2:00PM Water Cooler 11/2/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, as usual I have collected far too much material over the weekend to sort properly, so expect more in a bit. However, this should be enough to get you started. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day


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

Here are the United States regions:

If anything, acceleration (which is what the log view shows, even if it is incomprehensible otherwise).

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

No relief here…

And here is the US vs. the EU:

Another enormous natural experiment. It seems clear to me that the EU is doing worse than the Trump administration. Nobody seems to be asking how that can possibly be, or what a Biden administration would do that is different, not only from what the Trump administration is doing, but from what the (presumably more congenial) EU is doing (although this from The Week at least gestures at the question).




“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270. August 18: Still no changes. August 31: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. September 9: No changes. September 14: No changes. September 21: No changes. September 22: Ohio moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. September 25: Ohio moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. September 30: Iowa moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. October 3: Indiana moves from Safe to Likely Republican; Iowa moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. October 6: Arizona moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic; Iowa from Leans Republican to Toss-up; Indiana from Likely to Safe Republican; New Mexico from Likely to Safe Democratic. October 8: NE-2 moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic. October 13: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. October 16: Indiana moves from Safe to Likely Republican. October 19: No changes. October 21: NE-1 moves from Likely to Safe Republican. October 24: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. November 1: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican; Minnesota from Leans to Likely Democratic. Big move on Minnesota!

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

The election countdown:

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

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

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

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

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

“2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Election Project].

“California Ballots Mailed and Returned Tracker” [Political Data]. • California only, sadly.

“Where’s My Ballot?” [Alex Padilla]. “Tracking your vote-by-mail ballot—when it is mailed, received, and counted—has never been easier. The California Secretary of State is now offering Where’s My Ballot?—a new way for voters to track and receive notifications on the status of their vote-by-mail ballot. Powered by BallotTrax, Where’s My Ballot? lets voters know where their ballot is, and its status, every step of the way.” • Ballottrax. Shoulda gone long….

“State Fact Sheets” [Georgetown Universitty]. “[F]act sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drive.”

All the deadlines, rules, and voting hours to know when casting your ballot in the 2020 presidential election” [Business Insider]. “Here are 12 interactive graphics, charts, and maps Insider created to answer your most common questions about voting in 2020.”


Swing States

Here is my list of Swing States, with votes in the Electoral College and selected ballot initiatives in parentheticals):

  • Arizona (11) (marijuana; taxes(=)
  • Colorado (9) (taxes, lottery, abortion, paid medical leave)
  • Florida (29) (minimum wage)
  • Georgia (16) (declaratory relief)
  • Iowa (6) (Constitional convention)
  • Maine-02 (1) (vax)
  • Michigan (16) (oil and gas royalties; privacy)
  • Minnesota (10)
  • Nebraska-02 (1) (payday lending; gambling)
  • Nevada (6) (marriage)
  • New Hampshire (4)
  • North Carolina (15)
  • Ohio (18)
  • Pennsylvania (20)
  • Texas (38)
  • Wisconsin (10)

Inspired by the thread starting with Arizona Slim’s comment here, I went to Ballotpedia and added selected, hopefully hot button, ballot initiatives, because sometimes they affect turnout. If you live in a swing state, please comment if I got the hot buttons wrong!

This is totally not a prediction. Here’s another war game, where Trump wins:

This war game totally ignores all polling. Here is the method: Start with the conventional wisdom of the 270toWin consensus (Biden 290, Trump 163). Turn all the leaning and likely states solid Blue or Red respectively. Leave ME and NE split. Allocate remaining states in the following buckets according to reputation and anecdote: WI: D (like MN, Covid). IA R (Des Moines Register “gold standard poll”). OH: R (like IA, Trump didn’t deliver, but it doesn’t seem to matter). MI R* (fervent Rs). PA R* (fervent Rs, lower Black turnout). NC, GA R (feral R state machine). FL R (feral R state machine, feckless D machine). * Against consensus. Of course, if FL and TX go D on election night, that’s the ballgame. And it could happen!

* * *

“If it’s not an Electoral College legal fight, it’s a blow-out — here are the counties to watch” [The Hill]. Very interesting:

One key indicator will be what happens in the 206 counties across America that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 but then flipped to Trump in 2016. These include:

The Keystone collection of Pennsylvania counties: Luzerne and Northampton in the northeastern part of the state, near Biden’s birthplace of Scranton, and Erie all the way in the upper Northwest. If Biden wins Erie and Northampton and cuts sharply into Trump’s Luzerne margin, he wins.

Pinellas County, Fla., in the St. Petersburg area, has one of the largest senior citizens population in the country. Trump narrowly carried Pinellas after Obama won by a little larger margin. This will be a good test whether senior citizens are flipping to Biden.

Macomb County, Mich., home of the “Reagan Democrats,” working class voters who soured on their parents’ Democratic party, further analyzed by pollster/scholar Stan Greenberg. Although the county has become more diverse, it went decisively for Trump in 2016. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, however, sees Biden as more appealing for these voters than was Hillary Clinton, and more likely to carry Macomb. It merits close attention.

Sauk County, Wis.: Trump won the state by running up margins in the less populous southwestern counties. Sauk has mirrored state polls, which — with a raging COVID-19 crisis — are leaning blue.

Penobscot County, Maine. Why Maine? It’s the one state that split its electoral votes, as Trump — while losing the state — carried the more rural, working class second district, including Penobscot. There is an improbable, though not completely far-fetched, scenario where one candidate has 269 electoral votes with all eyes on Maine. It’d make a good movie script.

Clinton County, Iowa. This is Middle America in a state with 34 counties switching to Trump, enabling him to win by more than 9 points in 2016. These included Clinton County, which went heavily for Obama… then Trump. To have any chance in the state, the Democrats have to carry this Mississippi River county.

Stark County, Ohio. Stark is a quadrennial favorite, as it has closely mirrored the state and national outcomes in nine of the last ten presidential contests. Trump garnered over 56 percent of the vote in 2016 — a lot to make up, though Democrats are encouraged by heavy early voting.

Readers, do any of you live in these counties? Besides Penobscot…

UPDATE GA: Another close-of-rally debacle. Wretched advance work!

PA: “Seven Pennsylvania counties will wait until after Election Day to process mail-in ballots” [NBC]. “Pennsylvania allows for counties to begin processing mail-in ballots the morning of Election Day, but officials in Beaver, Cumberland, Franklin, Greene, Juniata, Mercer and Montour — all counties which voted for Donald Trump in 2016 — said that concerns over staffing and resources led them to delay when they will count mail ballots. It is unclear what impact this could have on the timing of the results. The counties range in population size, but roughly a combined 150,000 voters in these areas have requested mail-in ballots according to state data.”

UPDATE PA: “A guide to Pennsylvania’s political hot spots” [Politico]. • Erie, Luzerne and Lackawanna counties (Northeast), Philly, the Philly burbs (Montgomery, Chester, Delaware and Bucks), Johnstown (Southwest), Lancaster county, Pittsburgh.

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A choice, not an [yechhhhhhhh….]….

Biden (D)(1): “Biden Influencers” [Baron Public Affairs]. “Baron applied Influencer Analytics to provide a snapshot of the most significant policy experts and other leaders likely to be influential on economic issues should Democrats capture the White House in November. Baron also previously conducted Influencer Analytics on the Trump Administration… Baron’s process has been tested and refined, with recent projects for clients including Fortune 50 companies, business coalitions, and large privately-held firms. These projects involved gathering more than 100,000 reference citations by policy makers and other opinion leaders.” • 

According to Influencer Analytics, the following policy experts have the most influence on Biden advisors:

  • Michael Linden – Groundwork Collaborative
  • Jason Furman – Harvard Kennedy School
  • Jared Bernstein – Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Heather Boushey – Washington Center for Equitable Growth
  • Heidi Shierholz – Economic Policy Institute
  • Gene Sperling – Sperling Economic Strategies
  • Ernie Tedeschi – Evercore ISI
  • Justin Wolfers – University of Michigan
  • Martha Gimbel – Schmidt Futures
  • Matt Stoller – American Economic Liberties Project

I’ve seen this list elsewhere, but Baron seems to be the originator. The methodology is akin to citation analysis, so not bad in itself.

Biden (D)(2): lol no:

I think Biden will look forward and not back.

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Biden’s still locked in a bitter fight. But the jockeying is already underway for jobs in his would-be administration.” [WaPo]. “The Biden team is also expecting to include Republicans in the administration if he’s elected. ‘I know for a fact, just because I’m on the transition team, they said they are considering all — not just Democrats, but Republicans and all people as part of the administration,’ said Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).” • I wonder who the Labor Secretary will be. Kasich? (Meanwhile, the plan seems to be to bury Mayo Pete at the United Nations. Good.)

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Yates, Flournoy Raise Biden at Least $100,000: Campaign Update” [Bloomberg]. “Michele Flournoy and Sally Yates, former U.S. officials rumored to be under consideration for spots in a Joe Biden Cabinet, raised at least $100,000 for his campaign.” • That’s nice.

UPDATE Biden (D)(5): “Fundamentally, nothing will change:

(Hat tip, Flora.)

