2:00PM Water Cooler 9/1/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Mexican Whip-poor-will, Tucson; Mt. Lemmon; General Hitchcock Campground, Arizona, United States. “Two-hundred and one examples of the “Whip-poor-will” Call of BNA or, more appropriately, the song of C. v. arizonae (based on range). Quality unchanged (1 – this appears to be the BEST example we have of song for this subspecies).” Another incredibly long whip-poor-will where the old-school birder (1991) counted the calls!

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“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

The Constitutional Order

Democrat framing, coming up:

No, Jordan hasn’t been disqualified. This is a fundraising pitch. Expect more if it works out.

“The Fourteenth Amendment Fantasy” [David Frum, The Atlantic]. “[Eminent jurists] argue that language in the Fourteenth Amendment, adopted after the Civil War, should debar the coup-plotting ex-president from appearing on a ballot for any office ever again. Their learning is undisputed. Their conclusions are another story. The project to disqualify Trump from running for president is misguided and dangerous. It won’t work. If it somehow could work, it would create problems worse even than Americans already face. In an ideal world, Trump’s fellow Republicans would handle this matter by repudiating his crimes and rejecting his candidacy for their presidential nomination. Failing that—and it certainly seems as if that hope is failing—opponents of Trump must dig deep and beat him at the polls one more time. There is no cheat code to win this game.” • I hate to find myself in agreement with Frum, but needs must. Regardless of what the text of the Constitution states, giving election officials of one party to power to remove candidates from the other party from the ballot line based on a judgement call is a change to the Constitutional order (albeit an unwritten portion of that order). The “eminent jurists” have pointed to the Rubicon and said, “Yep! Let’s cross it. What could go wrong?”

“The Constitutional Case for Barring Trump from the Presidency” (interview) [J. Michael Luttig, The New Yorker]. Luttig explains the “self-executing” aspect of the Fourteenth Amendment, giving the example of the age requirement. The Constitution requires that a President be 35 years old. Therefore, election officals must stirke their name from the ballot. But: “here is vastly more judgment entailed in determining whether, for instance, the former President engaged in an insurrection or rebellion than in determining whether a candidate was thirty-five years old. That doesn’t relieve the obligated election official from making that determination. The process for placing individuals on the ballot varies from state to state. But, under our reading of the Fourteenth Amendment, an individual election official could make that decision himself or herself. As a practical matter, is that likely to occur? It would depend, I think, on the office of the election official. If it were the secretary of state who was charged with placing individuals on the ballot, then I believe that decision by the duly appointed state official would suffice. But, in all events, whoever makes the qualification or the disqualification decision and whether they make it, that decision will be immediately challenged, probably by the former President himself. And that challenge would go directly into court—either state or federal—and it would eventually make its way to the Supreme Court of the United States.” • However, the point of entry is a disqualification by an election official at the state level. Suits by individuals are frivolous.

The start of a beautiful friendship:

* * *

“The Sweep and Force of Section Three” [William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, University of Pennsylvania Law Review]. I highly recommend this piece (and the ensuing discussion at NC, starting here). As a former English major and a fan of close reading, I’m not averse to “originalism,” of which Baude and Paulsen provide a magisterial example, in the sense that understanding the law as a text must begin with understanding the plain, public meaning of the words used when the text was written. That’s how I read Shakespeare, or Joyce, so why not the Constitution? Just as long as understanding doesn’t end there! In any case, I’m working through it. One thing I notice is that there do seem to have been rather a lot of rebellions and insurrections, not just the Civil War. To me, this is parallel to one lesson I drew from Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast (episode 1): There are rather a lot of revolutions, too. Alert reader Pensions Guy summarizes Baude and Paulsen as follows:]

The authors go through an exhaustive textual and originalism analysis of Section Three, and their Federalist Society leanings do not deter them from reaching their conclusion that officials in every State who are charged with determining candidate qualifications should conclude that Donald Trump is disqualified from being on ballots because of the oath he took on Inauguration Day 2017 and subsequently violated through his role in the insurrection that took place on January 6, 2021.

Taking “insurrection” as read (I need to do more reading), more on my continuing coverage of Section Three.

Capitol Seizure

“Proud Boys who led march to Capitol get two of the lengthiest sentences since Jan. 6 attack” [Politico]. A “march”? Not an insurrection? Or a coup? The whole article is sloppy like this, and doesn’t even give the statute under which they were convicted. However, this caught my eye: “‘It’s almost seductive in how tangible a future act like this could be,’ the prosecutor added. ‘It doesn’t take the step of amassing bomb-making equipment to bring the United States government and our society to the brink of a constitutional crisis. It just takes slick propaganda and an environment where you encourage people to basically say, ‘It’s us against them,’ and ‘We’re going to use force to achieve our political ends.’” • This is interesting, because isn’t the real issue “We’re going to use force to achieve our political ends”? (Note the use of “force” as opposed to “violence.” Is a picket line “force”? How about loud chanting into a megaphone? Etc.) If so, then, why the additional verbiage of “It just takes slick propaganda and an environment where you encourage people to basically say, ‘It’s us against them'”? Are we then to outlaw “divisiveness”? Mandate “unity”? Will we say that if the propaganda is “slick” enough, the appeal to “force” doesn’t need to be explicit? No doubt we can ask the Censorship Industrial Complex to answer these questions. See under “Spook Country.” 


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“The final battle”:

I missed this in early August. Interesting that Trump plans to cast out the fascists, communists, and Marxists. What is he, a centrist? Then again, he’s also going to cast out the warmongers and the deep state. He’s gonna be a busy man! (This is also interesting in that it shows one way Trump can make use of footage from his trials; the implicit message is “This is why I’m here” (and, for some fraction of the electorate, “I’m here for you.” It’s a good ad; remarkbly, Trump can still hire skilled people.) 

