2:00PM Water Cooler 12/9/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I got a late start. More shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

So this is that bird!


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 feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, here, and I hate to see the upward rise, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. As an aerosol believer, I think we should all pay great attention to the flow and condition of air indoors, but I confess I have no concrete suggestions; it’s hard (and costly) to open the windows in the winter. Apparently, low humidity makes it easier for the virus to spread, so if you have radiators, be sure to put a pan of water on top of each one. If anybody has thought through a winter system for covid, I’m sure readers would love to hear it. I don’t think the “six feet aoart” mantra is enough; we need to think about air flow.

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

The big states all moving more-or-less in tandem now, with California sprinting ahead; 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:

Nowhere near 3%, though.

Hospitalization by region:

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:


“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

Democrats in Disarray


“Do moderate Democrats have an agenda?” [The Week]. “Moderates of various stripes make up the overwhelming majority of the Democratic caucus, and one will soon be president. If they figured out some achievable policies they want, using executive action or new laws if the Georgia runoffs are won, passed them quickly, and then moved on to new action, at a minimum Democrats would enjoy substantially less squabbling, and almost certainly much better media coverage. However, if the Democratic leadership is mostly concerned with finding excuses to avoid action and ways to scapegoat others for failure and defeat, then I would expect the squabbling with the left to continue indefinitely. We’ll see which it is over the coming years.”

Transition to Biden

“Biden’s Pentagon pick frustrates women who sought a different history-maker” [Politico]. • It’s so important that young women and girls grow up knowing that they too can blow faraway brown people to pink mist.

UPDATE “Biden Picks Tom Vilsack to Reprise Role as Agriculture Secretary” [Bloomberg]. “President-elect Joe Biden turned to former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack to reprise his Obama administration role as U.S. agriculture secretary, according to two people familiar with the decision, tapping a Farm Belt politician with deep ties to rural America.” • Hmm:

UPDATE “Ex-agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack is the top paid executive at Dairy Management” [USA Today]. • Not Raytheon?

UPDATE “The war in Afghanistan shattered Joe Biden’s faith in American military power” [WaPo]. • You can read it all, but I don’t get the sense that Biden has any fixed principles at all.


Transition from Trump

“He pretended to be Trump’s family; even the president was fooled” [Seattle Times]. “Last month, between tweets disputing his election loss, President Donald Trump posted an article from a conservative website that said his sister Elizabeth Trump Grau had just joined Twitter to publicly back her brother’s fight to overturn the vote. ‘Thank you Elizabeth,’ Trump wrote on Twitter. ‘LOVE!’ But the Twitter account that prompted the article was not his sister’s. It was a fake profile run by Josh Hall, a 21-year-old food-delivery driver in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. ‘I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness. He actually thinks it’s his sister,” Hall, a fervent Trump supporter, said in an interview last week. It was a surreal coda to nearly a year of deception for Hall. Since February, he had posed as political figures and their families on Twitter, including five of the president’s relatives. He had pretended to be Robert Trump, the president’s brother; Barron Trump, the president’s 14-year-old son; and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. The accounts collectively amassed more than 160,000 followers. Using their identities, he gained attention by mixing off-color political commentary with wild conspiracy theories, including one that the government wanted to implant Americans with microchips, and another that John F. Kennedy Jr., who died in a plane crash in 1999, was alive and about to replace Mike Pence as vice president. ‘There was no nefarious intention behind it,’ Hall said. ‘I was just trying to rally up MAGA supporters and have fun.'” • Nobody would believe this if it were a movie…

UPDATE “The Donald, According to David Roth” (interview) [Jacobin]. “This is a lesson that you literally have to be a high-ranking member of the DNC not to get: when people got checks from the government with the stupid letter that said, basically, “From Donald J. Trump, don’t spend it all in one place,” that’s governing, it’s giving people what they need. That really did help people, and it was understood as coming from Trump.”


“America’s China Class Launches a New War Against Trump” [Tablet]. From September, an interesting interpretation. “Accordingly, the debate in Washington, D.C., over which great power is feeding more disinformation into the 2020 election cycle isn’t real—it’s not Russia, as collusion impresario and Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff claims, nor, as Attorney General William Barr says, is it China, though he’s closer to the truth. The source of the purposeful disinformation pouring into the American public sphere like untreated sewage is the American elite, led by its tech oligarchs, who own the platforms on which information campaigns are staged and laundered to protect their core interests—foremost among them being cheap Chinese labor and access to Chinese markets.”

Two Americas:

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Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Super-Scary Theory of the 21st Century” [Noah Smith, Noahpinion]. I was going to write another economics post, but a friend* requested that I share my Super Scary Theory of the 21st Century. So here it is. It’s important to note that I DON’T BELIEVE THIS THEORY IS TRUE. But I don’t fully disbelieve it either. … The 2019 protests that rocked every region of the planet had no real unifying theme. They included separatist movements, protests against economic inequality, protests against authoritarianism, and even climate protests. The huge, unprecedented protests in the U.S. a year later were about police brutality. I’m not sure anyone ever figured out what the protests in France were about. If there’s one “silver bullet” explanation for why protests are erupting all over the world, it’s technology. Social media dramatically lowers the cost of both organizing a protest and spreading a protest-related ideology. Martin Gurri’s The Revolt of the Public and Zeynep Tufekci’s Twitter and Tear Gas are essential reading on this topic. Big protests create instability and can paralyze governments — or even, as we saw with the color revolutions, overthrow them. Great-power conflict in the 21st century might simply be about outlasting your opponents — holding out longer against the naturally bubbling forces of internal dissent. So then the question becomes: If social media driven protests are a permanent feature of the modern age, what sort of institutions and technology allow governments to resist the resulting instability? And I’m not sure we’ll like the answer.”

Not inaccurate. Thread:

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: “October 2020 Headline JOLTS Job Openings Year-over-Year Growth Rate Marginally Grew But Little Changed Over The Last 3 Months” [Econintersect]. “The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) can be used as a predictor of future job growth, and the predictive elements show that the year-over-year growth rate of unadjusted private non-farm job openings year-over-year rate of growth marginally improved but remains in contraction…. The unadjusted data this month remained well below average for the rate of growth seen since the beginning of 2019 – but the rate of growth is little changed over the last 3 months. However, the pandemic effects will drive this data, and forecasts using this data are simply guesses.”

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Retail: “With the spike in online shopping comes a spike in consumer data. What are retailers doing with it?” [NBC]. “Before the eruption of e-commerce, retailers relied on more tedious measures to capture consumer sentiment, such as sales figures, social media listening and organized focus groups, said Frances Zelazny, chief marketing officer at Signals Analytics, a firm that uses artificial intelligence to analyze online consumer data to extract market intelligence. With more people shopping online, retailers are using AI to analyze chatbot messages and product reviews, including photos and videos of a product, to collect information on a shopper or a particular item.” • I wonder how long before companies start using chatbots in disinformation campaigns against competitors.

Apparel: “America’s Most Hated Garment” [The Atlantic]. “Nine months into the pandemic, sweatpants and other soft, stretchy loungewear have become a bright spot in America’s otherwise suffering apparel market. Slimmed down and rebranded as “joggers,” sweats are now everywhere, targeted at people who might have turned up their nose at soft pants during the Juicy Couture days…. With their body-hiding heft and embrace of comfort over all, sweatpants have endured as the bogeyman of the modern American wardrobe, even during a pandemic.” • Interesting cultural take that somehow omits to discuss what material(s) sweatpants are actually made of. Cotton fleece (thank heavens; not petroleum). Though I’m sure cotton has its own issues.

Finance: “Analysis-Investors push back on blank-check company insiders’ payout bonanza” [Reuters]. “Investors are pressuring some blank-check acquisition companies to scale back wildly lucrative payouts to their bosses that are weighing on shareholder returns, threatening to tamp down Wall Street’s biggest gold rush of recent years.” • “Wildly lucrative payouts to their bosses.” Wowsers. Who knew?

Retail: “For a Nation on Edge, Antacids Become Hard to Find” [New York Times]. “People searching online or in stores for over-the-counter tummy soothers are finding that they can’t easily buy antacid medications like Tums, Pepcid and its generic version, famotidine, in parts of the country. A few weeks ago, Wegmans Food Markets took the step of limiting shoppers to two packets of famotidine products per trip. Americans are stressed…. The result is that some people are dealing with ‘Pandemic Stomach,’ acid-churning episodes that are increasing demand for over-the-counter and prescription antacids.” • Go long stress…

Concentration: “Lots of people are gunning for Google. Meet the man who might have the best shot” [Protocol]. “Phil Weiser, a law professor and antitrust expert who was elected Colorado’s attorney general in 2018, is co-leading the bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general investigating Google’s search dominance and serves on the executive committee of a separate state investigation into Facebook, which is led by New York State Attorney General Letitia James. He says it’s the work he’s meant to do. ‘I am very fluent in technology and fluent in antitrust,’ Weiser told Protocol in an interview. ‘So as cases come up like Facebook and Google, it’s natural for me to be on the executive committee and to play an important role in both of them.’ People who’ve worked with Weiser say he’s a formidable foe to Big Tech because of his heads-down, scholarly approach; it’s hard to strong-arm or dump oppo about a former antitrust academic-turned-government official who has hundreds of pages of writing justifying his position at the helm of the Google investigation. Weiser’s not a ‘break ’em up’ ideologue, said people familiar with his thinking. Over the course of his career, he’s faced criticism for his willingness to bring industry to the table and has readily admitted to the limitations of antitrust law. ‘He wants to push the envelope but in a way that’s respectful and understands case law and precedent and the judiciary,’ said Carl Shapiro, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who worked with Weiser in Obama’s DOJ antitrust division and has consulted for Google. That may not be enough for progressives rooting for the state and federal cases against Google to result in the company’s breakup, a movement that has a loud voice and increasing political power.” • So long as he’s not another Eric Schneiderman (or Kamala Harris). Colorado readers?

