandemic and sell the great day for humanity….”

      Yeah, well, OK. Speaking for humanity, no harm done and thanks for all you do. Now let me get back to work so I can afford to partake of your greatness.

      1. ambrit

        I fear for this dynamic spinning out of control and producing a Thalidomide level disaster.
        No wonder I keep reading about Big Pharma wanting immunity from prosecution in relation to these “vaccines.” The second order effect of a botched “vaccine” will be a huge turning away from Medical Science by the general population. This is too public and prominent a crisis to fail in.
        My cynical side thinks that there are going to be some very stringent controls over the publication of information about “vaccines” gone wrong in the near future. Look for the “proprietary information” and “business secret” defenses being trundled out very soon.

  4. Milo

    “CBS chief Les Moonves famously said that Trump is bad for America but great for CBS.”

    Trivia: Moonves is a grandnephew of former Israeli prime minister and founding father David Ben-Gurion.

    Trump blew the narrative when he said that we were fighting in the Middle East to protect Israel, not for the oil.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’ll always remember Les Moonves as being the person that cancelled “Star Trek Enterprise” – because he personally did not like science fiction.

  5. Ranger Rick

    If voters thought that media hysteria is going to stop once the orange man is out of office, they’ve got another thing coming. The media got addicted to those ratings. I can only imagine the hunt is on to find a target they can spend several years of 24/7 coverage on (the current leading prediction is Trump will not be a quiet private citizen like other ex-presidents).

    1. John

      I admit I fired up the TV a few times on and after election day, but with the exception of pro-football to which I seem to have an unbreakable addiction. I do not watch television. I do not use twitter or facebook or any other of the so called social media and I have thus managed to avoid media hysteria except as it appears on certain websites which I consult regularly. That number is shrinking. If a site begins to rant or rave, I do not look beyond their headlines and if it continues, I move elsewhere. This means that I should be able to avoid the unquiet ex-president Trump. A consummation devoutly to be wished, sought, and savored. I am tired of him.

    2. dcblogger

      if this was really about ratings Greg Palast would have his own TV show by now. This is about the hysteria the bosses want, not what viewers want. Who under forty even watches TV news?

    3. cocomaan

      Today I watched a lawyer friend on Faceborg saying that we need to apply the 14th amendment to Mitch McConnell, specifically the part about treason.

      Presumably because McConnell and Trump are disputing the election.

      Treason! People have lost their minds.

  6. Acacia

    It’s worth clicking through that Aaron Maté Twitter thread on the USPS whistleblower, as not only is there follow-up video of him not recanting his sworn claims, but a report of some pretty worrisome arm twisting that was applied to him.

        1. Aumua

          Well there you go, he straight up denied the recant. I can’t help but wonder though, who is this guy? What is his angle here?

      1. John Ralston

        “You will find out tomorrow.”

        Hopkins says he was intimidated and coerced by federal investigators with the USPS Inspector General’s office…

        WaPo is full of Poo.

          1. JBird4049

            Senators, FBI agents, the Post Office, news reporters, maybe the Tooth Fairy… gee, I wonder if the man is flustered. Whatever his story is a lot of powerful people want him to tell a specific story, and forget the truth. I hope he doesn’t become another Richard Jewel.

        1. Darthbobber

          My guess is that he ran into an example of present problems at the Post Office. If the one super says to the other that they f-ed up and postmarked something the 4th when it should have been the 3rd, that may well have been quite literally true. Mail received on a given day should be postmarked that day, ballots in particular are supposed to be scanned in the day received and also postmarked that day.

          But this has been failing to happen with a lot of mail, not just ballots. I know our post office on a bad week may have received mail sitting for 2 or sometimes 3 days before it moves on to the next processing step.

          Ballots, since the kerfuffle about that started, are supposedly pulled out of the normal stream of received mail and expedited. Which also doesn’t always happen.

          And the normal method of “fixing” that would be exactly what they were talking about doing.

  7. dcblogger

    Made frightened, sick and traumatized by mass media pundits who only care about ratings and clicks

    baloney. I don’t own a TV, I get all my news on NC and my very lefty Twitter list. Young people overwhelmingly voted for Biden in the general. Most young people do not watch TV news or read newspapers. Trump is horrible and that is why he lost.

    1. Unsympathetic

      +1 on this.. i seriously don’t know a person under 40 who is aware of what mass media is saying. Most of us even with good jobs cut the cord years ago because the value proposition of TV just isn’t there. For a few nat geo wild shows and sports.. they want more than $200/mo? That’s no bueno no matter how much I make.

      1. Aumua

        Well I think people don’t realize yet that “mass media” is no longer just the top three networks, and maybe Fox. It’s expanded beyond television. Social media and alt-media (including this comment section) are mass media, as are memes. The entire nature of media has changed dramatically just in the past 10 years. The map is not the territory.

        1. Temporarily Sane

          Exactly. Anyone who uses social media and “consumes” information on the internet is influenced by mass media. It has nothing to do with watching TV. People who think they are immune to media influence are like people who claim advertising has no effect on them. They are both good at deluding themselves.

        1. ambrit

          Unless, as has happened here, the “phone company” abandons their copper wires and switch to an entirely Wi-fi system.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      Even if youngsters don’t watch TV or read newspapers, they’re still impacted by the “mass media”.

      My son (24) told me he voted for Biden because “I’m so freaking sick of scrolling through pages and pages of Trump nonsense every morning in my feed”. I didn’t want to draw attention to my ignorance so I didn’t ask what exactly this “feed” was.

      When Biden’s victory was announced, his first reaction to me was “I can finally stop pretending I like Biden”.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Whatever your son’s “feed”, I bet that if he called bs on Biden or even said that he was not going to vote in the election, that he would have been attacked and ostracized with his friends. With the election over, it will be “safe” for him now to call old Joe out.

        1. Duke of Prunes

          Yes, that’s pretty much exactly what he said when I asked him to explain his “I can finally stop pretending I like Biden” comment.

  8. diptherio

    A couple days ago I commented that while “defund the police” landed with a thud as a political slogan, the actual policy proposals that the slogan attempted (unsuccessfully) to convey enjoy widespread approval. The Danny Barefoot thread on the swing voter focus group backs up this interpretation:

    We ask if they support reducing police funding and reallocating it to social services and other agencies to reduce police presence in community conflict. 70% say they support that proposal.

    Once again, we find widespread agreement about actual policies, while the media presents every issue as totally polarizing. No wonder our politics if so familyblogged up.

    1. ChrisPacific

      Yeah, some of the other comments reveal how spectacularly bad that was:

      We are explaining the actual policies behind defund the police. One woman interrupts “that is not what defund the police means, I’m sorry. It means they want to defund the police.”

      “I didn’t like being lied to about this over and over again” says another woman.

      “Don’t try and tell word don’t mean what they say” she continues. Rest of group nodding heads.

      They have a point. Suppose the Trump administration had come out with a slogan like “Get rid of the blacks”? And then tried to explain that what it actually meant was get them off the streets by resolving the issues that led to the protests so that there would be no need for them to march any more? Would anybody who was not predisposed to believe anything Trump said buy that explanation?

