Links 5/26/2020

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Mark Rober’s Rube-Goldberg squirrel feeder is the unicorn chaser you need right now BoingBoing (David L). Trust me, this is a must watch.

Boy, 12, followed down mountain by brown bear BBC. Excellent coaching by (presumably) parents and admirable cool-headedness. Running from a brown bear (this looks like a Euro grizzly cousin) = self-identification as prey.

Why glass frogs have see-through skin becomes clear in study Guardian (Kevin W)

“Superpower” Discovered in Squids: They Can Massively Edit Their Own Genetics Science Daily (David L)

Squids’ Gene-Editing Superpowers May Unlock Human Cures Wired (David L)

How Thawing Permafrost Is Beginning to Transform the Arctic Yale E360 (Chuck L)


Coronavirus has left Australian women anxious, overworked, insecure — and worse off than men again (Paul R). Sure that is generally true.

Personal #Coronavirus Update 03 May 23rd 2020 Steve Keen

Priests ‘exorcising the coronavirus’ BBC. Resilc: “Trump could try this soon.”


Coronavirus in the developing world: Covid-19 is killing young people in Brazil, Mexico and India Washington Post

Here’s a Covid-19 Number Worth Watching Bloomberg (David L)

Did The Oxford Covid Vaccine Work In Monkeys? Not Really Forbes. Note author credentials.

Cuba credits two drugs with slashing coronavirus death toll Reuters (furzy)

WHO halts trials of hydroxychloroquine over safety fears BBC


How China Went Back to School YouTube (furzy). An unintended commentary on American incompetence. Contrast with: School’s Out For … Ever? AirMail (J-LS)

‘Japan Model’ Has Beaten Coronavirus, Shinzo Abe Declares Financial Times


By Air and Sea, Mercenaries Landed in Libya. Then the Plan Went South. New York Times. Wonder why this piece is running now. The point of Erik Prince is that he’s America’s big establishment mercenary, and I assume he offers a soup to nuts service. But why broadcast that he’s able to mount a private army, and make clear an op gone bad in Libya financed by a buddy of his could conceivably have been a Prince deal? Unless it’s to get out in front of the UN report? But a story in the NY Times gives it way more visibility than it would otherwise have. Even though the article finds only tenuous connections to Prince, my plugged-in contacts are abuzz over that aspect.


Americans defy Covid-19 social distancing rules to celebrate Memorial Day holiday Guardian

Scenes Of Isolation Amid Pandemic In The Vermont Countryside NPR (resilc)

Hipsters are paying up to $300 for custom-made facial coverings, says a Brooklyn tailor who sold $8,000 bespoke suits before the coronavirus outbreak Daily Mail

AP count: Over 4,500 virus patients sent to NY nursing homes Associated Press. From late last week, still important.

Locked-Down Teens Stay Up All Night, Sleep All Day Wall Street Journal. Hah, I have company.

The Military Hasn’t Saved Us From Pandemic—Nor Should It William Arkin, Newsweek (resilc)


Covid-19 Will Make Colleges Prove Their Worth Bloomberg


Tension mounts in Ladakh as China brings in more troops; India maintains aggressive posturing Times of India. UserFriendly:

What could possibly go wrong? HK, and this? China using Covid to push all its territorial disputes at the same time? I’m guessing they have given up on playing nice and don’t even care what our european poodles think. The assumption that we won’t dramatically overreact because of covid is moronic, if anything Trump would welcome the distraction. Hot war here we come.

Does China offer the world more than the US? Asia Times (resilc)

China Is Its Own Worst Enemy Project Syndicate (UserFriendly)

China Will Use Its Digital Currency To Compete With The USD Forbes (Kevin W). *Sigh*. The way to become a reserve currency is 1. Run persistent trade deficits so your currency is held by parties outside your country and 2. Give them some OK places to park your currency besides cash. The US has Treasuries and other government guaranteed bonds, a well-regulated stock market for those who like to walk on the wilder side, as well as (until recently) cities with good airport access plus shopping, restaurants, museums and other attractions so that foreigners holding US currency might park it in US residential real estate.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Inside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network Wired (Kevin W)

How a NeoCon-Backed “Fact Checker” Plans to Wage War on Independent Media Mint Press (RR)

Michael Moore film Planet of the Humans removed from YouTube Guardian

What critical thinking? Wayback Machine is now complicit in Big Tech censorship RT. BC: “IMO, there are few things more reprehensible (and dangerous) than systematic editing of history.”

Trump Transition

Trump Vows to Pull GOP Convention From Charlotte Without Crowds Bloomberg

Ann Coulter Turns on ‘Disloyal Actual Retard’ Trump in Twitter Rant The Wrap (furzy). FWIW, I am told Sessions is not bad by the standards of Alabama politicians.

The actual tweet:

More from UserFriendly:

As far as people I disagree with go, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Ann. But it sure is going to be amusing watching Liberal Democrats make her the new #Resistance hero. I don’t imagine her taking that well.

UserFriendly on the tweet below: “How about we just flat out state that if you want to be a public servant you cannot have a net worth > $10 million.” Moi: Why aren’t we at least as agitated about people who get big ticket payoffs after serving in office?

Ilhan Omar On Her Memoir And Moving The Needle Toward Progressive Policies NPR (UserFriendly). People this young should not write bios or memoirs unless they have witnessed or survived something truly epochal and want to get their POV in before historians try to set it in concrete.


Care about Palestinians? Don’t vote for Joe Biden. Vote for Donald Trump Haaretz (resilc). Don’t shoot the messenger…

Biden Should Be Named in Criminal Probe in Ukraine, Judge Rules Consortiumnews. UserFriendly:”Dear God, if this is Trump it’s gonna backfire. Literally no way the Dems buy that Ukraine just decided to do this now.”

Throwing more fat on the fire: The colonial status of “The Independent Ukraine” publicly confirmed Saker (Chuck L)

Expect the improved versions to be slicker:

I wish this were satire but it isn’t:

So how is this not functionally equivalent to the statement that Trump made in 2016 that led to widespread condemnation: “I could shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters”?

A Warren VP Pick Would Show That Biden Is Serious About Repairing the Economy Washington Monthly (resilc). Lambert: “Please kill me now.”

A Blueprint for Sanders and AOC to Take Over the Party? New York Magazine (furzy)

You’ve Been De-Banked! How An Unknown Counterterror Law Is Crippling The Movement Of Money & Humanitarian Aid Loeb Log (Chuck L). Important if nothing else to see how far-reaching US sanctions are and who gets picked up in their net.

Volkswagen loses landmark German ‘dieselgate’ case BBC (David L)

Book review of Capital and Ideology by Thomas Piketty Washington Post (UserFriendly)

$30 Oil Isn’t Good Enough For U.S. Shale OilPrice (Kevin W)

What Is Going On in the US Housing Market? Brink. Important, in a bad way. Hope readers shred this. I would if I had time. The short version is “What about >20% unemployment, properly measured and coming, large-scale small business failures, don’t you understand?” Look at the doubling of involuntary part-time employment as well as:

The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job, at 9.9 million, nearly doubled in April. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the last 4 weeks or were unavailable to take a job.

Plus I know of employers who took PPP loans and don’t see enough improvement in their business for them to be able to keep their current level of staffing once they are past the required 8 weeks of not cutting payrolls, so expect more blood on the unemployment front when the PPP juice wears off.

The Housing Vultures New York Review of Books

Hertz Was Already in Terrible Shape. The Pandemic Finished It Off. Wall Street Journal Disgraceful. No mention of Hertz’s notorious dividend recap shortly after private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice bought it in 2005. It’s been walking wounded since then.

Class Warfare

‘Something isn’t right’: U.S. probes soaring beef prices Politico (Kevin W)

Billionaires Cowboy Up and Turn Wyoming Into a Gated Community Daily Beast

HEROES bill dishes out thin gruel for student-loan debtors: “Please, sir, I want some more.” Condemned to DEBT. UserFriendly:

So literally nothing because private lenders won’t even consider deferment or forbearance unless you are holding someone hostage and most people on federal loans are on income based.

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus, courtesy Chuck L. But orcas aren’t after humans…and the kayak pilots seem to get that.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. bassmule

    The real estate market in my town is doing very well. The link takes you to a local Northampton agency. It shows 19 properties; nine of them have banners in the corners saying they are already under contract. Our neighbors in the business say it’s people who want to move out of NYC and Boston; I suspect at least some of them are boomers who have thought about looking to retire in a nice New England college town, and have decided in light of recent events to accelerate their plans.

    Maple & Main Real Estate

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve made mention previously of a white elephant of an off-grid home friends have been trying to sell for 4 years now.

      Talk of all these people wanting to live off-grid was a bunch of malarkey, as the owners told me the house & 37 acres of mostly steep terrain would’ve sold dozens of times if only it was on the grid (about $150k for SoCal Edison to bring it to them) and despite having lived there for almost 20 years (with a diesel generator that kicked in if ever needed-which was seldom) it just wouldn’t sell, until 3 weeks ago that is.

      They told me since the lockdown, they had more interest in it than just about any time previously.

      I get it though, who’d want to be in a Big Smoke these days?

      There are no advantages such as cultural, social & sporting events, with the disadvantage of so many human beans in close proximity.

      1. periol

        Just out of curiousity, when you say “off-grid” do you mean that it has solar or wind power of some sort and running water, but is not connected to the government utilities? My wife and I were looking at places in the Antelope Valley, and all the “off-grid” places listed for rent literally had nothing. No running water, no electric of any kind. They were essentially backwoods cabins where you packed everything in and out – only they were 2 bedroom homes for rent for thousands a month.

        People play such games with words these days.

      2. ChrisPacific

        Anecdotal, but my friend in NYC mentioned that maybe half the people she knew had either moved out of NYC or were planning to do so. She and her family have rented a place in CT in a sparsely populated area where they will have a yard and access to the outdoors while they isolate, which they fully expect they may have to do for months or years. I wouldn’t be too surprised if houses in low density suburban, rural or wilderness areas are in high demand in the Northeast for a while.

        (Yes, there is a class aspect to it and it illustrates Stoller’s point from a few days ago about segregation and imprisonment, but I can’t say that I would have acted differently in her place, especially with my family’s safety at stake).

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          FWIW, this was starting last year to a degree. Mover commented that all the jobs he had around when I was leaving were to move entirely out of NYC, which I gather was out of pattern. My sense it was due to the cost of living v. the decline what people could do with their leftover incomes, as in the theaters and museums and opera are there, but who has the time to plan to see them with friends? Museums maybe but any performance in a big or middle sized venue can’t readily be done ad hoc.

    2. Carla

      Anecdotal: Houses in my inner ring, economically and racially diverse suburb of Cleveland appear to be selling exceptionally well at the moment, and prices are up. Recovery from the great mortgage fraud crisis, which hit us very hard indeed, has been extremely slow. Many more single family homes are rentals now. So all this doesn’t really compute for me. With the exception of those fleeing major viral hotspots, I can’t imagine a rationale for buying a house early on in a global pandemic.

      1. sbin

        Lived in Lakewood for many years great place to raise a family.
        Sold the house 6 years ago to a young couple.
        They have seen about $180k appreciation.
        Hard to get people to understand how pleasant and affordable it is to live in greater Cleveland area.

        1. a different chris

          >They have seen about $180k appreciation.

          #1) Pretty useless info without the sales price. 200K – A lot, 1 mil – not much over 6 years.
          #2) And how do you even get that? They don’t know that unless they try to sell it, even in a good market. The whole point of this is that things have changed radically in 4 months.

          This is *not* the website to just throw numbers out and expect people to nod and murmur approvingly.

      2. Billy

        When the EBT food stamp cards stop working, I think I’d rather be in a non-racially diverse white and Asian suburb without HUD housing, thank you.
        High praise for diversity is often one of the stages of the Kübler-Ross scheme, applied to one’s economic fortunes. Always accentuate the positive!

        1. JohnnySacks

          The Woodstock VT area in the NPR ‘Isolation in VT’ article would be nice. Hardly representative of VT, one guy even a retiree virologist. Geez, too lazy to get up into the real despair region? Maybe they were doing the story on a junket at the Woodstock Inn?

          1. periol

            Well, the Rockefellers liked Woodstock so much they paid to have the town’s power lines run underground. Eyesores are for the poors.

