The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Some graphs and comments for LABOR DAY

For Labor Day today, David Sirota wrote:

if we hope to ever rebuild an economy that works for everyone, we’re going to need many more workers in unions and a much stronger labor movement.

and posted this graph:

Sirota continued:

This graph comes from the Economic Policy Institute — it shows the relationship between union density and the percentage of national income going to the richest 10 percent of Americans. As you can see, the larger the share of the American workforce that’s unionized, the lower the share of national income goes to the super-rich — and vice versa.

I would like to reinforce Sirota’s point by adding a graph from Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, page 24.

Clearly, there are four shifts that occur:

  • Around 1928, when income inequality stops rising;
  • Around 1940, when income inequality begins to be overcome;
  • Around 1945, when this improvement ends and income inequality remains about the same for the next three decades; and
  • Around 1980, when income inequality suddenly begins to worsen.

The first shift Piketty has explained: the stock market crash of October 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression, which destroyed much of the wealth of the top one percent. (In the financial crisis of 2008-2009, by contrast, the Bush and Obama administrations, and the Federal Reserve, pulled out all the stops to prevent the squillionaires from losing, by pouring $29 trillion in the banking and financial systems. Result: unlike the years after the 1929 crash, in the years after the 2009 crash, income inequality continued to worsen.)

The next three shifts I think are even more interesting, if we plot onto Piketty’s graph three events from the AFL-CIO’s Labor History Timeline:


The 1937 strike forced General Motors to accept the UAW as the organized representative of its wage employees, and set the pattern for labor relations until 1980.

The Taft–Hartley Act — the official name is the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 — was vetoed by President Harry S. Truman. But the Republicans had gained control of both the House and the Senate in the elections of 1946, and passed the bill over Truman’s veto. The Act prohibited unions from engaging in wildcat strikes, solidarity strikes, political strikes, secondary boycotts, secondary and mass picketing, and closed shops. Monetary donations by federal political campaigns to unions were made illegal. Taft–Hartley also allowed states to pass right-to-work laws banning union shops, and required union officers to submit signed affidavits to the federal government swearing that they were not communists and did not support the Communist Party.

Side note: Republican Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio would go on to lose the Republican nomination  for President in 1952 to General Dwight Eisenhower. Taft’s defeat led to a group of reactionary extremists like Kansas oil tycoon Fred C. Koch, and William Buckley, son of a Texas oil baron, to begin building the modern conservative and libertarian movements. [1]

Reagan’s election as President in 1980 also marks a dramatic shift for the worse in dozens of economic indicators and statistics, such as debt ratios; capital spending as a percent of GDP; government funding of science and technology; production and exports of capital goods; and all the imaginable measures of financialization. Contrary to the fantasies of the Republicans and right wing, Reagan’s election in 1980 clearly marks the decline of the United States as a world power.

Most people can pretty well figure out the causal relationships. If they’re not indoctrinated with conservatism or neoliberlism, that is. (The hostility to organized labor runs deep in these ideologies. In a Mont Pelerin Society Tract dated 1949, Friedrich von Hayek, funded by the Foundation for Economic Freedom among others, wrote, “the question of how the powers of the trade-unions can be appropriately delimited by law as well as in fact is one of the most important of all the questions which we must give our attention.”[1]  Corey Robin has revealed how von Hayek and his collaborator, Ludwig von Mises, both shared and were shaped by, Friedrich Nietzsche’s contempt for Europe’s workers, and enchantment with European aristocrats, in whose image they molded the mythical hero of the capitalist “entrepreneur.”)

If we want to actually fix the problem of income inequality, we have to give back to organized labor the power it had, but which was stripped away by the Republicans’ 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. So far, there are no leading Democrats calling for the Act’s repeal. That has to change.

[1] Heather Cox Richardson, How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for America (Oxford University Press, 2020), pp. 153 ff.

