2:00PM Water Cooler 12/3/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day


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

Case count by United States region:

Returning to the upward trend.

I thought I’d look at some big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California) instead of the Midwest:

I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, but it’s interesting that the big states all moving more-or-less in tandem now; perhaps spread was nationalized with colleges and universities opening and closing? The correlation seems to happen around 63 days ago (October 1).

Test positivity by region:

The post-Thanksgiving data has now resumed its upward trend at the same slope as before.

Nowhere near 3%, though.

Hospitalization by region:

The post-Thanksgiving data has now resumed its upward trend at the same slope as before. (We should also take into account that hospitalization is also discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity.)

Case fatality rate by region:

The post-Thanksgiving data has now resumed its upward trend at the same slope as before. Deaths (purple line) dropping starting on Thanksgiving Day sure looks like a reporting issue to me. And the consistent behavior of all the series but cases give some confidence that our data collection is reasonably responsive and reliable; if wrong, at least not randomly wrong….


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

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

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

Election Legitimacy

“In video, Trump recycles unsubstantiated voter fraud claims” [Associated Press]. • No, Trump is making election fraud claims!

UPDATE “Pro-Trump legal crusade peppered with bizarre blunders” [Politico]. “Powell and Wood allege a vast conspiracy in which states’ electronic voting systems have been manipulated by a company with ties to the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. What has set them apart from Trump’s official legal team, which has offered similarly unsupported claims of fraud, is their willingness to accuse sitting Republican officials of committing crimes to aid Biden’s election.” • I was always worried about central tabulation. But if you want to make a case about voting technology, you have to get the details right. So far as I can tell, Powell isn’t. Technical people have been very willing to become involved in demolishing the case for Ballot Marking Devices (whose only unique selling proposition is, indeed, election fraud). They have not been willing to get involved with Powell. So, smoke without fire.

UPDATE I love the riff:

But if the scorched earth after this election implies that the case for paper ballots will have gone up in smoke… That will be bad. Just because technology is “digital” doesn’t mean it’s good!

Transition to Biden

“Pelosi, Schumer endorse bipartisan fiscal stimulus plan in bid to get talks going” [MarketWatch]. “Prior to the election, Democrats insisted on a $2.2 trillion package, a size Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said was well beyond what was needed. A group of lawmakers from both parties in the House and Senate unveiled a package they said totaled a bit more than $900 billion. McConnell proposed a smaller package that he said could be signed into law by President Donald Trump. The bipartisan package was put together by the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a 50-member group evenly divided by party, and a group of nine senators that included Democrats, Republicans and an independent. The package would allocate about two-thirds of its aid for more Paycheck Protection Program funds, additional unemployment benefits and assistance for state, local and tribal governments.” • (The “Problem Solvers Caucus“.) UPDATE People are watching:

Getting fiscal:


UPDATE “Black leaders express concerns about representation in Biden administration” [The Hill]. “President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet is quickly taking shape, but there is growing dissent from Black lawmakers and activists surrounding his picks, as only two Black Americans have been chosen so far. At the moment, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, tapped to be the country’s next ambassador to the United Nations, and Cecilia Rouse, Biden’s pick to chair the Council of Economic Advisers, are the only Black members of the burgeoning Cabinet. Advocates have made it clear that they want to see the administration put Democrats’ staunchest voting bloc at the center right from Day One. In his first speech as president-elect, Biden made Black voters a promise: that he’d have their backs. Several Cabinet positions must still be named, but Black leaders increasingly are publicly worrying that the president-elect and his incoming administration will fall short of the pact.” • In what sense is this “representation”?

“Watching Representative Katie Porter Grill Trump Administration Officials Is Still My Favorite Pandemic Pastime” [Vogue]. “Being in a pandemic lockdown, day after day, week after week, month after month, is a drag. There are only so many times I can binge-watch The Crown or Schitt’s Creek or all seven seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But there is one viewing experience these past 10 months that continues to give me pleasure: watching Representative Katie Porter—a first-term Democrat who recently won reelection in the formerly Republican stronghold of California’s Orange County—skillfully fillet the hapless Trump administration officials who come before one of the House committees on which she serves.” • A fun round-up. And in Vogue!


GA: “Georgia election official: Effort to overturn 2020 results will drive down runoff turnout” [Politico]. “Gabriel Sterling, a top Georgia election official, predicted Thursday that attorneys working to overturn the state’s election results on President Donald Trump’s behalf will drive down voter turnout in runoff races early next year that will determine which party controls the Senate. ‘At this point, there’s no way that it can’t,’ Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, told CNN — referring to the conspiratorial claims that pro-Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood have leveled this week in defense of the president’s effort to reverse the outcome of the 2020 White House race.” • I don’t understand the plays here. Any of them. A Georgia election official:

Obama Legacy

Doubling down on drinking Flint water?

I’m inclined to think that a sample size of three is not useful. There are 552 Federal electeds.There are ~4000 Federal political appointees. Is 4552 a useful sample size?

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE A new way of looking at “flyover”?


What do readers think of this thesis?

“The Dead End of the Left?” [Commonweal]. “Contra the “Catholic Left,” which tended to regard Marx’s atheism as accidental, and tried to rescue his socio-political analysis from his religious views, Del Noce concluded that what Marx proposed was not just a new theory of history or a new program of political economy, but a new anthropology, one completely different from the Christian tradition. (Louis Dupré had made a similar argument in the pages of Commonweal; see “Marx and Religion: An Impossible Marriage,” April 26, 1968.) Marx viewed humans as “social beings” entirely determined by historical and material circumstances rather than by their relationship with God. He viewed human reason as purely instrumental—a tool of production and social organization rather than the capacity to contemplate the truth and participate in the divine wisdom. Finally, Marx viewed liberation as the fruit of political action, not as a personal process of conversion aided by grace. Marxist politics was not guided by fixed and absolute ethical principles, because ethics, along with philosophy, was absorbed into politics. Del Noce concluded that there was no way to rescue Marx’s politics from his atheism, which had as much to do with his view of man as with his view of God.”

Stats Watch

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

Employment Situation: “28 November 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improves” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 755 K to 800 K (consensus 780 K), and the Department of Labor reported 712,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 750,750 (reported last week as 748,500) to 739,500.

Employment Situation: “November 2020 Job Cuts: Job Cuts Fall For The Second Month” [Econintersect]. “In the penultimate month of the year, U.S.-based employers announced 64,797 job cuts, the second-lowest monthly total for 2020. It is 19.7% lower than the 80,666 job cuts announced in October.”

* * *

Cash: “The coronavirus pandemic has caused a surge in demand for contactless payments, accelerating the shift from cash to digital options” [CNBC]. “The Covid-19 pandemic is expected to cause a drastic decline in cash usage due to the risk of contamination…. The unprecedented surge in the demand for contactless payment has also led to outstanding performances for major companies offering cashless methods, such as Apple, Square and PayPal. Dan Schulman, the CEO of PayPal, sees it as a sign that digital payments are shifting from ‘being a nice-to-have capability to a must-have essential service.’…. There has already been a significant decrease in cash usage over the past few years. Nearly a third of U.S. adults said they typically make no purchase using cash during a week, according to a study by Pew Research Center. Millennials are the ones leading the charge toward a cashless future. A report from Experian in 2019 revealed that 1-in-10 millennials use their digital wallet for every purchase. Pew Research also found that about 34% of adults under the age of 50 make no purchases in a typical week using cash.” • I am not aware of a single study showing that cash transmits Covid (or, more precisely, that cash is a fomite for Covid). However, if you want to have the chance to breathe in plenty of aerosols, be sure that you get in line behind somebody trying to pair their phone with the register, or trying to get a discount through a QR code. Often the cashier will reach for the phone to help the customer!

