2:00PM Water Cooler, Martin Luther King Day 2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, since I was derelict on Friday, here is a “skeleton” Water Cooler to make up for it. To explain my “confusion” a little further, I have a schedule that spans not only time zones but the International Dateline, because I have friends on the other side of the world. Hence, concepts like “day of the week” are a little hazy for me, and I tend to think more in counts, as in “Now I have done five Water Coolers, so I am done.” But as readers know, my counting skills are weak, and so occasionally, as last Friday, I slip a cog, as I think has happened once before. I also want to keep this light because I must finish a ginormous post on class composition of the Capitol Hill rioters. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day


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

I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

Vaccination by region:

The South is the national champion for vaccination, but all regions have levelled off. I suppose an appointment is hard to get over a three-day weekend?

Case count by United States region:

An enormous drop, which I can only assume is a data issue due to the three-day weekend. But holy moley, the drop is as big as for Christmas!

Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California):

California seems to have flattened out. Texas does celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

Test positivity:

Another enormous drop.

Nowhere near 3%, anywhere.


Another enormous drop. Hospitalization is discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity; or because hospitals have figured out how to send people home.

Case fatality rate (plus deaths):

Fatality rate looking a little better, though still not as good as two months ago.

* * *

And speaking of our new-found love for the FBI:

* * *

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

CK writes: “These enormous fungi appeared along our front path this year. The smaller of the two is rather camouflaged by all the fallen leaves of the same color.”

* * *

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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. ambrit

        That is a shame, but, in the ‘public media’ game, exposure is everything.
        Also, since you mention dealing with the phenomenal world in “counts,” I’m guessing that you were a Mayan astronomer priest in a past life.

      2. DJG

        Lambert Strether: How many years did Corrente operate? It was one of my paths toward Naked Capitalism, along with Charles Pierce and Duncan Black.

        Was Corrente part of that group of Philadelphia bloggers who arose and were so influential about twenty years ago? I’m thinking of Duncan Black and Eschaton, Jim Capozzola (whose Rittenhouse Review just came up on screen for me), and Susie Madrak (before Crooks & Liars).

      3. John Zelnicker

        Lambert – I, too, am sad to hear of the end of Corrente. It’s been awhile since I was there, but I never found a post that wasn’t full of new (to me) information or well-informed opinion.

        I learned a lot and I’ll always be grateful for your work at Corrente and its contribution to my realm of knowledge.

        I hope it’s archived for posterity.

      4. Jason Boxman

        For what it’s worth, if you could migrate the data you could host it using a static publishing tool on GitHub pages. Just point the domain name and go. Granted the migration of layout and pages is probably non trivial but definitely can be automated.

  1. TsWr

    Lambert, I’ve been wondering if you’ve made available how you have classified the various states within regions? I’m unsure how you are treating the mountain states and mid-atlantic in particular. Maybe some sub-regions could add a little more context based on differences in weather, density and infrastructure. (i.e. Great Lakes/Great Plains for Midwest, Gulf States/Appalachia for SE, Acela/New England for the Northeast, Pacific/Mountain for the West).

    1. a fax machine

      On the topic of dividing America using rail, I couldn’t help myself but consider it based on current&planned (as in, likely to occur under a Biden administration) projects:

