Links 5/28/2020

The Great Koala Rescue Operation Smithsonian

We cannot ignore the links between COVID-19 and the warming planet The Hill

Fraction of Fed lending facilities have been tapped so far FT. “[L]ess than 4 per cent of the minimum funds available” (!). “[T]he US central bank has been able to calm investors just by promising future action.”

Global Hiring Stabilizes Even as Pandemic Keeps Jobs Market Weak Bloomberg

The Sickness in Our Food Supply Michael Pollan, NYRB

Photostopped: Adobe Cloud evaporates in mass outage. Hope none of you are on a deadline, eh? The Register. “Remember when we used to own our own software?”


The science:

COVID-19: in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton Thorax. “We describe what we believe is the first instance of complete COVID-19 testing of all passengers and crew on an isolated cruise ship during the current COVID-19 pandemic….The majority of COVID-19-positive patients were asymptomatic (81%, 104 patients).” Testing was done with the “CDC 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel.” Summary in the Daily Mail.

Comparison of Clinical Characteristics of Patients with Asymptomatic vs Symptomatic Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Wuhan, China JAMA (Furzy Mouse). From the discussion: “[I]dentifying and isolating patients with asymptomatic COVID-19 as early as possible is critical to control the transmission of COVID-19. Close contacts of patients with COVID-19 should be closely monitored to avoid secondary transmission.”

Estimating the Severity of COVID-19: Evidence From the Italian Epicenter SSRN. From the abstract: “Combining official statistics, retrospective data and original data (i.e., obituaries and death notices) we provide a tentative estimate of the ‘real’ number of deaths caused by COVID-19 as well as the total number of persons infected. Our findings suggest that the reported mortality rate attributable to COVID-19 accounts only for one half of the observed excess mortality rate between March 2020 and March 2019.”

* * *


France revokes decree authorising use of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 France24

* * *


Reducing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Science (dk).

Can Air Conditioning Spread COVID-19? Probably Not HealthLine. A counterargument to the Guangzhou restaurant study vs. Aerosol Scientist: COVID-19 Is Likely Airborne WebMD.

Outraged by Crowded Pool Parties? Just Wait Until Sports Come Back. New York Magazine. Lots of shouting at sports events, albeit outside. Re Silc: “Rolllllll tide!”

Association of Stay-at-Home Orders With COVID-19 Hospitalizations in 4 States JAMA

Bjorn’s Corner: Can I get COVID-19 in airline cabins? Part 1. Leeham News and Analysis. Parts 2 and 3. The whole series is worth a read.

US Media Failed to Factcheck Sweden’s Herd Immunity Hoax FAIR

* * *

Testing and tracing:

Interim Guidelines for COVID-19 Antibody Testing CDC. “Serologic test results should not be used to make decisions about grouping persons residing in or being admitted to congregate settings, such as schools, dormitories, or correctional facilities [or] to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.”

* * *

Social determinants of health:

Hospitalization and Mortality among Black Patients and White Patients with Covid-19 NEJM

* * *


California is reopening too quickly, posing ‘very serious risk,’ health officer warns Los Angeles Times. Sarah Cody, who made the right call on Santa Clara’s early and correct shelter-in-place order.

DC Will Begin Reopening This Friday Washingtonian

U.S. Pizza Deliveries Could Provide Gauge of Covid-19 Concerns Bloomberg

* * *

Remedies and Ameliorations:

How to Safely Travel on Mass Transit During Coronavirus City Lab


Two Sessions 2020: national security law for Hong Kong a step closer after NPC endorses resolution South China Morning Post

US declares that Hong Kong is no longer enjoying autonomy from China Hong Kong Free Press

Huawei CFO loses key aspect of U.S. extradition case in Canada court Reuters

US-China accident risk is highest in the South China Sea Straits Times

U.S. Will Join G-7 AI Pact, Citing Threat From China Bloomberg

George H.W. Bush’s Shameful Kowtow To China: A Cautionary Tale The American Conservative

Putin needs Xi more than China needs Russia The Spectator USA


Experts Explain: What triggered the recent China border moves? Indian Express

How Zhou Enlai’s Ghost Still Haunts the India-China Border Dispute in Ladakh The Wire

South Korea

Spike in South Korea virus cases shows perils of reopening Sydney Morning Herald


A Bitter Feud over Power and Money Erupts in Syria Der Spiegel


“It would be meltdown’: Why Boris Johnson can’t let Dominic Cummings go Politico

Dominic Cummings’s statement: a guided tour FT

Quarantine article by Dominic Cummings’ wife reported to regulator Guardian

EU plans a record-breaking $826 billion stimulus package to soothe Europe’s economic pain from the coronavirus Markets Insider

Venezuela’s apparent respite from COVID-19 may not last long ABC

U.S. takes aim at the power behind Venezuela’s Maduro: his first lady Reuters. Maybe put out a contract on her, like they did on Maduro?


