Links 5/23/2020

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Bumblebees bite plants to make them flower early, surprising scientists National Geographic and Bees using secret trick to make plants flower, leaving scientists baffled Independent (Kevin W)

Here they come: 17-year cicadas to emerge in 3 states this spring, summer Accuweather (Dan K)

Bow, Humans: Trillions of Cicadas Are Going to Rule America Vice (resilc)

NASA’s powerful new space telescope will be named after Nancy Grace Roman — the agency’s first female executive, known as the ‘mother of Hubble’ Business Insider (Kevin W)

US Navy disables drone using a high-energy shipborne laser weapon New Atlas (David L)

Scientists Identify a Temperature Tipping Point for Tropical Forests Smithsonian (David L)

Bigfoot is moving on to the next phase of life Bored Panda (Chuck L)


77 Nobel Laureates Denounce Trump Officials For Pulling Coronavirus Research Grant NPR (NPR)

The Interpreter: a mind-blowing Covid conversation New York Times (furzy)


We Want to Know the Future of the Coronavirus. Too Bad. New York Times

Scientists vs politicians: the reality check for ‘warp speed’ vaccine research Financial Times (Kevin W)

Covid-19: Centre expands use of hydroxychloroquine for asymptomatic frontline workers Scroll (J-LS)

Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in human breastmilk Lancet (Kevin W)

Online COVID-19 Dashboard Calculates How Risky Reopenings and Gatherings Can Be Scientific American (Robert M)

Twitter Bots Are Spreading Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories Rolling Stone (furzy)


Urinals could become a thing of the past under plans to open Britain’s boozers Mirror Online (UserFriendly)


Coronavirus: US secures 300 million doses of Oxford vaccine with US$1.2 billion pledge South China Morning Post (Kevin W)

The Feds Gave a Former White House Official $3 Million to Supply Masks to Navajo Hospitals. Some May Not Work. ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Political Responses

Trump launches historic Virus Rights Movement, will ‘override governors’ on churches reopening BBC (Paul R). Triggered by this? California Defeats Church’s Challenge to Stay-at-Home Order Bloomberg

DOJ supports lawsuit against Illinois governor’s stay-at-home order extension and warns LA mayor against ‘unlawful’ idea of long-term lockdown Daily Mail

77 Nobel Laureates Denounce Trump Officials For Pulling Coronavirus Research Grant NPR (David L)

Trump’s Food Aid Program Gives Little Funding to the Northeast, Where Coronavirus Hit Hardest ProPublica. However, UserFriendly notes: “The right metric would have been people out of work, not how hard hit an area was.”


America’s cautious comeback Reuters. Several restaurants here already closed for good, including an Italian spot with very good pizza.

Coronavirus: Leading economist warns of 10 years of depression and debt BBC (Dan K)

Dr. Anthony Fauci says staying closed for too long could cause ‘irreparable damage’ CNBC

Moderna unveiled encouraging coronavirus vaccine results. Then top execs dumped nearly $30 million of stock CNN

The Nonprofit Grifters Who Want a Cut of the Coronavirus Bailout New Republic


US slams China’s plan for Hong Kong as ‘death knell’ for autonomy Financial Times


‘Collective indifference’: Bengal is angered by India’s apathetic reaction to Amphan’s devastation Scroll (J-LS)

New Cold War

Trump Will Withdraw From Open Skies Arms Control Treaty New York Times (Kevin W)

‘We’ll spend you into oblivion’: US nuclear envoy reveals ‘negotiating’ tactic for New START, last arms control deal with Russia RT (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Just Turning Your Phone On Qualifies As Searching It, Court Rules ars technica

Remote Employee Monitoring Veriato Solutions (Dr. Kevin)

Trump Transition

FBI director Wray orders internal review of Flynn case The Hill

McConnell gives two vulnerable senators a boost with vote on outdoor recreation bill The Hill (UserFriendly)

Trump Just Removed the IG Investigating Elaine Chao. Chao’s Husband, Mitch McConnell, Already Vetted the Replacement. CREW

Trump administration discussed conducting first U.S. nuclear test in decades Washington Post (Dan K)

Can Lindsey Graham Win Reelection as a Trump Enabler? Washington Monthly (resilc)

Senate Approves Ratcliffe As Nation’s Top Spy Defense One (resilc)


Once Again, Democrats Are Caught in the Trump Trap Politico (UserFriendly). Key point comes well into the piece:

It’s often said that Trump’s brand of politics requires him to identify enemies—people want to see who he’s against. What’s overlooked is Trump’s brand of politics requires other people to identify him as the enemy. There’s never a shortage of volunteers, and none more prestigious than a former Democratic president widely respected by his party.

I suggest watching the entire interview below. Charlamagne tha God is arguably the most popular black radio host in the US. He’s also a no-bullshit interviewer. For instance, Hillary made the mistake of mentioning her hot sauce in her purse. Charlamagne asked her what brand it was.

Biden repeatedly turned down interview requests from Charlamagne when the primaries were still in play. Pay attention to the arc of the interview. Biden got weirdly combative, and went on way way too long defending his support of the 1990s crime bill (he at least cited a lot of information pretty coherently), and had a foot-in-mouth moment, saying people in prison which is saying people prison can’t read (remember about 1/4 are black). After Biden finished that monologue, Biden’s handler interrupts to try to cut off the interview (11:20) even though the time had to have been pre-set. Biden waves that off, allowing Charlamagne to continue: “Why so much resistance to admitting the crime bill damaged the black community” and says that Hillary on his show admitted the bill had a lot of problems and she wanted to atone for that as President. This is where things go even more downhill for Biden as he doubled down. Charlamagne ends with “I have more I’d like to ask you,” which is not confrontational. And rather than giving the usual response, “Yes, would love to talk more,” Biden goes into his “If you ain’t voting for me, you ain’t black” own goal.

Comments on the video are unfavorable to deadly. A tiny sampling:

He’s really laying it up for trump to win… then in 4 years a democrat will win then in 8 years after than another republican and the cycle will continue business as usual.. this shit is all scripted.

You’ll never make it. He’s done. This interview is cringeworthy.

he said you niccas better not act up AND stay in line. STAY ON THAT DEMOCRACKTIC PLANTATION, DONT TRY AND ESCAPE….NICCA!

Wow. Democrats don’t like it when we think for ourselves. Smh. I don’t know what’s worse: this or when Hillary pulled out a bottle of hot sauce from her purse.


Charlamagne tha God defends Biden’s support for black community The Hill

Note the price point. That is really dumb. They should make them free and charge only shipping:

This is a particularly inept frame given that in the eye of religious conservatives, pro-choice Dems are baby killers:

UserFriendly: “Theoretically, she has a law degree right? From Candyland University?”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has ordered the government to draw up a renewed national approach for the emerging crypto industry. CoinDesk. Dan K: “Rouhani wants to be able to track, and probably tax, crypto-currency mining profits. Blockchain currency maven’s heads will explode :).”

Andrew Yang Picks Mike Broihier over McGrath in anti-McConnell Primary Rolling Stone (furzy)

Car rental group Hertz prepares to file for bankruptcy Financial Times

Ajit Pai doubts Elon Musk’s SpaceX broadband-latency claims ars technica (Dan K)

Class Warfare

Tesla employees fear unsafe conditions at factory, call it ‘modern-day sweatshop’ Electrek (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour (DL):

And a bonus from guurst. Moar bears!

And another from guurst. This may not do much for you but it does for me! They don’t have nice tweety birds in Australia. They have raucous birds. This is exactly the sort of avian serenade that greeted me in the morning in Potts Point, and I miss it.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. cnchal

      Now I get it. The headline could use an improvement by inserting the words “The police” at the beginning.

      Basically, he ruled, the FBI pushing the button on the phone to activate the lock screen qualified as a search, regardless of the lock screen’s nature.

      The FBI required a search warrant first. If they don’t have one, it’s an illegal search.

      One step forward two steps back.

      Didn’t congress just pass a bill, by one vote, to make what anyone searched for on the internet open to the police without a warrant? This will lead to the police automatically filling every available blank memory chip with everybodies search history and setting AI loose to identify and target whoever the miscreant flavor of the day is.

      Where is that “piss into the cloud” app?

  1. Bugs Bunny

    “‘Collective indifference’: Bengal is angered by India’s apathetic reaction to Amphan’s devastation”

    No surprise here. The BJP hates Chief Minister Banerjee and Kolkata is covered with advertising against the Citizenship law and National registry. Modi needs to divide and rule. She’s not a saint but he’s a simple autocrat.

  2. Amfortas the hippie

    re: the dailym mail art:
    I recognise that both sides of the duopoly have disregarded the Constitution, and especially the Bill of Rights, for all my life.
    but to my mind, the GOP/Right has been much worse, since at least Lil George….more blatant and obvious….even proud of it, at times.
    To see them attempt to be “Defenders of the Republic” makes my skin crawl.
    shamelessly opportunistic.
    …and part of a pattern; Hawley and Gardiner and Mike DeWine, all running to the left, economically, of dems.
    DeWine sounded like a Sewer Socialist as far back as Feb 2019(caught him on CSpan talking about state hiring folks for all the stuff that wasn’t getting done)
    Like i’ve been telling dems for 20 years…if you leave all that FDR Stuff just laying by the side of the road, somebody’s gonna pick it up and beat you over the head with it.

  3. anon15

    This is a particularly inept frame given that in the eye of religious conservatives, pro-choice Dems are baby killers: Yves Smith

    One doesn’t have to be a religious conservative to be utterly repelled by both those remarks. They seriously do paint the Demos as loony fanatics, i.e. in more civilized countries where abortion is legal, it is none-the-less considered a tragedy, not a laughing matter, and a sad reflection on society.

    1. periol

      Plus, it’s not just abortion at issue.

      The arrest and death of Jeffrey Epstein was headline news, along with that Prince Andrew interview. Lots of people, especially conservatives, think that the revelations in this situation are just the tip of the iceberg. There was also the whole congressional page scandal a few decades back, etc.

      Lived in small-town Nebraska for a year, walked into an antique store to buy a used dishwasher (really small town), and received a ten minute lecture about the pedos in Hollywood and DC and how the store owner was boycotting anything Hollywood. She didn’t have any thoughts about how to effectively protest the pedos in DC. I wanted to keep the convo going, but I’m pretty sure the topic came up because she saw my CA license plate.

      When a woman says she would vote for Biden even if he does terrible things to babies, there are already lots of people out there who think he and most people in DC already do much worse. To babies and children, not just passing laws that harm the country, keeping the rich rich and the poor poor.

    2. Geo

      The “Karen” account is a satirical one so it’s grossly over-the-top joke is understandable but the one it linked to is by a supposed journalist.

      Sure, it was a “joke”. Same excuses given for Biden saying “you ain’t black” and Trump saying drink bleach. There’s a lot of truth in all these “jokes”.

      1. Bsoder

        May 23, 2020 at 5:05 pm
        A German friend (who lives in Germany) said explained to me recently, that some Jokes are German jokes – “they don’t have to be funny’. Ok lots of Germany jokes floating around. Biden as I keep saying has dementia, there are no take aways from the insane other than there in insane.

        As to the issues brought up, as to the Confederate states and their red states allies no there aren’t many abortions at least the public is going to hear about. My mom was southern and my sisters were on birth control as soon as possible 13 or so. We were a .000% family. All the other families in this orbit seemed to have the same ‘configuration’. Looking at the data, I don’t see many babies out of wedlock, nor put up for adoption, and the studies show there’s plenty of sex going on so. The whole ‘pro life’ movement may have some true believes (unless it’s capital punishment- stare sponsored murder) but mostly it’s another way to rant and rave and impose social order on those that don’t want it or need it. Almost like the Confederacy has never gotten over the need to oppress someone, anyone.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          GERMAN: Ha ha, zer German joke.

