2:00PM Water Cooler 11/18/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, the server has been a little wobbly today. Hopefully all is well now. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Unfortunately, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is still down for scheduled maintenance, and won’t be back up until 8:00AM on November 19 (we hope). Here is a Cornell Feederwatch cam:


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:

Hmm: “Here’s What’s Wrong With COVID-19 Case Counts” [MedPage Today]. “By base rate fallacy/false positive paradox, if the specificity of a test is 95%, when used in a population with a 2% incidence of disease — such as healthy college students and staff — there will be 5 false positives for every 2 true positives. (The actual incidence of active COVID-19 in college age students is not known but estimated to be less than 0.6% by Indiana University/Fairbanks data. Even using a test with 99% specificity with a 1% population incidence generates 10 false positives for every 9 true positives. Using the same test on patients with COVID-19 symptoms, because their incidence of disease is 50% or greater, the test does not have to be perfect. Even using a test with only 90% specificity, the number of false positives will be much less significant. The actual sensitivity and specificity of COVID-19 tests are unknown as these tests were okayed by the FDA under Emergency Use Authorization. Manufacturers’ data have not yet been corroborated by the agency. The tests are “good enough” for diagnosing patients with symptoms but not nearly as effective when used for a random testing program.” • Note that the case counts from the Johns Hopkins CSSE data are “confirmed” cases (although a quick search doesn’t turn up the methodology of “confirmation” for me).

Test positivity by region:

Positivity seems to have plateaued in the South.

Hospitalization by region:

Hospitalization seems to have plateaued in the South.

Case fatality rate by region:

I added the death counts, and yes, deaths are rising as the case count rises; we’ll need to watch for that two-week lag.


“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 “Half of Republicans say Biden won because of a ‘rigged’ election: Reuters/Ipsos poll” [Reuters]. “Altogether, 73% of those polled agreed that Biden won the election while 5% thought Trump won. But when asked specifically whether Biden had ‘rightfully won,’ Republicans showed they were suspicious about how Biden’s victory was obtained. Fifty-two percent of Republicans said that Trump ‘rightfully won,’ while only 29% said that Biden had rightfully won. Asked why, Republicans were much more concerned than others that state vote counters had tipped the result toward Biden: 68% of Republicans said they were concerned that the election was ‘rigged,’ while only 16% of Democrats and one-third of independents were similarly worried.” • The Democrats did much better after 2016 with RussiaGate. Shows the difference between the efforts of one individual and those of an “airtight consensus” among elites.

* * *

GA: “Georgia secretary of state says voting machine audit is complete, no sign of foul play” [The Hill]. “Last week, Dominion Voting Systems, which is used throughout the state of Georgia, hit back at the president’s baseless claim that it had removed 2.7 million Trump votes from its machines. Pro V&V, a U.S. Elections Assistance Commission-certified testing laboratory, conducted an audit of a random sample of Dominion voting machines. The audit included precinct ballot scanners, ballot-marking devices and central absentee ballot scanners. The laboratory said it found no evidence that any of the equipment was hacked or tampered with.” • Pro V&V seems to be quite small. Here is a report they did in 2020 for Virginia. The requirements set forth in Appendices are interesting.

UPDATE MI: “Michigan county reverses course, votes unanimously to certify election results” [The Hill]. “The board of canvassers in Michigan’s largest county reversed course late Tuesday, voting unanimously to certify the election results after initially being deadlocked in a party-line vote. The Michigan secretary of state’s office confirmed that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers voted by a 4-0 margin to certify the election results in Wayne County, which is heavily Democratic and includes Detroit, and that the board is requesting that Jocelyn Benson, the state’s top elections official, investigate any discrepancies in vote totals. The unanimous decision marks a 180-degree turn from just hours earlier Tuesday night when the panel’s two Republicans voted against certification, sparking celebrations from the GOP and an uproar from Democrats who said the initial vote was simply delaying the inevitable. Republicans had refused to certify the election after some absentee ballot poll books in Detroit were found to be out of balance, but liberal lawmakers and activists flooded the panel with criticism given that a similar mismatch in the August primaries and general election in 2016 did not prevent the body from certifying those results.” • Oh.

PA: “‘I don’t expect that he would know the Pennsylvania election code’: A rusty Giuliani returns to the courtroom on Trump’s behalf” [Morning Call]. “Once a hard-nosed federal prosecutor who made a name for himself going after New York mobsters in the 1980s, Giuliani had not appeared in court as an attorney since 1992, according to court records…. Once a hard-nosed federal prosecutor who made a name for himself going after New York mobsters in the 1980s, Giuliani had not appeared in court as an attorney since 1992, according to court records.”

WI: “Trump campaign says it will file for a recount in 2 Wisconsin counties” [Axios]. “The Trump campaign said on Wednesday that it plans to file for recounts in two Wisconsin counties — a state Joe Biden won by more than 20,600 votes, per AP… According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Trump paid the $3 million needed for a recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties — two of the most liberal counties in the state. The recount must start no later than Saturday and finish by Dec. 1.” • Committing the same error Gore committed in Florida 2000: Ceding the moral high ground by only asking for a recount in counties he thinks he can win.

2020 Democrats in Disarray

“Democrats nominate Pelosi to keep Speakership” [The Hill]. • Qu’ils mangent de la crème glacée….

UPDATE That’s a hell of an act. What do you call it?

The Democrats!

Biden Transition

“Essential Politics: Biden’s first 10 days” [Los Angeles Times]. “[T]he president-elect has been methodically announcing key staff picks, establishing a game plan to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and receiving briefings on national security from outside experts.”


Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders: Build a Compassionate Nation” [Labor Notes]. “The moment we are in as a nation is unlike any other in history. We are dealing with a horrific pandemic and economic collapse. We are seeing massive protests against police brutality and a racist criminal justice system. We are watching the devastating effects of climate change unfold before our eyes. To address these urgent issues and many more, we must rebuild the trade union movement and end corporate America’s stranglehold on our economy and our government. We must create the nation of, by, and for the working class that we know we can become.” • None of this “working families” bushwa. Love the bio: “Senator Bernie Sanders is a Labor Notes subscriber.” I wonder how many other Senators could say that?

Trump (R)(1): “Trump Lost in Georgia after Depressing GOP Mail-In Vote, Secretary of State Raffensperger Claims” [National Review]. “President Trump likely lost the election in Georgia because his comments on mail-in voting led some Republican voters to avoid casting ballots, [Republican] Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger told Atlanta-based WSBTV on Tuesday…. ‘Either they did not vote absentee because they were told by the president, ‘Don’t vote absentee, it’s not secure’ — but then they did not come out and vote in-person,’ Raffensperger said. Trump “would have won by 10,000 votes. He actually depressed, suppressed his own voting base.'” • Of course, Raffensberger was responsible for Georgia’s June voting machine debacle, so I’m not going to be waving my pom-poms for him.

Trump (R)(2): “Public Pressure And Lawsuits Kept USPS From Handing Trump The Election. Here’s How.” [HuffPo]. ” Postal workers doing final sweeps of their systems have found just a few ballots — in most cases, they number in the double digits — that were lost or left behind. ‘I think, in the end, the post office did a good job,” said Allison Zieve, the director of litigation for Public Citizen, one of several watchdog groups suing the post office to make sure every ballot is delivered. What made the difference, experts say, was enormous public pressure, multiple lawsuits, scrutiny from the courts, urgent efforts to urge voters to mail their ballots as early as possible, and extraordinary measures taken by the agency itself and its legions of dedicated postal workers.” And at the very end of the article: “One group of people who did right by voters, many agreed, were postal workers.”

Trump (R)(3): “Romney calls decision on troop withdrawal ‘politically motivated’; 2 in Utah delegation disagree” [KSL]. • Politically motivated? Yes, that’s why we have elections. And there’s always a Tweet:

A child born when Pelosi made this statement has only eleven more years to go before they, too, can go to war in Afghanistan!

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UPDATE “Hawley Bucks Trend, Backs Afghanistan Exit” [The American Conservative]. “‘I write to express my support for President Trump’s plan for the prompt withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan,’ Hawley wrote to the acting Defense secretary, Christopher C. Miller. ‘The costs of the war in Afghanistan continue to mount, and they are borne disproportionately by working Americans. … For these reasons, majorities of Americans, including veterans of the war itself, have long called for an end to the war in Afghanistan. Yet most of our nation’s policymakers have ignored them.’ Hawley’s signaling is significant because it runs counter to the political assault on the Hill by Republicans to stop President Trump’s plot to exit from the troubled theater in his administration’s closing days.” • Er, actually, the costs are borne disproportionately by Afghans. Still, Hawley 2024?

UPDATE “Portland, Maine Voters Delivered a Series of Huge Working-Class Victories on Election Day” [Jacobin]. “On November 3, voters in Portland, Maine delivered a stinging rebuke to Mayor Kate Snyder and all but one city councilor by voting overwhelmingly to back four out of five referenda placed on the ballot by People First Portland (PFP). Portlanders supported raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour (62.4 percent), mandating Green New Deal building codes (59.5 percent), banning police use of facial recognition software (65.6 percent), and establishing rent control and tenant protections (58.3 percent). A measure restricting short-term rentals (which take much-needed housing stock off the market for local residents) lost so narrowly that a recount is underway (50.3 to 49.7 percent). The minimum wage referendum includes a time-and-a-half hazard pay provision that will immediately raise essential workers’ pay to $18 an hour, making it the highest minimum wage in the United States. All this despite the Chamber of Commerce, well-heeled developers, and the corporate headquarters of Airbnb spending $1,000,000 (nearly all of it in the final month) to defeat the measures.” • A million bucks is a lot in Maine! More: “Incredibly, Mayor Snyder and the majority of the city council are now attempting to sabotage the election results.” • Snyder is, of course, a Democrat.

Obama Legacy

“Obama’s Memoir Is an Exercise in Ironic Realism” [George Packer, The Atlantic]. “In the year and a half during which [Obama] prevented a depression and passed universal health care and Wall Street reform, he also lost the American public.” • Maybe if people like Packer hadn’t tried to sell ObamaCare as “universal health care” when it self-evidently was not from the very beginning, never was, and is not now, people’s disillusionment wouldn’t have been so great?

It gets worse and worse:

Lula is [gasp] a populist…

Worser and more worse:

Realignment and Legitimacy

Patient readers, I have been collecting punditry and will be refreshing this section shortly. –lambert UPDATE I have yet more punditry, but this will do to go on with.,

“Biden Will Likely Be Worse Than Obama. The Left Must Lead The Backlash, Or The Right Will.” [Caitlin Johnstone]. “[R]eturning to the pre-Trump “normal” is returning to the exact positions which created Trump. It’s like using a time machine to prevent a train wreck, but only going back to one millisecond before the train wreck occurred…. If I prove right about this, the Biden administration will generate backlash just like that which arose in response to the Obama administration, and that backlash will be more severe than its previous iteration…. There is absolutely nothing American leftists can do to prevent this backlash from coming. They will have absolutely no say in this administration’s policies or behavior; BidenCorp has no reason to listen to them, has made no pretense of having any interest in listening to them, and is even freezing Sanders and Warren out of cabinet roles already. All US leftists will have any control over is whether this backlash will break to the left, or if it will break to the far right…. [T]he ball needs to start rolling on this now. Not after the Georgia runoffs, not after Biden takes office, not after the midterms: now. The longer US leftists wait to start pushing this thing forward, the less of a head start you’ll have on the rightists while they’re fixated on Trump’s recounts and legal challenges. You’ll only be able to lead the backlash if you get in early and hit the ground running as fast as you can.”

UPDATE “David Shor’s Postmortem of the 2020 Election” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. Shor: “There was a uniform swing of roughly 1.5 percentage points toward us, relative to 2016. Education polarization, which is the gap between how college-educated white people vote and how non-college-educated white people do, continued to grow. And Hispanic voters swung against us by a lot. Exactly how much is unclear. But potentially by as much as 12 points. And the sum total of all the things was that we were able to narrowly win the Electoral College. So that was the big picture at the presidential level…. The public polling suggested that a bunch of non-college-educated whites were going to come home to the Democratic Party, and while that may have been true in a few discrete places, nationally that did not happen. In fact, the gap got worse. And, broadly speaking, the worse that you do with non-college-educated whites, the more structurally disadvantaged you are in the American electoral system… [I]f we can’t reduce the structural biases that have appeared in the last ten years by changing the rules of the game, we will have to make the hard choice of changing our party so that we can appeal to these non-college-educated voters who are turning against us.” • It’s always amazing to me that liberal Democrats would rather abolish the Electoral College, or add states to the Union, or pack the Supreme Court — all obvious fantasies — rather than appeal to actual voters. But, as Thomas Frank shows, they hate the working class (for which lack of education is a proxy). So here we are!

UPDATE “Jubilee” [Interfluidity]. “The Democratic Party is trending towards becoming a party of the educated professional class alone. I view that as a horrible development we should move heaven and earth to reverse. So long as we are (miserably) a two-party system, the complement of a professional-class party is a fascist party. The Republicans we detest are the obverse of what we are allowing ourselves to become. Letting the working class remain in hock — underwater on unforgiven credit card debt, kiting paycheck loans to feed the kid and make the rent — while we unilaterally forgive higher education debt strikes me as an almost cartoonishly perfect wedge issue to polarize the college and noncollege elements of the Democratic electorate. Republicans would ruthlessly demagogue and exploit student loan cancellation to build their new ‘multiethnic, multiracial, working-class coalition.'” • Interfluidity’s thougths on college debt are also interesting, but that paragraph leaped out at me.