Rod Rosenstein to testify before Senate panel on Russia probe Politico

Trump Transition

Bipartisan revolt upends vote to reauthorize FISA Politico. Deck: “Trump, Republicans and progressives all opposed the bill.” Shows you that the intelligence community’s base is liberal Democrats.

Trump’s executive order targets political bias at Twitter and Facebook: draft Reuters

WaPo’s Dirt On Trump’s ‘Rapid’ Nuclear Testing Is A Real Dud Scott Ritter, The American Conservative

Democrats in Disarray

DNC To Streamline Fundraising By Cutting Out Unnecessary Cost Of Campaigns, Candidates The Onion

Touchscreen Voting Machines and the Vanishing Black Votes Jennifer Cohn, WhoWhatWhy


Boeing to cut nearly 10,000 jobs in Washington, more than 12,000 overall Seattle Times

Boeing’s India operations to be largest outside US Times of India

Lack of planes sees dragons return to Norfolk skyline Suffolk Gazette

Health Care

COVID-19 has forced nearly half of patients to postpone care HealthCare Dive

The Influence of Medicare for All on Reimbursement for Emergency Care Treat-and-Release Visits Annals of Emergency Medicine. Conclusion: “In this study of ED treat-and-release patients, a transition to a Medicare for All system may increase ED reimbursement and reduce consumer out-of-pocket costs, whereas a system that maintains Medicaid in addition to Medicare could reduce total payments for emergency care.”

Marco Rubio warns of instability without structural changes to help minorities in coronavirus recovery WaPo

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Trump asks DOJ, FBI to expedite probe into George Floyd death The Hill

Looting and flames erupt in Minneapolis amid growing protests over George Floyd’s death Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Target Store:

Target corporate headquarters are in Minneapolis. More on that particular store:

(See Minnesota Post, 2011.)

Also, the station in the precinct where Floyd was killed:

Minneapolis police officer at center of George Floyd’s death had history of prior complaints NBC

Protesters Stop L.A. Freeway Traffic, Smash Patrol Car Windows Hollywood Reporter. And also:

The Blue Plague and Black Death Black Agenda Report

Agenda Seeding: How 1960s Black Protests Moved Elites, Public Opinion and Voting American Political Science Review

Failed State

Orange County authorities won’t enforce mask requirement: ‘We are not the mask police’ Los Angeles Police

Class Warfare

Is Capitalism Racist? The New Yorker

Larry Kramer, playwright and AIDS activist, dies at 84 Associated Press. That’s the stuff to give the troops:

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. The Rev Kev

    “France revokes decree authorising use of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19”

    France may be pulling out of this treatment but Spain is digging their heels in. After the butcher’s bill that they have paid over the past few months, I am not surprised. The Spanish health watchdog came out with a statement about that Lancet article and said “It is an observational study, not a clinical trial” which is a fair point. I suppose that we will have to wait a few months until the medical statisticians can tease out a pattern between countries that use it and those that either do not or halted using it-

    1. flora

      I’ve read the WHO is a very political organization, that politics has as much to do with their pronouncements as clinical work. If so, then T suspending all US funding of the WHO in April and then announcing in May that he’s taking HCQ as a preventatative, then announcing recently he’s finished his prescribed HCQ treatment, then shortly after the WHO tells countries to stop using HCQ and stops a clinical test…. Coincidences do happen. ;)

    2. GettingTheBannedBack

      So apparently the latest Lancet report on all those deaths from hydroxychloroquine is based on data-mined data from a commercial data mining company. That refuses to release the data. And got it wrong.

      So in Australia, according to the Lancet report, Australia had 73 deaths from COVID-19 by 21 April. The problem is that the correct figure, according to the Australian government, was 67. Strike 1 – demonstrably incorrect data

      The commercial data mining company, Surgisphere has stated that the data will not be made public. Surgisphere says “As with most corporations, the access to individual hospital data is strictly governed. Our data use agreements do not allow us to make this data public”.
      Dr Allen Cheng, an epidemiologist and infectious disease doctor with Alfred Health in Melbourne, said he’d never heard of Surgisphere. And also as is customary in research, Dr Cheng said that “the dataset should be made public, or at least open to an independent statistical reviewer.”.
      But nope. Well, that certainly gets rid of the pesky peer review process. Strike 2 – data verification and analysis not possible

      Also Dr Cheng said that its usual that “to submit to a database like Surgisphere you need ethics approval, and someone from the hospital will be involved in that process to get it to a database,” he said. BUT only 4 names were on the paper. “Usually with studies that report on findings from thousands of patients, you would see a large list of authors on the paper. Multiple sources are needed to collect and analyse the data for large studies and you usually see that acknowledged in the list of authors.” So Strike 3 – unknown participants and processes


      This article has had far reaching impacts on the COVID-19 research community. Now waiting for the retraction.