Tech: “Did QuantumScape Just Solve a 40-Year-Old Battery Problem?” [Wired]. “On Tuesday, for the first time, QuantumScape’s cofounder and CEO, Jagdeep Singh, publicly revealed test results for the company’s solid-state battery. Singh says the battery resolved all of the core challenges that have plagued solid-state batteries in the past, such as incredibly short lifetimes and slow charging rate. According to QuantumScape’s data, its cell can charge to 80 percent of capacity in 15 minutes, it retains more than 80 percent of its capacity after 800 charging cycles, it’s noncombustible, and it has a volumetric energy density of more than 1,000 watt-hours per liter at the cell level, which is nearly double the energy density of top-shelf commercial lithium-ion cells. ‘We think that we’re the first to solve solid-state,’ Singh told WIRED ahead of the announcement. ‘No other solid-state systems come close to this.’… Singh says that QuantumScape’s battery is the kind of step change in performance that will push EVs into the mainstream.”

UPDATE Supply Chain: “Crimped U.S. dry ice supply complicates rural U.S. vaccine release” [Reuters]. “As health officials from rural areas prepare to vaccinate people scattered over thousands of miles in what could be the most complex such campaign in U.S. history, they face the additional challenge of finding enough dry ice to keep a Pfizer vaccine that must be stored at sub Arctic temperatures from spoiling…. More than a dozen U.S. states, including Washington, New Mexico, Mississippi, Louisiana and Indiana, told Reuters they are rushing to secure dry ice to replenish suitcase-sized shipping containers from Pfizer. Once opened, if being used as temporary storage by a vaccination center, the vaccines can last a total of 30 days with re-icing every five days, Pfizer said. The company said it believes there is sufficient dry ice supplies to serve the needs of all 50 states without serious constraints.” • Worth reading in full; sounds like kinks in the supply chain, not breaks, and not a PPE-like debacle.

Concentration: “Starbucks chief bullish as crisis engulfs smaller coffee shops” [Financial Times]. “Covid-19 hit Starbucks hard, cutting sales by 40 per cent year on year in the three months to June. However, Mr Johnson expects its business in China to recover fully in the current quarter and, with the rest of the world also improving, the group’s earnings for the year to next September to approach or beat 2019’s figure…. Yet his confidence contrasts with the crisis engulfing smaller rivals. The US alone will lose almost 2,000 coffee shops this year, Euromonitor forecasts, ending years of expansion. ‘Smaller speciality chains, the mom and pop coffee shops . . . don’t have the balance sheets that Starbucks has,’ said RJ Hottovy, consumer equity strategist at Morningstar.” • Yet?

Concentration: “State, federal authorities expected to file antitrust lawsuits against Facebook on Wednesday” [WaPo]. “More than 40 attorneys general and the U.S. government are preparing to file antitrust lawsuits against Facebook on Wednesday, alleging that the tech giant engaged in unlawful, anticompetitive tactics to buy or kill off its rivals and solidify its dominance in social networking. The states’ lawsuit in particular is expected to allege that Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, a photo-sharing app, and WhatsApp, a messaging service, marked a pattern of behavior to neutralize competitive threats — allowing Facebook to become a market leader while depriving users of privacy-protective alternatives. Three people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a law enforcement proceeding, described the lawsuits and their timing while cautioning that the plans could still change. They said Democratic and Republican attorneys general, led by New York’s Letitia James (D), are expected to ask a judge as part of the legal salvos to consider a wide array of potential redress — including forcing Facebook to sell off some of its business to address competition concerns.”

Fodder for the Bulls: “Paul Tudor Jones sees ‘massive boom’ after COVID-19 vaccine gets released” [Yahoo Finance]. “‘I think the stock market’s on a combination of fiscal monetary pulse that we’ve never seen before in history, nothing like this,’ Jones told Yahoo Finance in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. For that reason, stock multiples are frothier than in the year 2000, when the tech bubble sent the Nasdaq to its first historic high. And he anticipates a COVID-19 vaccine will jumpstart economic growth, which may have potential political implications. ‘The vaccine’s going to bring us back. We’re going to have an incredible growth rebound,’ the investor predicted, as pent-up demand from the last year gets carried forward in a big way. ‘I have four kids in their 20s. And, it’s like a horse at the beginning of a race,’ Jones said. ‘They’re so ready to get to see their friends, to get to restaurants, to vacation. They’re just ready to get out and go crazy, like I think everyone else in the world,’ he added. For that reason, the investors sees ‘a second-quarter explosion’ in retail, and virtually every other level. ‘And you’re going to have this just massive boom. And the consequences of that, I think, are pretty clear for fixed income. Fixed income will probably go down during that. Commodities will probably go up,’ the investor said.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 82 Extreme Greed (previous close: 82 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 87 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 9 at 12:44pm.

Health Care

UPDATE “Peripheral Oxygen Saturation in Older Persons Wearing Nonmedical Face Masks in Community Settings” [JAMA]. From the Discussion: “In this small crossover study, wearing a 3-layer nonmedical face mask was not associated with a decline in oxygen saturation in older participants. Limitations included the exclusion of patients who were unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, investigation of 1 type of mask only, Spo2 measurements during minimal physical activity, and a small sample size. These results do not support claims that wearing nonmedical face masks in community settings is unsafe.”

“The masks and the experts” [Matt Yglesias, Slow Boring]. “I know the public health community has a lot of raw feelings right now after being so blithely dismissed by Trump and tossed into the maw of partisan politics. And I agree that we could have parked this in a better outcome had Trump listened to them more closely. But to get to the kind of dramatically better outcomes that we see on the other side of the Pacific would have required an approach that was more different from the range of outcomes under consideration in the United States. Maybe there are good reasons for that and enforceable quarantines, mandatory testing, and travel restrictions never would have flown in the United States. But the confused dialogue around masks and ventilation and the superior performance of countries exposed to SARS suggests to me perhaps simply that people and institutions were not adequately thoughtful about the specific dynamics of a respiratory illness which, after all, is quite different from Ebola or HIV/AIDS. Whatever the real reason, we as a country need deeper thinking and deeper answers than just ‘Trump screwed up.'” • I don’t know what’s happened to Yglesias since he left Vox. He’s actually writing stuff I don’t want to make fun of (much). This is, actually, worth a read.

UPDATE “Idaho health meeting ends abruptly in ‘interest of public safety’ after anti-mask protesters show up at officials’ homes” [USA Today]. “Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Central District Health parking lot before and during the meeting. The protest at the health building was organized, at least in part, by a loose multi-state group called People’s Rights. The group was created by Ammon Bundy, an outspoken opponent of mask mandates during the coronavirus pandemic who gained national attention and stoked the so-called ‘patriot movement’ after leading armed standoffs at his father’s Nevada ranch in 2014 and at a wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon in 2016.”

UPDATE “UK regulator urges people with serious allergies to avoid Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine” [Channel News Asia]. “‘As is common with new vaccines the MHRA (regulator) have advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination, after two people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely yesterday,’ [National Health Service (NHS) medical director Stephen Powis] said.”

UPDATE “Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine to immunize the planet ‘more effectively,’ Lancet editor says” [CNBC]. “The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at regular refrigerator temperature. It is also cheaper than its peers, thought to cost around $4 per dose…. The cost, ease of manufacture and the absence of a need for special cold storage will mean ‘this is really the only vaccine that is going to suppress or even eradicate SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, in the many millions of individuals in the developing world,’ [Andrew Baum, global head of health care at Citi] said.”

UPDATE “China’s Covid vaccine from Sinopharm is 86% effective, UAE says” [CNBC]. “Human trials of a Chinese vaccine in the United Arab Emirates have yielded positive results, the UAE’s national health authorities said Wednesday, citing an 86% efficacy rate. The figure was announced by the UAE Ministry of Health via state news agency WAM, detailing an ‘interim analysis’ conducted by Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG). The Gulf state of 10 million began Phase 3 human trials of the experimental vaccine in July, and in September approved its emergency use for health workers.”

The Biosphere

“A neurotoxic insecticide sprayed on corn and fruit remains legal thanks to Trump’s EPA” [Salon (DL)]. “President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Friday that it is going to continue to allow a pesticide called chlorpyrifos that interferes with mammalian brain development to continue to be used in the United States. Many states have already decided to phase out or ban the widely-used agricultural product. The public will have 60 days to offer comments on the EPA’s decision. In its announcement, the EPA included a number of proposals to improve the safety of how chlorpyrifos is used, including requiring more personal protective equipment (PPE) of individuals handling the chemical and adding new regulations to limit the risk of the chemical contaminating drinking water. At the same time, the agency is allowing it to continue to be registered in the United States, even though there are a number of alleged health risks associated with the insecticide. Indeed, the insecticide has been banned in the European Union since early 2020….”

Groves of Academe

Berkeley encourages travel during a “Stay Home” order while simultaneously closing dorms:

Sports Desk

“Ex-rugby internationals take legal action over brain injuries” [Channel News Asia]. “The planned action is against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union, for ‘failure to protect (the claimants) from the risks caused by concussions.’ The players have also created 15 ‘commandments’ which they feel World Rugby should adopt to make the game safer. Thompson, Lipman and Popham are part of a test group of eight players, but Richard Boardman of Rylands said he was representing more than 100 players, whose ages range from their 20s to their 50s. Many of whom are showing symptoms of neurological problems and Boardman said he wanted World Rugby to make immediate changes to address the issue, which is also a growing concern in football.”