[2] Yves Steiner, “The Neoliberals Confront the Trade Unions,” in Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe, editors, The Road from Mont Pèlerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (Harvard University Press, 2009), page 182.


Wage Slavery on Labor Day


September US Covid Update


  1. someofparts

    “The Keynesian vision imagined that the state would override the behavior of the system. But if it is the case that the State itself is now dominated by the predilections of finance, the state cannot do anything if finance doesn’t like it.

    So the only way to checkmate the dictates of finance is if the country could be taken out of this web of finance through capital controls, through a re-implementation of capital controls. But that on the other hand, is going to bring about great hardship in the transitional period.

    then the standard of living of the domestic population would temporarily, at least, go down.”

  2. StewartM

    Tony, I would argue from your graph that Taft-Hartley just checked the advancing power of labor but did not reverse it. The reversal obviously started with Reagan and his policies, though there were obviously preconditions set.

  3. O/T Kevin Zeese has died.

    “It is with a sad heart that I report the sudden and unexpected death of Kevin Zeese early Sunday morning. Kevin was working up until the end and died in his sleep of a possible heart attack.

    Kevin was going to write a newsletter this weekend about the extradition trial of Julian Assange, which begins today. Kevin understood the great importance of the prosecution of Julian Assange as a battle that will define journalism in the 21st century and our right to know.

    He was helping to organize an online event featuring Daniel Ellsberg, James Goodale and Chris Hedges, moderated by Sue Udry. As far as I know, that event will still take place. You can register for it here. The Facebook page for it is here.”

  4. bruce wilder

    The power of Labor was built into the structure of the mass-production economy as it emerged from the New Deal — and not just organized Labor but also small business, professions. And, just as importantly, the relative weakness of Finance was built into the structure of the economy by law as well.

    Labor unions were undone by the maturing of the mass-production economy, the deregulation of transportation and the opening of the economy to international competition.

    TINA may have been a lie, but the left came apart in the late 1960s, its moral mission and conception of practical means exhausted. Labor’s power peaked with the auto and steel contracts of 1969, which made those industries uncompetitive vs imports. U.S. cars were crap. U.S. steel was not needed in the old volumes. Deregulation of transportation struck at the power of the Teamsters and others.

  5. Ché Pasa

    The only unions that assert their “labor” power these days are police unions; not even the other public service unions are even close to the ability of police unions to assert and project power.

    Let us consider why that is so.

    * The police are armed with a wide variety of lethal and less lethal weapons and they have little hesitation to use them — against anyone they can perceive or claim is a threat.

    * The police are extensively trained in killing, which some of their trainers assert is the highest accomplishment of a police officer.

    * The police have been granted almost unlimited budgets and almost unlimited impunity.

    * The police can and do take hostages for bargaining purposes both with the public and with their ostensible elected and appointed overseers.

    * Any sign of impedance or interference with the freedom of police to act as they will, with only they determining what is and is not appropriate, is met with fierce and often implacable resistance.

    * The police know where the bodies are buried — they buried some of them themselves — and wouldn’t hesitate to reveal what they know about the overclasses were they to face scrutiny they didn’t countenance.

    So long as electeds and the overclasses give the police what they want, without let or hindrance, they take care of those they ostensibly serve — kiss up, kick down, right?

    Mess with this arrangement, as some uppity electeds are trying to do, and all hell is unleashed.

    There must be a lesson in this somewhere….

  6. Hugh

    Seems like Volcker’s using the Fed beginning in the late 70s and early 80s to wage a war on American wages deserves a mention.

    Also from the wiki article on usury:

    “The U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously in the 1978 case, Marquette Nat. Bank of Minneapolis v. First of Omaha Service Corp., that the National Banking Act of 1863 allowed nationally chartered banks to charge the legal rate of interest in their state regardless of the borrower’s state of residence.