      1. GettingTheBannedBack

        Further info. An open letter from medical professors and statisticians from all round the world, with a long list of concerns about this study. Lack of transparency, the actual numbers don’t stack up. loong list.

        And just caught up with Dr Martenson, who thinks this episode damages the reputations of the authors and the authors. I agree. And he also thinks there will have to be a retraction.

        Another issue not addressed by others. Doesn’t the WHO have any competent statisticians who would have been able to see the holes in this paper?
        The haste with which they have moved on “research” which broke all rules of transparency, conflicts of interest (Surgisphere funded the study), ethical considerations (no approvals sought), and just basic statistical believability, diminishes the WHO further as a body which should be given any credence whatsoever.

        And just to hark back to the article in 2015 by Professor Ian Roberts, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

  2. allan

    U.S. states, cities may snub Fed lending program over high rates [Reuters]

    High borrowing costs will limit participation in a $500 billion U.S. Federal Reserve short-term borrowing program set up to address state and city revenue shortfalls due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, analysts said. …

    Cooper Howard, director of fixed-income strategy at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, said sample purchase rates released by the New York Federal Reserve on Wednesday are much heftier than what highly rated governments can obtain in the U.S. municipal market. …

    So the Fed is fulfilling its core function: taking the punch bowl away, once the billionaires have been bailed out.

  3. Krystyn Podgajski

    The slow, systematic murder of billions of people by the looting of capitalists is never reported on in the news. Inherently the people know this though, which is why they started reclaiming some of their labor from the capitalists.

    The anger of the people of Minneapolis is misdirected(?) towards the police force, who are merely the guardians of capitalism.

    If they want justice they have to go deeper.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Yes, but in the meantime cities, states and feds need to do a better job of screening out the sociopaths from the enforcement agencies.

      On a related matter, there is hope for one positive outcome of this tragic affair: the end of a dangerous candidate’s chance to become the Democratic Veep nominee. From Mint Press News: “As Chief Prosecutor, Klobuchar Declined Charges Against Cop that Killed George Floyd”

      A final note: Thank you Krystyn for your informative and lucid comments microbiology in general and COVID-19 in particular.

      1. Knifecatcher

        As much as I’d like it to be true that article has been debunked. Klobuchar was already in the Senate by the time charges were filed in that case.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Even so, I think the poor Klob has just had the world’s biggest stapler thrown at her head.

          Can you imagine Charlamagne Tha God settling for a “complete and thorough outside investigation into what occurred, and those involved in this incident must be held accountable”?

          C’mon, man, check my record.

      2. Krystyn Podgajski

        But how do you screen out sociopaths in a system that actively rewards sociopaths? That is why this stuff never ends.

        And thanks!

        1. Bob

          Many police are just people trying to do a difficult job. Most are just trying to make it to retirement and collect a pension. Some are sociopaths with a badge. Sociopaths exist in every profession, but giving one a badge and a gun is troublesome.

          1. CarlH

            The problem is that those good cops never, ever turn on the bad ones, which lands them squarely in the bad cop group for me.

          2. Turing Test

            In my experience the people who are attracted to policing as a profession are often ones who are attracted to having authority over others. They didn’t choose it for the intellectual stimulation, congenial hours and working conditions, or because it satisfied some deeply felt need for self actualization.

            A police culture that encourages cops to think of themselves as a caste apart from society as a whole who are not beholden to the same standards and norms as others makes things much worse.

            As did the mindless hagiography Americans showered on first responders in the years after 9/11, as cheap and insincere as a “Support our troops” sticker on a Yukon Denali parked in front of a luxury Aspen “chalet”.

            Not disrespecting the genuinely good cops, but I think we need to be realistic about what attracts people to the job and the culture in which they are immersed.

            1. Bugs Bunny

              I know a very talented but not that great looking white guy who was a lead guitarist; made a few records, got no groupies and then quit show biz to become a county sheriff. Odd career path but I thought the same as you. Really dominant type A guy, sort of racist but not out loud, especially since he more anecdotal grist for your mill.

        2. cripes

          “But how do you screen out sociopaths in a system that actively rewards sociopaths?”

          Yep. The bad apples theory at work again.

          As much as I’d like to see this particular offender standing in the dock, it doesn’t fix the problem you describe.

          It’s the video of a man suffocating, echoing Eric Garner’s pleas, cuffed behind his back, carotid artery blocked, urinating in the street as he died that makes it kinda hard to ignore.

          Watch the Blue Wall wail now.

