2:00PM Water Cooler 5/29/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

“Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegone….”

* * *

Patient readers, I got wrapped round the axel on COVID19. I have to add more material on events in Minneapolis. –Lambert UPDATE All done!


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Today I thought I would look at Southeast Asia: South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines:

The vertical scale is scaled to the highlight, South Korea, and so really excellent performers, like VIetnam and Thailand, are jammed together at the bottom. All the curves are calendar-, not inception-based. It’s not clear to me that the “moar sunlight” hypothesis has great weight, given the relative performance of Singapore and Vietnam (or Thailand). I marked the portion of the curves with a box called “Hmm” because we see curves of relatively the same shape, although at different levels, which then radically diverge. Singapore just loses it, Indonesia and the Philippines do badly, and South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand seem to throttle the disease (we can only hope). But our Sunbelt states, seemingly chugging along: Are they in their own “Hmm” box right now? See The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project:

Alert reader CL writes: “You commented today about wanting to see a plot of excess deaths. There is a preliminary dashboard for that over at the CDC.” Here it is. This is an embed, so ought to be interactive. If not, the link is here:


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

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

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

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden Eyes Gradual Return to the Campaign Trail” [Bloomberg]. “Biden has stayed at home for more than two months, holding campaign events and media appearances from a basement studio, in keeping with health experts’ guidance. The timing of his basement exit would be propitious for Biden as President Donald Trump’s re-election effort continues to reel from the shaky coronavirus response and a souring economy with more than 40 million people unemployed. As Trump pushes Americans — including Biden — to come out of their homes, Biden’s natural affinity for campaigning could draw a sharp distinction. • Since when does Biden have a “natural affinity” for campaigning? For example: “On Monday, a pool of 11 journalists covered his cemetery visit, wearing masks and mostly keeping at least six feet from the candidate. It wasn’t perfect. When Biden responded to a reporter’s shouted question, he kept his mask on, making the answer nearly incomprehensible.” • How on earth did Biden’s campaign team let that happen? It’s the same story yesterday with Biden’s seeming pétarade; the video was made in his study, and so Biden’s staff — presumably, and if not, why not? — controlled the feed. Was there nobody with their finger on the bleep button? This seems trivial, until one remembers that one way Biden promises to return to normalcy is competent administration.

Biden (D)(2): “Klobuchar makes her not-so-quiet bid to be Joe Biden’s running mate” [CNN]. “The prospect that Biden could pick Klobuchar has generated a fierce backlash from some Democrats, who signaled the three-term senator would be an unacceptable choice stemming in part for her criminal justice record while she was a county attorney. That record could resurface as her home state grapples with the death of George Floyd, who died this week in Minneapolis after pleading that he couldn’t breathe while a police officer held him down with a knee on his neck. Klobuchar, along with other Minnesota lawmakers, has called for an investigation into the death, and told CNN the case is ‘just crying out for some kind of a charge.'” • Biden picking Klobuchar would be the Mother of All Sister Souljah Moments, wouldn’t it?

Biden (D)(3): “Biden’s “You Ain’t Black” Comment Is Symptomatic of Democrats’ Deeper Race Problem” [Briahna Joy Gray, Current Affairs]. “Democrats indulge in a kind of racial essentialism—a presumption that political allegiances are a part of one’s racial identity. It’s obvious that someone like Biden is not in a position to define what does and doesn’t constitute true Blackness. But nobody should be portraying Black voters as a uniform bloc whose political loyalties are predetermined by their identity.”

Cuomo (D)(1): “Cuomo’s coronavirus halo begins to fade” [Politico]. • That’s a damn shame.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “Briahna Joy Gray Is Not Backing Down” (interview) [Jacobin]. “We have Democrats saying things about, “Trump voters deserve to live in squalor. They voted for him, and that’s the world that they deserve, the outcome that they deserve.” Not thinking about worlds of imperfect information, or the extent to which their lives have intrinsic value, or that people change and evolve over time. And that they have children who did not make those voting choices who live in those households.” • Good point on the children. Sane. Relatable.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“‘Don’t Look for a Soothsayer’: An Interview with Harry Enten” (interview) [New York Review of Books]. Enten: “[T]here hasn’t been a single election like this one in the polling era, which began, roughly speaking, in the 1940s or 1950s. Fortunately, most events during a political campaign don’t tend to move the polls. Moreover, we’re dealing with a contest that has been incredibly static over time in terms of movement in the polls: Biden’s been ahead by around a little more than five points nationally for nearly a year and a half. Campaigns that are steady in the early going have a tendency to remain that way to the end. Of course, we have to allow for a lot of uncertainty into that. What happens if we get a vaccine or a great drug for treatment that helps us beat coronavirus late in the campaign? What happens if the economy rebounds and has a strong month just before the election? The possibility of unforeseen events is greater now than perhaps ever.”

UPDATE “Black voters don’t trust mail ballots. That’s a problem for Democrats” [Reuters]. “During the most recent national elections, the 2018 congressional midterms, only about 11% of black voters cast their ballots by mail, according to Census figures. That’s the lowest percentage of any measured ethnic group, and it’s just under half the rate of white voters. There are a variety of reasons. For African Americans such as Fason, striding to the polls is a powerful act, both symbolic and substantive. Some black voters fear their mail ballots might get lost or rejected. African Americans are more transient than other racial groups and have high rates of homelessness, government statistics show, major barriers to mail voting. That could pose a problem for Democrats if in-person voting is severely restricted in November and many polling stations closed because of coronavirus worries.”

Stats Watch

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

Manufacturing: “May 2020 Chicago Purchasing Managers Barometer Hit Lowest Level Since 1982” [Econintersect]. “The Fed manufacturing surveys were in contraction this month because of the coronavirus impacts.” From ISM Chicago: “The Chicago Business BarometerTM, produced with MNI, fell to 32.3 in May, hitting the lowest level since March 1982.”

Personal Income: “April 2020 Headline Personal Income Jumps, Expenditures Significantly Declines” [Econintersect]. “This month the coronavirus again killed consumer spending which is down 13.6 %. Income grew because of the economic recovery payments sent to most Americans.”

Consumer Sentiment: “Final May 2020 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Largely Unchanged But Still At Low Levels” [Econintersect]. “Consumer sentiment has remained largely unchanged during the past two months, with the final May estimate just a half index point above the April reading. The CARES relief checks and higher unemployment payments have helped to stem economic hardship, but those programs have not acted to stimulate discretionary spending due to uncertainty about the future course of the pandemic. It should not be surprising that a growing number of consumers expected the economy to improve from its recent standstill, or that the majority still thought conditions in the economy would remain unfavorable in the year ahead. This has been a common occurrence in past cycles.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 23 May 2020 – Looking For Signs Of Improvement” [Econintersect]. “Intermodal and carloads are under Great Recession values. Whilst container exports from China are now recovering, container exports from the U.S. continues to slow. The rate of growth of rail had been improving before the coronavirus (even though it was in contraction) – and now the coronavirus is driving rail deeper into contraction. The effects of coronavirus will continue to slow rail. The AAR thinks they see some signs of improvement – but I need to see a clear sign above the normal volatility of rail.”

* * *

Honey for the Bears: “Fed’s Mester says it’s hard to imagine quick V-shaped recovery’ [Reuters]. “‘The recovery could be slow,’ Mester said Friday during an interview with Bloomberg TV. ‘When we have so many people out of work it’s hard to imagine that we see a quick V-shaped recovery.'”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 51 Neutral (previous close: 50 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 29 at 1:18pm. This hovering around neutral is getting to me. 2020 has, so far, been the least neutral year imaginable.

The Biosphere

“An almost perfectly efficient light-activated catalyst for producing hydrogen from water” [Nature]. ” One promising sustainable energy carrier is hydrogen, if it can be produced using renewable energy sources — hydrogen is a green fuel, because its combustion produces only pure water. Writing in Nature, Takata et al.1 report a breakthrough in catalyst design that might accelerate the development of large-scale processes for making hydrogen from water using sunlight…. This is a spectacular result for several reasons,” those reasons being above my paygrade as well. Readers?

Health Care

“To mask or not to mask children to overcome COVID-19″ [European Journal of Pediatrics]. ” To reduce the role of asymptomatic or poorly symptomatic people in COVID-19, universal use of face masks in addition to hand hygiene and safety distance seems extremely useful…. In addition to the availability of masks of different sizes capable of adapting perfectly to the face, it is necessary that the use of masks in children is preceded by a strong parental work and school lessons on this issue and other hygiene topics with the main aim to obtain child cooperation.”

“Paul Garner: Covid-19 and fatigue—a game of snakes and ladders” [British Medical Journal]. “‘Beware the apparition’, a friend said to me. I have had post-viral fatigue in the past with dengue and it just slowed me down, but this was somehow different. ‘Boom and bust’—you feel great, do a little bit more than usual and come crashing down the next day. I felt aggrieved as I had not done much at all. ‘You don’t understand pacing’, the ME [Myalgic Encephalomyelitis] Association adviser Charles Shepherd told me. He explained that this ‘post-exertional symptom exacerbation; is a good signal for people with the chronic fatigue syndrome/ME. The difference is with covid-19, the fatigue is happening at the same time as other dangerous complications. I looked at the Facebook self-help groups, many were describing ‘relapses/’ On quizzing many had the ‘apparition.’ They thought they were better and had taken the opportunity to clean the house top to bottom or go out on a long bike ride.”

“Modeling Epidemics With Compartmental Models” [JAMA]. “[T]he parameters in a traditional SIR model do not allow for quantification of uncertainty in model parameters. The parameter inputs are point estimates, which are single values reflecting the modeler’s best guess. A common strategy in predicting the course of an epidemic is to calculate the SIR model over a few possible values for each parameter. The result is a range of future trajectories, but this strategy does not formally quantify the uncertainty in the predictions. More complex models use distributions for each parameter instead of a point estimate to characterize the probability of various future trajectories.” • This paper is way above my paygrade; perhaps an epidemiologist maven can elucidate. Taleb doesn’t think much of SIR models, though.

“Map: COVID-19 meat plant closures” [Meat + Poultry]. The map is interactive to the plant level, but here’s a high-level view:

“There’s A Cover-Up Happening In Iowa” [Iowa Starting Line]. “Though Iowa has put out some information on meatpacking plant outbreaks, Gov. Reynolds and IDPH has done their best to obfuscate their severity, limit public announcements and just outright ignore problems when they can. Most of what Iowans know of these outbreaks have only come after dogged investigations from local reporters. The reason is to keep these plants running at all costs, both so that company executives don’t lose money and that local hog farmers don’t have their supply chain disrupted. The cost to keep everything going is simply workers’ lives and their health. This trade-off need not exist — it is possible to both keep workers safe and plants running, but it seems that anything that may slow production in the slightest is avoided.” • I would imagine the same is happening at many other plants on the map above.