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders slams the Democratic Party for becoming the ‘party of rich, coastal elites’ and ignoring working-class people for many years in message to Joe Biden” [Daily Mail]. • Well, so much for Labor Secretary.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): Subtweeting Obama:

Trump (R)(1): “The Memo: Trump retains narrow path to victory” [The Hill]. “Trump’s simplest and easiest route to victory this year is to hold onto Florida and Pennsylvania, both of which he won in 2016. Florida is, as usual, a tight race — Biden led there by 1.2 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average on Friday afternoon…. If Trump won Florida and Pennsylvania, he could afford to lose two key states, Michigan and Wisconsin, so long as he held onto the other states that he won in 2016 — including Arizona, where he is under significant pressure…. This scenario gives Republicans hope, despite all the polls in which the president is trailing. Some in the GOP also take a measure of encouragement from Biden’s travel schedule, which included a stop in Minnesota on Friday. Clinton carried Minnesota four years ago and the Trump campaign has targeted it as a rare pick-up opportunity this year…. “Pollsters don’t want to admit a simple fucking fact: there is some percentage of silent Trump voters,” said the Democratic strategist who requested anonymity. “There are people who are not going to tell you that they are going to vote for Trump. We can pretend it’s not a fact. But it is.” • I don’t think it’s a matter of “not going to tell.” I think it’s a matter of outright lying. If I were a Trump voter, and viewed the pollsters as enemies — and why wouldn’t I? — lying would be the best form of sabotage. Yglesias comments on shy voters:

But what if the “secret pool of Trump fans” all told the pollsters they were voting for Biden? Not that they were silent, or undecided, or didn’t pick up the phone, but picked up the phone and lied?

UPDATE Williamson (D)(1):

Correct on the last point.

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MA: “Watchdog group alleges campaign finance violations in 1st Congressional District race” [Daily Hampshire Gazette]. “A local company is one of two that have been accused of illegal campaign contributions to a political action committee, or PAC, that spent $1 million on ads attacking Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse ahead of the Democratic primary in the 1st Congressional District. On Tuesday, the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission, or FEC, against two companies — Excel Dryer of East Longmeadow and DTE Energy Co. of Detroit — that in August gave a total of $25,000 to the American Working Families PAC. The PAC backed Morse’s opponent, longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, during the primary. The two companies are federal contractors, which are barred from making such campaign contributions.” • Liberal Democrats, in chorus: “It’s OK if our guy does it. Vote Blue No Matter Who!”

UPDATE “Why You Can’t Rely on Election Forecasts” [Zeynep Tufekci, New York Times]. “This is where weather and electoral forecasts start to differ. For weather, we have fundamentals — advanced science on how atmospheric dynamics work — and years of detailed, day-by-day, even hour-by-hour data from a vast number of observation stations. For elections, we simply do not have anything near that kind of knowledge or data. While we have some theories on what influences voters, we have no fine-grained understanding of why people vote the way they do, and what polling data we have is relatively sparse…. Since many models use polls from the beginning of the modern primary era in 1972, there are a mere 12 examples of past presidential elections with dependable polling data. That means there are only 12 chances to test assumptions and outcomes, though it’s unclear what in practice that would involve. A thornier problem is that unlike weather events, presidential elections are not genuine “repeat” events. Facebook didn’t play a major role in elections until probably 2012. Twitter, without which Mr. Trump thinks he might not have won, wasn’t even founded until 2006. How much does an election in 1972, conducted when a few broadcast channels dominated the public sphere, tell us about what might happen in 2020?” • One less thing to doomscroll, what a mercy…

UPDATE “Violence After The Election Will Only Benefit The Powerful: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix” [Caitlin Johnstone]. “Russiagate is the largest clickbait operation in history. It’s a clickbait operation conducted by the entire western political/media class upon the whole world. Only difference is instead of just making money it was designed to reignite the cold war and make money.” • Post is a collection of short statements like this.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Public Thinker: Thomas Frank on How Populism Can Save America” (interview) [Public Books]. Frank’s intellectual history. This caught my eye: “There were other inspirations that were more recent. Spy Magazine, for example, which we thought was absolutely hysterical in the 1980s. The whole idea of Spy Magazine was to constantly assault celebrity culture, to ridicule celebrities. They would follow them around like a Hollywood magazine or a fan magazine, and do just the opposite: mock and deride everything these people did. So, invert the mission of a fan magazine: here are these people whom everyone loves, and we hate them so much. The first time I saw a copy of Spy I was just blown away. I was at the University of Virginia when I was an undergrad. Friends would go up to New York for the weekend and they would come back with copies. I was just in love with it. Incidentally, one of Spy’s favorite targets was Donald Trump. They just loved to go after the guy. They would prank him. It was as though, if they had to fill space in an issue, they would just come up with something mean to say about Donald Trump.” • I loved Spy Magazine. Everything about it was brilliant. I used to buy it at Out of Town News, when there was an Out of Town News….

UPDATE “I’m Still Reeling From 2016. Am I Now Allowed to Hope Again?” [Molly Jong-Fast, Vogue]. The URL: /i-have-had-election-night-ptsd-since-2016-will-it-end-on-november-third. Narrator: “She did not have PTSD.” • I’n so sad that Molly Jong-Fast is feeling stress. It’s a damn shame.

UPDATE “Beware a Return to Normalcy” [Bracing Views]. “Normalcy came from the (successful) presidential campaign of Warren G. Harding in 1920. After World War I’s devastation and Woodrow Wilson’s attempt at internationalism, what Americans wanted most of all, according to Harding, was a “return to normalcy.” Harding, running against Wilson’s record though not Wilson himself, won the presidency…. Another word associated with Harding’s campaign a century ago was “bloviate,” which basically means BS. A quick Google search confirms that bloviation is “a style of empty, pompous, political speech which originated in Ohio and was used by US President Warren G. Harding.”… I mention these two words, normalcy and bloviate, because in many ways they sum up Joe Biden’s strategy in 2020. He’s promised a return to normalcy, i.e. a return to the Obama/Biden years, and this does hold some appeal to Americans who are sick and tired of Trump’s lies and incompetence. But Biden himself has told us little about what he hopes to achieve, preferring to bloviate, which suggests he won’t be doing much to improve the lives of ordinary working Americans, assuming he wins…. Biden/Harris in 2020 is a little like Harding/Coolidge in 1920. Biden is the normalcy guy who bloviates; Harris is the VP who may well have to step in as president, but who as a “top cop” in California was no friend of labor but very much pro-business. Naturally, judging by our history, whether in 1920 or 2020, you can forget about any progressive policies unless and until we experience a cosmic crunch like the Great Depression of 1929. Even then, FDR and the New Deal didn’t come along until 1933.”

Stats Watch

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

There are no official statistics today.

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Debt: “The average FICO credit score hit new record highs during the pandemic—here’s why” [CNBC]. “Beyond the typical lag that’s expected in the scoring data, the relief actions federal lawmakers and lenders took early in the pandemic may have also helped mitigate or delay lower credit scores, [Ethan Dornhelm, who leads the research and analytic development of FICO scores globally] says. ‘The degree of coordinated government intervention and stimulus spending is different this time around relative to prior crises,’ Dornhelm says, adding that the stimulus payments in the CARES Act, the forbearance programs and the enhanced unemployment benefits have helped borrowers stay financially afloat.” • Once again, the Trump-era CARES Act was superior to Obama’s miserably inadequate stimulus package. Strange but true!

Cash: “NYC wants national plan to require all businesses to accept cash” [New York Daily News]. “Erica Ford, CEO of Life Camp Inc., is calling on the city’s congressional delegation to push through a law requiring that cashless businesses accept paper money…. In January, the City Council passed a law similar to what Ford is calling for on the national level. It prohibits stores, restaurants and other retailers from refusing paper money or coin. The law was backed by Councilman Ritchie Torres, who is expected to join the Congressional delegation next year. It goes into effect next month.” • Good. Well done.

Shipping: “Some drone-delivery companies believe they can swoop in to solve challenges in delivering Covid-19 vaccines. Several startups have struck recent medical-delivery partnerships with drug companies and retailers… and the programs could give them a role in the high-profile logistics effort to distribute Covid-19 vaccines” [Wall Street Journal]. “Some have discussed with governments around the world their ability to use unmanned aerial drones to transport vaccine doses, mainly to remote areas. The efforts are part of the preparations underway behind the scenes across much of the world for what would be a sprawling and complicated undertaking with high stakes for logistics operators. Medical deliveries have been a key business for drone companies, and delivering vaccines would give the startups a world stage to demonstrate to investors and potential customers their ability to streamline distribution operations.”

Supply Chain: “Bottlenecks in capacity-strained supply chains are becoming more evident in the earnings reports of U.S. retailers. Some clothing companies are telling investment analysts that the delays caused by a crush of imports heading into U.S. seaports have pinched their restocking efforts… creating a drag on inventories just as they are trying to get goods lined up for a critical selling season” [Wall Street Journal]. “Chief Executive Ed Rosenfeld of footwear seller Steve Madden says his company has faced slowdowns in getting goods onto vessels in Asia and delays at U.S. ports and in warehouses operations. The supply-chain gridlock follows a big snapback in U.S. container imports as retailers look to replenish inventories and set up for fourth-quarter sales. Transport equipment and containers remain out of position because of earlier disruptions, however, and goods landing at Southern California’s big gateways are waiting several days to move inland.”

Mr. Market: “Dow leads stock-market advance with 400-point climb ahead of presidential election” [MarketWatch]. “U.S. stock-market benchmarks were solidly higher at noon Monday, bouncing back after an ugly finish to October, with support tied to upbeat global economic data on the eve of Election Day, as markets continue to monitor rising COVID-19 cases and a stream of corporate earnings results.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: Blank again [CNN]. • This is getting spooky, honestly.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Persia (Iran). “Iran has been less active on the world stage” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 180. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so high is better.) This Index doesn’t seem to be reflecting the election at all. I’d expect “Beast Government” to be popping, but no! Maybe the indexers think Trump’s victory is a foregone conclusion?