    2. Comrade Xi

      Yes, the govenor’s mansion is nowhere near that place. Doesn’t have lots of stuff to loot, either, but Target does sell lots of nice things made in China.

    3. Mikel

      On another note:
      If anyone thinks looting/fires hurt the capitalists at a time like this, it does not. Pandemics might not be covered, but guess what is?

      1. Keith

        Plus it gives the insurance industry a reason to raise rates for the area as well as reducing future business activity. If these people raided other and more well to do neighborhoods, perhaps they could ramp up the fear gauge more and affect changes, as the upper classes would need to be assured these happenstance do not reoccur.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          but where is the Bastille?
          I’ve been on the lookout for it for most of my life, el paso to talahassee.
          a bunch of angry people storming River Oakes(a rich neighborhood in Houston…insert your local analog) is one thing…and I support it, just for putting the fear into those who dwell in such rarefied places…
          but it ain’t the Bastille.
          Wall Street?
          I’ve often mused about having the balls to go to wall st and take a cutting torch to that damned bull…but even that is only symbolic.
          the Bastille is abstracted into non-existence…like OBi Wan, it has become more powerful than we could ever imagine due to that abstraction.
          Ergo, it is the Bastille we carry around within us that must be stormed….because that’s the only part of the fictional, but enormously powerful, edifice we can actually locate.
          I’m ready…a lot of you all are ready…now, how to get everybody else ready?

          1. Krystyn Podgajski

            Yes! The Bastille in in our own heart/mind, in our greed and misunderstanding. All the capitalists killed God/Dao/Nature for a reason; they know it’s true power.

            1. George Phillies

              Automatic fire goes in both directions. Also, telling Americans to shoot at their fellow citizens will not always work well. The Bastille had cannon. However, the attackers were supported by part of what was soon renamed the National Guard, which also had cannon. The Bastille surrendered in fair part because there was no water supply.

            2. Bsoder

              You are not a Marine. During WW1 the Marines did not do trench warfare (a Julis Cesar production, made modern by Bobby Lee). They went straight at the German Pill Box’s and took them out. Since they were more or less on a line once they had one they had them all. After that it was straight to the Rhine. Same story WW2. Marine’s fight battles, the Army wins wars.

              1. Swamp Yankee

                BSoder, could you cite sources here? I’m an historian and my understanding is that 1) Marines (with exceptions of a brigade and some advisors here and there) did not fight in the European Theater in WWII. 2) German WWI machine guns were not in a straight line, they were zigzagged to avoid enfilading fire. 3) Despite the mythical status the Marine Corps gives Belleau Wood, the breaking of the German lines was a joint effort between all Allied Forces; the Marines’ role was significant but far from total. 4) You are right about Caesar and Lee vis-a-vis trench warfare.

                Maybe it’s just my Army family roots showing, but I think you may be overselling the Corp’s record here.

          2. Fireship

            “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” John Steinbeck.

          3. Billy

            “a bunch of angry people storming River Oakes ..”
            Would be shot dead by armed citizenry that has far fewer constraints upon it than the police.

            If you are on a freeway and a crowd surrounds your car, you might be lynched. That’s what low gear and gas pedal are for.

          4. Jessica

            According to Mike Duncans “Revolutions” podcast, which I highly recommend, the storming of the Bastille was mostly symbolic because most of the prisoners had already been released. IIRC though, there were arms worth seizing.

            1. Bruno

              Louis was mobilizing troops. Has he been allowed to garrison the Bastille the revolution might well have been snuffed out in its cradle and the Etats Génerale dissolved. When, at La Palais Royale, Camille Desmoulins raised the call “aux armes, citoyens!”, the menace was very real.

              1. Turing Test

                I question this. The Bastille was an obsolete medieval castle being used as a prison, and it was already controlled by agents of the crown, so I don’t see what stuffing it with a few extra soldiers would have accomplished.

                This frankly sounds like Jacobin propaganda trying to post facto invest the event with more significance than it really had.

          5. Bugs Bunny

            I think they call the Bastilles “Supermax” prisons now. Probably harder to storm and even more difficult to free any political prisoners within. And there might be some people you would definitely not want outside.

            If a group of freedom fighters could free Assange, that would be something of a coup. Especially if he were fully protected by the group, to the point that governments wouldn’t mess with them, and he didn’t have to hide out again. Interesting to ponder.

            (This comment will definitely go in my permanent record)

        2. Krystyn Podgajski

          Maybe “reducing future business activity” would be a good thing? Maybe it would lead to coops?

          One thing we know is, all this business activity has never helped impoverished people.

          1. cripes


            Churning never does.

            Witness the destruction that gets entered into GDP stats as “wealth creation.”