            1. JohnnySacks

              Yeah, we’re semi outliers in what would be considered a tony Boston suburb, Woodstock seeming like a nice place to bail out and retire to, given the natural beauty and similar political climate, if not for no reduction of cost of housing and living and more isolation. And we’re getting too old to start over with the manual labor involved in a junk pile renovation. But it seemed rather audacious of NPR to base a VT isolation article in that area. I quit reading when I came to the virologist who is so obviously a retired professional living in a dream area.
              (and by political climate, losing one’s collective mind over power lines and cell phone towers but with not insignificant support for the reincarnation of the Third Reich if a tax break is promised)

        2. periol

          You know, if you were nicer to people now you might not have to feel so terrified of their reactions in a crisis when your “muscle” isn’t available.

        3. False Solace

          “If you’re in trouble or hurt or need–go to poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help–the only ones.” – The Grapes of Wrath

    3. MCB

      My husband and I live in Southern Maine. He is an attending psychiatrist, I am an out of work (perhaps indefinitely) academic. We’re young so we’re still working through his debt and are in the market to finally buy something.
      We have no idea what the market is going to do. There will certainly be deflationary pressure in hot markets and Maine is experiencing a lot of unemployment and underemployment—but it’s also a lovely place to move to if you can work from home and want to raise kids. Assuming, of course, you can stand the winters which is a big assumption. With tech workers and some finance (what I’ve heard from a friend that works in Boston) being released from the office permanently, the migration northward will be inevitable. A 1600 sq ft new build already goes for half a mil anywhere near civilization. You pony up more if you want something scenic near civilization. You can go further out but my husband doesn’t want that kind of commute and, frankly, I’d go crazy alone in the woods everyday especially if I had a child.

      Will it dip? Maybe. Will is fly out of control? Maybe.

      I just want something modest and energy efficient that gives us the option of having a child but isn’t too much room if we decide not to (we’d love one but NC readers know the world is terrifying and I don’t know if I can bring myself to be anything than someone’s really cool aunt). Even though we’re “comfortable”, we’re still debt slaves and inching forward even a little bit seems impossible.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      There is a lot of delusion going on, fueled by newspapers talking up the market. I couldn’t believe the UK and Irish newspapers over the last few weeks talking about a ‘covid correction’ of maybe 5% decline, and ‘lots of bargains to be picked up’. Yeah right. Rents are free falling, and of course house values are a function of rents in most markets. While in places like London foreign buyers may come in looking for value, I can’t see there being as much free Chinese/Russian/Arabic cash around the next year ago, especially with oil prices so low and China clamping down big time on cash (and a HK crackdown will hit the Chinese rich as HK operates as a half way house for getting cash out of China). Within the Eurozone, a failure to pump enough money into the banking system is bound to have knock on effects for house buyers in those countries where markets are very active. Most investors with assets will sit on them for a year or two before deciding if there are bargains to be had.

      And horrible to say it I know, but there are a lot more people now with their deceased parents/grandparents now empty properties on their hands who will want to sell them off.

      1. John A

        “And horrible to say it I know, but there are a lot more people now with their deceased parents/grandparents now empty properties on their hands who will want to sell them off.”

        Even more horrible to say, but the private care homes that have proved such a death trap where these parents/grandparents have died, will hoover up most, if not all of the equity the deceased had.

        1. sleepy

          If they were on medicaid, the clawback feature will have the primary claim on their estates.

          1. Olga

            Not if there is a surviving spouse and/or an adult child living in the house (or a child under 18).

            1. Bsoder

              Until you move or die. It’s not enough to get sick in this country, no dignity is ever allowed. Actually, setup up a trust, declare your zero net value, & go from there.

      2. Aumua

        Rents are free falling, and of course house values are a function of rents in most markets.

        Boy I sure wish… I ain’t seeing it yet though. I expect I probably will before too long.

        Or not? I don’t really know.

    5. timbers

      I live in a middle class working suburban setting, well spaced split level ranches, nice area in a less nice suburb of Boston area. Racially mixed. Have found no reason to alter my lifestyle. Wear masks only when required. No need otherwise, homes generously spaced. Yet, many neighbors wear masks outside like when mowing the lawn. Puzzling. IMO my current suburban setup is more private and better suited for Covid, than my previous more densely populated neighborhoods in Boston and Quincy. If my home value has declined likely due to present low demand. Either way I’m settled and happy.

      1. a different chris

        I dunno, once you get use to the mask it has its advantages when faced with back end of the Infernal Combustion Engine.

        1. ook

          Indeed. I no longer have a lawn, but back when I had one, the dust/grass kicked up by my lawnmower often triggered allergic reactions, and a mask would have helped.

    6. johnherbiehancock

      In my corner of suburban Houston I’ve started seeing the prices drop in the last week or so.

      For the first month after the lockdowns (March -> April), I saw offers getting placed, and turnover seemed to be proceeding as normal. Then those offers lingered for another month before they fell through on a number of units, and the downward pointing arrows started showing up next to the prices.

      Mind you, this is only on the homes in my price range ($200-$350K)… not sure what’s happening outside that range. There are a lot of $500K – $1MM McMansions in the area that I ignore, as well as the really unattractive low-end tract homes in a lot of places around here. I may start following these as well out of curiosity.

      I imagine Houston is going to get doubly walloped, with the low oil prices crushing firms in the industry and those secondary firms servicing them over the next couple months, ON TOP OF the drag & high unemployment due to COVID-19.

    7. periol

      My wife and I are closing on a house this week – we should get the keys Thursday.

      We had been watching the market locally in the Antelope Valley outside LA since we moved here in the fall, but didn’t actually start looking at homes until the end of March, after the shut down. We looked at homes online, then went with our agent and toured empty homes with no one around, wearing masks and gloves. We had to sign COVID-19 indemnity forms.

      Our offer was 2% under an already-reduced asking price, and it was accepted immediately. There were no other offers. They had listed the house in early March. The seller is an 85yo Korean woman, and the house was her share of the divorce proceedings. (!)

      We decided to make the leap because of several reasons:

      1. We are already trying to live in a rural area, with our chickens, dogs, and rabbit. We were concerned the real estate market here would become hotter after the lockdown, not colder.

      2. We were able to get the house we wanted, and had been dreaming about for a bit (it was listed by a different realtor last fall). It’s one-of-a-kind, so felt worth the risk.

      3. Prices in this area are much lower than LA. We bought our 2 acre 2bd home for $245k. The other side of the mountains there’s no way it goes for less than $750k. Even if there is a significant drop in prices locally, for a home we want to live in for a while it won’t really hurt us unless the drop hits 40-50%.

      4. There aren’t many houses for sale here at all. We figured our best chance at getting the house was shopping during the lockdown, because once the lockdown is lifted we’ll be facing buying competition from people in LA who can put down cash.

      Friends and family told us were insane, we’re going to be catching a falling knife. Could be. We’ll see. I don’t think this downturn will impact every area of the country the same, not even every area of California.

      Edit to add: We are first-time homebuyers.

      1. periol

        I should say, we have also faced some bizarre harassment from our current landlord, or at least the property manager and his crew. Turns out said manager was released from federal prison last June for felony fraud charges – he cooked up a scheme to defraud investors and the IRS to the tune of $4 million or something. 2 years in prison.

        So yeah, we needed to move. But we didn’t need to buy, it just seemed the time was right.

        1. juno mas

          Lotsa sun and wind in the Antelope Valley. You could go off-grid there easily. As long as gas doesn’t return to $4/gal. you should be able to handle the commute. There are plenty of shopping options there,as well. The AV is not nearly as sparsely populated as some imagine. And not having neighbors right-next-door should make for quiet living. The nighttime stars are a nice diversion. Best to you.

          1. periol

            Thanks. My wife works with schools and I work from home, so there’s no commute involved. Once we get settled we are definitely planning to leave the grid as much as possible. One big benefit – we are part of a small water group that has wells that provide enough water, so we aren’t dependent on the Colorado River at all. It’s actually nice to have seasons in Southern California…

    8. a different chris

      So right on cue is a MSN link, realtors talking up their book:

      However, I *sortof* agree with them. But they don’t want me on their team! I would make downpayments — hell, I would do away with downpayments. The Real Estate fees, at least here in Pa, are ridiculous enough.

      What’s funny of course is they don’t think this way at all, the quote pulled from the “antagonist” of the story is reproduced… and agreed with! Here it is:

      Siddall suggested increasing the barriers to take on mortgage debt for first-time homebuyers may provide better safeguards to young borrowers in case they ever had to sell their home at a loss.

      How does that safeguard them? They “have to sell their home at a loss” – and 20% of their purchase price, aka 100% of their savings, is gone!! (Family blog) that, let the bank take the hit.

      But…like I said I agreed with them, except for one condition: if you can’t pay the mortgage due to job loss* then you get to walk away scot free. Not even a black mark on your credit rating (the job loss will unfortunately be black enough, however).

      *Pelosi et al can sip Chardonnay sitting in their mammoth kitchens while trying to mess up all the details, but there would be a certain time period (x months) and a certain definition of “job loss” – could just be an X% drop in income.

    9. Paul

      I got an advert from a real estate agent on a sale in my condo complex down 30k from what I paid in 2018. Off 40% from earlier this year.

      Dont know if it was trashed, etc. But 90k for one of mine is close to the 70k 2009 bottom.

      NH all the papers say the market is strong though… Hmmm.

  2. Samuel Conner

    Perhaps the China alternative currency is more about weakening the ability of US to use the international payments system as an instrument of foreign and military policy than about “competing” for the status of reserve currency issuer.

    Of course, if China controls the alternative system, it could use it in the same ways.

    1. Mikel

      I can’t see why China would have any interest on being the reserve currency either.
      They have more important priorities and financial problems of their own. What would the logic be of now taking on the responsibility of constantly bailing out banks all over the world with the constant and perpetual grift and greed? It would be idiotic.
      They have enough of it to worry about in their own country.

    2. dftbs

      It seems to me that this would be the case. In order to defeat the US, China doesn’t need to supplant it, but simply deny it the hegemonic position. The Russians demonstrated this in the ME. The US is still militarily superior to Russia, but the Russian ability to deny US goals where it conflicts with it’s own strategic imperatives have revised the geopolitical calculus.

      Digital Yuan (perhaps gold backed), would do the same to sanction-dollar regime. As opposed to other decentralized digital currencies, one backed by the Chinese state would have the benefit of de jure and de facto protection and legitimacy from a global power which is a military peer competitor with the US and whose economy accounts for nearly 1/3 of world manufacturing.

      I’ve often read commentators on this site use the term TINA, There Is No Alternative, with respect to the political duopoly in the US electoral system. TINA applies to global financial capital flows (not necessarily physical capital; as capitalism has done away with that quaint notion). The USD debt and sanction regime, and its implicit threat of force, has allowed the Federal Reserve to capture global flows and rendered all alternatives subservient to the USD, even while it debases the dollar in ways that would make Robert Mugabe blush. Even store of value investments like crypto or gold are dollar denominated “paper” investments that exist at the whim of US regulatory regimes. If the Chinese could offer an alternative store of value, convertible on a universally accepted benchmark (gold), it would go a long way to denying the sanction-dollar the superpowers it currently wields.

      While many Americans think it obvious that no one would trust the PRC more than the US (see Asia Times article) the global sentiment is different. Over the last two decades (and perhaps longer) we have all witnessed the average American get poorer and die younger, in the same time span the average citizen of China has traveled in the other direction. The American ideology, which filled itself with glory in the sands of Iraq and the streets of Ferguson, has been truly laid bare in the aftermath of COV-19 as something akin a death cult. So perhaps, the calculus for trust has been revised as well.

      The Chinese don’t have to have the reserve currency, if they’re students of history, why would they want it? But they can certainly deny the US that “privilege”.

      1. jsn

        “If the Chinese could offer an alternative store of value, convertible on a universally accepted benchmark (gold), it would go a long way to denying the sanction-dollar the superpowers it currently wields.”

        The Chinese would need to have adequate gold to back this with any claimants outside China who engaged with such a system. The limit of Chinese gold holdings would be the inherent limit on any such system.

        1. Dftbs

          The natural limit of gold isn’t a limit on leveraged dollar gold; I don’t see why it would pose a limit on the latter. That is unless you make the assumption that gold convertible digital yuan would only be convertible to gold; and not myriad of goods services or financial obligations

          1. MLTPB

            When it’s being stress tested, that’s when only gold is sought; thus the claim of being backed by that barbarous metal, and not backed by services or goods.