    2. Unsympathetic

      Cori Bush’s recent appearance on JoyReid with this as one of the topics may be the last time she’s on MSNBC for a while..
      “I’m not looking at feelings, I’m looking at lives”

      1. Duke of Prunes

        I’m confused, and I don’t mean to stalk you, but this all happened on pretty much the same browser page: In your comment at 4:20 pm above, you imply that you’re under 40, don’t have cable and therefore, have no idea what mass media is saying, yet, now you’re quoting MSNBC?!?

        I think you just strongly undermined your position.

    3. howseth

      “Defund the Police” Whatever the motivation for that phrase, was possibly the least strategic motto one could have possibly coined mere months before a national election. Pure genious!

      ‘Let us to turn away support from millions ‘- and combine that phrase with all those images of exuberant protesters/rioters/ and of course looters. Republicans had to be licking their lips over that one. So easy to re-purpose as the ‘Lib Terror’. Defund the Police! (and kick Me too while you’re at it.)

      “See folks – you certainly need us republicans to protect you” …law and order” Remember to vote!
      They sure did.

  9. Wukchumni

    Agenda for day 8 of the hunger (for power) strike.

    He always wakes up starving, have them make him a porterhouse & egg for breakfast, with a couple different kinds of toast & waffles.

  10. Geo

    “Jane Ward, a professor of gender and sexuality at UC-Riverside and a lesbian who identifies as an ally to the straights, wants to change that presumption—but also our cynicism about the possibility of straight sex and love.”

    The “possibility of straight sex and love”? What does that even mean? I’m not an expert but I’m pretty sure I’ve been engaged in both at various points in my life. Am I misinformed? Are we know debating whether straightness is a choice or a mental illness that should be pitied and corrected?

    My biggest beef with the evolution of identity politics in the left is the change from “equal rights” to separation and categorization that feels more like “separate but equal” in its intent. As one who has been an “ally” in both activism and acts over the past many decades it’s been a jarring change to witness. We used to strive for oneness amongst all of humanity. Now, it’s all about defining differences. Not a healthy direction in my (privileged) opinion.

  11. doug

    If the Wilmington coup is interesting to you, I also suggest reading ‘Wilmingtons Lie’, excellently written by David Zucchino.
    I think similar results happened a lot more than is currently documented.

  12. zagonostra

    >Americans Didn’t Vote Against Trump, They Voted Against More Media Psychological Abuse – [Caitlin Johnstone

    [People were] were psychologically terrorized. Made frightened, sick and traumatized by mass media pundits who only care about ratings and clicks

    And their reward is a seat in the Biden administration: Big happy family: Kamala Harris’ husband, MSNBC analysts leave jobs to join Biden administration

    I wonder if the Intercept will get more privileged access, a recent story at their site seems to be trying to whitewash the Hunter Biden hard drive story(I haven’t read the whole article,and not sure I will). I’ll be watching to see if Greenwald responds to the Intercept article.



    1. John

      I voted against Trump. In 2016 I skipped voting for president being thoroughly disenchanted with both candidates. Not this time; Biden is no world beater, but neither is he Trump and for that I am profoundly grateful.

  13. anon in so cal

    >Caitoz on voters voting against the MSM barrage…

    PCMIIW, but didn’t Taibbi recommend something like that a month or so ago….along the lines of ‘let’s vote Trump out to make the constant turmoil stop’? Perhaps unkind but it translates to, ‘vote for the arsonists, to put out the fires’.

  14. Samuel Conner

    > Also, the Northeast (green) stands out for its enormous spikes.

    There are strange steps in the NE “total hospitalizations” data which are pretty clearly related to these week-long spikes in the 7-day average of new hospitalizations.

    It also looks to me that there may be something amiss in the data or its presentation. Focusing on the “total hospitalizations” graph, it seems to me that the “US” time series ought to equal (or perhaps be slightly greater than) the sum of the four sub-regions. But it is only about half the sum of the four subregions.

    The same can be seen in the “in post” screen capture showing the 7-day average of “new hospitalizations” — the y-axis scale is linear, and the “US” curve is smaller than the height of the sum of the 4 subregion curves

    And the steps in the NE time series are larger (by about 2) than the steps in the national time series.

    Is the National time series under-reported? If the actual present CV-19 hospitalizations is ~1,000,000 — that’s alarming as it is pushing up against inpatient capacity limits prior to the pandemic. Is this time series “currently hospitalized” or “cumulative admitted since beginning of pandemic?”

    I don’t understand these graphs.

    1. skk

      >Is this time series “currently hospitalized”

      If by that you mean “Individuals who are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Definitions vary by state / territory. Where possible, we report hospitalizations with confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases per the expanded CSTE case definition of April 5th, 2020 approved by the CDC.”

      then as per https://covidtracking.com/data/national/hospitalization on the 10th Nov (23:59:59 I guess ) it was 61,964 for the whole of the USA. On the 9th Nov it was 59275 – the difference being 2689.

      On the same site, it says New total hospitalizations on the 10th Nov are 3946. Now that doesn’t align with the difference between the 9th Nov and 10th Nov, which is 2689 but that’s reasonable – people left hospital on the 10th Nov too I’d say by this count 1257 of them – some of whom left alive, and some who did not leave alive. So we get 3946 newly in, 1257 newly out netting out to a 2689 change.

      This sort of stuff is quite common when some aspects tabulated/ recorded are flows, and others are stock. It was the bane of my work-life once upon a time.

  15. Jeff N

    re: psychological abuse – I remember having this feeling during the Gore campaign, where I thought “if Bush wins, at least the non-stop hysterical Clinton news stories will stop”.

  16. CatmanPNW

    My first and only attendance at the local dem meeting went like this:
    Walked in, didn’t know where to go or what to do.
    Asked and was told I could pay my dues at a table. Did it, got a paddle to vote with.
    Voting ensued. I listened to speeches and then voted. Realized halfway through that my vote didn’t count – wrong color paddle because I wasn’t a precinct leader (or something? still not sure). Felt embarrassed and never really knew why I had a paddle to begin with if they weren’t going to count.
    Voting ended. I left, felt foolish. Haven’t been back.

  17. zagonostra

    >Polling pandering

    I’m starting to sour on The Rising. With headlines like below right after the polls were abysmally inaccurate in predicting Biden’s margin of victory, I have to wonder why they have lines like below describing their video. At this point polls are part of what Caitlin Johnstone calls the “Narrative Matrix.”

    Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti weigh in on polling that reveals 80% of Americans think Joe Biden won the election.

    1. lordkoos

      This was not a predictive poll, it was Americans weighing in on whether or not the election was “stolen” as claimed by Trump.

      1. zagonostra

        I fail to see the functional difference with respect to of the truth status of what ever is being interpreted as the result of an opinion poll. Granted, one is predicting a future outcome by which it can be measured as to it’s accuracy/validity and the other one claims to “read” the public sentiment at a point in time and will never be measured as to it’s accuracy/validity. But the critical piece is, is the proposition true.