Housing: “Bloomberg Equality: The Stench of Forced Labor Taints Big Brands” [Bloomberg]. Not sure why this snippet is under that headline: “America’s richest neighborhoods have fared just fine during the pandemic. A Bloomberg analysis found that home values in the top 100 zip codes have soared by almost $30,000 on average since March.” Handy chart of the neighborhoods (though not the change):

Boston punching above its weight?

Shipping: “UPS drivers told not to pick up shipments from major retailers amid pandemic-fueled holiday surge: report” [The Hill]. “UPS has reportedly told drivers across the country to stop picking up packages from six retailers, including Gap, Nike and Macy’s, as the shipping company attempts to keep up with a record-breaking online shopping season amid the coronavirus pandemic. In an internal message obtained by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed by various UPS workers in different regions, the delivery company announced the temporary shipping restrictions on the retailers, which also included L.L. Bean, Hot Topic and Newegg. ‘No exceptions,’ the message reportedly said.” • Odd! Fighting over rates?

Tech: “@bluesky Identity” [Tim Bray]. “On the Internet, there are many entities that provide online conversations, whether short-form like Twitter or bulletin-board-esque like Reddit. Then there are a nearly infinite number of specialized communities, for photographers, dog groomers, and the owners of particular types of boats or cameras. Let’s call these entities ‘Providers.’ @bluesky envisions allowing online conversations to span Providers. Which is to say, from inside Twitter I could follow not only other Twitter accounts, but posts on my boat-owners’ forum. And vice versa. This is a straightforward and easy-to-understand — if not necessarily easy to build — vision, and might be worth doing by itself.” • Important.

UPDATE Travel:

This cruise ship looks like a bad case of gigantism; grotesque, and swollen. Decadent.

Mr. Market: “S&P 500, Nasdaq hit intraday records and Dow retakes 30,000 amid raging coronavirus pandemic” [MarketWatch]. • Coincidence?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 86 Extreme Greed (previous close: 87 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 91 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 3 at 11:59am.

Health Care

“Health care workers and long-term care facility residents should get Covid-19 vaccine first, CDC vaccine advisers say” [CNN]. “Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted 13-1 on Tuesday to recommend that both health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be first in line for any coronavirus vaccines that get emergency authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices voted to include both groups in what they’re calling Phase 1a of the CDC’s coronavirus vaccine distribution plan. They are at ‘exceptionally high risk,’ Dr. Jose Romero, who chairs ACIP, said. ‘Long term care facility residents are defined as adults who reside in facilities that provide a variety of services, including medical and personal care, to persons who are unable to live independently,’ the CDC said. These very frail people account for 40% of coronavirus deaths in the US and the ACIP committee members felt strongly they need to be protected.”

“U.S. employers could mandate a COVID-19 vaccine, but are unlikely to do so -experts” [Reuters]. “Gostin and five other health law experts said private companies in the United States have broad liberties to set health and safety standards, which would allow them to mandate vaccinations as a condition of employment with some exceptions. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in May said employers were allowed to compel employees to get a coronavirus test before allowing them to return to work, a decision that some experts said might be extended to vaccine mandates. But Robert Field, a law and public health professor at Drexel University, said companies considering mandates should wait for vaccines to undergo a full-fledged regulatory review process. ‘Employers are on shakier grounds because of the emergency use authorization,’ Field said, adding there was no precedent for vaccine mandates during that phase. U.S. courts that have ruled on lawsuits by healthcare workers opposing employer-mandated flu vaccines have largely sided with hospitals as long as they provided reasonable exemption policies, court records showed.” •

“COVID-19: Boris Johnson warns of ‘immense logistical challenges’ in distributing vaccine” [Sky News]. “Deputy chief medical officer [of NHS England] Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said [Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine] was a ‘complex product with a very fragile cold chain’. ‘It’s not a yoghurt that can be taken out of the fridge and put back in multiple times. It’s really tricky to handle,’ he said.” • I’ve gotta say China’s vaccine looks best to me: Simple, rugged, proven technology. Of course, it hasn’t been tested on a mass scale….

UPDATE “Supreme Court sees new requests for religious COVID-19 carve-outs” [The Hill]. “”If churches are limited to no more than 10 people, then grocery stores have to be subjected to the same limits,” Wiley said, describing the Supreme Court’s new legal test.” • Again, it’s insane to regulate by the type of firm, as opposed to the physical characteristics of the place of business (or worship); for example, ventilation. That’s the source of the difficulty. For me, the thirst for “worship” is all too earthly:

The Biosphere

“Climate change: Temperature analysis shows UN goals ‘within reach'” [BBC]. “The Climate Action Tracker group looked at new climate promises from China and other nations, along with the carbon plans of US President-elect Joe Biden. These commitments would mean the rise in world temperatures could be held to 2.1C by the end of this century. Previous estimates indicated up to 3C of heating, with disastrous impacts. But the experts are worried the long-term optimism is not matched by short-term plans to cut CO2.” • See the optimistic scenario:

“Scientists invent technology to extract oxygen and fuel from Mars’ salty water in huge step forward to colonising Red Planet” [Independent]. “Humankind’s quest to set up base on Mars has received a boost as scientists have now claimed to have discovered a way that can help extract oxygen and fuel from the salty water found on the red planet. The water which is salty due to the Martian soil can’t be used for drinking purposes. Even electrolysis, the usual method of using electricity to break it down into oxygen (to breathe) and hydrogen (for fuel) requires removing the salt – a cumbersome method that can be a costly endeavour in a harsh environment like Mars. But now researchers at Washington University in St Louis have developed an electrolysis system that can directly separate oxygen and hydrogen from briny water – in a less complicated and expensive manner. They examined their system in a simulated Martian atmosphere where the temperature was about -36C, in addition to testing it under typical terrestrial conditions.” • I think “humankind’s goal” at this moment is to pay the bills and not catch the plague. I don’t think “humankind’s goal” is to escape to Mars (although that might be some squillionaire’s goal and for good reason).

“Oil-Hungry Asia Lures Armada of Tankers Carrying U.S. Crude” [Bloomberg]. “A fleet of around 20 tankers laden with U.S. crude oil is expected to leave for Asia this month as the region continues to outpace the rest of the world in its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The vessels have been booked, some of them provisionally, to load crude from the U.S. Gulf Coast this month for delivery to the Far East, according to shipping fixtures and shipbrokers. Most are supertankers that can each carry about 2 million barrels of oil. Demand has rebounded in some parts of Asia, with Chinese crude processing matching a record in October. The nation’s independent refiners, meanwhile, have ramped up purchases after receiving new import quotas for 2021. Indian demand is also climbing as processors boost run rates.”

“Enbridge Pipeline Linking Oil Sands to Midwest Wins Approval” [Bloomberg]. “Minnesota approved the stormwater pollution plan for Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement and expansion, the project’s last pending permit, the company said on Monday. Construction is expected to take six-to-nine months on a line that will add 370,000 barrels a day of capacity.” • Dang.

Guillotine Watch

This keeps happening (1):

This keeps happening (2):

Invariant #1: “The rules of neoliberalism do not apply to those who write the rules.”

2020 continues on-brand:

You’ve gotta hand it to Louis Whatever, though; the Hall of Mirrors is at least ordered and harmonious. Unlike the decor of today’s squillionaires:

The horror, the horror.

Class Warfare

“The “racial wealth gap” is a class gap” [Matt Yglesias, Slow Boring]. The deck: “Rich people are very white, but most white people aren’t rich.”