      2. Bsoder

        ‘Robert Mugabe blush’, that would probably be proof of god, given the number or miracles it would require. America has gotten very good at gaming with the world’s reserve currency. Yet, I don’t see it continuing, i.e., the reserve currency part. I won’t be replaced. All of that implies globalism, multipolarism, and someone else wanting to pick up the ball. No can or will. Really can. Things have changed. Climate heating means things are going to get much simpler. Very simple & very local. Or everything goes to hell. Long Emergency v. The long goodbye (jackpot).

  3. NotTimothyGeithner

    I feel the “if Biden did this” thing from Team Blue types is meant to distract from how well known Biden’s views and behavior have been. His support for policies that have negatively harmed minorities isn’t an accident or the result of a belief in “incrementlaism” but based on his views as a decidedly now white man. JFK helped him join the ranks of white and now he wants to make sure not to water down that power.

    1. DJG

      Are you referring to JFK’s presidency, in the sense that Catholics became fully fledged U.S. citizens, although JFK did have to fly in to assure the Greater Houston Ministerial Association that he wasn’t an agent of the Pope? (Although it’s not clear if Catholics have come off the Ku Klux Klan’s bucket list.)

      Yes, Biden benefited.

      On the other hand, Biden has come off as intellectually and morally lazy, Mr. Go Along to Get Along. The endless lying, the various plagiarism scandals, the avarice (which is what the Ukraine scandals are about), none of this is winning. He’s making Ted Kennedy look like a great statesman.

      But culturally, there is something weirder going on than covering / distracting for the sake of Biden. Have you ever witnessed people asserting that is okay for the candidate to rape them? I understand that part of the charm of the social class now trying to cover for Biden is the too-clever-by-halfness. They were the ones who thought that they could interpret Obama’s eleventy-dimensional chess, which turned out to be naked ambition by a hollow man. (Soon to be commemorated by a theme park and archive-that-“ain’t”-an-archive on confiscated public land in Chicago.)

      But this groveling? It isn’t even mildly witty. And the quick turn toward “ironic” criminality like baby boiling and sexcapades shows something emerging that isn’t pretty. Is it pure frustration at not getting what one wants? Pre-recriminations for the November debacle? Crawling in the mud to show one’s fealty to the fan club?

      There has been a spate of thumb-sucker essays in places like the NYT on decline in U.S. prestige during this omnishambles. But why would anyone outside the U.S. care about the U.S. when it has become so obvious that Americans don’t care about themselves? Biden in my bedroom, indeed.

      Meanwhile, I note that Kevin Sorbo, former Hercules, and fetchingly shirtless during most of Meet the Spartans, is now a political commentator. O tempora O mores.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Though the proper response to the dueling comments (Sorbo & Frum — or is that Frum & Sorbo?) is . . . show us both.

      2. Pat

        Why should Debra Messing have all the fun.

        (Sad that I don’t disagree with what Sorbo says, or Yves’ addendum. We have so institutionalized grift and corruption…)

      3. Amfortas the hippie

        “Have you ever witnessed people asserting that is okay for the candidate to rape them?”

        I was away from the news for a couple of days, and damn! if it didn’t go even further down the hill.
        or the hole…or whatever.
        These are generally the same people who brought us MeToo# and yelled at civil libertarians like me who worried about Due Process…and who before that labeled any consideration of Hilldog’s record as HeManWomanHater Sexism…or thoughtful critique of Obamanation as rabid racism….as well as all the Russian Bot nonsense that has so poisoned any possibility of reasonable discourse about Direction or Priorities.
        Now, they are lining up…in what amounts to the Public Square… to debase themselves for the worst Democratic Candidate I can remember…and in the grossest terms imaginable…actual baby eating!…and invitations to be Raped!
        The RNC must be thrilled!

        1. GettingTheBannedBack

          There is a school of thought(mine afaik) that posits that all the pollution we are mired in will have consequences on our higher functioning.
          The load of chemicals that people are exposed to every day in cities, well some of these can cross the blood-brain barrier. In particular, plastic nanoparticles. They are now ubiquitous in the ocean, in snow, in dust. Might they do to us what they do to fish?,
          It’s one thing that pollution attacks our lungs (smoke from fires), but having our brain malfunctioning is a new ballgame.
          Welcoming rape to support a candidate makes me wonder …..

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The internets indicate the use of leaded gasoline dropped by 90% from its high by 1986. This matches up with millennial voting habits versus the population that strongly supports Trump and now Biden. The brain trauma could already be with us.

      4. NotTimothyGeithner

        I am referring to this (white skinned Catholics; black Catholics are still black, and Hispanics are dependent on origin and time in country), and I suspect an element of Biden seeking out the Dixiecrats in the Senate as friends is probably related to having been “non-white” despite being able to pass and his families own fortunes. My guess is Biden (Obama too for that matter) doesn’t so much believe in “rights” as much as “privileges'” to be extended, and a measure of control is to beat down a visible group incapable of wielding power on its own in this case African Americans. Look no further than the police departments in Democratic cities. Just absolutely vile, but they are methods of maintaining a set of “privileges” versus “rights.” If you think Democrats are bad, imagine what Republicans will do with our police departments! Vote Biden!

      5. ChrisPacific

        It’s a threat. Saying it’s what they would do is a rhetorical device – what they really mean is that it’s what they expect you to do (you meaning Biden critics, progressives, Sanders supporters, and anyone else that isn’t firmly enough aboard the anybody-but-Trump bandwagon for their taste).

        I see it as an escalation of the vengeance theme that Hillary brought up after she won the primary in 2016 (her opponents were not to be welcomed and offered policy concessions, but punished for daring to oppose her). I suspect it’s the same people, with another four years of anger and frustration layered on.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I guess that whole “civility” thing just wasn’t selling as well as they thought it would.

      Eating boiled babies and “hitting it from the back EVERY night without asking me if it’s okay” is certainly another way to go.

      Kind of reminds me of Buck Henry as Frank Nolan doing “Talk Back” on snl way back when it was funny.

      Talk Back: Frank Nolan (Henry) hosts a late night call-in talk show where he answers viewers’ calls, but the phones do not ring when he announces his topic, “federally supported municipal bonds.” He repeats the phone numbers, but still silence. When it is clear Nolan is getting no calls on this issue, he adds the topic of forced bussing to the agenda. There are still no calls, although Nolan repeats the numbers again. One of the phones rings once, but the caller hangs up before Nolan can answer. Frustrated, Nolan speaks out in support of Soviet Communism, but he gets no bites. Nolan tries supporting killing puppies, Hitler and incest, until at last his wife (Radner) comes to take him to bed.

      1. flora

        Heh. I remember Chris Christie, running for the GOP nom in 2016, trying to out outre Trump just to get some air time and give his campaign a boost. Didn’t work. Just looked like Christie acting out of desperation like a pathetic schmuck. (I’d never thought of Christie as ‘pathetic’ before that, a lot of other things he might be but I never thought of him as ‘pathetic’ until his bid to out outre T. )

    1. allan

      One thing Sirota left out is the open air crushing of primary challengers. In the past, Schumer, Pelosi, Hoyer and company used to at least pretend to stand back (even if in fact the DSCC and DCCC put their fingers on the scales). But now it’s in-your-face big donor fundraisers for horrible centrists incumbents facing primaries.
      Marie Newman knocking off Dan Lipinski might very well have beeb the last hurrah for the progressive wave ripple.

      Josh Gottheimer, co-chair of the (barf) Problem Solvers Caucus,
      as has raised more than $4 million. Richard Neal has raised more than $4.5 million. Even Gottheimer’s sidekick Anthony Brindisi, in a dirt poor Central NY district, has raised almost $3 million.
      There will be no more AOC-style surprises. It’s like the final scene in Brazil. Game over.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Marie Newman may be a “progressive” (whatever that means) but she doesn’t care about the working class and won’t be much different than Lipinski except on ID pol issues. Which is fine with Pelosi et al, and precisely why she was allowed to win.

    2. johnherbiehancock

      They were ready for these challenges… kind of disheartening, no?

      Turns out there’s more than enough money there to stifle challenges to incumbents – wherever they may show up on the ballot – sitting in dark rooms no one on the outs even knows exists.

    3. Bsoder

      Is there’s blood test for that? Some written affidavits? Maybe the Dems (whoever they are) are doing what is stated, but poorly drafted legislation when 5 thousand people a day were dying doesn’t prove the thesis. Maybe Dems at the core are stupid and looking for handouts in all the wrong places. When the logic is Dems = GOP= PMC ‘orders’= billionaires in a class, insisting on this deprived way of life be implemented, achtung! Maybe it’s my bias for facts, simple explanations, and/or how hard it is to get anything done I don’t believe it. Not told that way.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus has left Australian women anxious, overworked, insecure — and worse off than men again”

    Cause found to be being locked down with Australian men for the past several weeks. New Zealand women, looking on, nod knowingly.

  5. Wukchumni

    Talked to cabin owners from San Diego and Los Angeles the other day, and there is a total different approach to being mask’d up there, versus here in Tulare County.

    Both stopped in Visalia for food, and thought maybe 20% had masks on, versus it being pretty much compulsory down in SoCal.

  6. Wukchumni

    Boy, 12, followed down mountain by brown bear BBC.
    Saw a fair amount of bear scat on the Franklin trail, and a friend had a wonderful sighting a few weeks ago, when he came around a corner @ 9 pm just below Atwell Mill on Mineral King road, and there were a couple of mountain lion cubs in the gaze of his headlamps all of the sudden, and he described the pair as reacting like Keystone Kops once illuminated, kind of running into one another in making good their escape from a 3,000 pound fire breathing dragon, of sorts.

  7. fresno dan

    So I got a call from a friend of about 40 years (we served in the air force together). Talked a little about the stay in place stuff – he was more in line with that than I would have thought, as mutual friend tells me he has evolved into a rabid Trump supporter. Of course, he is an old guy like me and has had cancer…. he was like the guy I knew years ago, that understood there is two sides to every story, data is equivocal or contradictory and uncertain. I know that he used to be agnostic, but once he got married, had kids, and started going to church, the tolerance seemed to diminish year after year.
    Pretty intelligent guy, accountant. Very even keeled – used to be very on the one hand, on the other hand kind of guy.
    We talked a lot about the absurdity of the Russian collusion thing, as it is something that I wholeheartedly agree with him about.
    But it is still shocking to me to see how he has drunk all the kool aid…Trump can do no wrong and is perfect. This from a person who had a healthy skepticism of all claims made by any politician regarding any matter. And all I can figure is that Trump “enemies” hits a deep, visceral cord with him. And some of Trump’s enemies should be everyone’s enemies – but it is just the unadulterated adulation of Trump that I find so perplexing. The inability to acknowledge the contradictions. And although he can see the tribal think of CNN/MSNBC clearly, his faith in Fox is …bizarre.
    People change – after all, I used much more to the right than I am now.
    Perhaps Trump is the savior and I just can’t see it…

    1. Clive

      Not at all difficult to understand.

      The same dynamic is playing out the world over, as far as I can tell. To give a UK example (reinforced by some current events around a Johnson advisor) because the nub of this is a media which is trying to assert (or reassert) itself as the ultimate arbiter of who gets to govern. Whenever and wherever the media tries to do this, in the final analysis, the people end up concluding — whatever the rights of wrongs of the particular issue in question this time around are — that it isn’t you (the media), buster.

      Taking the exact same facts of the matter in turn and how the public will end up reacting in each:

      An adviser to Johnson breaks the spirit of the lockdown rules if not the actual letter of them (which he probably did, too) — the facts show the advisor is guilty and, if no other actors are present, the public would likely conclude as such

      An adviser to Johnson breaks the spirit of the lockdown rules if not the actual letter of them (which he probably did, too) and the media report the facts — the pubic would likely conclude the advisor is guilty and the media are innocent, the media being merely conveyors of what happened and when, without seeking to subvert the outcomes

      An adviser to Johnson breaks the spirit of the lockdown rules if not the actual letter of them (which he probably did, too) but the media, while reporting some of the facts also seek to quantize them in many and varied ways to skew the story so as to attempt to dislodge the advisor from their position with a motivation that they (the media) get to demonstrate how they control who is in government and have a veto or approval on what they do or don’t do, the media also attempt to settle some old scores around historic issues where they lost out before and want to recapture their former power (as they perceived they used to possess it) — the pubic would likely conclude the advisor is guilty but the media are also guilty, the media being moving from merely conveyors of what happened and when, but are now also seeking to subvert the outcomes and bend them to their desires; the public would think the media, through it getting uppity and having ideas above its station need to be taught a lesson so support Johnson and his errant advisor because the last thing anyone wants is a media getting to believe it, not the politicians, call the shots.