  18. taunger

    The swing voter focus group has an interesting mistake. It notes Defund is a poor message, and very liberal activists shouldn’t be in charge of messaging. But IIRC, Defund is a black originated term, which is far from the mental picture I get when liberal activism is invoked (Dem fail right there).

    How to square the id pol circle there?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > IIRC, Defund is a black originated term

      I believe it originated in Minneapolis. I don’t think the local organizations that put it together were per se Black.

  19. hunkerdown

    “Dark matter electorate.” What a beautiful term.

    Meanwhile, Kotaku’s review of the Playstation5 games console. If you’re impatient, feel free to skip to the “But does it really matter?” conclusion, which engages in a bit of historical materialism to contextualize the release of this console. Sony’s charmed, I’m sure.

    1. Basil Pesto

      I wonder if he knows there was already a Dune game

      Interesting, though I doubt Sony will be terribly concerned. PS5 should sell phenomenally, even in USA where the problems he describes are most pertinent. Series X/S will do quite well too, probably. Consider this as well (germane to the Animal Crossing essay included today)

      1. D. Fuller

        Hehe… Dune Game.

        Fun for the family when the family loves sci-fi, for a weekend family game night.


        Used to own a copy of the original put out by Avalon Hill in 1979. Something about the roll of dice and facing your opponent across a table that video games just can not match.

  20. Basil Pesto

    Intriguing, but I haven’t heard any anecdotes that support this….

    Yeah, I’m generally sceptical of “here’s what everyone really voted for” sizzler takes

    1. Basil Pesto

      eapecially, I should add, from people halfway around the world. “Here’s what the people of Iraq really want”. No thanks.

      It’s a bit like when Bill Mitchell, from his (justifiable) anti-EU position, asserts that the Brexit referendum was a vote to reject neoliberalism per se, when I suspect most of the voters couldn’t define neoliberalism.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        And, here, I thought, wow, it’s amazing that someone in Australia could so well predict exactly what my 24 year old son told me.

    1. John Ralston

      Albright Stonebridge is chaired by Madeleine Albright who served as Secretary of State during the Clinton administration.

    2. Panduh

      I created a google sheet with the names of the the Transition Team members.

      Its a fine monument to the triumph of the PMC.

      I can’t go through all 535 members. But maybe the NC family can collectively do some research and leave comments on cells. This is not a dox on individuals, but shedding light on where they got their degrees, which Billionaire/Corporation vetted them for thinking the “right way,” etc. I have a pet peeve with the Gates backed people and their ability to leverage top-down solutions that disenfranchise local people (see African Cotton growth and American Education).

  21. Mikel

    “Pfizer CEO unloads $5.6M of stock as coronavirus vaccine hopes send shares soaring” [FOX]
    “Doesn’t Bourla expect his stock to appreciate? I’m still queasy.”

    “Quesy…” Best description of the feeling of Pfizer stock holders.
    This situation is one where it’s okay to wait to see if you can believe it.

  22. dcblogger

    listen to Brad Friedman, who knows a thing or two about election integrity
    Trump’s Desperate Attempt to Steal the Election Continues: ‘BradCast’ 11/10/2020
    Pompeo undermines democracy; Trump/GOP’s pathetic ‘voter fraud’ claims keep failing; GA Repubs turn on their own Sec. of State…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      If the Trump campaign actually makes the argument that voting machine software has to be verified, that’s truly one for the judges. If so, Trump’s lawyers will have stumbled onto a landmine that could blow up the entire electoral system, since the software can’t be verified. Even good software can’t be; bugs persist for decades in programs used by millions.

      I don’t think the numbers add up, and I think any cool heads remaining in the Trump campaign slash entourage have to know it; certainly McConnell does.

      I think their purposes are:

      1) They need time to burn whatever papers need to be burned;

      2) Fund-raising

      3) Own the libs and relatedly

      4) There seems to be some enormous subterranean battle between Trump and the national security goons; see this morning’s links. If Trump managed to damage those evil mothers by releasing some secrets, good for him, say I, and worth it, too. (A coup is not on, and modulo the software argument above, I can’t see him winning in the courts.)

      1. flora

        …since the software can’t be verified.

        Blowing up that misplaced trust in electronic voting would be worth it, imo.

        Hand marked ballots, hand counted, in public, please. ( Where have I heard this before? ;) )

        1. a different chris

          How do you know the ballots they are so performatively counting in public are the ones we went to the polling place and marked?

          This is turtles all the way down.

          And again, a great distraction from where the con really happens.

      2. pjay

        Thank you for this. DC and many others (see this morning’s discussion) seem to think that those of us who are skeptical are simply sore losers, or perhaps we suffer from “Democrat derangement syndrome.” Speaking for myself, I’ve always hated Trump and abhorred that he ended up our President. In many ways I’m glad to see him go. But what has been going on for the last 4-5 years goes way beyond Trump or partisan politics. So far I have not seen convincing evidence of massive voter fraud (today’s Water Cooler links support that), but that is just a small part of what concerns me (see today’s Links). It really angers me to be considered a “conspiracy theorist” for remaining skeptical, after everything that has happened over the last four years, and especially given who was doing it (top people in the FBI, CIA, DOJ, media, foreign intelligence services, etc. – in cahoots with top Democrats).

        To be clear: the Republicans aren’t the good guys. They’ve mastered the art of massive voter suppression in many states over the years. On this issue, they will weigh the political costs and benefits of supporting the Establishment and facing the wrath of Trump’s many supporters, or vice versa. And to be clear: Trump is definitely not one of the good guys either. But in his bumbling and clueless way he has upset a hornets nest of evil actors and forced a lot of hands. For me, the shallow theater of electoral politics is almost irrelevant by comparison.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Thanks pjay. I agree with Lambert, opening up the Dominion software subject is either a very thin reed, or else a depth charge, neither of which serves Team Trump. I’ve never said I’m “for Trump”. But there are some things I am most vehemently and passionately against. I think the First Amendment is pretty amazing, and it revolts me that the alliance of Team D and Silicon Valley to end it is not treated as the most terrifying possible development for our Republic. #2 is that I think when someone attempts to overturn an election result and hence the government by fabricating evidence with the FBI and CIA that’s a very bright red line. To state the bleeding obvious. Third I think the great middle class has been sold down the tubes by globalists, and at the top level Trump is not that and Biden most emphatically is. Lastly I think that a white child in the country having to bear the original sin of being born sends the country down a spiraling hole to nowhere.

          Lambert you state you don’t think the Trump court cases can change things, but you also made me depressed with the estimates of the size of the Biden landslide victory right up to election day so I’m apply some grains of NaCl to your words. Don’t be offended, I do it to everybody!

      3. skk

        “verified” is different from “correct” – you need formal reasoning for correctness.
        Verified means “passed all tests”. But were the tests exhaustive ? Then you get into test coverage etc etc – another bane of my work-existence once upon a time. Do courts accept that a program that’s verified is “on the balance of probabilities ….?” .
        Since we didn’t put Shakespeare’s suggestion into practice there are lawyers around so I’ll leave that to them.