    In 1980, Congress passed the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act. Among the Act’s provisions, it exempted federally chartered savings banks, installment plan sellers and chartered loan companies from state usury limits. ”

    Taken together with offshoring jobs and the war on unions, the government has put in place enormous siphons of wealth to the already rich which feed off the rest of us.

  7. Willy

    It’s easy to see how average people can be influenced to believe that unions eventually corrupt the value of their particular product. But people seem to have a harder time believing that those who are actually in control, cannot be as easily corrupted.

  8. someofparts

    Turns out Archie Bunker was right when he called his son-in-law meathead.

  9. S Brennan


    WTF do you think mass-immigration and “free trade” are all about?

    You can’t have the “nice things” of the post WWII world, none of FDRism’s social safety nets, if you have an endless stream of labor, the world’s desperate, undercutting wages.

    Likewise, you can’t have the “nice things” of the post WWII world, none of FDRism’s social safety nets, if US capital can bypass the labor contracts, the pollution regulation, a myriad of social contracts…things built over generations by engaging in foreign manufacture and maintaining tariff free access to North America’s “high wage market”.

    The Chinese Communist Party understands what the US “left/liberals/D’s” do not, they tariff the shit out of foreign products, you want to sell to China, you build in China and you pay Chinese labor top dollar for the privilege or you do not have access to their markets.

    America’s “left/liberals/D’s”, indeed the “liberal” Anglo world in general need to grow TF up.

  10. Hugh

    Yes, curse those liberal Democrat free traders.

    “The impetus for a North American free trade zone began with U.S. president Ronald Reagan, who made the idea part of his 1980 presidential campaign. After the signing of the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement in 1988, the administrations of U.S. president George H. W. Bush, Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, and Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney agreed to negotiate what became NAFTA”

    I would say that free trade has been very much part of the neoliberal agenda, but neoliberalism is as much a part of the Republican party as the Democratic party. Trump is a disruptor, but I doubt that what he has done on trade has brought one good manufacturing job back to the US.

  11. StewartM

    Bruce Wilder:

    Labor’s power peaked with the auto and steel contracts of 1969, which made those industries uncompetitive vs imports. U.S. cars were crap.

    Yes, US cars were crap but not because of labor, it’s because of our MBA-schooled Wall Street ‘geniuses’ who made them crap. For example, Lordstown, OH:

    GMAD embodied GM’s new strategy of centralizing and automating in order to up output and slash costs. And its head, Joseph Godfrey, embodied GMAD. The crewcut-sporting son of a former GM president, Godfrey was everything the Lordstown shop floor hippies weren’t. He spent his days poring over computer printout sheets and had a ruthless focus on the big picture.

    “We have to compete with the foreigner,” Godfrey told the New York Times. The way to do that, he said, was to cut costs. And the key to that was technology—Lordstown’s robot welders, high-tech assembly line, and a new suite of computer systems that monitored output and quality.

    How did workers fit into this vision? To Godfrey, their contribution could be reduced to a simple calculation of how much activity could be wrung from them. “Within reason and without endangering their health,” he said, “if we can occupy a man for 60 minutes [per paid hour], we’ve got that right.”

    How? Line speed, for one. At Lordstown’s usual pace of 60 cars an hour, assembly line work was hard, but doable. In fact, GM could quite reasonably have squeezed out a few more cars per hour by upping the line speed to a pace of 65 or even possibly 70. Instead, management cranked up the pace to a dizzying speed of 100 cars an hour. “It deemed these moves to be reasonable because the Lordstown lines had been designed to build up to 140 cars an hour,” writes Ingrassia in Crash Course.

    In other words, Godfrey’s plan wasn’t to boost productivity by making it easier for workers to do more, faster. Instead, it was simply to force them to do so. This was unheard of, then and now, says O’Hara. “We’re the only plant in the whole world, in the whole history of auto manufacturing, that ever did 100 an hour.”

    The line speed-up meant assemblers had to cram the same work they used to do in 60 seconds into a mere 36 seconds. To keep workers in sync with that frenetic pace, the higher-ups instituted new rigid disciplinary measures, explains Russo, stepping up harassment and threats.