The Biosphere

“Newfound brain structure explains why some birds are so smart—and maybe even self-aware” [Science]. “Never before has ‘bird brain’ been such a compliment: In recent years, birds have been found to make tools, understand abstract concepts, and even recognize paintings by Monet and Picasso. But their lack of a neocortex—the area of the mammalian brain where working memory, planning, and problem solving happen—has long puzzled scientists. Now, researchers have found a previously unknown arrangement of microcircuits in the avian brain that may be analogous to the mammalian neocortex. And in a separate study, other researchers have linked this same region to conscious thought…. The scientists compared the images of the birds’ pallia with those of rat, monkey, and human cortices. Their analysis revealed the fibers in the birds’ pallia are organized in a manner strikingly similar to those of fibers in mammal cortexes…. But do birds have conscious experiences? Are they aware of what they see and do? To find out, Andreas Nieder, a neurophysiologist at the University of Tübingen, observed the brains of carrion crows (Corvus corrone) as they responded to cues. Known as “feathered apes” for their intelligence, these crows and their cousins have even been shown to reason causally. But inferring consciousness from such experiments is challenging, Nieder says. So, he and colleagues used a test similar to one that probes primates for signs of consciousness—a state of mind thought to arise with the sudden activation of certain neurons. They trained two lab-raised, 1-year-old carrion crows to move or stay still in response to a faint cue displayed on a monitor. When correct, the birds were rewarded. The scientists then implanted electrodes in the crows’ brains to record their neuronal signals as they responded. When the crows reacted, their neurons fired, suggesting they had consciously perceived the cue; but when they didn’t, their neurons were silent. The neurons that fired in agreement with the crows’ action were located in the pallia, the researchers report today, also in Science. Nieder calls this ‘an empirical marker of sensory consciousness in birds’ brains,’ similar to that seen in primates.” • Just give them opposable thumbs…

Health Care

“Inside Operation Warp Speed’s $18 Billion Sprint for a Vaccine” [Bloomberg]. “The president’s single tangible, constructive contribution to the pandemic response has been to bless the establishment of [Operation Warp Speed]…. It appears to be a conspicuous exception to the otherwise disastrous management of the pandemic. ‘The only part of the pandemic Trump responded to was things he could get companies to manufacture,’ says Peter Hotez, dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. ‘There was never an understanding that the hard part is giving adequate time to make sure the vaccines work. It was always reframed as a manufacturing problem. It was Trump bringing in his personal relationship with CEOs to get them to make stuff.’…. By betting on several horses, OWS in theory increased the chances that one or more would cross the finish line, hopefully at a warplike speed. Slaoui steered investments not just to different companies but also to different ways of making vaccines…. Some observers have questioned how a victory for Joe Biden might affect the course of the program. According to Mango, the point is largely moot. The U.S. is on track to produce more than 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, manufactured by multiple companies, by the end of the year, he says, and by Inauguration Day, ‘the vast, vast majority of the heavy lifting will be behind us.’ The Biden campaign says it will back scientists involved with Warp Speed. ‘Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will provide the leadership that has been lacking under Trump to empower scientific professionals throughout our government—including those involved in Warp Speed—to ensure that a safe and effective vaccine is distributed equitably, efficiently, and free to all Americans,’ spokesman Andrew Bates said.'” • See NC on Operation Warp Speed here. Biden campaign statements aside, it’s not clear how OWS scientists — who work for Phama — have been disempowered, especially since the campaign implies that a Biden administration will be distributing an already developed vaccine. Of course, vaccine success is not a given, as Yves points out here. Nor is uptake, as I point out here. Also, although OWS does fund treatment, most funding is allocated to vaccines. We may pay a price for that, if no vaccines pan out.

“In a second big setback for Covid-19 antibody treatment hopes, Regeneron halts enrollment for more severe patient” [Endpoints News]. “The New York biotech said today that an independent monitoring committee recommended halting enrollment of patients who need high-flow oxygen or mechanical ventilation in one of the trials on their antibody cocktail, after finding “a potential safety signal” and “an unfavorable risk/benefit profile.” The news comes a week after the NIH scrapped a trial of Eli Lilly’s Covid-19 antibody after finding it was having little effect on an initial cohort of hospitalized patients. Regeneron said that enrollment will continue for patients hospitalized with Covid-19 who either don’t require oxygen or require low-flow oxygen.”

“Sewage testing shows a country flush with coronavirus cases” [CNN]. “Across the country, cities and universities are testing sewage to monitor the virus. Studies suggest it’s a useful way to augment standard person-by-person coronavirus testing and while a sewage sample cannot point to an infected individual, it can give an indication that infections are circulating in an area, a neighborhood or even in an individual building.

Early on in the pandemic, it became clear that Covid-19 virus makes its way into the digestive system and could be found in human feces. From there, it’s just a quick flush into the sewers.”

“Booze, weed, gambling, porn, candy, sloth: Will our pandemic-acquired vices hang around after COVID-19 wanes?” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. • Go long vice, then.

UPDATE Once again, “trust the science” is at best vacuous, at worst dangerous, absent critical thinking:

Guillotine Watch

“NYC Executives Commuting to Work by Air From Vacation Homes” [Bloomberg]. “Sometime around August, [Rob] Wiesenthal, co-founder of a private helicopter and seaplane business, noticed an unusual travel pattern among clients, many with second homes in the Hamptons and the Hudson Valley, where they’d been living since pandemic-related lockdowns began in March…. Executives were suddenly filling planes into Manhattan on Friday mornings, an unusual choice for clientele that stays out of the city on weekends. They also booked quick midweek jaunts, arriving early morning, with no luggage, and staying only a day, maybe two…. What he soon realized was this: well-heeled New Yorkers who fled the city aren’t committed to staying away. But they’re not ready to move back either. … Among Blade’s flight clients — largely senior-level executives — 80% already had a place outside the city prior to the pandemic, Wiesenthal said. The rest found one recently, including more junior employees who gave up leases in Manhattan but still occasionally commute in…. ‘We know people who were paying $3,500 a month for a studio apartment, now paying $1,200 sharing a house with two people in the Hudson Valley,’ Wiesenthal said. ‘They’re renting things that are less expensive and that’s enabling them to fly.'”

A frisson of horror, but not for the reason she thinks:

“Made my”…

UPDATE I love how “economic anxiety” became a term of mockery (hat tip, Brian Beutler):

I doubt that Soledad (Harvard) or Molly (Erica’s daughter) have had a day of economic anxiety in their lives.

Class Warfare

“Why has Antitrust Law Failed Workers?” (PDF) [Cornell Law School]. “In the last several years, economists have learned about an antitrust problem of vast scope. Far from approximating the conditions of perfect competition as long assumed, most labor markets are characterized by monopsony—meaning that employers pay workers less than their productivity because workers lack a credible threat to quit and find a higherpaying job in the same market. Yet while antitrust law regulates labor monopsony in the same way as it regulates monopoly on the product market side, antitrust litigation against employers is rare. We document both the magnitude of labor monopsony and the paucity of cases and argue that this “litigation gap” exists because antitrust case law, which has developed through product-side litigation, is poorly tailored to labor-side problems.” • And the proposals:

We make four proposals. First, employees should be permitted to bring section 1 [“Parallelism”] claims against employers based on parallelism. Second, employees should be given more latitude to bring section 2 [“anticompetitive means”] claims against labor monopsonists. Third, the FTC and Justice Department should incorporate labormarket analysis into their review of mergers, and private claims by employees against merging firms should also be strengthened. Fourth, employers should not be permitted to foreclose antitrust class actions by including arbitration clauses in employment contracts.

Will be interesting to see if any of this is thrown into the mix of coming anti-trust battles.

News of the Wired

There is a Jack Chick art bot, I am sure you will be happy to know:

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

AM writes: “Snowy trees in Roger Williams Park (RI) on Halloween Eve 2020. Leaves still on, so lucky it wasn’t windy like the last Halloween snow storm. Can’t remember if it was last year or the year before.” Winter is coming.

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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. William Hunter Duncan

      Probably they are angry that Trump did not let them turn a nation state to rubble like Libya, Syria and part of Ukraine.

      1. Donald

        Trump refuses to stop supporting the war in Yemen. Obama started it, but the Democrats and some Republicans finally were shamed by activists into opposing it. But not our peace loving hero President.

        And actually, try looking at the Airwars site and examine how civilian casualties went up in 2017. Google what happened in Raqqa and Mosul.. As for the Ukraine, Trump brags, correctly, that he has been more militarist than Obama. It’s the Russiagate fantasists who claim otherwise.

        Trump is not the hippy flower child some people think he is

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Trump is not the hippy flower child some people think he is

          Straw man much? “Some people” is such a tell. In any case, personal characteristics are irrelevant. What matters is what Trump did as compared to his predecessors.

          Bush started major land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

          Obama destroyed Libya and put both Syria and Yemen on the boil.

          Please show me the major land war started by Trump, or a catastrophe on the order of Syria started by Trump.

          Nobody I know thought Trump was a “flower child.” At the same time, the prospect of Clinton fomenting war with Russia (or a proxy) was, as the liberals say, terrifying.

          I don’t see why, as with TPP, we shouldn’t take the win, highly imperfect though it may be.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the intel community is supposed to be non-partisan in domestic politics

      I think they’ve declared a state of exception. So it’s all good.

      Great catch, I put it into the main body of the post.

      1. The Historian

        I think you missed the fact that these are all FORMER Government employees. The Hatch Act requiring impartiality only applies to active Government employees.


        Government employees are political animals just like everyone else. When they work for the Government, their political behavior is defined by the Hatch Act. But when they quit working for the Government, they can be as partisan as they want.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > these are all FORMER Government employees

          Former national security goon, yeah right. Nobody retires from the CIA, as they say….

          Adding, it’s all one enormous albeit factionalized network, retired or not. The Hydra’s putatively retired tentacle poked up a letter, that’s all.

          1. The Historian

            I was only trying to point out that there is no requirement for those people to be impartial, as if they ever were. Sorry if I offended you. I didn’t mean to.

    3. farragut

      The comments in the @WSJ post are telling. More and more are tired of endless war, and tired of spending $750 billion annually on our military when they can’t even afford health care, let alone quality health care. These warhawk idiots have zero credibility with the average person. Wouldn’t they be surprised to find their only purpose in this charade to identify which of the two candidates to avoid.