Xmas Pregame Activities

“Amsterdam Cracks Down on Garish Christmas Lights” [Bloomberg]. “If your holiday decorations involve inflatable Minions or light shows that play Metallica songs, steer clear of Amsterdam: This year, the Dutch capital seems to have started a war on garish Christmas displays. Following the launch of a public consultation in November, Amsterdammers may face stringent limits on their decorative options for Christmas 2021. According to proposed new regulations (to be confirmed in the spring) lighting displays on buildings in the city must consist of at least 70% “warm white” bulbs, and must use LED lights only. Allowed to sparkle only from 6 a.m. to midnight and from October to February, these displays will need to be registered online with the municipality if they cover more than a square meter (10.8 square feet) or more than 10% of a building’s façade. Outdoor Christmas trees and displays of holiday figures such as Santa Claus and his reindeer would also need to be registered with the city. In Amsterdam’s UNESCO-protected city center, the rules will be yet more stringent.”

Guillotine Watch

“Lori Loughlin’s daughter on college admissions scandal: ‘I think they thought it was normal'” [The Hill]. “‘On paper, it’s bad. It’s really bad,’ [Olivia Jade Giannulli, daughter of actress Lori Loughlin] said during the Facebook Watch show, as first reported by Variety. ‘But I think what a lot of people don’t know is that my parents just came from a place of just, ‘I love my kids, I just want to help my kids. Whatever is best for them.” ‘I think they thought it was normal,’ she added. ‘And I think that there was a college counselor involved who seemed legitimate and ended up not being legitimate. And in that community, it was not out of the ordinary.’ Giannulli acknowledged her privilege and said she had been unaware of what her parents did at the time. She noted that in her orbit, a lot of parents donated to schools to get an advantage for their kids.” • In her orbit…. The Trilbillies comment:

“Musk, Bezos Space Race Gets a Boost From Anti-Poverty Tax Break” [Bloomberg]. “The world’s two richest men, who committed billions of dollars of their own money to a private space race, are now eligible for an extra boost from the federal government: a tax break intended to help poor communities… Their [space] companies’ sites were included among the thousands of tracts across the U.S. designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones, part of President Donald Trump’s plan to use tax breaks to attract investments and jobs to distressed neighborhoods… The billionaires’ qualification for the federal benefit, which hasn’t been previously reported, enables them to avoid capital gains taxes on money they steer into opportunity zone operations. Those investments can then grow tax-free, and if the billionaires keep their investments in place for a decade, any appreciation can be shielded from federal capital gains taxes forever.” • Sweet!

Class Warfare

“Being-in-the-Room Privilege: Elite Capture and Epistemic Deference” [The Philosopher]. Mentally connecting this to Adolph Reed’s work on “voices.” Long-ish but worth working through:

If you consider a textbook definition of standpoint epistemology, it may be hard to see the controversy around this idea. The International Encyclopedia of Philosophy boils it down to three innocuous-sounding contentions:

1) Knowledge is socially situated

2) Marginalized people have some positional advantages in gaining some forms of knowledge

3) Research programs ought to reflect these facts.

Liam Kofi Bright argues persuasively that these contentions are derivable from a combination of 1) basic empiricist commitments, and 2) a minimally plausible account of how the social world affects what knowledge groups of people are likely to seek and find.

The trap wasn’t that standpoint epistemology was affecting the conversation, but how. Broadly, the norms of putting standpoint epistemology into practice call for practices of deference: giving offerings, passing the mic, believing. These are good ideas in many cases, and the norms that ask us to be ready to do them stem from admirable motivations: a desire to increase the social power of marginalized people identified as sources of knowledge and rightful targets of deferential behaviour. But deferring in this way as a rule or default political orientation can actually work counter to marginalized groups’ interests, especially in elite spaces.

Some rooms have outsize power and influence: the Situation Room, the newsroom, the bargaining table, the conference room. Being in these rooms means being in a position to affect institutions and broader social dynamics by way of deciding what one is to say and do. Access to these rooms is itself a kind of social advantage, and one often gained through some prior social advantage. From a societal standpoint, the ‘most affected’ by the social injustices we associate with politically important identities like gender, class, race, and nationality are disproportionately likely to be incarcerated, underemployed, or part of the 44 percent of the world’s population without internet access – and thus both left out of the rooms of power and largely ignored by the people in the rooms of power. Individuals who make it past the various social selection pressures that filter out those social identities associated with these negative outcomes are most likely to be in the room. That is, they are most likely to be in the room precisely because of ways in which they are systematically different from (and thus potentially unrepresentative of) the very people they are then asked to represent in the room.

“Standpoint epistemology.” That’s a term that deserves propagation….

When all you have is a hammer….

“Rats Overrun Washington Heights Chipotle: Employees Speak Out” [Patch]. “‘When I got bitten by a rat on Friday, I felt horrified and disgusted,’ said the worker, Melvin Paulino. ‘I’ve washed my finger a thousand times and still I can’t even bear to look at it. It’s not right that Chipotle didn’t keep us safe from getting bitten by rats.’ Workers told 32BJ SEIU that they told their manager that the rat problem had been getting worse, according to the union. Some employees had been chasing the rats and killing them with sticks out of fear of getting bitten, workers said.”

UPDATE “BOOK REVIEW: Tell The Bosses We’re Coming” [The Strike Wave]. Review of Shaun Richman’s book. “One place we can start: what we control. This is less discussed by Richman, but is the most logical place for organized labor to begin reshaping the movement. Internally, within organized labor, we can take concrete steps to broaden the idea of unionism beyond contract maintenance and enforcement, expanding youth programs and at-large membership programs and meaningfully including non-bargaining members in internal culture and decision-making. Decoupling union membership from membership in a bargaining unit doesn’t require the boss or the state to approve it, and doing so is a necessary precondition for any expansion of alternative forms of organization like minority unionism.”

News of the Wired

The Muse of COBOL:

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jsn writes: “Autumn in Willow Town, Brooklyn.”

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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. jo6pac

    “The world’s two richest men, who committed billions of dollars of their own money to a private space race, are now eligible for an extra boost

    This is not true about them using their own money NSA pays them in advance. musk returning rocket was designed by NSA not space x

    I’ll take nap and return for the update;-)

    1. Alternate Delegate

      I sure could use a link for that claim about NSA. Do you mean NASA?

      SpaceX has contracts with NASA. But to the best of my knowledge, neither the Falcon 9 booster nor Starship-in-progress has been designed by anyone but SpaceX. They’re building this stuff right out in the open.

    2. D. Fuller

      Private space companies buying up taxpayer built infrastructure on the cheap, from NASA.

      Taxpayer subsidies. The tax breaks. Using all that prior knowledge gained from NASA that taxpayers paid for. Why, Elon Musk blew up a rocket after NASA told him not to use a certain fuel system that NASA full well knew would not work. Musk thought he knew better.

      He failed. Reinventing the flat tire.

      What is the next technology that private space companies want taxpayers to pay for so they can gobble it up?

      Aerospike rocket engine. Was being developed by NASA and is probably being secretly funded through the DoD.

      If there is ever a headline that says, “X Corporation develops revolutionary rocket engine – the aerospike rocket engine”? It would be better to read it as, “X Corporation feasted on taxpayer dollars & taxpayer R&D to claim it developed the aerospike engine”.

      R&D is an expense that private corporations do not want to pay for, due to the risk. Hence why the taxpayers end up funding most R&D in the United States while reaping no benefits other than being charged outrageous sums of money for the taxpayer effort.

      If Congress & The Administration enforced taxpayer intellectual property? While holding an interest in the company as a direct proportion to taxpayer funding? A good guestimate is that the US taxpayer would own 70% of all businesses – outside of small businesses serving the community.

      With the defense industry? Around 95% of that industry would be taxpayer owned. Dairy? 70% ownership in the 5 largest dairy corporations (this just based on taxpayer subsidies). The Oil & Gas industry would cease to exist as a private entity.

      Private space companies? Would not exist when factoring in ownership based on taxpayer subsidies, taxpayer IP, etc.

      American business leaders simply no longer know how to make money, a profit. They mostly know accounting fraud & living off of government & taxpayers. Part of such is a consequence of their pursuit of globalism that is nothing more than profiting from wage & regulatory arbitrage.

      As a side note? OLED. US taxpayer IP from 1979.

        1. D. Fuller

          Apollo Lunar Module, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY before Musk. Done in reverse under demanding conditions.

          Falcon 9 VTVL is a first stage rocket, not a crew module. A more interesting idea would be a first stage rocket that glided back to Earth. Much more cost effective once the kinks are worked out. Something to do about a glide body currently in use with various hypersonic weapons.

          VTVL has a history going back to 1961. Before Musk was even born. As for the the McDonnell-Douglas DC-X in the 1990’s – before SpaceX even existed. And several others.

          Musk is the master of M&A and PR so he gets the recognition for what others have already achieved. Though, others were not stupid enough, unlike Musk, to use a fuel design on a rocket that was already shown to be extremely hazardous. $$$ does not equal brains.

          Musk reminds me of Thomas Edison whose “solution” was to stick parts together – based on the science of others – until something worked. That is how Edison “invented” the light bulb, by hiring workers to assemble light bulbs with various materials until one worked. That’s equivalent to throwing animal waste on the wall until something sticks.

          Musk is a smart person. Especially when he figured out how to take taxpayer dollars and turn himself into a multi-billionaire. Bernie Sanders pointed that out. Musk keeps himself in the limelight as a “Libertarian” – utopian anarchist ideology – with great M&A & PR. A Libertarian who does not believe in government, despite his fortune being subsidized by government.

          Musk reminds me also of Jeff Bezos. Where would Amazon be without the tax loopholes? Hemorrhaging money.

          Another area of hype from others? Hypersonic missiles as being a “new” thing. Except that most of the work was done well before Russia & China deployed anything. Sprint missile system, anyone – which is where China & Russia obtained some know-how to make it work better. Why, lifting bodies used in hypersonic glide vehicles? That started in the 1950’s.

          There are no new basic science breakthroughs. The last fundamental science breakthroughs – outside of biology & genetics (more discovery than actual fundamental breakthroughs)?