UPDATE “It’s 2020, and Democrats Still Don’t Understand Their Voters” [Mike the Mad Biologist]. “[A}fter four years, too many Democrats still seem unable to comprehend that a significant fraction of bigoted people, somewhere between one-third and one-quarter depending on how you measure it, vote Democratic in spite of and in opposition to their bigotry. I find a cautious hope of sorts in that, since it means Democrats can win over bigots without having to be bigoted ourselves. Because if Democratic bigots don’t turn out, never mind switch, we lose. So, do we want them to vote in support of or in opposition to their bigotry?” After citing polling data, Mike concludes: “[O]ften the argument is phrased as ‘appealing to racists’, as if this doesn’t happen. Democrats already do appeal to some racists, in spite of their racism. Yes, I would like the scourge of racism to be eradicated, but that’s kind of a long-term project–think pulpits, not politics, for that. In the meantime, the question is do we want racists to vote for or against their racism? The question pretty much answers itself.”

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“UPDATE Holiday jeer: Intolerance growing more evident among donors to charity” [Journal-Gazette (AM)]. “As COVID-19 has pushed our organization to a peak in numbers of first-time applicants as well as those who were in need of human services (more than 20,000 this year alone in Allen County), it also gave me the highest number of demands from donors insisting that before they assist a family or help a child, they be given the political affiliation of their parents. You read that correctly. Donors insist that before they help, they know who the people they’re helping are voting for. The first few requests I shrugged off as singular instances, until gradually they became a new norm for me to ready an answer for. All seem to be like-minded, that if they’re assisting children whose parents are voting a certain way, they are not worthy of basic necessities.” • Yikes. I think — doing a little farfetching here on causality — that we should outlaw social media entirely. The sorting is getting too brutal.

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.

Construction: “October 2020 Residential Building Growth Stumbles” [Econintersect]. “We seem to be seeing and bad month, followed by a good month, and then another bad month. The backward revisions this month were small. It is always difficult to understand the trends as the backward revisions sometimes reverse trends month-to-month. The nature of this industry normally has large variations from month-to-month (mostly due to weather) so the rolling averages are the best way to view this series. The rolling averages say this sector is growing but rollercoastering. We consider this report worse than last month.”

Employment Situation: “Retail, Transport, And Warehousing Jobs Soar In October 2020” [Econintersect]. “Retail and Transportation and Warehousing firms added the highest number of jobs in October on record, according to an analysis of non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. ‘While the year has been dominated by uncertainty, the surge in demand for online shopping necessitating the need for more shipping and transport jobs is fueling massive hiring gains in those industries right now,’ said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc…. Retailers added 242,000 jobs in October, 55% higher than the 156,100 seasonal jobs added in the sector in October last year. While it is the highest total for October, it comes after falling by 75,000 jobs in September.” • A roller-coaster….

* * *

Shipping: “Retailers and logistics operators expect the postholiday returns business to have big new dimensions this season. The pandemic-driven flood of online orders for furniture and other outsize consumer goods will likely bring a rush of heavy, bulky goods back into logistics channels in January [Wall Street Journal]. [C]ompanies are bracing for a heavy impact, setting up dedicated handling sites and striking deals with reverse logistics specialists to cope with the loads. The returns headaches are an annual ritual for retailers after the peak shopping season. With homebound consumers getting far more exercise bikes, lounge chairs and office desks delivered to their residences this year, the costs and complications are expected to grow.”

Shipping: “Maersk Sees Rise in Freight Rates Tapering Off in 2021” [Bloomberg]. “Container volumes this quarter are expected to be in line with or a little better than levels Maersk saw in 2019, he said. Looking further out, [Maersk CEO Soren Skou] said: ‘We believe that in 2021 we will see a market that is similar to one we saw in 2019 or maybe slightly better. And that means that we as a company will be able to have good utilization of our network and continue the journey that we’re on.’ Still, the midyear snapback in demand meant containers were in the wrong places, and Maersk is working to rectify that situation. Service reliability across the industry ‘is quite low right now, so there’s plenty of work for us to do to help our customers move their goods also in the coming quarters,’ Skou said.”

Retail: “Walmart’s latest quarterly figures may be a warning shot for the rest of the U.S. retail sector. Comparable sales at the world’s biggest retailer rose a strong 6.4% from a year ago… but deeper figures show the dramatic changes that are buffeting consumer-goods supply chains and suggest the clouds on retail horizons” [Wall Street Journal]. “E-commerce sales in the U.S. jumped 79% and accounted for much of Walmart’s gains, and the growth has slowed as traffic in stores has declined. The company says people are making fewer store trips, shifting more spending online and stocking up when they do go to stores. Walmart and other retailers are investing heavily in filling online orders, often at the cost of profit margins. ”

Manufacturing: “Cardboard is back in style in recycling supply chains. Companies are turning to discarded delivery boxes and junk mail to replace the recycled office paper that has become scarce as people work from home. [T}hat’s triggered a turnaround in a market that collapsed two years ago when China toughened its standards for waste paper imports” [Wall Street Journal]. “Now, U.S. mills are figuring out how to turn the trash into toilet paper, coffee cups and even new cardboard boxes.”

Tech: “Google Nest server outage leaves US, European smart homes acting dumb” [The Register]. “Nest is down – again. A widespread outage means that smart home customers are unable to login to their accounts, use their smartphones to view video livefeeds, adjust thermostat controls, or interact with any of Nest’s product range…. The outage was an unfortunate reminder to Nest customers that their expensive equipment is almost entirely reliant on Google’s servers to be useful and that the Chocolate Factory’s [here] ongoing efforts to pull Nest into the fold continues to cause significant problems…. Nest users will be required in future to shift to Google logins and users are constantly prodded to access their accounts through Google. Today’s outage is just one more sign that Google’s culture and skillset is seemingly a poor match for what Nest represents – or used to represent – high-quality, non-invasive smart home hardware. The poster child of the smart home increasingly looks like a washed-up child star heading to rehab.” • Ouch!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 71 Greed (previous close: 69 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 65 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 18 at 11:53am.

The Biosphere

“Otters Show How Predators Can Blunt Climate Damage” [Scientific American]. “As sea otters declined (for reasons scientists are still trying to understand), their favorite prey—sea urchins—exploded in number. The voracious echinoderms not only mowed down the kelp but are also tearing apart and devouring the massive, slow-forming limestone reefs on which this seaweed grows, [Doug Rasher, a researcher at the nonprofit Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences] and his colleagues recently reported in Science. Rising ocean temperatures and acidification are compounding the damage. Restoring otter populations could rein in the urchins and help protect the larger ecosystem, and ecologists are increasingly interested in applying this idea more broadly. ‘Our study … highlights the power of trophic cascades in nature and the potential for large predators to ameliorate some of the effects of climate change in the near term,’ Rasher and his co-authors wrote. (‘Trophic cascade’ refers to the compounding effects of removing an organism from an ecosystem.) Many climate impact studies on species have not adequately acknowledged this kind of ecosystem complexity as a factor, according to Rasher and other scientists. Incorporating it would offer a clearer picture of what a warmer future holds in store.” • “Trophic cascade” is a good Phrase of The Day.

Health Care

“Here’s Why COVID-19 Mortality Has Dropped” [MedScape]. “Healthcare workers are now seeing unprecedented increases in COVID-19 diagnoses and hospitalizations — but there hasn’t been a congruent rise in mortality rates even as case counts set records. In fact, the COVID-19 mortality rate in the U.S. has fallen since the start of the pandemic. That decline has no single, clear explanation, but experts have pointed to a host of contributing factors, including a higher proportion of cases among the young, increased knowledge of how to treat COVID patients, better therapies, and less overcrowding in hospitals.” • A good summary worth reading in full.

“75% Think Biden Likely to Impose Strict National Lockdown” [Scott Rassmussen]. “To deal with the pandemic, 75% of voters believe President-elect Biden will impose a strict nationwide lockdown. A Political IQ poll found that 15% consider such a lockdown order unlikely while 9% are not sure. Those totals include 40% who consider it Very Likely and just 3% who say it’s Not at All Likely. At the same time, however, just 43% believe governments should be imposing stricter lockdowns where they live. The poll, conducted by Scott Rasmussen, found that 50% believe governments should either be easing restrictions (28%) or making no changes (22%). An additional 7% are not sure. There is a broad expectation across all segments of society that Biden is likely to impose a strict national lockdown. However, there is a huge partisan divide as to whether that’s the right thing to do.” • Rassmussen is a Repubican shop…

“Mom Completely Understands That Coming To Thanksgiving Is Risky And That You Don’t Love Her Anymore” [The Onion]. • Of course she does.

Guillotine Watch

“Blue”* oligarchies:

* I should not fall into the trap of saying painting any jurisdiction entirely Blue, or for that matter, Red, and probably not any individual. This is challenging in English, I think.

Class Warfare

“OPINION: Bring Back Dynamite” [The Strike Wave]. “We’re being offered so little—committee-tested resolutions, hints at reform, gestures towards pushing for small changes, the illusion of proximity to power—and the leadership (and their political allies) who benefit from even these tepid measures are not interested in listening to demands for more. It’s time to bring back dynamite—if not literally, then in the very least metaphorically, by harnessing the mass worker power of this movement and forcing the change that our leaders are loath to even politely consider. If our leaders aren’t up to the level of organizing and outreach and political education that this moment demands, we need new leaders. The movement can’t go on like this. It has already been beaten down to hell, and needs the next generation to keep it alive—so why do so few top leaders want to listen to us?” • I still think Sanders had the match in spring 2000 when the strike wave was rising, and elected not to light and throw it. In retrospect, it might have been better for Biden (not to mention Sanders and the working class), if he had.

“Hero nurses, untrustworthy domestic workers, and vilified sex workers” [Open Democracy]. “Limitations to women’s mobility are aggravated during this global pandemic. As sending and receiving states curtail the cross-border movements of migrant women, particularly nurses and sex workers, and as employers limit the mobility of migrant domestic workers outside their home, they justify these mechanisms of control through the deployment of what Patricia Hill Collins calls ‘controlling images.’ These images include the view of migrant women as disease carriers, heroes of the nation, and untrustworthy workers. Restrictions against women’s mobility have been a defining feature of migration policies. Women now account for nearly half of all international migrants. Yet, as more women relocate to another country to join family members, study, and work, our research shows that they also face migration restrictions that target them specifically. For example, domestic workers, who are mostly women, are subject to minimum age requirements in key labor source countries such as the Philippines. The Philippine government also prohibits the migration of sex workers, who are also mostly women, because of their status as ‘undocumented workers.'”

“Shut out of government relief, New York City street vendors ask for support” [The Counter]. “New York City street vendors who spend five figures on black-market permits have run out of patience, eight months into the pandemic, while a bill that would help them languishes in City Council. So last Thursday, about 150 vendors and activists marched over the Brooklyn Bridge to downtown Manhattan to demand the passage of Intro 1116, a bill that would lift a 37-year-cap on the city’s 5,100 legal vendor permits. Even though the two-year-old relief bill is cosponsored by 29 of 51 city council members, Speaker Corey Johnson hasn’t brought it to vote, and his spokesperson had no comment about why that is. The march was the latest move in a years-long battle between vendors, business groups, and the Mayor’s Office. ‘On behalf of myself, and all the vendors in New York City, I want the black market to end,’ said Sabina Morales, through a Spanish translator. The 62-year-old Queens produce vendor says she pays $26,000 in annual fees to sub-lease two permits from their original owner; if she could buy a permit outright it would cost $200 every two years. ‘That’s a lot of money that’s being taken from me.'” • Morales and Mohamed Bouazizi, the same material conditions….

News of the Wired

“Conspiracy theories, explained” [Vox]. Leaving RussiaGate out of the parade of horribles, naturellement…. “Conspiracy theories provide people with a feeling of control when presented with troubling and disturbing information, calming our fears of the inevitable or unknown. ‘A lot of these conspiracies detract from some scary themes in the world,’ [Sander van der Linden, a social psychologist who researches conspiracies at the Social Decision-Making Lab at Cambridge] told me. ‘Climate change, coronavirus. It’s just another way to deny reality and having to think about your own fragility in the world. It’s an escape for people who are not so tolerant of uncertainty.'” • If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen a headline using the word ‘terrifying’ in the Times, WaPo, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Salon, etc., I could retire and live on my non-earnings. I wish somebody would write an article on the inability of various factions in the political class and the broader population to self-respect, to introspect, “to see ourselves as others see us.” (See this yesterday from KFF’s Drew Altman to see the effects even in those of good faith.) If I had to prescribe one thing to mitigate “division,” that would be it: Self-reflection (and combine that with critical thinking skills, and you’d really have something).

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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 (TH):

TH writes: “Just love the yellow flowers in the foreground warming up a somewhat cool scene.”

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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. Old Jake

      By all means take it! When things slow down and I have the opportunity, a good nap is very much in order. Physical and emotional health are much enhanced.

  1. Glen

    How does a web site “go down for maintenance”? You should be running like three servers with one physically located at a different site.

    I sure hope this isn’t some guy at Cornell just running this off a spare PC they had laying around not being used. Not that I haven’t seen that done – or done it myself.

    1. IowanX

      I’ve been bugging everybody I know that the time for Revenue Sharing was last March. It was supported by both parties, and Reagan killed it for a reason.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      These are the key paragraphs:

      Back in 2009, when faced with a similar fiscal crisis, California’s state controller, John Chiang, began printing IOUs in lieu of cash to pay taxpayers, vendors, and local governments. In the context of a $26 billion fiscal deficit, the amount of IOUs created was actually quite small: 28,750 IOUs worth $53.3 million issued initially. But these IOUs came with a potentially radical provision, namely allowing them to be used for personal income tax refunds—an action that effectively would have meant that California was de facto entering the currency issuing business.