          SEAGOON: Zer English silence.

          Ahh yes! German humor. I’ll never forget a German restaurant/butcher near (predominantly German) Cincinnati. The owner had had a taxidermist put antlers on a vole which became the, umm, trade dress for the establishment (“die Völperdinger”). So, lampshades, ja? Ha ha ha.

          Ustinov nailed it: “The story I have told you is full of humour. When I have finished laughing at it, I will explain it point by point.”

          …Speaking of the Goons, all the nosy mask virtue policing these days on FB lately reminds me of this classic sequence from ‘The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler of Bexhill on Sea’:

          Crun: It’s much too dark to see, strike a light.
          Seagoon: Not allowed during blackout. Only 28 miles across the channel, German guns are watching this coast!
          Crun: Don’t be silly, they can’t see a little match being struck!
          Seagoon: Oh, all right.
          (FX: Match struck; low whine, then an explosion. Pause.)
          Seagoon: Any questions?
          Crun: Yes, where are my legs?

  4. allan

    A reminder that people with lupus and RA (not to mention malaria) who actually benefit from hydr*xychl*r*qine
    are having to go without or ration their doses, with real consequences.

    They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

    1. Oh

      Tom and Daisy are like the oil, gas and pipeline companies – they lease federal land for cheap, make a mess of the environment and leave the cleanup to the public coffers. No accountability at all.

  5. fresno dan

    Once Again, Democrats Are Caught in the Trump Trap Politico (UserFriendly)

    Something like 90-85% of black people reliably vote democratic.
    1. Are they irrational to do so?
    2. Would black people voting for republicans occasionally advance black interests?

    With regard to the first point, one could just as easily ask if poor people are irrational to vote democratic. Can anyone seriously argue that democrats as a party WANT to effectively represent the poor? The poor who have voted republican doesn’t strike me as having gotten any significant real benefit from voting republican – its all psychic income in the fact that one’s Trumped up enemies are getting screwed.
    With regard to the second point, the economic response to point 1 applies, but even with regard to the non-economic view, e.g., voting rights, republican party paints itself as opposed to black interests (and poorer people regardless of race).

    I would say anyone voting for either dems or repubs are voting against their own interests, except the 1% who understand that they will always vote their own economic interests, and as both parties try to cater to them, the wealthy have a choice in picking the candidate that most enriches them. And as economic interest is a verboten subject in American electoral politics (except to say that someone else’s benefit is screwing you) the wealthy have completely set the terms of debate to benefit themselves.
    A class based third party would be nice, but one only has to look at how Sanders was covered as a Bolshevik by MSNBC and CNN that the entire array of the wealthy would be arrayed against such an endeavor.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      how would a Worker’s Party get past the Ballot Access issues?
      the duopoly has it all sewn up…in texas, it’s either a whole bunch of perfectly verifiable signatures, or a bunch of $$$.
      and the usual skulduggery denying access…including lawsuits…doesn’t generally make the news…or is buried in the obits….so the genpop is unaware of it.
      this latter phenomenon, in turn, makes me return to an ongoing and related conundrum: media.
      any Actually Lefty, Working Class Party…in order to make inroads at all…will need it’s own media.
      “Community Access” tv channels in municipal cable markets won’t do,lol….and the networks aren’t interested.
      radio—at least in Texas, and last i looked—has large barriers to entry, and pirate radio is pursued relentlessly.
      so how do you reach the People?
      surely, with the demise of physical newspapers, there are a bunch of presses and such to be had for relatively cheap….and those weatherproof boxes with glass fronts?
      is anyone in leftish circles talking about newspapers?
      Perhaps strategically distributed, in non-PMC neighborhoods?
      would it mean court fights with cities and universities and seven elevens to place the boxes?
      how concerted is the effort to deny the Left access to the public?

      it occurs to me that online outreach has it’s limitations…including net neutrality and outright censorship…from FB to one’s ISP…but what about older media tech that the mainstream has abandoned, and regards with a smirk, perhaps?

      1. Jessica

        “what about older media tech that the mainstream has abandoned”
        That is what the conservatives did with AM radio. Though they always have the powers that be at their back instead of in their face.

      2. fresno dan

        Amfortas the hippie
        May 23, 2020 at 9:37 am

        this latter phenomenon, in turn, makes me return to an ongoing and related conundrum: media.
        any Actually Lefty, Working Class Party…in order to make inroads at all…will need it’s own media.
        I think your absolutely correct. I think there is great stuff on the internet, but the problem is that poorer people either don’t have or can’t afford internet service. And most people don’t follow political blogs – they know they’re getting screwed and they don’t have a choice in the matter. It has to be TV and cable TV.
        CNN and MSNBC advertise themselves as “liberal” or accept the designation. But its like that yellow colored emulsified and hydrogenated artificial imitation (its not just artificial its imitation too) margarine. It has to be butter. It has to be media that exposes all the special deals and welfare the rich get that you don’t get. It has to be about the dollars and that you don’t have any because the rich are hoovering them all up all the time.

        1. fresno dan

          Charlamagne tha God defends Biden’s support for black community The Hill

          “We have been loyal to Democrats for a long time, black people have invested a lot into that party and the return on investment has not been great,” he wrote. “As Biden said in our brief interview when I asked him if Dems owe the black community, ‘ABSOLUTELY’ was his answer. So let’s see what you got!!! Votes are Quid Pro Quo. You can’t possibly want me to Fear Trump MORE than I want something for my people.”

          Charlamagne said during the interview following Biden’s comment about black voters, “It don’t have nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact that I want something for my community.
          And any point worth making is worth belaboring. Now I don’t know if Charlamagne tha God got “material benefits” from Lambert, but it is the serious and substantive part of the interview.
          So….the gaffe, the outrage, are reported. If its outrage, it leads. Somehow, what the dems and/or repubs actually do, the actual material benefits, the economic policies for the 90% is never ever a topic of discussion in the MSM…
          I have never been to a Thousand $ (or 580,600.00$) a plate fundraiser, but I suspect real material benefits are in the speeches. And I’m sure both speaker and audience understand that promises are being made to provide substantial benefits and that they had better be kept.

          1. ambrit

            I think that Sanders campaign, BC, (before capitulation,) had a workable idea in basic old ground game politics: door to door canvassing, local phone banks, political ‘clubs’ of like minded individuals, etc.
            The Pandemic put that on hold, although, a suitably “protected” door to door canvassing operation could be carried out.

          2. Bsoder

            $580,600.00, I have, and it buys you zilch. It’s about virtue signaling and as my dad would say a form of high school with money. My mom went back to FDR days and was very involved with politics, so she’d ask me to go with her to these things. One way to meet people I suppose. Look if one is going to do the math and say “I vote based on on what I get out if it”, unless your in jail looking for a pardon from trump hard to see what trump is going to give you. Burning the country down I suppose is a ‘thing’.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            I think you need to watch the interview, as I encouraged you to do. Most of what Biden said is at odds with that remark. He made multiple statements that amounted to 1. Lesser evilism and 2. Blacks owe the Dems. He was also unduly aggressive towards Charlamagne, which gave the impression he thought blacks should keep their place. This is not just my take; most of the comments on YouTube express similar reactions.

            1. fresno dan

              Yves Smith
              May 23, 2020 at 8:02 pm

              What remark are you talking about?
              Now I don’t know if Charlamagne tha God got “material benefits” from Lambert, but it is the serious and substantive part of the interview.
              I think the quote from Charlamagne shows very well that he (Charlamagne) understands that saying “orange man bad” is not enough.
              Maybe I should have been clearer that the interviewER was bringing up material benefits, and I agree that Biden did not address material benefits in a substantial fashion, but I thought that was obvious.
              And again, the MSM looks at the “controversy” not as a candidate that in fact has done very little “materially” for black people, but from an aspect of respect, or love, or anything except actual material benefits. It reminds me very much of calling people “heroes” instead of paying them more…

        2. deplorado

          Has anyone had a chance to form an opinion on MeansTV yet?

          I tried to watch one of their “news reports” with two young white guys both named Sam and couldn’t stand it for more than 5 minutes. It was no better than the average lefty millennial Youtube channel and I suppose the substantive part may have come later — but just couldnt escape the feeling that these guys just like to hear themselves talk. They ask for $10 a month and my time — then they better drop the stupid guy-banter and get to the subject in a brisk and authoritative, professional pace.

          Jimmy Dore does a 10 times better job at illuminating the political news than those guys is my gut feeling (I didnt listen to Dore until a few weeks ago when I started seeking more actual left media)… Again – I was put off by MeansTV and couldnt watch longer than literally 5 minutes, but would love to hear from anyone who has watched them closely and has a more well-informed opinion.

      3. Goyo Marquez

        Yes… but with household delivery, with advertising, promoted as a way for local businesses to reach people in an internet age, with lots of local news and lots and lots of pictures of people’s kids, and good lefty editorial content.

        1. bassmule

          LOL! Now there’s a word I haven’t heard since…jeez when was it? I used to get piles of them from a friend who had a print shop in Ann Arbor.

        2. periol

          I have a collection of typewriters ready for just this purpose.
          My little Fahrenheit 451 contribution.

          1. Chas

            Me too. I’ve got an IBM Selectric and a top of the line Hermes manual office typewriter, both serviced before the last typewriter repair shop locally closed.

      4. Romancing The Loan

        It’s a good idea, and frankly with careful bin placement I doubt anyone would notice much less sue. But you need a hook of something immediately useful so people will come for that and stay for the politics and the organizing. How about bringing back old-fashioned classifieds? Craigslist etc. is so completely inundated with scammers now that a real, local, verified-behind-the-scenes print ad service for gig work etc. would be really useful.

        1. ambrit

          There is something like that around here, but it is totally co-opted by the local business ‘collective.’ Also, even the ‘gig’ work has dried up here. There has been a big spike in simple property theft recently. (With all the pawn shops closed, where do they fence the stuff?)
          In a sign of the times, a local pawn shop has gone out of business.

          1. ambrit

            Addendum: I had to run up to the Home Depot to get a replacement part for our shower head. While tooling about I noticed that the Applebees had closed. (This might pre-date the Pandemic.) The Raising Caines chicken franchise had cars lined up ten deep for the take-out window. Several fast food chains had “Our Lobby Is Now Open” signs. While waiting in line, I spoke to a local copper. He said that domestic disturbance calls have doubled over the last two months. “I hate those. You never know which way either partner is going to jump when it comes to running someone in.”
            Somehow, the place looked empty.
            People in general were surly and, seemingly, paranoid. I have let my white hair grow long and I’m getting some nasty looks. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that I was back in the McCarthy Era.

            1. The Rev Kev

              OK, I’ll be the bunny here. Why on earth would you be getting surly looks for having long hair? Do they think that you are some sort of hippy or something?

              1. ambrit

                This is the North American Deep South we are speaking of here.
                Anyone outside the “Norms” of dress and personal appearance is viewed as a “fallen one,” someone to be both pitied for being so far from g-d, and feared because they exhibit a freedom of thought and action they would like to try, but are too afraid of social shaming to attempt.
                I am still trying to understand, but I get the feeling that the public is afraid that the American Dream is gone for good and all.
                Finally, I will direct your attention to the site admins habit of describing the Dem Politico’s penchant for “Hippy Punching.”
                I don’t think that I would be too far out of line to assert that the Deep South Establishment has never really progressed socially beyond the late 1800’s.
                Readers from south of the border will understand if I asociate the situation here with Paternalismo.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  Maybe not just the Deep South to be fair. Remember the 2006 film “The Da Vinci Code” film with Tom Hanks? The character Robert Langdon had a few shaggy locks at the back of his head but I myself never noticed them. Seems that a lot of people got upset with this to the point that when the sequel “Angels & Demons” came out three years later, his hair had been properly trimmed. The studio put out a ‘legend’ that he had a girlfriend between the film events who encouraged him to have trim hair, I kid you not. Having been a teenager in the 70s when everybody, including the teachers, had much longer hair I find this reversion to 50s standards baffling.