      – Plymouth (Boston North Station & connecting areas north)
      – Acela Belt from Boston to DC
      – Keystone Belt; Keystone West (part of Amtrak’s 25kV power system) and the larger Erie Belt comprising of western NYS, PA west of Harrisburg, West Virginia and Ohio. This region comprises about half of the Rust Belt.
      – The Southern Crescent; split in two at Atlanta. The northern half consists of rapidly gentrifying suburbs the southern half is swamp and terminates at New Orleans.
      – Florida (Florida, and the abandoned part of the Sunset Route that is gradually receding into the Gulf of Mexico)
      – Chicago East: areas served by the Metra Electric/South Shore 1500VDC system and Michigan
      – Chicago South aka Wabash: more modern/better preserved Industrial zones around the mid-Mississippi River region
      – Chicago North: areas served by the former North Shore and Milwaukee Road routes, which used 1500VDC until they were dismantled in the 1960s. Personally I consider everything up to St. Paul and Green Bay to be a part of this region but most people would end it at Milwaukee.
      – Front Range: Cheyenne, WY to El Paso, TX. Centered on Denver and home to a wide variety of people, although the richer ones tend to congregate near DIA. Includes the WIPP in the south and Minot AFB in the north, and can include the Pantex plant too… since the old CB&O route through it is where Texas gets it’s coal.
      – “Flyover” aka Kansas: the areas inbetween Chicago/Wabash and the Front Range.
      – Texas (Texas)
      – Rockies: DG&RW routes between Denver and Salt Lake City, can include Boise, northern Nevada and northeastern California depending on your definition.
      – California: most of the pre-Rio Grande Industries Southern Pacific system, including Reno, Las Vegas and Yuma. Future candidates for California’s under-construction 25kV power system.
      – PNW: split between the eastern Highlands and Pudget Sound

      Note: Canada is located between Chicago East and Erie Belt (with a small outpost north of Pudget Sound), while Mexico connects in three different places at Texas, Front Range and California with their own corresponding regions within Mexico.

      More of a thought exercise but fun nonetheless. Note the mention of power systems, America is arguably split up better this way because it’s how (competent) industrialists view things. In which case, this reminds me of Samuel Insull’s fall despite him being one of the most influential businessmen in American history.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          In re Plymouth, it is actually non contiguous, as SE Mass., as well as rural RI and eastern CT, are more like central and northern New England than they are like metro Boston. But the I-95/Acela Corridor effectively cut them off, making them islands of rural New England on the other side of the Megalopolis.

  2. Pat

    Don’t forget union leaders, iirc, they also caught Hoover’s interest.

    Every once in awhile during the Bush 2 years, my father would interrupt a long landline phone call where we both were bemoaning the country’s choices most notably regarding the illegal wars by shouting out: “Are you getting that, John?” Now Ashcroft might not have been listening to us, but today not even such a mild guarantee of privacy applies to any social media conversation, most text messages or even electronically transmitted phone calls.

    And as an anti-war, union loving radical I would be one of Hoover’s “enemies.

    1. Frum

      From a reputable reporter who covers the NSA, here’s keywords that trigger the NSA into feeling “unsafe.”

      Everyone who hates the surveillance state should sprinkle a few of them in emails and use them on the phone.


      “INFOSEC, Information Security, Information Warfare, IW, IS, Priavacy, Information Terrorism, Terrorism Defensive Information, Defense Information Warfare, Offensive Information, Offensive Information Warfare, National Information Infrastructure,…”

    2. Glen

      Long ago I went on a bicycle/backpacking trip in Point Reyes Park. Situated next to the highway going to the park was an AT&T satellite dish farm that was the long line uplink/downlink for calling across the Pacific. Just down the road was an almost identical satellite dish farm that was behind a double fence with warning signs. This was the NSA site where they listened in to long distance phone calls.

      The NSA/FBI has been listening to everything it can for a very long time. Having access to the Internet, and smart phones, and things like Alexa has made their job much easier.

      1. gc54

        In 2004 while talking to spouse in US direct dial from Chile one evening I cracked a really off-color joke (in English). A sudden 1-second long burst of laughter cut-off abruptly was heard by both of us. So it goes.

      2. Procopius

        The government agencies I sometimes have to deal with mostly do not use email. They demand I use a toll-free number. That’s not bad nowadays, but not so many years ago, because there was no fee-sharing agreement between Ma Bell and the Telephone Authority of Thailand, it was not possible to dial a 1-800 number. Eventually the TAT allowed calls to be made through an operator, but warned that I must pay the regular international call charge, which was not small. Nowadays I can dial direct and the cost is trivial, but I still hate doing it. Apparently they have the naive belief that telephone calls are more private than the internet. As someone who was in high school during The McCarthy Years, and who remember COINTEL and the Church Committee, I am not so confident.