            1. Billy

              Those poorly built corporate outposts in parking lots in Minneapolis that burned, built to last just as long as the depreciation period, they will be bulldozed and rebuilt. All working toward more GDP groof.

              If not rebuilt, we’ll hear complaining about food deserts…

              1. JBird4049

                Since when have complaints about the very real food deserts meant anything? “They” just make sure that the overpriced, poorly supplied deli-mart/liqueur stores are available locally.

                It is like those check cashing places and pawn shops that have replaced those disappearing banks. As long as the looting is occuring, it’s all good.

        1. cripes

          “”Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

          Even John Kennedy, no communist, understood this.

    4. Chas

      A good start toward reforming the police would be to eliminate hiring preferences given to military veterans.

      1. Rod

        well–it’s complicated:—
        Rather than shoot, Mader returned to his military training and attempted to de-escalate the situation. He softened his voice, looked Williams in the eye, and said, “I’m not going to shoot you, brother. I’m not going to shoot you.” With those words, Officer Mader connected to the humanity of Williams, a man in deep distress.

        but, of course another Officer–not a Veteran– arrived and did shoot the suspect to death right in front of Mader

        and this is right insightful for the numbers:
        and makes this Familiar Excuse early on:

        But any large-scale comparison of the use of force by vets and non-vets is hampered by a chronic lack of reliable official record-keeping on issues of police violence.
        which-imo-needs to be addressed yesterday.

      2. voteforno6

        The funny thing is, police in the military have some of the worst discipline problems. It might have something to do with the qualifications for that career field being a lot less stringent than pretty much anything else.

    5. Infinite Onion

      But they have no narrative which tells them where to best direct their anger. The mainstream “left” is peace and kumbaya and the more radical left is too focused on “super-scary” nazis with tiki torches.

    6. timbers

      Maybe there is hope.

      Maybe China will send troops to Minneapolis to help the repressed city liberate themselves from U.S. interference.

      Or at least setup and NGO to teach the locals how to resist their officials.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Kev.

      Readers and you may be interested in Craig Murray’s current and previous posts, Some of the insider comments are worth bearing in mind.

      One view in Whitehall, relayed to my civil servant mum, and the the medical fraternity, often former servicemen, relayed to my doctor and former serviceman dad, is that many more of the cabinet flouted the rules, which, according to police, were well observed and no more ignored than instructions when bad weather comes, is that Cummings is one of the few people who really knows what happened to Kemal Johnson. Johnson is in his mid 50s and, to use horse racing terminology, carries a bit of condition. People like him don’t recover that quickly. Organs are stressed. Lungs are scarred. Johnson shows none of that having been at death’s door.

      My view is that, as it’s unlikely one can holiday abroad this year, Cummings was checking out the grouse shooting in Durham. Some of his wife’s friends own moorland around there, including Lord Barnard with his 55,0000 acres at Raby castle. Mrs Cummings’ father, a baronet, owns Chillingham castle. One can easily maintain social distancing when shooting grouse, partridge, peasants etc. Eight weeks to go before the shooting season, so time is of the essence.

          1. Redlife2017

            +1000 on the History of the World Part II link. I was hoping one of them was that scene. Pure genious.

            Question for Vlade and Colonel Smithers – as those links do seem to line up with the attitude of our “betters” here in the UK, where does that exactly lead? I mean, they are totally down with just letting it rip from what I can tell of the debacle of test & trace (and we really mean it) and isolate. The numbers of new infected have never been low enough to be able to put in a meaningful (or rather easy to implement) “TTI” system. Is our elite so useless that they can barely see beyond their nose (or in the case of Kemal, his next eager lay)? This will not end well…

            1. vlade

              TBH, I don’t know, as I am not in the UK right now and wasn’t since mid Feb. And it’s unlikely I’ll be again till after the summer, in time for second wave (assuming the UK drops the 14 days quarantine rule).

            2. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, Redlife.

              It does feel that the rot in Tory party selection and method of advancement is catching. It won’t end well, but who knows when or where it will end. There’s some life left in that rotting edifice.

          2. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, Vlade.

            A journalist friend is puzzled that Cummings has survived and added that, so far, no one has photo or film evidence of him up there.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              I forgot to add that the view in Whitehall and medical fraternity is still that herd immunity is the underlying aim.

            2. vlade

              I have seen somewhere that the person at B. Castle had a picture that they were ready to sell if C. denied being there. But as he confirmed it, no reason to..

      1. Mirdif

        “a bit of a condition”. Nicely put. I’m not so nice so I described Fat Al, to the shock of my colleagues, as “a fat….” the dots don’t represent a swear word rather something that describes one of his “recreational” predilections.