“The False Promise of Enlightenment” [Quinn Slobodian, Boston Review]. “The concentration of wealth and its evasion of state attempts at its capture through taxation also do not happen by escaping law or the state, but through the law and the state—through projects of legal “encoding,” to use Pistor’s dominant metaphor. The protagonists of [Katharina] Pistor’s narrative include the trust, which is used to put assets an arm’s length from their original owner (originally to family members, but now, increasingly, to financial intermediaries); the partitioning of asset pools within corporations, which allows them (as in [Walter] Mattli) to take on extra risk and avoid shareholder governance; and the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism, which allows foreign investors to sue states for lost profits. She shows that capital is global not because it exists in the ether, but because, when properly legally framed, it is portable: ‘it is possible to code assets in the modules of one legal system and still have them respected and enforced by courts and regulators of another country.’ Far from a sub-galactic global space of flows, she shows that assets are almost all drawn up according to the templates of two relatively small places—New York State and Great Britain.” • A review of Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Walter Mattli, Darkness by Design: The Hidden Power in Global Capital Markets, and Katharina Pistor, The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality. It’s really good. Grab a cup of coffee and read all the way to the end.

“Workers Risking the COVID-19 Outbreak at Amazon’s Troutdale Warehouse Signed a Strict Confidentiality Agreement” [Willamette Week]. “On June 10, the Oregon Health Authority announced a COVID-19 outbreak at Amazon’s Troutdale warehouse that has now lasted 25 weeks and infected 97 people with the virus, making it one of the largest workplace outbreaks in Oregon…. WW has learned that entry-level workers at Amazon’s Troutdale warehouse have for some time been required to sign nondisclosure agreements, legally binding contracts restricting what information employees can and cannot share publicly… Nondisclosure agreements are rare for warehouse workers. But Amazon’s NDA, which WW obtained, is so stringent that some lawyers believe it’s the kind of contract you would expect between an employer and a software developer working on highly proprietary code, not one for a warehouse job where the primary requirement is an ability to lift heavy objects.” • I think the Amazon warehouse worker’s job is harder than simply lifting heavy objects. That said, good reporting. How shameful of Amazon.

“Reynolds abandoned balance with lives in the balance” [The Gazette]. “According to the lawsuit now in U.S. District Court, Tyson, which has operations in China, including in the province where the virus was first detected, understood the threat as early as January. And yet by March, when cases started to crop up in Iowa, the company failed to proactively provide protective equipment or put distancing practices in place. Instead, according to the lawsuit, Waterloo plant managers deceived their employees. An amendment to the suit filed last week charges that managers told interpreters behind closed doors in early April to tell immigrant employees that ‘everything is fine’ and there is no outbreak. Workers were to be told Black Hawk County public health officials had ‘cleared the plant.’ In reality, local public health officials and County Sheriff Tony Thompson were urging the company to shut down the plant, where, on April 10, they found workers still shoulder to shoulder with many not wearing face coverings.” • Tyson had a plant in Wuhan?!?!? Do tell.

“Classism is social activists’ forgotten prejudice” [Financial Times]. Not much new here, but a potential word of the day: “In France, where the prime minister’s regional accent was recently described by Paris Match as ‘gravelly post-match rugby’, the answer appears to be legislation, and a new word: glottophobie. Along with racism and sexism, this newly recognised transgression — snobbery against regional accents — is now a criminal offence, carrying a proposed maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment and a €45,000 fine.” • Glottophobia!

News of the Wired

Good for them!

UPDATE “Back to Westeros” [George R.R. Martin, Not a Blog]. “No, sorry, still not done, but I do inch closer. It is a big big book. I try not to dwell on that too much. I write a chapter at a time, a page at a time, a sentence at a time, a word at a time. It is the only way. And sometimes I rewrite. Of late I have been spending a lot of time with the Lannisters. Cersei and Tyrion in particular. I’ve also paid a visit to Dorne, and dropped in to Oldtown a time or three. In addition to turning out new chapters, I’ve been revising some old ones (some very old)… including, yes, some stuff I read at cons ages ago, or even posted online as samples. I tweak stuff constantly, and sometimes go beyond tweaking, moving things around, combining chapters, breaking chapters in two, reordering stuff. None of this is even remotely new. It is how the first five books were written. I was really on a roll back in June and July. Progress has continued since then, but more slowly… I suffered a gut punch in early August that really had me down for a time, and another, for different reasons, in early September. But I slogged on, and of late I am picking up steam again.”

Come on, man:

* * *

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 (LR):

LR writes: “It is spring here in Uruguay and the soft green of these flowers make them look like leaves.”

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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. Louis Fyne

    Pelosi probably would have gotten 1.5 trillion pre-Election.

    now best case $1.0 trillion.

    Heckuva job Nancy!

        1. flora

          I’m past the ‘charitable interpretation’ point. The Dem estab consistently wins what they want to win. ;)

          1. edmondo

            Trump offered her $1.8 two weeks before the election. That would have bought a lot of gelatto. As she said at the time. “It doesn’t matter. It will be retroactive.”

            The Dems: Always “fighting for you/”

        2. Pat

          Oh, you could call it incompetence, but it really was just callous idiocy and disregard. This was a person and a group that spent most of the last four years playing political games. There has been little or no concern for the well being of the people of this country for decades, but most particularly since Trump. Their focus was returning to the status quo. Donor service and that were all that mattered.

          This virus has never been anything more than a tool for them. Oh, sure there was the CARES Act, but as it plays out it is clear that it is like the tax cuts, it sounds good for a moment when the small crumbs for the average human get given out, but once you look you find that mountains of cake were given to their favorite oligarchs and donors, and in some cases the cake is ongoing. They had a reason to pass it. But an actual concern, no.

          It wasn’t important to them, so they are shocked, and not in the Casablanca sense, to discover that there are real problems in the world regarding this that are NOT going away. They do not have the will to actually fight real battles for what is needed because that would mean taking away things from their donors, but they are driven by the need to do something, So they will go with something that is not remotely adequate and provides little or nothing of what is needed. Real relief is beside the point to them.

          I am of the sincere belief that they think they can get away with ‘the mean Republicans’ excuse, but will find that people reject it outright, because this is something that too many people care about. People have been paying attention, and know that ‘their representatives’ could have gotten something done that was more and earlier, some before more people crashed. And not even a friendly media will save those representatives after that.

          1. DJG

            Pat: Thanks for this. Excellent summation of where we are, knee deep in a swamp, with the leeches swimming eagerly toward us.

    1. Glen

      The latest buzz I’m hearing is that they will use the “threat” of Trump running again to stop any criticism of anything they do or don’t do for the next four years.

      Really? We’ve all seen this before. Obama gets voted in promising Hope and Change and by late spring of 2008, it was real obvious they he was bailing out the crooks and putting right back on top to keep wrecking the country.

      Nobody believes this BS anymore.

        1. Glen

          I think we’re long passed the “carrot” stage, and well into the end game of the “stick” stage.

          Nobody voted FOR Biden, just AGAINST Trump. But trying to keep using the Trump stick for the next four years is a sure loser.

          I just wonder what comes after the carrot and stick quit working.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Nancy says “Just calm down!” This is all a result of the CARES Act chickens coming home to roost and nothing being done to ameliorate it. Jimmy Dore put out a video talking about the fact that Nancy’s stimulus is half the size of Trumps with some history-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM5GInwf108 (9:40 mins – some swearing)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        If Trump weren’t such a sloppy undisciplined candidate, he would have hammered that the CARES Act actually reduced poverty, very much unlike Obama’s stimulus package. Then stuck the knife into Pelosi by complimenting her on “working together with us.”