    3. The Rev Kev

      J. Edgar Hoover got his start enforcing President Wilson’s “arrest-anybody-that disagrees-with-me” laws and went on from there. But how he became so powerful is a study. He basically spied on everybody with any power as well and this is how it would play out. Suppose that there was going to be a vote on FBI funding. Hoover would pull the file on those Senators & Reps voting and take action.

      So a Senator would receive a visit from two FBI agents who would privately tell that Senator that there was a rumour that said Senator had a mistress installed at a certain address but not to worry – the FBI would track down those rumours. The Senator would get the message and vote for the FBI budget and said Senator would console himself with his mistress in peace.

      When Hoover died he had a massive blackmail library and right after his death the news back then were showing a trove of private files being burned which no politician were game to stop. Also likely burned was Hoover’s ‘collection of pornographic material, possibly the world’s largest, of films, photographs, and written materials, with particular emphasis on nude photos of celebrities.’ So in short, he was head of a federal blackmail division and his work against people like MLK was just an extension of this.

      1. LawnDart

        Blackmail? Hell, if the G monetized it like “Fans Only” I’m sure a lot of former celebs wouldn’t mind being “exposed,” for a cut.

        As for the politicians, that goes without saying!

    4. John Zelnicker

      January 18, 2021 at 2:18 pm

      I was very involved in the anti-war movement at college and afterwards in the late 60’s-early 70’s.

      Most of us assumed that we had dossiers at the FBI. A lot of guys, including me, signed commitments to refuse to be drafted and sent to Vietnam that was published in the student newspaper at the Univ. of Pennsylvania.

      I was lucky, I avoided the draft due to bureaucratic decisions; the draft was suspended for the first quarter of 1972. Otherwise, I would have been in Canada until Carter pardoned the “draft dodgers”.

      We were certainly the type of radicals that Hoover would have seen as a threat.

      I use to wonder if I should ask the FBI for a copy of my file. IIRC, there was a time that you could do that, although I’m sure the important parts would be redacted. I don’t know if it’s still possible.

      1. thoughtful person

        Know of Bill Davidon, Haverford College Math professor back in the day? There’s a film out about his raid on FBI offices (I think in media PA or some such nearby suburb). Was important because documented COintelpro etc. tracking of regular people, no doubt like you, that just happened to disagree with mass murder as Gov’t policy.

        1. John Zelnicker

          @thoughtful person
          January 18, 2021 at 8:24 pm

          I remember the raid. At my age, some memories are hard to access, so I don’t remember the name. However, I remember how important it was.

        1. John Zelnicker

          Yves – Thank you for the link. You’ve saved me a ton of time trying to figure out how to get it, if I finally decide to. :-)

  3. Tom67

    About Hoover: I have read quite a few letters by Hoover while researching the fate of “Enemy Aliens” in WW II. He was a masterful bureaucratic infighter, a virtuoso in keeping everybody on their toes. He would never let on what he was really thinking but going with the wind if things weren´t important to him. He would offer crumbs of information about various individuals and always hint that he knew more. As was obvious to anyone working for the “Enemy alien control unit” he had numerous informers among Japanese and German detainees. The FBI and Hoover personally would though always deny that.
    Did he have any deep political convictions? Doubtful if you follow the interventions of the FBI concerning various individuals. They were mere playthings with which to please his masters who might like or dislike one or the other Communist or Fascist. The number one priority of Hoover was to expand his personal power. He did that by making the FBI the tool of whoever held the purse strings. That is whoever was of importance in the political sphere. By being useful he expanded the reach of the FBI until (but that I didn´t research myself but read in various publications) he became indispensible and a power in his own right.
    A true henchman in the time honoured tradition of Fouche´ who first was with Robespierre, then with Napoleon and finally with Louis XVIII.