          The laser and transistor. Quantum computing may change that as far as being a fundamental breakthrough. AI does not exist except in the fantasy minds of true believers; also as an M&A term used to sell stuff.

          We live in a world that mostly consists of improvements on existing technology.

          1. Acacia

            We live in a world that mostly consists of improvements on existing technology.

            As Butler Lampson (Computer Scientist) once said:

            “An engineer can do for a dime what any fool can do for a dollar.”

        2. D. Fuller

          Also, one more point?

          The Falcon 9 first stage? Is just a larger version of the DC-X. Scaling up a tech is not “inventing it”. It is an improvement. Funded by outsiders who wished to give Musk their money.

          Here is more government subsidy of Musk…

          Elon Musk’s SpaceX Wins $885 Million In FCC Subsidies To Give Rural Areas Broadband Access – using the Starlink satellites that are going to very much complicate satellite orbits, basic science related to astronomy, and even launching rockets into space.

          Which begs the question… where did all the taxpayer money, collected through surcharges on our mobile phone bills… go to? That money was supposed to be used to roll out rural broadband.

          Talk about using a nail to hit a hammer.

        3. Alternate Delegate

          The DC-X was a one-third-size scale prototype and has nothing to do with any discussion of orbital anything.

          The X33 and VentureStar were vaporware and never flew. The composite cryogenic fuel tanks never worked. But they wouldn’t have worked anyway due to reentry temperatures. SpaceX realized this and went to stainless steel.

          Single stage to orbit can’t carry a useful payload.

          After making the Falcon 9 booster reusable, SpaceX attempted to make the Falcon 9 second stage reusable, but failed. The reentry requirements would have eaten up the payload. The way to make two reusable stages is to go larger, and that’s the Starship program.

          Methane engines work with fuel that can be generated by in situ resource utilization on Mars.

          Elon Musk may be a libertarian a@@hole (he’s not an anarchist) with too much money, but at least he’s doing something useful.

          1. Redlife2017

            Spending money on going to Mars (with all the attendant problems of the travel and then living there – i.e. it won’t work*) whilst people starve on Earth is not quite my definition of useful.

            *won’t work because what kind of shielding does this have on the way to Mars and if you can get there without massive cellular damage, how are they supposed to survive on a planet not designed for humans in the long-term? This is such an insane boondoggle and misuse of resources, I am astounded people think it is a good idea right now.

          2. Alternate Delegate

            Learning to live within our means on Mars, and carrying that knowledge back to Earth, will save us and our ecosystem yet. Shielding against radiation works. A less-than-$1B program is not extravagant in current terms.

            Yesterday’s SN8 test flight was something new under the sun. This is the prospectively reusable second stage, to be boosted by a very similar reusable first stage, with more engines but otherwise the same cheap construction.

  2. Wukchumni

    “Amsterdam Cracks Down on Garish Christmas Lights”
    When I wised up awhile back and figured out Santa wasn’t real it really soured me on how we overdo it all, the pressure put upon us to potlatch, please!

    There’s some hood down in San Diego near my sister’s where there’s so many Christmas lights going on, it’d make a Vegas casino blush.

    Here on just the other side of nowhere, nobody hardly tries all that much, maybe 1 out of 25 homes have something festive showing.

    We found Mexico to be a nice place to be for xmas, as it’s really on the down low there, Easter being the bigger deal as everybody gets born, few come back from the dead.

  3. Fastball

    Regarding doomsday scenarios and dystopias, I don’t even think blogs like NakedCapitalism truly understand how much rage is escalating from the government abandoning its people to die.

    If this continues, it’s going to be bad beyond your wildest imaginations.

    1. Wukchumni

      Yes, it’s gonna be epic, and I think i’ve under-popcorn’d as there’s probably only enough on hand to satisfy the first 100 marauding types with AR-15’s at the ready that would do me harm, that is unless you give em’ a bowl of just popped goodness cooked with olive oil in a pot over an open flame and sprinkled with sea salt & melted butter, and let em watch the first Rambo for tips and then send em’ on their way.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I don’t even think blogs like NakedCapitalism truly understand how much rage is escalating from the government abandoning its people to die.

      Possibly. I do try to maintain an even keel. Perhaps too even?

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        There’s a significant amount of anger that has been building for quite a long time at this point. It’s looking for a release. If we get luck it will be in dribs and drabs over varying things. If we are unlucky someone will facilitate those angry masses realizing they are all angry at the same thing.

      2. Fastball

        Well, Lambert, I’m trying not to outline things like possibilities for extreme violence and physical revolution. These are no longer remote.

        Yes, you too even. You are one my favorite bloggers, I visit you every day, but now, to me, even you seem clueless.

        You have politicians just emitting extreme chutzpah while millions of Americans starve and die.

        The situation is just demanding extreme correction. Do you even know just HOW angry people are at Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell? They should be living in an armed camp for their own safety.

        1. Acacia

          That seems rather a bit harsh for our host here. Bear in mind that while Lambert indeed quotes some of that chutzpah here, it’s with a good dose of incredulity and irony. That said, I would not disagree with you about the armed camp.

        2. Aumua

          It is also just a bit of hyperbole to say that millions of Americans are starving and dying. So keep your pants on. I’m not saying that it couldn’t happen, if things continue going sideways…

            1. Aumua

              Yeah, dying of starvation is not the same thing as having to utilize food banks. I’m not saying things are great, I’m just saying why can’t we just be honest, intellectually? Why must we embellish the truth? I’m certain it will speak for itself if we let it. But we just can’t do that. We have to push an agenda, always. We have to push an angle.

        3. bojackhorsemeat

          People hate these pols but no one’s gotten shot yet. At some point they will if the anger is there as you say…

    3. Krystyn Podgajski

      I can’t wait. I have been living in the dystopia for 54 years. Everything that is happening is just the nihilism before the collective enlightenment. It will be good to finally have company.

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        You and I are the same age. I remember reading all the great mid 20th century dystopia novels in high school and liking them, but regarding them as nothing more than clever cautionary fables.

        Class of 1984 – chuckle.

    4. Mason

      We are citizens of a federal government that…

      Led a series of still ongoing wars that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people overseas.
      Killed two hundred thousand Americans through sheer incompetence and corruption in the pandemic.
      Enriches and protects a smaller and smaller group of monopolies while main-street falls apart.
      Overseen the growth of the highest income inequality in a hundred years.
      Maintains the largest prison population in the world, larger than China.
      Ignores the very real possibility of ecological collapse in a few short decades.

      It lost the mandate to govern. It is a clear and present danger to current and future generations. It’s merely existing on borrowed time. To not rebel means a population of serfs living among desolation, debt, and decay.

      I decided I’ll be more likely fighting my government rather than fighting for it about six months ago. Taking EMT-B next year, we need Street Medics. There’s going to be massive demonstrations next year, I hope so.

      Chris Hedges calls it a moral imperative to revolt.

      1. km

        I have read that the United States imprisons a greater proportion of its population than the Soviet Union did at the height of the Stalinist terror.

        Whether or not this is true, what is truly egregious, what truly shocks the conscience, is that it doesn’t have to be this way. To give but one example, the United States could scale back or give up its empire entirely, and what would happen?

        A lot less than you think. Canadian hordes would not start marauding through the Upper Midwest, looting and pillaging and apologizing all the while. Iran would not mobilize its vast fleet of war canoes, paddling their way out of the Persian Gulf, their steely sights set on our sunny shores that they may find the freedom and steal it.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          The US could scale back its Empire? I think that is already happening as a side-effect of the bankrupt policies of the US Empire. The problem is that the crumbling Empire will extract a high human cost from the world including those of us in the US as it falls.

        2. rowlf

          Give me a nice location on the US shore and I will gladly be a coast watcher to report all activity I see of the Afghan Navy’s activities a la Father Goose.

          Or Pass Me By

        3. Acacia

          Yes, but doesn’t that presuppose the military empire is actually about defense of the homeland? Of course, that’s the official line, but if you consider instead that its primary functions are enrichment of the MIC, and to slowly expand the Lebensraum of the Imperium, it seems more “logical”. But, people are easily persuaded by fear that all of this waste is somehow “necessary”, so… *shrug*.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        We have moral imperative to revolt and go to the barricades? I don’t think so. I think responding to US power circa 2020 with tactics and strategy from the nineteenth century is not a good idea. Joining hands and singing kumbaya in a peaceful march strikes me as working about as well as the March on the Winter Palace.

        What tactics and strategy do you think might be effective?

        1. ambrit

          The two examples of “revolt” do not correlate.
          “Joining hands and singing Kumbayah in a peaceful march” is basic virtue signaling.
          “March(ing) on the Winter Palace” is an act of desperation by starving workers.
          One “failed” upward into the empyrean heights of Woke Symbolism. Nothing essential about the underlying problems changed.
          The other failed in bloodshed and engendered rage against the Regime. An actual Revolution resulted.
          Tactics fit the “local” situation. What you really need is a Strategy with which to mobilize the masses. Trump, for all his faults, understood this. Then he fell back into being a standard Corporatist Republican. Heaven help the present system when we finally see a ‘Cloth Coat Republican’ enter the field.
          Cloth coat Republican: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Cloth_coat_Republican

    5. Katiebird

      In our house we try to contain the rage but the headlines are terrifying. Except here and maybe a couple of other places no one is digging into what happens when 19 million people are suddenly shoved out of their homes.

      It’s a nightmare. And that’s only part of it.

      1. jr

        Obliviousness is the rule here in the West Village and doubtless in the other affluent parts of Manhattan. I walk by restaurants with socially distanced PMC’s laughing over 30$ glasses of wine while semi-deranged homeless men stumble up and down the streets outside. Bitter bicycle delivery guys cluster in the park nearby, smoking and talking amongst themselves, waiting for the call to deliver a bag of food that costs a significant chunk of their weekly income. Kinds of food they will quite likely never get to eat. The receipts must seem like a slap in the face when they are scrabbling to make ends meet.