      A complex — yet actually at base quite simple and straightforward to understand — situation.

      People aren’t at all keen on Trump (or Johnson, or whoever). But they’re even less keen on liberal establishments and their media partners-in-duplicity treating them like idiots and attempting to pull the wool over their eyes. Faced with a choice between loathsome politicians and self-serving attempted powerbase-building media, the loathsome politicians win every time.

      It’s like the media is now — with sincere apologies to Robert Sheldrake — a Morphogenic Resonance Imaging scanner. Instead of the media’s pure white light illuminating the ills of current affairs and dispelling whatever karma is swirling around the wrongdoings of the politicians, it’s become a concentrator and creator of harmonic distortion on top of the wrongdoing, thereby adding more bad karma to the initial problems.

      The people can (either objectively or subliminally) see this and therefore shun the media and its crass attempts to “take down” this- or that- figure. This will continue until the media learns that it can’t have the power that it seeks without the responsibility (democratic accountability) that comes with it. The media shows no sign of learning this lesson any time soon.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I had an interesting email exchange this week with an English friend, a long time (if somewhat sceptical)Tory and ex banker. I was surprised to see a few weeks ago on social media he was active in the movement to stop all lockdown restrictions. But while he hasn’t recanted on being anti-lockdown, I was surprised at his fury at Johnson for the Cummings screw up, and he was full of praise for the Irish government when I sent him a link showing the planned, phased relaxation of lockdown (he was asking about coming to Ireland for a late summer holiday).

        1. Clive

          This is where political operators of the likes of Trump and Johnson are cut from totally different cloth than what’s gone before.

          Your Obamas, Clintons, Blairs and Mays (etc. etc. etc.) would have calculated that it wasn’t worth the media shi1tstorms and the burning through of political capital to back whatever position they were taking that was causing them a spell in the pain locker. It was part of a perpetual dance between the politicians and the media about who had what influence over whom, bought and paid for at what price-point.

          The new generation of Trumps, Johnsons, Bolsonaros, Orbans et al make a different calculation. They gain more, in the long run, from showing the media who’s really in charge and refusing to pay tributes on demand to the insatiable media appetite for confirmation that they’re still big and they still matter.

          To return to fresno’s dan’s frisky friend, the Trump “enemies” refrain isn’t merely some outlandish tin-foil-hat perverseness. It’s very real and a very real motivator in who they’ll actually vote for.

          The only outcome of this unwinnable media war for influence is for the media to retreat. They don’t seem to be willing to do this yet.

          1. Billy

            When things become long term uncertain in one’s life, any kind of certainty in a perceived leader is comforting.

          2. Jessica

            In the current UK kerfuffle, I think the Guardian at least is also trying to re-establish itself as a voice of the left after years of endlessly smearing Corbyn.
            Also, in the US, the media is much less of an autonomous part of the elite than it was even a few decades ago. It is controlled by a small number of corporations. I don’t think people in the US so much reject The Media as they reject whatever media that speaks for the other half of the two-party duopoly.

          3. vlade

            I believe there are two items there.
            First is the persons, who are, if you chose just about any standards (moral, competence, etc.) that should matter in a public place, beyond pale. The media does attack this, because they did get used to being able to (figuratively) kill people on those terms.

            What they are finding out is that people actually may care less for this stuff under certain conditions. Those conditions include feeling of being done again and again by someone – and the above are very good at finding A target of someone (elites, foreigners, liberals, religion and race, plenty to choose from) – and, ultimately, as the human history shows, it doesn’t matter whether that chosen target actually had anything to do with it.

            The only way IMO on those is pointing out not the moral, etc. failing, nor saying that “A is not responsible” – but show clearly that the idiot in charge doesn’t actually care about you EITHER, by his actions. Because that’s something that can be said of all you mention.

            Ultimately, does it matter if the person in charge is an unlikable morally corrupt person, if they get a large majority of his people “material benefits”? Well, actually it sort of does, cf Germany from 1930s, but you’d actually argue that AH wasn’t morally corrupt, although you could argue he cared about Germany even if not Germans per se.

            While LBJ was manipulative, nasty, morally corrupt warmongering maniac that managed to pass some of the most important laws in the US history (war on powerty, education funding, creation of medicare, voting rights act, gun control). Go figure.

            1. John Wright

              I remember some of LBJ’s presidency and believe the “warmongering” was pushed on him by the establishment.

              It was important to not be soft on communism and the Repubs pushed this theme.

              It appears Johnson’s combat war experience was limited to flying in an observation flight that was shot at by the Japanese (and for which he was awarded a Silver Star)


              “Johnson, who had a genuine affection and respect for the servicemen who faced danger on a regular basis, was embarrassed at first by the honor. Woods says that Johnson wrote—but never sent—a letter saying that he didn’t deserve the medal. “Charles Marsh, who was Johnson’s political guru, told him that he was destined to be a major political force, and that he owed it to his country and his career not to give the medal back,” Woods explains.”

              I view Johnson as a flawed and tragic figure who did a lot of good things but was psychologically destroyed by the results of his escalation of the Vietnam War.

              The new breed of political animals, Hillary Clinton (Libya), Obama (drones, continuation of Bush’s wars) and George W. Bush (Afghanistan, Iraq) prosecute their fatal military actions and never seem to have second thoughts.

              1. Susan the other

                I see LBJ that way too. But he was an instinctively ruthless politician. Sometimes for the good.

      2. fresno dan

        May 26, 2020 at 9:26 am

        I agree with 95% of your analysis. But
        People aren’t at all keen on Trump (or Johnson, or whoever).

        But with my friend, it just is amazing to me that such a practical and pragmatic individual has become…well, a whole hog herd enthusiastic Trump groupie, unable to acknowledge ANY error, imperfection, or mistake. I actually recall talking to him about Trump – I don’t know, 30 years ago and we both thought he was a clown and a blowhard. Now, for instance, my friend actually gives some credence to “birtherism” – something I find preposterous, but bad faith arguments abound now a days.
        I can only guess that people’s thinking is if you believe something ridiculous, I get to believe something ludicrous.

        1. Copeland

          I feel your frustration Dan. Most in my family are all in for Trump too, like 100% in for the man. I’ve believed some crazy things in my life, but after a few months –or, embarrassingly, years– of educating myself I was able to change my mind. Not so with this contingent of Trump supporters. In their collective minds the man has simply never done anything they could disagree with since becoming president. I’ve never “liked” any person or especially politician 100% like this, and it just boggle the mind. If asked I can always say to what percent I like this or that politician and the numbers would never be more than 80% in either direction, and for the vast majority its negative, no matter what wing of the duopoly party they might belong to.

        2. Aumua

          Well the alt-right/far-right/Trump right is far advanced in brainwashing techniques. Spend some time listening to Hannity/Beck/Rush and/or Levine and you’ll hear how the foregone conclusion of “Trump can never be wrong about anything” is insinuated into their listeners minds, day after day after day.

          And these are actually some of the lower levels of mind control, aimed at older people. The recruitment drive online to rope in susceptible younger minds is more sophisticated and vicious.

      3. Frank Dean

        That’s Rupert Sheldrake, just in case anyone is curious. Delightfully eccentric thinker. I can’t say I believe any of his claims, but he comes across as a kind and decent person.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      I don’t think trump is the savior.
      there are no saviors.
      but so polluted and crapified has our discourse…our tools for thinking about things…become, that people reach out for a straw when one floats into reach.

      “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.” -Uncle Karl

    3. Bsoder

      Dan, sounds like your friend is doing pretty good (think Larry David’s voice). So, without training it’s very easy for one’s mind to support anyone who seems to offer to keep it going and better is the fear of having it taken away. Trump equals the 11 millionaires in America keep a really nice setup. I doubt they are aware of it. I’m doing a survey now to see if there’s any correlation (UofMichigan). True fact the mind often knows what it thinks before you ever say it.

  8. Tom Stone

    In early March I wrote a comment at the “Wolf Street” blog predicting that the median price of homes would drop by 25% and that transactions would drop by 50% by the end of June 2021.
    At that time I expected the National response to Covid-19 to have some degree of competence.
    I was mistaken, and now believe that the correction in prices will be more extreme over that period of time.

    As to Joe Biden being a condescending Racist, who does this surprise?
    I didn’t think that many Americans were living under a rock, yet.

    1. tegnost

      My thinking recently has been that everyone was caught off guard by the corona virus, including the supposedly incompetent elite dem infrastructure (Hilp, we can’t design an app! Hilp! we can’t count! Hilp! those bernie bros are meanies on the intertube where’s the hall monitor! Decorum Ack!). They certainly had a plan for how the summer was going to go. Bloomberg was a little foreshadow, I don’t think he was in it to win it, just to be another volley aimed at sanders, the only msm source I can bear to consume is sports radio and bloomberg flooded it with political hit ads of the “we ain’t no socialists, self made man is america” stripe. This is leading up to the night of knives and sc primary. The dem cabal had planned more of this, biden has no policy to run on, he was going to be Mr. “i’m not socialist” and that really may have been all they needed, considering they are running against trump. But now by random chance bernie is removed from the scene (but notably still a us senator, you can lose a battle and still win a war, and bernie is not immortal in spite of some wishful thinking) and the plan must change so they lock down biden for 6 weeks while they try to think of a way to differentiate FIRE sector dems from FIRE sector republicans. Idpol works great as long as you can say one side is different from the other, the problem for both parties is that right now they look mostly the same (as in we care about rich people and basically everyone else can literally go die). Biden really needed bernie to stay in the race as a character foil, now he has only his own reflection in the mirror…tough times all around…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        My thinking recently has been that everyone was caught off guard by the corona virus,

        I think you are being too nice. I’m not sure its being caught off guard as much as functionally living in the “End of History” scenario. Klob’s $4,000 tax credit for Pell Grant recipients in the field of pogology (made up word for the study of the field of pogo sticks) reeks of an expectation that 1997 is going to be a great year! Admittedly, I see her as a Dan Quayle type (Her ignorance about the identity of the President of Mexico given her status was telling), but I see a group not capable of dealing with a different world. Not Shrub so much, I think part of the Iraq War push in DC was largely driven because Iraq was the de facto enemy. They couldn’t even see a different world than the one from “The End of History.”

        I can’t predict an outbreak of Covid 19 or other black swan type events, but I know they will happen and can guess the start of the kinds of solutions necessary. Even now, state and local revenues should be in a situation where the question is how much to throw at the states but the question is whether states are reopening fast enough. The Reality Based Community, the Democrats, are so twisted they can’t even present an alternative scenario. They are functionally broken.

  9. tegnost

    The Brink…
    I don’t have much on the rest of it but the closing and penultimate paras have some spakle pony action going on…
    For rental homes, we may see tenants more likely to renew leases and stay put for the next several weeks. Once the U.S. has made it through the pandemic, we may see renters more often opt for larger rental spaces and single-family homes over multifamily apartments.

    For some tenants, this could meet a desire for a home-based office and for greater distance between housing units. All of these changes in preferences will have an impact on spatial organization of our urban areas. And lastly, the acceleration in innovation brought about by the pandemic is sure to guarantee greater productivity in many sectors and open doors to possibilities we haven’t thought of yet.
    Sure, renters with no money will opt for a larger place, farther away from everything…but the best one is the last one, repeated for emphasis as it reflects the unicorn dreams of the pandered “real” estate sector and the delusion of the tech sector that tech will save us from literally anything destructive/disruptive that we can conceive of doing or accidentally have happen to us as we clearly live in the best of all possible worlds (as soon as the orange charlatan has been dethroned)
    And lastly, the acceleration in innovation brought about by the pandemic is sure to guarantee greater productivity in many sectors and open doors to possibilities we haven’t thought of yet

    1. christofay

      “Innovation,” isn’t that the advances made during the Jackpot in Gibson’s The Peripheral which mitigated the worst of the changes made during the downward spiral? This faith in technical innovation is widespread.

    2. Tom Doak

      It’s hardly an innovation but a large percentage of the people who do have enough money to buy a home are suddenly thinking they might be able to work remotely and not live in such a crowded city.

      Of course if they own a place in the city, they’d better sell fast before the trend becomes obvious, and then hope their employer doesn’t hire a remote worker in The Philippines to take their place.

  10. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Squids’ Gene-Editing Superpowers May Unlock Human Cures

    First, really bad headline which they explain away in the article when they tell you it does not change genes, only gene expression. So click-bait for someone like me. And we are not squid, so this will only work when the mad scientists change our genetics.