“Church challenges COVID-19 stay-at-home order (Updated)” [SCOTUSBlog]. “In its 33-page filing, which was submitted to the Supreme Court over the weekend but wasn’t docketed until today, the South Bay United Pentecostal Church acknowledges that the “COVID-19 pandemic is a national tragedy” but argues that it “would be equally tragic if the federal judiciary allowed the ‘fog-of-war’ to act as an excuse for violating federal constitutional rights.” Those rights are being violated, the church contends, because the reopening plan outlined by California Governor Gavin Newsom and San Diego County allowed retail stores, offices, restaurants and schools to open on May 20, while keeping the church and other houses of worship closed. Moreover, the church adds, Newsom justified the later opening for churches by explaining that the reopening plan gave priority to services that the state considers more important.” • Typically, one does not sing or exchange the kiss of peace in a liquor store. YMMV!

“Hydroxychloroquine and the Political Polarization of Science” [Boston Review]. My bottom line: “[T]here is a huge amount of information circulating that has some scientific legitimacy but that may be dramatically underdeveloped and more likely than normal scientific findings to be overturned. Claims about hydroxychloroquine fall into this category. Despite widely reported but hardly definitive recent studies, which Trump’s media critics have latched onto as evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not improve outcomes, the scientific jury is still out. We do not yet know whether hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, or other possible treatments are effective for COVID-19. This legitimate uncertainty means that pundits and journalists who treat claims supporting hydroxychloroquine as akin to typical misinformation (or radical conspiracy theories) are misdiagnosing the situation. Trumpeting hydroxychloroquine is undoubtedly risky, both because current evidence is too mixed to support that claim and because it can lead to problems like drug hoarding. But sharing anecdotal accounts of the success of hydroxychloroquine in various clinical settings is not necessarily misinformation—and neither is sharing information about failed clinical trials or shortages for patients who need the drug for other purposes. These are all pieces of evidence that should inform any reasonable person’s beliefs about hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19.” • This piece is well worth a read because it traces how hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment propagated.

“Guest Post: What will we learn from COVID-19?” [PHRMA]. • Entertaining, in its own way.

The 420

“‘Cannabis burned during worship’ by ancient Israelites – study” [BBC]. “A well-preserved substance found in a 2,700-year-old temple in Tel Arad has been identified as cannabis, including its psychoactive compound THC…. Thanks in part to the dry climate, and to the burial, the remains of burnt offerings were preserved on top of these altars.” • Lev 2:1: “He shall take out the memorial portion from the grain offering and burn it on the altar as an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.” Alrighty, then!

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“When the looting starts, the shooting starts” has a history:

Josh Bartlett would have used his indoor voice:

Liberal Democrats clutch their pearls over over Trump’s use of “thug.” Come on, man:

“Obama calls Baltimore rioters thugs, says entire country has work to do” [McClatchy]. From 2015 (Baltimore, Freddie Gray), still germane. “Obama decried as ‘criminals and thugs’ those who looted stores and torched vehicles in [Baltimore] after the funeral service for an African-American man who died of spinal cord injuries a week after an encounter with police.”

“President Obama: Don’t Use Ferguson as ‘An Excuse for Violence'” [ABC]. From 2014 (Ferguson, Michael Brown), still germane. “‘We saw during the summer the possibility of even overwhelmingly peaceful crowds being overrun by a few thugs who might be looking for an excuse to loot or to commit vandalism,’ Obama told Stephanopoulos. ‘What I’ve done is called Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri, to make sure that he has a plan to respond in a careful and appropriate way to any potential violence, to be able to sort out the vast majority of peaceful protesters from the handful who are not.'” • The “careful and appropriate way” was, of course, calling in the national guard.

* * *

UPDATE This is extremely odd:

Quite a fetching outfit. I’ve seen multiple videos and photos of this (white!) guy (here, here, here, and here); it’s almost like he wanted to be seen. But why? And does the black umbrella remind you of anything? Well…

Lots of speculation on the various threads. Indulge yourself1 But do remember that Reddit did a terrible job with the Marathon Bomber….

UPDATE Tactical ingenuity:

Sports Desk


But insufficiently generalized?

Groves of Academe

“Protected by Decades-Old Power Structures, Three Renowned Harvard Anthropologists Face Allegations of Sexual Harassment” [Harvard Crimson]. “Bestor, Urton, and Comaroff — the three faculty members accused of sexual misconduct — are all both tenured professors in one of the world’s most renowned anthropology departments and major figures in the field at large.”

News of the Wired

“The Vintage Beauty Of Soviet Control Rooms” [Design You Trust]. • Primitive Soviets, they don’t even have touch screens! What would Elon Musk think?

Then again, from a UI/UX perspective, you’ve got to wonder if those big ol’ analog controls have something to be said for them.

Let this be a lesson for those who play American Roulette:

To be fair to the ridiculous Larry Summers, studying the impressionists is not such a bad thing:

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

TH writes: “I believe this peach bloom with faint pink accents would be defined as a full-petalled, rosette-sshaped bloom.”

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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. Howard Beale IV

    Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin charged with thrid-degree murder and manslaughter, per Hennepin County attorney.

      1. Beniamino

        Yeah, and why not first-degree murder (for the whole lot of them)? How long do you need to press your entire body weight onto a person’s throat before it’s considered deliberate and premeditated?

        1. Rory

          Minnesota criminal law may have changed recently, but as I recall a first degree murder charge can only come from a grand jury, which has not yet been convened. A first degree murder charge could be added to the existing charges if the jury issues an indictment.

      2. J.k

        Right, what about the other two that were holding down Mr. Floyds body. That one cop certainly would not have been able to do what he did without the direct assistance from the other two. This is going to piss a lot of people off.
        Can you imagine if atleast three of those officers were arrested immediately? The past couple days would have played out quite differently.

        Damnit, are we heading towards a future where all activity in a city will be monitored by drones in the skies which fly in the air at all times. This technology was developed in Iraq to fight the insurgency. Then it was deployed in Mexico about 10ish years ago to completely dismantle couple of cartels that were competing with the u.s. preferred cartels.
        These drones capture ALL movements in the public. Simply rewind the video and leo can see exactly where the bank robber went. Further leo can discover everyone he comes in contact with, bringing down the criminal network.
        Apparently there was an attempt to deploy this tech in a small city several years ago by a private company in cooperation with law enforcement to fight crime. But when the public found out there was enough outrage that the program was nixed.

          1. ambrit

            If the Stasi had this back then, they might still be in business. (Oh wait. Most of them were smuggled into America as part of ‘Operation Ring Binder.’ “Bigger and better than any old Paperclip.”)

            1. polecat

              So ambrit .. Are you implying that we’re All Ring-bearers now ??

              “I could carry this burden .. Share the Load …”

                1. ambrit

                  I have always argued that Tolkien’s conceit of the Hobbit Door was a thinly disguised version of an interdimensional portal. Enter here and forego touch with your prosaic reality. He was in touch, through his membership in the ‘Inklings’ at University, with abtruse thinkers like C S Lewis and occasionally E R Eddison.
                  I would have been happy to just serve the drinks during the weekly meetings of the Inklings, (which, in true English fashion, happened at a local pub.)

              1. ambrit

                We could establish an Order Militant, the ‘Fellowship of the Ring and Cross.’ Model it on the 501st Legion.
                “These are not the Hobbits you are looking for.” (Does Jedi hand wave.)

            2. J.k


              Wow, i did not realize they are already trying to launch this program again. Above article is from april 10,2020.

              “Baltimore police have already tried the planes once, in 2016, but faced an outcry over privacy concerns. At that time, the public wasn’t notified first.”

              Our wonderful liberal democracy’s already existing massive surveillance infrastructure combined with the implementation of this kind of tech is going to make 1984 look like child’s play.

          2. The Rev Kev

            There is only one counter to aerial surveillance – umbrellas! I wonder if that is why the Hong Kong protesters used them and not just as deployable shields.

        1. J.k

          I am mistaken about some of the info i posted and i apologize. In my post at 6:04 i was referencing what I read almost 8-10 years ago. These are not drones but aircrafts with pilots.
          Also i was referencing a different attempt at such a pilot program in a different American city at the time. It was not Baltimore, and there was enough public outrage at the time that the pilot program was dropped.

  2. Romancing The Loan

    AP and local news are reporting Derek Chauvin (the kneeling murdercop) has finally been arrested and charged with 3rd degree murder.

    With the news from yesterday that he and his victim worked together at the same club for years and likely knew each other, I would think you could make a good case for 1st so I hope they add that later.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Oh, the rule of law? How quaint. Recent days have shown that to be a farce.

        1. RWood

          Nobel Peace Prize winner runs Tuesday Kill Lottery?
          Weapons of Mass Deception?
          The Selected President?
          The Freedom War on Yugoslavia?
          I will never apologize for America!
          I don’t remember…
          et al.

      2. Fireship

        It just may be that lynch mobs sometimes got it right. Chauvin was already involved in numerous other deaths. How long before he kills again? He seems like a mad dog. He has got the taste for blood. Will it be a child next time? Or worse, a white child? On second thoughts, a lynching seems too good for this sociopath. Too quick. Why not stick him on death row for twenty years of mental torture before filling his veins with burning, paralyzing drugs that snuff him out worse than any sadist could have imagined? Disclaimer: I don’t wish this on anyone, just so disgusted at Jim Crow in 2020.

      3. occasional anonymous

        The entire thing is on crystal clear video. It was murder. If the ‘justice’ system won’t do its job, the people will.

      4. km

        Someone is confusing “arrest” and “conviction”.

        Not to mention “sentencing”. The cop will get his day in court. His victim will not.

    1. occasional anonymous


      Minnesota law originally defined third-degree murder solely as depraved-heart murder (“without intent to effect the death of any person, caus[ing] the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life”).[7][8][…] Both third-degree murder and third-degree murder of an unborn child are punishable by a maximum of 25 years’ imprisonment.[7][12]

      Jesus Christ. The city is burning and they’re still trying to get away with doing the bare minimum. The whole thing is on video. There absolutely was intent to murder at play here.

      1. Chris

        Allegations have to be proven and a jury of his peers has to decide they agree with the punishment. Sometimes people choose the easier charge to get the jury to go along with it rather than risk the criminal going free.

        1. ambrit

          Show that video to any jury in this land and you can get a Murder One conviction.
          Don’t forget, any halfway competent district attorney can get a conviction with minimal evidence.

            1. ambrit

              Not the one I was on.
              Hung jury on a “pill mill” case. The police conduct just wasn’t right.

          1. John k

            Juries rarely convict cops even with video.
            Fear of life…
            Temp insanity…
            Plus their job is so dangerous…
            As if nurses jobs aren’t.

        2. km

          No, if the jury won’t vote for first degree, they can return a guilty verdict for second degree, etc..

          1. Dickeylee

            With 1st and 2nd degree charges you can charge the other cops as accomplices, but not with 3rd degree murder.