                  1. ambrit

                    (Other commenters correct me if I stray too far from ‘reality.’)
                    From my reading, a reversion to Authoritarianism is pretty standard during times of social stress. So, gin up some existential fear, propose some ‘restrictive’ but salvational social ‘interventions,’ and you have power handed to you.

            2. Kurt Sperry

              If you can pull off looking like a Lynyrd Skynyrd roadie, they’ll love you. Trust me.

      5. occasional anonymous

        “how would a Worker’s Party get past the Ballot Access issues?”

        Time for Workers Counsels. We need to bypass electoral politics entirely and strive for parallel sovereignty.

      6. Acacia


        any Actually Lefty, Working Class Party…in order to make inroads at all…will need it’s own media.

        Absolutely. In fact, it exists, but needs to be supported and cultivated. Print media and TV are legacy. The reach of print media will always be limited, and more expensive to operate than Internet presence. Meanwhile, there are lots of web sites, blogs, etc. WSWS, BAR, our own NC, etc. There are independents like Caitlin Johnstone, Matt Taibbi, etc. There are lots of people on YouTube doing thoughtful stuff.

        But basically, people in general are going to have to make an effort to plug in and think. I don’t know the best rhetorical strategy for this, but those people who only watch MSM need to be made aware that they are feeding their brains at the Micky D’s of thought. Call me biased, but in many conversations now I ask people where they are getting their news, and if they cite MSM or TV, I communicate immediate loss of interest in their discourse.

    2. Glen

      Biden is just going to normalize our current situation. This is what Obama did, he came in, did basically the exact same stuff (or worse) than Bush and told everybody to go back to sleep.

      Biden will do the same. The death rate will stay the same, everybody will get poor, we will be in a New Great Depression, and Biden and the MSM, will be telling everybody it’s all fixed now, go back to sleep.

      Quite frankly, the biggest obstacle to making progress is the Democratic party. It needs to be destroyed. I am not going to vote for Biden, in fact, I’m not going to vote for ANY Democrats, and I’m a fifty year Democratic party voter. We already have a Republican party – we don’t need two of them.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Many progressive voices speculated Trump would be better in the long term because he won’t put a happy face on the business as usual. While it’s true that there are a lot of partisans who think everything bad started the day Trump took office, I have noticed a lot more open discussion of what led us to where we are now and specifically the Democrats role in it. In my circle, I’m noticing a lot less resistance to the idea that things won’t change much under Biden and a lot less pressure to vote for him, even after four years of Trump. It wasn’t like that in 2016 at all. (It probably doesn’t hurt either that Biden has a long history of actual, and dubious, accomplishments where as Hillary I think got a post office named. It does make the case a little easier when you can point to what he has done and infer how he’d govern vs. what you assume she will do based on positions she has held.)

        1. Bsoder

          So your saying you fine with things? If not what? Why is it that people who claim trump & Biden are the same, when clearly they’re not, seem to advocating for trump? The disturbing conclusion I come to is that people who say this want trump’s appeal to a greedy economic agenda to continue, thus trump. They just can’t or won’t say that out loud. You know the data is in and while many billionaires would see some radical changes in inequality, not so much above $100k and absolutely not for the PMC. Ah, grasshopper (me) catches on slowly but at last.

          1. periol

            I think both Biden and Trump are evil human beings. That said, I think Biden would be objectively worse than Trump. Trump at least throws a few bones, like no TPP. I still think the significance of no TPP cannot be understated right now.

            I say all of this as a left-of-left who reluctantly supported Sanders. Biden has no plans – it’s clear there’s not much in his head at all besides wisecracks. He is a pawn of the machine of state and party. I daresay he is the most obvious pawn to be run for president.

            At the very least, a Biden presidency will bring a different but still very greedy economic agenda to the table.

            America has really turned into a miserable country. Trump v Biden. We need to start over.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Going by what has happened in the past few months, if it looks like Biden is going to win, Trump is quite capable of running to the left of him and announce medicare for all and crush the Democrats in November. Trump has no ideology and will do whatever it takes to keep himself in power for four more years, especially if the democrats start talking about hog-tying him legally after he leaves office. The entertaining part would be when the DNC has its puppets scream that America cannot have Medicare for all to fight Trump.

      2. GettingTheBannedBack

        The Obama thing seems to be that folks have to hope for something better, and if folks don’t get something better, it’s their own fault. Michelle said that when black folks didnt come out and vote for her husband, it showed they have to get their act together. Words to that effect.

        So can the Bidens carry off the same smooth schtick of having people blame themselves for their own poverty? Seems to me that Biden has too many rough edges for being a success at that.
        But maybe it doesn’t matter any more anyway.

      3. Bsoder

        Obama did not do the same or worse as Busch. Care to put together a spread sheet with policies on one side and outcomes on the other. If I were programming Russia bots this is exactly what I’d what them spew. If Republicans felt Obama was a chip off the ‘ole block then why not let him appoint a Supreme in his last year? Obviously, Republicans don’t think they are the same, and it’s not all theater.

        1. GettingTheBannedBack

          Oh, I don’t know. I’m looking forward to the DemRep party of unity formed to address the coming crises in the US. The only prudent action, approved by both Democrats and Republicans.
          Negotiations will ensure that the VP and POTUS roles alternate between the Dem and Rep arms of the party. Until that becomes inconvenient.
          Money saved on campaigning and ruining primaries will be used to fund amalgamation of the two party administrations. Time saved on debating bills will be used to ensure that any funding in times of crisis goes to ensuring that businesses are viable. Nothing that different to what is happening at the moment, but with a lot less fuss.
          Americans will gain the freedom to live their lives without the bureaucracy of voting intruding on their leisure time.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Go listen to Snowden. He explicitly says that he decided to make his releases because he thought Obama would do better than Bush but instead went further in the direction of spying on US citizens. You seem to forget that it was Obama that got rid of habeas corpus.

          Bush also left $75 billion unspent in the TARP for the Obama Administration to use for foreclosure relief (they didn’t get to that due to lack of time). Knowing a lot of people who know Paulson, he would have been more willing to muscle the banks over foreclosure relief than Geithner (Paulson’s nickname at Goldman was “Hank the Hammer”). And the Administration had all the leverage to force banks to give meaningful mods as a result of the chain of title mess, which meant most if not all “private label” (subprime) securitizations were invalid, and the party the servicer represented didn’t have the right to foreclose. The only people the Adminstration would have had to stare down (aside from bank servicers who didn’t want to eat the cost of doing mods, which is way more demanding than routine servicing, but trivial in the overall scheme of things) would have been hedge fund opportunists who’d recently bought the most junior mortgage tranches that were still paying out at distressed prices. Those hedgies would be wiped out with deep principal mods.

          So what about 9 million largely preventable foreclosures, and follow on private equity profiteering in single family homes don’t you understand?

          And he was a total fake on climate policy. Didn’t join the Paris Accords until less than six months before his time in office ended, which made it procedurally trivial for Trump to revoke our participation. The Paris Accords are empty symbolism but the fact that Obama wouldn’t even endorse them until he wanted to burnish his resume before leaving office speaks volumes. As we’ve chronicled, he was all in for fracking.

          Oh, and did you miss Obama going to an Amazon warehouse opening, during the period when Amazon was getting bad press for the literal sweatshop conditions in its warehouses (no air conditioning in the summer, resulting in not infrequent ambulance runs to cart off employees felled by heat stroke) and praised Amazon for creating good middle class jobs? Recall that Obama had promised to increase the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, and punted on that too:

          Having said that, I agree that it is hard to find anything on the Obama side of the ledger as bad as the Iraq War. But Obama reneged on tons of promises to reverse bad Bush foreign policies, such as closing Gitmo and getting out of Afghanistan. And our weird and pointless eye-poking with Russia came out of not de-escalating in the Middle East.

          1. GettingTheBannedBack

            True re war, but maybe Obama was too smart to have an actual war on his record of office. Instead he had dozens of skirmishes that he had plausible deniability on.
            And maybe killing US citizens by decree and droning might even up the war ledger a bit?

          2. anon in so cal

            The Iraq war was horrific. But Obama is arguably responsible for more needless fatalities due to his regime change wars in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, his escalation in Afghanistan, his actions in Somalia, and his support for the KSA’s attacks on Yemen.

            “n the third and final part of this report, I will estimate the death toll caused by U.S. covert and proxy wars in Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen…

            ,,,I estimate that about 250,000 Libyans have been killed in the war, violence and chaos that the U.S. and its allies unleashed in Libya in February 2011, and which continues to the present day. Taking 5:1 and 12:1 ratios to passively counted deaths as outer limits, the minimum number of people that have been killed would be 150,000 and the maximum would be 360,000…

            ,,,If SOHR has been more successful than any previous “passive” effort to count the dead in a war, and has counted 25% or 30% of the people killed, the real number killed could be as low as 1 million. If it has not been as successful as it seems, and its count is closer to what has been typical in other conflicts, then as many as 2 million people may well have been killed…

            …So I estimate that the true number of people killed in Somalia since 2006 must be somewhere between 500,000 and 850,000, with most likely about 650,000 violent deaths….

            …I estimate that about 175,000 people have been killed – 15 times the numbers reported by the WHO and ACLED – with a minimum of 120,000 and a maximum of 240,000…”


            Re: TARP:

            Obama rejected a Bush admin concession to write down mortgages using TARP funds:


            1. Procopius

              FWIW, we have seen almost no reporting on Trump’s drone strikes, but I have seen several assertions that they are multiples of Obama’s. I sometimes wonder why the MSM started suppressing news of them.

        3. timbers

          Actually yes, Obana did do worse than Bush in a great many areas. The United Nations said Obama caused the greatest humanitarian refugee crisis since WW2 because of his many invasions bombings & regime changes in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Somalia, Yemen, etc. And Obama refused to jail and prosecute Bush and his countless was criminals and financial fraudsters. Also, Obama destroyed press greedy more than any American in history by using the espionage act against free speech and journalism more than all others combined. I’ll stop at that…

        4. CarlH

          Really? From my point of view they are nearly indistinguishable. Obama not only kept, but pumped the drone program full of steroids, widened our 2-3 wars into 7 (at least), and didn’t prosecute the crimes of his predecessor, whether torture or mass surveillance. Speaking of non-prosecutions, Obama not only let the fraudulent bankers off the hook in 2008, he let them give themselves record bonuses that same year while letting struggling homeowners get thrown into the streets by the hundreds of thousands, then millions by those same fraudulent banks and bankers. But I can go on and on. I think the onus is on you to name some significant ways in which he was different.

      4. Acacia

        What Glen said, above:

        Quite frankly, the biggest obstacle to making progress is the Democratic party. It needs to be destroyed.

        Bears repeating.

        Nuked from orbit, I would add.

  6. Clive

    There are times, surprisingly often, when I do get to thinking I live in the official Worst Country in the World.

    But then as sometimes happens through some unknown and unknowable force, possibly synchronicity, perhaps it is synthesis, maybe it’s just sinus congestion, I read something which allays my worries and reaffirms that, even if it’s true, the good ‘ole U S of A will always be vying for pole position in that race to the bottom.

    For, faced as I am with squally showers and black clouds rolling in, here was Katha Pollitt (which sounds either like some unpleasant medical procedure or a brand of bird food, I can’t decide which) to brighten my day and my outlook with her inspirational — and slightly nutty — piece. If, in future, I feel low and need cheering up, I can also henceforth simply re-read Karen’s tweet (and those replies!) and banish any bank holiday blues. Similarly, if I’m stuck for inspiration and need some great animated GIFs and a treasure-trove of internet memes.