    Second, you would be surprised at the level humans can do the same through DNA methylation and DNA Histone acetylation and deacetylation. Both can be accomplished with even only moderate dose vitamin supplementation.

    Your environment also changes gene expression so if you are chronically sick my first advice is to move.

    1. rtah100

      There are epigenetic changes in a short time interval (<1s) in a cell in response to mere physical stimulus squeezing, stretching etc.)! Unfortunately I cannot find the paper but it was published in the last few months.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “AP count: Over 4,500 virus patients sent to NY nursing homes”

    Looks like it was not only the UK that did this. If only New York had a 1,000-bed hospital available to send a lot of those recovering Coronavirus patients too. They would have had the doctors and nurses there to take care of these patients before sending them home after testing them. That would have saved a lot of lives that.

    Oh wait, they did. They had the USNS Comfort – the US Navy’s 1,000-bed hospital ship tied up there in port. They could have used that. The trouble is that in the three weeks that they were there, they only ever treated 179 patients so most of that ship would have stood empty for those three weeks. THE USNS Mercy tied up in Los Angeles did even worse treating only 77 patients while there. Is this the best that they could do?

    1. christofay

      What about the repurposed Javits Convention Center on the Hudson? There were headlines when that got repurposed and set up in a few days. The carpenters union at Javits had all the materials normally used to make temp walls for cubicle exhibiton space for all those small scale businesses. Later it went mostly unused.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Did those tent hospitals set up in New York’s Central Park get much use? Come to think about it, in the UK they sent a lot of the same sick people into aged care homes which was a disaster. But I heard that those Nightingale Hospitals did not see much use either. Something strange is going on on both sides of the Atlantic.

        1. Pat

          Other than enjoying Cuomo for once having to take the blame for something he was primarily responsible for, the sheer utter senseless and arrogant mass destruction wrought by his insistence that both the medical experts AND the nursing home executives were wrong and that they had to take in patients is overwhelmingly sad and depressing.

          Mind you if Biden is any indication, we could see “Cuomo could kill all of my grandparents and I would still vote for him” someday. Tears may only be for some of us.

        2. Redlife2017

          I agree. And few people were treated in them. But we do have LOTS of temp morgues. Richard North had a lot of discussions on the UK issue of both the nightengale hospitals and the morgues in his eureferendum blog (half way through his post on 10 April he started figuring out that there were the beginnings of a lot of morgues). As you point out – why didn’t they use those overflow hospitals? Mr North noted that all Covid-19 patients should have been sent to the overflow hospitals so that the regular hospitals (and care homes) didn’t become a vector of infection. That is what the Chinese did. He pointed this out on 17 April.

          Was it failure of imagination? Was it “I won’t do what the Chinese did”? Was it an inability to truly want to take the measures that would have controlled it (why? who knows)?

          Very end of an era stuff, actually. When your elites can’t figure out how to do something with the information they have. Very bad.

          1. CoryP

            I’ve found this baffling too. You’d think the US/UK would have had a use in mind for these temporary structures if they bothered to erect them.

            Meanwhile the fact that they and the navy ship sat largely empty has been seized on by the more tinfoily people out here.

              1. Pat

                Doesn’t really work as an excuse for not using part of the available space for those patients, not just the Comfort. At least not if trying to flatten the curve includes not endangering the most vulnerable by exposing them to Covid 19 unnecessarily. Not sending anyone to a nursing home would have increased the need for space. Hell it could actually have been considered within the Comforts original purpose which was for supposed non Covid patients. Although not in reality, but continued care after supposedly being clear in a medical facility… That one decision increased the cases and the deaths as much as any other.

                Would there have been 4500 patients to go to the nursing homes if none had been sent there from the start?

                1. marym

                  Sorry, I should have clarified that I was commenting only on the timing of adding capacity which then wasn’t used. It was similar in IL without the nursing home issue. As far as that issue in NY, from the minuscule I know about it, it was a horrible misjudgment.

                  1. Pat

                    And I should have been clear that you were not defending that choice and that yes the Comfort was probably late for the first patients sent to nursing homes, but not all of the excess capacity they created even before the ships arrival was used and certainly the clear but problematic patients could have been transferred after its arrival. Thus it could have stopped that “misjudgment”. You merely helped provide more of a timeline, And my finger pointing did not exclude the messenger.

          2. VietnamVet

            This is the Elite’s arrogance. Recovering elderly are of no importance. They are unproductive and not family or insiders. The only concern to the deciders was to keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed. The lockdown and shipping the old back to nursing homes served its purpose. I am fairly certain when the spike hits from the states reopening, the re-imposing of local lockdowns will result in unrest.

            The federal government has thrown the pandemic onto the 50 states. Some of which are too poor and incompetent to handle. As a result, the novel coronavirus could become endemic in North America like AIDS is in Africa. Coronovirus is not a flu it is like the common cold.

          3. Wednesday's Child

            Very bad, the tools they have and how use is made is just round the corner, what fun. Never mind tax returns, can’t get a cv, headcount or a central bank in de Weltanschauung of this runaround.

        3. rtah100

          Apparently the London Excel Nightingale hospital had to turn some of its minimal patients away, for lack of staff. The building was the easy part! This from later eureferendum blog posts.

          Unfortunately, SARS-Cov-2 is now rife in the NHS. 90% of medical staff infected and 20% of other infected patients have acquired their infection in the hospital setting. Until the general ward coronavirus patients are transferred to fever hospitals in the Nightingale units, it is hard to see how the NHS restores normal service.

          It would not surprise me if the UK new case figures are actually dominated by hospital acquired infections and by care home infections and that R(t) in the general population is minimal….

    2. a different chris

      >They had the USNS Comfort – the US Navy’s 1,000-bed hospital ship

      Are you craaazzyyyy?? People don’t have to pay to be on that ship, do they? At least they don’t have to pay the Medical Industrial Complex.

      How can you maintain 8, sometimes 9 figure CEO paychecks if people are getting free care? The whole board of Humana Health would have raced over (yelling at their chauffeurs all the way “quicker, Biggles, quicker!) to form a human chain preventing entry.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Boy, 12, followed down mountain by brown bear BBC.

    No way in hell could I have remained that calm. Nine years ago I was camping while cycling through the Peter Lougheed National Park in Canada. I was told the camp ground was a known haunt of bears, but even though it was late in the season there were lots of campers and day-trippers around. I packed up my tent and set off to buy food at the Park HQ – there was a steep downhill path. As I went down the path very fast I went straight past a Grizzly, it stared curiously as I went past. I knew there was no way in hell of out-cycling one, even on a downhill, but I was going so fast there was no point in stopping.

    I have never gone as fast on my bike and my heart was in my mouth as I hit the valley bottom and a steep uphill. Just at that point, I met four small boys cycling the other way. I waved them down, shouting that there could well be a bear following me. They looked at me but didn’t stop, obviously haven been trained not to stop for strange men shouting at them. Two men, presumably their fathers, arrived just after them, and I stopped to get them to warn the kids (I reckoned that with four juicy kids between me and the bear I was safe). They actually said to me ‘is it dangerous?’ I told them it was their choice, but there was definitely a mama bear back there on the trail. I didn’t wait around for their decision.

    1. Winston Smith

      A few years back, I was going up my favorite mountain where with a bit of luck I can see caribou. Turned a corner on the trail and saw a pair of black bear cubs playing…turned around and ran down the trail to wait them out. Did not wait for Mama to show up, wherever she was.

    2. Krystyn Podgajski

      When I was living in Montana I was walking on a trail close to town and I saw a woman, who had a dog on a leash, throwing rocks at something. As I approached I saw a Moose staring them down. When I walked up next to her she was relieved, and I just said; “Hey big guy, no worries about us.” and it turned and walked away. She thought I was some magic Moose whisperer and I played along with it but I know it just saw two people and gave up.

      If it was a bear my reaction would have been much less mystical.

      1. a different chris

        Not sure a moose isn’t the more dangerous. It’s more bloody with a bear, but dead is dead whether from blood loss or all your internal organs resembling something Aunt Sally brought for the Memorial Day picnic.

        And moose are really, really intolerant of anything. Including grizzlies.

        Good job keeping your head (unsmashed).

      2. Massinissa

        To follow up Chris’s comment, Moose kill far more people than bears do. Among other things, Moose are more likely to attack humans. A Moose attack might be less dangerous than a bear attack, but bear attacks are very rare compared to Moose attacks, thus the volume of deaths to Moose is much higher, also they are much faster, capable of giving chase, and are often more common than Grizzlies in places such as Alaska. Not sure about elsewhere.

        Oh by the way NEVER FEED A MOOSE.

  13. Tom Stone

    Does anyone else find the offers of submission to Joe Biden by Leslie Knopes and Katha Pollitt a bit unusual?
    It’s awfully public.
    That sort of thing used to be done in cloakrooms and the like,IIRC.

    1. ambrit

      The abandonment of public morality is a sign of Late Empire.
      Joe Biden does somewhat remind me of Heliogabalus, or Commodus, or even Nero, although Nero was marginally competent. Thinking of the reign of commodus, I wonder if we are headed into a ‘Year of Five Presidents.’

      1. Jessica

        Pedantically, Nero is early empire and Commodus and Heliogabalus are mid-empire. Maybe late principate, if you want to divide the (western) Roman Empire into principate and dominionate. The actual late-empire emperors are folks we never hear of. Nero-level decadance requires more wealth than a late empire has.
        Late Empire is sitting in Ravenna, hiding behind its marshes, while the empire falls apart. In modern terms, it is the scene in Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, in which the hero is in the elevator with someone. “I know I’ve seen him somewhere. I can’t place it. Oh, that’s right. He’s the president of the United States.” In a world in which the US government has ceased to function.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Trump as Honorius, perhaps?…but he can’t keep a Stilicho for long, it seems, unless that’s Ja-rod K.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Wasn’t it popular to call W. Bush Nero or am I misremembering? That was back before he was a #Resistance hero, of course.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Yes, but I sort of remember Caligula being more in vogue with Shrub’s pitch of having his daddy’s friends run everything and Caligula’s Little Boots nickname being a better connection as they address the rise to power too.

    2. UserFriendly

      Well I can assure you it is actually satire. Though it is next to impossible to tell these days. When I sent it in I said it was the logical conclusion of Katha Pollitt’s argument.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    Billionaires Cowboy Up and Turn Wyoming Into a Gated Community Daily Beast

    To be fair, its not just incoming Billionaires, some of the long standing ranchers there are pretty unfriendly. There is a section of the Great Divide trail (hiking/cycling) in south Wyoming through high plains desert where one rancher won’t allow camping, even by the roadside, despite it being open and desolate. His ownership extends something like 60 miles, so its quite an obstacle. I didn’t try it, but I was told he sends patrols along the dirt road every night telling anyone camping to pack up and get out.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      we’ve got a few of those, but regarding the river.
      the Llano is the smallest “Navigable Waterway” in Texas, and is thus a Public Waterway.
      Everybody has a Right to access it…put in a canoe, swim, etc….and even the Right to pitch a tent on the banks, so long as you don’t cross a fence to do so(there’s ample wiggle room in the relevant Texas law).
      but there’s a few ranchers and/or landowners who continue to put their barbed wire right into the river.
      little enforcement of this.
      I used to canoe/kayak/fly fish along a 10 mile section, and ran into this all the time.
      usually at the bridges or low water crossings where I supposedly have a Right to put in/take out.
      game warden caught me one time cutting a strand of barbed wire so i could get the canoe out…he laughed, said essentially “right on, man”,lol.
      the older game wardens, now retiring out, are less amicable to such behavior, being more in line with the landowners.

    2. a different chris

      >some of the long standing ranchers there are pretty unfriendly.

      Funny (in a horrifying way) we all are now making this “billionaires” distinction. Out there, you can live pretty much like a king with a measly 100 million or so.

      And yet to interestingly roughly the same amount of people as there are in congress (535) 100 million is suddenly chump change. No wonder the millionaires are bitter.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        out here, it’s mostly land rich, cash poor…with the land handed down from great great grandad the injun fighter(or German Idealist).
        on “my” stretch of the river, there were 3 such ranchers who took exception…who also happen to be some of the greediest, small minded and all around unpleasant people in the county.
        “coupla bad apples” and all…
        all the rest of the folks who own land on the river have embraced the kayak business, as well as the B&B’s. lots of small time “resorts” have gone in in the last 10 years or so. I imagine they’re not doing great truck, right now…but prior to covid, I’d bet that they made more $ from all that frou frou dude ranch stuff than the curmudgeons do with cows.