            1. Carla

              Well, then. Maybe that’s the reason Chauvin was charged with 3rd degree…

              Rotten, and disgusting…

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > they’re still trying to get away with doing the bare minimum

        If Chauvin and Floyd really were bouncers together at the same place for 17 years, as a Minneapolis city councillor says, it’s highly unlikely this was accidental, IMNSHO.

        1. Adam1

          Wow. Per the Minneapolis TV station (KSTP) reporter they did work at the same club. Chauvin worked as outside security while Floyd was an inside bouncer. The reporter wasn’t sure they knew each other because of that, but personally I would find it unlikely inside security & outside security didn’t at least casually know each other because on some level there would seem to be a need to at least occasionally be able to coordinate actions or have situational plans for coordination.


  3. Big River Bandido

    Eagerly awaiting links and your take on Minneapolis.

    I have been struck by the appropriateness of the protesters’ targets: a store in a chain owned by the former governor (a Democrat) where they prototyped racist “security measures”, and the police precinct that caused all this. Those were exceptional choices for sending the message.

    We are seeing the corrupt Democrat party’s electoral coalition fray before our eyes, one group at a time. First the left, then women, now AA voters. What’s next for these clowns?

    1. Carolinian

      They also burned down an Aldi and an Autozone. Muddying the message?

      Maybe it was less about messages and more about availability.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Police precincts are not usually “available” targets.

        And the AutoZone hit was started by a now-IDd undercover cop provocateur.

        1. ambrit

          What do the local cops have against Auto Zone? Bad coffee?
          These ‘riots’ are not a real threat yet. When the ‘insurgents’ get organized and begin attacking ten percent suburbs, then the Status Quo can worry.

          1. Big River Bandido

            Infiltration of protest movements by agent provocateurs posing as protesters goes back at least as far as COINTELPRO and was a key tactic in dismantling OWS.

            If a crowd goes along (instead of questioning his actions, like the man in the pink tank top) and joins in the melee, the cops have their evidence.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        I watched a lot of footage last night and it was clear that the vast majority of people around the Lake St events were white. Not trying to essentialize but I think it is important to assume that the protesters are not a monolith and there are likely to be mixed motives not only within individuals but between individuals. For example, in the Twitter post that Ryan Grim and Lambert have highlighted, there is no evidence to suggest, and plenty to be skeptical, that the person in question was acting in solidarity with people protesting police violence. I have friends on the ground in Mpls who are convinced that much of the burning was instigated by outside “Qanon” right-wingers or “cops”. I use quotes because I don’t know what to make of these allegations.

        What was surreal was the total lack of institutional presence of any sort (not even fire fighters) even into the early morning hours (when I finally went to bed).

        1. Big River Bandido

          The precinct was overrun around 10PM. Presumably the city, having conceded the loss of the precinct, decided it wasn’t worth risking firefighters to fight the blaze.

          I’d like to think maybe the firefighters decided the cops weren’t worth protecting, but I wouldn’t expect that and probably by then the issue was moot.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            Not saying it wasn’t the right decision all around, just that it was surreal. You could literally watch live on local TV individuals throwing Molotov cocktails and things going up in flames moments later. Never seen anything like it. Mayor on TV at 1:30am seemed overwhelmed. Understandably. Story is now there was a perimeter 2 blocks away but that surely was not evident either to me or to TV talking heads doing live narration. No on-scene reporters were claiming that.

        1. Jen

          If you look at the streets, it wasn’t about Rodney King
          It’s about this f*cked up situation and these f*cked up police

          Yep, this song has been running through my head pretty much non stop.

    2. Pelham

      How are security measures racist? Perhaps because stores implement more of them in high-crime areas?

      If that’s the case, what’s the alternative? Chain stores refusing to locate branches in high-crime areas? Food deserts?

      1. KazMiller

        Corporate security measures necessarily put community members in more frequent contact with the racist police forces that can murder them, cripple them, rob them with fees or fines, or warehouse them for a decade in our horrible penal system.

        The alternative is: communalize the stores and supply chains, and make as many things as possible free or heavily subsidized on the consumer side – food, formula, blankets, toys, you name it.

      2. Big River Bandido

        How are security measures racist? Perhaps because stores implement more of them in high-crime areas?

        This is premised on the racist and false assumption that black people = crime.

        1. LifelongLib

          It’s more like crime = poverty = higher % of black people. Cops and docs get the end results of the rest of society’s failings.

    3. Alternate Delegate

      Appropriateness of targets went out the window at some point after this started. Talked to a neighbor whose small business on Minneapolis’ Lake Street got hit. Says the video just showed skinny kids looking for money. Was not happy the cops vacated the area and didn’t even pretend to protect anything.

      It might have been better if people could have confined their attention to the abusive Target chain (by the way, Target is no longer owned by the Dayton family, cf. former governor Mark Dayton), or to CVS chain pharmacies. Instead we lost institutions like century-old independent pharmacies burned to the ground.

      There’s a lack of understanding. People don’t understand who did this to them. They get frustrated and they go out and break things. Maybe they grab things. But I wish they could figure out who their enemies really are.

      1. Billy

        That’s what happens when you have a boy wonder leftist for mayor. Can anyone name a city with a Republican mayor that has had riots?

        The Justine Noor killer cop resembles the Asian standing around while his buddy choked the victim to death, Asian American community affirmative action outreach.

        1. J.k

          Billy, just for clarification on where you stand, every democrat is a “leftist” to you?
          Thats right a republican led response would have arrested at least three of those cops immediately and nixed the rebellion before it began?
          Or are you proposing there would have would been an overwhelming violent response from the state under your republican leadership keeping the rebellion from taking off?
          Or maybe you are saying this murder on video would not have happened in place governed by republicans?
          What is it that u are saying?

          1. Billy

            Screaming children in the next room kind of break up one’s writing style.
            I’m saying that in my view of Minneapolis, there is a progressive local government in place that has allowed too much “tolerance” and accommodation, and this in turn has fostered a reaction from the police, and has emboldened the aggrieved population, which if you watch the videos, is mostly white. For example, I can’t imagine these riots happening in Texas or Mississippi, places with worse inequality. The population there would be cowed and the police would have never let things go as far.

            My local experience is with San Francisco, which is a effing disaster on a daily basis as far as quality of life, although it sure is prettier than that part of Minneapolis.

      2. Massinissa

        “But I wish they could figure out who their enemies really are.”

        When you’re poor, the authorities don’t care about you, you have minimal education and limited access to information, and when the mainstream media is out and out propaganda for the upper classes, that is much easier said than done.

        Its not like there’s a genuine workers or even genuine modern civil rights movement to help tell them who said enemies are.

      3. Dita

        I probably would have agreed with this just a few years ago, but now it seems to me people are well aware who the enemy is, predatory capitalism and its enforcers. Lashing out at businesses isn’t just about mayhem and grabbing free stuff it seems to me the only way to get capitalists attention because its the pnly thing that matters to them. Witness the rather hysterical reactions, from the president down. Police killing with impunity is one thing, but impairing targets revenue, well that’s serious!

        1. expose

          Hysterical? You’re calling the reactions to the hysterical violence hysterical?

          Do you realize what the people destroyed? They destroyed businesses that had jobs that provided paychecks for people. Now, these people don’t have jobs any more in the middle of a depression. They destroyed the economy in that area. And they destroyed the availability of needed consumer items. Now, that place is likely to become a food desert – a condition that liberals/dems/progressives usually like to decry.

          What’s the point of economic spending by the governments for enterprise zones if no one wants to build there? Who would want to invest in a business, large or small, in that area now?

          Other areas that have been destroyed by this type of violence still haven’t recovered – see Ferguson.

          And you just shrug it all off.

          (and don’t jump to a conclusion that I somehow support the police violence)

          1. Dita

            I’m saying the protests suggest a link between overpolicing and business, it’s the system and its symbols being attacked. Attacking the precinct, as a symbol. Notice , no police were injured. Pushing back against Alternate Delegates comment that people don’t know who their enemy is, when in fact they do. I bet most “p.o.c.” have had the experience of being followed around a store, or security checking their bag on the way out, or similarly demeaning things. That’s not to disagree with your points, that’s just not what my comment addessed.

      1. JBird4049

        That’s one shooting I’ve never understood. Shooting the unarmed blonde Australian woman with the muzzle (blast) inches from the face/eyes/ear of your partner while inside a car is an excellent way to permanently scar/blind/deafen them and maybe damage your own hearing, too. WTF?

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > We are seeing the corrupt Democrat party’s electoral coalition fray before our eyes, one group at a time.

      Biden’s reaction will be determined by his base. Democrats are now the party of the wealthy, and Biden’s voters are predominantly older. I wouldn’t be surprised if he picks Harris exactly because she’s a cop.

  4. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Klob

    Supposedly Biden pushed back the VP announcement to August 1st. My guess is its still Klob and Biden hopes this will die down.

    1. Big River Bandido

      It’s almost as if you posted that in response to my question above.

      Sistah Souljah it is, then. Certainly that’s right in character for Biden.

    2. Pelham

      Here’s the deal:

      We’re on an airliner, and a flight attendant suddenly rushes to the cockpit. Turns out the two pilots had fish for dinner and have now crumpled and passed out from acute gastrointestinal distress. Not only that, the autopilot has malfunctioned and the plane is beginning to yaw and roll into a death spiral as one of the engines flames out.

      The attendant rushes back to the head of the cabin and screams: “Is there anyone aboard who can fly a plane? Oh, by the way, only women need apply, preferably women of color!”

      So the US has two pilots, one a narcissistic oaf at the control yoke and the other waiting to get the nod is a frail, doddering corporate hack whose entire record suggests he’s incapable of even imagining a way to tackle — all at once — 1) a deadly pandemic that’s likely to flare up repeatedly, 2) a global depression of unprecedented depth and 3) climate change that demands immediate action on a stupendous scale.

      So who becomes his VP is enormously important. But at the outset, said co-pilot has excluded at least half the human race — and, truth be told, probably the most qualified candidates are in that half — and perhaps he will exclude a far greater proportion if he plays the race card.

      I’m not inspired.

      1. Billy

        Did you get that idea from the Affirmative Action Airlines business proposal?
        All pilots, mechanics, ground personnel and flight attendants, shall be exclusively women of color–no East Indians parlaying their education and money plus caste privileges onto the American victim stage, no Ivy League graduates, strictly recruited from the ranks of the underprivileged.
        All progressives, woke people and activists shall fly on that airline to show their commitment to their principles.

    3. Alternate Delegate

      Everybody is aware that Klobuchar personally declined to prosecute this particular cop after he previously killed someone in 2006, right? She is personally responsible for this guy still being in uniform and on the streets.

      If Biden picks Klobuchar for VP …

      1. Billy

        Mint Press excoriates the Klob:
        “Amy Klobuchar, who Joe Biden recently asked to undergo vetting to be his running mate for November, issued a very tepid statement about the incident, describing the police killing of an unarmed black man over an alleged forged check as merely an “officer involved death,” – a copaganda word often used by police as a euphemism for “murder.”