        Incidentally, that same recreational predilection is very common in the UK, the US, Italy (where in Milan it was found in a study of sewage that said predilection was actually 3 times higher than thought), Spain and France. It isn’t the only explanation for such large numbers of deaths but it can’t have helped when a very large proportion of the population have been indulging in this particular and other similar activities.

    2. John A

      Craig Murray has also written about the possible link between Cummings drive to test his eye sight and the GSK site there, on his blog.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Found mention of it on a Russian news site the other day as a throwaway line but did not think about it until reading more about what he did in County Durham today.

  4. Alex morfesis

    Fed Chair Jerome Powell channeling marinner Eccles while doing his best Clint Eastwood and asks…

    well do ya punk…

    1. Guild Navigator

      Zactly – Live me some Eccles from Greider’s Secrets of the Temple. Scots Mormon covert, became president of obscure bank in Salt Lake City. Coinvented sorta Kesnesianism: leaning against the wind. He kinda flaked out though if memory serves toward the end. Need to learn more about Powell, formerly private equity Cerebrus Capitol, but who has had some oddly enlightened things to say. or at least were reported as such

  5. Tom Stone

    A couple of weeks ago there was a picture on the front page of the
    Santa Rosa “Press Democrat” of a squad of heavily armed soldiers riding on an armored vehicle.
    I at first assumed it was taken in Iraq, which was surprising since they do not cover America’s wars.
    Nope, it was the local SWAT team serving a search warrant in a mixed working class neighborhood.
    Not “The Hood”, working class.
    The message was crystal clear to me and I doubt I’m the only one.
    Not the first time I’ve been grateful that “I ain’t Black”.

  6. Keith

    Good thing is the looters wore masks, but one must wonder what the proper social distancing etiquette is for raiding stores.

  7. juneau

    Aerosol spread of Covid 19: I read the healthline article and it is very logical and overly optimistic about a landlord’s willlingness to upgrade ventilation systems: Anecdote: 2 offices, one in a fancy NYC highrise with a well publicized Covid issue, and another in a suburban midlevel building. Both landlords refuse to even put up signage or have common area hand sanitizer. They are attempting to offload liability to the tenants by making sure visitors wear masks and only spend 10 minutes in common areas. Individuals and companies like this are very unlikely to put in new AC filters. Whatever got NYC to this place, if ventilation was a factor, we will know soon enough but hopefully the aerosol spread skeptics are right. Still, what happens when some infected guy alone in his tiny high rise office spends a day shouting on the phone in the summer….without his mask which is totally permissible since he is alone.

  8. Mikel

    “Some context for people who don’t live here: Target HQ is in Minneapolis. Lake St. Target, which got looted tonight, is literally Target’s experimental site for loss prevention & surveillance policies geared toward poor people. Very few people in the neighborhood like that Target…”

    The main way to hurt that Target would have been to leave all products sitting and rotting on shelves.
    One day it will be learned…

    1. expose

      So Target got what it deserved?

      The looters did absolutely nothing for their cause. Think of all the jobs lost due to the destruction alone and the subsequent economic fallout.

      Up-thread, someone celebrates the loss of business, apparently not realizing that some areas need businesses and are under-served.

      Looters are going to turn the area into a food desert if businesses abandon the area.

      1. Olga

        When so much anger accumulates in people, with no constructive outlet, applying belated logic is a bit fruitless.

      2. CarlH

        When you are enraged does your anger always come out in a rational way, and is it always directed at the source of your anger? Has your anger always had productive results, or has it sometimes come back to really hurt you in the end?

      3. J.k

        One mans looter is another mans freedom fighter. Liberating those televisions (profit=unpaid labor). Lol

      4. jr

        What cause? Were they organized in some capacity? The “Lets Raid Target!” Facebook group? Or were they just angry people tired of getting treated poorly? Spied on, threatened by security? Sure some areas need business but do they need businesses that drive out the Mom n Pops by opening six stores then consolidating them all into one location, oftentimes on the far edges of communities so it’s easier for the supply chain? Filled with poorly paid, demeaning “cog” work that barely covers the bills? You make it sound as “if business, then good” but those mega corps oftentimes ARE one of the biggest problems in these communities. As for looters causing food deserts, I suspect the opposite is a lot more likely to be the case…

      5. Abi

        Do you honestly believe people who get killed for the most basic things care about businesses that do nothing for them?

        Please be real.

        This is why they’re so angry, when people care more about looted businesses than the pain of a whole demographic of people who are suffering, their voices get stamped out with comments like this, their experiences and pain is deemed not good enough to be outraged. Stop policing the expression of their grief, if you have no empathy it’s ok to not comment.

  9. Rod

    Touchscreen Voting Machines and the Vanishing Black Votes Jennifer Cohn, WhoWhatWhy

    Wow–and I was wondering about that reporting on the Mismatch between Exit Polling and Voteing Results exceeding UN Thresholds for Voting Fraud Indications just months ago for SC(new machines) and Texas and Tenn.