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“Why Nikki Haley Scares the Biden Campaign” [Walter Shapiro, The New Republic]. “But Haley—for all her flaws and ideological contortions—serves as a potent reminder that Biden and the Democrats could be vulnerable to a Republican nominee who is not a conspiracy-minded authoritarian with social views lifted from The Handmaid’s Tale. While Trump, Ron DeSantis, and Vivek Ramaswamy eagerly take right-wing positions that are easy to pillory, Haley is much harder to pigeonhole. There are four notable issues where she has taken politically shrewd positions that could flummox Democrats.” Abortion (“trying to take abortion off the table for the 2024 election”), climate (blame China and India), national debt (blame both parties), and Ukraine (not “wobbly”). More: “If the Republicans were a rational political party, they would quickly grasp that Haley’s policy positions, as well as her persona as an Indian American woman, make her probably the strongest candidate against Biden.” • I’d love to see a Haley/Harris debate. Harris could recast herself as the Indian… she once cast herself as!

* * *

“Cornel West defends third-party presidential bid” [NBC News]. “Asked why he’s running for the Green Party nomination instead of challenging Biden in the Democratic Party primary, West said that ‘neither party is speaking to the pressing needs of poor and working people.’ So the two-party system itself is becoming in an impediment for the flowering of American democracy,’ he said. ‘We’ve got too many fellow citizens, 63%, living paycheck-to-paycheck. … I must say that it’s hard to view oneself as a spoiler when there is increasing rot in the system with two parties connected to big money, Wall Street, Silicon Valley and militarism abroad.'” Here’s the video:

The announcer is very friendly to West (who, one must admit, is quite a charmer).

“Third-party ‘spoiler’ candidate Cornel West says Democratic Party is ‘beyond redemption'” [FOX]. “”I think deep down in his heart he knows that the Democratic Party has no fundamental intention of speaking to the needs of poor people and working people,” he continued. “They are dominated by their corporate wing, they’re dominated by the militarists when it comes to foreign policy. He and [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and the others are going to be, in a certain sense, window dressing.” • This announceris also friendly, but posts the following:

Quite a tap dance on his taxes, oppo though it be.

“Brother Bernie”:

Spook Country

“Background to ‘Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections””: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution” [Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Office of the Director of National Intelligence National Council*]. From 2017. • Just awful. C’mon, ODNI and ODNIC, let’s beat it together:

(A Russian influence meme, in case you haven’t guessed.) NOTE * I swear these are two separate institutions! They both have their seals on the cover of the document (indicated to me that they’re overstaffed, though no doubt name-plate contractors are doing very well for themselves.)

“Statement by Secretary Jeh Johnson on the Designation of Election Infrastructure as a Critical Infrastructure Subsector” [United States Department of Homeland Security]. Also from 2017. “Now more than ever, it is important that we offer our assistance to state and local election officials in the cybersecurity of their systems. Election infrastructure is vital to our national interests, and cyber attacks on this country are becoming more sophisticated, and bad cyber actors – ranging from nation states, cyber criminals and hacktivists – are becoming more sophisticated and dangerous.” • Of course, with handmarked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, there’s no cybersecurity issue at all, since there’s no “cyber” to begin with. Can’t have that.

Commentary by Mike Benz on the above two documents:

One could view the organs of state security as having constructed several lines of defense against the “wrong” decision at the ballot in 2024: (1) counting the votes (and maintaining the voter rolls), per Jeh Johnson; (2) constraining the ballot lines, per ODNI and ODNIC (see, e.g., Hunter Thompson’s laptop). In addition, (3) a new line of defense is being constructed to constrain the ballot line with election officials, under the Fourteenth Amendment theory. 

Democrats en Déshabillé

Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

* * *


“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3). 

Stay safe out there!

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“Mask Mandates Have Kept One Cancer Center Free From COVID-19. Others Have Lifted Masking Requirements Despite Patient Concerns” [Cancer Therapy Advisor].  “City of Hope in Duarte, California, has maintained masking requirements, and this has prevented hospital-acquired COVID-19 there entirely, according to Vijay Trisal, MD, chief medical officer at City of Hope. ‘Our policies enabled us to achieve zero nosocomial infections, zero outbreaks,’ Dr Trisal said. ‘In a cancer hospital, that is critically important. We have no imminent plans to change our current policies.'” • Despite CDC’s best efforts to kill his patients!

Covid is Airborne

Readers, I’m repeating this because of my plea for a PDF. Thank you!

“Public Health is a Job for Engineers” (abtract) [Mechanical Engineering]. The deck: “Physicians Can Cure Diseases, but Mechanical Engineers Build Defenses To Ward Off Pathogens Defore They Infect.” The Abstract: “Instead of waiting to fight diseases inside the human body, engineering can establish lines of defense further out by either intercepting and neutralizing the pathogens before they reach humans or diluting them so much that they can’t build up an infective load.


“Covid-19 spread during Middlebury Bread Loaf conference” [VT Digger]. “Despite those efforts, she started feeling very sick on Friday as the conference was ending, becoming one of 28 participants who organizers said had reported a positive Covid test. ‘I tried to do everything as an individual that I could do to protect myself,’ [Laura] Mauldin said in an interview Monday, adding that it was her first bout with Covid-19. ‘But there is no amount of me doing my individual best that can overcome a failure of community policy.’ The conference’s current Covid-19 policies mirror those of its affiliate, Middlebury College, which starts orientation for new students next week. Both entities say they follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and rely on individuals to manage their own testing and to voluntarily mask and isolate themselves when symptoms appear.” • Covid is, of course, asymptomatic, so CDC’s eugenicist policies are working as designed, at least for Middlebury, Meanwhile, IIRC Bob Wachter chivvied his wife into attending a writer’s conference, and he tagged along. They both got Covid, and she got Long Covid. So there is absolutely no excuse for the organizers. But PMC gotta PMC. From alert reader Amateur Socialist:

Covid anecdata from rural VT:  Outbreak at writer’s conference stirs controversy when organizers continue events on schedule.  https://thevpo.org/2023/08/28/youd-think-maybe-a-writers-conference-would-put-writers-first/#more-15684

If it’s in Middlebury VT it’s everywhere.