        Klobuchar also called for a “complete and thorough outside investigation into what occurred, and those involved in this incident must be held accountable.” However, this is unlikely to occur, in no small part because of Klobuchar herself and the precedent she set while serving as the state’s chief prosecutor between 1999 and 2007. In that time, she did not bring charges against more than two dozen officers who had killed citizens while on duty – including against Chauvin himself.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Everybody is aware

        Is Biden? Does he care? Clyburn’s statement amounts to saying Klobuchar is the victim of bad timing. Its not about her record causing her to lose accolades.

  5. ChrisAtRU

    Biden (D)(2): “Klobuchar makes her not-so-quiet bid to be Joe Biden’s running mate”

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive.”

    Interesting to watch the jockeying and squirming here given the deceit of the presumptive nominee in floating “a woman of color” as veep, and the shady behind door dealings that perhaps accompanied Obama’s night of the long knives. I keep going back to Amy Klobuchar’s erstwhile Freudian slip on March 7th:

    ” … couldn’t think of a better way to end my candidacy than join the ticket …”

    Did the Biden team give assurances – full or limited – that she would be selected/considered?

    I suspect the answer is yes. Given that the African American primary vote is taken for granted, the lip service of a “woman of color” to secure “black Dem loyalists” was never going to carry any political power or reward. The impotent rage and dissatisfaction of AA Dem operatives at the thought of a Klobuchar or Warren veep is just reward for their betrayal of the real issues facing America’s black communities. I looked into the timeline of events as well:

    Feb 5th – CNN reports on Biden floating the [W|P]OC veep.
    Feb 29th – SC Primary
    March 7th – Klobuchar “drops out”

    Once the black vote secured SC for Biden, there was no need to continue the charade. I can even imagine a conversation about the “promise” – ” … well, don’t worry about that. Once the primary is over, that fades away and the reality of needing a candidate from say, the midwest, takes over … plus the black vote stays with us. They don’t have anywhere else to go.”

    Recent events in MN may have dinged her in the public/media domain, but we’ll see … just saw that the officer whole murdered Mr. Floyd is now in custody. Perhaps justice will be swift this time – if only because we have a potential veep from MN hanging in the balance.

    1. L

      I’m not sure I believe that the circumstantial evidence (compelling though it is) points to Klobuchar’s fix being in. The fact is that she ran an bad campaign, I mean Beto bad. And unlike either Cory Booker or Pete Buttegeg she didn’t have the big donor friends or the magical story needed to capture national donations. She had a few good moments but those didn’t overcome her debate baggage. So her dropping out was hardly surprising.

      That said she may be his choice. If Biden was planning for Harris or Abrams I suspect he would have been more up front on The Breakfast Club. Instead he was too circumspect for his own good.

      But given how terrible his campaign is and how late he has been to actually manage it I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they really haven’t decided yet. Nor would I be surprised to hear that whatever views he has are being pushed around by all the different advisors who now want to be seen bending his ear.

      Klobuchar would be a dumb choice because she has baggage, wouldn’t bring any new groups (midwest Dems will already back him) and she would alienate African Americans. Harris would be a bad choice who looks good because she is black but she has her own baggage which is the same as his (MERS) and which would actually make it more of an issue. She also has her own problems with the African American community and, lest we forget, she couldn’t even pull her home state.

      Unfortunately his only smarter choices now are to take Abrams (no baggage, also no history), Warren (less offensive to African Americans, but better for Sanders’ supporters), or one of the state governors. Whether he is smart enough to do that is a different question.

      1. hunkerdown

        It’s only a dumb choice if you actually believe the parties compete, rather than just playing the dozens while they all go to the same people for their paychecks.

        1. L

          Well yes they are fighting for the same donor class, but acting on the assumption that he personally would like to be president it is a dumb choice.

        2. Bsoder

          Well, I’ll be, so I thought they all got paid by the treasury. But I’m confused you saying it’s trump? Someone should tell trump because he’s pretty foul about Democratics. ‘The same people’, who’d we be talking about here? Sounds like the pay is good. Are you on the payroll? Would you like to be? If nothing matters and anything’s goes, what’s wrong with getting some money outta it?

          1. CoryP

            The “same people” would be the unelected power structure comprising the military-industrial-financial-healthcare-oligarch complex.

            I do not really understand your comment however, so apologies if i misinterpreted.

          2. tegnost

            Your congresscritters get a stipend from the treasury. The get paid by their bosses the donors. You’ve spent a lot of effort lately trying to support the false (imo) impression that there’s a world of difference between the two camps, ignoring the fact that on wall st. the two camps are perfectly aligned. Maybe more effective if you skirt around the word/term/person trump, as it’s kind of a giveaway… I don’t think CoryP misinterpreted your comment at all.

      2. Big River Bandido

        What in the world makes you think the Midwest would support Biden? It’s by far the weakest electoral region on the Democrats’ EV map, and the one they most need. They blew it last time, and the longer they refuse to address problems, the faster the Democrat presence in these states will disintegrate.

        1. L

          I’m not claiming the midwest will back him. What I am claiming is that the midwesterners who would back Klobuchar, will back him. In policy terms she isn’t offering much different and in ideology they are basically the same so picking her nets him nothing in the midwest and possibly loses overall.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The perception is how Biden sees it. I believe the whole “Putin tricked Hillary into not going to Wisconsin” is in the heads of Team Blue elites. Biden isn’t much of a thinker or an ideas man. He would fall back to really the kind of conventional wisdom that would dictate regional balance.

            1. L

              I wish I could be sure you are wrong but yes, Team Blue is really high on their own supply. There have been enough articles “seriously probing” whether Trump will Cancel the election etc. then I can well believe they still think their real enemy is in Moscow.

        2. Bsoder

          I’m in Michigan and ah we didn’t blow anything. We have a Democrat Governor, Dems in all the star wide positions. Passed 5 ballot initiatives. In our state it matters a great deal if we have Democratic or Republicans representing the citizens. There alas no love for trump, too many dead people. Biden even with dementia is fine. The only way to screw it up is his VP choice.

          1. edmondo

            Biden even with dementia is fine.

            Welcome to the “I’d vote for Biden even if he ate babies” wing of the party. I hope there aren’t enough of you to get to 50% but I doubt very much it matters which village idiot wins. Same policies. Different faces.

          2. CoryP

            While I don’t discount the differential effects of Democratic governance at the state or municipal level, nor the effect of ballot initiatives and the ruling party’s proclivity to entertain them….

            There is very little daylight between Biden and Trump. Perhaps you are saying that “Biden even with dementia” could drive turnout and votes for down-ballot races with more impact. That may be true. But otherwise, Biden is not fine.

      3. ChrisAtRU

        Fair, but the other thing in play here whether Biden would even be fit enough to finish his four year term were he to win. The veep choice is basically a short-shrift prez-in-waiting – given also all the telegraphing of a potential alternate unity candidate come convention time.

        Can you imagine the Clinton wing of the Dem party agreeing to a president Abrams in 2022? Or even a Warren? I can’t. This is why I still think Lambert’s suggestion that HRC will get on ticket is also still in play.

        It’s a mess. The Dems have painted themselves into a corner so tiny that they can barely stand on tip-toes. The entire edifice of lies is liable to topple over by November as they succumb to an overwhelming cascade of poor choices.

        1. L

          Well that is a factor I hadn’t considered. On the other hand the HRC faction adored Abrams a while ago so perhaps they see her as amenable to their point of view.

          It is definitely a mess. I would say that the DNC painted themselves into a corner and then older Dem voters put on the blinders and marched where the DNC pointed.

          My real fear is that they will collapse but only after alienating a younger generation and handing us Trump part 2.

          1. Billy

            You don’t think American voters aren’t any more ready for the Cornrow Barbie on the ticket, with a guaranteed 25th Amendment check(running)mate, than it was for the Caribou Barbie, Sarah Palin?
            Only a younger white man as his running mate could help Biden win.

              1. CoryP

                I have never been more ashamed to be gay than during Mayor Pete’s presidential run. #NotAllF*gs!

        2. hunkerdown

          The Clinton wing will vote for whoever their management chain tells them to vote for, as we saw on Stupor Tuesday. Whether or not Abrams or Warren give woke affluent white women what they want, they’ll swallow a bit and vote for what they need.

          1. ChrisAtRU

            Just to be clear, when I say “Clinton wing”, I mean those within the Democratic party power structure who are still loyal to the (personal/career/grift) interests of Hillary Clinton, not voters at large.

        3. Bsoder

          Ah, all of that is in your head, not actual reality. I think maybe 100 people are thinking about Voting for Biden So he can drop dead and then we can have someone without disabilities in place. It isn’t a mess. First things first. The guy leads to get elected. And if you want to play poli-sci game theory I got one. Biden picks, a VP who doesn’t want the job. Biden dies, VP now president picks new VP and then quits. Wow, you could get anyone as President. How any of our 536 billionaires would want the job, I wonder.

        4. polecat

          I truly hope that’s the case. THE D Party is in need of a quick and painful death! Enough wailing and screeching to show it’s evilness to all concerned – just slow enough to make the mokes wake up.

        5. Lambert Strether Post author

          > This is why I still think Lambert’s suggestion that HRC will get on ticket

          If I suggested that I was making a deadpan joke. I think HRC would love to pull strings behind the scenes, but I don’t think even the Democrats are crazy/stupid enough to put her on the ballot again. Of course, it’s been a crazy year.

          I dunno

          Trump for 4 years + ?????

          Biden for 4 years, assuming he doesn’t conk out + VP Harris for 8.

          The idea what we have to put the administration who created the conditions for Trump back in power so they can fix what Trump did is a little hard to swallow. If the Obama Alumni Association runs true to form, they’ll rationalize and normalize much of what Trump did, exactly as Obama did with Bush.

          1. ChrisAtRU

            Sorry! I mischaracterized your analysis … took me some time to find the original comment on one of the links in the “2:00PM Water Cooler 11/6/2018”.

            Here is what you said in reference to the Chicago Sun Times article “Hillary Clinton remains the Democrats best chance to defeat Trump in 2020”:

            “As I read it, Clinton doesn’t want to run. That doesn’t mean she wouldn’t accept the nomination, say after the Convention deadlocks on the first ballot, after which the superdelegates can vote. Of course, if Clinton wants to scotch these vile rumors, she can simply issue a Sherman statement, which she conspicuously did not do in the interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher that intensified the rumors.”

            So to be correct, the real suggestion is that HRC has conspicuously refused to take herself out of consideration as a candidate, which potentially leaves the door open. Apologies for taking all nuance out of your original statement!

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              No sweat, and thanks for looking. 2018 seems like more than two years ago, doesn’t it? Clinton has won herself no credit in those two years, either.

      4. Tom Doak

        If anybody at all voted for Klobuchar as the Dem nominee, her campaign outperformed.