    1. Jorge

      To test the validity of that outrageous statement, just look at who has and will profit from the pandemic, how much money has changed hands and what freedoms have been exchanged for future power, social control and profits.

      Is the sum of all that worth destroying small businesses, lives and some real estate values?

    2. GF

      Here’s a link to a simulated pandemic event that took place in OCTOBER 2019 that turned out to be very similar to the real pandemic:

      “For Event 201, hosted in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the experts added a new layer of realism by reaching beyond government and NGOs to leaders in the private sector and business community. Participants included representatives from NBCUniversal, UPS, and Johnson & Johnson.”

    3. edmondo

      >Former Presidents Obama, Clinton and Bush say they’d’ take COVID-10 vaccine on camera

      Now they are finding ways to make us root for the virus

      1. The Rev Kev

        But why? Who are we to doubt the honesty and good-heartedness of a sociopath, a molester of young girls and a war criminal?

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      I once saw a you tube video about Tucker Carlson using pieces taken out of a long ago interview with Tucker Carlson on the Bubba The Love Sponge Show. I don’t know how hard it would be to find that you tube now.

      But Tucker Carlson way-back-then was analysing the upper-class divide and rule “fighting for the working class” shtick that Bill O’Reilly specialized in at that time. So the Tucker Carlson of “back then” predicted and explained what the Tucker Carlson “of today” is doing. He is working the Bill O’Reilly shtick racket.

    5. John

      Does Tucker speak for the dead? If a fraud quite a lethal one. Is it permitted to say that Carlson is being an ass?

    6. Carla

      Lambert: “I’m inclined to think that a sample size of three is not useful. There are 552 Federal electeds.There are ~4000 Federal political appointees. Is 4552 a useful sample size?”

      I would say it’s a very good start. So I heard Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on the radio today announcing that Ohio will be getting 98,000 doses initially — and explaining that that means two doses per person (ergo, this will vaccinate 49,000 out of a population of 11 million).

      I propose that Governor DeWine and the 132 members of the Ohio General Assembly be added to Lambert’s proposed initial vaccine sample. OK, and the Ohio Supreme Court adds another 7, bringing us to 140 from the GREAT STATE OF OHIO!

      Mayors would be an excellent category to add, as well as county commissioners… I’m just not up to that math right now.

    7. notabanker

      So Gallup says 42% of Americans don’t want to take the vaccine. I’m sure MSM is going to tell us all about how they are beer swilling gun totin flyover rebels who care only about themselves.

      Alternate theory; the reality is that we now have close to, or more than, 40% of the country that does not trust the government. Obama taking a shot on TV ain’t gonna change that. And when Congress grants corporate immunity to force people back to work, force people to take a vaccine they don’t trust, and leave zero economic lifelines, that number is going to skyrocket.

      The virus isn’t a fraud, it’s real, and the MSM pumping conspiracy theories is a cover up for the fact that close to half the country has lost faith in the government, which is defacto the corporate infrastructure that has completely taken it over.

      I keep going back to the financial crisis in 07/08 where a lot of folks, like myself, thought doom was imminent. But the wise, cool headed commentors of the day, on this very blog and others like it, most of which are now gone, said no, it will be at least a decade for it to get really bad. Here we are, 13 years later, 10’s of trillions of dollars blown, 6 straight years of the highest global temperatures ever recorded, a global pandemic, people in lockdown in their own homes facing death for almost a year and the stock market at 30K. Something is going to break, and break spectacularly.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Here we are, 13 years later, 10’s of trillions of dollars blown, 6 straight years of the highest global temperatures ever recorded, a global pandemic, people in lockdown in their own homes facing death for almost a year and the stock market at 30K. Something is going to break, and break spectacularly.

        My picture is that an aircraft carrier in the Pacific just…. disappears. Disappears without a trace. And nobody takes responsibility…..

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    @bluesky envisions allowing online conversations to span Providers. Which is to say, from inside Twitter I could follow not only other Twitter accounts, but posts on my boat-owners’ forum.

    Yeah… no thanks. I like keeping all those separate.

    1. STEPHEN

      Enterprise solutions already exist on the creation side – buffer, hootsuite, and the like. I’m not sure how this proposed platform would substantially differ, though to be fair I’m not a very social media savvy persom

      1. hunkerdown

        Those only solve the problem for the social media producer. The SM consumer’s interests and problems are different from the producer’s, in fact, often opposed.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Yeah… no thanks. I like keeping all those separate.

      I would like to have the choice to do that. At the same time, having a persona* that’s portable across platforms is a good idea. For one thing, it disempowers the platforms. They aren’t walled gardens anymore.

      NOTE * I say persona instead of identity very deliberately.

  3. Another Scott

    Regarding the Boston Zip codes, there are three (plus the uberwealthy suburb of Weston), but they’re all incredibly tiny. 02108 includes Beacon Hill, home of the city’s traditional wealth and parts of the Financial District. 02110 is primarily the Financial District, however, there are a few residences (as little as two or three complexes), almost all directly on the water. The 02199 Zip Code is the Prudential Center and has a total population of 1,146 according to https://www.unitedstateszipcodes.org/; I did even know people lived in that zip code, which I primarily associate with shopping and offices.

    1. STEPHEN

      I’d be interested to see how this list has changed in the last 200 years. Boston and New York probably on every list through the ages. Cincinnati, New Orleans, Detroit…

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        The presence of only one Manhattan zip code – in Tribeca – is also noteworthy: migration of the Overclass out of the city?

    2. lyman alpha blob

      It is an average, so it only takes a handful of super wealthy to push the numbers up. Bill Gates lives in Medina, Wa for example. Probably a handful of squillionaires live in those Boston zips.

  4. zagonostra

    Well you have to hand it to the NYT, they admit, and are darn proud, that the “deep state” has been involved in upending a legitimately elected President for the past 4 years. There really should be no more references to American Democracy. It’s over. Everyone needs to internalize and hopefully come up with some strategy for holding the “deep state” accountable. It’s time to stop this farcical obsession with electoral politics. Billions were spent on a Presidential elections whose outcome was already predetermined. The fix was in, as George Carlin said long ago. It’s just now is only openly stated and celebrated. The only effect of election outcome was which ruling elite will be at the public money trough and securing “legitimacy.” For everyone else, it will be a hard scrabble to survive as best one can.

    …the deep state isn’t…a reflexive defense of a corrupt status quo. It’s a righteous defense against the corruption of democracy, which he [Trump] continues to attempt. And that defense is holding. Three cheers for the deep state, which has been on a roll these past three weeks.

    Anthony Fauci is the steely superhero of my deep state, and he’s flanked and fortified by all the government health officials…

    They belong to a quiet and then not-so-quiet resistance that blunted, thwarted or tried to blunt and thwart Trump’s worst impulses when it came not just to public health but also to foreign policy, immigration, the environment…

    That’s the deep state rearing up. That’s the deep state roaring. It should be music to our ears.


    1. Val

      References to American democracy are quite tedious at this point. As for the thesis of American collapse, the country seems to be truly over but just doesn’t know it yet. This has been apparent here in flyover since 2010 at the latest, narcotic myths notwithstanding, and saying such aloud today induces fewer quivering, bulging eyeballs than it once did.

    2. pjay

      My “progressive” friends are absolutely incapable of understanding why I despise the Frank Brunis of the world more than Trump, and why I see them as an even greater danger to democracy. It’s a completely impenetrable, communicative and epistemological wall.