Events are “on schedule” alright. Right down the cr*pper.

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, August 31:

Lambert here: Happy memories of tape-watching days! Resuming our upward climb, at a slower pace.

Regional data. As we can see, the national flattening was due to the Midwest downward swoop:

Yesterday’s Water Cooler was full of charts that showed why I was dubious about the Midwest downward swoop, which now seems to be reversing itself, I don’t know whether due to the data, backward revisions, or what.


From CDC, September 2:

Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: EG.5 (“Eris“). No BA.2.86 here, not even in the note, but see below at Positivity.

From CDC, August 19:

Lambert here: Not sure what to make of this. I’m used to seeing a new variant take down the previously dominant variant. Here it looks like we have a “tag team,” all working together to cut XBB.1.5 down to size. I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).

CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, August 26:

Lambert here: I changed this ER chart to a Covid-only chart broken down by age. Note the highlighting.

NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections.


NOT UPDATED Bellwether New York City, data as of August 31:

Still getting worse. But how much worse? I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive.

NOT UPDATED Here is CDC’s map…. “In Past Week,” because there’s no [family blogging date]:

Orange = “substantial increase” (more than 20%). The cadence: “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates Mondays and Thursdays by 8 p.m. ET.” So apparently, on Friday, I have to compare the map here with the one on the CDC site to see if the update has, in fact, been performed. Why are they making me think?

Lambert here: This looks the same to me, so either things are the same, or CDC’s promised Thursday update “by 8 p.m. ET” didn’t happen (and it might not have; CDC has form). Can’t they just time-stamp the [family blogging] page, like normal human beings?


NOT UPDATED Walgreens, August 28:

So, Walgreens is back in the game (and how the heck did that debacle happen? We breathlessly await the news coverage). The percentage of positives is the highest ever, though absolute numbers are still small relative to past surges.

NOT UPDATED Cleveland Clinic, August 26:

Lambert here: I know this is just Ohio, but the Cleveland Clinic is good*, and we’re starved for data, so…. NOTE * Even if hospital infection control is trying to kill patients by eliminating universal masking with N95s.

From CDC, August 14:

Lambert here: This is the CDC’s “Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance” data, confirming the current surge, only two weeks late. Sure would be useful to know if there were any BA.2.86 in those samples, though! And now we know:

I apologize, CDC. I missed this. Fifty lashes with a wet noodle for lambert.


Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, August 30:

Lambert here: The WHO data is worthless, so I replaced it with the Iowa Covid Data Tracker. Their method: “These data have been sourced, via the API from the CDC: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Conditions-Contributing-to-COVID-19-Deaths-by-Stat/hk9y-quqm. This visualization updates on Wednesday evenings. Data are provisional and are adjusted weekly by the CDC.” I can’t seem to get a pop-up that shows a total of the three causes (top right). Readers?

Total: 1,173,655 – 1,173,5931,173,081 =  62. 62 * 365 = 22,630 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything.–> If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease). 

Excess Deaths

The Economist, September 1:

Lambert here:  Back to almost daily. Odd when it is, odd when it stops. Based on a machine-learning model. (The CDC has an excess estimate too, but since it ran forever with a massive typo in the Legend, I figured nobody was really looking at it, so I got rid it. )

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Unemployment Rate” [Trading Ecomomics]. “The unemployment rate in the US rose to 3.8 percent in August 2023 from 3.5 percent in July, the highest since February 2022 and above market expectations of 3.5 percent. The number of unemployed people increased by 514 thousand to 6.355 million and employment levels rose by 222 thousand to 161.484 million. The so-called U-6 unemployment rate, which also includes people who want to work, but have given up searching and those working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment, went up to 7.1 percent in August, the highest since May 2022, from 6.7 percent in July. The labor force participation rate increased to 62.8 percent, the highest since February 2020, from 62.6 percent.”

Manufacturing: “United States ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Manufacturing PMI climbed to 47.6 in August 2023 from the previous month’s 46.4, slightly exceeding the market consensus of 47.0. However, this reading still indicated that economic activity within the manufacturing sector had contracted for the tenth consecutive month. While production levels stabilized, the inflow of new orders experienced a more rapid decline, and the pace of job shedding showed signs of easing.”:

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 53 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 47 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 1 at 2:13 PM ET. C’mon, Mr. Market! One way or the other!

News of the Wired

“Pornhub Wins Free Speech Challenge to New Verification and Warning Laws” [Jonathan Turley, The Hill]. “There is an interesting free speech ruling in Texas in favor of the adult entertainment site, Pornhub. Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled that a Texas law requiring age-verification and warning labels about the alleged dangers of porn contravenes the First Amendment…. I do view this law as containing unconstitutional elements. However, this is likely to be just the start to a long series of challenges and appeals. These laws have been enacted in other states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia and Utah.” • Texas, naturally, since Red States watch more pr0n; the thrill of the forbidden, no doubt.

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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. Carolinian

    Presumably New Republic links are for laffs.

    Republican nominee who is not a conspiracy-minded authoritarian

    She thinks Putin killed his UN ambassador! She loves all wars and is ready to fight about who is more devoted to Israel. Meanwhile Biden is supposed to be worried even though she has utterly no chance of getting the Repub nomination.

    Haley to New Repub: check is in the mail. Ditto from her wealthy supporters.