        My girlfriend and her colleagues chatter merrily on Zoom about being bored with COVID and how they wish they could travel again. How they have been drinking way too much wine. Their world seems to revolve around what their favorite show is at the moment, did you see how such and such tricked out their kids room, how they ordered sushi from a place their boss recommended and the bill was outrageous. Our friends just had a baby girl, a darling little thing; they are afloat in the bubble of new parenthood. They dash off to Florida, back to NYC, up to Toronto in their car, seemingly insulated from the hellscape that is unfolding around them. My joy for them swirls with the grim knowledge I hold in my head and it’s dizzying at times.

        The restaurants around here are starting to dress up for Christmas; the Russian place a few blocks away has all manner of plastic and LED holiday cheer on display. Happy songs of warmth and family float out of tiny speakers nestled next to the ubiquitous security cameras overlooking the pavilions they’ve built for the crowds that will never come. To save money, I’ve been making my own coffee for the last week but I went to my spot this morning. The owner greeted me like a long lost son, demanding to know where I’ve been. Even for him, probably the most popular coffee shop around, business is noticeably slower and he treasures his regulars. I bought a sandwich as a show of fealty but I can’t keep coming like I used too.

        I’m not sure how it’s going to break around here. I don’t see a lot of mass violence going down. The people who live here are generally doing ok and the people who aren’t doing ok don’t live around here. (Except me, the In Between Man: Under, Around, and Through.) If they take to the streets I would expect it to be in the boroughs where they live. I think random acts of crime and violence will escalate around these parts. I carry pepper spray with me at all times and a 1200 lumen flashlight at night.

        I’m terrified of what’s coming but a part of me finds it exhilarating, in a perverse way. It’s way too late to fix things, it seems to me, power is too blind and entrenched. Too sure of itself, too glutted, addicted to luxury and vice. As that grinning monstrosity Pelosi said “It ain’t gonna happen.” So it has to burn down, crack apart, splinter. Perhaps I’ll get to see the raw guts and bones of a society laid bare, burning buildings, troops in the streets, bodies left to lie. A horror for me the individual but a wild feast for a Poet:

        When twisting hunger stalks the streets
        Where rage and sorrow search for heat
        A pane away there’s life to eat
        What will happen when they meet?

        Crying, crinkled, jagged eyes
        Shattered glass and crumpled lives
        Hopes and dreaming crawl with flies
        Under leaden, icy skies.

        Death’s a-riding in this town
        Resplendent in his char black gown
        And battered, dented, iron crown
        I wonder if He’ll burn it down.

        Will He do it? We shall see!
        I’m horrified, yet also free
        I’ve always held Him close to me
        And giggled with a mirthless glee
        To hear His dire, dark decree
        When chaos crashes like the sea
        Wild, wanton, so carefree
        What comes will come, what shall will be
        No where to run, no time to flee
        One can but marvel
        Don’t you agree?

        1. Katiebird

          Incredible. This:

          Bitter bicycle delivery guys cluster in the park nearby, smoking and talking amongst themselves, waiting for the call to deliver a bag of food that costs a significant chunk of their weekly income. Kinds of food they will quite likely never get to eat. The receipts must seem like a slap in the face when they are scrabbling to make ends meet.

          Your whole comment is so quotable though.

      2. ambrit

        Sorry to be the one to say it, but this is a problem which, as the old ad phrase says; “is coming to a street near you!”
        We here in the NADS are already seeing a visible increase in the numbers of homeless and desperately poor on our streets.
        The locals are already working towards a ‘Committee of Vigilance’ sort of Neighborhood Watch organization. This development, although understandable from a small scale social organizational point of view is short sighted. It is reactive. No serious organizing against the systemic causes of the dysfunction, yet.
        Someone above mentioned the March on the Winter palace of the winter of 1904-05. It was not an avowedly revolutionary event. What radicalized the masses after the event was the Regime’s over reaction to the march; a very bloody armed suppression of the march. Peacefully protesting people were killed by agents of the State. America is now primed and ready for a similar event to transpire. The agents of the State today are organized along the lines of a domestic military. As many have remarked over the years, policing is not the same as occupation.
        We live in interesting times.

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      For the last several New Years I’ve watched the movie “Strange Days”. What is strange now is how common events like officers Steckler and Engleman’s murder of Jeriko One, whose anti-police lyrics and activism incited protests, have become. The movie has lost its shock value — except the scene where the police commissioner actually demands the arrest of officers Steckler and Engleman.

      I hope the escalating rage will find outlet as general wildcat strikes and sabotage instead of sacrifices to AR-15 gun worship. I keep telling my daughter to get over her love for the City and get rural.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Strange Days’ – yeah, I know that film now. Has it been really 25 years since it came out? What really hooked me in at the start was the idea of a black market in people’s recorded memories and I could see that becoming a thing. Come to think of it, especially now during the pandemic.

    7. Yves Smith

      I have been predicting violence way way way before it was fashionable to do so.

      However, I have not and still do not see the US as likely to witness organized violence.

      First, the middle classes have been deeply indoctrinated to see demonstrating as for losers, unless it is marching for the #Resistance or other respectable causes. The ex-middle class don’t shed those beliefs readily.

      Second, Americans are atomized. Neoliberalism has been very successful in this regard. So Americans are not inclined to join groups to pursue long-term collective interests.

      Third, the police and military can readily overwhelm citizens with guns, even a lot of them. The only thing that would constrain them in putting any sort of insurrection down is the body count.

      1. vlade

        Re your last point. As long as whoever runs the US can control majority of the army and NG, the best any “citizen resistance” can do is a NI-like terrorism. Which is not great, but most likely result is to move the US even further towards an authoritarian military state rather than a full on civil war or similar.

        The real problem would be if you got fractured military. ACW could have happened only for two reasons – there was practically no standing US army, and a lot of officers in the standing army were more loyal to their state than the US.

        I believe that’s one of the reasons why the US army now indoctrinates towards the US, not state.

        That’s not to say that an army can’t lose to partisans now and then, they can (especially when they underestimate them and the partisans have some vets), but strategically, there’s one word which is likely to make any partisan resistance to lose – logistics. W/o massive foreign support (which would be hard in the continental US), any distributed, small “resistance” is likely to run out supplies pretty quick.

        A lot of those macho types prides themselves on how well they can handle the gun. Few could manage a significant logistic operations. Wars are won/lost by logistics, not personal courage and skill. US Army is famously profilgate with its supplies (in Iraq, it was estimated that over 300k rounds were fired for one “insurgent” killed), but even 1/10th of the ammo consumption is a lot of ammo.

        Paradoxically, the best way to smuggle large amounts of ammo into the US would be from Mexico, which has large ammo supplies and porous border. There goes the Mexican wall.. That said, you’d need to distribute that ammo, which would be much harder for any large groups (as in it’s harder to get in a convoy of trucks than a few SUVs with few crates of ammo).

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Information is also vital. Insurgencies lose when they are penetrated to a significant extent by a States intelligence services. If the opposite happens, insurgencies win.

          The Irish revolutionary war local leader, Tom Barry, wrote in his memoir that at one stage around 1919 the IRA had in total three bullets per gun, and they didn’t have many guns. Their entire focus was on persuading the British government that they had far more men and guns and bullets than they really had (mostly by scattering units using hit and run tactics). All their major actions were designed around getting the weapons from any soldiers or police they killed. The leader, Michael Collins, realised that they had zero chance of winning a conventional war, even a guerrilla conventional war, so he focused all his attention on assassinating every British intelligence officer in the country, which he carried with awesome skill and ruthlessness. By creating the perception that any informer or spy was likely to end up with a bullet in the back of the head, he destroyed the intelligence network in Ireland. The result was a very small and poorly armed insurgency managed to defeat the most powerful army on the planet. It was almost all a bluff, the IRA never in reality consisted of more than a few hundred hard core fighters (albeit with thousands of semi-active supporters). It’s no wonder Tom Barry’s book and Michael Collins strategy was studied intensely by revolutionary leaders from Mao to Ho Chi Minh.

          I really doubt anyone could do that now, such is the complete control States around the world have of information systems. I strongly suspect that a lot of the success of the Iraqi insurgency is down to the low number of Arabic speakers in US intelligence (i.e., they simply couldn’t get through the information overload), and the low tech nature of the Taliban is their greatest strength.

  4. cocomaan

    People upset about Michèle Flournoy not getting picked because it would have been historic to have a woman in the spot is a little like listening to modern baseball commentary after Moneyball.

    “Up at bat is Loosey McGoosey, who is the only left handed batter who has had invasive surgery on his right knee, while also wearing an eye-patch on his left eye, and who despite batting left handed, signs his name with his right hand.

    McGoosey also is the only player in the league with two divorces and two adopted children, followed by Spunky Jones, who has one divorce and two foster children. Strangely, McGoosey signed his divorce papers with his left hand.”

    I mean, who is keeping track of this First nonsense? Who has the Historic Firsts spreadsheet open on their desktop or Bloomberg terminal or whatever? Ripleys Believe It Or Not?

    1. Katiebird

      I love this quote. My brother in law (Chris Tellefsen) edited Moneyball and I can just imagine his pleasure in fitting that in.

  5. IM Doc

    And here we go.

    The Pfizer vaccine is only one day out in the UK – and we have this:


    I would not call that a normal reaction in vaccines that I give routinely. People can certainly be allergic to anything – and local skin and muscle reactions are common. Anaphylactoid reactions requiring emergent therapy – not one time in my whole life – and not a usual thing to happen at all with vaccines that are “TESTED”.

    And now it appears this was so serious that the UK is excluding anyone with severe allergies from receiving the vaccine.

    Surely – one or two or a dozen of the tens of thousands of patients given this vaccine in the trials had this kind of history. SURELY. It is not that uncommon.

    Please answer this question – PFIZER – did you exclude people with this condition (history of severe allergies) from your trial? Make the safety numbers look a little better? Who all else may have been excluded?