    “GMAD was known as a kind of gestapo, no-holds-barred, ‘if you don’t like it get out of here’ approach,” he says. (In addition to studying Lordstown labor history, Russo has some firsthand experience with GMAD’s methods, having worked at a Michigan Oldsmobile plant during the division’s reign of terror. He recalls the foreman telling him, ‘Shut up, college boy and do your job,” when he suggested ways of improving workflow.)

    Many of GMAD tactics seemed shortsighted—and sometimes downright petty. Employees who flagged flawed parts got a chewing-out from supervisors, even though cutting corners on quality would wind up raising warranty expenses, eating into profit. Foremen forbade the widespread practice among Lordstown workers of covering for each other on the line so that everyone could take breaks, says Kenneth Picklesimer. “Managers just started being real jerks,” he says.

    As it happens, many of the 700 or so workers GMAD had laid off in its cost-cutting crusade were quality-control inspectors made redundant by the spiffy new computer systems and advanced automation that left little room for human error.

    That’s what GMAD assumed, anyway. But the new technology was untested. And even the most draconian supervision couldn’t change the fact that, as Ingrassia notes, the Vega was too complicated to be assembled at warp speed.

    GM was about to find this out the hard way

    At first, the story goes, Vegas started rolling off the assembly line with their seats slashed, windshields cracked, ignition keys jammed in locks, or other seemingly intentional flaws. As Time magazine reported in February 1972, the sheer volume of defective cars soon caused a backup in Lordstown’s overflow lots. With no room left to hold finished Vegas, managers had to do the unthinkable: Stop the assembly line. GM suffered around $40 million in lost output, according to Time.

    Lordstown workers were mounting a guerrilla assault on the world’s most powerful company, and the media couldn’t get enough of it. The apparent acts of Vega vandalism proved an irresistibly dramatic enactment of a new source of anxiety gripping the American public in the early 1970s: absenteeism, turnover, worker delinquency, and general disaffection popularly known as “blue collar blues.”

    However, despite press reports at the time, it’s not at all clear whether the bulk of the Vega defects were deliberate.

    “The line was too fast and workers didn’t have enough time, so they’d just leave their parts in the front seat. That became a symbol of industrial sabotage, but in reality it was just a response to the speed of the line,” says Russo. “I’m not saying some people didn’t say ‘to hell with it’ [and vandalize a car]. But the reason originally was that the line was going too fast.”

    That’s in keeping with what Picklesimer remembers.

    “I did hear from reliable sources that a couple of people damaged a few vehicles because they were angry but I don’t think it was to the extent that the company was saying,” he says. His experience supported the much more mundane explanation: The assembly line was moving too fast for people to finish their work, and quality control staff had been laid off.

    So GM’s woes were the results of the decision-making of people who likely had no practical experience making cars, deciding what could be done behind an armor-plated desk. Moreover, to drive the point home, when Toyota took from GM what GM thought was a jettisonable plant in California, those same old no-good pampered UAW workers turned out cars that topped the Consumer Reports charts in reliability. No, the downfall of the US auto industry can all be lain at the foot of Wall Street, which always manages to lose the hundred-dollar bills in its quest to pinch pennies.

  12. StewartM


    I wouldn’t even say Trump is a disruptor, just a loud con man. He essentially tweaked NAFTA into the same pile of crap and blessed it; and the Chinese were eating his lunch in the talks.

    But you’re right, people forget that all these free trade fiascos were negotiated by Republican administrations first then Conservadem presidents like Clinton and Obama just continued the ball rolling. The fact you can blame the latter doesn’t mean at all you pretend the former wouldn’t have done at least the same job, if not worse.

  13. Chicago Clubs

    “you pay Chinese labor top dollar”

    Yes, those incredible wages that are so good they fling themselves from factories to escape all the winning.