  2. Objective Ace

    It just takes slick propaganda and an environment where you encourage people to basically say, ‘It’s us against them,’ and ‘We’re going to use force to achieve our political ends.’”

    This isnt quite true… at least not as it played out on january 6th. It also took, at the very least, poor preparation and communication between the Capital Police and other US security forces as well as the Capital Police actively opening doors and escorting protestors into various areas of Congress that would make for great outrage photos.

    It also plausibly takes agent provocateurs like Ray Eps whom our CIA leaders refuse to answer basic questions as to whether any were present

    1. Tom Doak

      Actually Hunter Biden’s laptop was about what we might have expected Hunter Thompson’s laptop to look like. But not nearly as well written, of course.

  3. Joe Well

    How can Trump or anyone make campaign promises to do things they didn’t do when they held that exact same office? Why aren’t MAGA-landers at least a tiny disillusioned?

    1. jsn

      Because they’ve watched six years of CIA domestic psyops, at first without really understanding what was happening but like Merkle and Hollande boasting of having played Putin with The Minsk Agreement, we’re seeing more and more evidence the Blob did in fact do exactly what it looked like at the time.

      Still doesn’t make me like Climat/COVID denialist Donald.

      But if you were MAGA, it’s easy for me to see how you might feel vindicated by events.

    2. Daryl

      Well, they can say he was thwarted by the Deep State. And in some instances he was — they ordered to gtfo of Syria and appeared to take very little action to do so.

    3. GF

      “This is the final battle…We will demolish the Deep State…and rid America of these villains once and for all” to quote Trump from above “tweet”.

      Can someone please post a list or a link to a list of Republican Deep Staters?

      1. some guy

        If Trump gets re-elected, all the Republicans coming into various levels of power and authority in his wake will do a neat bait-and-switch. They will pivot away from Trump’s underminers in the Intelligence Community, Defence and elsewhere and turn their full attention to the “Administrative State” by which they mean those departments and agencies and bureaus which are supposed to restrict big business’s ability to fill the air with cancer gas, fill the water with cancer juice, fill the food supply with cancer gravy and sprinkle cancer dust all over it. ( And wage-theft as much money from wage earners as they please).

        ” No Administrative State” means no health and safety regulations of any kind.

        ” Well. . . . that’s just a theory.” Well . . . that’s true.

        Is it a correct theory? With strong predictive power? Let’s re-elect Trump just to see. Let’s phuq around and phind out. ( It would still be better than having Hillary Clinton’s thermonuclear war with Russia if that is what the ClintoBiden Democrats are in fact committed to).

        This election is going to be a downer and a bummer. America will lose no matter which brand name candidate wins. The only hope for less of a downer and a bummer is if West-Greens can win enough electoral college states to prevent either brand name candidate from winning.

    4. britzklieg

      LOL… Almost my entire adult life and especially beginning with Slick Willie Clinton, the Democrats have consistently promised left while campaigning and delivered right while in office. Perhaps you forgot to signal your comment as snark?

    5. Geo

      How anyone takes seriously the guy who said in 2016 “Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi — take a look at Saudi Arabia, open the documents” yet made friendship with them one of his earliest interests as president and is now taking their money and welcoming them into his home is beyond me. This is the guy they think is going to protect us from the bad guys? Gotta love making a hero out of a guy willing to do anything for a dollar.

      The best thing about Trump is he exposed “values voters”, “support the blue”, and just about every other principle espoused by the GOP and it’s electorate as the vapid platitudes we all knew they were.

      And, for the potential incoming “But Biden/Dems/Libs/whatever” reply(s): Yeah, they are bad/corrupt/complicit too.

  4. Hana M

    Covid may be airborne but that’s not the only route of transmission. This is an extremely well designed study of active viral presence in the rooms of volunteers deliberately infected with the virus. The study is well worth reading in depth for all the quirky details of who transmits and why, and how that correlates with symptoms and other factors. “Here we successfully cultured viable virus from several environmental surfaces within the rooms housing infected cases, and in one case, detected infectious virus on a bedside table 1 day after the cessation of infectious virus detection in the URT, possibly indicating the persistence of infectivity on a surface for some time after it was released. Detection of virus on hands correlated with nasal viral load and with frequently touched points, suggesting a causal pathway—hands soiled by virus in the nose then contaminate surfaces. The infectiousness of virus was preserved through this journey—infectious virus was frequently isolated from television remote controls and small bathroom surfaces that are more likely to be contaminated by touch rather than depositing droplets. Conversely, the clustering of surfaces around the bed with air samples suggests that these items, with relatively larger, flat surfaces, might be contaminated by respiratory droplets that settle out of the air. ” Live virus was also found on the inside surface of masks so dispose of used masks responsibly and don’t reuse since it’s possible to re-contaminate oneself. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanmic/article/PIIS2666-5247(23)00101-5/fulltext

    1. maipenrai

      thanks. Had only studied the preprint. Good to know that most live virus comes from few people and almost all from symptomatic people and that LFTs work.

    2. lambert strether

      Thanks, I’ll take a look. Fortunately, “wash your hands” should take care of the fomites. Sadly, “wash your hands” does not take care of the aerosols.

      I recall monkeypox made into the air via shaken-out bedclothes, so a lot more modal changes of that kind are not completely surprising.

  5. Joe Well

    Hate to break it to you, but in the 1970s even a $10,000 laptop only had enough hard drive space for a couple chapters in plain text. /S

    1. Joe Well

      Oops, meant as a reply to a comment about revelations from Hunter S. Thompsons’s laptop. Which by the way is fake news.

  6. Maria

    The useless lockdowns of California. Mom and pop groceries and restaurants closed forever, while Target, a major Newsom donor becomes a “grocery” and is allowed to remain open. Citizens prohibited from going to the beach but Netflix lobbyists at the French Laundry get permission to keep filming, and serving catered food in the parks.