    Maybe US residents can tell me if you’re hiding any others like Ms. Pollitt and there’s more like her where she came from. And, if we do get food shortages, you could always bottle her up, as an alternative to pickled onions.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      She used to be a reliably progressive columnist for The Nation. Lord knows what happened to her. Or The Nation, for that matter.

      1. flora

        Or to the Dem party in the last 40 years. They’ve developed a herd immunity to reason and thinking for themselves, apparently.

        1. Procopius

          I have read that Jimmy Carter’s massive loss traumatized (some of) them, and they decided any policy to the left of Calvin Coolidge was poison. Al From, who had a great view of what happened, describes it in his book, “The NEW Democrats and the Return to Power.” Basically, every Democrat involved in the establishment of the Democratic Leadership Council became a reactionary. Bill Clinton was Chairman of the DLC for a couple of years before he resigned to run for President. Strongly authoritarion. Decided the New Deal was old-fashioned. Decided they didn’t need to help Labor. Decided they needed the big bucks from Wall Street and others. The last four years, though, have been amazing.

    2. Tom Stone

      Clive, Katha Pollit is far from the only Democrat volunteering to eat Joe Biden’s shit.
      She’s simply more open about liking the taste than most.

      1. Bsoder

        Not true, almost by definition all Dems are, Biden is not right in the head and when he was he was a southern democratic, with regressive policies with a tend to to lie. The question is not the lesser of two insane people, but who is the most evil?

        1. Librarian Guy

          Currently reading a US Civil War history (usually not one of my top interest topics) & I noted in passing that Delaware was a border Slave state that stayed in the Union, not really Northern at all (like Maryland, so close to DC it simply couldn’t secede).

          Never having lived on the East coast I forgot that Delaware was a slave state– of course I knew that recently Biden was “the Senator from MasterCard”, the credit card corps’ tax haven. It’s true then that Biden was basically a Southern Dem, as you indicate–certainly he wanted to “protect” school segregation, on behalf of his white constituents.

          Also just watched the Theranos documentary on Elizabeth Holmes’ massive fraud and all the big fish (Kissinger, David Boies, George Schultz) she roped in and scammed. There was good ol’ Uncle Joe Biden hanging out with her and verbally singing her “philanthropic” praises. Oh, and Holmes’ General Counsel for Theranos was a nasty Hillary Aide, they knew how to surround themselves with Big Dogs in hopes of preventing exposure. “All the best people,” hunh?

          The Dems don’t have any lock on the Lesser Evil party that I can see in the 21st century, though I can never bring myself to vote for the pure Oligarchic racism the GOoP party peddles, either. A plague on both their houses.

    3. Lee

      I guess that means Biden has the support of that portion of the electorate we could call the Dahmer voters. That and the genuinely black vote should turn the trick.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Maybe US residents can tell me if you’re hiding any others like Ms. Pollitt and there’s more like her where she came from.

      Here is the last sentence of the article linked in the katha pollitt tweet:

      Democratic New Hampshire state Rep. Richard Komi also resigned this month after claiming women couldn’t be sexually assaulted without “some cooperation from the female herself,” in an effort to defend Biden. (Emphasis mine.)

      And here is Komi’s tweet (since “taken down”):

      “Judging by the position of the female vagina, it will not be easy for anyone to just put their finger into the vagina unless their is some Cooperation from the female herself. That is why I believe Tara Reade’s allegations is false. She is looking for attention.”

      So yes, there ARE others of ms. pollitt’s ilk here in the greatest country the planet has ever known, but they sure don’t feel the need to “hide” since open season was declared on Trump.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, and I hate to get all anatomical, but Reade said Biden had backed her against a wall and in her high heels, she was doing her best to push herself up, as in away from his groping hands.

        That would have flattened her lower back against the wall and tipped her pelvis forward. Even more so if she had a bit of a bum.

    5. ShamanicFallout

      I have a theory (just a theory but TDS is such a weird and powerful phenomenon) that most of the people who suffer the most volatile forms of TDS, are actually in some dark and unseen way, very attracted to Trump. But in an equally dark and unseen way, part of their psyche is so horrified by this that the meeting of these two things gives us such emotional freak outs. Holds for men and women.
      I came to this as I watched someone I know, a bit older than I am, who suffers intense TDS, commit a quite blatant and sexually charged Freudian slip in relation to Trump (I won’t relate it here) and I immediately flashed on this. This theory may be old hat, psychoanalysis mumbo jumbo but I kind of thinking it fits!

  7. Hank Linderman

    The irony of it all is that it was black voters in SC who turned the tide against Bernie. I have nothing good to say about what Biden said so I won’t say anything. But, inside I am smoldering… and not at black voters.


    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s not “good”, but bear with me as I offer up a hypothetical “defense” of Biden:

      -he’s stupid. Not hypothetical.
      -like Shrub, he’s probably open to suggestion until he’s solid about an issue
      -he probably fancies himself as a young person candidate, the cool grampa
      -the numbers out of Sanders public donors if he doesn’t have the list are probably abysmal
      -Biden is the source of cool guy memes anywhere. Bill Clinton was our first “black president” (snark), so i suspect Biden wants to be Obama’s cool friend in a buddy cop movie
      -Symone Sanders as the youth engagement expert is likely being questioned.
      -she offers up anow explanation without addressing Biden’s actual flaws.
      -Biden simply thinks it’s the bees knees and sets about to repeat it and have his set staff high five him for dropping this little gem, hence why it’s a total but coherent non sequitur at the end of the interview.
      -it’s how the “woke” subset speak when minorities aren’t around. Biden didn’t see a problem.

      1. richard

        “it’s how the ‘woke’ subset speak when minorities aren’t around”
        i believe it’s something like that, though clearly it’s an open secret
        biden’s comment to me seemed part of the same smiling hostility libs give to anyone who won’t fall in line
        they talk themselves into this behavior by convincing themselves against all evidence that the dem party somehow represents a people’s movement, and it’s the only one in town, see? (grins for a long time showing sharp white teeth).
        I can’t believe it works on anyone.
        removing class from common discourse has given muricans some very f&^%ed up ideas about politics

      2. Bsoder

        All good except, that Biden’s mind is gone, so he’s not thinking any of that. The question really becomes, as Obama (I’ll accept Lambert’s contention, but Lambert doesn’t go far enough) is running the show, a. What is the campaign going to look like b.when elected what policies are to be put into play. It’s always possible Obama May become a man of the people.

        1. Acacia

          Huh? Obama is clearly a man of the élite, donor class. Always was (Harvard Law Review), always will be.

    2. Samuel Conner

      JB could have said to Charlemagne,

      “Look, here’s the deal. I concede that my record is objectively awful for the Black community. But Trump is even worse. If you aren’t sure whom to vote for, you haven’t accurately assessed where your interests lie.”

      But he can’t admit that.

      And I think he does enjoy insulting people — there seems to be an awful lot of that lately.

      Perhaps it’s an illustration of what can happen at the intersection of narcissism and cognitive decline.

      1. Hank Linderman

        “Well, you haven’t exactly been contributing to my campaign, have you?” (Bullworth)

        “…at the intersection of narcissism and cognitive decline” – I will be borrowing that thank you.

        Btw, I’m running for Congress in KY2, I’m the Democratic nominee, progressive.

          1. Wukchumni

            …the Eagleton has landed

            Joe is more akin to an updated version of a closeted racist sitcom tv show, he’s ‘Harshy Bunker’, and Jill is Edith, and of course Hunter is Meathead, or was that Beau?

      2. John k

        Being able to insult someone and get away with it shows your power over them.
        Like sniffing a woman’s hair while squeezing their shoulders while their man looks on helplessly.
        Or bragging about withholding a billion to get an investigation of your sons company stopped… saying it out loud, into a mike, also shows your power.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          If you read any of the accounts of the other (alleged) sexual harassment/abuse Joe is accused of, abuse of power dynamics is a constant theme. He swims nude only in front of female security detail. He makes passes at the wives of SS men. He told Tara Reade “you mean nothing to me.” It’s a pattern and frankly I saw it in the Charlamane interview too. The idea that a lesser would speak to him like that enraged him.

          1. Eyan Neimus

            “He makes passes at the wives of SS men.”

            If so, he’d better hope Himmler doesn’t find out about it. :)

    3. Synoia

      Hmm…and the institution (The Democratic Party) did not have it thumb on the scales in South Carolina, and reported numbers created for the purpose?

    4. Edward

      The Biden interview sounded to me like it was full of lies and half-truths about his record. We saw how Biden mischaracterized his record during the debates.

      1. Pavel

        Biden claimed the NAACP had always endorsed him. The president of the NAACP had to put out a tweet stating that “the NAACP never endorses candidates”.

        The man is a shameless liar. One other explanation is that he is senile and has a bad memory. But he has been shamelessly lying his entire political career.

        1. Edward

          “he has been shamelessly lying his entire political career”

          This is my conclusion too. I think there is something wrong with his lifeguard story, but I can’t remember the specifics. A lot of these lies can’t be chalked up to “bad memory” because they are inventions.

          1. Samuel Conner

            Unfortunately, past inventions can be incorporated into memory as if real. “It isn’t lying if you believe it.” I would frame it that the man cannot distinguish the story he wants to believe about himself from the reality.

            Yes, a shameless liar. But the lies may have become his believed self-narrative.

            1. Edward

              There is probably some truth to this. However, did he really “forget” his support for the Iraq war? Sanders kept catching his “errors” during the debates. I never heard Biden make a correction afterwards.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Biden like the Clintons (Obama too, but I’m thinking of Hillary’s Southern accent) comes from a view of politics which is entirely performative and tied what the audience wants to hear. The msm was dutiful in the primaries allowing Biden to lie, but he probably “opposed” the Iraq War in smaller venues or in private meetings based on what he thought the audience wanted to hear.

                We (society) does put importance on “the debates” as chances for people to see the candidate. The idea of seeing the candidate still trumps reviewing the candidate for many people and politicians are simply allowed to lie.

                After the 2016 primary, Team Blue elites publicly pondered Sanders’ secret to getting crowds and enthusiasm because its simply performance.

                1. Edward

                  Not too long ago there was an interview (on the Grayzone?) with an auditor who said Washington has a culture of lying. Everybody there lies all the time and it is considered normal. They will even lie when the lie is obvious, because lying is considered acceptable in that culture.

                2. newcatty

                  Well, things are moving along according to Democrat “strategy and central planning”. Insulting people, in plain sight, is passive aggressiveness taken to clear and present heights. Take a little trip w me to the most disgusting and hubris example of a woman from the dems PTB to insult and try to intimidate women in the Hillary campaign.

                  Albright: There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t vote for Hillary.

                  Biden: If you ain’t voting for me, you ain’t black.

                  Hillary: deplorables!!! ( Forget about them).

                  Kamala Harris: throw the book at poor women in CA, who “let ” their children play hooky.

                  Bill: I feel your pain, oh, and I did not have sex with that woman.

                  Elizabeth Warren: Geez, we used to talk about our native American “heritage” when I was growing up. Oh, yes, we have a dog! (Geezs, that beautiful Goldy is really photogenic). And, Bernie said, a woman could not be president! ( If he actually said that …context doesn’t matter).

                  Mayor Pete: I am a major mayor of a city!!! (And I was and am beloved…something like that ( wink). Also, I was in Afghanistan…you know, I am a veteran! I know how to drive.

                  Pelosi: All Americans need to brighten their spirits is to, you know, when they order online or bravely go grocery shopping is to buy high-end ice cream.