  15. The Rev Kev


    ‘Joe Biden could walk into my bedroom and start hitting it from the back EVERY night without asking me if it’s okay. I wouldn’t care at all. I’d still HAPPILY vote for him. And I’m a cis straight man.’

    Well if this was actually happening, I am sure that at least some parts of him would be blue.

    1. Billy

      “And I’m a cis straight man.” Oh wow, such a compromise.
      Any fool that uses brainwashed language such as that to describe itself, and such metaphors, is a closet homosexual and at best has no dignity, nor judgement.

    2. Mikel

      Re: Biden

      The “make america blue again” tweet is right in line with the new Democratic Party doubling down.
      There is a sticker/meme something going around (post Breakfast Club interview): Biden 2020 “you don’t have to like the mf’er” (as if it is a question of liking him and not believing anything he says).

      Also, get ready to find out if #MeToo has any legs left under it in light of Biden or Bust:
      On the Record will be available on HBO Max on 27 May.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I like how he basically ends his tweet with “no homo”, but he writes it in such a way he expects to be thanked.

  16. GramSci

    Re: Neocon-backed fact-checker

    This Mint Press story is from Jan 2019, so I checked out Google Play where I found the Newsguard app has only 100+ downloads. But Newsguard Technologies still seems to be very much in business. Per their website, it appears only some 700 libraries worldwide are using the app, maybe mostly in Illinois, maybe because of Pritzker connections. Newsguard boasts of having independently alerted Facebook to fake COVID news in Italy, so perhaps the Mint Press story scared Facebook off any plan of licensing fact-checking from a third party like Newsguard. Of course the Atlantic Council still tells FAANG what to censor, so Newsguard may now simply be the tool the AC uses to monitor FAANG to ensure FAANG is fact-checking correctly . . .

  17. GramSci

    Hmm. I wonder what kicked my 9:53 comment into moderation? Mention of the AC or MP?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Don’t take it personally, the filters are ultra sensitive recently, most of my comments usually go straight in. Fortunately our hard working hosts release them manually quite quickly.

      1. GramSci

        Well, after posting in re net censorship, I was unduly paranoid. I wondered if the spooks had gotten their hooks into Akismet. But Matt Mullenweg is one of the few hopeful lights in the darkening night sky of the internet.

  18. PlutoniumKun

    Personal #Coronavirus Update 03 May 23rd 2020 Steve Keen

    This is really interesting from Keen – the Thais seem to have done an amazing job – 2 months ago I was sure Thailand would be devastated by it as there were so many Chinese tourists allowed in and around, even into February. Maybe they had some luck, but it does seem the government reacted quickly and decisively. I’d be a little cautious though as the Thai government has a record of being less than honest when it comes to any facts and figures that might have an impact on tourism. There were early reports that a lot of Covid cases were being recorded only as viral pneumonia.

    The rest of the article is very telling too. While there is still a long way to go, there are clear patterns emerging, along with winners and losers. I think the three-fold division of the world into ‘covid clear’, ‘covid under control’ and the ‘US/UK/Sweden/Brazil’ axis will have significant implications, especially when air travel gets up and running again. It may have long lasting economic effects if some countries find themselves effectively cut out of trade and transport for a year or more.

    1. Winston Smith

      It will be interesting to see if other countries try to keep American visitors out and how the President will react. He is likely to react in a typically vindictive manner if the US is treated like a pariah.

    2. The Rev Kev

      It also proves that Steve Keen is indeed a very smart man. He bailed from the Netherlands with its initial herd immunity approach and went to a modern country that took this virus seriously. That three-fold division that you mentioned is also taking place within some countries I note. Here in Oz, a billionaire-slash failed politician is suing Western Australia to open their borders up in the High Court because of the Constitution. Meanwhile a politician that is like a female Donald Trump – but without the billions – is also doing the same to Queensland.

      The Federal government is cheering this on, especially the Tourism Minister, as this will help the economy by having internal tourism again. The three biggest States (‘covid under control’) are still having cases popping up and the smaller ones (‘covid clear’) are just about clear of the virus and have no wish to be sent back to square one again. Never let anyone tell you that Oz is handling the virus well because of our Prime Minister, Scotty from Marketing. It is the States here that have done all the heavy lifting.

      1. Winston Smith

        This kind of info-credit goes to the Australian states not Scotty from Marketing-is why I come to this site. Thanks

        1. wilroncanada

          The same situation applies here in Canada. It is shameful that almost all provinces have deaths at long-term care residences as the majority of the whole total. BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have mostly beaten down the virus, and are mopping up and slowly re-opening. Here on Vancouver Island,(population about 1 million), we have had no new cases for 18 days now. The major reason here, I think, is that the government and the medical officers of health convinced the population to buy into social isolation and social distancing. (By the way, Lambert and Yves, we have NEVER had to wear masks by law.) The only provincial ordered closure from medical health officers was of personal service and quasi-medical businesses–barbers/stylists/ nail salons/tattoo parlors, dentists/massage/physio, etc. Hardware stores, pharmacies, and grocery stores were always open. Most other stores and restaurants closed simply because there was not enough business when customers voluntarily self-isolated, and people–workers, big business, small business, renters, landlords were quickly subsidized by national programs.

  19. PlutoniumKun

    Volkswagen loses landmark German ‘dieselgate’ case BBC

    Correct link for the above….

    It may well be good news for the Eurozone if VW (along with the rest of the German car industry) is under severe financial stress. This may be one reason why Germany seems to be the least obstructive of the northern European austerity alliance fighting for a proper ECB led response to Covid. It may well be sinking in that Italy and Spain are not the only countries that may need urgent financial rescues. Ordoliberalism has always been an ideology of convenience, historically the Germans have been pretty keen on Keynesian style boosts when its suited them.

    1. a different chris

      > an ideology of convenience

      It’s so weird. When *I* became a young adult in the 80’s, all I ever heard about Germany was “the sick man of Europe”.

      I was impressed about how quickly they forgot about that and started looking down their noses at everybody else.

  20. PlutoniumKun

    $30 Oil Isn’t Good Enough For U.S. Shale OilPrice

    The chart in this article on the number of rigs is very revealing. Fracking is in complete freewill, even a doubling of oil/gas from current rates is unlikely to save it, whatever Trump may do. This is going to lead to a lot of instability in the market as there are likely to be huge mismatches between supply and demand of various fractions over the next year or so. Good times for sharp speculators, but the main oil companies could be toast.

    1. rd

      I can’t find a link, but 2-3 years ago I saw a fascinating study that some economists did on fracking. They looked at the economics of fracked wells and found that they varied wildly. Even within a county, there were factors that could make one well profitable at $20 but another well would be $30-40.

      So this is an industry that has to be viewed on a granular scale. One company may have access to leases where they are quite profitable at $30 while another company goes bankrupt at that price. I think fracking production and rig counts will continue to fluctuate significantly based on oil and gas prices. US shale really is the marginal player in the world oil market where it scales up or down with demand and price. The Saudis etc. have more of a variable speed system where they can turn a valve up or down without much effort but varying US shale production will require lots of activity or little at all, all of which are going to have major imapcts on junk bonds, corporate formations and bankruptcies, and employment.

      At least Texas/Oklahoma/New Mexico have acccess to pipelines,storage tanks, and refineries. It is even tougher in places like the Dakotas that have less capability of storing or transmitting the oil. Canadian oil sands are largely landlocked and even Canadians don’t want to build pipelines for it.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve no doubt it is very granular – flow rates from fracked wells are far harder to predict. Although I strongly suspect that the claimed costs per barrel are dubious as so often they are (when convenient to the operator) calculated on the basis of very generous assumptions about future flow rates. In reality, fracked wells fall off in production very quickly so they are rarely truly profitable unless there is a preexisting pipeline infrastructure they can utilise.

  21. PlutoniumKun

    Tension mounts in Ladakh as China brings in more troops; India maintains aggressive posturing Times of India.

    Despite the very Indian-oriented slant to the article, the Indian Army will struggle. This part of Ladakh is very remote – its a long days drive there from Leh, the capital of Ladakh, and Leh is a maybe a weeks drive on very difficult roads from the main Indian military bases in the lowlands or in Kashmir. The Indians tried for years to build an all-year round road (officially to help the economy, but really to help army mobilisation), but they abandoned the attempt a few years ago. Its very remote for the Chinese too, but its closer to a useable all year round road (the Western Tibetan Highway). So put simply, China can get more soldiers to a conflict there than India can, much faster. The situation is a bit more complex in Sikkim, the road is not good on the Chinese side, but its also not particularly favourable for the Indians either. Both would struggle to mobilise for a full conflict there.

    There is little doubt that the Chinese have been deliberately raising the temperature all along the very long and remote border with India and Bhutan (Bhutan is heavily dependant on Indian aid in the event of a conflict). Its hard to say whether its just bored soldiers getting uppity (and not been told to stand down), or whether there is a serious strategy behind this. But it is pretty clear that the Chinese are in militarily a much stronger position of there is a conflict there – India just does not have the equipment or logistics for a major war a 4,000 above sea level. The massive Chinese military presence in Tibet is more than capable of taking them on. The only slight edge the Indians may have is that they have bought what may be better Russian combat aircraft than the Chinese have been able to buy from them (the Russians sensibly dislike the way that the Chinese copycat everything they sell – at least the Indians have the grace to ask politely before doing that).

    I don’t think however that even Trump would want to get involved there. The area is so remote there is really no realistic way that the US could aid India, even if India requested it, and thats unlikely. This is very much part and parcel of long time Indian/Chinese conflicts over that region. But I think the Indians are acutely aware that they are unlikely to win. But maybe Modi is delusional enough to think otherwise.

    1. vlade

      My worry is that it seems to me that the CPC, especially Xi, feel vulnerable. So he needs to find some distraction, and what’s a better distraction than a war? I’m actually not sure war with HK or South China Sea with the US would be that popular in China, unless it was sharp short victory (don’t see how it would happen, but it’s still possible that Xi may believe it, so can’t rule it out), but China beaten India repeatedly, so creating an incident there and beating India may be a way to have a “popular war”.

      The problem is that IMO Modi is unpredictable. And I’d not put it past him to lob a nuke there if it looks like Chinese are winning – after all, it’s empty space, right? (I’m being sarcastic).

      1. UserFriendly

        That was my point, taking Hong Kong and another border war are not things “the international community” is going to be thrilled about. Which means either Xi has stopped caring or is trying to provoke a response where he know he will win.

      2. Olga

        “So he needs to find some distraction, and what’s a better distraction than a war?”
        I fear too much steeped in the western/US thought process… and not at all reflective of the Chinese “long-term view” approach to things. More likely – if we are to speculate – Chinese govt is doing this to stop further destruction of HK, while the west is preoccupied with the virus – and a sign that the cost/benefit analysis was favourable to China.
        Just watched M Moore’s 1995 film Canadian Bacon – in which the US attempts to start a war with Canada to help president’s re-election prospects. Is that the American way?
        Have all forgotten the brutal tactics of the Spanish state to suppress Catalan independence?

        1. MLTPB

          Long term, China would want parts of Siberia back.

          Also, looking back long term, China only has to measure herself today with herself of the past.

          To offer more than the US would mean in historical terms, to offer the Chinese language, city planning, government structure, religion or lack of, etc.

          Each was offered or taken by other countries.

          In Japanese, kanji was adopted. The same with Korea.

          Nara and Kyoto were modeled after Changan.

          Buddhist masters and scriptures from China were requested.

        2. wilroncanada

          Hasn’t the US already set up Greenland for invasion, with their let’s buy it rhetoric? With Greenland in tow, it could then claim all the oil and other resources underneath all the Arctic, including under lands that happen to belong to Canada, Scandinavia and Russia.
          Trump policy: You never get any unless you claim all of it.

  22. Pat

    I connected with a lawyer I know last week to find out that 1. Virtual real estate closings are more work than regular face to face closings, and 2.) to the astonishment of both of us they have been doing two or more a week and not for the 0.1%.

    Commercial real estate in NYC is probably going to face a long crash (which has been coming for awhile) but we may not see as much of one in residential real estate as I would have bet on two months ago.

    1. rtah100

      Completion at a distance is commonplace in the UK, despite a feudal land law system. We bought our house and only met the estate agent (two viewings) and the surveyor (one visit). We never met the lawyer or the bank, just signed and scanned various documents.