    The verdict is clear: Gavin Newsom and the Supermajority are guilty of the most harmful policy blunder in modern U.S. history.

    House member Kiley’s hearings.


    1. JBird4049

      I would not call the lockdowns useless, but they were badly managed with both small businesses and the individual given little financial support, and the elites and the connected allowed to ignore them.

      1. ISL

        or well-managed for a different (aka Naomi Klein) purpose than the officially stated purpose. They were a donor-class dream.

        1. JBird4049

          Naomi Klein’s Disaster Capitalism? True, that.

          Rethinking this, I think that it started as a successful albeit poorly managed response and then was repurposed for extractive capitalism.

    2. lambert strether

      It’s possible that our farcically pissant quarantine efforts were not as effective as they might have been. That’s not true in the general case. Frankly, I’m amazed at the number of people who can delude themselves into believing that the the way to combat an airborne pathogen is to let it move freely through the air (and I use the word “freely” to tick off the glibertarian dolts who think they have no duty of care to others).

      I don’t have time to verify provenance of a video, listen to the video, and then verify the claims in the video, but Biden’s policy blunder of mass infection without mitigation probably killed 700,000 people. Is your claim that Gavin Newsom’s blunders were worse than that? Really?

      1. Darby

        Newsom is the new young candidate with great ideas supposedly.
        Biden is over and will likely be replaced with Newsom, or he will become Biden’s V.P. giving Biden a quick escape for “health reasons”. That is if the Democrats can get away with foisting Newsom off on the country. Hey, it worked for Kamala?

        Remember Newsom’s “In Ten Years There Will be No Need For Homeless Services” speech when he was mayor of San Francisco, circa 2004?

        1. jsn

          Newson is the Deep States vision of healing the rift between Extraction Capital and financialized Exploitation Capital. He’s an oil scion at the pinnacle of Medical Industrial Complex (MIC) power, he’s the unity candidate!

          Problem is MIC isn’t killing homeless people as fast as private equity can create them, and Extraction Capital hit the jackpot this year with burning boreal forests in North America, burning methane permafrost in Siberia and stalling of the Atlantic Conveyor (though that could save Ukraine a winter onslaught if there’s not enough frost, and the war has been very, very good for oil).

          But you have to admit Newsom is making good on the No Need For Homeless Services by simply not providing them for the majority of the homeless, it has to be really frustrating that COVID relies on air conditioning which the homeless can’t afford.

        2. JBird4049

          Governor Newsom is smarter and more competent than VP Harris, which is easy to be, but he is still a shallow and ambitious narcissist. I think of him as a modern Joe Biden with a California surfer aesthete. His appearance is that of the surfer dudes that I used to see at the beach, but who has reached middle age.

  7. petal

    A funny for you guys: the molecular and cellular biology graduate program retreat was a super spreader event. Good times. A few more folks are masking on the floor, but with surgical masks. Had to explain to our 5th year grad student about that, and got them a box of KN95s at the stockroom. A whole immunology lab was out with it. sigh. Stockroom guy said grad students have been coming to work symptomatic, and the janitor told stockroom guy to not be a wimp(because grad student was sniffly, etc, at his window and making him nervous).
    Town wastewater levels are up again (sample taken 8/22). I just can’t with these people.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Got a good one for you.
      My young employee who also works at a very full DAY CARE center got Covid last week from her roommate who ALSO works at the day care center. Because the roommate was way too sick to work, the day care center INSISTED that my employee cover her roommate’s shifts even after she made clear she was positive.

      So much for those beloved “essential workers”!

      That’s a lot of households that are not going to enjoy the next 2 weeks.

      PS Employee knows my caution with C-19 (because sis in law is stage 4) and let me know she wouldn’t be coming in for at least a week and negative test.

  8. some guy

    From the map of Green Party Ballot states, I see that the Green Party is already on three electoral-college-vote-rich states, namely Texas, Florida and California. And I see that it is hoping to get on the ballot in New York if legal stuff goes the Greens’ way.

    If the Green Party could take all the electoral votes of Tx, Fl, Ca and NY; would that be enough to prevent either brand name party from getting enough of the remaining electoral college votes to get its ticket elected? If so, would it make sense for the Green Party to put all its resources into winning each of those 4 states so conclusively that neither brand name party can get an electoral vote from even one of those 4 states?

    Or are some of those states so unwinnable by the Greens at this time that they should not think of putting all their resources into that strategy? Is this the sort of thing that the Greens and/or West himself are even thinking about?

    I suspect there are a lot of people out here who don’t want to hear any more of that ” LuuuUUUuuuhv” bullsh*t. I think some of us would like to see and hear a little properly targeted hatred. I would like to see a candidate who hates the same people and classes that I hate, and would like to try to destroy and “exterminate from existence” the same people and classes that I would like to see destroyed and “exterminated from existence” so that some beneficial reforms can be achieved without those people and classes “in existence” any more to prevent those beneficial reforms from being achieved.

    That Joan Baez-type kumbaya liberal “peace and love” crap won’t make it anymore. Not this time.

    And Candidate Trump understands that basic fact. If he is the only candidate offering to hate and destroy the people that a commanding plurality of the citizens want to see hated and destroyed, then Candidate Trump will win the election. And for the same reason he won the election in 2016. (With my vote in Michigan that first time . . . and with no regrets on my part even after all that has happened.)

    1. mrsyk

      Team blue probably won’t break the 270 mark to begin with. I would say if any state went from blue to green the dems can’t claim the majority stake. Trickier to predict the Rs. If it’s Trump on all 50 ballots it’s hard to not see him winning big. OTO the weak bench behind Trump says close race so even losing one state could keep them under 270. Wish I hadn’t given Marianne Williamson her crystal ball back.

      1. some guy

        It’s like Yogi Berra said . . . ” Prediction is hard, especially about the future.”