      The tax payment provisions of the IOU program were headed off before they came into use. There were indications that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pressured the banks not to accept the IOUs as payment for taxes. In any case, the Obama administration ultimately passed a sufficiently large-scale fiscal relief package (the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) that alleviated the need for the more extreme measures contemplated by the California state government at that time.

  2. teri

    “BidenCorp has no reason to listen to them, has made no pretense of having any interest in listening to them, and is even freezing Sanders and Warren out of cabinet roles already.” – Caitlin Johnstone article.

    And maybe Biden knows he needs Sanders and Warren in the Senate? It’s doubtful there will be a Democratic majority, but why give up two who, for sure, will stand up a bit to the Republicans and perhaps pull a few “centrists” of either party along with them?

    1. Big River Bandido

      Biden’s Senate coalition is made up of right-wing Democrats and Republicans. He can pass his austerity and war proposals with just those Senators. There are *always* enough votes to pass right wing legislation in Washington. If necessary, a handful of democrats will he found to play the Rotating Villain for whatever the issue is at hand.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Jimmy Dore has noted that whenever a neoliberal or neocon piece of legislation needs to be passed, that there are always a sufficient number of Democrats found who will vote along with the Republicans to get it passed. Maybe not always the same Democrats but it is almost as if was pre-arranged beforehand. As if a few phone calls had been made and it was all sorted out before the vote. Very strange.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Joe Manchin will likely be the most powerful person on Capitol Hill, Dems. likely will get nothing done without him

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Why give up two who have been so unreliable to even their base supporters? Best keep some sort of reliable counter ‘support’.

  3. IM Doc

    Re COVID Vaccines

    Internal medicine physician here.

    Just had a long discussion with old friends back in the big city – one infectious disease doc – three general internists. All are now corporate-employed physicians. I no longer am – this is largely why I moved to a more remote area. They have been informed that not only will they be forced to take the vaccine as a condition of employment – they are also not to utter a single disparaging word to any of their patients – the goal is to get as many immunized as possible. No one is to be involved in discussing any potential problems or issues. Curious, since that kind of discussion is what I spend a great deal of my day doing about all kinds of meds and interventions. But this vaccine – SHUT THE PIE HOLE.

    All of them share the same serious skepticism I have about how this has been rolled out. None of them are going to feel good about the vaccine until more conclusive data has been released. Pharm industry ad glossies are just not going to do it. The point is I have freedom – they do not. America – please pay attention to whether your doc is corporate owned – it really can make a difference in your very well-being.

    To all the Pfizer investors out there – I would also like to add this little anecdote. The kind of freezers that are going to be needed to maintain this vaccine in an office are outrageously expensive. The cheapest quote I could find today was 47,000 dollars – and by the way we may not have inventory for at least 9 months. First of all – I will not be paying that kind of money for something that may or may not ever need to be used. If there are other alternatives coming out – why would anyone invest money like that for something that will never be used again. Furthermore, in 9 months the whole vaccine thing may be over for better or worse. I discovered today that our 2 local pharmacies and the hospital are completely uninterested and will be getting the Moderna vaccine or one of the others coming out possibly later – they will not be investing either. The Pfizer vaccine is a no-go here – and I suspect much of non-big-city America.

    My infectious disease colleague today reminded me of another salient fact. Never before in the history of vaccines have CASE NUMBERS been the metric of importance for success. With previous vaccines, we have focused on improvement in mortality and morbidity and symptom decrease – never on case numbers. Yet that is all we are talking about here. There is probably some importance to these numbers – but the important parameters are not even being discussed. The malaise about this rollout in my circle of friends is really beginning to show.

    I am beginning to think more and more that I am just going to recommend to my patients , a freedom I still have, that we all just wait for several months – and see how things go. See if there are any real problems and see how effective it is. This is not a new procedure for me. Over the decades, I have gotten used to the idea of NEVER using any newly-released pharmaceutical for at least 6-12 months to see what the true safety profile and efficacy profile are. Even in a non-emergent situation, unlike this pandemic, the pharm industry rarely does enough testing to support either SAFETY or EFFICACY – and we as a society are now using the first “real” customers to gauge both. The last twenty years have been absolutely littered with drugs that are poorly tested or understood, pushed out on the market, and then retracted once the disaster develops. RELENZA, TROVAN, BEXTRA, VIOXX, I can go on and on and on.

    I really think I am going to use a wait and see approach.

    I have another question for attorneys out there. The pharm companies themselves are completely liability free for vaccine complications by a literal Act of Congress. Are employers who force their employees to get vaccinated free of liability if the worst happens? I really am interested and I do not know.

    1. Arizona Slim

      If you were in Tucson, you would SO be my doctor. And Yours Truly is no fan of the medical profession.

        1. ambrit

          Agreed. Non-corporate ‘owned’ doctors are becoming an “endangered species” in North America. My last ‘good’ doctor retired last year rather than be absorbed into a Hospital centred Healthcare Access Syndicate. He had reached his limit with the local Health Clinic he worked at attempting to manage what he could or could not ‘suggest’ to his patients. When it was bought up by the hospital, the extra layer of ‘command and control’ pushed him over the edge.
          I’m firmly in the above camp concerning the “Warp Speed Vaccines.” I have already told my General Practitioner that I will not sign up for any of the first wave of Covid vaccines. (Not that I would be in the ‘target’ demographic. We don’t have the right “insurance” nor do we have deep pockets.)

    2. furies

      It’s like pulling teeth for those of us damaged by benzodiazepines to get any kind of acknowledgement of the damages caused by them…which was being talked about by Dr. Heather Ashton/Macolm Lader in the ’80s.
      The *80s*!

      There’s thousands and thousands of us on the laymen support sites…but still nothing from ‘medicine’ who hands these out like smarties.

      The 3rd leading cause of death in the US (until Covid) was seeking medical care.

    3. Lee

      I wonder how long it will take for the old-timey, non-RNA Covid-19 vaccines to come out? I got the sense from your post yesterday that you would have more confidence in them.

      My own situation is complicated by CFS/ME. I have submitted a query to the Stanford specialist treating me for the condition as to whether or not it is advisable for his patients to get one of the new vaccines. No response yet. I’m assuming a high degree of uncertainty accounts for his silence.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I wonder how long it will take for the old-timey, non-RNA Covid-19 vaccines to come out?

        From the Financial Times, the global perspective:

        The timetable appears to be accelerating, with nearly 200 experimental vaccines in the pipeline, including two — from Pfizer and Moderna — that could be ready to submit applications for “emergency use” authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration in November.

        But there are caveats. First, the science remains unclear: while trial results for several vaccines suggest they are safe, data on their efficacy remains less clear: to what extent they will provide protection from infection and for what duration.

        If the “trial results” are coming in press release form, they aren’t doing any such thing. More:

        Only once they are widely used — and if those vaccinated are monitored — will any rare side-effects emerge. That could risk a backlash against their adoption — a concern for vaccines such as Russia’s Sputnik V and Sinopharm’s in China, which are already being provided to the public before large-scale testing is conducted and the results shared for wider scrutiny.

        Second, expanding manufacturing of vaccines, vials and syringes to meet global demand will take time, while distribution poses logistical problems — including whether lower income countries have sufficient healthcare staff to administer it at scale, and whether even richer nations have sufficient networks to distribute and store vaccines.

        Third, access will be limited by budgets in poorer nations, with initial supplies reserved by a few richer countries which have placed advanced orders with companies. That means vaccines and drugs may not swiftly reach some in the world who are most at risk.

        From the (unhelpfully paywalled) Times Vaccine Tracker:

        Vaccines typically require years of research and testing before reaching the clinic, but scientists are racing* to produce a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine by next year. Researchers are testing 54 vaccines in clinical trials on humans, and at least 87 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals.

        [* “Racing” is one of the words I watch out for, because it’s often used to describe systems that are not structured like races at all, and hence you know the narrative is controlling, not the reporting]

        Here is a summary chart from the Times:

        None of the “Limited Use” vaccines are approved in the US (being approved in China, UAE, etc.).

        The FT has the figure of 200 studies, which comes from WHO. The Times has 38 + 17 + 12 + 6 = 73. Their methodologies seem to be different. WHO is, I believe, all human trials no matter what phase they are in. The Times:
        Here is the status of all the vaccines that have reached trials in humans, along with a selection of promising vaccines still being tested in animals.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m not really happy with the press-release aspect of all this, and I’m also not happy that the mRNA technique is being used for the first time (and I wouldn’t call the cheerleading “informed consent,” either). I never conceived of OWS as a first-past-the-post* selection system; I envisaged, perhaps foolishly, that we’d have several vaccines to compare, and would pick the best on medical grounds. I would really, really like to know what Taleb thinks of all this. It seems to me that the parallel development process minimized risk, but doesn’t annointing the first vaccine out of the pipeline the winner put all the risk back into the process?

      NOTE * If it was, then OWS was rigged in favor of mRNA.

      1. Yves Smith

        It’s pretty clear that Pfizer knew it would have be first for its vaccine to have any hope of being used in a serious way due to the cold chain storage issue, so they went outside OWS.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          And called the Biden campaign the night before their press release. Yecccchhhhhh.

          The OWS parallel pipeline goes through manufacturing (which is sensible). I did not think the parallelism extended to the supply chain. Maybe it does. Everybody is treating the provision of hundreds or thousands of $47K freezers as a done deal, but is it? Who’s funding it?

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            Well, a thousand $47,000 freezers is $47 million. (Probably buys more units if there’s a volume discount.) Is that a major expense item within this project’s budget?

    5. Louis Fyne

      lol, I was thinking about VIOXX 20 sec. before you mentioned it!

      Alas, info like this is going to get sniffed out by the Skynet-Agent Smith algos.

      But way to communicate these ideas is the old-fashioned way, 1-on-1

    6. Louis Fyne

      supposedly ACA accelerated the decline of physician-owner practices due to reimbursement rate changes that disadvantaged small practices.

      Another thing to keep in mind when someone brings up the success of ACA

    7. cocomaan

      Over the decades, I have gotten used to the idea of NEVER using any newly-released pharmaceutical for at least 6-12 months to see what the true safety profile and efficacy profile are.

      Can you please be my doctor

      Even in a non-emergent situation, unlike this pandemic,

      The emergency seems to be for people who are immune compromised or are on the older side. For everyone else, it’s not something you want to get, but is it really an emergency situation? For instance, is it an emergency that makes it necessary to give it to a 10 year old? Doesn’t seem like it to me.

      1. Will S.

        I am neither immuno-compromised nor on the older side: I am 32 years old and rarely get even a cold (about twice in the past seven years). I contracted COVID-19 in August and am still feeling its impact: my speech is impaired (stutters and slurred words), my stamina is impaired (before COVID I lifted weights three times a week, now I can barely walk up stairs without being winded), and my gastrointestinal system is impaired (regular diarrhea, frequent nausea). It IS an emergency situation, though obviously not one that warrants administering untested vaccines at scale.

        I’m sure you meant well by your comment, but this idea that COVID is basically “you go to the hospital or you’re fine” irks me because my health is debilitated by this disease which so many brush off as only endangering old or immuno-compromised people.

    8. D. Fuller

      Family member in close proximity tested postive for Covid-19 after starting work at a distribution center for a certain company. His test was 5 days ago after coming down with symptoms. That makes, say 4 days of infection. My test is scheduled for the 20th, lab test. Which will take a minimum of 4 days to receive.

      4+5+2+4= 15 days. Quarantine is 14 days. By the time my test results come back? It won’t matter.

      The way the United States conducts Covid-19 testing guarantees spread. Most of the focus is on legal liabilities. Companies can say the followed the guidance and that no one has a right to sue them. Hence the rules are written so that a certain segment of our society can claim legal protections, with little or no thought to containing Covid-19 whatsoever.

      Food may be an issue since I can not handle fast-food delivered, after having spent 5 years overseas. Which is a common problem for people like me.

      VA won’t test me as a precaution. The local hospital won’t test me unless I have a doctor’s consultation. CVS will, thankfully. Nice to have government insurance where taxpayers cover the outrageous cost of testing, unfortunately.

      On a side note, I read McConnell’s “relief bill” concerning Covid-19. The majority of it consists of few items:

      1. Business liability protections against workers who sue over Covid-19. This dominates the first half of McConnell’s “relief bill”.
      2. Tax cuts.
      3. Big Pharma companies being able to prescribe their drugs for off-label use, while having legal liability protection. A boon to Big Pharma companies and… if vaccines are rushed, resulting in excess mortality.

      Other interesting points of note in the “relief bill”…

      1. Child Care is budgeted with $0 in appropriations. To be determined by future Congresses.
      2. Mineral stockpile – government buys high for national stockpile. Corporate Pork.
      3. No USPS debt forgiveness – despite the mention – due to the language.
      4. CARES Act funds have a curious subtraction from funds, reducing the money. That’s leftover from The CARES Act. Sleight of hand.
      5. National stockpile for medical equipment to be replenished with $1 billion a year in purchases until 2030. Smoke and mirrors. And more Corporate Pork.
      6. Stealth funding of religious schools through a faux-Education tax credit.

      Why does McConnell’s completely inadequate “relief bill” need 60 votes? The “relief bill” is actually a tax cut and corporate liability protection bill. Otherwise, since the “relief bill” is exempt from PAYGO Act which would require only 51 votes.

      No need to go on about Nancy Pelosi’s Pork relief bill either. Though, her bill provides more substantial relief for Main Street in between her corporate giveaways and pork.

      Neither McConnell or Pelosi are interested in legislating a clean bill that simply provides money for testing, support States, unemployment extension, Covid-19 relief payments, etc.