  6. L

    With respect to the cover ups and the meatpacking plants. Yes there is clear evidence of coverups elsewhere, and of interesting local responses:
    “NC limits information on meatpacking plants’ COVID-19 outbreaks as case numbers grow” (Raleigh News & Observer)
    “North Carolina hair salon declines to serve meat plant workers over coronavirus fears” (The Hill)

    The shorter version of the first one is that the state is limiting the aggregation and notification so that we don’t get a whole picture of the problem. At the same time they argue that since such notification is voluntary (!) they don’t want to harm the companies that do work with them.

    1. Bsoder

      As an md no it isn’t legal. CDC requires certain diseases and all deaths get reported to the country. Trump telling everyone in CDC that they are fired or you go home, doesn’t make it legal. I dont think trump has the ability to act legally, bring king and all. There are ways though to come up with pretty good numbers IV you have access to e right databases.

  7. Toshiro_Mifune

    ‘Cannabis burned during worship’ by ancient Israelites

    Hmmm – As counter evidence I offer that there is nothing chill about the Old Testament. If they were getting high I’d expect the story of being lost in the desert to be;
    Chapter 4:20 – “And so, they were just, like, walking in the desert. Right? And they’re going, and they’re going… and they’re going. *giggles* Oh man, did anyone hear that? …. Wait, what was I talking about?”

      1. epynonymous

        I haven’t found the link in years, but someone checked all those boring rituals with unnfamiliar plants in them, and several involved ‘tripping.’

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            “…A God with Weed Is a God Indeed!…”

            (or is that supposed to be ‘friend’? dunno, too baked…please play thru…)

    1. polecat

      “GOD I’m starving.. “Hey Dude! Lay me onto some of that pita bread you got stashed in your satchel, will ya! I’ve got a major carb jones common on!! Oh, and passover some of that honey mana wine you been bogartin too ..”

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Oracle at Delphi was getting high on Methane…Moses had the Burning Bush???

  8. Bernalkid

    Looks like there is a credible ID of black garbed figure who went about systematically breaking the windows of the Autozone at an early phase of the violence. His ex-wife and others have named him as an undercover cop. Frankly inciting a crowd to violence like this gives me a headache. Is the idea to have a firm repression that deters others? I see that a police station was burned as well, which I can’t recall happening during the riots of my lifetime. In any event, having the man ID’d is sure poor trade craft.

    1. Big River Bandido

      I see that a police station was burned as well, which I can’t recall happening during the riots of my lifetime.

      I can remember reading about the White Night Riots in San Francisco (May 1979) and the line of police *cars* on fire.

      But I don’t ever recall a case where protestors successfully destroyed a *precinct*. It’s quite an accomplishment.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > But I don’t ever recall a case where protestors successfully destroyed a *precinct*. It’s quite an accomplishment.

        One wonders whether the Hong Kong protesters are paying attention.

    2. Glen

      Anybody who doesn’t expect a very firm IRON FIST government response very similar to Obama’s coordinated nation wide crushing of OWS is burning ancient Hebrew weed.

      The billionaires will not allow the disposables, uh, I mean essentials to get out of line.

      1. Tom Stone

        Glen, the Border Patrol is reportedly flying an MCQ
        “Reaper” drone over minneapolis.
        Unarmed, so far.

      2. Jen

        Once you make it clear that you consider 99% of the population to be disposable, it should not come as a tremendous surprise when some of those disposables decide to act in their own defense. They are the few.

      3. Bsoder

        So another trump voter here. As someone brought up you get paid by the ‘same people’. I’m nervous I want to apply, how much should I ask for? Especially, now we’re killing people and breaking stuff.

        1. Massinissa

          Good god, Bsoder, are you the Trump Inquisition or something? You’ve accused half this board of being Trump supporters by now, over the last few days.

          Not everyone who disagrees with you is a Trump supporter. Period.

          1. CoryP

            lol, right? Glad I’m not the only one who noticed. But whatever, this isn’t fertile ground for converts so I guess it’s harmless.

            1. kareninca

              Yes, at this point even when it is a topic that doesn’t interest me, I still look for the Bsoder posts so that I can see whom he is accusing of being rich or loving Trump.

        2. Glen

          Trump/Biden/Obama would all handle this the same way. Elites own the government and poor people get stomped.

          1. Glen

            For further clarity, I am a poor person that gets stomped by other poor people called cops when I get out of line. Elites don’t like to be bothered by us poor’s while they loot society.

    3. D. Fuller

      Why don’t “black bloc rioters” break surveillance cameras? To leave police with video evidence.

      Agent provocateurs is a well established policing tactic. Police national training seminars where they exchange information. Another reason why one hears police yelling, “drop your weapon”, at unarmed people. To establish a legal defense.

      One police trainer at a national police seminaras covered awhile back had been heard saying (paraphrasing), “the best sex you will ever have is after killing someone”.

      1. epynonymous

        “the bullet proof mind” I believe is the presentation, and if not – then close

      2. Bsoder

        “the best sex you will ever have is after killing someone”. I find that pretty offensive. It’s not even in the service if making any point whatsoever. Just good old ‘Agent provocateur‘ yourself.

        1. richard

          I believe the point D. Fuller is trying to make is that these extremely egregious police seminars do exist, as do very extreme “operator” attitudes that borrow heavily from the ethos of u.s. imperialism. It’s anything but pretty, but calling it “offensive” is really just covering your eyes. Please don’t try to police that sort of thing here. We have mods.

        2. ambrit

          I fear you are being disingenuous my dear. The basic advertising mantra is that “Sex and Death sell.”
          The statement may be offensive, but the ethos behind those who enact such “Rituals in the Dark” is downright murderous.
          The point of the mention of the mantra, “the best…” is to highlight the essentially dominance oriented psychology of any police force. Today’s police have reverted to the state of police forces circa 1900 or earlier. Confessions were, and still are, beaten out of suspects. Anyone who does not show immediate deference to State power is crushed. The police themselves are constructed along the lines of an exclusive club, a Fraternity of Fear.
          Don’t tell us about there being many ‘good’ cops, because it only takes one ‘bad’ cop to lie, steal, cheat, and kill. When the ‘good’ cops do not turn on the ‘bad’ cops, they become accessories after the fact, just as culpable as the perpetrator of the crime.
          As Dashell Hammett has Sam Spade say in “The Maltese Falcon,” everyone has something to hide. Most police know that and act on it.
          Do not delude yourself into believing that the police will never turn on the Ten Percent Oligarch Enablers. Sooner or later, power becomes it’s own justification.

          1. Stan

            The bit about evil thriving where good people do nothing is self-serving BS.

            Evil thrives where people are evil.

            1. ambrit

              If “good” people do nothing, what is left? Nothing ‘good,’ that’s for sure.
              Evil people are eternal and everywhere scrabbling for some advantage to take. The ‘good’ people have to not just stop the ‘evil’ people, but extirpate them, root and branch. Why do you imagine that authoritarian regimes come to power? People will put up with a lot to obtain peace and stability.
              My example shall be some of the more ‘famous’ and successful Wild West Sheriffs. In the West, if a person was carrying a firearm, shooting them and killing them, even from the back, was legal. Many Sheriffs worked that way. Those Sheriffs shot ‘bad’ men in the back and were promptly made ‘heroes’ of. They were supplying the aforementioned “peace and stability.”
              Now, if you are applying the “Banality of Evil” argument, well, we may as well go all in and revive the Theocracy of Calvinist Geneva.

              1. Stan

                In the West, if a person was carrying a firearm, shooting them and killing them, even from the back, was legal.

                This is true in both East and West today as long as the shooter is wagging the appropriate flag.

                But in your country — UK? or USA? — some extra care is taken to maintain that “freedom lovin'” image, and many dissidents are marked for long drawn out, covert torture sessions that can last decades. The attacks take the from of blacklisting, death-threats, constant gang-stalking, harassment in the home, workplace, public places (right under your nose), airports, in flight airliners… harassment via all forms of communication and media (phone, internet, TV)… sleep deprivation, and as I have also experienced, crude physical torture in medical labs and barbershops (wherever a patriot goon have easy access to willing collaborators and sharp objects).

                The Alphabet Stasi’s objective is to render targets homeless or dead.

                You don’t know anything about this because you don’t want to. You are a passive collaborator in this. This is the very best that can be said of good people like you, who serve — at best — as camouflage for Zersetzung torturers in the Five Eyes countries.

                It goes on in all countries, but “freedom lovin'” Stasi regimes have to be even more covert than those not so pretentious, despite the unlimited supply of enthusiastic collaborators of every possible kind within US and UK’s populations. The American and UK Stasi is truly an equal opportunity employer, and women, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, conservative, liberal, gay people… you name it, will hit that proverbial shock button without even a first thought, not to mention a second thought.

                Evil thrives where people are evil, and delusional.

                And regarding where you (the US) can go…

                As a long term US torture subject who will never see an iota of justice, I think the US is headed in the right direction. You know what they say about “No justice…”. That ain’t just Whistlin’ Dixie.

        3. CoryP

          You will find that the denizens here are not so much fans of the Democratic party or agents of the state, generally speaking. A lot of commenters have been here since OWS. Granted, it’s a bit of an echo chamber and outside voices are always needed to restore balance…. I don’t think you’re going to get a lot of recruits to this mindset,

      3. richard

        Was that Dave Grossman by any chance, the killing is natural and cool police guru that chapo was talking about in their last episode?

    4. aleric

      Yep, very strange, perhaps some real-estate owners hired crooked cops to help convert properties into insurance cash. Also strange that Chauvin had residences in MN and FL, and a real-estate license. Money laundering? Smuggling?

      1. Polar Donkey

        I knew a cop in Memphis who would drive to Mexico twice a year to deposit cash in a bank. Didn’t really care who knew it and would invite people to ride with on his Mexico trips. This same cop a few years ago got himself and his wife shot dead in their own house with his own gun by a teenager they brought home to do some kinky sex stuff. Kid freaked, grabbed gun, blew them both away. Kid was presented as vicious cop killer. News left out the dirty cop with bank accounts in Mexico.
        I totally believe that is possible Chauvin was a dirty cop moving drugs/money through that club with Floyd. Something went wrong and Floyd died. So police corruption leads to public killing. Community gets upset, cops overreact and use the black bloc provocateur tactic. Cops get caught red handed by the disgruntled ex-wife of the provocateur. Everyone had always suspected law enforcement/government had been doing this forever, now everyone knows for sure and will be on the look out for it. So a dirty cop in Minneapolis and an ex-wife have changed protesting forever. Amazing how little things change the course of history.

        1. richard

          Sounds more than a little like a James Ellroy novel. Which is not my way of dissing your theory; Ellroy knew cops a lot better than most crime novelists.

      2. Chris

        Post coronavirus lockdown I bet there are a lot of business owners who think about that in their darkest moments.

      3. Bsoder

        So all cops are bad or enough of them, and police chiefs, as part of the PMC have their orders to start riots. Do I have that right? And Bill Gates is saying “now that’s the way you do it”. You guys are funny.