  23. Bernard Manning

    “I wish this were satire but it isn’t:”

    MakeAmericaBlueAgain is satire if you look at their other posts.

    A bit near the knuckle though!

  24. The Rev Kev

    “A Blueprint for Sanders and AOC to Take Over the Party?”

    I am pretty sure that the New York Magazine is just gas-lighting people here. There is no chance of progressives taking over the Democratic party. None. Nada. Zip. If 95% of the members of the Democratic party were progressives, then the DNC would just change the rules to ensure corporatists always got the top jobs. We have seen this again and again the past three years. The Democratic party is a place where progressives go to die. And the New Yorker suggests taking over the party? Isn’t there a term to describe doing the same thing again and again but expecting different results?

    As for Sanders and AOC and the Squad, what has their voting pattern been like lately? Did they make sure that no billionaires got bailed out until they got something like healthcare or unemployment support for everybody else first? The billionaires got all they wanted now and more so where is the leverage to make the government do something for the little guy now? And why should they imitate Henry Wallace? A man who was cheated and went into a “long, slow decline into obscurity marked by a certain acceptance of his outcast status”?

    Is forming a third party difficult in the US? Absolutely. But if the numbers are there and expressed through general strikes and blockades of cities, then something has to give. The Yellow Vests and the Hong Kong protesters have led the way in tactics and techniques. And if a brief page is needed to unify everybody and say what principles should be followed, how about the Bill of Rights? Make them law again like they are supposed to be.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      “The Democratic party is a place where progressives go to die.” Hunter S. Thompson said this back in 1972, and he wasn’t wrong.

      I agree with you and I fully expect to see more of this kind of concern trolling (for lack of a better term.) It’s just like a con man running a crooked table game. “Ooooh, you were so close that time! You have to try again. I just know you’ll hit next time!”

      And as for Sanders and AOC, well, if anyone is looking to them to take over the Democrats, you might as well hand your wallet over to the man running the game.

      1. Jessica

        Just listened to the quite well done Audiobook of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972 and was amazed how similar 1972 was to 2020.

      2. GettingTheBannedBack

        The singer and comedian Dean Martin had a show that was very popular back in the day, he had all the big names of the time on.
        And he ended every show by asking the viewers to keep all those cards and letters coming in folks. One show he ended by saying Jeannie and he wanted “to thank all of you who wrote in to say that you’ve made us the beneficiaries of your life insurance policies”. A bit of nostalgia .
        Bernie would have been about 25 and may have even watched it. Maybe taken notes. Before the show is over and you go home, ask the folks to keep the cards and letters coming in.

  25. David Mills


    I have heard of people wanting to cheat their fitbit with their dog. I thought if you had a fitbit on a squirrel it would be 9m steps, 30000 floors something something something… CRAY CRAY

    Can you imagine how frightening it would be if you could harness squirrel level determination in an AI killing machine? I am so frightened now, some bast**d is working on that. Sleep tight, till you’re designated as a walnut. WALNUT BAD

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I don’t know if there is a US equivalent, but here in Ireland its been found the native (and very rare) Pine Marten is the one animal that puts manners on grey squirrels. North American Grey squirrels are an imported pest here (the native red squirrel is now very rare), but they found that as the pine marten expands its range, the grey is rapidly disappearing, with the red making a recovery.

      Ecologists were trying to work out what was going on, as there aren’t nearly enough pine martens to make a dent on the squirrel population. But now they reckon what happens is that the greys have been frightened up into the trees where there is a lot less food for them – the red squirrel is much smaller and more mobile so isn’t so worried by the martens. So essentially the martens are scaring the squirrels into semi starvation, and they don’t breed when they are hungry.

      Interestingly, there is also speculation that the post-Covid boom in urban foxes is having the same effect, lots of anecdotes of foxes taking grey squirrels on the ground.

      1. td

        When we lived in the Rockies west of Calgary, I got some good video of a pine marten eating bird seed from our feeders, especially the oil seed. While he was nearby, all the red squirrels that weren’t eaten, fled. One squirrel got into our house through a dryer vent in an effort to find safety and I was quite regretful when we trapped him and put him back outside.

      2. rtah100

        What PK says is now well established and, wonderfully, is starting to take place in Great Britain as well as Ireland. The redoubts of the red squirrel are also the redoubts of pine martens (or islands, like Brownsea). The Martens were nearly exterminated by game keepers as predators of game birds.

        The pine marten is not that rare in Ireland any more. My in-laws are naturalists and botanists in Fermanagh and roam all over the north and west and apparently, where they were once an excitement, they are now a commonplace. Barely worth stopping for if you find a squashed one by the road.

        Last summer, we were on the cliffs above lower Lough Erne bilberrying and there was a good selection of pine marten spraints. They like to do them on fence posts! Apparently they are very fragrant and, IIRC< smell of violets (?).

  26. Edward

    I don’t know who Tuberville is, but if Trump can get rid of Sessions, that sounds pretty good. Sessions has been a leading warmonger, and frequently is urging Trump to drop the bombs.

  27. Madeleine

    RE: Priests ‘exorcising the coronavirus’ BBC. Resilc: “Trump could try this soon.”

    Did you watch the clip? These priests are risking their lives to bring comfort to people who are in spiritual distress, need to grieve dead relatives, and have little physical protection against COVID-19. They’re distributing masks. They’re a living reminder that people should embrace science as well as metaphysics and compassion in this time. What part of that deserves to be mocked and linked to Trump and his amoral, disingenuous pandering to Christians????

  28. Michael

    “”Plus I know of employers who took PPP loans and don’t see enough improvement in their business for them to be able to keep their current level of staffing once they are past the required 8 weeks of not cutting payrolls, so expect more blood on the unemployment front when the PPP juice wears off. “”

    This is really important. I have business tenants in SF bay area still closed due to Guv Newsome’s orders and facing a conservative County mindset who have been approved for PPP loans. They are uncertain about their prospects later this year if they reopen and their seems to be no firm answers to what happens to the PPP loan if you decide to close up shop because your business can’t succeed.

    As they await their funding, they are getting nervous about taking the money (and paying rent!) without answers to this question.

    Anyone have a source of current info or reasoned speculation on this point? I don’t.

    1. periol

      I don’t see why they would be nervous about taking the loans as long as they use 75% of the loan for payroll expenses, and do their due diligence to ensure they are maintaining the right number of employees. If current payroll isn’t high enough to reach 75%, they could always give their employees a raise for 8 weeks to get there. They can even fold state and local payroll taxes into that 75%.

      People sure do a lot of complaining about free money.

      It’s the time period *after* the 8-weeks covered by the loans to be worried about.

  29. RMO

    Here in the suburbs outside of Vancouver things such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, ispropyl alcohol, paper towels, toilet paper and disinfectant wipes seem to have made it back on the shelves in large enough numbers that I’ve seen them and been able to buy them when needed without making any special effort searches – just keeping an eye out when on a regular shopping run.

    Yeast on the other hand is still very difficult to find. A massive increase in people baking at home wasn’t something I expected as a pandemic effect but apparently it is.

    My wife is self-employed as a music teacher (and we know many people in the same field) and her experience with the program the government put in place for people like her who aren’t covered by unemployment insurance has been a pleasant surprise. The application was simple, the funds were quickly direct deposited.

    Social distancing has been followed very well overall in my personal experience when I’ve been out shopping for groceries. Mask use is more common now than it was earlier but still around 50% at most. 7 new cases in the last 24 hours so I’m warily hopeful.

    1. polecat

      I’ve spent the last several weeks nurturing a rye-based sourdough starter. It’s wonderful! Use fresh ground rye seed, add water, feed with fresh flour & water daily to build up the yeasty sourness. Store-bough flour doesn’t have the critter quotient (natural yeast/bacteria) that whole seed does.
      Makes for a rather denser bread. A wheat lavin (starter) is an option too, and have one going as well. I’ve been making doughs that contain a mix of fresh-ground whole grain and commercially processed flours, to lighten things up a bit. What we don’t eat, the hens get. Lucky them! ‘:]

      So all is not lost, where bread yeast is concerned …

    2. wilroncanada

      My wife was a school music teacher in North Delta almost 50 years ago.
      I’ve had similar experiences shopping for groceries. (see my comment above re Vanc. Island. I was able to get quick-rise yeast, but can’t find cake and pastry flour.

      1. RMO

        Sounds pretty much the same on the island as it has been here in the Surrey-to-Hope area. Flour shelves were empty here for a while but that was one thing I was able to find over a month ago fortunately. The flour shelves today when we were out looked about half-full but I didn’t take a close look to see what types were there.

        Two of my more distant relatives are part of the “it’s all a conspiracy to deprive of us of our liberties” mindset but no one I have to deal with personally from day to day – including my neighbors and all of the many people of the local community I encounter when shopping for necessities or when going out to exercise – has been any less than quite pleasant really. Being a cynical, pessimistic type I have to say I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well everyone I’ve dealt with has been handling the situation.

  30. Billy

    “Americans defy Covid-19 social distancing rules to celebrate Memorial Day.”

    No way in hell are Average Americans and businesses going to submit to another lockdown after this.
    It will be interesting to see the confrontations as police try and shut businesses down should there be a virus resurgence. Any government that wants to preserve its authority and citizen cooperation will probably roll over on this. It’ll be the Wild West, a Petri Dish of Democracy™ out there.

  31. David Carl Grimes

    Can Obama take an NSA database? Isn’t that government property?

    The Great Unspooling

    “What “the Resistance” really fears more than anything is General Michael Flynn’s mouth. He’s been under a judicial gag order since his case went before Judge Emmet Sullivan’s federal district court. Understandably, Gen. Flynn wasn’t eager to complicate his unjust plight with a contempt citation. Judge Sullivan’s recent shenanigans have one object: to keep that gag order in force as long as possible. The moment Judge Sullivan confirms the DOJ’s move to dismiss the charges, as he is duty-bound to do, General Flynn will be free to offer his views to the public. That might be inconvenient in an election season.

    I’m sure he has a lot to say. Gen. Flynn was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency for two years (2012 – 2014) under Barack Obama, and he knows a ton about every crooked operation Mr. Obama presided over, including the Benghazi fiasco, the Ukraine regime change op, and especially Mr. Obama’s hijacking of the NSA supercomputer surveillance database known as “the Hammer,” which was set up originally to track terrorists and then used by DNI James Clapper and CIA chief John Brennan to spy on Americans, most particularly Mr. Obama’s political adversaries. It’s rumored that Mr. Obama took the database with him when he left the White House, and it is said to contain great gouts of usefully damning information about just about everyone in government, including senators, congressmen, and Supreme Court justices.

  32. John Beech

    Regarding China, it’s popular to scold them regarding Honk Kong and Taiwan but I disagree with this altogether. Just for a minute, put yourself in their shoes.

    1. What if 250-ish years ago, we hadn’t thrown off the yoke of the British?
    2. What if the War of 1812 had gone the other way and instead of the British being totally gone from the United States, they’d hung on to Manhattan?
    3. And what if it took until 120 years ago, for the Spanish American War, for America to eject the Spanish out of the southeastern states of FL, AL, MS, as well as the southwest from TX through CA?
    4. And what if while we were tossing the Spanish out ca.1900, we also gave the boot to the French from Louisiana.
    5. And – at the same time all this was happening – instead of further war with blighty, we made a treaty . . . they’d depart Manhattan in 100 years, in AD2000.
    6. And what if it took until ~75 years ago, until about the time of WWII, to eject the Russians out of OR, WA, plus that bit of Canada, all the way to AK?
    7. And the Civil War? It happened, too, but instead of being about industrial might of the north over slaveholding southern interests, it was the Union forces versus disloyal Americans – traitors who had aligned themselves with the French, British, Spanish, and Russian forces? And what if in a feat akin to Dunkirk, they (Traitorous Confederate Americans) had been ultimately chased off to Cuba – where they’ve stayed ever since calling themselves . . . Americans!

    So now, imagine ‘this’ America . . . one where the British after more than 250 years have finally left – and – handed over Manhattan. Yeah, as part of the deal we said these new ‘Americans’, admittedly with British sympathies, who continue living in Manhattan, USA (who had been running a lot of things for the British), may stay ‘and’ continue running things for a while, but we have a say in the running of Manhattan politics, e.g. it’s America and Americans so we’ll play along like we have two systems of governance – for a while – but don’t forget, Manhattan is now Manhattan, USA, OK? Oh, and those rat bastard traitors in Cuba? You’re going to get yours some day. We’re holding off because the French, British, Russians, Spaniards, and even the Chinese from the other side of the Pacific who really have no interest in all this threaten us with war if we come over the show you what’s what, but just you wait, there will come a time and place to square this.