        So here’s a conditional if/then prediction. If RFK Jr does well in whatever Wildcat State Democrat primaries which certain Wildcat State Democrat parties ( if any ) decide to hold in defiance of the National Inner Party Democrats, and if Kennedy does well in the Wildcat Primaries ( if there are any), and if he is ignored or suppressed and disrespected at the National Inner Democratic Party Convention ( no “prediction” necessary there). . . he won’t turn around and support the Greens or any other non Brand Name Democrat ticket any more than Sanders did. And for his own version of the same reasons.

        In Kennedy’s case, because he is still in nostalgia-love with what the Democratic Party used to be in the days of Humphrey, McGovern, and numerous Kennedies themselves. And he wants to save that Party, throw the Weasels out, and bring Toad Hall back to its proper Toadness. So he will never support West-Greens or run 4th Party his own self on a ticket with Williamson or Gabbard or anyone else like that.

        And if it happens that way, I hope people will have more decency than to sneer about what a sheepdog he always was anyway, right from the start.

        1. lambert strether

          At a very high level, I’ve quoted at least one strategist to the effect that Trump v. Biden is baked in, i.e. stability > volatility.

          At this point, the only prediction I’m even willing to entertain is volatility > stability.

        2. JBird4049

          Your description of the various parties sounds like pre-civil war American in 1860 with its four or five large parties, which included the Northern Democratic, the Southern Democratic, the Republicans, the Know-Nothings officially called the American Party, plus some smaller groups trying to coalesce into effective political parties.

          What helped Abraham Lincoln win the election were these splits, which enabled the new Republican Party to win.

          I really do hope that the presidential election is not thrown to the House of Representatives. If the Greens do really well and/or the Democrats split, or Republicans somehow implode like the Democrats might, then it could happen that nobody has a clear majority of the Electoral votes. Does anyone trust the four hundred and thirty-five members of the House to do their job honestly or to use an old fashion and quaint term with honor? Yeah, neither do I.

          I fear that the powers that be would just freak out. An actual coup using the military is unlikely, but not anything else. Can you imagine what would happen if one of the leading candidates dropped dead from a “heart attack?” Or some of the electors were suborned, by threats to their family? Can anyone say the words “faithless elector?” Anything that plainly subverted the will of the people would cause civil war, and I say this with hyperbole. Despite the often rough and even lethal nature of American politics, there have always been guardrails. This far and no further.

          The lawfare against Donald Trump is breaking one side of that barrier although one could make the argument that he did break the law; since nobody is supposed to be above it, Mr. Trump should be tried. Leaving the hypocrisy of the Bidens not given the full attention of the Federal government as well as the blatant violation by President Biden of Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution, no president has been charged as Mr. Trump even though there has been plenty of chicanery in the past two hundred and fifty years. In fact, Trump should have been charged, but since most of Congress should be as well, this is a problem.

          People do have the right to be very, very angry about what is going on, but nobody should wish for a war. We are still suffering from the last one.

          1. some guy

            There are people who do wish for a Civil War 2.0 They hope and believe that it will be a romantic historical re-enactors’ dream of Civil War 1.0 all over again.

            Whereas in fact a Civil War in America today would combine elements of the post-Yugoslavia Wars ( especially the Bosnia War), the Syrian Civil War, the ongoing War in Myanmar and the War Action in Sudan. Non-participants’ only hope of survival would be to go so gray that they become ” invisible in place” and are completely overlooked by all the fighting factions and forces.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Maybe it is time to learn how to brew beer. No matter the faction, nobody wants to be that guy that offs the guy that knows how to brew beer.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      “That Joan Baez-type kumbaya liberal “peace and love” crap won’t make it anymore. Not this time.”

      Having heard Staughton Lynd tell the story of the Mississippi Freedom Summer leadership’s response when they learned that Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner went missing, I’d fail my duty if I didn’t respond to your statement above. On that occasion, with life-and-death decisions to be made about whether to send more young people down there and how to find the three missing civil rights workers or at least what happened to them, the MFS leaders, who included Lynd, Bob Moses and Stokely Carmichael, didn’t make motions and argue and vote, they gathered, held hands and sang “Kum Bay Ya.” As they were singing, decisions were reached by consensus about continuing the program. Carmichael volunteered to take a team to Mississippi, traveling through the “backwoods,” to find what they could learn about the fates of the three.

      Lynd then explained, through tears, why it angered him so, being a Quaker, when “idiots” (his word) like Tom Brokaw spoke of “Kum Bay Ya” as if it was song of weakness or naivete.

      As for Joan Baez, you must have a very distinguished career of resistance to the Empire if it tops hers. She began withholding 60% of her taxes as the percentage that went to the DoD in the mid-60s. She spent a total of a month in jail after numerous arrests for anti-war and other activist protests. She went on a peace delegation to Hanoi in 1972, shortly after Jane Fonda was there, and had to hole up during the Nixon-Kissinger “Christmas bombing.” These are just a couple of highlights from the long list of Joan’s good works.

      So what did all that “‘peace and love’ crap” get them? Well, Staughton and Bob and Stokely helped uncover what happened and Hoover’s FBI was pushed into investigating. The Mississippi Freedom Summer continued, and participants like Fanny Lou Hamer were instrumental in getting the Voting Rights Act passed so that now black people can vote in Mississippi.

      Lynd and Moses, along with David Dellinger, were the first organizers of a DC march against the Vietnam War. Baez was involved from the earliest days also. While there were multiple forces at work, the protests and draft resistance led and championed by those “peace and love” types contributed to making that war more difficult and finally impossible to wage. (Baez, when arrested for “disturbing the peace,” said what she was trying to do was disturb the war.