    9. Ron Grissman

      What you say is deeply troubling. As a lawyer & md, if you treat all your patients the same, then you are both an incompetent doctor, in violation of the terms of your license, your DEA registration, & can and will be sued to oblivion. Even Congress passing no liability laws doesn’t help, ‘cause they don’t stand up. Imagine, you give and insisted each patient you examined a peanut cookie. And then one dies due to, what else – an allergy. You must treat each patient as they present as an individual. You can recommend they take the virus or not depending on all the circumstances. But the final decision must be the patients full informed with the fda drug info sheet, anything less and then you must quit.

    10. neo-realist

      I’m curious as to why the 2 pharmacies and the hospital are going with the Moderna vaccine, which also utilizes the untested mRNA tech with no evidence of long term efficacy? Is it the cost of freezing alone for the Pfizer vaccine that discourages them?

    11. The Rev Kev

      Thank you very much for this thoughtful post. One bit that snagged my interest is your mention of those $47,000 freezers. With 335 million people living in America alone, that is going to be an awful large amount of freezers that will be needed. So, which country has the capability and the present expertise to build so many freezers? Anybody been checking out Whirlpool Corporation’s stocks?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I did some cursory investigation of commercial refrigeration at pharmacies; big concern over cold-chain already, I’m guessing because speciality drugs already require special handling and are very, very expensive, so there is ROI. The companies look like US companies, but I don’t know where the manufacturing is done.

        So in some ways Covid is pushing on an open door, and a greatly improved cold chain will make it possible for Big Pharma to push more product. Which has to be good, right?

        (I also wonder if current cold chain thinking takes global warming into account.)

      2. Clive

        Reliable, certified for medicine storage very low temperature refrigeration is not a mass-market product. It’s barely above the level of a craft industry and custom build. This is because, historically, production volumes have been tiny compared to low and medium temperature refrigeration — and the niche is even smaller because you don’t need to go much lower in the temperature range to be out of scope of refrigeration and into cryogenics.

        Everything about very low temperature refrigeration is at the limits of the materials. Metals become less ductile, operating pressures are higher, insulation is prone to cracking, lubricants lose miscibility, control systems and thermocouples are at the far end of their ranges, the thermal shock when the refrigerated volume is exposed during door opening to incoming ambient air which is much higher in temperature contrasts etc. etc. etc.

        While the $47,000 refrigerated cabinet may include an element of profiteering, every component it contains will have supply chain and availability issues forcing up the prices which will have to be reflected in the end product.

      3. OldDunc

        You have a point, but I hope you aren’t assuming that one freezer will be needed for each dose. It sounds as if you are.

    12. notabanker

      I imagine the very first action Biden takes is to release corporations from all liability regarding this vaccine, which will open the door for mandatory vaccination as a condition of employment. Wanna fly? Where’s your vaccine? Wanna drive across state lines, please show your vaccine. Shop at the local grocery store? Seriously, where does it end?

      Can’t wait for the photo op of Joemala getting their shots. Fresh Flint water anyone?

    13. Voltaire Jr.

      Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

      –Alexander Pope

  4. JTMcPhee

    About all one can say about Bernie Sanders at this juncture is that he has become stunningly irrelevant, IMO. Has given away even any moral suasion he had, let alone any kind of power in the system. My bad for trusting in him to deliver on my own foolish (once again!) hope that some individual would be serious, and be able to deliver, on the pipe dream of stripping the kudzu of capitalism from the great American forest…

    Maybe a better remedy would be a forceful application of Roundup! ™… Oops, originally wrote “liberal application,” my bad…

    Unlike Musk’s Starships, a soft landing ain’t foreseeable foe the vast most of us mopes in this place and time.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Like you I am NOT a fan of Bernie Sanders. I have been BADDLY BERNED . I am not sure what to do with the posters I bought early on. I suppose they might be recycled. ?!??!?!!?!!?

      1. Gc54

        That’s what I did w my Bernie signs after peeling off my Tulsi bumper sticker. My first Bernie sign was vandalized after Utah, replacements that took weeks to arrive from his campaign went straight into recycling.

        1. ambrit

          I know some yahoos who will gleefully use Bernie posters as targets down at the gun range.
          I wonder what sort of reaction I would get if I suggested using a Bush 43 poster for that purpose?

          1. Louis Fyne

            they would ask where you got your 43 posters as theirs was shot up long ago…

            Bush 43’s legacy has soured on the right. 43’s only base is the NYT-DC crowd. guess that is only who matters for the hagiography.


            1. ambrit

              Thanks for the laugh! I needed one tonight.
              “…as theirs was shot up long ago…” That sounds exactly like the fellows I know.

      2. Wukchumni

        I am not sure what to do with the posters I bought early on. I suppose they might be recycled. ?!??!?!!?!!?

        Repurpose them into ersatz buckets of Kernel Sanders original recipe for $27, and throw in a couple side orders of futility.

        1. ambrit

          I bow down in praise!
          “..ersatz buckets..” My proposed pun is pail in comparison.
          And, wasn’t that Kemal Sanders, along with the Young Twerks?

    2. Janie

      JTMcPhee re Bernie: “some individual would be able…to deliver” us from under the kudzu of capitalism. Things look different thru the retroscope. Perhaps it was unrealistic to expect one person to do more; he needed a movement with followers in local government. How successful were William Jennings Bryant or MLK in reconstructing the system? Maybe we all need to grow where we are planted, do what we can, where we are.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        As opposed to turning on the Magic Leader when he doesn’t give us what we want. (I think Sanders main error was strategic and not motivated by bad faith, so I really see no point in personal vilification, even if one must take the jouissance one can get…

    3. notabanker

      A few years ago, I had the opportunity to judge at a family members high school debate. Most of the kids were very bright, articulate and could think on their feet quickly. Some of them were pretty gifted and would not be denied a win.

      As I sat and watched Sanders / Biden debate, it was clear that a number of those kids, given they could overcome their fear of the moment, would have crushed Biden in that debate. Sanders simply chose not to. It was at that precise moment, my mind was clear. Sanders had no intention of winning the nomination. Why? Only he knows, I could speculate endlessly, doesn’t matter. It was clear he chose not to win. So I chose not support him, nor to advance any respect towards his candidacy. That will never change as far as I’m concerned.

      1. ambrit

        Phyllis noticed the same thing.
        “That man doesn’t have the “fire in the belly” needed to succeed in national politics,” was her comment.

      2. neo-realist

        I don’t think it was a matter of lack of intention as much as a realisation that too many powerful forces were arrayed against him – DNC, corporate media (and by extension, the oligarchs), and debate moderators – which, arguably, brought him to a moment of clarity that he wasn’t going to be allowed to win.

      3. Yves Smith

        1. Sanders is very big on consistency. Per Stephanie Kelton, that is why he would not advocate for MMT. That constrains his responses.

        2. Biden lied a ton. Have you seen on my CalPERS posts how much space it takes to debunk a lie? 3 to 30 times the words in the lie. In a debate, Sanders was under time limits. Effective debunking was impossible.

        1. Charger01

          All the more reason to go for the throat. But nice guys finish last, as the cliche goes, he must have been constrained by his own moral hesitation with his good friend Joe, and was promised something not to turn the knife. He missed his opportunity to deliver something he loudly announced on December 10, 2010. A modest proposal- to represent the non-billionare and eschew the donor class.

        2. ambrit

          Even given his history in the Senate, if he really wanted to upset the system, all he had to do was loudly and clearly say; “You Mr Biden are a liar, and not fit for the office you aspire to.” If you know that you are going to be screwed yet again, going full scorched earth is a rational response. That’s where the “fire in the belly” comes in. Being of a “certain age,” what does he really have to lose?
          Is Bernard Sanders content to be the modern version of Adlai Stevenson?

          1. Charger01

            Now he’s a has-been at best. You don’t dare throw down as a “revolution” without acknowledging this is a one way trip. To paraphrase the wonderful Terry Pratchett, “thats the problem with a revolution, it come back to where you started!”

        3. ckimball

          I think you are correct. Thank you. A light bulb came on for me.
          I have wondered about this. It was most disturbing. Like how did it
          happen. Why did it happen. Now I ask, was it a tactic designed to undo Bernie’s dialectic? If so, it worked. At that time Biden did not seem like he would be able to sustain a rational train of thought for long. Turns out, he didn’t have to.

          1. ckimball

            Clarification regarding my comment….last night. It was directed at
            Yves comment beginning 1.Sanders is very big on consistency ……
            I awakened this morning thinking that the behavior Biden acted out
            during the debate bore a resemblance to Trumps in terms of the components of reactions and initiation.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Sanders had no intention of winning the nomination

        Obama’s NIght of the Long Knives was March 2. Super Tuesday was March 3. The debate was March 15, and I think by then Sanders had concluded there was no path to victory. Rightly.

        Sanders won California, an amazing feat for somebody who didn’t want to win the nomination. He also beat the Culinary Worker leadership in Harry Reid’s fiefdom, another amazing feat. The key question is why Sanders did not win Texas on Super Tuesday. He lost, 34% to 30%, with Mayo Pete and Warren playing the spoiler role. 4%, to me, means Texas was within reach.

        If Sanders had won Texas, every single one of us would be preening ourselves on our genius, including me.

  5. anon in so cal

    >Election legitimacy

    Democrats’ top election lawyer is Marc Elias, who represented the DNC and the Clinton campaign, retained Fusion GPS, helped bankroll the Steele dossier…helped in the attempt to certify Detroit / Wayne County, Michigan votes

  6. dk

    Cornell Feeder Watch

    As of this writing (3pm EST) the snowfall is getting heavier and the bird shave left the feeder station. But the stream history is 12+ hours deep, so for the next 4.5 hours one can still scroll back to 06:38:50 (by the chronometer at the top of the screen) to see the first cardinals arrive, and watch the day’s 8 hours of activity. At 07:38:30 a tender arrives to replace the squirrel birdseed ornament and clean and replenish the trays. Birds return at 07:43, a downy woodpecker scouts out the location from a branch in the background before swooping in for breakfast.

    Nice cam, too bad it’s not a 24 hour buffer.

  7. lyman alpha blob

    RE: “Georgia secretary of state says voting machine audit is complete, no sign of foul play”

    The audit included precinct ballot scanners, ballot-marking devices and central absentee ballot scanners.

    OK sure, but what does that mean exactly? Sounds like they checked the hardware, but not the software which is where the actual problems would come from. The article doesn’t say. Why doesn’t an audit include checking the machine count against a hand count of the ballots tallied by that machine? Maybe it did, but the article doesn’t say. Maybe that part is covered by the recount which is also going on? Again the article doesn’t say.

    How hard would it be for The Hill to add a little detail and context ffs? I don’t see that this article shows anything definitive either way – we just have to rely on the honesty and goodwill of government officials who must have great technological expertise and couldn’t possibly be out of their depth or ever lie about anything.

    I did take a peak at the VA report but it looks like it’s about a mobile voting app, which is not the same and an even scarier idea than the machines we already have. They do seem to be testing the software though, but for what exactly is hard to make out through all the bafflegab. One example:

    Source Code Review

    Pro V&V reviewed the submitted source code to the EAC 2015 VVSG and the manufacturer-submitted coding standards. Prior to initiating the software review, Pro V&V verified that the submitted documentation was sufficient to enable: (1) a review of the source code and (2) Pro V&V to design and conduct tests at every level of the software structure to verify that design specifications and performance guidelines are met.

    Summary Findings:

    Pro V&V conducted both a manual and automatic source code review for Android and iOS applications. Pro V&V used Android Studio version 4.0.1 for the Android application and Xcode11.5 for the iOS application. The Android application uses the Kotlin coding standard and the iOS application uses the Swift coding standard. Pro V&V found both code bases to be compliant to their respective standard.

    Security Testing

    During the execution of this test case, Pro V&V verified various controls and measures to meet
    the required security standards including:protection of the critical elements of the voting system; establishing and maintaining controls to minimize errors; protection from intentional manipulation, fraud and malicious mischief; identifying fraudulent or erroneous changes to the voting system; and protecting the secrecy in the voting process.

    Summary Findings:

    Pro V&V and Voatz decided upon using the OWASP Mobile Application Security Checklist (MASVS Version 1.1.4, MSTG Version 1.1.3) for baseline security testing. Voatz provided the checklist with their findings. Pro V&V used a sample of the test cases to verify the results. Voatz also provided output from the automated Open-SCAP Evaluation Report for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Voatz servers.No security issues were found from the sample test cases.During the security evaluation, Pro V&V was able to verify that the Voatz RABDMR utilized a Blockchain from the server throughout the remainder of the process.

    It still doesn’t give much in the way of specifics. Did they have anyone try to alter the vote count while a test election took place? Did they have volunteers individually cast test ballots and match them up against the system test count? From what I can tell, all this says is the system works more or less they way the developers told them it should. Why is it so hard to get specifics on any of this?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Reading further, it looks like Pro V&V recommends that Voatz do a remote penetration test. This is on page 46 of the pdf (can’t seem to cut and paste text from this part of the report).

      Short version – Pro V&V recommends it, and the company responds by saying they already did their own test a year ago and everything’s OK.

      And RE: those requirements in the appendices. This one seems fairly important –

      On touch screens, the sensitive touch areas shall have a minimum height of 0.5 inches and minimum width of 0.7 inches. The vertical distance between the centers of adjacent areas shall be at least 0.6 inches, and the horizontal distance at least 0.8 inches.

      – my guess is it’s to minimize the risk of people accidentally making the wrong choice due to ‘fat fingers’. So why is the result listed as “Untested”?