                  Obama: to young people: Its up to you to bring hope and to change the world. 2.0

                  OK, or to be cool “sure”, there may be paraphrasing in my recollections. Hmmm…seem so real now! Not going to spend time on Repubs. Anyway, I don’t read our presidents tweets. Only snippets from other sources.

    5. Felix_47

      Sanders apparently did not have competent and effective help in SC despite spending a ton of money. If you watched any of the Sanders rallies in SC the audiences were devoid of blacks. They were white college kids. The black leadership depends of money from PACs and big money donors who are not predominantly black or in the South. The political leadership is intertwined with the religious leadership from what I can tell.

      1. Rod

        devoid of blacks.

        I would disagree with that. From the 9 rallies in SC that I attended over the past two years, there were always AAs in the crowd and more AAs than I expected –which I found encouraging.
        Encouraging because many AA Thought Leaders in our state simply failed to speak about him or his Policies directed at their community.
        At those 9 rallies, the gray haired AA was noticibly absent though–which I found troubling.
        Troubling because olders are the more reliable vote than youngers: and the D club machine in Our State is controlled by the olders having legacy surnames and positions more involvement.

    1. Synoia

      It’s is an integral part of “Nearer my God to thee.”

      If you believe in the Christian God, are you not better off dead?

      Prole: Mumble, mumble. f… the rich!
      Priest: Behave, you will get your reward in the afterlife!!!
      Prole: How do you know that?
      Priest: We have never had a complaint!

      That was my response to Divinity (Bible Study) homework (Called Prep). Another instant detention.

      1. Bsoder

        Christian God, are you better off. Nope. When you die under current ‘rules’, you ain’t going anywhere except a. the rapture b. judgement day. When I was an active Jesuit priest, I studied, theology, formally. Still do. A lot of it. So let’s stick to the New Testament as every ‘good’ Christian should. And matters of Life after death is best left to Thomas. Anyway, almost everyone, has to wait till judgement day to be, er, judged. One could think Dems drew up the rules. At some point your either in or out. Out is this: you are sent to a boiling lake of oil to suffer unimaginable pain for 10,000 years and you are annihilated. In physics I guess you turn to energy. All apologies to Dante & Milton. Judgement Is a little weird here because Jesus has made a deal with god the father to cover for you. All you have to do is is say “yes”. I’d would not suggest a literal reading, or an interpretive reading, but one based on that fact it was written by fallible humans, who often got things wrong. It helps to have faith that’s it’s saying something. My take away is this: love each other even if in doing so it may cause your death. You can’t hold back. That problem is in us and in loving resisting (they resist themselves) people. Anyway my code, not necessarily yours.

    2. Edward

      I think these people should have their health insurance premiums increased, and the government should not be responsible for them if they become sick.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        You’re in luck. This is America, and the government will not be responsible for them if they fall sick. Their resulting disability, impoverishment, eviction, etc. will be all on their own shoulders alone. Similarly, they most assuredly will see increases in health insurance premiums.

        The tragedy in both these facts is that they are true for the rest of us as well.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      So much vitriol!

      I’ve yet to hear a reasonable distinction made between going to church and going to the grocery store or drugstore or Home Depot. Not to mention the heroes who spend their days ministering to covid patients in the close quarters of the ICU or nursing homes, and mingle freely in these “essential” businesses on their off time.

      This overwrought vilification of churchgoers as a group strikes me as about something more than keeping people “safe,” in a passive-aggressive, “clinging to their guns and religion” kinda way.

      I mean, per Edward, I think these people should have their health insurance premiums increased, and the government should not be responsible for them if they become sick. Seriously? Because they went to church instead of just Home Depot?

      Just sayin’.

      PS. I have no personal dog in this fight, as I have said before.

      1. Edward

        I don’t object to people buying food at the grocery store. The Republicans have been politicizing the issue, claiming the COVID-19 threat is overblown and discouraging mask use or other safety measures.

          1. Edward

            Would the anti-mask, anti-social distancing people persevere if they were confronted with the costs of their behavior in the form of more expensive insurance? Other countries impose fines, which isn’t that different.

      2. marku52

        Not much singing or handholding in the lumber bays at Home Despot.

        If they keep quiet, wear masks, and sit 6 feet apart, I don’t have a problem with it.

        AFAIK, they are not interested in that.

        1. MLTPB

          Other religions may be quieter and less handholding.

          Will some religions be allowed, while others not.

          1. ambrit

            Tantric Yoga will have to be held in abeyance for the near future. Self control and deferment of gratification was the point all along, right?
            I love how county records from the long ago show there to be big spikes in births nine months after big Tent Revival Shows back then. Something about the expression of “spirituality” by more mundane methods.

      3. Aumua

        One difference between church and the grocery store is the group singing (“praise” or “worship” I believe they call it) that goes on in church. And some churches get a lot more into it than just singing. I’m talking flailing around, literally spitting all over the place. Combine that with the overall older age of churchgoers and I predict churches to be a major vector of transmission.

        Plus there’s just the blatant hypocrisy of (the oh so pious and religious) Trump and his advisors Beck, Hannity and Rush… using this as a lever to flex their political muscle with. Get yer churchgoing constituents all riled up and keep them that way.

      4. Bsoder

        Easy the question always is how easy is it to get infected. At church, very easy if no masks. Home Depot much harder as long as there’s not a crowd. It’s always amount of viral matter X length of exposure. No human has natural immunity without having had the disease. You may have a right for gvt to leave you alone but I have the same right for you to leave me alone. I don’t want the infection from you.

      5. KFritz

        Agree with you on the subject of vilification. However, churches (and concert promoters and bar owners and nightclub owners, etc) judge their success by the number of congregants they can pack in a space at one time. While store owners like large numbers of customers, sales are the primary concern, and many stores are counting and limiting the number of customers in their space. If you believe that the voluble religious leaders in the news will, as a group, be this sensible, I have oceanfront property in Arizona for ya.

      6. Foy

        Katniss, isn’t it the fact that in church if you were in the proximity of an infected person you are near them for 50+ mins (and they are probably singing loudly projecting extra droplets) vs in Home Depot you are wandering around and rarely next to anyone for any length of time other than checkout and even then its only for a few minutes. And no one is singing loudly there. The chances of catching a sufficient viral load for infection are greater the longer the proximity?

        From the articles that NC has posted it appears that extended time indoors near infected people has caused the biggest spreader events ie church, restaurants. choirs, meatworks etc. In these situations people are sitting/standing in the same position relative to others for an extended period of time. Home Depot is a different situation I think, the chances of infection appears less in supermarket for this reason?

      7. Yves Smith Post author

        Looks like you’ve never looked at a church. Did you miss the part that you sit next to other people? Often have to repeat prayers and verse? And in some churches, sing? Singing and talking loudly have been found to expel a lot of virus if someone is sick.

        The evidence is overwhelmingly building that protracted exposure is what leads to infection. A study of transmission in a restaurant found that 50% of the people at the table of the infected person got sick, and the table downwind (via how the ventilation system worked), 75% got sick and the table one beyond that, 25%. At the upwind table, no one fell ill.

        Grocery stores have high ceilings. People are not in them long and are almost always observing distancing, and many are wearing masks. So it is the cashiers and store staff that are at risk (by being close at checkout to many patrons over the course of the day, as well as each other). The only way a customer is at risk is if he gets too close to someone infected who coughs.

        1. BhamDan

          Here in Alabaster, a Birmingham exurb in Shelby county I’ve noticed several nearby restaurant parking lots crowded now that dining in is on again. Noone is wearing masks that I’ve seen.

          Also have a neighbor who does Tuesday cards night with 20 or so of his closest friends crowded into his (one story 8’ ceiling house, this is not a fancy neighborhood by Shelby standards) house for hours. The cars line the street with usually 3 or 4 overflow cars parked at the edge of our front yard. This had stopped since Ivey imposed the lockdown but this past Tuesday the tradition resumed. Zero masks

    4. MLTPB

      1 is this just only about one religion, or other faiths as well? Do they have something similar in say Iran or Russia (NY Times has something about corroding church-state ties there)?

      2. If there is no singing, how different is church going for 2 hours from flying in a commercial jet for 6 hours?

          1. Basil Pesto

            I don’t know – the issue in the comparison I think is that all commercial aircraft have HEPA and air recycling because it is intrinsic to their design. Churches etc can install HEPA filters and they can certainly leave the doors and windows open (if their windows do open), but this is contingent upon the church being aware of the benefits of taking these precautions, and acting accordingly.

            As to aircraft air specifically, this article claims cabin air is refreshed approximately 20 times an hour, compared with a typical office building (presumably with a comprehensive air conditioning system) which averages 12 times an hour:

            I looked into this because Qantas sent an email to their frequent fliers claiming travel on their (and indeed all) planes was relatively safe because of HEPA filters and ‘refreshed cabin-air’ – I was a bit sceptical that this might be a wishy-washy handwave so I looked into it, and I’d feel fine flying now, if I had cause to. Probably not to or from the US though, under the circumstances.

  8. Tom Stone

    I have no problem with individual Christians rushing to their Heavenly Rewards, it’s when they take others with them without their consent that I see an issue..

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      and the dog spoketh, “cull thyselves herewith in my love virus, deliver it to everyone.”

      can you imagine a dog wanting to hurt anyone that isn’t hurting them? I always go back to what Bugs Bunny said in my childhood after he assessed a situation; “Maroons”

    2. periol

      I, like most Christians, wait for the rapture with bated breath.

      I won’t be raptured, but I can’t wait.

      1. Socal Rhino

        I don’t think “most christians” is supported by numbers. Not even in the US.

        1. Aumua

          I think the majority of Christians do believe in the rapture, and a good number of them think it’s coming sooner rather than later. This is from the limited sampling pool of “Christians in my family”, but still.

        2. periol

          My apologies. It’s hard to remember there are more than Evangelical Christians and Mormons. They’re everywhere where I live.

          Anyways, I would think the Christians who aren’t waiting for the rapture to come any day now would agree with me. No one talks about it, but there’s been a weird merging of the minds between American Evangelicals and Israel. Back in the days of Bush the Younger a Texas cattleman sent some red cows to Israel to fulfill some prophecy about the end times, a red heifer, and the temple. Apparently some of those cows have had some heifers of their own, born and bred and Israel and so ready to fulfill the prophecy I guess? I believe the red heifer was born in January, if I heard correctly.

          The “we are living in the end times” crowd has picked up pace the last few years. I remember a friend who floats on the edges of the church showed me a video a couple of years ago where some very Orthodox child in Israel was supposedly passing on the news that the tribulation has already begun; it was all subtitled so I have no idea if there was any accuracy to the translation. That said, I’ve had a few other old friends long out of contact get in touch the last few years to let me know…

          1. Wukchumni

            Greek Gods were something to behold, the power they held over the people…

            Nowadays, you’d probably recognize some more as brand names:

            Hermes, Artemis, Nike, etc.

            1. ambrit

              And then there are the newly arisen heretical cults; the Clintonites, the Bushites, the Reaganites (really, a demon lord, but, whatever,) the Obamaites, etc. etc.

              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                “Demons have existed on the Discworld for at least as long as the gods, who in many ways they closely resemble. The difference is basically the same as that between terrorists and freedom fighters.”

                — Terry Pratchett, “Faust Eric”

  9. Juneau

    Just got a note from my billing service that multiple private insurance companies are withdrawing coverage for telemedicine in June in metro NY. I think this is a test to see if people will tolerate it.

    Telemedicine, appropriately applied, reduces risk for those who need to go in to see the doctor. Many insurances will only approve coverage if the patient lives in an underserved area. Ironically medicare and medicaid have agreed to waive these rules until the public health emergency ends

    Just sharing. More corporate game playing I suppose.