    1. Pelham

      I wonder whether Hoover’s ability to drop this little hints about real and probably innocent information on someone was a clue to the then obvious fact that, having real info, the FBI could easily invent false, incriminating stuff.

      For instance, if Edgar related to you an innocent conversational fragment that occurred between you and another party on the phone last night, you would know that there was a transcript somewhere. It would be safe to conclude then that you were being surveilled and notes were being taken, notes that could be altered in any number of ways to incriminate you with nearly unchallengeable credibility due to their truth and accuracy in other areas.

      Today, the equivalent would be the concoction of deep fakes of various kinds. I doubt that the existence of a secret police (the FBI) is in any way compatible with democracy.

      1. rowlf

        I will occasionally get frustrated with some of my coworkers chattering about storybook politics and will do my talking dog impression telling them that democracy was killed by anthrax after 9/11. The 1975 Church Committee looking into US Intelligence activities never happened in their world and the NYT and WaPo are all you need.

        1. neo-realist

          I know some family members in the suburbs for whom such activities as the Church committee and the assassinations happened. However they are of the belief that those activities are just so horrible to look at and think about that we should simply look forward to the future and better times ahead, particularly now that Trump is out of office and the vaccines will be here sooner than you think.

    2. ejf

      My Dad was labeled a “Dangerous Enemy Alien” when he was 16 in 1942. His parents and he were German immigrants, his parents never having completed the paperwork since their arrival on US shores in 1927. He was shipped off to a Japanese/German detention center in Texas. The FBI pulled him out of school and had been tracking him and his parents since around 1939. The FOIA papers on his parents reveal anonymous informants the FBI depended on to detain him and his folks.
      They’ve been keeping their eyes on folks for a long time.

    1. Matthew G. Saroff

      Also note that Sinovac appears to have a 90+ percent ability to reduce the severity of the disease.

  4. fresno dan

    Patient readers, since I was derelict on Friday, here is a “skeleton” Water Cooler to make up for it. To explain my “confusion” a little further, I have a schedule that spans not only time zones but the International Dateline, because I have friends on the other side of the world.
    That’s nothing – I can’t keep track of days, dates, years, and even centuries. I get the millennia right time wise, although its time is coming as well, but I do mix it up with Melania.

        1. Pat

          Or for us theater addicts a good Brent Carver film.

          Lovely man who left us too soon, may he Rest In Peace.

          1. ambrit

            Ah, we don’t get much live theatre at all here in the North American Deep South. Road shows of theatrical chestnuts are the norm about here. Even those enterprises have disappeared now in the Age of Covid. I mean, how would one experience “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” wearing masks?
            Greek Tragedy it ain’t.

            1. Pat

              Oh I get that, grew up in NM with a dinner theater and an occasional third or fourth national tour in a one night appearance, when we were in Albuquerque. (Not even that much in the smaller towns we lived in.) Still caught the bug or was born with it.

              Since you brought him up I’ve been thinking about Kristofferson’s acting career and have to ask where my favorite Kristofferson performance/movie rates at the Steel Beach. Where do you stand on John Sayer’s Lone Star? (My favorite films rotate around based on my state of mind, but Lone Star is one that never leaves my top twenty…)

    1. Jeff W

      “…I can’t keep track of days, dates, years, and even centuries.”

      That there was no Water Cooler on Friday made me think that I had lost track of the days: “Wait, is this Saturday?” And then my second thought was “Is today Martin Luther King Day (observed)?” (And then I basically assumed lambert had some technology glitch or date mix-up.)

    1. LawnDart

      S… (Family-blog). Nice link.

      Second-thinking that “Hope I die before I get old” bit…

      Infection ÷ long covid x reinfection = ???

      Long Covid: a 12.5% fatality rate amongst patients discharged from the hospital within 5-months? Am I misreading this?