      All in all, I might want something a bit more specific and rigorous before I OKed a purchase of this system. But then again, I wouldn;t OK the purcahse of any electronic system. Paper ballots, hand counted in public please.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Thanks for looking at this. I have a vague memory that when this whole electronic voting insanity started, back in 2004 or so, the testing and certification company was actually owned by the manufacturers themselves. I did try to find out who owns Pro V&V, but I couldn’t dig up anything. No time to look at the owners. To be fair to Pro V&V, they have been blessed by NIST…

        1. D. Fuller

          Didn’t the voting insanity begin in 2002 when Georgia produced very odd results where exit polling indicated a Democratic win. Suddenly, Republicans were winning races that exit polling said that should not have won. I’m probably wrong. And it was probably 2004.

          Brian Kemp got his start in 2004 in Georgia winning a dubious election utilizing e-voting machines. Beginning a long cozy relationship with Premiere/ES&S between Georgia State officials (revolving door, sweetheart deals) and the e-voting machine manufacturers with the exception of Dominion. Then there was that story of a Georgia Republican working for campaigns possessing the source code for the e-voting machines.

          2004 also being the Ohio State election debacle that saw so many irregularities.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Computer voting shenanigans were going on back further. During the 2000 Presidential election in Florida in fact when tens of thousands of votes were going out of the Democrats tally and into those for Republicans or Republican friendly. Was Florida important for the Democrats in 2000?

            1. D. Fuller

              I thought that was the hanging chad issue with the ballots in Florida. Interesting note, the company who designed the ballots with the hanging chad issues was owned by a Republican Bush supporter. That’s just coincidence regarding the failure of machines to punch through the card. Though, the layout of the candidates on paper ballots – as are some today – were confusing back in Florida in 2000.

              Bush swept up over 300,000 voters who voted for Clinton back in 1996, in Florida. While Ralph Nader picked up 60,000 votes – mostly disaffected Republicans, some Democrats, and some new voters. Yet Democratic myth making has Nader costing Gore the election. When Gore gave up and The Supreme Court took up the case they had no jurisdiction over, being a State issue. Though, almost no one will say that ever.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Didn’t the voting insanity begin in 2002

            The madness really began in 2002 with the “Help America Vote Act,” which incentivized electronic voting machines (see The Rev Kev’s link on the Volusia Error (although Volusia “Error” seems, on circumstantial evidence, more likely). That led directly to the Ohio debacle in 2004. I did a good deal of posting on electronic voting machines 2002-2004, and everything about them was bad. The technology was awful, the selection process incestuous, the certification was done IIRC by an industry consortium, and you had truly whiffy incidents like Chuck Hagel owning a voting machine company, then getting elected to the Senate in an election whose ballots were counted by his own company’s machines. Hilariously, Hagel’s campaign finance director was also an owner of the company, ES&S.

        2. Procopius

          Help America Vote Act, 2002. Of course it was a reaction to the “hanging chad” problem of 2000, but I wish somebody would investigate how the choice of electronic machines instead of paper ballots was made. Probably the people in congress who thought high tech was cool, and used the same logic that led the Democratic Leadership Council (i.e., the Clintonistas) to decide the New Deal is old fashioned.

  8. clarky90

    Re; “If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen a headline using the word ‘terrifying’ in the Times, WaPo, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Salon, etc., I could retire…”

    “Fear itself” has been served up to me everyday of my long life! Fear of this, fear of that….
    Same old, same old. Demoralize the population.

    “Mildred Gillars’ Axis Sally spoke in a friendly, conversational tone, but her goal was to unsettle her listeners. One of her favorite tactics was to mention the soldiers’ wives and girlfriends and then muse about whether the women would remain faithful, “especially if you boys get all mutilated and do not return in one piece.

    Gillars’ radio shows rarely had their desired effect—many GI’s only listened because they found them funny—but she was still considered a traitor by the U.S. government…..”

  9. JTMcPhee

    Re Caitlin Johnstone’s article: A lot of Twitter entries are whining about any “progressive persons” daring to criticize Biden for his “transition teaming” or daring to try to move Biden’s feet any closer to the fire: “Can’t you give him Just. One. Month?”

    The Bidenauts are definitively hitting the ground running, running hard toward the New Gilded Age and all its personal benefits…

  10. Darthbobber

    Packer on Obama. Sadly, neither I nor the general public noticed a depression being prevented nor universal healthcare being implemented. Calling Friskies kibble fresh salmon doesn’t make it so.

    I did notice neither card check nor even the much campaigned on 10 dollar minimum wage even being brought to a vote and an unemployment rate that sailed way past the peak he and his allies confidently predicted and then stubbornly stayed there for a prolonged period even though the measures he and the chorus confidently predicted would prevent anything of the kind were implemented.

    Maybe resting the party’s hopes for 2010 on the summer of recovery plus a complex health insurance scheme none of whose elements were yet in effect wasn’t really eleventy dimensional chess after all.

    But it will all forever be a great mystery over at the Atlantic. And a long list of other organs of information and “analysis”.

    1. miningcityguy

      The major benefits of the ACA — Medicaid expansion, subsidies– did not come into effect until 2014. If I remember correctly this was so that it would get a good CBO score and then Obama and his band of geniuses could crow about how it didn’t add to the deficit.

    2. D. Fuller

      No, there were some things about ACA that were already in effect.

      For instance, the inability of Medicare/Medicaid to negotiate drug prices with Big Pharma. That came from the prior 2005 Republican Medicare Part D scam. Which was nothing more than an attempt to win votes and Big Pharma donor money – the latter being a primary reason Democrats backed Heritage Foundation/AEI/RomneyCare (ACA). It is all about the Benjamin$.

      So, when Democrats had Shkreli before their Committee in Congress? All Shkreli had to do was point at Democratic Donkey-politicians and say, “You made it possible.”, then quote chapter and verse of ACA.

      Other than that? HMO’s were somewhat barred from rejecting those with pre-existing conditions. Yes, they are HMO plans with some modifications.

      As for the “lower health care costs”. It is not lower when taxpayers provide the difference. Though, ACA had somewhat of an affect in slowing the cost of insurance premiums. Which are ever-rising in the first place. Probably see a 60%-80% jump in insurance premiums without ACA. Which would force the HMO’s to offer no-frills/more out-of-pocket-expense insurance options. Which in turn would effectively bankrupt an even greater number of customers who used their insurance.

      1. Procopius

        D. Fuller
        November 18, 2020 at 7:06 pm
        Not really relevant, but not many people seem to have noticed that even though Martin Shkreli is in prison (for an unrelated offense), Turing Pharmaceuticals (now dba as Vyera Pharmaceuticals) has not lowered the price of daraprim.

  11. Hepativore

    Part of the problem with the left leading a backlash against BidenCorp is that the left has no platform to reach a large audience with. The major cable news networks such as MSNBC, CNN, and NBC are certainly never going to have any guest speakers on their shows that are critical of Biden or his administration and when they do analysis of anything it is going to be more hippy-punching and deplorable-bashing. The same goes for major publications such as the New York Times or Washington Post. They have been so successful in cocooning themselves and their audience in the idpol/neoliberal bubble that I think that it would be the equivalent of shouting into the void. After all, this is the same demographic that still sees Obama as a champion of civil rights and good governance despite all evidence to the contrary simply because of how allied most of the media is with Clinton/BidenCorp-flavored neoliberalism.

    For better or for worse, the political right does have Fox News to push their talking points and they also reach a huge audience. The left will continue to get blamed for the whatever disasters that happen in the near future and the political right will continue to scream “socialists!” at the Democrats. Unless by some miracle the idpol/liberal crowd stops getting their news from independent platforms, we will see Bidarris as the preselected Democratic candidate in 2024, even if you can stop the DNC from thwarting any attempt at a primary challenge.

    Who knows what Trump analog the Republicans will have by then.

    1. Mel

      “Part of the problem with the left leading a backlash against BidenCorp [ … ]”

      I think she meant you.

    2. Grant

      Isn’t this an issue though, especially cable news, because of older voters? What is the average age of a CNN viewer? Over 60, well over if I am not mistaken. Younger people generally don’t go to those stations tons, which is one small reason they are far more leftist than their parents and grandparents. I think the left reaches young people really well, but it doesn’t reach older voters because they go to sources (the ones you mentioned) that will not give the left any space. There are vast generational differences in regards to voting, and I think the sources people get their info from is a big reason why, and there are equally vast generational differences in that regard.

      Doesn’t matter anyway, as the system isn’t sustainable. The longer we cling to it and pretend we are forever in a 1992 bubble, the harder it will be to move on to an actually sustainable system, and I fear that if the left doesn’t grow up and get serious about taking power and governing, a far right fascist will get power and will be the person to deal with things like the environmental crisis. In my own personal experience, most people that (even reluctantly) supported Biden have already stopped paying tons of attention to what he is doing and they just want to be able to stick to their fundamentally anti-politics worldview. Vote a neoliberal in, they change nothing, so people can go back to wine while painting outings. The Democrats are the horrible mess that they are ultimately because of the rank and file. Their party is horrible, so is their leadership, they are all corrupt, the party leadership never changes, is opposed to the rank and file on policy, and most rank and file rarely does anything about it.

      There is such a massive de-linking between politics and policy, and the real world impact of giving a particular person with a particular ideology and particular class interests power. When people talk about the “working class”, for example, it doesn’t often seem to be how we generally think of class. I am working class, I sell my labor to the person or people that own the means of production, and my interests as far as wages are opposed to the person buying my labor. Neither party offers the working class anything at all on policy and is more times than not opposed to the working class. Class, as result of this, is more of a cultural thing in the US. We make sense of issues as people in a particular class, but because nothing is really accomplished in the political system, it is really just a cultural thing. The white working class isn’t a sea of workers that are being crushed by this system. No, they dig football, hunting, and don’t like wimps, liberals and rainbow flags.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        with the media silos, and the utter lock the two righty parties have on the electoral machinery and all the rest…I’m feeling a lot like Sisyphus.
        when does Sisyphus go on strike?
        just stop pushing the darned stone?
        i want more than anything to never think about all those people again,lol…nancy, chuck, billary, mcconnel, trump, chip frelling roy…
        and i’ve felt that way for 20+ years.
        “Dropping Out is a Revolutionary Act”-Wulf Zendik.
        ever since i met Zendik, circa 1992 or so, outside of Bastrop, I’ve known in my gut that he was right…but the civic duty is strong in me….the reluctant Humanist, forever staving off misanthropy.
        …and dutifully voting…mostly third party….
        now, yet another shameless display of hippiepunching and blame the Real Left for all their shortcomings…and in spite of rather obvious evidence to the contrary….when is it rational to give up on politics altogether?
        I want to secede, dammit.
        Amfortas’ 20 acre hermit kingdom…
        but watching the world burn from under the Big Oak doesn’t mean in the slightest that i won’t get burned, too.
        I review the deep history, since 1970 or so, and tell myself that it didn’t have to be this way….choices were made, and had consequences….but maybe it did have to be this way.
        Regardless, my Consent was withdrawn a long time ago.
        my flag has a middle finger on it.
        (got an extra telephone pole, and a couple of large roundish rocks, and have been considering a not too obvious/impressionist sculpture along those lines–https://nypost.com/2018/12/12/man-builds-a-giant-middle-finger-statue-to-flip-off-town-officials/ )

        1. a different chris

          I contest the entire concept of “backlash”. That’s implying there will be a temporary change in direction.

          It’s like using a time machine to prevent a train wreck

          No, it’s like using a Star Trek transporter to beam out one engineer on the train and beam in another. No difference will be observed by any outside measurements.

    1. ShamanicFallout

      And funny the people who supposedly know the most about the corona threat are the least afraid. Paging Lily Tomlin! Or maybe they’re just that arrogant

      1. Charger01

        I’m waiting two weeks to hear the outcome. Send up some thoughts and prayers to our “betters”, /s off.

  12. Louis Fyne

    I didn’t know that Caitlin Johnstone is based in Australia. But her posts read like she’s smack in the middle of America.

    And IMO she’s right about Biden, a new generation of liberals/progressives/whatever-folks-call-themselves are going to learn what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the DC Dem Triangulation Screw.

  13. Darthbobber

    Vox and conspiracy theories. Russiagate would be a near-perfect fit for their model.

    Deflected from the obvious domestic causes of the Trump-friendly environment built by the Obama era. With the added benefit of doing the same for the “inexplicable” left resurgence.

    Also allowed the denial of scary underlying problems by attributing everything to a sinister outside force.

    And conveniently allowed determined self-described centrists to stick to their script and also write-off all critics of left or right as fellow-travellers of the foreign infection.

  14. Another Scott

    Here’s what I don’t get about the student loan repayment plans: why the limit? My school limited debt to either $20 or $25K, and I had a 20-year payment schedule. I’ve been steadily employed since graduation, and the monthly payments (at low interest rates) don’t have much of an impact on my monthly budgeting. Friends from college are in similar situations. By contrast, there are people who were sold a false ticket and took on more than $100K for mediocre schools with slick marketing campaigns, only to graduate with marginally improved job prospects. It’d do far more good to let them off the hook for all but $10K than paying off the remainder of my debt.

  15. Pelham

    Re Josh Hawley on Afghanistan: Given the heavy steel door that Democrats have slammed shut against progressives, Hawley’s occasional remarks and just a few other faint hints on the GOP side make me wonder whether progressives who are more than just idpol hacks might profit from exploring slightly more favorable prospects in the other party. Not necessarily with the intention of forming broad and lasting alliances but in the interest of actually accomplishing a few urgent or at least useful things.