          1. ShamanicFallout

            Yes, thank you furies, Massinissa (and apologies to Yves and Lambert for what I am going to say). Despite this Bsoder’s very impressive resume (I have been watching), with a list of credentials around the block- physician, medical scientist, Jesuit priest, combat veteran of two wars, union carpenter, inventor and designer of Ethernet and the MRI machine, clairvoiyant mind reader (I may have made that one up) the smug ‘splaining attitude is wearing on, as we can see, some of the commentariat. I will say no more about this

            1. ambrit

              Indeed, this ‘person’s’ modus operandi and c.v. remind me of someone who commented here about four years ago. Dare I suggest that ‘agents provocateur’ can be virtual as well as physical?

              1. expose

                Maybe it is within the realm of possibility that the person just has a difference of opinion.

                1. ambrit

                  That is possible, but, one big detail is the manner of the explication of the “difference of opinion.”
                  In politics, for effectiveness, the manner of presentation is as important as the content of the policy being promoted.

            2. Acacia

              To be fair, the claim to fame was to have been “part of the group that invented Ethernet” at DEC, not “inventor and designer of Ethernet” (Shamanic’s paraphrase). However, DEC didn’t invent Ethernet. Rather, DEC was involved in the standardization of the Ethernet in 1980. The Ethernet technology was invented by Bob Metcalfe at Xerox PARC in 1973. A patent was granted to Metcalfe, Boggs, Thacker, and Lampson (all Xerox researchers) in 1977, possibly before discussions with DEC even began.

            3. CoryP

              It is nothing less than inspiring to watch this site’s immune system activate.

              (that resume is incredible and I’ve been appropriately awed until recently)

            4. griffen

              Wait, so Al Gore did not invent the internet ? I need to crawl back under the rocks I live in. Man the truth hurts.

              As usual Fridays are lively here. Pairs well after a few cups of coffee the next morning.

        1. JBird4049

          No paranoia or conspiratorial woo woo is needed. Various American corporations, intelligence agencies and police departments have used agent provocateurs (and infiltrators) since at least the 1890s. It’s been a standard tactic since at least the 1960s.

          The fact that the local police department is using them is less shocking than them not doing so.

      1. Big River Bandido

        There are several posted in comments, links, and this very Water Cooler above. NC is highly recommended reading.

        1. Aumua

          No, there is not a link in this Water Cooler to any story about a positive ID on the guy. There is in fact a disclaimer about speculation though, oddly enough.

          1. Eyan Neimus

            No, there isn’t a link to a story from the police confirming that the guy with the umbrella was in fact an undercover cop. Go figure.

            In fact, the police have posted on Twitter that the officer named was not in fact the protester in question, but without explaining how they knew that.

            However, in that same Twitter post, there is a picture of a officer named Jacob Pederson who seems to have exactly the same bridge of the nose as the umbrella man, along with the same eyebrows, eye ridges and eye sockets.

            Also, the ex wife of Jacob Pederson has apparently come forward and not only identified umbrella man as her ex, but claimed the PPE he was wearing was actually hers.

            Judge for yourself.


            1. Aumua

              Well that is a link at least, but still… it’s not exactly definitive is it. I mean I believe that they do pull this kind of provocateur maneuver, and that the video may very well be showing an example of it. But that’s not the same as saying there is positive proof of that, like some people keep repeating. I’m a stickler about such details.

              There are a million speculations flying around for all kinds of angles and theories, but I’m interested in something that can actually be used to nail them to this practice, unequivocally. That would be extremely useful to protest movements moving forward. Otherwise if it’s just a suspicion then it’s not that useful, no matter how much we believe it’s true.

                1. Aumua

                  I think you know there are multiple problems with that. Not the least of which is that it’s based solely on the bridge of his nose, and maybe you might be able to say his eyebrows?

                  I would love to see something really publishable as proof, but so far I’m not seeing it. Obviously anyone doing this is going to be careful not to let themselves be exposed.

                  1. Eyan Neimus

                    I’m not convinced that there are as many problems as you’d think. Forensic superimposition of the footage of Umbrella Man over photos of Officer Pederson taken from the same angle should be enough to rule him out.

                    And if it doesn’t, then I’d say he was pretty unlucky that some protester just happened to share some of the same cranial features as he did.

                    Also, a forensic analyst should be able to say exactly how unlucky he was. As in how many people could be expected to meet that profile.


                    1. Aumua

                      Well I hope that he can be pegged as law enforcement, if he truly is. But I remain skeptical that he can be, for now.

    5. William Beyer

      The guy was videotaped systematically breaking windows with a hammer in a manner supposedly taught to police during their training while carrying an open umbrella to protect himself from falling glass. He was wearing a high-grade gas mask. He was identified on the Twitter thread as an undercover St. Paul cop. The only black person in the frames engaging with the guy was telling him to stop it. Somebody needs to be investigating this thoroughly.

  9. Youngblood

    Regarding the super-efficient hydrogen production, don’t get your hopes up. Takata, et al. are deomonstrating a “model system” based on Strontium Titanate, which only absorbs deep UV light. Their “96%” external quantum efficiency is measured when they exclusively irradiate the catalyst with light in the range of 350-360 nm. Very little of that reaches the Earth’s surface. This amounts to little more than showing off. The discovery, by showing what techniques enabled success (such as controlling semiconductor crystallinity and collecting positive/charge carriers at the crystal faces where they are each likely to aggregate) serves to confirm what the field already knows but can’t get to work in any system that absorbs the broad spectrum of light that actually does reach the Earth’s surface. Full disclosure: I used to work in this field before moving to industry.

    1. Youngblood

      As clarification, I will add that some 350 nm light does reach the Earth surface. About 5% of the light that hits us is UV light ~300-400nm). Of the remaining 95% solar radiation hitting us on the ground, a bit less than half is visible (400-700 nm) and a bit more than half is infra-red (700-2500 nm).

      (nm = nanometers, as in wavelength)

      1. a different chris

        So they harvest nearly 100% of… 5%. Wow that’s gonna change everything.

        1. Bsoder

          It would for the military. And 5% here and there is exactly how climate heating gets dealt with. I’ve built some really complicated tech gear – like MRIs, the window to get all of this up and running is 9.5 years. So I doubt we’ll ever see it. A core value in dealing with climate heating is things need to simple & local.

      2. Alternate Delegate

        Thank you for this discussion. I also noticed that the abstract talked only about UV light, but didn’t know how to evaluate the rest of the claims about the catalysts.

    2. D. Fuller

      Keep an eye on SAFIRE project, plasma physics experiment producing some hard science.

    3. Billy

      OK, once you produce the hydrogen, how do you store it?, especially in vehicles that have to be refueled? Hydrogen is the first thing on the Periodic Table for a reason. The atoms are so small that nothing can effectively contain them without leakage and fire danger. Another pipedream in search of a funding source.
      Notice that Michael Moore’s Planet of The Humans was censored off Youtube.
      Must have tred on some important toes.

      1. Synoia

        Hydrogen at Ambient temperature heats on expansion, which makes it very dangerous.

          1. Alex V

            Apologies, you are correct, but could have explained the boundaries of your statement more clearly…

      2. Alex V

        You may want to do a bit of reading before making such absolute claims. Hydrogen is used and safely stored in all kinds of industrial applications. It may have other problems as an energy storage medium, but this is not one of the primary ones.

        Granted this is written by a source with a commercial interest, but it’s a good technical discussion of risks and mitigation:


        1. jhg

          Generator internals and rotors in commercial power stations are cooled by hydrogen gas that is circulated through the generator casing and then through external water cooled heat exchangers. Its has been done safely for years like this.

          Hydrogen has good heat transfer qualities and its lower density allows smaller generators to be constructed. The hydrogen is kept in the casing by rotor shaft seals that are pressurized with lubricating oil.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Thank you for that excellent link. It contains a lot of helpful background on the role of labor in these protests.

      1. Dita

        Vice has been really been on top of this, another piece states that social media donations are helping protesters post bail.

    1. hunkerdown

      WHO owns the copyright on common medical nomenclatures and coding systems. I wonder if medical billing just got a lot more exciting.

  10. D. Fuller

    The skeletons in the lake, IIRC, was also done in Fallout: New Vegas RPG video game. Which itself may have been inspired by some work of art.

    Imitation, done correctly, is worthwhile.

  11. WillyBgood

    Amid all this craziness, I took my usual walk. It takes me by a nursing home which I usually glance at, and have noticed for a while a “healthcare heroes” sign in the grass out front. Today when I looked at it my mind immediately read “healthcare hostages” instead. It kinda makes sense, “essential worker hostages” etc., in this climate of systemic victimization. I hope Mr. Floyd doesn’t start receiving the “hero” moniker.

    1. D. Fuller

      Speaking of nursing homes, I heard direct from a worker that her manager is attempting to inflate the number of CV-19 deaths by labeling every death as CV-19. This means more funding and, for some odd reason, a bigger year end bonus that comes along with more funding.

      This was the same nursing home that for weeks concealed CV-19 deaths.

      1. Keith

        Many people in nursing homes and ALF’s are receiving tax payer benefits, such as Medicare, VA, etc, which may not cover the entire cost of care. My guess, if they say the cost of care is COVID caused, they can seek a better reimbursement directly from the feds, as opposed to seeking reimbursement for something related to diabetes which may be subject to caps from medicare or even private care. Healthcare is about gaming the bureaucracy.

      2. Bsoder

        If your going to make stuff up, then get it right. Yes some deaths are coded as CV19 so as to collect on Medicaid, and to a lesser extent Medicare. This started in NYC. If you do it, not now but in a few months you can 100% be sure someone’s going to want to see the paper work. You will go to jail.

        1. richard

          That’s what I’ve been doing wrong. The next time I make stuff up, I’ve got to be sure to get it right!

    2. christofay

      That’s okay. On the local grocery bulletin board there were no notices for several weeks, now they’re back. One is for “decontamination of cars” which I first glancingly read as “defecation in cars.” Oh, I thought that’s a new service industry for people who want to crap on their bosses, exes and others.

  12. FrankZappasGuitar

    This twitter pic seems credible but speculatory at this point regarding the identity of the white man with a brand new helmet, mask, umbrella, clad in black, smashing windows with an emergency hammer, and apparently trying to start fires. He says “get away or I’ll fight you” (sic) to a black man wearing a pink t-shirt asking what the hell he’s doing and who he is — the solidarity of the real protestors unified around injustice, amirite?. I’m guessing 98% probability on undercover provocateur.


    A propos, it’s worth witnessing the incident in which an MPLS officer tell citizens to “give me a reason” to shoot:


    1. Bsoder

      The only problem with the ‘Agent provocateur‘ Conspiracy is that it’s so obvious to everyone, how then can it be a conspiracy? Just a bad job? Out of practice? Maybe something else entirely.