    But if it is all about ‘co$t$’ in the new America so then there is this then–

    Moreover, a study by the University of Pittsburgh and Citizens for Better Elections found that ES&S BMDs in Pennsylvania cost almost twice as much as hand-marked paper ballots. And, according to a written analysis by the OSET Institute on election technology acquisition in Georgia, BMDs cost almost twice as much as hand-marked paper ballots over a ten-year period.

    could be cost for one is profit for another—regardless if a Reporter can put this together then some State AG should at least attempt the same–y’know–’cause they took the oath and all

  10. DJG

    I realize that the WWW is designed so that various people can meet to gum things to death, but I will point out with regard to Hong Kong and Minneapolis, this observation, which is widely held in Hong Kong:

    “It was you who taught us that peaceful protest doesn’t work,” read one message.

    If you can’t figure out why events have come to this, it may be time to adjust one’s insurance-adjuster mindset. Collaborating with the authorities, so long as others are oppressed, tends not to work out well in the long run. U.S.A., Land of the Good Germans

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      “It was you who taught us that peaceful protest doesn’t work,” read one message.

      This is one of the central points of The Baader Meinhof Complex film.
      A system that suppresses any form of peaceful protest guarantees that non-peaceful protest will spring up. Anger is emotional energy. Like physical energy you can’t really destroy it, just redirect it. Would you rather have it directed at making signs, marching and chants at a rally or reading PA Lutty’s ‘Expedient Homemade Firearms’.
      Sometimes I wonder if systems, both political and corporate, have a death drive which guarantees their own destruction.

      1. Lost in OR

        Nixon was at least bothered by protests.
        George W Bush wasn’t.
        Obama just stomped them.

        I’m done marching.

        1. Massinissa

          Nixon was only ‘bothered by protests’ because he was under the impression they were going to become violent and invade the white house. I’m not kidding. Bush and Obama could tell that wasn’t in the cards, so had carte blanch to do what they wanted.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. takes aim at the power behind Venezuela’s Maduro: his first lady”

    Yeah, if you fail at taking out the King, you can always try going after the Queen. And there is plenty of intelligence to go on. The DEA are sure that she is the head of all cocaine production in South America. The CIA says that she is running Hezbollah training camps as well as ones for other terrorists. The NSA say that she is running illegal radio stations that mostly broadcast Spanish swear words. The FBI said that they think that she is responsible for today’s riots in Minneapolis. The US Coast Guard reckon that she has an expired boat license. And Vogue magazine is sure that she has a collection of hundreds of shoes in her wardrobe. With intelligence like that, who are we to deny their authenticity?

    1. urblintz

      … and a fact the Maduros have kept particularly well-hidden: she’s Putin’s sister

      1. Duck1

        Wait, you are leaving out the reports from some of the intelligence (sic) agencies. I thought we had something like seventeen.

    2. Ramon

      What! No Nazis? no wonder Maduro has to go ; )

      Impressive flamingo picture, very nice.

    3. occasional anonymous

      I’m all for girl power, but I’m pretty sure the real power behind Maduro is the fact that he managed to keep the military on his side. Without them there’s little chance for any successful coup attempt.

      1. J.k

        Not just the military, half the country supports the bolivarian revolution. And within this population the citizens are orgainzed and armed at the local levels. I could be wrong but this is a factor in keeping the reactionary elements within the military in check.

  12. Mikel

    RE: Adobe Cloud

    I still have Adobe Premiere Pro 6 on one of my computers and it will stay there…not upgraded. That computer also remains OFFLINE.
    I use it sporadically, but it’s there when I need it for editing.

    1. RMO

      Ah, the Cloud! Otherwise known as A.Y.S.I.O.S.E.S.S.S. (All Your Stuff Is On Someone Else’s Servers Somewhere Sucker).

      But it makes sense because, you know, CPU power and digital storage space are extremely costly and bulky nowadays… /s

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah to all this. In the old days it was “All Your Bases Are Belong To Us” and now it is “All Your Files Are Belong To Us.” As far as I am concerned, if it is not on my computer, I don’t control it nor do I get final say on what happens to it.

  13. Keith

    Interesting this as the summer heats up and the campaign fires up is how this will play out with political bases of support. Biden is courting and dependent on the black vote, hence his comments on this matter. This will likely push law and order types and police to Trump. Both side will want to fire up their bases during the summer and fall for campaign money and votes, leading to some explosive potential. Then add in the all the people out of work, home lockdowns, people encouraged to wear masks (which will make the crimes even more difficult to resolve) and you have a recipe for excellent TV. Should be very eventful.