  14. different clue

    The David Sirota post shows the Big Long-Trend Correlation ( at the very least) between Union Membership Collapse and Upper Class Wealth Monopolization.

    Several comments have offered good partial reasons for this happening, all true and all interlocking and all mutually co-force-multiplying.

    If somebody reading this comment is only 7-degrees-of-Kevin Bacon away from Tony Wikrent or David Sirota . . . . or hopefully even less far away than that . . . . perhaps they could
    suggest to either Tony Wikrent or David Sirota to make a more granular version of this basic graph, graduated by single years and not just 25-year time-spans. And every contributory reason or cause-along-the-way could be noted on the particular year out along the timeline of the chart.

    The New Deal-Fair Deal period was the high point of “ordered capitalism under law”. The anti-New Deal Upper Class and Overclass began plotting immediately to abolish the New Deal in stages, and spent the next few decades removing the New Deal. The only remnants left are the Wages and Hours Laws, the fading ghost of the so-called Wagner Act, the fading remnants of Public Utility Regulation, and Social Security, and maybe a few other things which I am forgetting.

    A political party devoted to protecting these things, restoring the abolished things, and saying why in very clear language , might earn enough support over time to be able to accomplish that mission.

    I think President Slicky Bill Clinton deserves a mention. Reagan and his team did hard work writing up a whole bunch of Forcey Free-Trade agreements. A legacy New Dealish Democratic House of Representatives kept voting them down. It was Slicky Bill ( one of Jeffrey Epstein’s Pedophile Airways frequent fliers, let’s not forget) who finally achieved turning those theoretical agreements into actual law.

    And it was Slicky Bill’s achievement of the Forcey Free-Trade Agreements and treaties-or-whatevers which finally convinced the House-of-Representatives-voting-public that the Democratic Party had joined the Republican Party in being the Social Class Enemy Party. Overly broad-brush analysts who see all the Reagan Democrats who voted for Reagan against Carter fail to remember ( or maybe never even knew) that many of the same Democratic Party voters who went Reagan Democrat for Reagan remained firmly pro-Democrat at their own Congressional District level. One example of that would be all the Reagan Democrat voters in McComb County, Michigan who voted for Reagan against Carter but yet kept voting for their own Fairly Firm Left Congressman . . . David Bonior. If Marcy Kaptur’s district and/or Kucinich’s district went for Reagan-for-President while reMAINing Bonior–Kaptur–Kucinich–etc. for House, then saying that Reagan Democrats for Reagan were also for Forcey Free-Trade and antiunionitic classist antiunionite policies and etc. are being self-misleading in their analyises.

    These Legacy New Deal House Districts did not go Republican until AFter the Great Slicky Bill Betrayal and Double Cross and Triple Cross and DoubleDouble Cross and etc. Certain slimy little Clinton hasbarists who sometimes visit from a Jonestown Clinton cult blog try their hardest to obscure that basic fact.

    Let us now condemn Infamous Men.

  15. S Brennan

    Chicago Clubs: You need to keep up with the times;

    you sound like an old blowhard who’s world view is set in stone. Get with it.

  16. someofparts

    The caliber of comments here today is typical and the reason I keep showing up. Bravo gentlemen, and heartfelt thanks for a better education than I got in most classrooms.

  17. different clue


    You have probably been reading these threads long enough to know that they are irregularly flooded by waves of trolls. Sometimes people get frustrated and say all the trollage detracts from the quality of the threads and could even make them time-loss not worth reading anymore.

    My response, in anticipation of the next troll wave sure to come, is that it only takes a few seconds to realize a comment is just trolling. At that point one can stop reading and move on to the next comment. The trolls-of-the-moment can quickly be identified by their blognames. At which point the reader can scroll past them as soon as recognizing the name.

    Blogging is not activism. But as long as blogging does not preTEND to be activism, blogging has nothing to be ashamed of. Blogging can be a way to give and receive information. Some readers can then take that information with them, inside their own heads, into the Offline Reality-Space; to apply at their leisure.