    1. ambrit

      I wonder what can be done by the poor ‘customer’ when the insurance company refuses to pay for tele-medicine, but the medicos refuse to resume face to face consultations.
      This reminds me of traditional Chinese medicine where the properly bought up medico did not presume upon the personal honour of a female client and conducted the examination from another room, using a human shaped medical doll for the patient to mark out the positions of complaints. An early form of remote viewing.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Trump campaign selling “you ain’t black” shirts after Biden comment”

    This should be of real concern to the DNC and Biden’s campaign. The text on that model’s t-shirt is obviously superimposed and the $30 price tag is obviously a rip-off but that is not the point. The Republicans have a t-shirt operation all good to go, they have images of different models of different ethnicity good to go so you can see that the operational templates are all in place. The point is that this is showing that the Republicans have the capacity to turn on a dime to latest developments. Biden stuffs up – again – and within a day or so the t-shirts are good to go. And as Biden come out with gaffe after gaffe, the Republicans have now shown that they are ready to capitalize on them. The DNC should just stuff Biden back in his basement.

    1. Samuel Conner

      > The DNC should just stuff Biden back in his basement.

      Perhaps this is all intentional. Bloomberg and JB have functioned as the “anyone but Bernie” candidates, and JB is now welcome to sink his electability to clear the way for someone else.

      The high price of those tees suggests to me that this is more about generating internet memes than about getting political statements onto apparel. The radio, TV, and internet ads will follow.

      But either way, it does suggest that the Rs are on top of the game.

    2. Edward

      Another good Biden moment the Republicans could capitalize on is the scene where Biden is telling a questioner to vote for someone else; that could also go on a t-shirt.

    3. JustAnotherVolunteer

      “He was running down the street
      When they shot him in his tracks
      About the only thing agreed upon
      Is he ain’t coming back
      There won’t be any trial
      So the air it won’t be cleared
      There’s just two sides calling names
      Out of anger out of fear
      If you say it wasn’t racial
      When they shot him in his tracks
      Well I guess that means that you ain’t black
      It means that you ain’t black
      I mean Barack Obama won
      And you can choose where to eat
      But you don’t see too many white kids
      Lying bleeding on the street”

    4. Geo

      If they were really smart they’d have used the ready-made Kamala Harris “I Was That Little Girl” image and put the “you ain’t black” phrase on it.

      Got a text message from a buddy yesterday joking about how he’s not black anymore thanks to Biden. How he can go jogging in white neighborhoods and yell in cops faces now and not get shot.

      But, all joking aside, this seems to have really pissed off those who only vote Dem because the GOP is the worst option. Lifts the veil on the whole scam of the Dem Party toward black people exposing it as the abusive relationship it really is.

        1. Librarian Guy

          I had never heard about that one–

          Of course, I did know from Joan Didion’s (nonfiction) Political Fictions about the ’92 primaries, how just before the massive Southern states voting day, Bill & Hill went home to Arkansas and he had a big prison chain gang in to work “free” on his Governor’s mansion, photos to let the good southern folk know our lost cause is not entirely lost . . . & it paid off, he got the nomination.

          And of course he yelled at those uppity Brothers and Sisters who dared to bring up Hillary’s “Superpredators” shtick in 2016 to shut up, they didn’t know what they were talking about.

          Give the man some credit, he is consistent to his real beliefs.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        The Kamala shirts which magically popped up the next day were on my mind too.

        But, all joking aside, this seems to have really pissed off those who only vote Dem because the GOP is the worst option.

        I doubt anyone has ever taken numbers on this, but I’d be curious to know how many vote blue as a LOTE. I have a hunch it’s more than the Dems think. If that anger holds, that’s going to hurt in November.

        1. Chris

          I am mystified at people defending Biden over comments that would wreck the career of other politicians. Or saying they admire how he’s changed? Or how people like Wanda Sykes defending Joe Biden matters to the people?

          I like Ms. Sykes as an actress and a comedienne but I don’t think a person who’s made it in Hollywood, is publically out with her lesbian wife, and is worth several million dollars, is representative of very many people. She is statistically an anomaly with respect to the African american demographic in this country. So how is her opinion cover for Ol’Joe except to say that many wealthy people who hate Trump are willing to make excuses for him?

          And how has Biden changed? On any topic? The people who are now trumpeting that they’re voting for his cabinet are delusional. It’s painful to watch. I cannot vote for that man.

    5. ObjectiveFunction

      This remark may prove to be one of the most factually accurate statements ever to leave the mouth of Joe Biden. That is, if a solid majority of non-liberal voters (who are in fact still 8.5/10ths Not Black) vote Trump or stay home in November, as I expect.

  11. LawnDart

    Additionally it can be deployed in “stealth” making Veriato invisible to the end user.

    The system takes snapshots of everything that appears on a remote worker’s screen and played back with DVR controls.

    These recordings can be exported as JPG or AVI files for use as management tools. In the event of wrongdoing screenshot recordings become critical evidence for HR actions, as evidence in wrongful termination suits or in legal proceedings.

    Veriato really needs to figure out a way to break down the YouTube usage, separating cat and twerking videos from those that provide instructive content. And what about those who have an app playing music in the background while working on a task?

    I think I’d make a point of making quick but regular visits to employment websites and using their salary comparison tools. Maybe also a little exploration of my ethnic heritage, some obscure religious stuff, and maybe see if there’s a support blog for persons thinking about gender reassignment. And maybe a cat video, just because.

    1. a different chris

      I have often argued that the best response to surveillance is not trying to fight fire with fire, but just the opposite (a generalization of your idea): all us droids simply flood the system with so much crap that it chokes.

      Just avoid showing your (or your bosses, cough Kayleigh, cough) bank account numbers, but throw anything and everything else you have up there.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yup. during the Bush Darkness, when all that surveillance came out…and on through Obama…a lot of people i knew online were doing that. Instead of “your’s Truly” or whatever, it was “Nuclear”, or “Anthrax”
        ….. and later, I had quite a few tea party types doing all that for a while…”anthrax”, etc…but mostly to stick it to the Bad Black Man.
        But repubs only get riled about gov overstep when dems do it…and visa-versa.
        like that guy who had the hack of the state unemployment tattler app…
        problem is getting widespread adoption of such tactics.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Use VPN. Encrypt all emails. If the NSA wants it all, then give it so much that smoke comes out of their supercomputers.

        1. a different chris

          oooh that’s even better… send up an endless bunch of crap like I suggested but make it all look like you don’t want them to see it!

          Kindof “The Purloined Letter” in reverse.

        2. ambrit

          The easy and obvious counter strategy to the VPN communications tactic is to outright ban all VPN communications across the internet. Someone working away in the dungeons of the NSA has probably already figured out how to do this. It’s cued up and ready for deployment.

          1. Billy

            Want real anonymity without a vpn? Park outside a library with internet access and send messages or do searches from there. Check for cameras of course. ProtonVPN offers a free version.

            1. flora

              Except your computer’s ethernet data stream, wireless or wired, contains its media access code — MAC address — identifying your unique computer to the network.

              From the above link:

              According to Edward Snowden, the US National Security Agency has a system that tracks the movements of mobile devices in a city by monitoring MAC addresses.[15] To avert this practice, Apple has started using random MAC addresses in iOS devices while scanning for networks.[13] Other vendors followed quickly. MAC address randomization during scanning was added in Android starting from version 6.0,[14] Windows 10,[16] and Linux kernel 3.18.[17] The actual implementations of the MAC address randomization technique vary largely in different devices.[18] Moreover, various flaws and shortcomings in these implementations may allow an attacker to track a device even if its MAC address is changed, for instance its probe requests’ other elements,[19][20] or their timing.[21][18] If random MAC addresses are not used, researchers have confirmed that it is possible to link a real identity to a particular wireless MAC address.

    2. Jesper

      A truly horrible future/present with that kind of software around. I believe the biggest selling point will be (already is):

      These recordings can be exported as JPG or AVI files for use as management tools. In the event of wrongdoing screenshot recordings become critical evidence for HR actions, as evidence in wrongful termination suits or in legal proceedings.

      Dismissing someone will be so much easier. Taking a five minute break every hour to walk around might be good for the back but might be bad for job-security.

      Hopefully the board of directors will test if first by installing it on the devices of the executives and senior managers, they cost the most per hour so that is probably were the biggest ‘savings’ could be found. But they might get a complete pass as the program might be able to sniff out sensitive corporate information and be seen as a risk when considering corporate espionage….

      & then this extra feature:

      Psycholinguistic sentiment analysis (disengagement indicator)

      Next step might well be to install microphones in the break-areas and having what is being said analyzed by the same software to detect disengagement.
      Even if it would be accurate, are exectutives really sure they want to know how much (little) the lowest people on the corporate totem-pole are engaged? And what the peopns really think of their ‘betters’ and the ideas of their ‘betters’? Even the narcicisstic sociopaths at the top might start to reflect on their supposed greatness if they were to know what people really think of them and their ideas.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “And what the peons really think of their ‘betters’ and the ideas of their ‘betters’…”

        I think this should apply everywhere…not just in the workplace.
        Us’ns have been too nice, by far…for far too long.
        and the bosses and their neighbors have been getting a skewed view of Reality, as well as of their special place within it.
        I also think that all this black listing and surveillance should go both ways…if bosses can maintain a list of undesirable employees, so should workers../
        and if they can spy on the employees, it should be reciprocal.
        just because we are regarded as so many interchangeable parts, doesn’t mean we must act like it.

        but, sadly, with the pandemic unemployment(what is it? 30% 40?), it will have to be done with broad solidarity…something I don’t think we’re capable of, at the moment.

        1. Jesper

          I believe that at least some workers do keep track of undesirable bosses but with the unemployment being what it is then the saying of: Beggars can’t be choosers comes to mind. I’ve in the past refused (tanked the interview on purpose) bosses that I found undesirable. Something I might not be able to do unless the situation changes.

          Solidarity is the way forward, no questions about it.
          However, after my last chat with a Social Democrat in Sweden then I have my doubts that it will happen. She is a senior Social Democrat in the region and has been elected to a position in the regional government. The belief in the Social Democratic party is, if I understood her correctly, that to win votes then they need to embrace more liberalism.
          If that is their belief and they act upon it then I believe they’ll shrink further. My belief is that what people want is solidarity, the Sweden Democrats aren’t much for global solidarity but they do claim to want solidarity within Sweden. The liberal parties shrink, the parties about solidarity grow so I am not sure if I understand the logic of the Social Democrats in Sweden. But then again, I am no longer living in Sweden so maybe I am more disconnected to the mood of the regular people than I realised. The political analysts are paid to make their recommendations, they live in Sweden so they probably know the mood better than I do.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Us’ns have been too nice, by far…for far too long.
          and the bosses and their neighbors have been getting a skewed view of Reality, as well as of their special place within it.

          I fully agree. But what would this do to Tom Friedman who always hears how great he is from people who work for tips?

            1. John Wright

              I looked at the Tom Friedman-Bill Maher interview.

              Classic Friedman hot air, in which he updates the “terrorism bubble” terminology he used in 2003 to the more current “pandemic” in an attempt to appear informed.

              To borrow a quote from the Observer (disclosure, owned by Jared Kushner):

              “One current Times staffer told The Observer, “Tom Friedman is an embarrassment. I mean there are multiple blogs and Tumblrs and Twitter feeds that exist solely to make fun of his sort of blowhardy bullshit.””


              That Friedman still has a somewhat prominent voice says volumes about US mainstream media (and the NY Times).