  5. Janie

    Glottopohobia is strong in the US, with the southern drawl being the main target. Of course, grammar, diction and word choice have always been class markers.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      oh, no doubt!
      i speak (south)east texas drawl, where “hog” is a five syllable word.
      but i live in west central texas, and am always catching shit for it.
      they have a drawl, too…but it’s much more clipped.
      mine’s noticeable out here…less so in the woods north and east of houston.
      overall, such distinctions are disappearing…due to mixing and sorting of people.
      i also wonder if there’s some intrafamilial thing going on…like when my czech(or wife’s mexican) ancestors were encouraged by their folks to assimilate, and abandon the old tongues, as well as many other vestiges of foreignness.

      1. jr

        The human ape…always looking around for a reason to look down. I have a theory: it’s our fear of death at the heart of it. In a life of sand running from under our feet, establishing the seemingly solid ground of superiority comforts us. The same with the hoarding of wealth; something to stave off the Angel of Death. Pity the fools.Better to let go of such illusions and try to enjoy life for what it is, in the here and now:


        1. Henry Moon Pie

          ” fear of death at the heart of it”

          And our alienation from the cosmos at the heart of that.

    2. eg

      It’s the whole premise of Shaw’s “Pygmalion” an adaptation of which is probably most often encountered in the popular musical, “My Fair Lady”

  6. diptherio

    I don’t think Obama, or even the entirety of Congress, taking the vaccine first will do anything at all to convince the anti-vaxxers I know. We don’t know what our betters are actually getting injected with, after all. They could have saline in their needles, for all we know, while the rest of us will surely be given the real-deal Bill Gates AI mind-control injection (which seems to be the go-to vaccine CT around these parts).

    I just don’t see any way the PTB regain trust. They’ve poisoned that well too many times.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I tried submitting a comment to this effect ( saline in the syringes) but got errored out.

      1. ambrit

        I’ve found that getting the “Error 524” page the first time cues up the comment. The second attempt almost always gets ‘through’ quickly. (The errored out comment is saved in the comment box. Just reclick the “reply” spot under the comment being replied to and the reply appears, fully formed as from the brow of Jove. Click ‘post’ and you’re in.)

    2. Pat

      Well I know I won’t. First anyone who believes these select few are actually being injected with the vaccine would be Barnum’s core audience. Second no one knows the side effects because there has not been enough testing and time.

      I do have to say I might reconsider if Obama and all the high profile volunteers work on a Covid ward doing clean up and orderly work in minimal PPE and don’t contract Covid. If they truly want to be test subjects let them really test the efficacy.

      1. Nameless

        You’re too generous.

        It would be a tragedy if all three took the shoots, got sick, and died, but the upside would be that I would believe everything they would say after they were dead.

        But I would still pi$$ on their graves if I could get away with it.

        1. edmondo

          I think you mis-spelled “tragedy”. It’s spelled K- A -R- M- A

          And don’t the Obamas have a contract with Netfilx? Will the innoculations be pay-per-view?

    3. MRLost

      Require (not sure how but hey …) them to stop wearing masks once they’ve been inoculated. Tell them we (this certainly includes moi) don’t trust them at all because of all the lies they’ve told in the past. Could even include a list of lies but it would be awfully long. Then watch and see if they go about their lives without masks and without social distancing since they no longer need to. If they balk, then they aren’t taking a real vaccine. And if any of them catch COVID, then the vaccine doesn’t work very well.

      1. John

        I am certainly old enough to be in a nursing home. ( Is that a politically incorrect usage nowadays?) But I’m not; I am quite isolated by both location and choice. I wear my mask when I go out and in company of those outside my “germ circle”, my son calls it. I shall wait and see how it goes, But I am quite sure that once accepted and proven, I shall take the vaccine.

        Vaccines are safe, which is not to say that there are not bad outcomes on rare occasions. Of course, if the great mass of people are vaccinated then the unvaccinated can free-ride until measles or mumps or something or other comes along and the free ride is over.

  7. Chris

    My god! I’ve never read anything remotely as reasonable from Mr. yglesias. These are the end times…

    Chance of anyone in office picking up on MY’s message and running with it? Next to nothing. But it’s good to see more talking heads jump on the reality bandwagon.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > My god! I’ve never read anything remotely as reasonable from Mr. yglesias. These are the end times…

      Yes, Matty left Vox and promptly took out a Communist Party card!

      1. jsn

        This is what he sounded like when he first started at Slate.

        He was pretty good and sounded actual left rather than liberal.

        Then he met Ezra Klein and turned to slime.

        1. chris

          He’s been writing about the equitable distribution of access to mass transit and housing density for sometime, so I’m not surprised to see him stay on that beat. But I am surprised to see how abruptly he’s changed tone on topics that are verboten to Democrats.

          It must be so easy and profitable to make money selling virtue signals to the liberal elite that unless you need to distinguish yourself from the herd there’s no reason to try anything else. I take VOX/Ezra’s commentary about everything and the opinions being thrown about by the Right Good Thinking People(TM) about members of Biden’s proposed cabinet and advisory boards the same way. This is simply the accepted world view of people who don’t worry that much about money and did pretty well in school. They have parents and family who can help them out. They mostly haven’t been punched in the jaw by the difficulties of the last twenty years. They learned to code in high school :/

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          During the great blogosphere sort-out, some bloggers stayed bloggers, and others went commercial (Klein and Ylgesias among them, but also Drum, Marcotte, etc.). I always had a soft spot for Yglesias — despite taking my whacks at him over the years — because he actually ran for office in Philly (a little known fact that Philly c. 2003 was an epicenter of political blogging). Not a high office, but still. Campaigning, doorknocking, filing, etc.

  8. Mark Gisleson

    When I took a warehouse job with American Girl (Mattel) I had to sign an agreement that insisted they would own any intellectual property I created in my off-time while working as their employee. A supervisor researched it and said that they were very serious about it (to his chagrin he learned that their lawyers seriously thought everyone would write fan fic about their favorite doll if not prohibited from doing so).

    American blue collar workers have always had to sign away their legal rights. It’s almost never legal, but who can afford to sue to find out otherwise?

    1. DJG

      Mark Gisleson: Was this when they were still headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin? The publishing arm still is there, so far as I can tell from the web site.

      Years ago, I was working with a theater in Chicago, and the artistic director and I headed down to the American Girl Place on Michigan Avenue because some actresses we knew were in the show there. So I went through American Girl Place, and I have never seen so many little girls turned into merchandise through marketing and getting their gateway drug to endless consumption.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        I believe so. The warehouse I was at was just across the border from Illinois and used to be a Gander Mountain. It’s closed now, all operations were moved to Middleton but I don’t know current status. They overpriced themselves out of the market and it bit them on the [family blog].

        I still remember seeing a box that had some small plastic clothes hangers for the doll clothes. Either $8 or $11, can’t remember which, but adult sized hangers would have been half as much.

        Ruthlessly top down decision making. Someone at hq decided to go companywide with a no-sitting policy. Including the warehouse workers on 10-hour shifts.

  9. clarky90

    Re; “This keeps happening”

    Perplexing contradiction between words and actions, can make sense! Perhaps the neo-liberals are engaged in a profound and ancient spiritual practice, that is incomprehensible to the less refined and nuanced minds of “the people of the land”?

    What’s Behind the Frankist-Sabbatean Movement and its Cult of the Evil?


    “Do what you want, and you will be saved……

    The nihilist religion of Frankism preaches “redemption through sin”. This doctrine of “the sacred sin”….

    ….Frankism praises the redemptive powers of destruction to bring deliverance to the world.”

    1. Phillip Cross

      The (first and) last person I heard mention Frankism before now was David Icke. It seemed like it was his effort at encryption. A way to try and go more mainstream by being less egregious about the you-know-whos.