    1. Wukchumni

      The Donkey Show is a money laundering front kind of similar to The Producers

      They get oodles of millions from Mopes Я Us us to put somebody in play, and the hope is the candidate bombs, so they can create the same sort of faux urgency 4 years later with another loser.

    2. marku52

      Yes, at this point I think it is much more likely to make a worker’s party out of the Pubs than the Dems. And a few of them actually make noise about it. Carlson could probably make a very creditable effort at the presidency, for example. Rubio is still sitting on the fence. Hawley’s latest is hopeful, he used to be pretty neocon-ish. Still pretty anti labor.

      McConnell will likely stall Biden into complete inutility, which the Dems will be OK with, they never actually want govern! That would be silly! Might piss off a donor. then with the Pubs holding the Senate and the House, they’d be in a good position to talk about what good they could do for workers. And the Dems discredited yet again. There must be a few state positions they still haven’t managed to lose.

      1. marym

        An anti-war movement on the right supported by the left against the neolibcons would be good. Not clear if Hawley is an ally though.

        Anti-labor, anti-domestic spending, pro-defense spending with maybe a $20B “pivot” to China?


      2. neo-realist

        To make the Pubs a workers party, they would have to support prole priorities, like M4A, a strong Social Security and Medicare safety net, more paid leave for family emergencies, illness, and a government infrastructure spending program to create employment. The pubs are totally unwilling to use government to give a leg up and to support Main Street Americans. Bootstraps for workers, welfare for corporations.

        This is not to say the dems are way way better, but that short of radical change, don’t expect the pubs to embrace the kind of substantive populism that would make them a real workers party.

        1. Robert E Most, MD

          I have no hope for Dems at this point and may switch to the Pubs if I see any more populist movement there after Trump. I know that near me, union workers voted Repub first time in 2016, and even more did this year; small manufacturing was starting to come back to Northern Wisconsin. So there is some working class switch towards the Pubs. It may last; probably not. Sad thing is, there was a prominent Pub who could have been pushed left a bit if the Left had tried. Favored universal health coverage (somehow) Favored pulling out of (most) imperial/hegemonic wars. Backed Jesse Jackson in his first run for Pres. Would easily have gone for a giant infrastructure program. May even (secretly) understand MMT.

          He just lost a national election, or so it seems. Unless Dominion, Smartmatic and Scytel become household words, we may never find out.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > it is much more likely to make a worker’s party out of the Pubs than the Dems

        A real workers’ party would empower workers. It’s hard to see the Republican’s doing this.

    3. Old Jake

      You are referring to people like AOC and Bernie? Who else would be in position to do this? Of course it’s a one-shot thing, because they’d be poisoned or shot before they are re-elected on a Dem ticket.

      1. D. Fuller

        I always expected that if Bernie Sanders would have won the Democratic Primary, that Centrist Dems (Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi types) would defect to Republicans. If Sanders would have won the Presidency? That Sanders would be assassinated by a “lone gunman” or impeached by a combined Democratic Party/Republican Party effort bent on sabotaging Sanders at all costs.

        Carter was on the receiving end of Democratic Party & Republican Party hostility. Teddy Kennedy wanted to be President and pass “health care reform” so he could claim credit. Kennedy & Cohorts ended up sabotaging the best chance for Universal Health Care (UHC) in a generation when even Republicans supported UHC.

        It is my opinion that Bernie Sanders would not have lived long enough as President. Democratic & Republicans leaders would have made sure of that.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > It is my opinion that Bernie Sanders would not have lived long enough as President.

          Trump faced assault by a combination of the intelligence community and the press, plus a professional services strike from the PMC such that he found competent personnel hard to hire.

          Sanders would have faced all that and probably worse; they might have tried to inveigle him into a war (“Bernie Sanders became President today”).

          Sending in a wet team is very risky; I think they would have tried, er, active measures first.

    4. 430MLK

      Where I am in urban KY, if I ran for partisan office, it’d most likely be as Republican. I have my slogan picked out: So far left, he’s right!

  16. chuck roast

    For those of you taking note of the great bull-market in commercial real estate, I just got a message in my in-box from my financial provider that the Simon Property Group Inc. will issue $17.5 million new shares of common stock (last sale $78.96). Looks like I can get in on the ground floor of this fabulous offering. I’m expecting the upper floors to be occupied almost immediately.

    1. Louis Fyne

      SPG has value….in that in the future its malls will morph into private downtown-like neighborhoods (see Robocop’s Delta City)

      Now is it worth >$78, especially with all its debt?…..buyer beware as the Romans used to say.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Why no western health org. is even mentioning vitamins is mind-blowing….as even in the best of times pre-covid, vitamin D deficiency was common for people in northern latitudes.

      guess I’m wearing a foil hat from now on

      1. drexciya

        The same thing goes for Ivermectin. Dr. Chris Martensen covered this in his most recent Peak Prosperity Youtube presentation. It’s really maddening, that all of these simple and cheap measures are completely ignored.

        1. marku52

          Yup,, already got my tube of horse paste in the fridge.

          “Best heath care in the world baby. If you’re a horse…….”

          1. ambrit

            The best substance for cleaning out the tumours on Phyl’s leg, when she still had it, was only available in America at the ‘Feed and Seed’ store in the animal vet section.
            So, something cheap and effective being ignored and relegated to the treatment of the “lower” animal kingdom is no surprise.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          On Ivermectin, I believe I linked to this from Nature: Latin America’s embrace of an unproven COVID treatment is hindering drug trials.

          Personally, I would find it uncomfortable to tell an entire population not to use a drug because it would interfere with my controlled studies.

          Here, however, is an important critique of the Ivermectin study that started the surge of use in Latin America. Surgisphere is a flawed data source, the only used to trash HQ in the Lancet in a study that was subsequently withdrawn.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, if you were in the Overclass and you wanted to kill 7 billion people over the next 100 years and make it look like an accident, wouldn’t one of your chosen methods be to foster mass immunolytic vitamin defficiency among all those billions of people, to make them more disease-susceptible without it being traced back to you?

        1. Elizabeth

          Yes, it really is disturbing that there’s no mention from any public health agency in U.S. about how Vitamin D can lessen the effects of covid. I read where in Britain the govt. is dispensing Vitamin D supplements to people in care homes (sorry I don’t have a link – I think I saw it on the BBC website). It almost seems like ptb want people to get sick and die. Also, I appreciate IM Doc’s perspectives on the vaccines – many people I’ve talked with won’t take it because there’s no information about long-term effects, how long immunity lasts, and other unknown factors. People, with good reason, don’t trust big pharma to be honest. A pharmacist friend suggests that people not take any drug for at least 5 years after it’s been on the market. FDA approval isn’t a guarantee of safety. .

        2. Count Zero

          But how do “they” foster vitamin deficiency? Anybody can walk into any pharmacy or even supermarket — in the UK at least — and buy fairly cheaply Vitamin D, Zinc and a variety of other vitamins and minerals. Fresh organic fruit and veg are also easily available, though not always cheaply.

          Don’t people have some responsibility for looking after their own bodies and their own health? Where has your attention been if you don’t know that physical inactivity and an unhealthy diet makes you vulnerable not just to covid19 but to a range of serious illnesses? We have been bombarded with this information for years.

            1. Count Zero

              No I haven’t heard of money.

              Healthy food is often cheaper than junk food. It’s certainly cheaper than cigarettes and booze.

  17. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Portland, Maine Voters Delivered a Series of Huge Working-Class Victories on Election Day

    Thanks for that one – it would be interesting to see Mayor Synder’s reaction to the article. As a family member is also a local elected official who talks to Synder on occasion, I think I will have them forward the article along.

    I did enjoy this bit –

    Eliminating the city manager position and replacing it with democratic structures accountable to the people is one of Black P.O.W.E.R.’s main demands.

    The current Portland city manager, Jon Jennings, got his feet wet as the deputy city manager in South Portland, Portland’s largest suburb, several years ago. I was definitely not a fan when he worked here. There was one local medical organization looking to expand a few years back and Jennings basically took them on a tour of city property he might be willing to put up for sale for them to use. Run the government just like a business doncha know! He didn’t ask the people who lived in the neighborhoods in question first, who used that city property for things like gardens, recreation, farmer’s markets and community meetings, and was also prepared to overlook current zoning laws if the potential buyers saw something they liked. It was only an uproar from neighbors that stopped that particular project and it wasn’t long after that Jennings went off to greener pastures across the Casco Bay bridge, and he’s been doing favors for developers that have led to Portland becoming a city for ‘people from away’ that locals can no longer afford ever since.

  18. Louis Fyne

    what bugs me when pundits throw around the F-word…

    If one uses the classical definition of fascism: the alignment of government and corporate interests into one political organization,

    then the US has had a two-party fascist system since at least WJ Clinton.

    Different sides of the same coin. DC + Wall Street.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Naomi Wolf has a definitive list of criteria

        No, she doesn’t, by definition, because fascism is an evolving system not subject to checklists. See Robert O. Paxton for the scholarship on this issue.

  19. Glen

    today i learned that in SF it’s now common to find plastic bottles filled with urine next to parked ubers whose drivers sleep in their cars and that there are entire parking lots in the city where uber drivers from modesto and tracy sleep overnight. great system we have going.

    Wow, how exciting! Just think how many more companies will now offer the benefits of sleeping in your car and pissing in plastic bottles!

    All hail Prop 22!

      1. Wukchumni

        Urine too deep?, call Botl™

        When I do roadside trash pickup, the last thing you want to handle is a ‘trucker bomb’ but luckily there aren’t many big rigs that pass this way.

      2. nippersdad

        Bezos could send them over with drones from Amazon, but would it be a tax deductible business related expense?

        Inquiring minds…

      3. Glen

        Delivered by more independent contractors that piss in bottles, delivered by more…

        Why yes, this looks like a growth industry very similar to all the recent Silicon Valley night mares. Makes one yearn for the good old days when Zukerberg was just trying to create an one-line data base of the class mates he wanted to {family blog}.

          1. Glen

            I’m not sure.

            Mark Zuckerberg Hacked Journalist’s Email While at Harvard

            “If you ever need info about anyone at Harvard, just ask,” wrote a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg. The year was 2004, and Zuckerberg, then still a Harvard student, had just launched a new social network that was at the time called “The Facebook.”

            “I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS” he continued.

            Zuckerberg’s friend, whose name is redacted in the chat logs, expressed disbelief. “What? How’d you manage that one?” Zuckerberg’s response speaks for itself:

            Zuckerberg: People just submitted it.

            Zuckerberg: I don’t know why.

            Zuckerberg: They “trust me”

            Zuckerberg: Dumb f*cks.

            1. Glen

              I’m not sure – but how about larger than Trump?

              Stormy Daniels’s Detailed Description of Donald Trump’s Penis Explains a Lot

              Per US mythology, this may offer a plausible explanation as to why Zukerberg is more successful.

              Or maybe why Mario Brothers is more successful. Who knows?

              All I can say is my wife seems to be happy, and at that point, it is all a mystery never to be understood.

          2. Glen

            OK, lesson learned, never reply to Lambert’s comments after one beer has been consumed…

            (Big $hit eating grin)

            Yeah, whatever…

    1. Darthbobber

      The urine-filled plastic bottle was already a staple of areas getting heavy traffic of harried long-haul truckers trying to meet ever more draconian schedules.

      1. Glen

        Right about when they were all converted to “independent contractors” too. Maybe it’s a thing.

        Just another new data point to use:

        “Pissing in a bottle? You need INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR INSURANCE TODAY!”

        1. The Rev Kev

          We’ve come a long way since the early 60s. Why the first astronaut had to pee in his own spacesuit as no provision had been in his suit for such an eventuality. And until one had, the next few astronauts had to put their willy in a condom and have the whole lot kept in place by a pair of women’s panty hose which had a helluva grip around the crotch. And now sixty years later we have plastic bottles. progress!

  20. Sailor Bud

    Man, that Obama pickup stuff is just bizarre to me, empirically. It’s so different from how even the most immature version of my young self thought about dating or women. The kind of “box-o-tools” predatory strategizing for what turns out to be a chameleon act is so blithely stated that I’m a bit perplexed that he put it in the book.

    There’s of course the encoded “left intellectualism = pseudointellectualism that won’t get you laid” message, but did he think any of this makes him look good on any level? Ugh, knowing his dingleberrying supporters, it probably does.

      1. Tom Doak

        He made sure to name-check three different profiles of women, so probably most of them will feel Included, and be all aflutter over it. He’s quite the politician!

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I also wonder whether he isn’t slyly humble-bragging there.

          ” Look how many public intellectual names I can drop! I must be quite the brilliant public intellectual myself.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” -Barack Obama, Audacity of Hope

      I’m 100% confident dozens of his supporters actually read his previous entries.

    2. nippersdad

      The “chameleon act” was good practice for the career he eventually followed. I still find it unbelievable how many people (of both sexes) will instantly spread their legs whenever he shows up. Perhaps it was meant as a timely sub-rosa metaphor for the Spanberger type blue dogs and downballot Democrats who are about to meet their makers in the mid-terms to come.

      IOW: Get your PR machine ready because “apres nous, le deluge.”

    3. Darthbobber

      I guess we’re supposed to think that since Obama is, by definition, better and smarter than most others, if he was like this everyone else must have been even more so.

      Though the first thing that comes to my mind is the unlikeable student in Good Will Hunting trying to use his transparent plagiarism to pick up girls.

      Obama very much likes to do this thing where the pretense of self-disclosure is really about slamming others. Becomes very grating once you notice it.

      1. Sailor Bud

        Yeah, maybe the self-disclosure thing can lead to another trend too: “ironic” outright honesty about being a disingenuous and sinuous opportunist.