      1. The Historian

        I think that is what is interesting about this WSJ story – not that they worked for the government in various positions – but that they think Trump is going to lose. They are warning other Republicans that the neo-con faction of the Republican Party is now taking control again. Liz Cheney for President in 2024?

        1. a different chris

          I keep saying that but nobody listens to me. (sad face)

          Trump has R voters support. Like anybody who is anybody cares about that, there are wars to fight* and glory to be had!

          *not personally, for god’s sake!

        2. Schmoe

          The Neocons of course want to control both parties. A few months ago I was wondering when the knives will come out for Tucker Carlson, and sure enough, in late September the National Enquirer’s headline was screaming “CIA consider him a security risk” (no sh*t, he has called BS on chemical attacks in Syria). That didn’t take long. The other 2024 R candidates, Haley, Cruz, Rubio and Cotton, all make HRC look like a pacifist.

  1. arielle curtin

    Spy Magazine: originator of the best Trump descriptor ever, as they only referred to him as the “short-fingered vulgarian.” We, in NY, knew him way back when and had his number. Seven Days was also great, and of that same ilk.

    1. Arizona Slim

      My favorite magazines of yore? The feisty 1970s version of Mother Jones. And, from the same time period, The Progressive, which published a great recipe for making nuclear bombs.

      1. Wukchumni

        For a aspiring juvenile delinquent, it was hard to top the National Lampoon in the 70’s…

        ‘Politenessman’ being my favorite cartoon strip~

      2. jr

        What say ye about Heavy Metal ? Awesome fantasy illustrations and stories, easier to explain than a Hustler under your bed…

      3. Darthbobber

        Spy was brutally smart and hilarious.
        Also loved the Voice in its heyday.
        Does anybody except me recall the late Guardian? Not the British rag, but the non-denominational hard left paper in the US? I found it useful enough to distribute.

        1. hunkerdown

          I think you mean the San Francisco Bay Guardian which went out of print in 2014, online since 2016. I mostly heard of them from reposts on Usenet and the occasional cite on some KPFA show. Good journalism. Now endorsing Biden, but that’s the neighborhood now.

            1. ronnie mitchell

              How many others know of the ‘underground paper’ in Toronto in the late ’60’s called ‘The Harbinger’? I sold it on the streets like others hawking it to pick up a few dollars in commission.

            2. s

              yes, recall the guardian– in fact sold it for a month or two at my secondary school, ca. 1970 (tough sell)…, and remember irwin silber, and the october league and timeless prose on the brilliance of pol pot’s urban policies and endless schisms among the maoists. there was also –1970-71 – a “Liberated Guardian” splinter group /”collective” that attacked the maoists’ hegemony and published it’s own version

              1. Darthbobber

                By the late 70s it had become a more non-denominational hard left pub. Partly because Maoism in the US effectively collapsed post-gang of four.

                It hewed then to general militant labor and Marxist variants of feminism and black liberation in the US, and anti-imperialism in the world. It’s Africa coverage was actually much better than anything in the establishment press on into the late 80s.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Spy was brutally smart and hilarious

          Also brilliant design, graphics, and typography. That was the world I was in then, and it was noticeably a cut above everything else. Every page had so much information on it, yet it never looked busy or crowded. The whole magazine fit like the most expensive London bespoke tailoring…

          1. Wukchumni

            The whole magazine fit like the most expensive London bespoke tailoring…

            And in stark contrast Private Eye in the UK was printed on cheap stock, ha!

  2. Wukchumni

    I always dreamed of seeing the Beatles on tour, guess i’ll have to settle for sloppy seconds…

    If there was ever a David and Goliath battle, this is it.

    A pinhead-sized beetle, no more than a couple of millimetres long, versus a giant sequoia tree, taller than a football field and older than the Bible.

    And the tiny beetle, well, swarming armies of beetles, are winning.

    The mighty sequoias in California’s Sierra Nevada, which can live for 3000 years and grow to heights greater than 90 metres, may now be in peril, according to some researchers.

    Climate change, researchers claim, has allowed native bark beetle populations to flourish and deadly infestations to thrive.

    The beetles, Phloeosinus punctatus, bury inside the bark of the sequoias, eating the giants from the inside out, until they topple over and fall to the forest floor.


    1. Glen

      Well, if it’s any consolation, my wife planted a giant sequoia on our property about twenty years ago. We’re up in the PNW so the beetles should not be an issue. It seems to be doing OK, it’s about 25 feet tall, but it’s surrounded by alders that I should have taken down sooner or later.

      At the same time, some of the mid sized (20 to 50 feet tall) hemlocks on my property are not doing so well, two have died, I’m not sure why. We leave them up for the Pileated Woodpeckers which seem to like them.

      And yeah, I know, it’s no consolation.

      Funny how the Amazon rainforst gets all the attention. There once was a forest which extended from the giant sequoias all the way to the Tongass. By biomass, it was the largest forest.

      1. Wukchumni

        You can buy a fossilized Sequoia pine cone from the Hell Creek formation in South Dakota dating from the late Cretaceous era (65 million years ago) for around $25 to $50 on eBay, and closer to home here, there are Giant Sequoias buried 500 to 1,000 feet deep under the floor of the Central Valley, but my favorites are the ones my dad planted in LA about 1970 @ our house.

        He planted about 25 but only 13 survived, each of them being about 60 feet tall now.

  3. a different chris

    >Just give them opposable thumbs…

    Um, have you looked at a bird claw lately? Me, if I could fly around like they can you’d never get me to do anything else. I’d trade every trapping of civilization and comfort, that would be so family-blogging mind blowing.

  4. a different chris

    >“Booze, weed, gambling, porn, candy, sloth: Will our pandemic-acquired vices hang around after COVID-19 wanes?” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. • Go long vice, then.

    And sweatpants!

      1. Amfortas the hippie


        subsistance farming is about as work-from-home as one can get.
        barring cold(another reason i loathe the winter), my work uniform is a cotton bathrobe.
        and after the first (skinny) dip in the cowboy pool, generally a towel.

        of course, if i must do something that requires more protection than what goddess gave me(entering the stickery brush to chase out a guinnea, etc), i do have clothes.

        one of the biggest issues i had with the whole pandemic experience, is everybody being home all dang the time,lol.

        now it’s winter, and hunters from the burbs are starting to roam down my road…and it’s been cold, too.

        and! as good a place as any:
        regarding marianne williamson’s offering:
        ran cross two things that gel with this, deep reads both:

        “We are called to recognize, in the human beings we most despise and detest, a reflection of our own dormant or repressed potentials. The shadow of humanity is shared by all of us, humans, as part of the intrinsic inheritance of our kind. Recognizing it is crucial if we are to emerge as a viable civilization from the other end of what is to come.”


        “With the breakdown of the mental-rational/perspectival consciousness, the bulwark that was erected against the invasion of consciousness by the unconsciousness has broken down also, and the demons, fantastical beings, and dreadful monsters or aliens now all irrupt within our midst — the realm of the known and the familiar. Some would describe this as “opening the gates of Hell” to pandaemonium — the “dark side”. ”

        Longsworde is one of my faves….discovered him at his former “Dark Age Blog” maybe 20+ years ago. Lots of Blake, neitzsche, gebser and even David Bohm—applied metaphysics, pertinent to our current travails.
        we’re heading to chemo in san antone in the am…traveling on election day is not something i would have chosen, this year, ever,lol.
        my eyes will be peeled for any high strangeness on offer.
        my truck has a bernie sticker from 2016, so i guess maybe we’ll learn how the trump train people feel about actual (sorta) socialists.
        i expect those folks to be running amok.
        i’ll be armed, as always.

          1. Judith

            The fear of the sight of space was interesting. People rarely climbed to the top of mountains prior to the 18th century. For example, the indigenous people near Mt Rainier would never pass the snow line as they feared the spirits at the top of that beautiful mountain. Makes sense. Rainier can be quite dangerous and unpredictable.

            1. jr

              Check this out for some thrills:


              Your story reminds me of a similar story from Australia about the Uluru sandstone formation, sacred to the Aboriginal peoples. I recall a tale where a Westerner conveyed his wished to an Aboriginal friend that he intended to climb the rock to which the Aboriginal man replied “Why?!”

              ++subjectivity alert!!++

              I’ve always found things like mountain climbing a bit suspect. I love a good hike and I’ve clambered up a few steep rock faces in my time but this is something different. Whenever I hear interviews with serious climbers, I often get the sense they aren’t climbing a mountain. They are scaling their egos…

              1. Wukchumni

                Most every peak in the Sierra Nevada has a highly technical oh my god side, and usually a fun scramble on the other side that is more a physical jigsaw puzzle you have to figure out while hiking to the top.

                Class 1 to 3 stuff where you don’t need any protection or climbing gear.

                I climb mountains because they’re there.

              2. Judith

                Yes, especially these days with long queues in the Himalayas. But read Nan Shepherd or Robert MacFarlane or The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiesen for various spiritual perspectives.

                People were in the past deeply afraid of the view of space from mountains. It is hard for me to imagine that mind view. Pre mind-body distinction in a way.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Mountains of the Mind by MacFarlane is a keeper, but my favorite armchair climb in an easy chair is Touching the Void by Joe Simpson, which was also made into the best mountain climbing movie ever, in my opinion.

                  1. jr

                    Thanks for the comments, I was of course speaking too broadly but I do get that feeling sometimes when I see pro climbers interviewed. Wuk, what is the highest you’ve ever gone?

        1. ambrit

          If any Reactionaries bother you, tell them the truth. Bernie Sanders was run out of the Democrat Party back in 2016. Thus, your sticker is actually for a Third Party candidate!
          “i’ll be armed, as always.” Don’t forget to fire in bursts. Full auto wastes ammo and leaves you with that awkward “everybody stop shooting while I reload” moment.
          Be safe in the cold!

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Or just do what I do and Hate on Liberals :)

            My Trumper friend loves to hate on my Marxist views, but when I told him I hope Trump crushes Biden and Destroys the democrat party he became very nice!!!