      Is that where you picked it up?

      1. clarky90

        Hi Phillip, does this info help?


        Prof Gershom Scholem (Hebrew: גֵרְשׁׂם שָׁלוֹם‎) (December 5, 1897 – February 21, 1982), was a German-born Israeli philosopher and historian. He is widely regarded as the founder of the modern, academic study of Kabbalah. He was the first professor of Jewish Mysticism at Hebrew.

        Scholem is best known for his collection of lectures, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (1941) and for his biography Sabbatai Zevi, the Mystical Messiah (1957).

        The Holiness of Sin
        An excerpt from a book by Gershom Scholem


    2. notabanker

      I interpret this as the biggest marker that elections are dead. These people now operate with utter disregard to the mass population as if there are no consequences for their action. And maybe that is because there aren’t and they know it. If enough money back them, they are golden. And that sure seems to be the case.

  10. JWP

    Re: Debt collectors and American collapse thesis:

    I like it. I think the “where has it collapsed” hits at the same thing a link from last week got at where most people dont experience or even see collapse because class allows you to not be able to see it. A fascinating project would be to break up each US county into a country (data wise), apply all the criteria for a failed state, third world country, etc and then look at the map of the country that way.
    I actually might try this in GIS and see what it looks like.
    I imagine the country starts to look like the global south in relation to the rest of the world. Where any of the places that produce tangible goods (farm, manufacturing, etc) have horrid metric whereas the consuming areas (suburbs, cities) look great.

        1. tegnost

          I’d still think a GIS map that could localize prosperity to neighborhood level would be great, a lot gets hidden at the county level

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        last time i looked at that(more or less) set of data, i had to rummage around for it.
        just looked at my county, and the 5 surrounding.
        all but 1(to my south) are definitely sacrifice zones.
        Mason County scored “80”.
        roaming around Texas, especially to places i’m familiar with, was pretty instructive.

        i’ve lectured all and sundry around here for years that we have a balance of trade problem…our county imports more than it exports…except for whatever money we have…we export a lot of that.
        during the , i think, second big government shutdown of obama’s time, when the local Tea was all a flutter about hacking off the gubmint teat, my LTE laid out just how much we relied on government, as a community…as in 4 largest employers:1. the school,2 the city,3 the county and 4 the highway department.
        and that our local near depression began with the 96(?) Farm Bill that killed the peanut and mohair subsidies.
        many jumped on the texas winegrape thing after it’s peak(06-09), and we were all left with deer hunting,lol.
        these latter two…along with hick ecology BnB efforts and fly fishing kayak tours, rely on customers from somewhere else who have discretionary income…the demographic most in decline.
        with 2020, i don’t even think we’ve begun our real descent.

        thanks for that link.
        i’ll pass it on to a few local influencers i know who haven’t drained the cup of “back to normal” koolaide.

  11. Jorge

    The coronavirus pandemic has caused a surge in demand for contactless payments,
    Gee, what could go wrong?

    “A biometric digital identity platform that “evolves just as you evolve” is set to be introduced in “low-income, remote communities” in West Africa thanks to a public-private partnership between the Bill Gates-backed GAVI vaccine alliance, Mastercard and the AI-powered “identity authentication” company, Trust Stamp, which was first launched in late 2018, will see Trust Stamp’s digital identity platform integrated into the GAVI-Mastercard “Wellness Pass,” a digital vaccination record and identity system that is also linked to Mastercard’s click-to-play system that powered by its AI and machine learning technology called NuData. Mastercard, in addition to professing its commitment to promoting “centralized record keeping of childhood immunization” also describes itself as a leader toward a “World Beyond Cash,” and its partnership with GAVI marks a novel approach towards linking a biometric digital identity system, vaccination records, and a payment system into a single cohesive platform.” https://www.mintpressnews.com/africa-trust-stamp-covid-19-vaccine-record-payment-system/269346/

    “Your wait time is 3 hours and 34 minutes if you cannot buy food because your social credit points expired. Please log onto our webpage to avoid wait times, or if your router has been shut off.”

  12. ChrisPacific

    The fact that that dip and recovery is so consistent across all three metrics strongly suggests that reporting characteristics changed over the Thanksgiving period. There’s no reason why you would expect deaths to move in real time with the other two stats. It should (and normally does) lag reported cases by a week or more.

          1. jr

            Nothing against them personally, I just meant what the kestrel had done to the mouse. Yeeesh! Thanks for the link!

  13. Wukchumni

    My buddy who is quite a Giant Sequoia aficionado, did a walk by of the groves effected by the Castle Fire, and it’s grim. His commentary:

    The castle fire damage is vast and sad. I finally got myself some free time to go up there and check it out last weekend. Its as bad as the times article says and worse in some areas. We did a short length of the freeman creek trail from the quaking aspen side, the nelson trail up to the gutless goliath, the walk to the stagg tree, and a little quickie run down to the old fallen King David tree by the Quaking Aspen Christian camp. It was very bad in some of the places. A lot of hillsides had 100% burn and not even the sequoias will probably survive. Mcintyre was the worst that I saw, with very complete burns, grey everywhere, and deep ash covering everything.

    Here is a partial list of familiar named trees we saw. (most of which i’m sure you’ll know) its ugly:

    Freeman creek;

    Bannister; lost its top above where it had the opening. It might live, but it lost some volume and probably a third of its height. I will download my pics and figure out how much height it lost as soon as I can.

    Telescope tree near it; now reminds me more of the recent pics I took of the millikan. Its got openings on several sides and is just a burned out mess with some short open standing sides remaining. Seems like about half of the trees in this area are now either burned fully or broken short.

    Leaner; seems good.

    Large sequoia near bannister; seems good.


    Gutless goliath; no leaves left, tree is burned top to bottom. Still standing with cavities, but I cant imagine it surviving.

    Near gutless; very few leaves left all toasted, tree was mostly burned, broken off approx. 150 feet up. Unlikely to survive if I had to guess.

    Domino trees; no bark left, most of the heartwood still there.

    Old knothead; no leaves left, tree is burned top to bottom also. I cant imagine it living either tho its knot and bole are in one piece still.

    Bent tree; broken off surprisingly low, well below the bend, no branches, its only a short stub.

    Wishbone tree; some fire damage, but still living with a small cap of greenery to be seen atop it.

    Sentinel tree; broken off high up, burned top to bottom, looks badly cracked near the top so it will likely lose more height.

    King David; still has burning embers inside its hollow core. We dumped what water we had on them, but its inside is still glowing in places and producing heat. A literal bed of hot coals.

    the waterfall/day/sierra ghost/big base tree is a clothespin snag now with the opening facing upwards. Not likely to make it.

    The stagg tree is still perfect, no damage.

    The window tree is a totally burned snag, broken off below its window.

    I have seen pics of the patriarch, and the large one above patriarch, and the matriarch from other hikers on the internet. they look like they are completely burned top to bottom also. probably are total losses. The matriarch’s nursery might make it. we didn’t get to doing that hike last weekend, but it looks really bad around that part of the grove from the pics I have seen.

    We still found some smoking chimneys of broken off trees up there even just last weekend. There are hot glowing coals inside of king David and just one smoking chimney along the nelson trail with actual visible flames. Many with just smoke plumes visible.

    I wanted to get into mountain home but it is closed up. As is the road to the eastern edge of the freeman creek grove. We could not get into either of those areas. I hate to think of all of the trees in those two areas that might be damaged/gone too. the castle fire might be the worst ever for sequoias. I really hope mountain home isn’t as bad as what I saw last weekend, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the east side of freeman creek will be. There was an awful lot of deadwood on the ground when I was exploring up there last year.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sad to hear that, Wuk. Those trees won’t be replaced any time soon especially with the way the climate is changing. Going to make a visit your self anytime soon? Maybe by then you will see growth on some of those trees as they start to come back.