    So under these circumstances, an America where it’s taken 250 years to throw everybody out . . . would ‘you’ want anybody having a say in how we deal with Manhattan politics? And with respect to American-traitors who fled the USA for Cuba, wouldn’t ‘you’ want to finally show them who is boss now that the British, French, Spanish, and Russians are finally gone?

    So I’m just saying, regarding HK and Taiwan, I’m not Chinese. There are parallels with China being torn asunder by the French, British, Russians, Germans, and even Americans until the Boxer Rebellion, and the Japanese until WWII, and the point I’m trying to make is, ‘I’ don’t get off thinking my opinion even counts! And regardless, I don’t have anything to say because it’s none of my business – no more than it would be for the Chinese having a say in our dealings with the traitors on Cuba or hizzonor in NYC, basically . . . this is none of our business!

    1. Billy

      So, who in your schme is the equivalent of Free China– Taiwan? :-)

      “The Double Entendre Country”

    2. Massinissa

      The only thing you’re forgetting is that the HKers and Taiwanese have at least some agency. Whether they’re rightly part of China or not is partially up to them too, not just the CPC.

      1. Olga

        By that logic, the South, too, had agency… but the North did not look too kindly on the idea.
        Folks seem to forget that HK was a colony of the UK, stemming from an “agreement” China was forced to sign, after its defeat in the opium wars.
        The Catalans, too, have agency … and want independence. No one in the EU peeped a word, when the Spanish state brutally suppressed the effort. Why is China subjected to a different standard?

        1. MLTPB

          China still has not recovered all the territories lost in the 19th century.

          The UK has done better than Russia in returning them. People in Manchuria who think Haishenwai is China’s can not really faulted too much.

        2. Massinissa

          I also support Catalan independence, though I’m no European. But if anything this proves my point.

          What makes the South problematic, is the 2 million slaves they had: I rather doubt the slaves were particularly interested in Southern independence… Although to be fair they were only 2/9ths of the population of the confederacy, but then, what sort of country keeps almost a fourth of the population in literal chains?

          1. CoryP

            I guess this shows how little thought I’ve given it, but if the US were heavily in favour of Catalan independence (and/or overtly meddling there), I’d probably be rooting for Spain.

            I suppose knee-jerk anti-US-imperialism isn’t a great frame of analysis.
            The comparison got me thinking though.

    3. UserFriendly

      I don’t presume to scold them, I’m just pointing out what the likely fall out will be.
      In my Ideal world people would get to decide for themselves on things like that but this dystopian hellscape is so far from my ideal world and there is no chance of even minor improvement that I hardly have any desire to stick around myself.

    4. MLTPB

      China does have a say in N Korea today.

      Would she also have a say in the hypothetical Cuba?

  33. 3.14e-9

    Billionaire cowboys in Wyoming is old news. I worked in Jackson Hole 20 years ago and barely survived three months there – not long enough to get the employer’s health insurance so that I could get treatment for suicidal depression. The place was a meat grinder back then due to income inequality, and apparently nothing has changed.

    Unable to afford a car, I walked a little over two and half miles to work. On my way home one day, I walked past the town’s leading real estate agency and grabbed a “brochure” – a full-color catalog printed on heavy stock with pages and pages of log mansions with walls of windows facing the Tetons and chandeliers made of antlers. Can’t remember what they were going for back then, but now the range seems to be $30-80 million.

    There was a pronounced PMC (even if we didn’t call them that back then), all primarily from the East Coast, who catered to the wealthy while making life miserable for their employees – and I’m talking about white working class, not immigrant labor. Twenty somethings were highly exploitable, as they were willing to work for peanuts and live with multiple roommates to be near premier skiing and river sports. I was a low-level manager making $29-30k, don’t remember exactly, but I do remember that my rent was $1,200/mo plus utilities for a small one bedroom in a four-plex with downstairs neighbors into wall-vibrating techno. The one employee under my supervision was making under $20k, lived with two or three other guys, and still had to wait tables at night to make ends meet.

    I accepted the job in part for the insurance, not realizing there would be a probationary period. When I mentioned it to the director during orientation, he said that if I didn’t like it, there were three other people in line for the job, all of whom would have taken it for a lower starting salary, and “there’s the door.” Exact words.

    My job brought me into contact with the art galleries in town, most of which specialized in Western cowboy art. Some of the gallery owners were insufferable, but a few were friendly, especially when they found out that I had studied art in college and could converse intelligently about the various artists and styles. That was one of the bright spots of the job – that, and discovering that the employee assigned to me was incredibly bright and motivated. I found out only later that he had been dumped on me after being written off by everyone else as too much work. He left shortly after I did and embarked on a successful career on the West Coast.

    As the depression became worse, I asked for support from my immediate supervisor and was told that no one in that job had ever needed help. I learned only after I left that my predecessor had quit after a near nervous breakdown and recovered by going into landscaping. I also learned that the supervisor (married) had been sleeping with one of the interns, a little snot who had been making my life even more miserable; and that the lawyer who was helping me explore a worker’s comp case not only was drinking buddies with the director, but had ties to the judge.

    Wyoming had the highest suicide rate in the nation back then, and it still does, according to the CDC. The entire Rocky Mountain region has elevated suicide rates. Following my experience, I surmised that isolation was a key contributor, along with extreme, oppressive winter weather. A quick look through the CDC’s current statistics suggests that it’s also due to gun ownership, as the ratio of suicides by gunshot to drug overdose is higher than in the rest of the United States. While that data is telling, it doesn’t reflect the overall cruelty of living in poverty in an area with such ostentatious wealth. Not having read the book, I don’t know whether Farrell deals with this issue – but I don’t intend to find out. Living it for three months was plenty enough.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that description. I think that you did the smart thing by making the move. You would think that an area having billionaires would mean more money floating around making life a little better for everyone but if anything, it seems that it may make things worse all around.

  34. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Scenes Of Isolation Amid Pandemic In The Vermont Countryside

    Thank you for that one! I and I believe a few other NC regulars are very familiar with that area and some of the people in the article. The Van Alstynes are pretty much living legends around that part of VT. Like the article says, life isn’t all that much different for most people. Other than not going to church in person, life goes on mostly as normal for my folks.

  35. Acacia

    Re: Ilhan Omar on Her Memoir etc.

    It seems she both believes Tara Reade and also believes that Trump is uniquely evil so she will support Biden the rapist.

    It’s almost as if the would-be progressives want to finish off #MeToo For good…

  36. flora

    re: The Housing Vultures.

    Thanks for this link.

    The chilling power of Homewreckers is the way in which Glantz shows that credit is, in the end, all about connections. Remember the arrangement between OneWest Bank and Colony American Homes? “This line of credit created a financial revolving door, as Colony bought OneWest’s foreclosures using a loan from OneWest,” Glantz writes.

    The private, near monopoly on credit is reminiscent of the late 19th railroad trusts combined with the commodity trusts. Then, it was access at an affordable rate for transportation of goods (crushing small and medium sized farmers, along with the commodity trusts and Wall St. speculators keeping prices to farmers low). Now, it’s access to reliable credit at an affordable rate. Both these thing sit at the nexus of what was then and is now the US economy. Any Roosevelts on the horizion? Either party?

  37. Susan the other

    sharp links today – focused like a laser. Or maybe a squirrel. Those critters are amazing. If we were only all squirrels we would not have this useless and disgusting congress. One Link I staggered from was the one about Squids doing their own last minute DNA (RNA?) neuronal editing – very much like the info here a few days ago on the Corona Spike protein which is equipped to cruise around until it finds its keyhole and then it conforms to fit at the last minute. Interesting biology. And Steve Keen was most interesting. Something tells me even the squirrels know we’ve played our last card.

  38. ewmayer

    Re. glass frogs, the article notes “Glass frogs are found in tropical Central and South America” … the alien creature in Predator did its hunting in precisely those regions, and also had way-cool see-through adaptive camouflage of the high-tech variety. I wonder who emulated whom?

    [Note the Predator-style camo is actually possible using networks of light-rerouting fiber optics, but apparently such tech is still far, far away from “we can weave this into a cloth and give it to people to wear”. Flexible-display tech might provide a more practical route here, cloth which is basically a continuous record/display surface, which takes each ‘pixel’ of light impinging on one spot and outputs a matching pixel of light on the opposite side of the body. But that would seem to require colossal computer power, unless some kind of analog ‘dumb’ way of doing it is possible.]

  39. ewmayer

    [Lambert:] “So how is this not functionally equivalent to the statement that Trump made in 2016 that led to widespread condemnation: “I could shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters”?”

    I refer you to the scene in This Is Spin̈al Tap where Bobbi Fleckman complains about the lurid, sexist cover of Tap’s new album, Smell The Glove:

    Bobbi Flekman: You put a *greased naked woman* on all fours with a dog collar around her neck, and a leash, and a man’s arm extended out up to here, holding onto the leash, and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it. You don’t find that offensive? You don’t find that sexist?

    Ian Faith: This is *1982*, Bobbi, c’mon!

    Bobbi Flekman: That’s *right*, it’s 1982! Get out of the ’60s. We don’t have this mentality anymore.

    Ian Faith: Well, you should have seen the cover they *wanted* to do! It wasn’t a glove, believe me.

    The lads then attempt to rationalize things by mentioning a fellow rocker whose latest release has a cover in which said rocker appears in a bondage & humiliation setup:

    David St. Hubbins: Have you seen Duke Fame’s current album?
    Ian Faith: Um… yes, yes.
    David: Have you seen the cover?
    Ian: Um… no, no, I don’t think I have.
    David: It’s a rather lurid cover, I mean…ah, it’s, it’s like naked women, and, uh….
    Nigel Tufnel: He’s tied down to this table,
    Ian: Uh-huh.
    Nigel: And he’s got these whips and they’re all…semi-nude.
    David: Knockin’ on ‘im, and it’s like much worse…
    Ian: What’s the point?
    David: Well, the point is, it’s much worse than “Smell the Glove”…he releases that, he’s number three.
    Ian: Because he’s the victim. Their objections were that she was the victim. You see?
    Derek Smalls: I see….
    Nigel: Oh…
    David: Ah….
    Ian: That’s all right, if the singer’s the victim, it’s different. It’s not sexist.
    Nigel: He did a twist on it. A twist and it s-
    Derek: He did, he did. He turned it around.
    Ian: We shoulda thought of that….
    David: We were so close….
    Ian: I mean if we had all you guys tied up, that probably woulda been fine.
    All: Ah….
    Ian: But it’s…it’s still a stupid cover.
    David: It’s such a fine line between stupid an’…
    Derek: …and clever.
    David: Yeah, and clever.

    The “Joe Biden could do X to me all night, every night and half of the day too, and I’d still vote for him and love it” tweets Lambert posts all have the Tweeter playing the victim, not Biden himself saying “I could do X and people would still vote for me”. It’s such fine line between stupid and clever…

      1. ewmayer

        Apologies – I realized my mistake after my post came out of moderation, at which point the 5-minute Edit window was long past.

        But, I hereby resolve to – using *nix-speak – ‘chmod 444 ewmayer’, so no more worries about my mis-crediting anyone.

  40. David Crosby

    China moving more troops in around India. There’s a series of videos on YouTube, the one that is titled Trump’s Biggest Mistake is about how Trump is playing right into the hands of the Chinese agenda. Specifically on this article, the video points out that the Chinese led by Xi have essentially been using the cover produced by Trump whose “twitter rants take up entire evening news shows” to go and do things that under ordinary circumstances would be splashed all over front pages everywhere.

    1. periol

      Specifically, China is moving troops into disputed territory on the edge of Jammu and Kashmir, where India instituted a lockdown for decidedly non-COVID-19 reasons around the end of last year. It should be noted that many people who live in Jammu and Kashmir dispute the claims of all surrounding nations, and want independence. Pakistan has been on-and-off making rumblings on the other side, although I haven’t heard of anything too recent.

  41. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Vows to Pull GOP Convention From Charlotte Without Crowds”

    Seems that North Carolina is saying not so fast. And where is your health plan for dealing with a 50,000 person event in any case. The GOP could move the convention to Texas, Florida or Georgia but North Carolina is a critical swing State. The logistics in just moving the Convention are problematical in themselves too-

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