      1. aleric

        Easily, it doesn’t get covered on mainstream television. I personally know many reliable people who have seen this sort of thing happen at protests. it doesnt need to be a secret if the perps are powerful and the witnesses aren’t. Heck, 75% of what we discuss on this site would strike a tv news viewer as a outlandish conspiracy.

        1. The Rev Kev

          During the 1999 Seattle WTO riots, protesters corralled a bunch of trouble-makers who were committing damage when they realized they were wearing standard, police-issue boots. The uniformed police came along and took them away. Hmmm.

      2. ambrit

        When has the obviousness of anything hindered it’s implementation? This is the same meritocratic network that thinks that running the same political campaign against Trump as in 2016 is going to work ‘this time.’
        The Conspiracy part is the networking going on behind the scenes. Similar to the networking going on in smoke filled back rooms during conventions that decides who the candidate will be. See Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man,” for details. (Vidal knew American politics from an insider’s perspective. He literally grew up in it.)
        Also, your deployment of the ‘Just a…? and ‘Maybe…?’ tropes is a fun parody of old school Conspiracy Theory videos and essays. I’ll give you credit for your excellent deployment of snark.

  13. Screwball

    I was on another board and people were gushing over the Obama tweet about George Floyd. Here is a link; Partial statement:

    It’s natural to wish for life “to just get back to normal” as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly “normal” — whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.

    This shouldn’t be “normal” in 2020 America. It can’t be “normal.” If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.

    It will fall mainly on the officials of Minnesota to ensure that the circumstances surrounding George Floyd’s death are investigated thoroughly and that justice is ultimately done. But it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station — including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day — to work together to create a “new normal” in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.

    Wasn’t it under the watch of Obama and his black AG Eric Holder that our police were militarized to the hilt? And under your 8 years Mr. Obama, what exactly did you do to change this (other than militarize the police)?

    Apparently, this is what those gushing people want to go back to.

    Vote for Joe. That was easy.

    1. Stan

      @Screwball >>

      “Wasn’t it under the watch of Obama and his black AG Eric Holder that our police were militarized to the hilt? And under your 8 years Mr. Obama, what exactly did you do to change this (other than militarize the police)?”

      If you really knew just how evil those lipsticked pigs are…

      I was put in the US’ covert torture system — think COINTELPRO & Stasi Zersetzung on an unlimited budget and steroids — shortly after G. W. started the bi-partisan GWOT clusterf***, but it was even worse during Obama’s terms.

    2. Stan

      And by the way… Obama & Holder’s problem isn’t they’re black pigs with lipstick, the problem is they’re American pigs with lipstick. Democratic pols in the US don’t want to go back, they just want the same perks Trump and his pigs enjoy — front, back or sideways.

    3. Bsoder

      And what would you have done? What was the problem? What was the range of solutions? No president after trump will ever feel constrained to do anything. But in all presidents before him did. Do you think being black helped or hindered Obama in what people would tolerate from him. Remember trump was even then trying to creating an insurrection Agaisnt Obama? Why?

      1. ambrit

        This is not Trump inspired. It all goes back to the Arch Demon Reagan who began the implementation of Our Dark Lord’s reign on Earth.
        Depending on the time period, Trump may have been legitimately countering Obama’s attempts to sabotage Trump’s Administration, even during the transition period.
        The bottom line is that Obama was the biggest sell out of the public good since Petain led the Vichy government in France during WW-2.

        1. Stan

          Petain and Laval… William Shirer’s book about a couple of blokes who engineered a quick national defeat just so they could take power is a good one.

          1. ambrit

            Good catch. I once sat through the entirety of “The Sorrow and the Pity” at an art house cinema. (I was forewarned and bought lunch and snacks.) That and Hannah Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem” made a major impression on my young sensibility.

      2. Stan

        The same circle of keystone-cop psychos that held Obama’s leash are holding onto Trump’s.

        All US pols feel constrained and are constrained by their Alphabet Stasi masters. Sticking to the script is what matters; skin color is irrelevant. Obama was skilled as an obedient puppy. Trump’s problem is that his mind starts to wander and he can’t stick to the script, but that’s not enough to provoke a sufficient number of his natural allies in the Alphabet Stasi. (JFK? Some of us remember what happened to him after he disappointed the Stasi.)

        What should have been done? Broad question. Where does one begin? Let’s prioritize a little.

        Stop voting (R) & (D). Full stop. Take the time to build new political organizations that exclude the (R) & (D) nomenklatura, and include public minded, reasoning people in the face of frantic and literally torturous Stasi infiltration… End stupid wars (not start new ones while losing old ones), close most US military bases (everywhere) and send goons home to do something constructive, anything, except be police… Train police to be professionals; discourage goons who just want to have fun hiding behind flags and badges. Set top marginal tax rates at levels where they were when Obama was born, but a little higher due to the nature of the problems created by the Military/Stasi/Oligarch Complex. Use that tax revenue to re-build crumbling infrastructure — you know, the one Americans built when those top marginal tax rates were in 88%-90% range. Those are some of the meat and potato issues & solutions, point being American civilians will get nothing before they stop giving everything to the Pentagon and its public teat sucking welfare queens in the private sector.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Obama said in 2014: ‘We saw during the summer the possibility of even overwhelmingly peaceful crowds being overrun by a few thugs who might be looking for an excuse to loot or to commit vandalism.’

      Did he say that the problem was a few bad apples?

  14. John

    IS there any reason not to have voting by mail and voting in person to meet the desires, fears, and suspicions of everyone? I imagine I shall vote is person but I do not live in a big city or a state in which limiting the number of polling places is a political tactic.

    Those who want to restrict the franchise to those most likely to vote for them should have the courage of their convictions and go whole hog and have the state legislature appoint the presidential electors doing away with all this messy uncertain voting nonsense.

    1. aaccckkk

      In many cases, vote by mail ballots can be dropped off in person at a polling location, while avoiding the line.

      Seems like a win- win.

  15. Adam Eran

    RE hydrogen and “This is a spectacular result for several reasons” … The spectacularity is directly related to the hydrogen’s store-ability. It’s tricky, and probably expensive to store, but it’s got to be cheaper than a giant battery installation. Having more-easily-store-able hydrogen means solar can generate power 24-7…the last bit of business that makes it cheaper than petroleum. Also, if we don’t need lithium from countries like Bolivia, we can stop overthrowing their governments! A two-fer!

    1. barefoot charley

      Hydrogen is stored as a cold liquid under pressure, which ain’t cheap or easy. It’s why simple electrolysis like we did to water in high school creating hydrogen and oxygen with electricity is misleadingly easy–regulating and storing the gas isn’t economical, and however you create it, you’re storing a small fraction of the energy that creating it consumed. What we don’t recognize about good old concentrated dead-dinosaur fuel is that it’s already a battery, storing much more power more easily than battery technologies ever will. One more good reason, besides evil corporations, why we’re hellbent to drain the stuff dry.

    1. Keith

      I would say it is about firing up his base. Conservatives have concerns about social media silencing them, which gets reinforced by the “woke” liberal mobs and cancel culture. He gets to play victim while looking like he is doing something. Twitter is hitting him more, giving the issue more oxygen. I suspect the whole Scarlsborough affair was to provoke Twitter. I think it is good politics, especially if he is looking to court the “silent majority” that abhor the Twitterverse’s influence over the real world.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      IMHO, strikes me as the usual shell game Trump plays. Could be to distract attention away from people looking at his handling of the pandemic. Could be red meat for the base, as Keith mentioned. I haven’t been able to read too much about it yet, but that’s my initial impression anyway.

    3. Massinissa

      This executive order literally can’t be enforced. Its a PR move to throw red meat to his base.

  16. alex morfesis

    Red Shirt Democrats and Black America…it is sad how much of history slips away
    when no one wants to talk about it…on the 100th anniversary of the founding of these United States of America, July 4th, 1876…a date that should have been filled with joy, the Red Shirt Democrats decided it was a perfect day to begin to take back the south. On that day, a mob of white men attacked about 30 Black Soldiers at a military station in Hamburg, South Carolina, right across the Savannah river from Augusta, Georgia…you know…Augusta, as in golf for mostly white folks…well…on the spot of that massacre, there is no monument, no flag, nothing to show for the death of 6 Black American Soldiers just doing their job that day instead of being with their family to celebrate not only American Freedom, but their freedom, obtained only about a decade before…Red Shirt Democrats…

    And across the river is that wondrous town Augusta…now a majority Black City but still many traces of white control and power and directing the Narrative…

    There is the Augusta Museum of History, built in 1937…just 5 street over from that wonderful racist President, Woodrow Wilson was raised in that lovely home…just 5 blocks away at 560 Reynolds Street…a nice old building…tells the story of mostly white Augusta, but they do have some space for James Brown, the father of soul…nice enough…

    but…on the top floor of that museum…well…methinks on some special nights after hours when the museum is rented out for some private event…a few old white clowns go up to the top floor and just gaze across the river…smiling…knowing a little secret that very few people know…

    right there on that top floor…on a beautiful moon lit night…you can look across the Savannah river at an empty space…just over from the old rail line bridge that was obviously left there as a marker…

    for you see…that museum was placed exactly there for a reason…

    what you look at when you are gazing across the river…is that spot in Hamburg, South Carolina where those six Black American Soldiers were assassinated on a most solemn day…the Centennial of the United States…

    Hamburg, July the 4th, 1876…the day the good ole boyz decided to change and then hide history,,,

    sadly, the democratic party has never apologized for Hamburg to Black America…

    america…what a country…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          For the most part, it wasn’t anything particularly interesting. He went into a bit of a Cosby rant in his infamous Wright speech.

          He did point out he is black when he goes to hail a cab.

          Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred. And terrorism begets terrorism. A white ambassador said that, y’all. Not a black militant. Not a reverend who preaches about racism. An ambassador whose eyes are wide open and who is trying to get us to wake up and move away from this dangerous precipice upon which we are now poised. The ambassador said the people that we have wounded don’t have the military capability we have. But they do have individuals who are willing to die and take thousands with them. And we need to come to grips with that. -Reverend Wright

          we’ve heard my former pastor … use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.
          I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely—just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
          But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country—a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America
          -Obama on Wright

          Oh the oration…

      1. CarlH

        What hand waving golden spiel to racism do you speak of? Name something concrete he did for the black community, other than overseeing the largest loss of wealth for them ever during his presidency? You seem to think you are at the DailyKos or some other such rag.

  17. Fastball

    Why is it that the only rights considered absolute by some people are rights that right wingers disproportionately value?

    There are precisely zero rights that are absolute and if the current far right SCOTUS sides with this lunatic church, they will essentially be saying that religious liberty confers the right to essentially murder people by spreading germs. The precedent will be extended to the distant future and the legal system even further obliterated.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Hard for rights to be absolute when they keep conflicting with each other in varying circumstances. . . .