    The nicest thing about a blog is that we don’t all have to be on here at the same analog-realpoint in realtime as eachother. Individuals can log in and log out at any random time and be able to see/read/learn everything which was here at the moment of their logging-in.

    I read once about two tribes in the Amazon who traded with eachother without even knowing who eachother were or ever even having seen eachother. How did they do that? Sometime in the misty past someone from one of the tribes left an interesting object by the bank of the river.
    When that someone came back, heeshee found herm’s object . . . GONE! And aNOTHer object in its PLACE! And so the two tribes began trading by leaving things at that one same experimentally determined two-way dead drop.

    And so it can be with actionable or even weaponisable information. Someone can leave it here. Someone else can find it here later. And if they like, they can leave their own gift of information in return even later, right here.

    If would-be information-sharers were to start doing that right here, in these threads on this blog . . . . eventually more people would find out about it and begin doing the very same thing.
    If people decided to do that at exactly cyclical reliable times and posts . . . . say at every Tony Wikrent Report and every Open Thread . . . . a whole lot of other people might eventually come here at those times for those threads to find information. They might even bring information.
    And the inevitable trolls can be ignored and waded through to get to the information.

  18. Willy

    I seem to remember somebody here calling todays politically progressive union members weaklings for not being able to do what his brethren had done back in the day: stuff like bringing axe handles to picket lines.

    I’ve belonged to two unions. As a kid I was in the grocery retail clerks. Most store managers played by the rules. But we had one manager, a sociopath who made it clear (nonverbally) that he would never consider anybody for advancement into management if they ever refused to work off the clock. Union reps offered what support they could, but it took years before that issue was addressed in any meaningful way.

    My second union was a professional one which went on strike after the offshoring craze hit. It wasn’t just jobs but core technologies which were going to places like Russia, Japan and China. Management made it clear that anybody who got a little too feisty on the picket line, or became “uncooperative” later, would never see any career advancement. A lot of conservatives opted out for philosophical reasons telling us that whole divisions would simply go overseas if we became too expensive for the company. Plus somehow, and in some way, it was all for the best.

    I’m curious what our older, wiser, much manlier union brothers would have done in either situation. Video phones hadn’t been invented yet, so I’m open to ideas involving axe handles. Better yet, what would you guys do under todays circumstances?

  19. Plague Species

    You can never go back. We can argue until the cows come home, they never will, about the how and why of it, but one thing is certain and cannot be argued, it’s all water under the burning bride. Blowhards who views are set in stone need to get with it. FDR, like God and the majority of species, is dead. Times have changed. Time itself is nearing its expiration date. There is no going back.

  20. Olivier

    @StewartM Fascinating; thanks for that! Of particular note was: “Employees who flagged flawed parts got a chewing-out from supervisors” This is eerily reminiscent from Boeing, isn’t it?

  21. Hugh

    We can discuss the key events behind the post’s lines and graphs but what about the question? Where have our rulers, the rich and elites, been for the last 70 to 80 years? Why did they not reverse these effects (Yes, I know why.) But that they didn’t, why do they keep their privileges? Why do we continue to let them be either rich or elite? It always comes back to the same thing. They didn’t fail. They actively betrayed.

    It’s like the newest revelation from Woodward’s new book. Trump talked about how dangerous Covid-19 was going to be –on tape back in early February– and how he always wanted to play it down (even though it was screaming out to be addressed and is going to cost hundreds of thousands of lives because it wasn’t.)

  22. Plague Species

    Woodward’s latest proves what I’ve been saying all along. The POTUS is Osama bin Trump. He Trumps Al Qaeda. He’s a mass murderer. He knew what he was going to do related to the pandemic and did it. He perfectly understood the severity of the pandemic and its implications. He murdered. The intent is there in his own words. The lives lost this far were sacrificed by Odonald bin Trump. When it’s all said and done, he will have achieved the greatness of Hitler, Mao and Stalin in number of deaths directly by his hand.