    Again – this is what happens when we do not test things appropriately and/or we are not completely transparent with the results. Thankfully, it appears these people are OK. What if this were to happen in my rural community where there is no epi-pen and the nearest hospital is 30 minutes away? There needs to be complete and total transparency – and this needs to be right now.

    I hope I am not sounding like a broken record – but this is exactly what I was fearing – and just on day 1.

    1. cocomaan

      Beyond the risks, what’s staggering to me about this announcement (which is being carried on the front page of CNN, by the way) is how obtuse and obviously counter-productive it is.

      This is the kind of blanket statement that scares the living daylights out of people who are paying attention, makes them doubt the vaccine, which results in the government issuing more corrections, corrections that they then have to correct and explain. This causes vaccine-hating groups to gather these boneheaded statements as evidence, which causes the governmental entity to respond to the vaccine haters with chastising and patronizing remarks, with politicians piling on with their own obtuse statements, all of which has to be walked back and massaged. And the swirling of the toilet bowl goes on and on.

      It was the exact same with masks and here we go with the vaccines. Unbelievable. Public health has become amateur hour.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The experts don’t seem to understand that expertise doesn’t work as ethos any more. They seem to think they can simply rely on authority, and people will believe them. What is remarkable is that no other institution has stepped in to fill the gap. Everybody is embubbled?

        (I did add a link to this when I did the updates.)

        1. Frank

          This isn’t something that is solvable formulated the way they want. “People should trust experts.”
          To make it solvable it needs to be:
          “Experts must be trustworthy.”

          Really this is civilization ending by itself. And they won’t fix it.

          1. anEnt


            People, after decades of being taken for fools by experts, rightly expect that experts are in it for themselves unless and until the individual expert proves otherwise. The problem being that proving otherwise tends to get experts ostracized from their professions, etc.

          2. polecat

            I’m Soooo tired of ‘Perts sayin This and pronouncin That..

            ‘Perts are cheap comfort in my book! They’re like college degrees – inflated to the high hilt, but as EGO’$ rather than pigskins …

        2. jake

          Ya, that’s because many people think we have a 100% ethical system, thus all the institutions in that system must be trustworthy.

          After the last 20 years I have no idea why anyone would believe this.

          1. flora

            I’m tickled by the sudden up-tick in MSM stories about the perported extraterrestrial aliens. See: monolith and UFOs and Israeli air force and “they come in peace”, etc. “Why didn’t the AirForce and govt let this info out before?!?” /heh.

            Is this the new click-bait effort to replace the T click-bait to bulk up the MSM’s economics? Really. It’s too funny. “OK, T isn’t the income generator anymore but we’s gots UFOs!” (and diversions)

            Against that kind of logic, etc. ;)

        3. Aumua

          Naw, expertise would be fine for me. You know things like, independent peer reviewed studies, hard scientific data of the kind IM Doc mentions, details of the vaccine trials that Pfizer ran… I’m perfectly willing to trust the experts and the scientific process.

          But surprisingly, a blanket statement from the drug manufacturer saying “don’t worry, it’s fine” with no additional details does not inspire confidence, in light of breaking stories like this one.

          People don’t want to be guinea pigs here, and rightfully so. I mean unless you signed up for it.

      2. Tom Doak

        It scares the living daylights out of people and makes them doubt the foreign vaccine.

        And possibly helps boost someone else’s vaccine. Follow the money!

    2. grayslady

      You are not a broken record and you are not the only one concerned. Two years ago, after 20 years of successfully taking flu shots, I suffered anaphylaxis within half an hour of taking the shot. The only reason I’m alive today is that there is a hospital emergency room 1/2 mile from my house and I drove myself over rather than wait for an ambulance. The only known allergy I have is to all types of dyes, and there aren’t any dyes in the flu shot. I finally spoke with a preeminent allergist this summer but even he didn’t suggest what seemed to me the most obvious: get allergy tests for latex (can be stuck to needle when withdrawing syringe from tube with vaccine) and get allergy tests for adjuvants. I can’t find any information about the adjuvants being used in any of these vaccines.

      Secondly, it is well known that most vaccines meant for the populace at large don’t work well for the elderly. I have yet to see convincing evidence that the over 70 and over 80 crowd are going to process these vaccines as well as youngsters–at least, the mRNA vaccines. The immune system cytokine storms seem to be happening more frequently to the elderly, but today’s news from NHS leads me to believe that the virus and its possible antidotes have a different effect on the immune system at all ages than we’ve seen in other illnesses (except, perhaps, HIV). So, bottom line, I think you’re correct to be concerned.

    3. Watt4Bob

      My wife had a bad reaction to the flu vaccine last week, it was a terrible few days.

      This morning she said she was uncomfortable thinking of taking the new covid vaccine, and advised me to think about waiting.

      I’m thinking it will be more than a few months before the general public has access to the vaccine, so we’re going to have the benefit of all the ‘testing‘ that’s going on as we speak.

      I’m concerned that much of that ‘testing’ is going to be on front-line medical staff,and old folks.

      My guess is that all these big pharma corporations have made the calculation that they can’t be first in line for the prizes if they take the time to do testing prior to roll-out, considering the stock price bump is bigger for big announcements than it is for slow-motion fits and starts?

    4. Henry Moon Pie

      It was reported this morning that Pfizer EXCLUDED people who indicated previous strong allergic reactions.

      Designer trial pools seem to be the norm. It’s also been reported that J & J is the ONLY trial including people over 65, perhaps in an attempt to up the effectiveness numbers without us older people with weaker immune systems included.

    5. flora

      Thanks, Doc. Please keep us apprised of the situation as you see it. Several decades ago, I needed vaccinations to visit what was then referred to as the “far East”; I needed vaccinations for cholera, typhoid, yellow fever, and probably more, or my visa wouldn’t be approved. The protocol was to space vaccines out by 2 weeks at the least between said required vaccinations to give the body time to adjust to the last given vaccine, but there was no worry about allergic reactions or serious other reactions to the vaccinations. They were tried and true. A sore arm and maybe a day of malaise was the only thing to worry about post-vaccination. Then wait two weeks before taking the next serious vaccination – serious as in unusual for the upper Midwest (yellow fever isn’t an upper Midwest disease.)

      Please keep us informed of the latest information.

  6. hemeantwell

    RE standpoint epistemology, that’s long been part of Marxist theory — lets have a shoutout to Georg Lukacs for History and Class Consciousness. And then you’ve got your sociology of knowledge, take a bow Karl Mannheim. Feminists… It’s a worthwhile point, but this kind of minute tweaking of well-established ideas to get notice is .. it’s like a form of historicism without awareness of its own history.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > RE standpoint epistemology, that’s long been part of Marxist theory

      The ideas are not new. But they are expressed with great clarity and updated in terms the present day would use Very easy to drop “standpoint epistemology” into a discussion of “micro-aggression.” Not so easy to do that with terms used by Lukacs or Marx, I think.

      1. hemeantwell

        Giving the article a read, it seems like he could be making a case that runs in the opposite direction: we should not expect the inclusion of excluded perspectives to result in new knowledge that relies on categories that had previously been “outside” our epistemology, but rather an inclusion of an interest that was excluded. And then maybe those new voices can’t be relied upon to add much to what we know, but can make sure we remain more appropriately aware of it in some way.

        That’s not nothing, but it’s of a different order from the contention that, e.g., until Marx came along the bourgeoisie was so caught up in making excuses for itself that it didn’t grasp the role of surplus value in making capitalism go, as opposed to something like Nassau Senior’s last hour of the working day.

        So it gets unclear to me how much standpoint epistemology is really about epistemology as opposed to interest inclusion and recognition.

        1. Sub-Boreal

          Thank you.

          “minute tweaking of well-established ideas to get notice” – exactly! This is what was bugging me about the essay. After trying to translate it into plain language for my own benefit, I couldn’t see what the fuss was about. But it might help someone get tenure, I suppose.

      2. Massinissa

        I didn’t even know ‘standpoint epistemology’ was a thing until you mentioned it. People make fun of some overly grandiloquent terms in Marxism, but those terms pale in comparison to some of the names of these new concepts the media is pushing. Even if the ideas have merit, the names they’re coming up with seem more obfuscatory than enlightening.

    2. Count Zero

      “So, if the problem isn’t the basic idea, what is it?”

      The problem IS the basic idea. There’s a chasm between standpoint and epistemology. Different people have different social experiences irrespective of their gender, sexuality, skin pigmentation or even class origin. And they have different vocabularies. There would therefore, even within its own terms, be thousands of different epistemologies? But more important: being in a particular social situation gives you particular experiences and particular (as in partial and limited) opinions — but it does NOT give you an epistemology. For that you need a philosophical language and some understanding of different ways of thinking about what knowledge is. And these are not GIVEN by your standpoint or social situation. Is there standpoint mathematics too? Standpoint logic?

      Standpoint epistemology is a crass power strategy to justify opinions and arguments on the basis of the “standpoint” — which often means some aspect of the biology — of the speaker. And we know how that usually ends. Some people are wrong even before they open their mouths. Or right.

    3. Peter Dorman

      This is a deep, far reaching error, albeit one that has a long history within Marxism. Marx, to his credit on this, did not believe social position had any particular bearing on one’s ability to perceive “truth”. What we now call the theory of ideology is a broad hypothesis about belief, why some people are more likely to believe one thing and others another. I think it’s a defensible hypothesis with a lot of empirical evidence to back it up. The “vulgar Marxist” thing about proletarian = truthfulness was big during the Communist era (and Lukacs, smart as he was, deserves some of the blame for this), and it’s distressing to see its resurrection in the context of intersectionality.