      4. Samuel Conner

        But if “verified” simply means “works as designed”, that doesn’t begin to address the question of vulnerabilities.

        It might be that in addition to poll-watchers, you need neutral “eyes on” the physical hardware used to run the aggregation and reporting software. How you would monitor for intrusions via internet is another problem.

        I earnestly hope that some of this comes before a judge. We’ve been complacent far too long.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I suspect that the hardware used in county-level elections systems is not “hardened” against “Bad-USB” — an attack that overwrites USB controller firmware (the attack is launched from a USB device that has the malware embedded in its own controller firmware) and can be used to spread essentially undetectable malware infections.

          Whatchagonna do — daily inspect the firmware of every USB controller on every county elections hardware system?

          The electronic systems approach is not patchable IMO. As Lambert says, better to revert to the international gold standard of hand-marked paper, publicly hand-counted.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            On Earth 2 we would learn the IP addresses of the entities that were able to log in to the machines via their internet connectivity. Dominion tried twice to get the state of Texas to buy their machines and twice Texas said Hell No, and cited both the USB ports (!) AND the internet connectivity (!) as absolute non-starters. Duh.

          2. hunkerdown

            #NotAllUSBControllers have writable firmware of their own. I don’t know of any USB 2.0 controllers that do.

            Really, this is the sort of application whose components should be as stupid as possible. There’s no reason to implement anything much more than USB 1.1 in such devices, if you must have them electronic at all, unless it’s simply a scanner that stores bitmaps and counts nothing.

      5. rowlf

        Isn’t there some government entity that announces the election results? Tabulates the votes and states who had the most? I’m uncomfortable letting the media be in charge of this as they were convinced that Mueller guy knew where the Iraqi WMD were located at.

    2. anon in so cal

      “undermines democracy”

      ….As Democrats collude with Big Tech and the MSM to stifle any unflattering info, tried to overturn 2016 with a soft coup, rigged the 2016 and 2020 (“night of the long knives”) primaries….

  23. kareninca

    So, here is my suggestion for how to help with climate change, and also with the preservation of very old houses. Someone needs to invent clothing that truly makes old houses inhabitable without heating beyond what is needed to keep the pipes from freezing. How hard could that really be? Either that or a indoor drone that flies overhead and heats you where you go within the unheated old house. People are moving in droves to the South and waterless West because they hate being cold. They’d stay in northern Maine (for instance) and keep wonderful old farmhouses from sinking into the dirt if they could do it without being physically miserable. No, long underwear is not a solution since you have to go through a ridiculous unwrapping routine and freeze if you need to go to the bathroom.

    1. Samuel Conner

      The unwrapping routine was, well, … “routine” in earlier times when houses in temperate and colder climes were unavoidably cold in winter. I’ve been layering indoors in chilly accommodations for decades — I reckon that if my ancestors could shiver in winter, I can too, a little.

      There may be a technological solution to this, but is low-tech really that unacceptable? “Cold house in winter” has been around for a long time. Perhaps the old solutions are not as unworkable as they seem.

      1. kareninca

        If you are male the unwrapping is comparatively trivial. Women need to unwrap a LOT more and typically a LOT more often.

        If “cold house in winter” were popular people would live in one, and almost no-one wants to. You can say they should want to but that doesn’t make them want to. The REALITY is that almost all people hate being cold; I know loads of people in New England who dream of moving to Florida for that reason.

        1. Basil Pesto

          If you are male the unwrapping is comparatively trivial. Women need to unwrap a LOT more and typically a LOT more often.

          let it not be said that male privilege isn’t real ;)

    2. hickory nut

      I live in western north Carolina where it commonly gets in the teens/single digits in the winter the past few years. I often stick to a t-shirt and shorts until the day ends. I start the day with a run, then I keep moving. If I have to sit for hours, I get up occasionally and do pushups or squats to keep the blood flowing. It’s free and healthy.

      Whenever I bundle up, I feel trapped. I can’t sweat ’cause then I get chilled, so I don’t move much. I’m stuck adding/removing layers constantly and not moving much to maintain a comfortable temperature. Better to just wear comfortable clothes and enjoy the feeling of warming myself through healthy exertion.

      Next time you’re outside in a crowd, watch the kids running around excitedly while the parents stand around frigid and rigid. The kids are warm and content, and the bundled up parents seem less so. I learn from the kids.

      1. kareninca

        I take it that you are young, and perhaps male. What is needed is a solution for people who are older and for those who hate being cold. Old people can’t move around constantly in order to stay warm.

    3. harrybothered

      I have tons of family in upstate New York and was actually hoping to retire up there. I’ve been wondering if climate change will actually improve the winters somewhat temperature-wise. There was a story yesterday about how the southern third of the country (S. Cal, AZ to FL) will become pretty much uninhabitable as the temperatures rise.

      1. petal

        harrybothered, I grew up in upstate and stayed there for uni. If temps increase, (which is what I’m guessing you’re hoping for?), then a problem can be more ice storms. It is better to have proper cold winters in that area. Plus, warmer Lake Ontario & Lake Erie water temps(no ice cover) potentially means more lake effect snow in the snow belt. Careful what you wish for.

        1. harrybothered

          @petal – I was halfway joking, but thanks for the info. What you say does make sense. The snow might be manageable, but ice storms are dangerous to people, wildlife and property.

    4. eg

      My brother has a waggish response to complaints about the cold in his house: “do some push-ups — you’ll warm right up!”

      My mother’s greeting to winter guests entering our home, the temperature of which was set by my father who was born and grew up in a New Brunswick home without central heating, was a wry, “step in out of the wind.”

  24. Samuel Conner

    Georgia recount (we knew it was coming):


    It will be interesting to compare the results of recounts with the aggregated results from the original counts — the original results will have passed through the county-level systems and discrepancies could suggest post-counting modification of the aggregate vote databases.

    I recently heard a discussion of the vulnerability of county-level vote aggregation and reporting systems to intrusion and data modification (in terms of break-ins, but also even by the local operators of the systems who have direct physical access). The discussion was at a site I had no prior knowledge of; the interviewee, a principal at a security firm, appeared intelligent and well informed. A distinction was made between “vote fraud” — fabrication or modification of ballots — and “election fraud” — tampering with the systems used at county level and above to aggregate and report data. Vote fraud is hard to do at scale — one has to modify or create physical ballots; election fraud is easier to do at scale if one has access to the vote results databases.

    (I don’t know whether this podcast is valid; I don’t know enough to evaluate it. I won’t link it, but readers interested can find it at the recent Automatic Earth “deviations and anomalies” post, in one of the early comments. The video is embedded in the comment.

    Readers who are better equipped than I to evaluate the interview are welcome to correct my impressions if this is in fact not a credible analysis.)

    As far as I can tell, the Rs to this point have alleged only “vote fraud”, and IMO not very convincingly in terms of scale adequate to change the outcome. But a recount of paper ballots might detect “election fraud.”