            Tea Party & Marxist Populists Unite!!!!

            NO GUNS. NO DEATH.

            LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

            1. ambrit

              It’s interesting that you touch on the Tea Party in concert with “Populist” Marxists. I always viewed the original ‘Ur’ Tea Party as a conservative leaning populist group. “United Front” is the most destructive political strategy to Neo-anything. It being so potentially dangerous to the Status Quo, no wonder we never “read” or “hear” about it.
              I see you’re still in N’awlinz. Perhaps it’s for the best. (Watch out for those ‘gunned up’ characters in pedicabs!) [That makes a switch from the traditional; “Don’t let the NOPD get you alone in an alley!”]

  5. a different chris

    but officials in Beaver, Cumberland, Franklin, Greene, Juniata, Mercer and Montour — all counties which voted for Donald Trump in 2016

    Well that’s bang up against my former homesprawl, and I drove thru there recently and was shocked by the number of Biden/Harris signs.

    I predict Montour will go in the Biden column, the rest will stay Trump but whocares it’s the total the counts unlike our stupid system of “Representatives” (haha), state and otherwise.

      1. Nakatomi Plaza

        Those people were not from Marin. That “rally” tells me that Trump supporters like to antagonize people by driving around in their giant trucks with their huge Trump flags. They probably came down from Santa Rosa or across from Fairfield.

        Marin is the land of Teslas and Priuses as far as the eye can see, though it doesn’t sound like you’ve ever actually been there.

        1. Clem

          Those guys belong to a (silly) big truck club headquartered in Novato, which is Marin.

          BMWs are the Basic Marin Wheels, not Teslas nor Priuses.

          Our family’s owned a house there since the 1920s. Where you from?

  6. TMoney

    On Cash: Waiting for a court case…. This note is good for all debts public and private. Businesses don’t have to sell you things for cash, but if they extend credit (debt), they have to accept cash as payment. At a bar, (start recording) when I drink the beer (mmmm beer) without paying for it… debt…. offer cash… refuse to accept…. Claim debt discharged due to refusal to accept payment (stop recording)… wait for court date.

    1. Wukchumni

      As recently as 1950 FRN’s used to state:

      This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private, and is redeemable in lawful money at the United States Treasury, or at any Federal Reserve Bank

  7. Another Scott

    With so many people voting early and by mail, I have a question: what is the vote by mail equivalent of hand-marked ballots hand-counted in public? ?

      1. Another Scott

        The chain of custody is my real question. How do we make sure that some town clerk doesn’t toss out ballots that are likely to go for their less preferred candidate when no one else is looking? Who watches the clerk as ballots are removed from the box and each step of the process while maintaining the secrecy of each person’s vote?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          we do paper ballots, of the scan-tron variety(fill in the little bubble).
          so they’re machine readable, but also easy to cound with eyes and hands.
          ion our little county, the ballots from the 2 other voting places…all in the one town…are sent to the courthouse, where the Clerk and her minions count them. There are always witnesses, and anyone is free to come watch. it happens in the big courtroom, so you can just file in quietly and take a seat in one of the ancient and uncomfortable wooden pews.
          i did this once, long ago…pretty boring, really…and there was no funny business allowed…period!…although the people doing the work were all behaving casually, in the manner one behaves when cooking in the church kitchen with 10 others.
          i figure this is how it should be…but with so many of my observations about this far place, i’m not sure how to scale it up.
          (there’s only 4400 people in the whole county, after all.)

          regardless, and in answer…the person opening the box is never alone, and is under much scrutiny.
          it’s too late now, but if you’re really interested, volunteer to be a poll worker next time.

          1. Greg

            You scale it up by multiplying it.
            You wouldn’t want more than a few thousand votes at your lowest counting level, because it’s too hard to get the vote right enough times to be sure you’ve got it down.
            Humans aren’t great at counting big numbers. Better to start small, add a small number of those together, and so on and on.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > the people doing the work were all behaving casually, in the manner one behaves when cooking in the church kitchen with 10 others

            Exactly. That is what the atmosphere and the scale should be. If it isn’t, the precinct is too big!

      2. Jen

        And complex rules regarding what counts as a valid mail ballot. PA’s “naked ballots” could be the hanging chads of 2020 – if voters don’t enclose the ballot in the interior envelope before placing it in the mailing envelope, it won’t be counted, which is different from how these have been treated in prior elections. I’m sure there are plenty of examples from other states as well.

        1. lambert strether

          That’s true, I should have said that anything that puts a layer of indirection between the voter and the direct expression of their intent is bad, and vote-by-mail adds complexity. That said, VBM is nothing like as evil as ballot marking devices.

        2. Darthbobber

          It’s how they were treated in the primary, and the mail-in voting legislation was only passed last year. Further, the instructions for the 2envelopes are clear and prominent.

          1. Jen

            No matter how clear and prominent, some people just don’t read instructions. Doesn’t matter if it’s a blowout, but if it’s close, it might or might not be a problem. If the distribution of people who vote by mail is similar between Trump and Biden supporters, and assuming that a same percentage of each will fail to read the instructions, the end result is the same.

            Or, maybe more Biden supporters vote by mail, and more trump supporters get stuck in endless lines with faulty touch screen devices. The possibilities are endless.

              1. Greg

                And yet their votes matter. Otherwise you might as well skip the charade and go straight to your expert selection.
                It’s not dissimilar to the “idiot in a hurry” rule.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  Well, we can build a system that enfranchises everyone, or we can build a system that’s optimized for people who can follow directions and “make a plan to vote.” I know which system the PMC prefers.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > No matter how clear and prominent, some people just don’t read instructions.

              Mike the Mad Biologist makes the same point.

              I don’t think I’m especially stupid, but the pieces of IKEA-style furniture I have mis-assembled is a significant subset of all the furniture I own. And the directions are pretty good.

              NOTE We should also add to this the genuinely horrific UI/UX of voting machine touchscreens.

              1. Darthbobber

                Yes. In fact, the Pennsylvania mail ballots for whatever defects they have, are less problematic than the new variant of touch screen devices Philadelphia county insisted on going with.

                In addition to the audit trail problem, these have inserted a couple of additional steps in the process, including the printing of a completed ballot to be perused for accuracy and then reinserted correctly.

                These have been used thus far only in the 2019 city elections and this year’s primary. Both low turnout affairs compared to this election, and voting was proceeding notably slower in both these elections than in previous years.

  8. Hepativore

    So, after the Labour Party threw Corbyn out in the UK the Biden team is basically going to come right out and say that they that they are going to forbid any sort of Democratic senator serving in their cabinet which just so happens to include Sanders and Warren.

    I mean, it is obvious at this point that the Biden team does not really care if they win or lose as they have largely spat in the face at any attempt to budge them left. If it were not for the pandemic, Biden would probably be tanking and I am sure that they would still choose to go down with the ship of center-right neoliberalism rather than give any concessions to the left

    His cabinet is going to be a mixture of W. Bush neocons and Clinton-Obama third way Democrats/Blue Dogs.


    How much longer is the left going to continue this fantasy that we can push Biden anywhere? We can look forward to hippie-punching, Russia-baiting, cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and probably war with Iran for the next four to eight years. We will probably get a second term of Biden as historically speaking few presidents have lost their reelection bid and Biden will have the full weight of the corporate news media, DNC, MIC, PMC, and the Deep State behind him in 2024 to make sure that any primary challenges are nipped in the bud.

    Trump is awful, but I am looking at it from a standpoint of who would we be able to get rid of faster for 2024.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I think there is some hope that a small but growing number of Congress-persons recognize that the :”budget constraint,” that underlies the rhetoric of austerity, is a huge misunderstanding.

      Stephanie Kelton’s “The Deficit Myth” is selling well; I noticed today that Amazon (ducks head) has raised the price almost 30%. That’s a good sign, IMO. It will be heavily reprinted.

      I’ve been ordering copies for friends and family. Perhaps I’ll try a different e-tailer for the next round of gifts.

    2. Knot Galt

      I cannot disagree but many of us are up against the wall and done with the Trump experiment. Both parties appear undoubtedly corrupt; it’s a matter of degrees?

      Privately, with no evidence to provide, I am hoping Kamela Harris is imbued with the qualities that Willie Brown developed during his tenure as a state legislature that he put to good use as Mayor of San Francisco. Although she is on a very short leash now, my hope is a resurgence of Willie Brown politics resurfaces through Kamela Harris.

      1. Tom Stone

        When Willie Brown was Mayor of SF Southern Pacific abandoned their Rail Yards in SF, title was supposed to revert to the City of SF, instead it went to SPRR.
        200 acres of level buildable land in SF, just on the other side of the freeway from the Financial district.
        The right people developed it…
        Willie knows how to make the right friends and how to influence people.

      2. a different chris

        Yeah and I’m not sure what fantasy he is talking about.

        “How much longer is the left going to continue this fantasy that we can push Biden anywhere?”

        We not only can’t budge Trump if he gets another 4 years, he seems to be bent on doing even worse things (cough, Tongrass, cough) that Biden’s apparatchiks can even imagine.

        You want to knock the king off the hill, and then you set your sights on the new, still unsteady one.

        Biden. Will. Be. Weaker. Than. Trump.

        That’s all that matters.

          1. neo-realist

            Trump will lock up more progressive activists (McCarthy style witch hunts, RICO statutes, Sedition), and enable more so the assault and murder of progressives in the United States than Biden

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > We will probably get a second term of Biden

      President-in-Waiting Harris would like a word. (Won’t it be fun when everybody who expresses anything other than total fealty to Harris is a sexist, racist, or both.)

    1. CitizenSissy

      Completely agree. I’m a hiker, and my weeklong, luminous walking tour of the Cotswolds in 2016 was incredible. Can’t wait to get back once the US no longer is a pariah state.