      So a little history goes a long way toward helping us not sound like Tom Brokaw.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks. I don’t care for Kumbaya but I’ve always liked Joan. Don’t know what she saw in that Dylan guy.

        I mentioned this morning PBS/BBC Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland about the troubles. I was quite moved by this even if we Carolinians have to listen extra hard to penetrate the thick accents. Over three thousand died, not three. In the end both sides voted for Good Friday agreement and peace.

        We don’t have to love–that would be a bit too saintly–but world peace would be a good thing.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          If you haven’t seen it, I recommend Scorcese’s documentary about Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder” tour in ’75. Joan was on the tour, long after they were a thing, but she was still taking care of Dylan like he was a little boy. Joni Mitchell joined for a while, but it was sad the way she played one of her new songs for Bob, openly hoping for his approval like Mitchell needed Dylan’s approval as a songwriter. Patti Smith was along too, but every time she’s on camera, she seems to be tripping. Ginsberg is along too as a spiritual advisor. Quite a lot of fun.

      2. anahuna

        So sweet, to read that blistering reminder.

        Testifying, to keep that story alive and let it continue to live in memory.

        From two very different registers I hear, “Tell it, brother!” and ‘live on the bread of faithful speech.’

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Staughton told that story as an explanation for why he might have addressed the IWW convention a few years before but never became a Wob. He was a lot more for singing than motions and points of order. I was around him several times, and he never failed to request the group gather and sing together, usually “Solidarity Together.” He also would never tolerate addressing rows of people unless the audience was large and in a permanent setting, like an auditorium. If the chairs were movable, they were to be arranged in a circle.

          I’m not a pacifist, and I understand the urge to take action that must be heard by elites with their fingers in their ears, but that Quaker tradition has accomplished much in its time. It deserves our respect.

      3. Swamp Yankee

        Thanks for this, Henry Moon Pie. Staughton Lynd is one of my favorite historians, and I hadn’t known this at all about him and the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

        My esteem for him grows even greater.

      4. Judith

        Hi Henry. Small point. Lynd was certainly close to the Quakers, but I do not think he was “convinced”, as the Quakers say. (I’ve been an on again off again Quaker fellow traveler for a long time.)

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          LOL. Thanks, Judith. I didn’t know that. It was like I had assumed he was a card carrying Wob after reading his address to the IWW convention.

    3. Acacia

      If the Green Party could take all the electoral votes of Tx, Fl, Ca and NY; would that be enough to prevent either brand name party from getting enough of the remaining electoral college votes to get its ticket elected?

      Assuming the 2024 results started the same as 2020 (most likely they won’t be, but just for the sake of argument), and assuming my math is correct, it looks like the Greens winning California alone would only give the Dems 249 and the GOP 235. Alternately, Greens winning NY and FL would give the Dems 275 and the GOP 205. I’ve heard that TX is becoming less Republican, but I’m guessing it’s a longer shot.

    4. lambert strether

      In my view, social classes can be thought of as similar to sets. Math mavens will correct me, but I have been taught that the members of a set are so because of a set membership function (a “litmus test”). In dynamic terms, a set cannot be destroyed by eliminating its members; it reproduces itself through the membership function.

      Similar, social classes cannot be eliminated by the slaughter of their members; with the social relations in place, they reproduce themselves, perhaps in altered or distorted form. Even after 1789, there were still aristocrats, priests, bourgeoisie, Bourbons, although they recomposed themselves in new forms. I think a similar argument could be made for the aftermath of 1917. Similarly, China might as well be capitalist, as Xi’s slaughter of the innocents through “let ‘er rip” shows.*

      Do I know how to slash the Gordian knot of set membership functions/social relations? No. I wish I did. At this point we do have some experience and so perhaps in the classification struggles to come we shall do better (“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment”).

      NOTE * The Civil War did successfully eliminate the class of slaveholders, a good thing and worth the lives spent. But the Slave Power nonetheless reproduced itself with Jim Crow, even if human beings were no longer bought and sold as property (modulo the prison system?) a good thing. Slavery also took a hit when the Roman empire fell and in my view the serfs of feudalism were better off than slaves. Blueskying freely, slaveholders seem to be the easiest class to “decommission.” Not sure why.

  9. Bugs

    Hey Lambert when you say “As a former English major and a fan of close reading, I’m not averse to “originalism,” of which Baude and Paulsen provide a magisterial example, in the sense that understanding the law as a text must begin with understanding the plain, public meaning of the words used when the text was written. That’s how I read Shakespeare, or Joyce, so why not the Constitution?”

    I think that if you postulated at a top 10 law school (and I’m sure you could), you’d find that all that you learned as an English major made absolutely no sense anymore when dealing with the structuralism of the law. It’s not the same language and you can’t use those tools anymore. I’d say it’s like trying to fix a motorcycle with dental equipment. Foucault was right.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It’s not the same language and you can’t use those tools anymore

      I think any guild would make the same claim, and be wrong.

      “We are Breetish. We ain’t got no bloody dee-a-lect.” –William Burroughs, Naked Lunch (recollected paraphrase)

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Lambert, you need a leather jacket with Hell’s Hermeneuts stitched on the back. Or maybe Schleiermacher’s Angels?

      2. Bugs

        “I think any guild would make the same claim, and be wrong”

        Well that’s exactly what it is, and why there’s impunity at the very top. You should really give it a shot someday, because I think you’d spend the 3 years very well.

  10. IM Doc

    Lambert, your musings above about the 14th Amendment and then your comment at the end about the Rubicon reminded me of a book I had read the past several years.

    Mortal Republic – How Rome Fell Into Tyranny – by Edward Watts.

    Basically, it was a very good discussion about the myriad ways that multiple sides over a hundred years or so before Julius Caesar ( Sulla, Marius, the Brothers Gracchi, Pompey, etc etc) over time chipped away at the Roman traditions, cultures, laws, precedents, etc. until there was nothing left but an empty husk. Each breach became more insane than the one before. And the final coup d grace was indeed crossing the Rubicon.