        Dating for me, or meeting a nice girl and et cetera, was always about the joy of being comfy in your skin – “being yourself” – and finding someone who was being herself, and hopefully the electric charge happens, and oh well if not. But that was like the MOST important part – being yourself. My whole group of friends was the same. I’m not even sure I understand intimacy in any other context.

        I would not only be mortified to admit the thinking Obama displays, I’m not sure I could enjoy life to be the person who thinks his thoughts there, at any stage of my existence.

  21. Phillip Cross

    “75% Think Biden Likely to Impose Strict National Lockdown”

    Infections are projected to have peaked by the time he takes the reins. Deaths are projected to peak a few weeks later.

    The time for drastic action will have long passed. Since nobody is steering the ship, we just have to watch in awe as the potential horror unfolds. Will Scott Atlas and Trump be sending a note, thanking the families of the deceased for their sacrifice to the economy?


    1. Tom Doak

      Do you really believe it would have been much different had Biden been President at the start of the year, or Obama for that matter? They wouldn’t have locked down flights from overseas when it would have helped. They wouldn’t have locked down the country, because they listen to the same business interests that the Republicans do. Even if they had, 40% of Americans would not have obeyed, because the two parties have so divided the populace.

      Biden is already assuring business interests that a national lockdown is not necessary, and that targeted lockdowns will do the trick. Just like a Democrat! I wonder if his programs are means-tested?

      1. Phillip Cross

        I really doubt that Biden would have politicized it like Trump. Trump gave the right wing mob his approval to make it about MUH FREEDOMS, instead of saving lives, and so the fight against the virus became a lost cause.

        I read this interesting article about the success of Norway, “Bent Høie, the country’s health care minister. Early on, Mr. Høie invoked the Old Norse tradition of dugnad—unpaid communal work carried out in solidarity with neighbors—as a recipe for beating the pandemic.”

        Quite a contrast to US culture, and so far it has been working well for them.


        1. Drake

          If “MUH FREEDOMS” is the way you casually justify surrendering constitutional freedoms to intensely politicized, authoritarian fearmongers looking to take advantage of a crisis the way Bush took advantage of 9/11, true Shock Doctrine style, there’s nothing you have to say that I care to hear. And there is literally nothing that Democrats haven’t politicized for four straight years. Doing nothing is almost invariably the best thing that any politician can do. I’ve had plenty of opportunity to see the things they actually do, and know that nothing is a damn sight better 99 times out of 100.

          1. Phillip Cross

            I honestly couldn’t have come up with a more perfect crystallisation of the problem with US society. Well done!

            I think it’s great satire, but this “Drake” caracature you’ve created might just be a bit on the nose, if you know what I mean. If you took unhinged, evidence free, far right slogans down a notch, it might seem a bit more natural and believable.

            1. Drake

              Huh, sounds like a direct ad-hominem personal attack, but I might just be unhinged. But since you’re so natural and believable, I’ll take it at face-value.

            2. richard

              the far right that is critical of gw bush? and authoritarianism? If there are elements of the far right that hold these positions, then limited common cause with them makes a hell of a lot more sense than smug dismissal.
              not that i think drake’s reasoning about “nothing being a damn sight better” is rw at all. It’s conservative, not always the same thing. And if we had CONSERVED the gains made by the working class for the last 40 years, we wouldn’t be having this talk.
              jesus on a bike liberals

        2. tegnost

          I really doubt that Biden would have politicized it like Trump
          He may have not politicized it like trump,but he would have politicized it in a different way. Are you saying the democrats/biden have not politicized the virus?

          1. Phillip Cross

            I know what you are driving at. Of course the Democrats have used Covid19 as a stick to beat Donnie with, and rightly so. He was a sitting duck, because keeping America safe is arguably the President’s prime directive, and he did a terrible job at it. They would have been guilty of gross misconduct if they hadn’t.

            I do not like the Democrats, but I don’t feel that they have encouraged behavior that led to me and my family’s lives being more at risk than they needed to be. However, it is undeniable that the messaging and behavior from many on the right most certainly did endanger us.

            I am more interested in as many of us getting through this in one piece, than getting my hair cut, or a drink in a bar, a few weeks sooner. Don’t you have living parents, or elderly friends and relatives? Wouldn’t you agree?

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > I do not like the Democrats, but I don’t feel that they have encouraged behavior that led to me and my family’s lives being more at risk than they needed to be.

              I guess you don’t have family members in a New York State nursing home? Or friends in the Hamptons or the Hudson Valley?

              1. Phillip Cross

                The deontologists and consequentialists among us could certainly have a lively discussion about the tragic early mistakes in New York vs. “LIBERATE MICHIGAN”.

          2. neo-realist

            Biden likely would have encouraged mask wearing from the get go and warned the country at large of the danger of the virus instead of sitting on the virus the way Trump did upon discovering how deadly it was and then framing mask wearing as some sort of soft wussy socialist democrat behavior.

            1. tegnost

              sure but it’s disingenuous to think that they wold not have played it for some advantage, allthough I disagree about masks, that took a while to get going. And remember Biden and the dem cabalists in the bernie hating DNC were happy to have a primary in wisconsin and didn’t much care who got covid

    2. Darthbobber

      This is the sort of obsessive public opinion polling that makes me gnash my teeth. Survey people on their expectations of a hypothetical Biden action in the future when none of us has any actual information on which to base an expectation

      1. urblintz

        I don’t disagree with the larger point re: polling but regardless, we have 40 years of info on Biden that tells us he will suck at everything, just less so than his predecessor.

        1. Darthbobber

          Yes, but since either a lockdown or an alternative to one can be done in a suckful way, we have less foreknowledge of which form of suckfulness he might opt for than in many other cases where we have Clinton/Obama suckfulness as precedent.

    3. tegnost

      you’re naive if you think no one is driving the ship of state. We don’t have to watch in awe, the states are clamping down now.

  22. dcrane

    Re: UPDATE “Half of Republicans say Biden won because of a ‘rigged’ election: Reuters/Ipsos poll”

    The main way this election was “rigged” was via information warfare. Detailed October allegations about Biden’s family corruption in Asia were censored outright – the NY Post was blocked from circulating its stories on social media for weeks. The spooks in the deep state added their disingenuous misinformation about the laptop having the “earmarks” of Russian interference, and the likes of the NYTimes and WaPo followed suit. The result was a virtual reality mask placed on the public, one presenting a world in which only Donald J. Trump was corrupt and Joe Biden was a man of character coming to save the nation.

    I have no doubt that 2 weeks of the sort of coverage that the laptop/emails and Bobulinski testimony would have generated in any ordinary year would have knocked 1-2 percentage points off Biden’s turnout. With the final outcome as close as it was, I consider the election interference by big tech billionaires to have been decisive.

    1. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

      Or the media outlets working hand in glove to make his rape accusations go away. #BelieveWomen!

  23. drumlin woodchuckles

    The only way the “visible rump-establishment left” can preserve any credibility for itself is by rigidly refusing to serve in any corner of the Joemala Administration, so as to avoid being tainted and besmirched through “exchanging political bodily fluids” with it.

    The “left” can’t hope to guide or even influence the coming backlash if the “left” is the least bit tainted by association with the Joemala policies and actions.

    If Sanders allows himself to be made Secretary of Labor, he will be forever discredited by association with the coming Free Trade 3.0 Administration, for example. He should stay in the Senate, where he can help obstruct the Joemala Administration’s ” Green New Steal” agenda.

    Warren isn’t of the “left”, so if she wants to serve in a Joemala Cabinet or agency or bureau, she can go right ahead at no cost to the “left”.

  24. McWatt

    Hey everyone. Does anyone know anything about how Life insurance companies have been paying on death benefits during Covid times? Insurance companies refused to pay on business interruption claims claiming “act of god”, just wondering what life insurers are doing?

    1. miningcityguy

      Life insurance companies cannot refuse to pay claims using the “act of god” exception. They have to pay in almost all circumstances whether the death resulted from hurricanes, tornados earthquakes or pandemics. The single exception that I know of is suicide but, even then, most policies have non-contestability clauses providing that company cannot contest payment if the suicide occurred 2 or 3 years after purchase of the policy, providing of course that any required premiums have been paid. I think that most states also have non-contestability statutes that provide the same thing.

  25. chuck roast

    Portland Maine Working Class Victories

    This is great to see. Five or six years ago the $15/hr. initiative was on the ballot, and it got crushed under a wave of local oligarch cash. Even the restaurant workers bought the whining BS of the managers and owners that they could never afford to pay servers $15/hr. and would have to close if it were passed. The Greens were very supportive of this early effort, but there was really no leadership and doing serious outreach is way different than being “very supportive.”

    Note that the SWP guy who won state rep. seat ran as a Dem. If you are not a D or an R in Maine leadership gives you a Selectric typewriter and a broom closet to operate out of when you get to Augusta. There was a Socialist elected from Peaks Island a while back. Maybe a few of these people can form a united front or better yet, a Socialist Slate.

    The gentrification in Portland really is astonishing. I was a part of it 10 years ago, but it’s kind of deadening to see everybody walking around looking just like you. The Air B&B initiative was really close. People in Maine don’t like their property rights messed with. Maybe they will come around the next time.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps all the people involved in those Ballot Item Victories in Maine could become the nucleus of a Lower Class Party. Or a Working Class Party.

      If all of them ( all the people who designed those Ballot Items and all the people who got those Ballot Items on the ballot and all the people who voted for the Ballot Items) decided to become an organized political party and commit to staying that way, could they exterminate the Democratic Party from political existence in the state of Maine? By running candidates against every single Democratic candidate to guarantee that every Democratic candidate loses every election every single time until the DemParty is exterminated from existence in Maine?

      Then, without a DemParty in existence to obstruct them, double cross them and betray them; they could begin running for offices in earnest. If they began winning offices, and could keep the DemParty exterminated in the meantime, and could keep Pink KKK Catfood Democrat infiltrators out of their legitimate political party through a process of Continuous Extreme Vetting, they might become an inspiration and a concrete example to like-minded people in other states.

  26. farmboy

    virus cocktail, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, large doses, echinacea, astragalus, elderberry, andrographs, green tea extracts for 3-4 days. Like CSNY said, haven’t got sick once.
    trump and trumpism foreshadowed by Gonzo journalist
    virus cocktail, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, large doses, echinacea, astragalus, elderberry, andrographs, green tea extracts for 3-4 days. Like CSNY said, haven’t got sick once.
    then there’s thieves oil from the bubonic plague days, robbers frisking dead, plague bodies rubbed these oil on their skin facemasks, didn’t get sick. MRSA treatment also

    1. Louis Fyne

      if one has lung cancer or has a high risk or family history of lung cancer, rethink vitamin A.

      As excessive levels of vitamin A worsens lung cancer.
      just throwing it out there.

      1. Charger01

        The fatty tissues of polar bears ( of all polar life I suppose) is supposed to be chock full of PCBs. Lean muscle mighy be best.

        1. Count Zero

          Next time I am in the supermarket I shall skirt cautiously around the polar bear meat section. Thanks for the advice. But what’s the current thinking about eating penguins? Is penguin chasseur and penguin vindaloo now permanently off-menu?

  27. William Hunter Duncan

    Worse and more worse?

    Indeed…all week on one hand I have been hearing hot takes like this from Obama’s memoir. On the other hand, I have been hearing his voice and his fawning fans on NPR and in corporate media, held up as some kind of living Saint.

    Now I am certain, Critical Race Theory will look a lot like Feminism, success achieved once black people are equitably set in our ruling class, war contractors, law enforcement, private equity etc, just as pathologically as any crew of good ol’ white boys….

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps we should call it Goldman Sachs Critical Race Theory, to go along with the beginning-to-stick epithet of Goldman Sachs Feminism.

  28. Pat

    NYC passed the 3% figure so NYC public schools are closed for in classroom learning starting tomorrow.

    Mind you, the schools have been doing very well on the Covid front. Their figures are good. But it was promised so they close.

    Somehow I think changes to the sheds being erected to keep restaurants open and indoor dining/bar might want to be a bigger part of reaction to the climbing Covid numbers, but that is me. (And I love me some of my neighborhood restaurants and want them to survive, but can honestly say that I’m pretty sure there is more exposure there than a few other places.

    1. jr

      I’m very happy for my sisters sake that they have closed the schools but I believe you are correct about the bars and restaurants. A case in point: A very chi-chi Japanese place around the corner has at least made the effort of putting up plastic shields around the tables and the stools at the bar but the place is around 350 square feet and no one, not the staff or the guests, were wearing masks when I walked by earlier.

      1. bob

        How does anyone think Cuomo is anything other than a gangster? Ducks walking and all that….

        I continue to be amazed that people still talk about him positively. What planet have you been on for the past year?

      2. rd

        Our upstate NY county executives have been trying valiantly since March to deal with this pandemic in rational ways despite Trump and Cuomo. The covid tsunami is starting to overtake them though.

        I think much of upstate will just shut down itself like it did in March though unlike places like South Dakota that still don’t udnerstand there is a pandemic.

        1. bob

          I’m having a very hard time listening to anyone give ANY praise to anyone who is in charge right now.

          I’m in upstate NY and can’t think of anyone in charge who isn’t making things worse. At every level pretty infighting and bureaucratic sadism is the norm.

  29. edmondo

    ” Donors insist that before they help, they know who the people they’re helping are voting for. …. All seem to be like-minded, that if they’re assisting children whose parents are voting a certain way, they are not worthy of basic necessities.”

    The “liberals” are fascists. No surprise.


    1. Judith

      This is what it looks like when the followers of HRC put her words (basket of deplorables) into action in order to take revenge. I imagine her laughing gleefully.