    This may get very interesting.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > As far as I can tell, the Rs to this point have alleged only “vote fraud”, and IMO not very convincingly in terms of scale adequate to change the outcome. But a recount of paper ballots might detect “election fraud.”

      The distinction between voter fraud and election fraud is one that Republicans (and to be fair, Democrats) consistently fail to make, no doubt because they both engage in the latter.

    2. marym

      If “alleging” means court challenges, not unsubstantiated public statements, there seems to be only one post-election case in GA. It related to alleged counting of some ballots that arrived past the election day deadline, and was dismissed due to no evidence. Under GA law, there’s no mandatory recount, but a candidate can request a recount if the difference in votes is not >1%, which Trump has done.

      1. Samuel Conner

        My reference is to the multiple allegations made in media venues of vote fraud (illegal ballots) in multiple states. It’s interesting that the very real possibility of systems tampering in the aggregation and reporting of the count results (the vulnerabilities are well known; have been discussed in Congressional hearings and Lambert has mentioned them repeatedly over the years) by both sides has not been explicitly mentioned in any of the public claims (that I have noticed, anyway).

        1. a different chris

          > the very real possibility of systems tampering in the aggregation

          Oh my god. You do not give up. Your hero must be Fox Mulder. Actually even he gave up eventually.

          They say the easiest people to con are those who think they are clever. I told you what really happened, the voting machines are just fine. But you don’t want to hear it. You are a victim of the con.

          >the vulnerabilities are well known; have been discussed in Congressional hearings

          Which is why you don’t try to tamper with an election that way. You don’t go where the light is shining if you want to steal something.

          >and Lambert has mentioned them repeatedly over the years

          Weirdly enough I don’t remember you going to town like this when the elections didn’t go your way.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            The voting machines are not “just fine”. I have participated in a hand recount where the original votes were counted using optical scanners. The recount found 1-2% more votes than were originally counted by the machines. I saw with my own two eyes that the machines simply do not count all the ballots. And these are supposedly the good machines that actually have a paper trail.

          2. tegnost

            Samuel Conner 3:39
            It will be interesting to compare the results of recounts with the aggregated results from the original counts
            I think that’s a fair statement by SC
            I saw mentioned here a few days back that the big threat is a recount exposes the flaws/ghosts in the machines that have been discussed “around here” for years thanks to lambert et al.

          3. Samuel Conner

            > Weirdly enough I don’t remember you going to town like this when the elections didn’t go your way.

            Well, my candidate lost in the D primary after the rest of the field dropped out to coalesce around the eventual nominee.

            I was only dimly aware of “election fraud” at the time. Though of course, database manipulation should have been on my radar from 2016 and the voter purge in the NY D primary.

            I don’t think that the party principals of either party are honest or honourable people. It’s about power and money

            And … perhaps … also the manufacture of consent. I’d love to have compelling evidence otherwise, and I hope that the recounts provide that.

            My preferred outcome is that DJT is not re-elected but that if there has been manipulation of the election system, that is exposed.

        2. marym

          Republicans have been claiming fraud for decades, without evidence. Trump has continued saying there was fraud in the 2016 popular vote count, even though his own commission in 2017 and his 8/2020 anti-mail ballot law-suit in PA found no evidence.

          Claims of voter fraud are a political tool to sow discord and retain control. It’s been the excuse for voter suppression laws, and now for attempts to undermine ballot counting.

          There are many reasons for concern about the vulnerability of elections to human and computer error, dysfunction, and malfeasance. Trump and those insisting he hasn’t lost this election, and establishment Republicans and Democrats in general, aren’t interested in these as issues of the common good.

          Trump has been clear about who he thinks are Real Americans whose votes should count, and who should count the votes; and about his intention to have the courts decide who wins the election.

  25. Lambert Strether Post author

    Well, I cleared out as much of the 2020 pantry as I could. I added a lot of material at the state level plus some punditry. I think this election, in this enormous country, can only be understood by looking at material that’s as granular as possible, so do give it a read. Please refresh your browsers!

  26. johnherbiehancock

    Not only did the Democrat base in the PMC achieve class consciousness in 2016-2020, they lost their minds doing it. Kidding! But not entirely…

    I’m on a text message thread with a few grad school buddies from the Midwest. I am (or was) the “Bernie Bro” in the group.

    Over the last 6 months, one of the more unhinged members of the group started accusing me of being a “useful idiot for Putin,” which seemed like a joke at first, but got more and more pointed over time. He also started sharing more Russiagate crap with the group (which no one else ever responded to).

    After Kamala’s victory speech, I made some mild criticism of her tone and said she makes me hope Biden stays alive for 4 years, and this guy launched into me with some really nasty comments. I withdrew from the thread after that and no one has reached out since! Bridge burned I guess.

    I remember Fox News warping Conservatives’ brains and splitting families during the Bush Administration… never thought “our side” was susceptible to that. But I suppose I should have…

    1. Aumua

      Yeah i think it’s still too soon. The honeymoon hasn’t even really started yet. Let the election uncertainties play out and Biden and Harris actually get into office for a little while (if they do). I think the honeymoon will be pretty short at that point and then a lot of these liberals will be more open to criticism of their anointed candidates. Maybe.

      1. a different chris

        Oh no maybe about it. The left is a circular firing squad, heck it may be the Mobius strip of firing squads.

        This country is done, and I’m too old to leave.

        1. tegnost

          I differ here, the dem elite class is going to get full responsibility no excuses for what they are about to do. If you think there is not an extremely not populous bankster giveaway tech infrastructure war mongering grift already (we have to pass it to see whats in it) written plan crafted by the usual suspects and add in some make everyone a gig worker plus top it off with some punishable policy choices (see $700 if you’re self employed but can’t afford insurance, let alone health care). You’re circular firing squad is the elite dems wheeling around (cavalry, of course) and heading right into a skirmish line. Biden 2020 he’ll crash it faster. Bidens supporters should enjoy the respite kind of like custers forces the night before….there’s the same level of hubris driving elite dems as there was for custer.

    2. km

      The, um, “fun” part will be to watch goodthink liberals twist themselves into knots making excuse after excuse for Biden/Harris.

      1. marym

        If the Obama years are an indication “Trump was/would have been worse” “Mean Republicans” “Joe Lieberman Manchin” and probably adding “BernieBros”

    3. RMO

      “I remember Fox News warping Conservatives’ brains and splitting families during the Bush Administration… never thought “our side” was susceptible to that. But I suppose I should have…”

      That was the big shock I experienced in 2016 and on. People and pundits alike that I had previously thought possessed some degree of logic and critical thinking ability started believing absurd things and raving on in exactly the same way I had become accustomed to with those on the right.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      You should read The Confluence and other Pink KKK Democrat blogs to see how early and how totally the brain gangrene set in among the Jonestown Clinties.

    1. a different chris

      Why? It revealed that nobody expected Alaska to go any other way thus it is not, you know news. It had no bearing on the Presidential election.

      Now for the other race against the independent, I can’t even remember Senate or House, it was right at the top of the MSM (or more accurately MSN) immediately after the independent conceded.