  12. Mikel

    Charlamagne tha God has a contract that is up at the end of the year. He wants to move on to bigger media platforms. If he wants that bigger mainstream money (and oh boy does he), watch how he kowtows to the establishment political views.
    This dust up happened raised his profile even more. They are going to dangle the bait and keep him in line

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I’ve no idea what the particulars of the guy’s contract are, but I can read what he said, and it doesn’t sound like “kowtowing” or a “defense” to me:

      “We have been loyal to Democrats for a long time, black people have invested a lot into that party and the return on investment has not been great,” he wrote. “As Biden said in our brief interview when I asked him if Dems owe the black community, ‘ABSOLUTELY’ was his answer. So let’s see what you got!!! Votes are Quid Pro Quo. You can’t possibly want me to Fear Trump MORE than I want something for my people.”

      Despite the wishful thinking of the politico headline writers, it sounds more like a 150-year-old dam breaking, and it’s going to take more than a tossed off “absolutely” to shore it back up.

    2. Olga

      One correction to “… which is saying people prison can’t read (remember about 1/4 are black).”
      Actually, it is worse than that. According to
      “In 2017, blacks represented 12% of the U.S. adult population but 33% of the sentenced prison population. Whites accounted for 64% of adults but 30% of prisoners. And while Hispanics represented 16% of the adult population, they accounted for 23% of inmates.”
      Terrible stats anyway one looks at them.

  13. Edward

    The only country being “spent into oblivion” is the United States. The Russians have been quite disciplined about their military spending, and have been clear they aren’t going to be goaded by America. I also love Amb. Jeffries boast that they are trapping Russia in a quagmire in Syria; the country stuck with major quagmires is the U.S.

    1. Synoia

      the country stuck with major quagmires is the U.S…

      Perhaps…, but are quagmires and revolving doors not good for Military and Political?

      Orwell’s 1984: We have always been at war with East Asia….

      1. Edward

        After WWI, war profiteers were widely despised. Somehow that hasn’t happened in our time.

        1. christofay

          The War on Terror is the war to make it safe for war profiteering. The Cheney administration was running conventions on how to get in on divvying up the cake.

          1. Edward

            Since the wars are paid for with borrowed money, people don’t really experience a direct cost from them. There isn’t much enthusiasm for the wars but no major revolt so far.

            1. LifelongLib

              Military service provides jobs for the less well off and military contracts provide jobs and profits for the middle class and wealthy. It’s only bad if the military actually does something…

              1. Edward

                People with relatives in the military are the ones likely to oppose the wars. That was one of the conclusions suggested for the 2016 election, where these people tended to support Trump.

      1. Edward

        If the U.S. government was not able to just print money to cover its expenses, it might have actually, by necessity, addressed its economic problems years ago, including inflated military spending.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “US Navy disables drone using a high-energy shipborne laser weapon”

    One thing that I note about that weapon is that if it is visible to the right sensor, then a missile would be able to find the ship’s location by seeing where the origin of that laser beam is. A submarine would have a field day as lasers don’t work so well against torpedoes as they are, you know, under water. Come to think of it, if it is a high energy weapon, would that imply that there is a significant EM signature that would show up on a targeting screen too? And if a mirrored surface is developed for a class of missiles, would that make the lasers ineffective? But we all know where the Pentagon got the idea of these lasers from but even there, it could lead to problems-

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Laser warning receivers are standard equipment on a lot of Russian and Chinese tanks and aircraft, although they are perhaps less useful now as laser guided weapons are less common. Although of course they are not much use if the laser is powerful enough to do damage. But its much more likely that they can simply develop coatings and paints which will absorb less energy according to the type of laser used. Or just polish the surface to a mirror (this is the obvious defence for missiles). Or simpler still, only go near the vessel equipped with this type of weapon when it’s raining.

      Laser weapons have been a gigantic self licking ice cream for a few big defence companies for decades. Every now and again they release one of these videos to try to persuade everyone that they are worth the billions invested. I suspect this video was released to cover up the admission that they can’t make airborne weapons work.

    2. Bsoder

      The ships referred to, have all kinds of sonar on board including launchIng water drones to pick up additional sounds from attack submarines. Then there are manned and unmanned air vehicles using other technologies to find submarines, surface and air threats. It is not easy to sink one of these ships, unless your the pilot and the touch screen is acting up. Mirrors, stopping a laser? Given the level of energy being deployed a laser would go right through any mirror, like a bullet. Especially, if pulsed which puts an energy field of top of mirror. These aren’t your grandma’s lasers. How do you know they are not using nuclear aircraft?

  15. christofay

    It’s time to drop the quagmire and start using some golf-related terrain metaphors for our generation of general golfers. Iraq is the sand trap. No matter how many times you whack the ball it goes up a sand incline then rolls back down to be whacked again. Afghanistan is the rough. Balls lost. Under the trees knee deep in brush, so can you drop the ball and play it from a good lie?

    1. Edward

      Yes– sand trap, quick sand, tar baby…

      What is absurd about all this is Al Queda openly declared their strategy to goad America into these sand traps. So what do we do?? We can’t even get rid of the neocons after 19 years.

      1. rowlf

        Was that the enemy al-Qaeda or the US ally al-Qaeda? They seem to be like those Muslim Brotherhood folks that keep changing sides every year or so.

        It’s really hard to keep up with who the bad guys are in the US history comic book. Maybe the bad guys are in Washington DC?

        1. Edward

          This was the 1990’s when al-Qaeda was nominally a bad guy.

          At some point a very vague, open ended “Material Support for Terrorism” law was written which allows the state to interpret a broad range of activities as “terrorism”. Therefore, if this law were enforced in a neutral way, the Obama administration should be prosecuted under this law for supporting al-Qaeda/”moderate rebels” in Syria.

  16. timbers

    Great article at Asia Times – Who’s Decoupling From Who? Says trade btwn China & Asia is increasing both ways while US trade shrinking in relative terms. Even if Dem’s get the WH, it’s probably too late to reverse China shift away from US as they already past the planning stage. The elites will see this too, and move to other low cost labor nations. What I wonder is…. will China de-Americanizing be enough to damage USD hegemony to the point of harming the elites transition to cheap labor in other nations?

    1. The Rev Kev

      It is not just China de-Americanizing. The problem is that Washington has declared that if there is a product with an American part in it, that the US gets to say if it can be sold or not. Thus many manufacturers suddenly became aware that all those American parts in their supply chain could suddenly become ticking time bombs. My memory is hazy here but I think that the US crippled the aircraft manufacture of a plane competing American aircraft. Short term, Washington gets a few wins on the board but long term lots of overseas manufactures avoid American products due to the risks involved.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Super interesting! Might you have a reliable link handy? (my NCing has been patchy of late)

        As a “US person” living overseas, I am already familiar with being a bit of a pariah when it comes to banking locally, owing to the FATCA and FUBAR reporting burdens. If this red tape is extended aggressively to SKUs as well, that’s going to spell serious trouble.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I tried finding the links I saw long ago but Google fouls up the search with either stories about Iran or Huwaii but I think that it was a Canadian produced aircraft in my example. As you probably already know, the same is happening with the SWIFT clearance system and in any business that has an American link in the chain. Furthermore both Russia & China have fire-proofed their internet so as not to be devastated by having it cut off in an American sanction/attack.

          I guess that this is a part of the “America First” doctrine and bringing back manufacturing home but that would mean also having solid policies for industry and education which is not happening from what I can see. Serious effort has to be devoted to training and rebuilding expertise but this would imply raising wages to attract people here and I can’t see that happening either. The want is there but there is no willingness to fulfill the needs to get there.

  17. anon y'mouse

    whatever the “mind blowing conversation on COVID” is, on the NY Times Interpreter, my browser won’t open it and searching brings bupkis.

    any ‘clews’?

  18. John C.

    Re: “We’ll spend you into oblivion” –> I see we have the Best and Brightest working on that whole world peace/denuclearize thing.

    1. Geo

      Sounds familiar…

      “We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.

      All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations.”

      1. rowlf

        A friend of mine always phrased it as OBL is laughing so hard at the US that his legs are wet. He may be dead now but he got the US to defeat itself.

    1. periol

      “It seems pretty pointed at me. Nothing happened to any of the other businesses (nearby).”

      Odds are good that’s a disgruntled former or current employee.

      1. fresno dan

        May 23, 2020 at 1:54 pm

        Odds are good that’s a disgruntled former or current employee
        I’m thinking that is a probability too. This is the perfect time to strike and make it look like something to do with the shutdown… So which was the real target and which was the cover restaurant.
        Or is the perp so stupid that he worked at both places?

        1. periol

          My mind would go to separate perps. Copycat.

          Maybe the workers don’t want to go back to work.

    2. Oregoncharles

      There was a vandalism episode here, too, during reopening. Didn’t look into it that closely – sometimes people just like breaking glass.

    3. Wukchumni

      Big fire in Fishermans Wharf in SF among restaurants, a 4 alarm job.

      The appeal of getting insurance to pay for a brand new restaurant that hopefully won’t be ready to open for a year or so, might be the cause of said conflagrations.

        1. ambrit

          Restaurant fires are a perennial source of discomfort to insurance companies.
          I worked with a fellow who got caught setting a fire in an eating establishment for the owners. He wouldn’t ‘roll’ and so did four years.
          My Dad, when the City Plumbing Inspector for a Florida metropolis, accidentally found conclusive evidence of arson during his inspection of the building slab for allowing the owners to rebuild using the old slab, and below grade infrastructure. It involved a cigarette butt, unfiltered, and a piece of party balloon.
          I personally saw a house fire, of questionable provenance, that destroyed what was intended to have been a crack house in our tiny coastal community. (Pro tip: Don’t piss off the local HOA.)
          Good heavens. Troy was burned multiple times.

  19. periol

    More bad news from the Arctic areas. There’s been a heat wave in Siberia, melting most of the snow cover.
    In general, the ice seems primed for a record melt season.

    Decent article here:

    It was 80 degrees Fahrenheit above the Arctic Circle this week.

    A little farther south, in Siberia—you know, the region of world we reference when we want to connote something cold—it was 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Arctic sea ice in the neighboring Kara Sea took the deepest May nose dive ever recorded. Oh, and random swaths of the region are on fire. Things are extremely wrong.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Absolutely! I read about one not long ago and found a source on it-

        But wait, there’s more. A few years ago there was an anthrax outbreak there and it is thought that the origin lay in the anthrax being unfrozen. Who knows what other viruses and diseases maybe still frozen-

        Alaska may want to pay attention.

      1. periol

        Who is we and what are you wanting to learn?

        We as humans are learning lots for science. Although it seems the science of old ice (5+ years) will only be spent looking at old notes.

        I suspect we will be learning soon that predictions of global dimming were correct, and predictions that global dimming would impact the poles first were correct. And then people will start seriously talking about dimming the planet, which is a very bad idea.

        1. Daryl

          Well, that’s a good question. I meant less in a scientific sense and more in the sense of being able to think long-term, really long-term and prioritize problems.

          As for who “we” is I’m not really sure. Forgive me for using the royal we without thinking about it.

          1. periol

            I don’t think we as humans will learn anything. Already the rush is on to stake claims to mineral rights when the ice melts.

            I have been following the Sea Research Society ( a bit recently. Among other things, they work on deep underwater archaeology (more than 300 feet below surface). Was reading one of their reports recently, they’ve been excavating sites where all the household goods were left intact. The flood came too quickly to pack and flee. They are speculating that the flooding around 13,000 years ago was much more sudden than has been speculated, and worry we are in danger of repeating this again.

            Certainly, we’ve forgotten about those floods. Can’t see us learning much if the ice melts, and then disappears from Greenland and Antarctica too. The weather would change just about everywhere, so our memories of what used to work when gardening, for instance, would be all off, and we would just have to adjust on the fly.