    The media, namely the liberal faction of the media because Fox is busy bragging about Trump being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize which is yet another example that 2020 is 1984, is setting it up so the conclusion you draw is that the way to deal with this ongoing mass murder of American citizens is to vote him out in November. Sorry, no dice, assholes. This is not the way to deal with a mass murderer. A mass murderer is arrested, tried and convicted and then executed. I will not be voting Trump out of office by voting for someone who helped give us this mass murdering psychopath in the first place. Remove him from the office the old-fashioned way. You know, the way JFK was removed from office since you don’t seem capable of doing it constitutionally when it’s a slam dunk.

    Presidents are not above the law. It just takes some balls to arrest, prosecute and convict them. Biden, if he were to win, won’t do that and so he will set further precedence for more, and more brazen, lawlessness on the part of the Executive. Spot on Jimmy Dore. Well done.

  23. @hugh “Trump talked about how dangerous Covid-19 was going to be –on tape back in early February– and how he always wanted to play it down (even though it was screaming out to be addressed and is going to cost hundreds of thousands of lives because it wasn’t.)”

    @Plague Species “The POTUS is Osama bin Trump. He Trumps Al Qaeda. He’s a mass murderer. He knew what he was going to do related to the pandemic and did it. He perfectly understood the severity of the pandemic and its implications. He murdered.”

    Meh. Trump’s flip-flopping, at-times Pollyanish rhetoric, underscores what a terrible communicator and politician he is. His biggest sin as a crisis manager was allowing grifting (I admit I don’t know many details of the grifting, but allowing states to bid against each other, in a time of crisis, for lifesaving ventilators is beyond idiotic.) Since we don’t know the details of what the pandemic response team that Obama left him would have done (well, I don’t know the details), it’s not clear that it would have made much difference. (Other than to tame the grifting, though that is an assumption on my part.)

    I actually don’t know to what extent we can blame Trump for not ramping up PEP supplies rapidly enough. Trump says that he invoked mandatory manufacturing (I forget what it’s called) over 30 times. As is usual for Trump, he didn’t mention any details. As is usual for the media (at least with respect to my consumption of it), the details were either not mentioned, or else not given much oxygen.

    His biggest rhetorical and communication gaffes are up for debate, but I wish that somebody would explain to him the desirability of “under promise, but over deliver”.

    With the perspective now available, we can rely on honest evaluators of science to inform us how useful lockdowns would have been (which Trump can’t authorize, anyway, AFAIK, some of his claims notwithstanding), and similarly facemask mandates (at least those imposed the infection rate had significantly declined).

    So much for sort of ‘standard’ points of contention between D & R types, and what might be mentioned in mainstream media.

    From where I sit, though, his biggest failings are hardly mentioned, if at all. His biggest failing were to not “go to war” for hydroxychloroquine (while being a big enough pig to score some for himself); and secondly, not to push Vitamin D sufficiency – again, pushing for it relentlessly. Even on the Laura Ingraham show, which has had many segments on hydroxychloroquine (though none for Vit D, AFAIK; HMMMMM), she never criticized the President for his cowardly and piggish relationship with hydroxychloroquine.

    Trump is NOT the biggest villain, when it comes to Vitamin D sufficiency (which was well motivated long before the covid pandemic); nor availability of hydroxychloroquine. Would it not be more LOGICAL – and more HONEST – to say that the CDC, FDA, and WHO* are more worthy of the title “mass murderer”, than Trump? Trump may have a moral responsibility to push Vitamin D sufficiency, but the legal responsibility lies elsewhere.