      Some sources have indicated that the USA average life expectancy has already dropped a full year due to this particular covid infection, so what might this study portend for the future, especially considering that five-months ago was July?

      We as a species have won at least a few times at evolution’s roulette wheel… …the offspring of the PTB not withstanding.

      Thanks for the warm-and-fuzzies, ajc.

  5. Dr. Robert

    I’ve noticed that Kamala Harris is exceptionally prominent in media coverage of Buren’s inauguration, to a greater extent than any previous VP elect in my lifetime. Given that she was the clear establishment favorite at the beginning of the primaries, is this the media priming us for the passing of the torch mid-way through Biden’s term?

    1. Pat

      That and with so much media and political emphasis on identity, the glass ceiling breaking aspect of her being the first black/multiracial female Vice President can distract from the fact that they are swearing in yet another old white guy.

      I should add for those of us who have policy differences with the status quo, nothing distracts from the fact that the public essentially rejected her because she offered nothing.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve noticed a preponderance of tv commercials as of late where the couples are mixed race and always Black &
        White, never anything else, not Asian & White or Hispanic & White couples-not a chance.

      2. Hefferdawn

        Black? More like Brahmin is beautiful baby! Kamala is half-Indian, from the the Brahmin Superior Caste. Nevertheless, she has successfully ridden the affirmative action train, or in her case, rickshaw, pulled by authentic American black women.


        “On June 30, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing regulators sued Cisco Systems Inc., for discrimination. It was based on caste. The lawsuit accuses Cisco, a multibillion-dollar tech conglomerate based in San Jose, Calif., of denying an engineer, who immigrated from India to the United States, professional opportunities, a raise and promotions because he was from a low caste, or Dalit, background.”

        Silicon Valley just loves Indian immigrants, even if they are via Canada, like Kamala. How do you say “Irony” in Hindi?

        “Cisco Systems CEO, Robbins —who sits on the influential Business Roundtable and leads its immigration committee — concedes that what transpired in D.C. has led to new, perhaps uncomfortable conversations among top leaders in Corporate America.”


        Ambrit, more like President Van Winkle, except that he’s falling asleep.

      3. Massinissa

        Oh she offered something all right. She ran on being incredibly telegenic and therefore should clearly be the next president, despite having no policies or supporter base. It didn’t work to get her the presidential nomination, but Biden needed a telegenic person with a good smile and a diverse family background, which she had both of. Things like policies and actually being supported by people in the state you are from are apparently 20th century affectations.

        People call Biden ‘Obama 2.0’, but really, he’s Biden 2.0, just this time he gets to be President Vice President Biden instead of the vice president version. He basically chose the closest person to an Obama he could find in the primary to be Obama 2.0 Vice President Edition.

        1. Yves Smith

          Oh, you asked for it!

          She’s not telegenic. She has big boobs, wears suits that don’t fit well and in particularly are cut too tight over said big boobs, and she wiggles ALL THE TIME so that if you are inclined to notice them, you will.

          I know plenty of women professionals with big boobs. The ones in my circle make a point of dressing and carrying themselves so that men make eye contact on first meeting.

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            Certainly no Je ne sais quoi in my opinion.

            I had read about certain aspects of the former DA’s career, but this article from Hannah Giorgis 2 year old review of Kamala’s ” The Truths We Hold ” filled in a lot of gaps, all of which you guys are probably fully aware of.


    2. albrt

      is this the media priming us for the passing of the torch mid-way through Biden’s term?

      Midway? I’ll take the under. By a lot.

    3. Acacia

      the passing of the torch mid-way through Biden’s term

      Mid-way? Heh, I’m thinking months, not years, before Joe blows another gasket.

      If Joe gets put under general for the surgery, I assume Harris becomes acting POTUS, and I wonder how many in the executive will think: “ya know, instead of going through this again, why don’t we just do this now and get it over with?”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I think Kamalabama would like for Biden to stay in office for 2 years and 1 day. That way, she could be President for 10 years and not just 8.