      The notion that having a particular social position, whether higher up or lower down in the hierarchy, gives you greater access to truth doesn’t survive the lightest scrutiny. The example I like to give is biography vs autobiography. What could be a more privileged access to knowledge than being the person the knowledge is about? If standpoint epistemology were correct, autobiographies would always enjoy a presumption of trust when they differed from biographies. It’s obvious that there are reasons why this isn’t so: the power of self-interest (cue the theory of ideology), the drawbacks of being very close to, or inside of, what’s being looked at relative to an outside view.

      This is not an argument for silencing anyone. We need both inside and outside views, both biographies and autobiographies. When they differ, who to believe should depend on reasoning and evidence, not “standpoint”.

      But the theory of ideology, properly seen as about belief and not truth, remains crucial, in my opinion. It goes beyond simple self-interest (although that’s an important part of it) and extends to the perceptual and cognitive underpinnings of belief (salience, cognitive dissonance avoidance, etc.).

  7. Michael Weinstein

    If we are serious about slowing the virus down how about a real plan with real teeth (incentives). If your state wants vaccine, PPE, etc. paid fo by the taxpayer it should be conditioned on an enforceable, mandated masking and social distancing program. Same for relief spending. We condition so many other programs, mostly to punish the weak, how about making useful conditions?

    1. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

      No one wants to put their neck on the line in case they might be wrong, because any sort of plan that disrupts the status quo is going to end up costing someone hundreds of millions of dollars.

      Dead proles are a cheaper (short term) solution. There’s so damn many of them, and there are always more to be had, so who cares? Besides, they might die after doing their Christmas shopping, which is even better.

  8. Tomonthebeach

    QuantumScape may have created a market that cannot be sustained. While 800 charges sounds like a lot, it really raises a mountain of question$:

    – What happens when both the warranty and the batteries die in 4 years? Pop $25K for new ones?
    – Where does the material to make the batteries come from and cost to obtain and refine?
    – How long before raw materials exhaust?
    – What do we do with the dead batteries?
    – Where can you charge on trips – and at what price?

    Aside from the cost of electricity/mile there is also the cost of disposal and replacement that might make Remy Martin VSOP a more affordable alternative. :-)

    1. doug

      Not ‘die’. They lose 20% capacity after 800 charges. They may no longer suit for EV, but might be deployed for decades (as for instance grid supplement) in other areas where energy density is not as critical.

  9. Wukchumni

    The timing of new tennis courts @ the White House is interesting, as this tennis court event foreshadowed the French Revolution

    On 20 June 1789, the members of the French Third Estate took the Tennis Court Oath (French: Serment du Jeu de Paume), vowing “not to separate and to reassemble wherever necessary, until the Constitution of the kingdom is established”. It was a pivotal event in the French Revolution


  10. clarky90

    Re; “The source of the purposeful disinformation ……”

    By The YouTube Team
    Updates to our work supporting the integrity of the 2020 U.S. election

    “……we will start removing any piece of content uploaded today (or anytime after) that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, in line with our approach towards historical U.S. Presidential elections. For example, we will remove videos claiming that a Presidential candidate won the election due to widespread software glitches or counting errors. We will begin enforcing this policy today, ……”


      1. Phillip Cross

        “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

        Rather than asking, “Should these services be censoring user content”, we should be asking ourselves “Why are we buying into the idea there is no alternative to these services”.

        When I was a lad, we used shoe leather and carbon copy paper to spread important information.

        1. clarky90

          Hi Phillip

          I am guessing that you are an old (leather soles and carbon paper) Soviet dissident? Welcome to the free (?) West!

          Samizdat (Russian: самизда́т, lit. “self-publishing”) was a form of dissident activity across the Eastern Bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground makeshift publications, often by hand, and passed the documents from reader to reader. The practice of manual reproduction was widespread, due to the fact that most typewriters and printing devices were inventorized and required permission to access. This grassroots practice to evade official Soviet censorship was fraught with danger, as harsh punishments were meted out to people caught possessing or copying censored materials

          1. clarky90

            Vladimir Bukovsky summarized it as follows;

            “Samizdat: I write it myself, edit it myself, censor it myself, publish it myself, distribute it myself, and spend time in prison for it myself.”

            1. Phillip Cross

              If it was good enough for Bukovsky, why worry?

              Let’s face it, if today’s revolutionaries are too lazy, or dimwitted, to share information anywhere except Facebook and YouTube, we aren’t going to be having any successful uprisings…

              So don’t worry about it.

      2. clarky90

        I remember when the nice young people, who started Google, were friendly and helpful. (“Don’t be evil”, etc.). I really liked them!

        But now, I fear that they have fallen in with a bad crowd.

        What’s with this, “We rule the World” business? (cue Dr Evil laughter. Naaaaaahahaha, hehehe….)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Congress passed the $740 defence bill with a veto-proof majority which Trump opposed. He wanted a repeal of Section 230 included in it which lets social media companies get away with editing and censoring what appears on their sites while denying that they are editors at all. Of course you knew that that was never going to happen-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkBuzjF25Ak (11:41 mins)

    2. Person

      While accessing YouTube today, up popped a survey about the quality of YouTube comments. It wanted me to answer if I had any issue with the comments on YouTube, and the first option was something along the lines of “I feel that most commenters lack expertise.” Internal push polling angling for restrictions on commenting? Who knows.

  11. Pelham

    Re America’s China class: Did anyone see those clips on Tucker Carlson a couple of nights ago in which someone identified as a Chinese economist speaking before a Chinese audience crows about China’s capture of Wall Street and notes that the Trump administration has upset the cozy relationship?

    As I watched, I was split between thinking, “Oh, that’s a somewhat disturbing crystallization of what everyone already knows,” and “Holy cow, it’s a five-alarm fire!” This split has only been reinforced by the absence of any mention of this anywhere else.

    And then last night Tucker had something from Axios about Rep. Eric Swalwell, a member of the House Intel Committee no less, having relations with a Chinese spy honeypot. Again, little mention in the mainstream.

    What are we to think on our way to brunch?

        1. ambrit

          Bill Clinton showed the way by having Chinese moneybags as actual donors.
          How do you say, ‘night in the Lincoln bedroom’ in Mandarin?
          The ghosts of Marx and Engels must be laughing it up with the shades of Lenin, Mao and the rest of ‘The Party.’ America has already sold the CCP not just the rope, but the rope making factories that make the rope we will need to hang ourselves.

        2. Pelham

          I overstepped. What I should have said is that there was no mention in the mainstream. And by that I mean the much-reduced and warped mainstream that’s left after the internet destroyed journalism (such as it was). These are the three broadcast networks, the cable news channels, the NYT, WaPo, NPR and maybe the Wall Street Journal. Fox News is debatable as its content falls outside the consensus among the others, although often in a detestable way.

  12. Pelham

    Re QuantumScape’s solid state battery: Key question: Can it be recycled?

    In the course of my work I have read a bit about recycling of existing lithium-ion batteries, and it’s apparently a very energy-intensive, dirty process that recovers only a small fraction of useful materials. If this is the case — and given the problems associated with mining the raw materials — EVs look a lot less inviting.

  13. Wukchumni

    Online you can fool all of the people all of the time.

    “He pretended to be Trump’s family; even the president was fooled” [Seattle Times]. “Last month, between tweets disputing his election loss, President Donald Trump posted an article from a conservative website that said his sister Elizabeth Trump Grau had just joined Twitter to publicly back her brother’s fight to overturn the vote. ‘Thank you Elizabeth,’ Trump wrote on Twitter. ‘LOVE!’ But the Twitter account that prompted the article was not his sister’s. It was a fake profile run by Josh Hall, a 21-year-old food-delivery driver in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

    1. chuck roast

      Why is there the presumption that if someone posts some things on face/twit that everybody that tunes into the posts believes them to be the truth, and that the face/twit person is who he says he is? I was laughing out loud reading about this food delivery guy. Have people stopped going to comedy clubs? Maybe thousands of his readers got their daily chuckles from this fellow.

      I have zero interest in face/twit, but there clearly are some hilarious posters out there. I get all my links to El Douchee’s twit posts from NC. Whatever else the guy may be he is definitely a laugh riot and I will miss him in that regard…oh wait…

  14. Huber

    “Biden Picks Tom Vilsack to Reprise Role as Agriculture Secretary”

    We’ll never forget the rogues gallery of corporate toadies:

    “his choice for USDA Secretary, the pro-biotech former governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, President Obama has let Monsanto, Dupont and the other pesticide and genetic engineering companies know they’ll have plenty of friends and supporters within his administration.
    Michael Taylor, former Monsanto Vice President, is now the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods.
    Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto-funded Danforth Plant Science Center, is now the director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
    Islam Siddiqui, Vice President of the Monsanto and Dupont-funded pesticide-promoting lobbying group, CropLife, is now the Agriculture Negotiator for the US Trade Representative.
    Rajiv Shah, former agricultural-development director for the pro-biotech Gates Foundation (a frequent Monsanto partner), served as Obama’s USDA Under Secretary for Research Education and Economics and Chief Scientist and is now head of USAID.
    Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who took Monsanto’s side against organic farmers in the Roundup Ready alfalfa case, has been nominated to the Supreme Court.
    Now, Ramona Romero, corporate counsel to DuPont, has been nominated by President Obama to serve as General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        A T & T, who did work with nuclear technology, had the slogan ‘Reach out and touch someone.’

        1. Huber

          jo6pac, it’s “Better living through chemistry”

          How about AT&T’s musical jingle, “We bring good things to life”

          Substitute “The N.S.A.” for “life.”

          “The NSA activities at 611 Folsom Street have been known since 2006, when an AT&T technician named Mark Klein declared in court that the NSA was monitoring internet traffic from Room 641A. Klein said he had been directed to carry out a “special job” involving the installation of a “splitter cabinet” that copied internet data and diverted it to Room 641A.”

          “the centers process data from AT&T customers and other telecommunications companies. The New York Times first disclosed the extent of AT&T’s close relationship with the NSA in 2015, using classified documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden.”