  30. Cuibono

    50 million does of vaccine from two cmpanies in 2020
    we have about 20 million HCWs .
    that is 40 million does right there.

    sure wish they would require everyone in congress to get it too

            1. The Rev Kev

              How would you know that they are actually receiving the vaccine in public and that it was not just a saline solution? Are they trustworthy?

  31. Heruntergekommen Sein

    Obama shot out of the college saddle after floating the Fourth International as a pick-up line: a textbook example of orthodox Marxism, alienation, and eternal class struggle. A teenage Karl Marx, while courting his future wife, Jenny Von Westphalen, used to endure walk+talk recitations of philosophy and English Lit with Ludwig von Westphalen, her father. When confronting the gulf between classes, young men of more modest origins are compelled to demonstrate intellectual mastery to prove themselves as suitable mates. — Obama’s still-dorky purple prose and then teenage quotidian fantasies are his biggest transgressions. — Marx’s longtime mistress and family housekeeper, Helen Demuth [Helenchen, known as the affectionate “Lenchen”], bore Marx a son, Freddy [paternity debatable, but Jenny was abroad nine months prior to the birth, and Marx was not known to date. Other candidates include Marx’s closest friend and personal secretary, known as virile “Lupus”], and was so familiar with his theories that she managed Marx’s literary estate with Engels. Desire and politics are in the realm of the imagination, manifesting materially in disinherited working-class offspring.

    What is intellect, but novel ways of thinking leading to radical acts in bedroom: evolutionary peacock feathers. A prodigious intellect is known make humans emotionally flightless: aloof, depressed, angry, withdrawn. But the perversity of focus which accompanies intellect, and the array of exotic knots, social bonds, tied by the moody, is intoxicating. To paraphrase a sci-fi writer, “sex[ual frustration] x technology = the future [presidency].”

    1. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

      The difference is that Marx is an actual intellectual while Obama is an eternal pseud.

  32. richard

    Hey, the Movement to form a People’s Party is now selecting an official name for the party. You have to sign up to vote. There were a dozen or so finalists (including Bull Moose :/). I chose People’s Party as my first choice, New Deal Party as 2nd, and Four Freedom’s Party as my 3rd. Now i regret and wish I had put New Deal Party 1st. Depends on who we want to rhyme with i guess (hat tip to ambrit): the populists or the new dealers.
    Anyway, here is the link if you want to sign up and vote: https://peoplesparty.org/

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I would take seriously a party with a serious name. Not ironical, not humorous, serious. And descriptive of stance and intent.

      To me, serious names would be names like Working Class Party or Lower Class Party or Lower Class Majority Party or New Deal Party or New Deal Revival Party or New Deal Restoration Party or some such.
      Bull Moose Party would seem clever and silly and ironical and cute to me.

      1. richard

        i agree about bull moose, plus anything associated with THE WRONG ROOSEVELT is a problem.
        richard to party: “I mean, come on. you were there in the room with all of them, you had your choice, and you PICKED THE WRONG G*&DAM ROOSEVELT? Please explain how that f&^%ing happened.”

    2. ambrit

      Good link! I also wonder about how a “new” name would work out.
      I’ll add that, to be useful, any “new” party will have to be a bit of a ‘United Front’ effort. As the person above mentioned when working out a campaign slogan for today, “So far left, he’s right,” the real nexus around which to gather has to transcend partisan labels. Not an easy task, I’ll admit.
      I fear that events “on the ground” will drive the next major political movement in America.
      Curious! I just got an Error 524 notice the first time I tried to post a reply to ‘richard.’
      Lambert did mention “server difficulties.”
      Also, the path tree graphic mentioned Cloudflare in Dallas as the middleman between your obedient servant and the NC host.

      1. richard

        i think this new party will need to make a LOT of room for independent voters of all kinds, including many millions written off as “conservative” voters. The Gabbard/ Joe Rogan crowd for instance. Who the f^&% is deciding that they are rw? I’m extremely suspicious of that label when it’s being applied by Blue.
        (not sure why i combined gabbard and rogan as a “crowd”. seemed to fit in my addled mind.)

  33. edmondo

    “Democrats nominate Pelosi to keep Speakership”

    So Madame Gelatto ekes out a 219-216 win in the House and the Dems celebrate? How many member sof the Squad are there? Seems to me if a certain Congresswoman from New York would stop apologizing and start counting then she might realize she owns the Speaker and not the other way around.

    Here’s a test to see how serious the good member of Congress is.

    1. Nameless

      The only way to stick a shiv in somebody is from REAL CLOSE. So keep your friends close, and your enemies CLOSER.

      Now, I’m not trying to cause problems, but Pelosi’s “sell by date” was over ten years and one economic collapse ago so she’s moved from leader to target of her own volition.

    2. notabanker

      It certainly makes one wonder. Lots of barking, but when it comes time to exercise real power, they blend right into the fabric.

      1. Grant

        To be fair, if they want to be radical and effective, they would just use every procedural trick they could to cause chaos with their horrible neoliberal bills, they would expose corruption among the ghouls around them, and they would directly confront the ideology, record and arguments of the neoliberals. The left doesn’t have to go down with Biden, the Democrats might, the left not necessarily. But, if it doesn’t differentiate itself from Biden and doesn’t work to distance itself from that party, it will go down with it. Frankly, if the left doesn’t start to really start to take on the entirety of the machine, then people will turn to taking on the machine entirely outside of electoral politics. I don’t think that is too far off either way. It might be a divine violence, violence to just strike out against the system with no clear end goal in mind, but it will come and things are much worse now than when Occupy rose up.

    1. Wukchumni


      One of the longest F-35 flights overhead i’ve experienced, they’ve been at it for over an hour now, pretty much over our house the whole time.

  34. Glen

    A tale about Facebook before Facebook was a thing:

    Long ago and far away I was in the US Navy working at a Navy base. Every year or so, the base would award a new contact to the support contractor that worked at the Navy base supplying workers and whatever else was needed to keep the base running. A pretty big deal locally, and always heavily contested by the usual suspects that went after those contracts.

    One of the requirements of those contracts was to show proof that the company had the required resources (people) to perform the work. To do this, the companies would advertise and scoop up a whole bunch of resumes showing the people available to do the work. One year, some of the more goof ball guys that I worked with, decided they would form a fake company, and advertise too. Oh my God, they got the resume of every GS-12 and up manager at that base sent to them. It was like having every PMC huck their innermost secrets right into your P.O. Box.

    Now you have to understand that all the guys that did this were blue collar (ex Navy P.O. and Super Chiefs that knew “the system”) wage grade guys that suddenly had the resumes and contact information of every upper manager on the base. Hilarity ensued, in manners that I will not discuss because, no it was not all legal, but it was outstandingly funny. I do remember LMAO at what these guys were doing. It was insane.

    And now, we’ve created a world where people willing give to FaceBook their every waking thought, their innermost secrets, any original work they create, and art they make, and any good idea they may have.

    Un-{family blogging} believable! The guys I knew back then would be LAUGHING THEIR A$$ES OFF!

  35. IM Doc

    Yes – it appears the cost to properly store and maintain the vaccine is cost prohibitive for most of America. This has been discussed repeatedly on this site in multiple threads over the past few days/week. The only outpatient physician office/pharmacy/whatever that I know of that needs this kind of freezer at this time are fertility clinics that store embryo and sperm. There is absolutely no other need for them that I know of. FYI – fertility clinics of that scope are almost exclusively found in big-city-America. It is going to be interesting to see if the federal govt steps in to pay for all this infrastructure. It will be astoundingly expensive. And everyone was griping about how expensive the ventilator boondoggle turned out to be in March. This freezer experience will make that look like a dime-store lollipop.

    The Moderna vaccine requires no such infrastructure.

    The efficacy and how long the immunity lasts is yet to be determined in any of them – and I expect we will be doing this work on-the-fly going forward.

    As an answer to another previous question, am I more comfortable with vaccines from other than mRNA technique. The problem I see here is that medical and veterinary science have been trying for decades to create coronavirus vaccines using our tried and true techniques. There are multiple virus families – herpes, coronavirus, rhinovirus etc that simply do not engage our immune systems in a way that is conducive to vaccines like we have grown accustomed in other virus families – polio smallpox and measles etc. Science has tried for years – and pretty much has gotten nowhere. I see no reason why this will suddenly change in 2020 just because the media narrative says it will. There are those of us – I know we are dwindling in numbers – who still live in reality.

    1. Late Introvert

      One might think a young enterprising journalist would be reading the commentariat here and setting up interviews and publishing articles and stuff. The Vitamin D and Zinc info, many, many others, and now this.

      Thanks IM Doc.

  36. rd

    Re: Google Nest

    I am still baffled why I would want to have bored Russian teenage hackers controlling the appliances and furnace in my house.

  37. farmboy

    Politics is downstream culture Andrew Breitbart observed, noting the entertainment industry, print and news media, and gov’t agencies traffic in agenda and images. Caitlin Johnson reiterated this week. Starting with Thomas Frank and continuing into this week with the observation that the PMC attained class consciousness, although it appears to me it’s been around a long time. So it’s been nagging at me for quite some time, where in the culture were, are the signals. The Nation digs it out in the article about Hunter S. Thompson’s book Hells Angels and Thompson’s experience with the Angel’s. With starkness highlighted by Altamont, Thompson experiences, narrates, and explicates the nihilism of the union of the John Birch Society and the Hell’s Angels. Fast forward 50 years and the full blown pollination is full throat. Hell’s Angels went to the John Birch Society and they wrote a letter to LBJ offering to help fight Communism.
    Peter Turchin has quantified from a 200 sample that society advances from, by, and with warfare. I would take issue, lots of survival threats inspire heightened cooperation. But the 50year cycle stands out. Nikoli Kondratieff, a Russian economist of the 1920 postulated a 50+-yr cycle for commodities. And then there are Strauss and Howe of the 25yr 4th Turning and others noting cycles, 2yr lag in grains to Treasuries, planetary cycles, astrology too. Or like is noted elsewhere, scientific thought doesn’t change until the proponents of leading theories die off.
    As I ride my comfy 30 yr old tractor, planting winter wheat between rains, and listen to Bluesville on XM (one of their very first subscribers) I muse. I don’t read much anymore, but have an anti-library.
    Our PMC have had 50 years to come to grips with the de-industrialization of America. Instead we get turtles all the way down. The platitudes, some well meaning, most not, are more than just an irritant to the body politic, but a sure sign there is failure. Trump and Trumpism, festering and simmering for 50 years.

    1. farmboy

      “their ‘ethic of total retaliation’ against a technologically advanced and economically changing America” from the Nation, describing Hell’s Angels worldview, sure echoes today

  38. profan

    “In the year and a half during which [Obama] pr̶e̶v̶e̶n̶t̶e̶d̶ caused a depression and p̶a̶s̶s̶e̶d̶ prevented universal health care and Wall Street reform, he also lost the American public.” •
    Fixed it for ya.

    1. Late Introvert

      I think he failed to help anyone recover from the depression, but it’s a minor quibble. Damage done.

  39. drumlin woodchuckles

    To put some excitement in your life. That’s why.

    ( This was supposed to nest under the comment about why would someone want to use Nest as the vehicle to invite some bored Russian hackers and/or script kiddies into their house.)

  40. Lambert Strether Post author

    > Biden likely would have encouraged mask wearing from the get go

    There’s no reason to think that. Biden would most likely have gone along with Fauci (and WHO’s) noble lie.

    As Stoller pointed out the other day, there are literally no examples of effective Democrat governance at the state level to point to. Is there something special about the national Democrat Party, or Biden as a person, that would make us expect a different result at the Federal level?

    1. Pat

      Not just Fauci, the despicable Zeke Emanuel who is part of Biden’s Covid team, expounding with Wolf Blitzer on CNN on February 29th said that since masks don’t protect you but only protect others and not many people have Covid people didn’t need to wear masks. I seem to remember there being a later similar proclamation from him but this came up first.

      The transcript is interesting, because if you divorce OMG Trump was a disaster and just go with this is what was done, most of Emanuel’s choice of action is what happened.


      And anyone who thinks Biden would be more responsible needs to remember who was requesting that primaries be delayed to allow for mail in voting and who demanded that primaries continue with in person voting through Super Tuesday. Best for the public will always come second for Joe Biden (or Pelosi or Harris or Schumer or Buttigieg or…)

  41. Marga Schoeller

    An account of events from March to September 2020

    Owing to a set of personal circumstances, I was able to closely follow the first half year of Sars-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in Canada in comparison with Europe.

    Over there, Germany, and to a lesser extent Austria and German-speaking parts of Switzerland, produced some of the earliest skeptical voices who put the virus’s threat into perspective.

    Germany also has perhaps the broadest spectrum of critics of the government response measures globally. In the interest of open discourse and exchange of ideas, I offer this subjective overview of key actors and aspects of the corona opposition in the German-speaking world. I am focusing specifically on the different areas of expertise represented among the dissenting views.


  42. Adam1

    I completely believe that the average postal worker did there damnest to make sure ballots got where they were supposed to be. I think one of the saddest parts of the story is that there has not been any real investigation. I mean there does seem to be some credible evidence that there was either some significant error in 2016 leading to ballots being thrown out or some real localized shenanigans. However, after 4 years of being President, Trump failed to investigate and or propose any legislation to remedy problems. And any idiot could have foreseen back in March that the largest voting block (also heavy Republican), over 65, was going to go the route of absentee/mail in ballot. Yet again, no legislation to address any problems. Why not? Is it that both parties like having “voting issues” that can be exploited literally and/or figuratively?

    A sane democracy would demand an honest investigation. We just get theater.

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