      Because, you know it was news.

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      Is this the money quote from that NPR report?

      “Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican Trump ally, has announced a hand recount, which will be costlier and likely less reliable than a machine recount.”

    1. Unsympathetic

      NH and MA have Republican governors so if sanders/warren appointed to cabinet, the replacement for those seats would be R.. this is what happens when the D party stands for nothing and loses other Senate seats that were very much available [Collins and others].. bet if D had 53,54 senate seats they’d be loudly making a case.
      Fully agree that the people on the cabinet are policy, though.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I would like to see AOC-type Sanderistas support Real Democrat primary opponents against Liebermanchin Democrats at every level every time. Wherever the Liebermanchin Democrat wins its primary, I would like to see every person who voted for the Real Democrat primary opponent vote against the Liebermanchin Democrat nominee in its election.

      Hopefully, if such a method were used coldly and cruelly and consistently enough, the Liebermanchin Democrat party and all its candidates could be exterminated or deleted or deplatformed or de-rezzed or whatever word you like . . . . and Real Democrats would be the only Democrats which could get elected to any office.

      In this scenario, the surviving Real Democrat Party would be tiny for years, but it would be pure and true, and people could join it if they want to. It would have to have a huge and powerful internal Intelligence/CounterIntelligence Bureau to do the extreme vetting needed to prevent one single Pink KKK Liebermanchin Democrat from infiltrating and infecting the Real Democrat Party.

      1. apleb

        Supported with what? In the US, votes are actual dollars, and progressives don’t have these dollars, there are no daddy warbucks billionaires behind every progressive as there are behind typical corporatist candidates.

        They can “support” with good words maybe, but even that will do nothing especially when used inflationary and with candidates that will lose. It only works if these words consistently back a winner. Winner in the general election, not primaries.

        Then, let’s say the strategy is actually successful: all the opposition needs to do is what they do now and did forever: literally bury some manufactured candidate DINO centrist neolib with money. Not everyone of those will win, but enough do. Sort of a third party that isn’t, it just spoils similarly to a third party. And again we are pretty much at the same place we are now, cause those so called centrists voting together with normal, openly declared republicans, which they should anyways, still have an easy majority.

        This is why 2009-2010 Obama (*laughs*) or any progressive, couldn’t do as he wished, passing a decent ACA instead what is there now, cause they are nominally of his party and should vote for the party’s aims and goals, in reality they are just honest politicians: staying bought.

        The US system has been stacked from the start against the public, mass of people, poor people, etc and was for the bourgeois only: has there been a founding father that was not well off? Or a PMC of the day or such? Poor working people simply didn’t and don’t have time for the intricate dance and time wasting that is politics. You need a base amount of money for daily living expenses to play, together with a good front like a good suit or two, a horse to get around,etc. This has gotten only worse, but never better. Same with the french revolution: always a bourgeois one over time replacing money in various forms with aristocracy of old.

        1. eg

          Did you miss the bit where Sanders (and Dean before him) frightened the behayzus out of the Dem Oligarchs precisely because of their financial independence from the donor class?

  27. DJG

    birdsong of the day

    If you think that the Pacific Wren has a lovely song, wait till you hear the Aggressive Wren.

  28. Carla

    The DSA tables re: congressional candidates who support M4A winning are just dynamite. Hope they are plastered everywhere — and shoved under Biden’s nose repeatedly.

    Re: hospitals fighting Biden’s (apparently) stated desire to lower the eligibility age for Medicare to 60 — what President Biden should say is: “If as a hospital, you don’t like this, you’re in the wrong business. Get out out of it!”

    Anyway, it would be a start. And then in 2021, Biden could lower the age to 55; and then in 2022 to 50; at that point, no one could stop it and it would EINO — Everybody In, Nobody Out.

    1. a different chris

      That was (half of) my plan!! But you can take credit for it! Or Biden can, I really don’t care.

      The other half was to start at the other end: Up to 5 years old, then 10, eventually meets in the middle and we’re done.

      1. Carla

        Kids up to 18 are basically covered nationwide, by Medicaid. As one middle-aged African American lady so perfectly and plaintively put it, “It’s just a long, long haul from 18 to 65.”

  29. DJG

    How indigenous people voted.

    I highly recommend the article. The larger question is this: Just how much damage have recent administrations (and I don’t rule out Obama and his bloviating / tergiversating about DAPL) done to Indian Country?

    I have grown increasing interested in language revitalization, and the Ojibwe are making a heroic effort to keep the language going, creating a kind of publishing empire. I don’t see it in the Biden / Harris plan for Indian nations. Maybe it falls under “education,” but as Anton Treuer remarked in a presentation I attended virtually last night, when Native peoples hear “education” they also here “forced assimilation.”

    On the other hand, I wonder if the Trump administration’s recent sell-out of the Tongass National Forest may truly have turned Indian Country into a Democratic stronghold.

    1. a different chris

      Speaking of Native Americans:

      We’re so ready to be scared of some war that somehow is going to take our Freedum(tm) that we keep building bigger and less helpful weapons.

      But remember the importance of the Navajo code-talkers in a real war? Well guess what, the whole world speaks English plus another language and we only speak English.

      What are we going to use as a defense against that, Google Translate?

      “Sir, Sir, the Mongolians are going to attack Florida!”


      “Well GoogleTranslate says “the Munster has a Fish Shaped Sandwich” so we figure that’s gotta be it”

      1. rowlf

        The Duffel Blog had a story on using Alabamians, but the story is no longer linkable.


        I like the culturally sensitive part:

        Military Intelligence specialists have worked for several months with a handful of America’s most incomprehensible citizens to ensure their smooth integration into the Marine Corps. They have also undertaken the laborious task of training specialized linguists to decipher the new Code Talker transmissions.

        The program has overcome a series of serious hurdles, including complaints from Equal Opportunity offices over the Code Talkers’ frequent utilization of homophobic slurs and the N-word.

        “Who are we to impose our cultural norms on these proud people?” Maj. William Thompson, the Intelligence Liaison for the Code Talkers asked in response to the criticism. “If their only way to describe the night sky is ‘negro freckles,’ who are we to judge 200 years of social evolution?”

  30. Darthbobber

    From the “Choosing the wrong Healthplan” Marketwatch article.

    “Ignoring the risk factor, someone who expects to use a small amount of health-care services would optimally choose to pay a relatively low monthly insurance premium and larger out-of-pocket cost at the time of service.”

    Yes, ignoring the risk factor their argument makes sense. But since the risk factor can’t be sanely ignored, it makes somewhat less.

    When I headed over my bike handlebars and broke my collarbone, my “expectations” for how much medical care I might need became irrelevant pretty much instantly. And if future illnesses and accidents were that predictable we’d be in some other universe.

    1. a different chris

      Yes! Health care costs have a ridiculously fat tail which makes the downside of that decision so much worse.

      And they compared very simple apples to apples, which: Hah!