  9. Lee

    Eighth-grader from Missouri dies due to COVID-19 complications

    Not to worry though because:

    Please know that we will have additional counselors available on Wednesday when students return to the middle school. The school administration and counseling staff will be working to provide the most appropriate support to the family, student body, and the entire staff. Should you have questions as to how to help your child(ren), please contact a teacher, counselor or administrator.

    I think they got Maslow’s pyramid wrong side up.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      just came through the jungle drums that our little ISD has 12 kids under quarantine in high school alone.
      there’s around 200 or so kids in HS.
      quarantine triggered with known exposure to someone who has it, but i’m not hearing about widespread testing, so it is unknown how this is determined.
      i expect the virus to flourish.
      turns out that foolishness is a fine growth medium for such flourishing.

      ergo,youngest starts virtually with the school to the north tomorrow, since our school left us no options.

    2. a different chris

      But Herd Immunity! It’s so easy! Only people over 80 have anything to worry about (psst that’s your base, idiots) the kids won’t even notice it!

      So sad. I can’t even imagine.

        1. Lee

          An epidemiologist, can’t recall which one, estimates that actual U.S. cases exceed positive tests by seventy to eighty percent. Are they doing more testing in the EU?

  10. Lambert Strether Post author

    I have added the overplus from the weekend.

    The article “If it’s not an Electoral College legal fight, it’s a blow-out — here are the counties to watch” is really interesting. Do we have readers in those counties?

    1. Roger Smith

      I have quite a bit of family in Macomb County. I see most of them sticking with Trump. The most direct relative has been very turned off by the identity war politics of the left I can say.

      Turns out the border is not where I thought was. They live in the other side.

  11. Lee

    “Russians interfering with our social media”, just heard on NPR. A proposition so flawed, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “Russians interfering with our social media”, just heard on NPR.

      I don’t know what to make of a PMC where a large portion has lost its mind and is crazed with fear. I don’t think any good can come of it.

      1. Lee

        If only the panicky herd can be stampeded in the right (i.e. left) direction. And if not, then over a cliff.

        1. wilroncanada

          Just wait until they see what the European Commission is going to do with “their” social media, in the way of regulations. They may, actually, turn them back into social media.

      2. jr

        In a related note, I had a conversation with a reasonably intelligent PMC lady back when Tulsi was still a thing. I mentioned Tulsi in an approving way and this woman bristled. She objected that Tulsi had been linked to the Russians.

        I broke it down for her. As a field grade officer, a major IIRC, in a deployed unit Tulsi almost certainly had a top secret compartmentalized clearance. (I myself had a top secret special background clearance for which I was interviewed and counseled by an FBI agent so I have a little bit of knowledge about it.) I said to her that if HRC and Co. had any real evidence on Tulsi’s involvement with a foreign power, why in the world weren’t they raising all kinds of hell about it other than vague smears? I told her such behavior on the part of government officials current and former was treasonous and put our troops in harms way. Why was nothing being done?

        She looked confused for a moment, said something about “That’s what everyone is saying.” and drifted away. We never interacted again.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          I’ve found what you described to be a good line of questions for a sadly large number of topics these days. I usually get the same response you did. My hope is maybe it plants a seed of doubt in blindly accepting the narratives, but I won’t hold my breath.

          1. jr


            I’m not holding my breath either. I think we may need a major societal meltdown/reset to burn off this B.S. I’m not advocating for it but there is some deep deluding going on out there, hard to think what else could change things given the situation.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > burn off this B.S.

              I wish a had a theory, call it The B.S. Life Cycle™, of how derangement syndromes burn off. For example, Satanic Ritual Abuse ultimately burned off. So did Iraq WMDs.

              But I’ve never seen delusion on this, well, imperial scale (and I don’t mean “not metric”). I really don’t know how to process it.

              I mean, when your first, go-to move is “The Russians did it” where do you go afterwards?

          2. Michael Fiorillo

            As Charles Mackay wrote in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, people lose their minds in herds, and only regain their sanity one by one.

        2. km

          It’s easier to dismiss out of hand than it is to ask tough questions.

          Once you start down that road, if the questions you ask don’t come back with pat answers, at some point, you have to start making choices. If the society and system that we live under does so much evil, how much will I compromise with it?

          These choices can have very real personal and professional consequences. Try not paying taxes and see what happens. “Bartelby the Scrivener” it ain’t.

          Even if you do compromise, you are left with a guilty conscience.

          By contrast, if you repeat the popular wisdom and go along with the crowd, you can avoid those tough choices and face no consequences, and your conscience stays relatively untroubled, for the time being at least. Even in the worst case, you can say to yourself that you did what every other Good German did under the circumstances.

          1. jr

            I struggle with that very situation with my GF. She’s a talented, smart, and successful PMC and towing the line is obligatory if she wishes to maintain her professional standing. We talk and I make my case but she always escalates it to an emotional thing because a. she, like all of us, is terrified b. it’s painful to have one’s shibboleths attacked and c. not believing in the Airtight Consensus will lose her friends and it would definitely crimp her career opportunities.

            She has told me point blank that when I meet one of her bosses finally, I am to shut my trap when politics comes up. And she is right. As she is the breadwinner and I am dependent upon her security, I too must censor my speech in order to stay afloat.

            1. JBird4049

              Oh my. That is very much like the Red Scare. It wasn’t just the HUAC and the FBI going after you for supposedly being a communist fellow traveler or a Soviet agent. You did not have to have committed any crimes. Government agencies and private businesses both would blacklist people just on the suspicion of being a communist especially if they did not name names.

              And to think from my childhood that I thought we didn’t have to worry about that anymore. Nice of those jackals to resurrect the Red Scare.

          2. rowlf

            Maybe ten or fifteen years ago I read about a US military intelligence person interviewing an Iraqi Colonel or General and the question came up: “Did you belong to the Ba’ath Party.” The response was of course he was a member with a how-can-you-be-that-naïve tone. How else could he provide for his family?

    2. Pat

      I started noticing references to foreign interference starting yesterday. And we all know where they think this “interference” comes from. Considering how little news I watch…well just say I see the excuses already being dropped.

      And if they aren’t needed for that, they can still be used to push military confrontation.

    3. zagonostra

      I’m guessing you were stuck in the car and had no access to a real news program, mp3’s, CDs, Cassettes, or other ways to occupy your mind, otherwise I’m completely baffled why you’d be listening to NPR.

      1. BobW

        I listen to NPR when at grocery pick-up and no good oldies songs are on the radio. It usually freaks me out.

        1. jr

          I cannot listen to NPR for longer than maybe five minutes. The frictionless, unnatural modulation of their voices, intended to convey the illusion of steadiness and reasonableness, generates an effect in me similar to that when humans freak out over androids that look super realistic but have tell tale signs they are not.

            1. a different chris

              I always hated those snobbish little musical bridges (bridges in the story sense, not in the musical sense although no doubt some of them were both) they played.

              There was just something so condescending about it, and that really was like the icing on the cake.

              Do they still do that?

                  1. ambrit

                    Me love him too. And notice how he names one of his characters after his favourite aunt, “Mr. McFeely.” Wiki says that Mr. and Mrs. McFeely were the only two characters on “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” who did not use their real names on air.
                    When I had days without work, being in construction, natch, I’d watch Mr. Rogers in the morning with the kids. (My other ‘guilty pleasures’ were Captain Kangaroo and Sesame Street.)
                    As Phyllis likes to say when exasperated with me, “Maybe you’ll grow up some day.”

            2. jr

              I remember the smooth smugness of the hosts, so crisply certain of their grasp on things, even righteous. Voices never displaying any emotion, as we all know emotional displays are generally frowned upon by the PMC’s unless it’s them and only on special occasions like tomorrow. I used to scream at the radio (pre-medication) because they were so obviously skewed towards the neo-liberal order and were totally sold out ideologues but they blithely chattered on. You could almost see the tight, prim, satisfied smile on their faces through the speakers…the one they get when they get a recalcitrant waiter in trouble. You don’t want to look too hungry for control but you have to savor it a little bit…

    4. Duke of Prunes

      All part of the program to regulate social media companies. Build enough regulatory red-tape to keep out the small upstarts (i.e competition), and then the big three can more easily buy whatever regulation they prefer.

  12. D. Fuller

    Concerning the election and polling, covered by NC earlier this morning? Trump won PA in part due to Republican voter disenfranchisement which was effective. That and Hillary ran a sh**ty campaign and backed Conservative crypto-Republican’s across the board here in PA. As it was in Ohio and other key States. Republicans implemented a voter disenfranchisement & suppression operation in 27 States in 2016 or before. That allowed for 15 States to be won by Trump with around 250,000 votes averaging 17,000 votes a State. Three of those States were key with 100,000 votes.

    Any poll that can not take into account, voter disenfranchisement or suppression, by either party? Has problems.

    There have been several successful lawsuits by 3rd parties against Republican voter suppression tactics such as voter caging. :Greg Palast has covered that extensively. The Democratic Party was (and is) content to ignore Republican efforts for over two decades.

    Republicans are now more heavily reliant on court action to their claims of fraud to “win” the Election, should Trump lose.

    IMHO, it is still 50/50. Democratic supporters need to face facts. Biden – if he were a good candidate? Would be leading by 7-10 points in most States.. He’s not. He’s a Wall Street banker’s pet who – along with Obama, Holder, and most Democratic politicians – screwed over tens of millions of voters to appease their Wall Street masters.

    1. Stephen C.

      Last night it really sunk in. Without the Covid-19 pandemic and Trump blowing that, Biden would most likely lose. It’s shocking how weak a candidate they put up against Trump.

      1. a different chris

        Anybody would lose in that scenario. This is not a nation of brilliant thinkers. TBH, I think the reason turnout sucks is that people actually know they don’t really put up the effort to learn enough to deserve to vote about anything.

        I said before, can’t of course prove it, but without the crashing of, well everything the Dems would have served Sanders to Trump on a platter to “prove” he couldn’t win.