      1. Wukchumni

        Headed to the Garfield Grove tomorrow, i’m curious what went down up top. It’s a bit heinous getting there with about a 4,000 foot gain in 6 miles one way, with no doubt lots of new obstacles in the way, and deep grey ash to walk through.

        I guarantee i’ll be knackered~

  14. JB

    Here is another “Freudian slip” (similar to Biden’s) this time from a Professor of Medicine from Oxford University (who was involved in developing the Pfizer ‘vaccine’)

    Listen when he says not ALL the population will be STERILIZED by the covid vaccine – only around 60-70%:

    It’s a short video (and the guy who interviews him is probably the most famous TV/ news personality in the UK


    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I am prepared to believe that when the professor said “sterilized”, he meant sterilized of the virus . . .in other words, a 60% or so zap-to-nonexistence rate of virus within 60% or so of vaccine takers.

      Of course someone might well want to circle back and ask him what he did mean by “sterilize” . . . the corona viral presence within vaccine takers? Or the child-producing ability of vaccine takers?

      Because it seems to me that a billion-person-sterilization campaign under cover of being a vaccination campaign . . . would be obvious and apparent and clear within a year or two. Fingerprints all over it. Hardly looking like an accident.

      So what did the professor really mean to mean by “sterilize”?

  15. Jeff W

    I am not aware of a single study showing that cash transmits Covid (or, more precisely, that cash is a fomite for Covid).

    Well, there’s this study, which says:

    With initial viral loads broadly equivalent to the highest titres excreted by infectious patients, viable virus was isolated for up to 28 days at 20 °C from common surfaces such as glass, stainless steel and both paper and polymer banknotes.

    But I think that study might illustrate your point—it doesn’t show that cash is a fomite for COVID-19. The study’s authors are careful to talk only about “the potential for fomite transmission” [emphasis added].

    I’ve said to friends that, even if SARS-CoV-2 is surviving on banknotes and found, like cocaine, on some not-insignificant portion of banknotes in circulation, probably the pattern of infections would be different than what’s actually been observed if banknotes were, in fact, acting as fomites— but, then again, I’m no epidemiologist.

    And, generally, Dr. Emanuel Goldman, professor of microbiology, biochemistry and molecular genetics at Rutgers University, whom I’ve referenced previously, has argued with regard to SARS-CoV-2, that “fomites that have not been in contact with an infected carrier for many hours do not pose a measurable risk of transmission in non-hospital settings.” Most banknotes probably fall into that category.

  16. DJG

    Problem Solvers Caucus. Does each member get a Joe Lieberman bobble-head doll as a membership gift?

    Illinois members = Dan (Soon to Be Gone) Lipinski and Brad (I’ll just accuse Jewish candidate Daniel Biss of insufficient fealty to Israel) Schneider. And those are the Democrats. Then they have Adam Kinzinger, a kind of iron-jawed nonentity.

    I note the absence of ultimate problem solver, Joe Manchin. Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

  17. DJG

    Lancellotti article on Del Noce, the “dead end” of Marxism. What Catholic intellectuals have on offer.

    It takes till the end for Lancellotti to sum up, thus: “This would include an idea of education that is not just utilitarian but respects the deeper human need for beauty and knowledge as ends in themselves; respect for work as an expression of the human desire to build and to serve, not just a tool at the service of profit and economic growth; love for what Simone Weil called “rootedness”—namely “the real, active, and natural participation in the life of the community which preserves in living shape certain particular treasures of the past and certain particular expectations for the future”; a passion for freedom, not as empty self-determination, but as protection of the most specifically human sphere, which is precisely the religious dimension, the search for meaning.”

    Here’s a problem. This isn’t a view unique to monotheism. This is also part of the ethic of Epicureanism, with its stress on what pleasures are ethical pleasures. It is part of the ethic of Buddhism.

    Monotheism suffers from accepting radical dualism, and Lancellotti is still wrestling with everyone else’s terribly evil sexual urges. Why can’t he stop himself? He goes on and on about it, not realizing that turning everything into a market is what ails us, more so than divorce law. And he’s still re-litigating divorce law?

    Mercifully, Catholicism isn’t quite as radically dualistic as much of “American Religion” and U.S. traditions of puritanism.

    Nevertheless, I can get the same regard for truth, the divine, beauty, and human relations from Sappho, Plutarch, Lucretius, and Herakleitos.

    1. hunkerdown

      A lot of mystical types seem to be on a full-court press right now to defend private property and power relations. Greer’s been on it for the second week in a row.

      1. Massinissa

        I’m really tired of conservatives (not that Greer is conservative necessarily) pretending like the World Economic Forum is some illuminati organization that controls the New World Order. Its so nuts. I have alot of respect for greer, but the fact that he’s buying into this “World Economic Forum is helping the Capitalist Elites turn society into the Soviet Union!” conspiracy theory nonsense is just absolutely depressing. Are we really supposed to believe private property is under threat by THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE MOST PRIVATE PROPERTY? Sigh…

    2. anonymous

      Terry Eagleton please pick up the Red Courtesy Phone.

      This epoch is fascinating and complex; it covers centuries and continents. Lancellotti had to leave out a lot. We are living the end of the story: the Material Technocrats have The Blob on their side. ( But, The Rolling Stones got a pretty good song out of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zbnvh6I4k4)

  18. Pelham

    Re Coffeyville, Kan., and the false promise of the Enlightenment: Maybe it’s time for a soft secession, in which the materially productive flyover states launch their own MMT-governed currency with simple, transparent capital controls, a regional bank dedicated to internal investment only, a free university dedicated to flyover-only research and development, and a job guarantee for all.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      from iraq to libya, folks who do that sort of thing end badly.

      i still think its a great idea, though.

  19. chuck roast

    After the occupiers of that N. Lake Shore Drive $h!t hole receive the blade, be sure to rescue that nice Montague Dawson on the wall before you burn the dump to the ground.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      Well, the occupiers are probably dead. The place is on the market for the first time in 50 years, so it’s probably a case of the kids who inherited it from mom & dad want out. I’m sure it will be gutted and rebuilt into some minimalist hell hole.

      1. meme

        I read about this place recently in a Chicago housing blog. One of the comments provided a link with owner information.:

        The seller is Michael Wilkie, who bought the home in 1975. Mr. Wilkie is the chair of the board of DGI Supply, a company manufacturing industrial products that is part of his DoALL Company, which was founded by his family in 1927.

        Mr. Wilkie, 79, said he was impressed by the expansive lawn and tall and ornate ceilings. “This is something,” he said of his first visit to the home. “My father called me and he said, ‘How wealthy do you think you are anyway to buy a citadel in the sky?’ I said, ‘Dad, when you see it, you’re going to think that it’s amazing.’ When he saw it, he said, ‘It’s incredible.’” Mr. Wilkie said he changed little, though he said he did redo the kitchen about five years after moving in and gold leafed the dining room ceiling.

        “You feel like you’re in the Sistine Chapel there,” he said of the 30-plus foot long hallway with ornate ceiling. “I have two big old, French chairs. I love to go there to just sit in that hallway, I call it the thinking room.

        Mr. Wilkie said he is relocating to the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla., to avoid the Midwestern winters. He will miss the home where he hosted yearly parties for the Chicago Air and Water Show. “It’s every bit as beautiful as anything [Candela did] in New York City.”