      1. farmboy

        thru April 4 of 1968 and I’m exhausted, maybe more tomorrow https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/timeline-seismic-180967503/,
        Jan15, antiwar protest lead by Jeanette Rankin of Montana.
        Jan20,Univ of Houston beats Kareem lead UCLA and their 47 game winstreak.
        Jan22, Rowan and Martin debuts on NBC, antiwar sketch comedy, Smothers Brothers
        Jan23, North Korea seizes USS Pueblo, 1 crewman killed, 82 hostages, 11 Month standoff
        Jan30, Tet offensive, North Vietnam strikes
        Feb1, Memphis sanitation workers Cole and Walker crushed to death by a malfunctioning garbage truck. Strike ensued.
        Feb7, battle of BrenTre, military officer tells AP reporter Peter Arnett, “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.” Catch22 on steroids.
        Feb8, on campus at South Carolina State, police open fire on students protesting segregation at Orangeburg’s only bowling alley. 3 dead, 27 wounded. 9 officers tried and acquitted. Protest coordinator convicted of inciting riot, serves 7 months, pardoned 25 years later.
        Feb27,Walter Cronkite, after a tour of Vietnam says the war is mired in stalemate.
        Feb29, Kerner Comm, apt by LBJ examines race riots and concludes the US is moving toward two societies one black, one white, separate and unequal.
        March1. 15,000 Latino high school students walk out of class demanding better education.
        Mar5, Czech gov’t abolishes censorship, expanding freedoms, angering Soviet Union.
        Mar6, 500 NYU students picket Dow recruiting event principal maker of napalm, killer of Vietnamese.
        Mar12, Nixon wins 78% of New Hampshire primary, McCarthy gets 42% of Dem voters-shock!
        Mar13, ARCO and Exxon announce discovery of the largest oil field ever in North America, Prudhoe Bay.
        March16, NY Senator RFK enters presidential race.
        March19, Students take over admin at Howard university demanding voice in discipline and curriculum.
        March31, LBJ, sitting president, declines to seek his party’s nomination. He won in 64 at %61.
        April1, 1,000 draftees send their draft cards back to gov’t offices all over the country.

    1. Keith

      Well, if you want to change the status quo, a little chaos helps. You have the virus traveling around causing hysteria and the economic damage being inflicted by the govt’s over reaction, add some racial tension with massive amounts of people unemployed and nothing better to do than riot/protest, and you have a recipe for change, provided someone seizes that opportunity. Should be fun to see how this plays out over the summer.

      One thing I suspect, see a pickup in crime. I suspect police will start to be hands off in fear of cameras and getting hammered by the media. At the end of the day, it is just a paycheck and less of a hassle if the “bad guy” gets away.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Theodore White wrote:

      In 1968 it was as if the future waited on each month to deliver events completely unforeseen the month before.

      I was but a baby then. But it certainly feels like that now.

        1. Daryl

          Yikes. I had assumed this was a new problem with our militarized police, but I guess not.

          One wonders exactly what’s going through the mind of people who deploy tanks to a city.

        2. BobW

          I was in my early teens then, remember the sound of .50 cal machine guns miles away. IIRC a man was shot by one while standing in a window lighting a cigarette. The rounds went through him and several more rooms. Blamed on National Guard troops being untrained for this, and very very nervous.

    3. Temporarily Sane

      Except in 1968 the civil rights movement had just won a huge victory, the antiwar movement was going strong and there were vibrant political, literary and music scenes that many thought would change the world for the better. The future seemed bright and promising, or so I have heard from people who were there.

      After decades of neoliberalism, war, corruption and lies the vibe today is extremely cynical and grim in comparison and expressions of optimism about what the future holds ring hollow and forced.

    4. VietnamVet

      I had the same thought earlier today. I think it was because back then I was waiting to be drafted into a stupid war. Today, I am incarcerated at home because the Moron and Congress In hiding are unwilling to fund a national public health service to fight the coronavirus pandemic that is on the verge of becoming endemic in North America. There were reasons then and now to riot. The lockdowns will wax and wane, many more will die, and it will never be safe for 70 year olds to go out again.

  18. Charles 2

    Regarding the “Moar sunlight” alleged infirmation by Singapore, it doesn’t hold IMO :
    a) Singapore is very much an “indoor“ civilisation, and even an “aircon indoor”. As most contagion comes from indoor, it is not surprising it gets affected.
    b) Most cases comes from migrant workers dormitories which, though not airconed, are very densely populated (some of them used beds for more than one person, as in submarines). This was compounded by the fact that these migrant workers usually congregate in a single district of Singapore during their off day.( The main reason for going there is to perform remittance to their home country once they get paid). Finally, they are mostly young, so there was quite a big proportion of asymptomatic carriers. Put together, It is the ideal set-up for contagion !
    Actually, the fact that there seems to have very little cross contamination between that group and the rest of the population is probably a testimony of the Low survivability of the virus on surfaces in Singapore, and that could come from the heat and sunlight.

  19. Daryl

    Got one of those “economic impact” debit cards in the mail. Had to double, triple, quadruple check to make sure it wasn’t a scam, then went through the “Money Network’s” site which already had all of my personal information in it in order to transfer the money to a real account. So some random pop-up company now has the information presumably of everyone who was lucky enough to receive the payment this way

    Looked like it was written according to all the best software development practices of 1998; I won’t be surprised when the news of it being hacked comes out.

  20. Chris

    I wonder if all the people agitating for re-opening realize just how much this lockdown could have changed people’s habits? I know that personally our family is not looking to rejoin much of what we were doing before because on reflection being that busy was insane. And expensive. So what happens if we all wake up and realize those animal spirits aren’t what they used to be? What happens when business owners start to really plan for future economic shutdowns and limit offerings to save money? I hear so many people saying we need things to get back to how they were. I’m not sure that’s possible or even desirable.

    1. Temporarily Sane

      I was talking to a cabbie the other day and he went on at some length about how he prefers the quiet streets and slower pace of life that has become the norm since the lockdown. He made some good points I thought.

      The whining and bellyaching of people who, before the lockdown, constantly complained that they never have time to talk to friends, hang out with their families, catch up on reading and TV shows etc. is a bit much.

      Thankfully the BBC and other “leading” media outlets constantly run lifestyle advice articles like “Is getting up at night and snacking normal behavior during a pandemic?”

      It must have been hell on earth living during the dark ages before the media began colonizing people’s brains 24/7 and treating them like helpless imbeciles who can’t even remember how to tie a shoelace without “experts” to guide them along.

  21. Synoia

    Just saw some protest photos out of Minneapolis, & think someone threw a frozen chicken through a squad car window

    Whole new meaning to “Polly got a cracker”

  22. upstater

    re. Rail: “Rail Week Ending 23 May 2020 – Looking For Signs Of Improvement” one factor not reported on is the Kool-Aid of “Precision Scheduled Railroading” that has been drunk by all publicly traded Class 1 railroads. The basic premise is to shoo-away marginally profitable business and concentrate on running the equivalent of “land barges” in the form of 2.5 mile long, 15,000 ton freight trains that run infrequently and at speeds of less than 40 MPH. All the Class 1s, except for Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF are doing PSR. And all of them have idled 25% or more of their locomotives, shutdown classification yards and laid off tens of thousands of highly skilled workers. Prior to COVID, they were all Wall Street darlings because of the slash-and-burn practices.

    These are links from Trains Magazine about industry trends — good reporting…

    History suggests rail traffic won’t fully rebound after recession

    Financial engineers at the throttle (share buy-backs versus capital expenditures, no surprises)

    In a surprise, UP shuts down Cold Connect reefer service (a profitable, innovative service cancelled)

    On interesting note was Union Pacific’s abrupt cancellation of “Cold Connect” refrigerator service from CA and WA to the east coast. It was Profitable. But not enough for management. Cold Connect would run entire trainloads of high-capacity refrigerated produce to Acela corridor markets. It had hundreds of NEW railcars. Now it gets scrapped and thousands of trucks end up on the highways — I can’t count the ways that this epitomizes the avarice and greed of corporations.

    In another life in the 1970s, I worked for Penn Central and even during bankruptcy, they could deliver entire trainloads of 80+ refrigerator cars on train “NY-4” from California to Hunts Point in NYC in FOUR days! There was nothing “hotter” on the railroad than refrigerator cars. Cold Connect took 7-8 days to do the same thing in 2018-2020!

    Now railroads bring entire trains of container loads of Chinese trinkets from LA/Long Beach, and haul empties back. In Upstate NY, we have trainloads of garbage from NYC environs hauled to landfills and incinerators here.

    The rot is astonishing, isn’t it?

    1. rowlf

      Thanks for the post and the link to the article on share buy-backs. The airline I work for did share buy-backs too and I have been trying to figure out why the executives figured they had to, as they were doing unfashionable things like covering pension obligations, lowering debt, improving system reliability and preparing for a downturn. Maybe it was a new way for the financial lampreys to suck out money from healthy companies.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s really excellent information, upstater. Thank you.

      > concentrate on running the equivalent of “land barges” in the form of 2.5 mile long, 15,000 ton freight trains that run infrequently and at speeds of less than 40 MPH.

      That doesn’t seem optimize for a return of manufacturing to the United States….

  23. Jessica

    The problem with using excess deaths as an index is that it mixes together unrecognized deaths due to the virus, deaths due to the lockdown (for example, deaths due to delayed elective surgery), and deaths due to fear (for example, folks with heart issues staying away from hospitals for fear of catching the virus in a hospital).

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Hydroxychloroquine and the Political Polarization of Science”

    Not only politicization but the corruption by big business. The Lancet came out with an observation of studies and on the basis of it, several countries along with the WHO abandoned hydroxychloroquine. The WHO even ordered Indonesia to stop using it. Big consequences. But about that Lancet “study”.

    The data for that study was done by one company. Who have 6 employees. Whose oldest message on LinkedIn only goes back a few months. Who reviewed nearly a hundred thousand cases. In a few months. Across hundreds of hospitals on several continents. Who mostly use different computer systems & methodology. After negotiating the privacy protocols in those few months. Who say you cannot peer-review their data as it is “propriety.” And whose listed doctors on that paper are nearly all cardiologists. Seriously?

    If you believe all that, then I can get you a good price on the Sydney Harbour bridge!

    1. Woodchuck

      This story is pretty wild for sure. This company seems very shady, and has many doctors said in an open letter, they have no idea how they could even get this kind of access themselves to data for use in studies at their own hospitals, but somehow that company can all over the world without having much paperwork about it.

      It looks terrible

  25. Temporarily Sane

    The latest “officer involved homicide” demonstrates why high minded criticism aimed at bad stuff China, Russia and other official enemies do is tedious, not to mention hypocritical.

  26. The Rev Kev

    Well this must be embarrassing. Greece is opening up to tourists again and those from countries like Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Israel and Lebanon are allowed.

    But not countries like the UK, France, Italy and Spain. Those countries will have to wait until they get clear of the virus. And to think that a few months ago Greece was regarded as the poor man of Europe-


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