        And the Lincoln Republicans would be non-existent as they wouldn’t be smelling Trump’s blood in the water, but the mirror image – the Clinton Democrats would take their place. “I can’t vote for Sanders, so sad about it!”

      2. albrt

        The paid democrat operatives, the core of the party, did not want to win. They wanted 4 more years of Trump terrorizing weak-minded democrats into quivering lumps of jello, just barely capable of handing over their credit card information in response to the “democrats fighting for” emails.

        The democrat operatives are probably really pissed that they are being forced to campaign seriously, against their own economic interests. But if they somehow manage to lose this one from 10 points ahead according to their own pollsters, their future employment prospects would look really dim.

      3. chris

        Why would the donors and party luminaries want a strong candidate with their own ideas of what to do when in office? The Trump administration defaulted to the Romney/Ryan mode that advisors and donors wanted because Trump was too inept to break out of the box canyon the bureaucracy and staff had him trapped in. But that was too close a call for the donor class. With Joe they wont have to worry about any of that.

  13. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

    Today’s Fear & Greed Index: Blank again [CNN]. • This is getting spooky, honestly.

    Is this even a useful tool? It was developed by CNN, after all.

    At any rate, aren’t you just supposed to buy all the stocks you can, and hold them forever, bequeathing them to your children after death so they become rich?

    Since stocks always go up, this seems like the only information/strategy needed.

    Or so I’ve always been told.


  14. Wyoming

    I saw the comment above (and have seen it many places) about the secret Trump voter telling the pollsters that they are for Biden as a way of screwing with the polling.

    I expect this is going on. But the opposite is also happening as I know Biden voters who have told me that they do this. They want Trump to appear to be doing good to make other Democrats worried he could win so it encourages them to go vote against him.

    btw this is what my wife and I do. All for Trump to the pollsters but would not vote for him if my life was on the line (I’m too old to care).

    1. a different chris

      Ok well you answered my query below as to why people would screw with some anonymous college student getting way less than minimum wage. I surrender. :D

    2. polecat

      Isn’t it great living in a country where everyone acts like they’re in 3rd grade, the weedy, schooled sandlot being the bully du jour-of-the-hour’s domain …

  15. Louis Fyne

    did the water cooler mention the final Selzer Iowa poll? (Clinton Cty, IA)

    Trump +7 (versus polling showing a dead heat for much of the fall). Same margin as Selzer’s final poll in 2016 in which Trump won IA +9

    1. edmondo

      Someone needs to call the DNC and tell them to start a voter registration drive! Why are the Dems always fighting the last war and not the one they are in?

    2. LibrarianGuy

      In the unlikely event NC takes my comment, I’d like to say that sadly, the last 20 years have made me a pessimist viz presidential elections and I think Trump will win. (Not that I would’ve voted for the reactionary Biden either– I voted Green as I did in 2016, & California will go Dem reliably without my vote counting.)

      I think something beats nothing, and as hateful, bizarre and incoherent as crazy Uncle Donald is, he is something. Biden is a smug nonentity fronting for the Hard Neoliberal Kamala who will be the real president within 2 years given Biden’s health concerns.

      Either prospect is horrible, that’s the “choice” our political system gives us (thanks, Obama, & all his co-conspirators who rigged the Dem primaries for the #5 candidate at the time, via S. Carolina, which will vote Repub.) . . . I think the MSM is really WRONG once again regarding poll #s and the Orange man will hog the stage quite a bit longer.

      1. rowlf

        I concluded a long time ago that even if one candidate got raptured or obliterated on camera in front of an audience by a meteorite the MSM would still run the coverage as a close race through election night to suck in viewers and ad revenue.

  16. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    So the laptop gets the memory hole treatment. This amazes me.

    Chris Hedges won a Pulitzer Prize. Matt Taibbi is one of the few remaining journalists. They had to meet on friggin’ RT even to get their story broadcast. That story includes statements about how A: the Steele Dossier of course was 100% fake; and B. there are many reasons to believe that Hunter’s laptop is not. As Hedges says “the Bidens have not denied its authenticity”. I often hear “But Trump is corrupt too!”. So Ivanka’s front door licensing deal with a Chinese public company is somehow in the same universe as Hunter’s surreptitious back door financial deals with Chinese military and espionage agents? And we’re not going to investigate a potential foreign espionage “kompromat” operation like we ignored the intelligence agencies working to reverse the results of the election in 2016?

    The record from the Senate in 2000 is very instructive, now that we have the facts in about the wonderfulness of globalism. The debate on normalizing China trade. Who was right? How did the Clintonista globalists selling the middle class to China work out?

    Ernest Hollings, Senator from South Carolina. “Mr. President, one would think from the comments made by my distinguished friend from New Jersey and others that the issue was the welfare and benefit of the People’s Republic of China. Are we transferring all of the wonderful middle-class American jobs to China? And we are running all over the country hollering, ‘‘I am for the working families, I am for the working families,’’ when, since NAFTA, they have eliminated 30,700 working families in my little State of South Carolina. We lost over 500,000 over the Nation. So we are eliminating working families, and we say, ‘‘But China is going to really start enforcing and adhering and be made accountable.’’

    Paul Wellstone, Senator from Minnesota: “I think what will happen is China will become the largest export platform with low-wage labor under deplorable working conditions exporting products abroad, including to our country, and our workers will lose their jobs.”

    Robert Byrd, Senator from West Virginia: “Mr. President, I believe that the Senate is about to make a grave mistake. I believe that the new U.S.-China trade pact, that panacea of all good things, will encourage mainly one phenomenon—one phenomenon; namely, more U.S. corporations will move operations to China to capitalize on low-wage production for export back here to the United States. Yet, the Clinton administration continues to claim that this new agreement will ensure the political triumph of democracy-loving, U.S.-friendly, free-market leaders in China, who can be trusted to live up to their end of the bargain. Someone downtown must be popping ‘‘gullible’’ pills. That claim gives new meaning to the word ‘‘naive’’. The Clinton Administration actually expects us all to believe that the bilateral agreement, PNTR and the WTO will magically force the Chinese government to shred its own national agenda, disregard its own needs and interests, even risk its own viability, in order to live up to an agreement with the United States. How naive can we be? “

    Then we get our man from Delaware, in his prescient and patriotic glory: “I do not foresee the collapse of the American manufacturing economy, as China, a nation with the impact on the world economy about the size of the Netherlands’, suddenly becomes our major economic competitor. Recent attempts by China to police the Internet, and punish advocates of democratic reform, are troubling to all of us, and they are also destined to fail. Extending permanent normal trade relations to China is in the best interests of both the United States and the people of China.”

    Globalist Joe at least gets that last sentence half right. Maybe we can put in a system where he spends half his time in Washington and the other half in Beijing? With the rest of his constituents.

    Congressional Record, 2000:

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i remember that exchange!
      …which is of course the rub: we’re not supposed to remember last week, let alone a cspan ramble from 20 years ago.

      —“If you seem slow to me, Sherlock, can you imagine what real people are like? I’m living in a world of goldfish.”—Mycroft, some years ago.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        But that’s what’s great about this time around, no need to wait 20 years since we know today the teams they are on. One is a proud nationalist and the other is a proud globalist

        1. Darthbobber

          Well, one is something of a globalist. The other, I suspect, is a solipsist.
          Interesting thing with the Senate vote on PNTR Was The span of the yea voting bloc (which was 83 of the 100 senators. L) Kennedy, Wyden, in solidarity with Storm Thurmond and most of the hyperpatriotic crowd. Most of the “liberals”. Most of the “conservatives”.

          In the house, the vote was much closer with the lion’s share of opposition coming from the democrats. Pelosi was among the nays back then.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Q: What’s ramped up since then? A: Follow the money. Selling the people of your country down the tubes has become very profitable indeed.

    2. Louis Fyne

      When Joe Biden makes Ernest Hollings look like Che Guevara, wow. Just plain WOW!

      thanks for the cite too!

      RIP Wellstone. what could’ve been….

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Anyone trying to actually work to benefit the people should avoid light aircraft, much too easy to get Arkancided. Agree, he was one-of-a-kind.

    3. Redlife2017

      True Anon Pod has an excellent discussion (very long) on Hunter Biden, Ukraine, the Federal Republic of China, soviet weapon systems and how this whole thing is actually gigantic.

      It’s a freebee and very worth the listen on soundcloud

  17. Glen

    So I’m beginning to think that the whole “keep any real progressives away from power” by the neolibreal/cons that are forming up a Biden White House is a complete gift to progressives.

    Why? Because Biden and the neo’s in charge is going to be a complete $hit show. They will bail out the rich AGAIN, and everyone else is going to SUFFER. No political movement that wants a future is going to want to be associated with the coming mess.

    It will unfortunately mean pain and hardship for the majority of our country, but that just seems to be dialed in no matter who wins at this point.

  18. jr

    Re: animal self awareness

    I’m not sure if this is evidence of self-awareness on the part of a chimp but this video of a dying elderly female and her human friend, her first friend, speaks to some kind of “meta” awareness in my mind.


    God that video F’s me up…

    1. polecat

      Whenever I feed our hens certain things that make them fluff up and shake themselves in anticipation – just prior to putting beak to food, I can’t help but see self-awareness in their immediate pleasure in dining on what they find delectably irresistible!

  19. lobelia

    Just dropping this Bay Area™ California News by here, it’s dated Sunday, November 1:

    Despite protections, deaths surge in Bay Area homeless communities. But just a handful are attributed to COVID-19 https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/11/01/despite-protections-deaths-surge-in-bay-area-homeless-communities/

    I left a longer comment regarding the piece (unfortunately I couldn’t find a better press source that hasn’t repeatedly refused to endorse renter protections, yet endorses [Uber et al’s] Prop22) so as to explain why I was posting it (as per Naked Capitalism request: ‘don’t just link it, give some backdrop’) under the One Trump Voter Explains Why Trump Will Win post, but it’s still in moderationfrom hours ago, and it is highly important, for anyone who values life.