    There is a new youtube video by the superb Ivor Cummins, called “Viral Issue Crucial Update Sept 8th: the Science, Logic and Data Explained!”, which is highly recommended to anybody actually interested in good science, as opposed to merely parroting “listen to the scientists”, ala Greta Thunberg and CNN ‘luminaries’. There is still some unexplained (in my view) excess deaths in the US, due to covid, compared to other countries. (The biggest factor in countries of similar climate and latitude, having differing excess deaths linked to covid, is how mild their flu deaths were the previous year. Countries with lots of “dry tinder” had worse epidemics. See 8:22 – 11:30. In the paper shown at 11:20, they are suggesting 25-50% of Sweden’s higher covid death rates, compared to other Nordic countries, is due to the “dry tinder” effect, though Cummins thinks it’s “quite a bit higher” than this.)

    Without trying to analyze the data (just eyeballing things), even when you consider the various regional climate variations in their relationship to the covid epidemic; and even when you consider severity of the flu season last year, the US appears to have a lot more deaths than we should have. My guess is that this can be mostly explained by higher degree of co-morbidities. The US has high obesity rates, and I’m guessing we’re ‘leaders’ in chronic degenerative diseases.

    To “Orange Man Bad – Always” crowd though, serious attempts at understanding must be sacrificed for the sake of assigning Trump blame, even when he doesn’t have either the most agency, or responsibility.

    After all, there’s an election coming up.

    Cummins has argued that lockdowns and facemasks during the summer are not just useless, but counter-productive, as they are inhibiting the spread of various aspects of group immunity during a time when risk of illness from exposure to covid is extremely low.

    * I throw in WHO because, as youtuber Dr. Campbell has pointed out, while the WHO called for randomized controlled trials of Vitamin D sufficiency against covid, they weren’t actually funding any.

  24. different clue


    About Trump not stopping the grifting, I suspect he wouldn’t stop the grifting because his whole career has been based on grifting, with a great big inheritance to start it all off.

    He has never had the slightest trace of production engineering design capitalism. He is no Bob Lutz, for example.

    About the near-unanimous un-interest in Vitamin D sufficiency among all relevant health authorities . . . I suspect the hired doctors and etc. therein actually believe in ” people already get enough Vitamin D, thank you very much”. The medical and health priesthoods believe in it and they select for new recruits who will also believe in it. And alternative views are forced underground or kept way out on the edges.

    Who benefits and fosters this condition ” from above”? I have no hard factual evidence as to “who duzzit”, but I ask myself the following question: If the Global Overclass wants to kill 7 billion people over the next hundred years and make it look like Fate and a Long Rolling Accident, how would they do it? The careful fostering of mass immunolytic sub-acute nutrient defficiency designed to make people lethally vulnerable to various diseases would certainly be a very good “no fingerprints” method.

    Mankind has begun its Long Death March through the Valley of Selection. Those who apply the Underground Dissident View as to how much Vitamin D they should be getting might find themselves among Darwin’s Happy Few.

  25. @different clue
    “About the near-unanimous un-interest in Vitamin D sufficiency among all relevant health authorities . . . I suspect the hired doctors and etc. therein actually believe in ” people already get enough Vitamin D, thank you very much”

    I think the biggest problem with this idea is that data shows low vitamin D blood levels in Americans of about 40%. Cooper Institute claims low vitamin D blood levels amongst blacks of 76%, but others put it as high as 80-82%.

    My understanding is that the standard for judging low is not even based on the best science. It is, instead, a very conservative standard, which can probably be attained by consuming the oldish daily RDA of 400 IU. (I think that may have been bumped to 600 IU).

    This is just too scandalous to not be known about. For such a stupendous percent of the population to fail to attain even conservative levels of blood vitamin D, when supplements of D are so cheap.

    I’d prefer actual data on the poo-bahs who abandoned such large segments of the population to an unnecessary fate. But, if I had to speculate, I would guess that they simply are captured by Big Pharma, and only want to allow expensive treatments. IOW, greed explains their behavior, at the very top. Those lower on the totem pole might primarily be motivated by fear, since pointing out that the king wears no close could be the end of their careers.

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