      I think I related the story here of a very intelligent and organized and careful reader of tedious documentation (some of it, sadly, mine) co-worker that, when we were given for the first time a three-tier plan decided, that, being a very intelligent and organized person, that she would take the cheap plan and make it all work.

      In January she went to get her husband’s 3-month pill supply. They were covered under the old plan. Not the new one – $1000+ bucks. Aka $300/month, aka more than the difference between her plan and the old one.

      I know she read and understood every line of every document that was given.

      1. Gc54

        Welcome to your 80/20 health “insurance” plan. You are only on the hook for 20% of the (infinite) bill

      2. tegnost

        I know she read and understood every line of every document that was given

        it’s the chance you took when you win it all
        it’s the choice you made when you take the fall…

        1. John Ralston

          Who would be cleared for access but those persons specifically hired and vetted and cleared to be there?

          We are not talking about some random table at a swap meet!

          1. a different chris

            So they hacked the Trump Philadelphia votes? All six of them? This would be funny if you guys didn’t actually mean it.

            1. skk

              since this was a 1st Oct story – it could well be Trump supporting operatives who tried to hack in and fix the results in his favor – except they made a ballsup of it – given their incompetence generally, its plausible.

  31. KLG

    Regarding the Senate runoffs in Georgia, neither Ossoff nor Warnock support M4A, last time I looked. The only chance either has is to go seriously long on M4A, voting rights, and re-industrialization attached to the Green New Deal or not. Neither will. Both will lose. And as Bobby Jindal says, Pelosi Schumer Clinton Obama & Biden LLC will breathe a huge sigh of relief. Nothing regarding their status will change.

  32. Matthew G. Saroff

    People are not making a “Mistake” going with a higher cost plan with lower cost sharing.

    They understand that in either case, their insurance company will try to screw them, and that in the event of a medical catastrophe, they are better with the lower deductible plan.

    They are voting for predictability with their money.

    1. RMO

      I you could accurately predict exactly what medical treatment you would require in the coming year and found that it would be none then the high deductible plan would be the best of those two choices. Of course if it were possible to do that, and you knew that there would be no medical treatments needed in the upcoming year then the real correct choice would be to forgo the insurance altogether!

      Predictability, as you say. It seems obvious to me that most people would choose the higher premium plan.

    1. notabanker

      No worries. The US of A version will likely include a tax break to cover the cost of the Amazon at home surveillance package. With prime, you may even make out on the deal.

    2. a different chris

      I *am* saving a comical amount of money, and I don’t even live that far from work.

      How about a $100K deduction on that particular tax? How about making it progressive? Haha.

      PS: actually I don’t support it because what could be more easily gamed than “I don’t work at home”. But economists have no clue about the real world so not a surprise.

  33. epynonyous

    Went to get started comparing primary results with the general election. Taking it slow. Only 8,000 democratic votes in Nevada? Haven’t seen how many republican votes in nevada, so don’t get too caught up yet.

  34. DJG

    Further on Matt Stoller / austerity is theft tweet:

    Note that 64 percent of those who voted for Hillary Clinton subscribe to Russia Russia Russia. Note that 64 percent of self-identified liberals also do. This isn’t exactly the critical thinking we hear so much about — this is a cult. These are the same peeps who bought tickets to Hill and Bill’s book & conversation (& propaganda) tour.

    Another oddity is that 52 percent of those in the Northeast believe in Russia Russia. Yet only 35 percent of Midwesterners do (the lowest among regions). Now, as a denizen of the Great Lakes States, I’d say that it is because we have horse sense, drink our coffee black, and eat too much butter.

    The cult-like aspect of the Russia Russia dogma is rather unsettling indeed. Russia Russia is to liberals as voter fraud and QAnon is to diehard Trump supporters–only slightly more so.

    Of course, our dear liberals and our dear conscientious-mask-objectors also believe that the so-called free markets are self-correcting: I will take Saint Francis preaching to the birds any day.

  35. edmondo

    We’ll keep saying it. Dem incumbents who ran on Medicare for All & Green New Deal in competitive House races won.

    Ann Kirkpatrick does not support M4A unless she is in a Democratic primary with an opponent who does. Once the primary is over, then she is against it. She’s one on Pelosi’s minions. I voted against her for that reason.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      I’m far from an expert, but I have done some data analysis (perhaps I know enough to be dangerous).

      To my slightly trained eye, their analysis makes sense. I’d like to see a similar study for the D’s and prior years (easy for me to say since I just read the report and don’t do the work). I’d also like to see someone else replicate their result. Not sure where they got their data.

      The trends do seem far too consistent and linear to be organic.

      Also, their point about the inability to audit election results is possibly the most important takeaway.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        Oops. This is a response to the other video posted in today’s Links that seemed to show votes getting swapped in 3 MI counties. Doesn’t do much good here. Time for bed.

  36. Calypso Facto

    Nice to see Yevgeny Zamyatin mentioned here. Some years ago I tried very seriously to learn the Russian language – the genitive case did me in conversationally but I retained the ability to read (slowly!) with a dictionary. Zamyatin has a short story, пещера or The Cave, that is included in the dual language reader many students use during the first year. The story is about the personal effects of a siege now totally forgotten to history as it was subsumed under the Russian revolution and civil war. It had a very powerful effect on me, not sure anything I’ve ever read, fiction-wise, has really ground into me the psychological horror of slow-motion starvation due to rampant hoarding and lack of community within a larger breakdown of society. I’ve searched for years for an English translation outside of the dual-language reader and, sadly, have never been able to find one. Highly recommended for any who do!

  37. Mikel

    Don’t know if this was posted, but in case not:


    Everyone working from home has not enjoyed VP/CEO type of privilege. And surely have never been afforded bansta privileges.

    The bank claims that working in the comfort of one’s own home leads to a slew of financial benefits including:
    -financial savings on expenses such as travel, lunch, clothes, and cleaning.
    -indirect savings via forgone socializing and other expenses that would have been incurred had a worker been in the office.
    -intangible benefits of working from home, such as greater job security, convenience, and flexibility.
    -There is also the benefit of additional safety.

    So consider it long overdue compensation for all the years of flatlining wages and productivity in the face of risking safety, giving up flexibility, and all other expenses incurred while f’in wages flatlined.

    Socializing was not forgone because of office closures: restaurants, bars, clubs, and gyms were closed.

    And they are worried about the use of the infrastructure that is raggedy most places and shameful for many alleged developed countries. More people not using it may make it easier for govts to maintain. WFH workers should get carbon credits too…as many as Musk.

    Can we just tax the constant bail-out receiving, Deutsche bank 90% instead?

  38. The Rev Kev

    “Americans Didn’t Vote Against Trump, They Voted Against More Media Psychological Abuse”

    I imagine that by now, the people behind the media have already determined what sort of stories that they are going to be writing for the next four years with Trump no longer the focus. Probably more anti-China stories and more stories against Russia. Likely too a white-washing of the recent election to make it sound like the blue wave that never was. And more marginalizing of progressives saying that it was because of them that the Democrats nearly lost the election. But for certain there will be a memory-holing of “unfriendly” stories. Hunter’s laptop? Whassat?