        That’s what I think she is thinking.

  6. Robert Hahl


    Paul Young – I´m gonna tear your playhouse down 1984
    Pino Palladino fretless

    Pino Paladino playing bass
    John Mayer haters beware.

    Me’shell Ndegeocello -If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night) –

    Chris Minn Doky – How to play funk on upright & electric bass
    Bass soles are usually lame. Not here in The Dapper King

  7. Pat

    Speaking of careless to uninformative to even misinforming media, AND knowing that people many times just read the headlines or a paragraph or two of any news article, two headlines in my news feed stood out to me.

    1. Against All Odds Biden Transition Team is Staffed and Ready for White House Debut. (NBC)

    Really? Like there was anything stopping Biden from staffing. I realize there were issues with information and access from the Trump administration but that wouldn’t affect their ability to make job offers. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if more than half his “staff” was either hired or on a shortlist prior to Election Day. And since so many of them are repeat offenders from the last Democratic administration it is unlikely any foot dragging by the Trump team caused them any delay in preparations whatsoever.

    2. McConnell, Schumer Mum on Contours of Impeachment Trial as DC Prepares For Inauguration Under Lockdown (Fox)

    Unless I missed something Pelosi has not sent the Impeachment to the Senate and in a day or two McConnell will have to have turned the driving over to Schumer. While Schumer May have more influence over Pelosi’s timing, he will only have a minor say once she sends it. It becomes the Senate priority, Roberts presides, the House representatives get to present the case and Trump gets to put on a defense. What is there for them to contour?

    But I am sure both get the clicks they need and want for their revenue stream.

  8. Wukchumni

    We’ve had essentially no winter yet in California, and here comes hurricane power winds…

    Los Angeles, San Francisco brace for damaging winds, rare January fire threat

    Gusts to 90 mph possible in the hills of Los Angeles County, with power outages likely

    An unusually strong and far-reaching high wind event is descending upon California today through Wednesday, bringing damaging winds and the threat of fast-moving wildfires from Sacramento to San Francisco and southward to Los Angeles. The region is dry enough, with hardly any rain having fallen recently in Southern California, that the high winds are prompting concerns about midwinter wildfires after the state’s worst wildfire season on record in 2020.

    The winds follow several days of record-breaking heat that has amplified fire danger, particularly in Southern California, which saw temperatures soar into the 80s and 90s in the middle of a largely dry winter.


  9. Wukchumni

    The clock is slowly approaching midnight on the end of the line, and in this late hour there’s lots of spite in the guise of nuisance measures passed by executive order only to be rescinded soon. The definite thing we know about the end game for sure, is he will be impolite in breaking with decorum-as is his custom, nothing new.

    Will we get away clean from this awful leader, or what other dirty tricks does he have waiting for us before declaring Rankruptcy?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      He has shown no signs of pardoning Snowden or Assange. I hope he does.

      He could also pardon the Clintons and Bush and Obama in the most embarrassing and humiliating way.
      I wish he would. He could also post-humously pardon Jeffrey Epstein.

  10. ObjectiveFunction

    It always seemed to me that the heyday of the pre-internet surveillance state was the Vietnam era, with G-men going through Jack Anderson’s trash or bugging Jane Fonda’s bedroom to protect Our Way of Life.

    As the Cold War wound down after 1985 or so though, whatever ‘dossier’ the organs of state security might still be collecting on your activities really only mattered if and when you applied for employment with the MIC (i.e. some form of ‘security clearance’). If that wasn’t in your life plans, regardless of how many petitions you signed or demos you attended, nobody in Authority cared enough to make a phone call or write a poison pen letter to get you denied tenure, hospital care or a driver’s license.

    So even though we didn’t know it at the time, the post Cold War – 911 period really represented a golden age of civil liberties: ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. Until we all began leaving gigantic electronic trails of our lives and thoughts behind us, so easy for the Skynet to collect and sift.

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