    Of course, this book was written during the Trump administration and highlighted echoes from the Roman Republic and comparing them to goings on in that time frame. It was meant as a Trump slam.

    However, I think one could make a hay day about things that are going on now. As he predicted, things escalate and get more lunatic with each breach – which we are definitely seeing now.

    As I have said before the Dems need to heed a simple lesson from history – Karma is indeed a bitch.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > And the final coup d grace was indeed crossing the Rubicon.

      And Caesar had to cross the Rubicon with his troops because otherwise he would have been arrested by the Senate. So, lawfare!

      1. The Rev Kev

        Funny thing when you talk about the Rubicon and those geniuses saying ‘Yep! Let’s cross it. What could go wrong?‘ That is exactly what they do in foreign affairs and is the same mentality. So when the Russians or the Chinese paint a very thick red line, they say ‘Yep! Let’s cross it. What could go wrong?’ Its like a bunch of young brats saying that they can do anything that they want and nobody can stop them.

        1. digi_owl

          Isn’t that some schoolyard antic where one kid draw a line with their foot and dear another to cross it?

    2. some guy

      The current Dems are only in it to get influential and maybe rich as well by preventing a New Deal semi-left from re-emerging. The only lessons the current Dems-in-power are interested in learning is how to prevent a Newer Deal semi-left from re-emerging. And they will be richly rewarded for their efforts . . . as in Clinton, Obama, etc.

      If they finally can’t succeed any more, they will personally take the money and run, and leave the burned out husk of Toad Hall behind them to crumble into dust. Karma won’t be a bitch to those people. Karma is blind and its hands are spastic. It is the re-emergent Newer Dealers who will be left to deal with the radio-active fallout of Karma . . . a Karma they didn’t earn and don’t deserve because they didn’t perpetrate any of this.

      1. ambrit

        That’s why the re-emergent New Dealers need to partner with some legit LARP types and establish Instant Karma Kommandos. As the old telephone ad put it; “Reach out and touch someone.”
        We are entering the beginning phases of a low level Civil Disturbance Phase.
        Stay safe. Stack deep.

    3. Daryl

      The constant power changes in Rome also had the effect of removing anyone near power who wasn’t grovelling and spineless or a power-seeker through and through. Caesar himself narrowly escaped one of the earlier proscriptions. And a quick review of Congress will show this to be the case.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      Another great book about the same time period is NC favorite Mike Duncan’s “The Storm Before the Storm”. I’d rank that one as the best contemporary book on Roman history I’ve ever read.

      One interesting aspect of that period is how Roman elites would deride their opponents as would-be kings out to destroy the sacred Republic, similar to how today’s Western elites deride their opponents as “authoritarians” out to destroy our sacred “democracy”. History may not repeat itself, but it really does often rhyme.

      I would also recommend that anyone interested in that time period read Michael Hudson’s latest “The Collapse of Antiquity”. Hudson gets into why the Romans, especially the elite Senators, really hated the idea of kings. A king was someone who might have the power to institute actual reforms against the will of the Senate, preventing them from continuing to rob the rest of the populace blind. If you go back a few hundred years to the early 5th century BC, the Romans were rebelling against the elite aristocracy almost as soon as the last kings were abolished.

      1. digi_owl

        And the same sort of word games seems to have at play during early English capitalism, to shield the burgeoning capitalists from potential sanctions by the king. Hence the push for “democracy”, that in practice was plutocracy as only the wealthy could vote, while branding monarchy as tyranny.

  11. Sub-Boreal


    I saw your plea for the pdf of an article in Mechanical Engineering. My institution’s access to this journal is through one of the bundling services rather than directly to the publisher, and I’m hitting a snag when I try to get to that specific issue. I’ve put in a help request to the journal access fixer in the Library, and will forward the file if and when I can get it.

    [BTW, in my experience librarians and their allied support staff are almost always wonderful, and certainly deserve an occasional spot in your new section on Helpers.]

      1. Glen

        My parting comment from behind my N95 as I leave the library every week:

        “Thank you for this generous helping of civilization!”

        They seem to be OK with it.

  12. Henry Moon Pie

    So I think Luttig’s interviewer missed a question:

    So if Trump somehow manages to get to the Oval Office again, what country are you moving to?

    Luttig is pure TDS. He doesn’t even bother to address Salmon Chase’s decision and reasoning. His dismissal of the point about none of the 1/6 participants being charged with insurrection was pure appeal to authority with him being the authority.

  13. Joe Well

    Re: January 6

    On the homepage of the Boston Globe today is a story with a lede that refers to the “Jan. 6 riot” rather than “insurrection.”

    Has anyone tracked the use of “riot” vs “insurrection” by outlet and over time?

  14. Jason Boxman

    These people are functionally stupid. You’ve got f**king COVID.

    It is unclear whether all of the players have the same illness, or whether their cases are connected, but something has been going around the U.S. Open.

    The string of illnesses comes as a late-summer wave of coronavirus infections has been reported across the United States, with indications of a rise in cases in the Northeast and in the West.

    Illnesses are possible at any tournament, where players are often in close quarters and share facilities. But with players no longer required to test for Covid-19, it is difficult to determine the cause of the illnesses among them.


  15. RA

    On the Covid graph of Weekly total and percent positive…

    I wonder if drop in blue — Number of positive tests —
    is because there are no tests to buy in local stores
    few tests to take = fewer positive tests

    I mentioned this anecdotally a couple days back and Kareninca agrees none are in stores in the SF bay area. It even made it to the local tv news today.

    The Percentage Positive line should be mostly independant to number of tests taken and is rising sharply since July as anecdotal rising case stories seem to indicate.

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