    1. furies

      “Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital…”

      wt acual f?? ugh~

      Thanks for posting this, Lobelia.

  20. Expat2Uruguay

    How surreal is this moment right now? I feel like it’s Christmas Eve and I’m wondering what kind of presents will be opened tomorrow from Neo-inSaneta Clause?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      waiting around for the bomb to go off.
      i go outside to do the evening wander around the place, and all is calm…not a cloud in the sky, and a red and orange sunset glimmering the hills…barnyard birds talking about being put up…barbadoes wondering where their dinner is…a crow….a steer in the distance lamenting his lost manhood…
      normal fall evening in the far texas hill country.
      but then i take a peek at “the news”….

      will the ravening hordes…enraged by either a loss or a win….remember little old weirdo me way out here?
      when we go among them tomorrow…120 miles to san antonio, and 120 miles back…will they be as lunatic and rabid as internet news would lead us to expect?
      as prior excursions have also led us to expect?
      scariest times of my life…and that’s saying something.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I feel like it’s Christmas Eve

      I’m trying to come up with an objective correlative here, and I can’t. A lot of people seem to think that the election will be a “!” or even a “!!!”, but I think it will be a “,” a mere splice in a longer and unchanging narrative.

  21. Amfortas the hippie

    came across this….which is more or less what i’ve been yelling at various democratic critters for 20 years:
    “The Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution unambiguously grants Congress the authority to exert its authority over this archipelago of hateful, extra-judicial election rigging.

    And that is what they must do. Outlaw racist voter ID laws. Require ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted. Mandate that states tie the number of polling places to population targets. Re-enfranchise every formerly incarcerated person in the country, whatever the racists in state government say. Clean up the ridiculous ambiguity over the rules of the Electoral College while we wait for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to become law in enough states to end this madness forever. Enact sweeping new criminal penalties for voter suppression activities. Register every American to vote automatically when they turn 18 (or better yet, lower the voting age to 16). Refuse to admit members of Congress who won their seats through blatantly lawless voter suppression. Deploy force against states that refuse to comply.

    Apologize for nothing.”

    but i doubt that dems will use whatever power they gain tomorrow for such an obviously needed endeavor.
    (which is why i didn’t vote for any dems, unless they were the only alternative to a goptea-er)

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Why not jump right in now and apply Section 2 of the 14th Amendment to require states to allocate electoral votes proportionally to their people’s votes?

      States which don’t do this are denying or abridging voting rights by diluting their voting power — which would get even worse under NPV — and subject to the Mal-Apportionment Penalty of losing a share of their US Representatives (and the EC votes that go with them).

      See the work of Professor Asa Gordon and the Green Party on the issue — here, for example.

  22. chris

    That Vogue article on election stress and 2016 “PTSD” is execrable. The whole set of opening lines read as if the author is blaming Trump from everything from COVID to puppies dying. This is one of those times that I have to separate my desire to see people like that wallow in whatever sorrow their trust funds will permit with what could help people with actual concerns that don’t make it onto a brunch menu.

    I want things in this country to get better for the people who have been suffering for a long time. That’s why the option of Joe Biden being elected is so depressing. It’s awful that people like Ms. Jong-Fast don’t feel the same way.

  23. Wukchumni

    What does Trump have to fall back on if he loses?

    Occupancy rates at his hotels must be losing him oodles of money he doesn’t have, and apparently he’s a Bizarro World Billionaire (that would be he owes a billion) which means if he doesn’t win the election, he’s toast.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      saw somewhere speculation that trump could inherit Rush’ Golden Microphone(tm).
      perhaps from Dubai or somewhere…with no extradition.

      1. Brunches with Cats

        Don’t Fool Yourself, Donald Trump Isn’t Going Anywhere — Krystal Ball on this morning’s Hill Rising.

        Krystal argues that Trump will continue to tweet even if he loses, and the corporate media will continue to make it news, because, truth is, Trump is the best thing that’s happened to them in decades. And anyway, there’s been speculation since before 2016 that running for president was just a publicity stunt for a new TV show and that he really didn’t want the job.

        Dunno about the former, but I was as certain as certain can be of the latter as I watched the live coverage of him walking toward the stage for his acceptance speech. It looked to me like he was about to cry, body language suggesting defeat.

        And it sure does look to me like he’s trying to lose this time around. The TDS-afflicted sincerely believe that he loves power too much to leave the White House if Biden wins, that he’ll resort to every dirty trick to remain in office, that he’ll sink into post-POTUS depression when he’s no longer the center of attention. As difficult as it is for us to imagine another four years of this hell, I can easily imagine him thinking the same thing.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > What does Trump have to fall back on if he loses?

      Book deal plus tour. TV show. Merch. Trump will do fine (and if I recall, he’s got plenty of property quietly squirreled away, with no Trump logos or Louis Quinze bathroom taps, or anything).

  24. Wukchumni

    When wars start, often the thought is they’ll be over soon and sometimes it happens (Iraq War 1) but more usually they drag on for years.

    This being everybody’s first pandemic, I think we were all hoping it’d be over sooner rather than later, but what if lasts as long as WW2, say 6 years?

    Everybody would be pretty much broke in the developed countries by then, no?

    1. Greg

      That’s been on my mind a bit lately as well. What does the new normal look like?

      Six years later we’re just… losing an extra half a percent of the population every flu season?

      Or do we reach an equilibrium where “susceptible” members of society just die earlier, from covid, and then we dont have that cohort anymore so death rates go back to what they were?

      I’m not quite able to model enough in my head to work it out. I’m sure someone is.

  25. ChrisPacific

    I’m trying to figure out how any list of Biden’s potential top influencers would include Matt Stoller. I think this part is the clue:

    Defining a universe of more than 30 Biden advisors, including Democratic Vice Presidential nominee and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), campaign officials, the transition team, and others directly involved in economic policy development, as well as general advisors, campaign staff, the Democratic National Convention platform drafting committee, and Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force members;

    All from the campaign team concerned with how to get Biden elected, and no representation from donors. Stoller is probably in there because of that last item, which is relevant only if you think Biden won’t drop them like a hot potato the instant he is elected.

    It would be interesting to see the results of a similar analysis for a universe of Biden’s top donors, pull out the top influencers from that, and see which of of the two ends up enjoying better representation in his administration if he is elected.

  26. Wukchumni

    Apparently we had a Trump truck entourage in our tiny town yesterday, and according to somebody that witnessed it, about 15 trucks totaling 20 locals, old glory flanked by the same old story, waving faithfully.

    Now, to put things in perspective, one of the many things I like about living here, is we are a 50/50 mix politically-as opposed to the central valley which is 90% Republican if not more, they keep electing the Devin & Kevin team back into office.

    There’s 2,000 of us here, or 1,000 Republicans-and just 2% of those participated in the rally, but you’d think there was a whole lot more support for Trump, watching all those trucks doing high school drill team maneuvers, it plays big being a spectacle.

    1. curlydan

      I don’t get out much, but the last Trump truck I saw was at the COVID testing center. Someone at my son’s indoor soccer practice contracted COVID, and the soccer club said, “everything was OK, no need to quarantine. We keep practices socially distant.” I didn’t quite believe that. Turns out COVID has confirmed that I’m a hypochondriac, so a few days later off we go to the testing center for an $80 1 hour test. I [bleep] you not, the vehicle in front of us in the testing line was a Trump festooned truck, loud muffler, the works. The driver seemed to be keeping a low profile behind his tinted windows. The irony meter in my head almost exploded. Son tested negative-yay and whew!

    2. Louis Fyne

      one thing that Team Obama got right….people (atomized Americans that is) yearn to be part of a movement.

      Team Biden ain’t a movement. The Trump Train is….even if you don’t like the destination.

  27. petal

    If anyone is looking for some music to chill out to, dead.net is having a free song download per day for the whole month of November. I know I will be taking advantage of it to help with the stress of these interesting times. Cheers, y’all.

  28. Jason Boxman

    For what it’s worth, I want to thank Lambert for his tireless and never ending work providing this valuable daily update on the state of things, elections and otherwise. As we approach the conclusion, be it hours, days, or weeks, of the final chapter of this unnerving election season, I hope everyone stays safe, alert, and discerning. While I know not what future we face, I’m confidence that the posters and commenters here will continue to provide valuable discussion and insights into our world as it exists and we perceive it to be.

    Be well.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Molly Jong-Fast did have PTSD

      There’s a name for what Jong-Fast is doing: Stolen valor. It’s ridiculous. Somebody punctured her amour propre and its the worst thing that ever happened to any human being, ever.

      1. fwe'zy

        Could you please explain how MJF is manifesting “punctured amour propre” or even stolen valor? I read the piece and don’t see it. Seems to be just everyday kids-in-cages propaganda.

  29. VietnamVet

    This is the eve of tomorrow. The USA was a North American Empire since the Mexican War and Global Hegemon since WWII. All of the Elite that went along with trashing workers to make more money have ended up with Joe Biden as the last want-to-be Emperor – stuttering like Claudius but way over the hill. Donald Trump is the anti-Imperialist who back down from one missile strike away from WWIII.

    The US government failed to control the coronavirus pandemic and is an Empire no more. The Poodles in Europe are doing even more terrible job of governing and protecting their citizens from the virus. Some American States still have vestiges of the old public health systems and rational leaders. Like New Zealand and Australia this may account for the less horrible number of coronavirus cases in the USA than the EU.

    Joe Biden says he will control the pandemic. We shall see if he will be elected and if I will ever get to leave my house safely.

  30. albrt

    I am somewhat discouraged to see that 538.com has literally no useful content from this afternoon until now (1:00 am eastern), just podcast-blah-blah-podcasts.

    I mistakenly thought that providing useful federal election information was 538’s raison d’etre, but I guess their real raison d’etre is to help their young staffers transition to making real money in broadcast (loosely defined).

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