  39. Pelham

    Re polling: Is it possible that the polls are somehow deliberately skewed by the pollsters themselves?

  40. Off The Street

    Re California Tax Initiative

    Voters here are exhausted by the steady drip of initiatives and their zillion-dollar ad campaigns. In the weeks leading up to the mercy-killing on 11-3, there were typically 6-7 blurbs back to back, emoting about this or that salvation. That is also a reflection of the current economic health of television, where the delicate balance of commercial intrusion and drivel continues to shift. In prior years, there was more content and less advertising per hour, and the content was more tolerable. And they wonder why I love the library.

    For that tax piece, many have lost even more faith, if that is possible, in their Sacramento idiots. Even when there is citizen input, the working theory about use of tax proceeds seems to be as follows: We promise to spend it wisely as directed, with transparency and accountability piss it away on sketchy ideas that benefit our inner circle and leave you saps worse off.

  41. m4a please

    I certainly picked a high deductible plan to sleep better at night. The low-deductible options I was presented didn’t sound like insurance at all to me. I knew I was risking that I would end up paying a lot more unless I got sick, and indeed, I did not get sick so I didn’t “get my money’s worth”, except that I didn’t have to worry about it so much, which is priceless. Also, I don’t trust Health Savings Accounts or whatever they’re called. I don’t need a separate bank account that someone else holds the keys to (and possibly gets a cut of the interest on?) thank you very much. I will keep my money in my own bank account. The whole concept seems very condescending in the way that many rich people want welfare to be: you poors can’t be trusted with money, you’ll just spend it all on booze and fancy phones; we will decide what’s good for you.

    1. hunkerdown

      What they’re saying but can’t say is that we keep you poor partly to stop you from revolting, just like every other stable civilization, and you shouldn’t hate us for that.

  42. Jason Boxman

    At work every. single. year. During open enrollment, there’s an extensive 50+ email thread about which insurance plan to pick — identical benefits, only cost is different — with two camps: Those that have done well with the high-deductible plan and those that prefer the co-pay plan. And each side goes into detail about the particular cases in which one or the other is most beneficial financially.

    One year someone even did a detailed PowerPoint slide set breaking down the costs for each plan depending on possible health care spend scenarios or some such.

    Talk about a neoliberal tax on your time.

    And then there are always a few stories about someone that had to fight to get some procedure or medication covered.

    Anyone that “likes” their insurance has never actually used it for anything more than an annual physical. Any real care need floods you with endless explanation-of-benefits (EOBs).

  43. MichaelSF

    Bobby Jindal, the Indian-American governor of Louisiana, spelled it on the pages of the Journal yesterday: ‘Strange as it sounds, . . .

    Isn’t Jon Bel Edwards the governor of Louisiana? I don’t think I’ve heard anything of Jindal in years, so I was surprised to see him shown as governor. Perhaps those intrepid explorers from Africa discovered Louisiana and Jindal and declared him governor over the newly-found land?

  44. Brunches with Cats

    Re: House losses, blame cannons, AOC’s charts, etc.

    I’m reading all this Monday morning quarterbacking about why the House lost seats and who’s to blame, but little of it applies to my rural district in Upstate New York. AOC’s charts notwithstanding, there is simply no way that “mangy Blue Dog” Anthony Brindisi would have pulled ahead of Tea Party nutcase and Trump suck-up Claudia Tenney, if only he had supported MFA and the GND. If he had publicly come out for one or both of those programs, you could have stuck a fork in him, done.

    As it is, the opposition painted him as “too liberal for us.” The Congressional Leadership Fund’s attack ads were based on lies and half-truths. They also were eminently believable and devastatingly effective. Meanwhile, the House Majority PACs ads against Tenney were either reheated weak tea or spiked with some sort of hallucinogen that gave her an inexplicable rainbow aura — inexplicable, that is, until I learned on NC a few days ago that Robbie Mook was running the D campaign. Now it all makes horrifying sense.

    Enough absentee ballots remain to be counted that Brindisi could still pull through. But it doesn’t look good. As of this morning, Tenney — who challenged Brindisi to a rematch after he defeated her by a hair in 2018 — is leading by 28,000 votes (54-43%), with absentee ballot counting to resume today. (NY State allowed a week for county election boards to receive ballots postmarked by Election Day, and a lawsuit by Tenney and the mid-week holiday caused further delays.) If she wins, it will have more of an impact on my life than a “nothing’s going to change” Biden administration.

    The progressive left loves taking pot shots at the Blue Dogs — “mangy Blue Dog” is from a Down with Tyranny! opinion piece, re-published on NC several weeks ago. It also called them “garbage Democrats.” “Corporate Democrat” is another common epithet. Then there’s, “Why vote for a fake Republican when you can have the real thing?” I’m not familiar with any of the other Blue Dogs and don’t know how their constituents feel about them. All I can say is that Brindisi has been surprisingly good for a first-term congressman. His regional office staff are terrific — hardworking and responsive. One in particular has devoted hours to helping me with a major complaint against the VA. There is zero chance that Tenney will give me the time of day. Before she was voted out, I called, wrote, and emailed her office repeatedly and got no response — until 5 p.m. on a Friday a few weeks before the election. The caller, a legislative assistant in D.C., left a brief message — no “please call if you have further questions,” not even a callback number.

    There’s a ton more I could write, but will leave it there for now.

    1. MichaelSF

      Is there a necessary relationship between the quality of constituent services and how a rep votes on bills? I don’t think there would have to be one, you could have someone who has a great voting record who ignores their constituents (except for voting day) or one who votes the straight “Dread Chtulhu” party line on bills and has an office on every block with a staffer to help constituents.

      I’d guess that an elected official that supplies “meaningful concrete benefits” to their constituents might largely get a pass on their voting record on bills.

  45. thoughtful person

    The “New Total hospitalized with COVID-19 per Day by US States/Territories” chart from 91-DIVOC has flaws.

    This chart is a count, thus, the total always is greater than any part.

    The chart shows regions with higher cases than the total national number, that is not possible.

  46. Martin Oline

    I have spent he last hour watching a YouTube video by MIT professor Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai talk about the problem with using computers to count our votes and how code is used to change the output. I found the link today ob Sic Semper Tyrannis and it is alarming. I am putting his name in here so you can find it yourself and because the link may not work correctly. This is the information you need to understand what is going on and I wouldn’t be surprised if it disappears tomorrow.
    This is the paper ballot

  47. Martin Oline

    I have spent he last hour watching a YouTube video by MIT professor Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai talk about the problem with using computers to count our votes and how code is used to change the output. I found the link today ob Sic Semper Tyrannis and it is alarming. I am putting his name in here so you can find it yourself and because the link may not work correctly. This is the information you need to understand what is going on and I wouldn’t be surprised if it disappears tomorrow.
    This is the paper ballot

  48. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    of course he recanted: “Nice family ya got there. Be a real shame if they ended up face down in the river.”
    None of this is out of the ordinary for US politics. Nobody here read “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail”?

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