  20. fresno dan


    The redistribution of wage income to the top U.S. earners in 2019 continued a pattern that began in 1979. The top 1% of earners have seen wage income grow by just over 160% in the 40-year period while the bottom 90% of workers have experienced a gain of just 26% over the same period. For the top 0.1% of earners, wages have increased by more than 345% in the past 40 years.

    1. Pelham

      And I wonder what these wage measures really measure. If wages for 90% of workers have gone up 26% since 1979, why is it the 90% today can’t afford to live nearly as well as they lived in 1979? My guess is that the consumer price index is way, way out of whack OR we’re being forced to pay insane amounts for certain things — such as medical care and housing — that yield us little or no additional material benefit.

      Oren Cass is trying to put together a “cost of thriving” index that will give us a truer picture of the extent of the crapification of American life.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Thanks for that link. You do wonder how America would have developed if that had happened. I would guess that the explosion of credit would have been much smaller back in the 80s and the 90s as there would not have been that great a demand. It would have probably made for a more stable economy but unfortunately this was the road not taken.

  21. BoyDownTheLane

    Given the fact that I have seen (and will post on request) two videos of vaccination delivery syringes that are fake (Retractable needles, or systems that simply pump the fluid back into an internal container) (one sold at Amazon), the idea that three ex-Presidents (all of whom as highly suspect of being deeply corrupted in many ways) lining up th be filmed getting their vaccinations is as hilarious as the mainstream media parading forth a full line-up of people to assure us that some rogue Arabs with boxcutters were responsible for the destruction of at least four buildings in downtown Manhattan. Do you remember Harley Guy?

    Whom precisely is thinking they are smarter than whom?

  22. Tom Stone

    I’m still staged for evacuation, a little less than 2″ of rain in Sonoma County so far, none of the fires are fully out and they won’t be until we get 6-8″ of rain.
    Lovely weather, low 30’s this morning with a high of 68 in Sebastopol.
    I suspect we’ll get a toad floater when the rains finally arrive.

    1. John

      My grandfather was raised in the Shenandoah Valley, red clay country. Rain came in three categories: gully washer, trash mover, and frog strangler.

    1. rowlf

      Be sure it is a koala and not a drop-bear. I’ve heard they look very similar and a mistake could make for a bad Christmas.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Black leaders express concerns about representation in Biden administration”

    C’mon, man. Where were black voters when old Joe really needed for them to turn out for him on Super Tuesday? Why didn’t Jim Clyburn speak up for him more in South Carolina? If they didn’t bring him to the dance, why should he even have to dance with them? As old Joe says, if you are black but don’t vote Democrat, then you’re not black. In any case, if blacks want someone black in power, that is what Kamala Harris is there for. True, she is not an American black but near enough is good enough for government work, amiright?

  24. drrrrv

    $6 mil for Tolkien’s house and the LotR cast is asking OTHER people to help pay for it? Pretty sure that cast can find $6 mil amongst their couch cushions.

    1. Aumua

      Well I think they were right about it being too dangerous to try and repair. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be rebuilt of course.

  25. Richard

    Hey everyone, I don’t know if NC has covered this, it’s pretty small, but the People’s Party (should the apostrophe be after the e or s, i don’t know, you tell me) took it’s first big step yesterday, registering as a political party in its first state: Maine! I will not hide that I’m a big supporter. I got onto the party’s Slack and started interacting with other people a few days ago, and my depression is down like 50%, no joke. On the national call tonight we heard from a former dem lawyer who has worked on ballot access with the Working Families Party and has deep knowledge of what is required nationally, and state by state. He’s joined the MPP, and the ambitious plan is to have 50 state parties by the end of next year, to run congressional candidates in 2022 (one number thrown out there was 15 candidates), and to run a serious national campaign by ‘24, and from there on a mighty force. That is the plan anyway. I understand if this is too promotional to go into comments. I just mostly wanted to tell you about Maine :).

    1. Person

      I saw this and am glad they stuck with the People’s Party name. My hope is that they prioritize local/regional strategies (which could win big given enough time) instead of trying to duplicate the Greens’ failing approach.

      1. Richard

        Yes, I voted New Deal Party first, and People’s Party second on my ranked choice ballot, but People’s won by a wide margin and I do see the wisdom in taking on that name, and calling ourselves Populists. It takes a major criticism that the establishment would try to make, and wears it proudly, so that the power of that insinuation (“only rw white nationals are populists, too scary!”) will be lost. Best to take it head on.
        They are doing a combination of local party building and some Big Splash things (congressional campaigns) planned for ‘22 to grab attention.

        1. Person

          > It takes a major criticism that the establishment would try to make, and wears it proudly, so that the power of that insinuation (“only rw white nationals are populists, too scary!”) will be lost. Best to take it head on.

          My thoughts exactly. The word doesn’t scare anyone but elites (or wannabe elites).

          > They are doing a combination of local party building and some Big Splash things (congressional campaigns) planned for ‘22 to grab attention.

          Fantastic. If they do it right they could end up being the only party with a healthy grassroots organization.

  26. The Rev Kev

    John Leavitt: ‘It’s under noticed but for large parts of the country the government has already ceased to exist except in vestigial punishment forms indistinguishable from local gangs.’

    This should be the basis of a fully-fledged post this. Regarding the ‘vestigial punishment forms’, I have heard of American towns where 50% of the budget goes to the police department which is bizarre. Sounds like what happened with Ferguson. Even more bizarre is when the police do not even live there. I just heard today that 95% of the police in Sacramento do not even live there and even for the police in L.A., over 80% of them do not live there either. So the policing is being done second hand and a big chunk of the taxes in that community go to another wealthier community.

    This article also reminded me of the spread of Methodism in England in the late 18th century/early 19th century. Howso? As an example, in Cornwall the Methodist made big inroads. But this was a result of the neglect by the Church of the people in those parishes leaving a huge road open for others. There were churches in Cornwall that had not had a priest stationed there in years if not longer. The people, feeling like they had been abandoned by their Church, took to the powerful and energizing messages by people like John Wesley so that it became a stronghold for Methodism which spread with the Cornish miners all around the world.

    So if the State is leaving sections of the country virtually abandoned by them, what will fill up these regions in its place?

  27. The Rev Kev

    This is why America can’t have nice stuff. So the first Monolith in Utah was taken down by eco-terrorists as only people like themselves are entitled to visit the sort of place that it was installed in. And now the second Monolith in California has been taken down by – wait for it – fundamentalist Christians who destroyed it chanting “Christ is king” and “America First” and then replacing it with a wooden crucifix-


    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Someone should put another monometalith up right exactly where the eco-terrorists took the first one down from, to see if they take that second one down too. But I would never EVER suggest coating that second one with poison ivy oil. Let aLONE with a mixture of ricin and dimethysulfoxide.

  28. SD

    It’s always worth listening to (and thinking about) what John Leavitt has to say. His Twitter account is an absolute delight.

    I live in the Berkshires (the rural westernmost county in Massachusetts), which is famous for its cultural institutions, summer music, dance, and theatre festivals, and as a home to artists and plenty of 10- and 1-percenters. The abandonment Leavitt is talking about is taking place all around me, but it’s happening class-by-class, from the bottom up. It’s not geographical, per se, although there are undeniably what Christopher Hitchens refers to as “sacrifice zones” all over the U.S. See Chris Arnade’s “Dignity.” There are also pockets (I’m thinking of the wealthy neighborhoods of the west side of L.A., e.g.) where the residents almost never run into the unhoused or people who are really struggling, except perhaps their largely invisible nannies, maids, and gardeners.

    Leavitt’s thesis isn’t wrong; it’s just incomplete.

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