          “The telecom giant engaged in a range of spying activities for the NSA, the Times alleged, but the agency’s reach extends beyond AT&T customers, according to the Intercept. The NSA “exploits” AT&T’s relationships with other phone and internet providers “for surveillance purposes,” the report alleges, “commandeering AT&T’s massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies.”


      2. farmboy

        “Get poisoned or get on board.” “In internal slides from a September 2016 meeting, BASF identified “defensive planting” as a potential market opportunity. BASF also had a market research document that found defensive planting was driving sales.” looks like possible criminal activity. oxcycontin overdose?

    1. anEnt

      I’ll just leave this (by Joel Salatin) here…


      How do the President and other cabinet members view Vilsack’s role as the nation’s farming czar? What could be the most important contribution that increasing farmers could offer to the nation? Better food? Better soil development? Better care for animals? Better care for plants?

      Are you ready? Here’s his answer: although rural America only has 16 percent of the population, it gives 40 percent of the personnel to the military. Say what? You mean when it’s all said and done, at the end of the day, the bottom line — you know all the cliches — the whole reason for increasing farms is to provide cannon fodder for American imperial might.

    2. flora

      Vilsack makes former Iowa GOP gov Bob Ray look like a great statesman by comparison. Maybe Ray, aka ‘Iowa gov for life’, was a great state statesman by comparison to Vilsack.

    3. notabanker

      See the trusting vaccine thread above. People really aren’t stupid. They don’t trust these people and they shouldn’t.

    1. edmondo

      The two of them are poster children for being promoted to their levels of incompetence. Joe Kennedy must be licking his chops over her upcoming primary in 2022.

      1. Judith

        It has been said that Maura Healey and Ayanna Pressley are both interested in that race, and that Kennedy thought it was better to take his chances with Ed Markey.

    2. Pat

      I think she is sucking up to the Democratic PTB because she is too dense to know that she has been thrown on the same heap as Bernie.

    3. notabanker

      There was a time a few years ago where I wasn’t sure about Warren, but was reserving judgement. Now there is no doubt she has completely lost the plot.

      1. Massinissa

        She’s someone who understands a narrow field very well, but knows little about anything outside of that. Sort of like Ben Carson. He’s a very impressive pediatric neurosurgeon, probably close to being one of the best, but it seems he knows about as much about politics as a rock does.

    1. Foy

      “The bill bars US troop reductions in Afghanistan Germany and South Korea without significant justifications”.

      Can’t bring troops home. Permanent war. Unbelievable.

      1. rowlf

        Who runs the US? Who sets foreign policy?

        The US needs troops overseas exactly why? The last attack on US soil was by people the US issued visas to. (and some overstayed them!)

    2. Foy

      Jimmy also did an excellent video on the police arrest at gunpoint and harassment of Rebekah Jones the COVID whistle blower who refused to manipulate covid data to mislead the public in order to lift stay at home orders in Florida and then when fired she encouraged others not to do it either. Then police arrive at her house.

      As Jimmy says “whatever we do to people in Afghanistan, Baghdad and Somia (entering people’s house with guns) we will do here to our citizens”. Yep.


    3. richard

      Just what I was all set to link. The NC community stays two steps ahead of me, as usual.
      I really don’t understand how anyone defends that party anymore. I’m old enough to remember anti-war dems in the 70’s. Now it’s a full on death cult, just like the other.

  15. ckimball

    If so, pretty petty. I thought so too and then I remembered she was always a Clinton lover. It was unmistakable when I saw her, cheerleader like, campaign for her. It was
    an indelible surprise

  16. Edward

    Are Democratic “moderates” actually moderate? Is it moderate to promote fossil fuels, imperialism, the revolving door, and bank bailouts?

    1. Tom Doak

      No but it’s “mainstream” which is what they really mean. Mainstream as in normal for politicians, nothing to do with being in sync with the country at large, of course.

      1. Edward

        The nomenklatura or perhaps the professional managerial class. I think they are trying to imply with their “moderate label” that people on the left are extremists.

  17. BoyDownTheLane

    I wonder what the late Admiral Grace (whom I met when she was a consultant for Digital, whose work first figured out battleship trajectories, and coined the term “bug” after death moths found in among the tubes) would have to say about flirtatious Chinese spies, the software counting the votes irrationally, or the lead that Canada is training Chinese soldiers in Canada.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Times have changed and I do wonder if a place would be made for an Admiral Grace Hopper or an Admiral Hyman Rickover these days. Neither of them would be the sort to get caught up in a Fat Leonard scandal and both put the well-being of their country over that of their careers.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “The war in Afghanistan shattered Joe Biden’s faith in American military power”

    See? Old Joe can’t fail. He can only be failed. This is just the Washington Post trying to polish this particular turd.

    1. richard

      everything about your ordinary gentleman’s cack brained political writing is engineered to take you within the politician, to see the world from their sinister ass pov. “shattered his faith” who in a mothers hope could possibly care? after 2 decades of lies and murder
      i’d like to shatter more than his faith

  19. anon in so cal

    >Hunter Biden

    Glenn Greenwald is on a roll exposing the corrupt Bidens and their links to Wall Street and China.

    “China’s ability to get its way in Washington has long depended upon its numerous powerful Wall Street allies. But those allies, he said, had difficulty controlling Trump, but will have exert virtually unfettered power over Biden. That China cultivated extensive financial ties to Hunter Biden, Di explained, will be crucial for bolstering Beijing’s influence even further….”


  20. The Historian

    I read with interest that USA Today story about the protest of the CHD meeting in Boise. What USA Today failed to tell its readers is that these people came from Emmett, Idaho. Emmett, Idaho is in Gem Country and in the Southwest Health District, NOT the Central Health District and so these people really, had absolutely no business at this meeting, nor did they have any business screaming and shouting at the home of Ada County Commissioners.

    The USA Today story did not make it clear that the demonstration was NOT by people who live in the Central Health District or Ada County, but by outsiders trying to push their weight around.

    They also didn’t tell you that the CHD tried to have a meeting the Friday before which was broken up because these same people tried to force their way into the health department building where the commissioners were meeting.

    The Boise Police are making few arrests because they are trying to avoid what these people want – and that is an all out gun battle like Bundy brags about having with the BLM. But sooner or later this boil is going to come to a head – and it is going to be UGLY.

    What USA Today also didn’t tell its readers is that the MAJORITY of Ada County and the other counties of the CHD WANT a mask mandate and that earlier in the day about 600 signs went up around the health department building showing community support for masks.

    1. Huber

      No shots were fired at the Bundy standoff. It was the presence of armed demonstrators that forced the government’s retreat. Sort of like the White version of the Black Panthers vs. the Oakland P.D.

      1. JBird4049

        Not quite. The Panthers were merely following the cops around making sure that they didn’t have anymore “incidents” with the local, usually Black, people getting beaten or dead. The city’s police have had a habit of being unpleasant towards the non-beige for decades with it being much worse in the 60s than now. Following someone around at a distance to stop that is different than trying to break into a peaceful meeting and try to force a gun battle with either the locals or their police is somewhat different.

        1. Huber

          Are you talking about the highway bridge over the cattle pen in the high desert? That’s what I am referring to.

          1. The Historian

            You miss the point. It doesn’t matter to these people what the facts were. All they care about is what Bundy tells them – and to them, Bundy is a ‘hero’ for defying the government.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Hello from Nevada. A non-imaginary place, despite the sunsets.

      Bundy and his brigades of flashy rural notables are media savvy self-aggrandizers whose ‘honest’ country boy pose is load of crap. They regularly get handled softly by law enforcement because of their organizational power, courtesy of their LDS connections and media image.

      Huber needs to hear what ranchers up here in northern Nevada carefully don’t say when speaking about the elder Bundy v. the government. They have to compete with the likes of him, except they actually pay their fees. People out here who actually know all the particulars about that event aren’t at all sentimental about him, or his self-promoting kin, and all their slick, self-serving bullpucky about cowboy freedom.

      They’re wary. They don’t say much. They don’t even damn with faint praise. And that’s all you need to see and hear to know the character of the men under discussion.

  21. flora

    re: “Neera has exceptional management experience.” – @ewarren

    ewarren: still trying for tenure in the faculty lounge. /heh

  22. jr

    Re: standpoint epistemology

    1) Knowledge is socially situated

    But not necessarily socially based or founded, I think, which makes me question the unqualified use of the term “epistemology” here. At the very least, we have to take it on a case by case basis. For example, a knowledge claim about, say, the meaning and import of a social practice or a particular tradition would certainly lend itself to the notion that it is socially situated, as it is of the stuff of social situations.

    But what about a claim in mathematics or physics, is there really such a thing as “White, cis-male” optics? Would a trans woman of color arrive at a radically different set of theories governing how light travels through a lens >because they are a trans woman of color<? I have no doubt there is a privileged position in society that allows certain members of it to study optics while others are excluded and which therefore allows those privileged voices to shape the field but how would those who are excluded radically alter the particular processes used to study it? By virtue of their identity? This seems downright silly and we’ve already seen discussions along the line of “2+2=5” etc. I think we have to say that 1. the frame work of different epistemic claims are of the not same and 2. some kinds of frameworks lend themselves to socially situated knowledge claims much more so than others.

    1. Huber

      If you believe in science, and mammalian biology, there is no such thing as a “trans woman of color”, merely a delusional colored man, who could still make scientific discoveries.

      1. JBird4049

        Western civilization is unusual for having only two social genders; if people were arguing about that and were pushing for more genders, that would be fine with me. Heck, some cultures have your gender change with age. Or we can borrow the third sex category that some Native American nations had. Come up with an appropriate name and role for say a trans woman or male. Advocate for it. But demanding that biological sex or what a person’s sexual organs are to be ignored and be replaced with the tag for the opposite sex is just bananas. Saying that one is transphobic or a bigot for saying that is just as crazy.

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