  20. Oregoncharles

    “77 Nobel Laureates Denounce Trump Officials For Pulling Coronavirus Research Grant”
    Scientists have a strong tendency to support funding for science – almost any science. It’s called a conflict of interest.

    The funding to the Wuhan lab was going to gain-of-function research on SARS-type coronavirus. That is, increasing the human virulence and contagiousness of the virus. Deliberately, to find out…something. You note that many years of GOF research offers us no help whatsoever in the present pandemic.

    I don’t think we’ll ever know whether SARS-CoV 2 escaped from precisely that research. China has extremely strong reasons to suppress that information. As it stands, the evidence is entirely circumstantial, but it’s certainly possible, as I and others have documented on here before.

    The 77 are dead wrong: there is no excuse for EVER doing gain-of-function research; it’s too dangerous, and could cause exactly what we’re now experiencing. Trump isn’t right very often, but this time he is. As when he kept the US out of the TPP. He was wrong when he resumed the funding, which the saintly Obama administration had stopped.

    1. Bsoder

      “Scientists have a strong tendency to support funding for science – almost any science. It’s called a conflict of interest.” What? No, it’s called getting the money to do the work. It’s also called get paid for doing the work. Science should be advocating what funding for magic – trumps doing that & 27% who want to die and go live with god. Science isn’t technology, that’s applied science. So science should advocate wasting more time & money for techno narcissism coining out of Mordor. I do many things in life. I’ve had a very unusual life that way. But, I’m a very hardcore scientist, but I’ve got a broad view as a theologian and philosopher. So yes more money for science and the radical idea that we actually teach it.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’m all for more and better funding for science in general. The better we understand our world, the better our chances; anyway, a lot of it is really cool.

        However, certain forms of research are unethical; for instance, biowarfare. You’re right that they’re usually on the applied side – but the gain-of-function research I’m opposing is technically “pure” science, with no obvious application. Unless it’s disguised biowarfare research.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I’m ripping out all future discussions this topic, because they are hopelessly tainted with CT bullshit. Like this comment.

          First, there are important uses for gain of gain of function research. It took me all of 30 seconds on Google to find this. I have no tolerance for Making Shit Up:

          Subbarao explained that routine virological methods involve experiments that aim to produce a gain of a desired function, such as higher yields for vaccine strains, but often also lead to loss of function, such as loss of the ability for a virus to replicate well, as a consequence. In other words, any selection process involving an alteration of genotypes and their resulting phenotypes is considered a type of Gain-of-Function (GoF) research, even if the U.S. policy is intended to apply to only a small subset of such work.

          Second, it’s not pure science, by which I think you mean “basic research”. This is applied research.

          And “pure science” is not generally used as a term of art. Wikipedia accordingly redirects.

      2. CarlH

        Scientists, like many (most?) humans, are highly susceptible to “bad motivators”. Big Tobacco and Oil, for instance, had and have thousands of scientists at their disposal to crank out lie after lie for them. Gain of Function research, in my not expert opinion, has no legitimate scientific reason to exist, unless you are a biological warfare researcher and have succumbed to one or more of those “bad motivators” I mentioned earlier.

  21. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Urinals could become a thing of the past under plans to open Britain’s boozers

    So they’ll open up the pubs, where people will sit in close proximity chatting away and downing inhibition-loosening pints for hours on end, but it’s the quick trip to the WC that they really need to worry about?

    It’s pieces like this that make people think the response to the pandemic is a little overblown. You want to convince people this is serious? – pay them to stay home. But I think most people can probably see right through this “opening up but everything is going to be different” nonsense.

  22. allan

    Uber customer claims company won price-fixing suit because arbitrator was scared [Reuters]

    An Uber customer on Friday asked a Manhattan federal judge to overturn an arbitration win for the company in a price-fixing case, arguing that the arbitrator only ruled in Uber’s favor because he was scared. …

    The appointed arbitrator, attorney Les Weinstein, on Feb. 22 ruled in Uber’s favor and dismissed the lawsuit, but according to Friday’s filings he did so out of “evident partiality.”

    A transcript excerpt of the arbitration, attached to the filing, cited him saying: “I must say I act out of fear. My fear is if I ruled Uber illegal, I would need security. I wouldn’t be able to walk the streets at night. People would be after me.” …

    Well, on the bright side at least he based his ruling on genuine concern for his own personal safety,
    not because of some Federalist Society enhanced interrogation of the plain wording of the antitrust statute.

  23. Reader

    Full data from NIAID remdesivir study was released late yesterday.

    Gilead’s statement

    A google search last evening led to a bunch of stories touting improvements in recovery time and lower mortality, despite the fact that the mortality data did not reach statistical significance. Today, those stories seem to have disappeared and this is what you get:

    Remdesivir Will Not Be Enough to Curb COVID-19, Study Finds

    1. Bsoder

      Gilead has a much better vaccine candidate and outside of the usual reasons companies in this country can’t do the right thing, it’s hard to understand what they’re doing. My guess is working on at least both. I would get to worked up about Remdesivir being any kind of savior.

  24. John k

    If blacks want real material benefits from the dem establishment they must first withhold their votes. This is not rocket science, right?
    Of course the same applies to the working class in general… if they want real material benefits from the dem establishment they must first withhold their votes. Lucy is always gonna pull away the football, he’s gotta stop playing her game. It’s time for progressives to stop playing the dems lesser evil game. Evil is evil.
    And not just presidential… if they’re not progressive, don’t vote for them.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah. I’ve been attempting to discipline the dems that way for a long while,lol.
      aside from voting for obama once, and bernie twice in the primary, i’ve been voting green, perot, perot, and ron paul in my first election…and making sure to tell them…at least the state party…that i’m doing so, and why.
      hasn’t had an effect, so far.
      may have to contemplate a different tack: with my cat(and the boys when they were little) a squirt bottle(like for plants) works pretty well.(we call it “the Whip”)….but would require my physical presence(and multiple arrests, no doubt).
      perhaps we could pool our money and purchase one. What’s the going rate for…say…a Senator who chairs a committee?

    2. Bsoder

      In theory yes, in actual practice no. Action gets rewarded inaction doesn’t. Lambert’s point that dividing Blacks and other working poor is bad strategy is looking at history, is true enough. Again IDpol serves who? Please read Jared Diamond if you want to understand who has succeeded and failed in history and why.

  25. dk


    My paternal grandmother told me this, bees bite the leaves to make plants flower. My parent’s gave her grief about it, saying she was filling my head with nonsense. My Oma was an apprentice to the town herbalists in rural Sudetenland before the first world war, and tried to teach me things that I was too young to grasp and appreciate at the time.

  26. Oregoncharles

    “He’s really laying it up for trump to win… then in 4 years a democrat will win then in 8 years after than another republican and the cycle will continue business as usual.. this shit is all scripted.” (from the sample comments on Biden’s interview)

    So I’m not the only one.

  27. anon in so cal

    116 Covid-19 cases at the Farmer John Slaughterhouse (Smithfield) on Vernon Avenue, in Vernon, California

    Before the pandemic, there were weekly vigils at the plant, organized by various animal rights organizations. I’ve gone to three of these in the past several years. It is amazing to observe the huge turnouts with many attendees hauling large and very heavy water tanks, to provide water to the pigs. Over the years, the security guards stopped eating meat.

    There is a car caravan protest there this coming Wednesday.

  28. KFritz

    Re: Covid-19 Risk Assessment Tool & Reopening

    Walking downtown here in Hanford, Kings County CA, I noticed a newly reopened gym, and took a quick look inside. Behind the front counter, two well-spaced employees in masks stood at the ready. And then I looked in the gym itself: somewhere between three and eight customers were clustered together much closer than six feet/two meters, talking and laughing. And none were wearing a mask. It’s too bad there isn’t a “this isn’t going to end well” assessment tool.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Covid-19: Centre expands use of hydroxychloroquine for asymptomatic frontline workers”

    That article talks about a study published in medical journal The Lancet but it was more a study of studies. Still missing the double blind test using placebos and zinc and administering after initial infection (and not after entering hospitals) and the blood tests and all the rest of it. A study of incomplete studies does not a complete study make unfortunately. And still no word on why a drug that has been administrated hundreds of millions of times over what, seventy years or so, is now suddenly declared dangerous to take in spite of the fact that there are no direct deaths recorded due to its taking. Most mysterious.

  30. Matthew G. Saroff

    God help me, I agree with Ajit Pai with regard to Musk’s latency claims.

    It’s simple, really, here are, the three greatest lies in the world are:
    • This won’t hurt a bit.
    • The check is in the mail.
    • Any claim that Elon Musk makes about financial or technical performance of one of his businesses.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      So he’s taken over third place from “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you”, then?

  31. JBird4049

    I am going to have to read up on the political scientist Pavithra Suryanarayan interviewed for the NYT blog The Interpreter.

    Everything that Trump and his team seem to be doing is protecting those that matter to his voting base. There seems to be an idea that these are blue states, with demographics that they don’t need to worry about. Whereas “their” states are going to be fine. That, to me, is identity politics and ethnic politics thinking.

    Reminds me of the Democrats and their hatred of the Deplorables.

  32. VietnamVet

    Kerala and Tamil Nadu States at the southern tip of India controlled the coronavirus. It came down to very quick action of the local-level officers in charge of various jurisdictions. Kerala State is run by the Communist Party as is China, Cuba and Vietnam, nations that effectively fought the virus. In all cases, it is government action that eliminates the virus. The top 8 failed states with the most coronavirus deaths are the USA, Brazil, Russia, Spain, UK, Italy, France, and Germany. All are neo-liberal bastions controlled by corporations and oligarchs with the best politicians that money can buy.

    Just as Obama/Biden Administration followed George W Bush who followed Bill Clinton’s policies, the Trump Administration has followed the same plutocratic template except for garroting environmental regulations, really cutting taxes on the wealthy and scapegoating immigrants and Chinese. There will be no basic change when Joe Biden becomes President. “Profit over lives” reigns. The Western Empire and the US federal government have collapsed, ill, unable to function waiting for a magical vaccine. With no federal testing, tracing, contacting, or isolation of the infected, there will waves of the coronavirus, with each mutation, spreading relatively unhindered across North America in waves; except for a handful of states and provinces with functional public health systems. With no national leadership, the virus is on its way to killing over a million North Americans. Together with the Greatest Depression caused by the pandemic, millions more will have no income and face starvation and homelessness.

    Civilization needs borders, leaders, laws, taxes, militia and bureaucrats. Unless Constitutional Democratic rule is restored, a new feudal Dark Age is just months away.

    1. JBird4049

      There is still a good chance to reform the political economy back into a functioning democratic republic preferably into a economically socialist, but at least back into the a functioning New Deal system; unfortunately, that’s the work of years, probably decades, as the real efforts to create this corrupt, economically suicidal, pyramidal caste based society started in the 1940s; the serious and almost systematic destruction of most industries, education, legal or justice system, hollowing out of all levels of government, and the deliberate creation of multiple hostile groups has been ongoing for five or six decades.

      The previous depressing paragraph shows that it is likely a well discussed, planned multi-decade project to get back to where we were in the 1970s. Everyone reading this is likely to be dead of old age when that happens.

      What happened wasn’t done for strictly ideology reasons, be they liberal, neoliberal, or conservative, but for power and wealth. Greed. The world that my nieces are growing up in is a vastly poorer one than I, or my parents, grew up in. I really do hope that there is a judgment when we die for some have truly earned it.

  33. Ranger Rick

    They’ll probably take this down, but you can imagine the reaction of whatever social media team the Democratic Party has when they read the replies to their tweet over coffee in the morning.

    1. ambrit

      If the tweet the link directed me to is any indication, this tweet string is almost completely populated by members of the “Democrat Astroturf Club.” The very definition of ‘fake news.’

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