    I also wonder when the Congress will shutdown any recovery actions, funds to the people, etc. The opposition party benefits from the chaos and they control the House. The party in power will need to spin and try to blame the opposition, but will it work.

    1. L

      Given that national “Law and Order” figures have already been heavily courted by Trump I expect that Biden sees little to lose in giving an endorsement of investigations. After all the video is as damning as it can be so Biden has a strong leg to stand on. And at the same time people like Patrick Lynch have are so close to Trump anyway that no amount of “moderation” by biden would change their minds.

      To my mind the real test will be how Biden responds to the inevitable calls for a wider scope. When people keep raising questionable deaths in other places, as they will, will he go with that even symbolically or will he follow standard DNC procedure and lament the one bad event while avoiding even tacit endorsement of sweeping questions?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think you are giving Biden too much credit as a politico and ignoring his views. He’s very aligned with Trump. The Karens the Democratic Party covets are law and order types. They may be less blustery, but Hillary’s use of prison labor wasn’t a turnoff.

        I suspect Biden will ultimately put out a both sides statement which is mildly offensive and then walk back part of the language and hopes it goes away. He will probably make a symbolic visit with Obama holding his hand and then praise all the good cops. They might even talk about that beer.

      2. Keith

        Well, Biden is supposedly leaning left and is leaning heavily and needs the blacks. A news report advises that Harris is the likely Veep pic, and you have a recipe for pandering to alleviate past perceived ills, Biden’s law and order legislation and Harris being a prosecutor. Also, Biden needs to excite the base, which hyping up the flames of the racial divide does (look at Minneapolis’ mayor’s statements). So this may be the cookie that Biden has been looking for. As for the Karens, they are already going to vote against Trump, anyway, so they won’t be lost. Also, racial Chaos in the streets is likely very favorable to Biden while it will detract from Trump. So the incentive is there, especially if you accept the mantra “never let a good crisis go to waste,” and in America, a dead black man at the hands of the police is a great crisis that the media loves to cover. Biden just needs to be a part of it.

        1. Keith

          Interesting notation- WaPo has eliminated the comments from the articles related to the race issue in MN.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Well, Biden is supposedly leaning left

          That’s just a balance issue due to age. Beyond a few standard boiler plate positions, the guy is to the right of Hillary in 2016. He’s not leaning left.

          Karens voted for McCain over Obama. They may simply not vote, and I think Democratic strategists are fairly dedicated preaching to the choir. If they are locked in, there is a good chance Biden doubles down with the Bill Clinton 1992 candidacy announcement imagery.

    2. Massinissa

      Biden to rioters: “You ain’t Black!”

      To be fair, had he said that in this context the media would have been much more sympathetic.

      1. Tom Stone

        Massinissa, “You Ain’t Black” is the best news Millions of Americans have gotten in their lives…
        And ya know, that claim the NAACP endorsed Biden is probably due to a confusion of acronyms, Joe probably meant to say NAMBLA.

  14. marym

    Bill Barr Promised to Release Prisoners Threatened by Coronavirus — Even as the Feds Secretly Made It Harder for Them to Get Out

    Even as the Justice Department announced that federal prisons would release vulnerable, nonviolent inmates to home confinement to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the agency was quietly adopting a policy that makes it harder for inmates to qualify for release, not easier.

    …the Bureau of Prisons had drafted a 20-page policy document this year that altered a standard adopted only a year ago and made it harder for an inmate to qualify as minimum risk.

    About 3,050 inmates have been moved to home confinement as of May 21, Bureau of Prisons records show. That’s around 1.8% of the people under the bureau’s supervision. That figure is significantly smaller than the roughly 20% of inmates who fall into the minimum risk category (though it’s not automatic that all of them would qualify for release) under the 2019 rules.

    Against a nationwide medical consensus, the FDA is forcing patients to endure life-threatening risks to access medication to end an early pregnancy or treat a miscarriage.

    …federal agencies have taken every opportunity to encourage telemedicine use and give clinicians the flexibility to forgo unnecessary in-person encounters in accordance with their clinical judgment. They have waived various rules requiring in-person visits, even for controlled substances like opioids.

    But there is one striking exception: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to subject mifepristone, a safe, effective prescription medication used to end an early pregnancy or treat a miscarriage, to a uniquely burdensome restriction that is jeopardizing the health and lives of patients and clinicians, with particularly dire implications for low-income communities and communities of color.

  15. DJG

    Attempting to shore up the surveillance state. If anyone has to have evidence for understanding how the Bipartisan Monoparty works, Hoyer and Pelosi have just succeeded in making Donald Trump look like a civil libertarian. As I mentioned, and this certainly applies to Hoyer and Pelois, collaborating with the authorities, so long as others are oppressed, tends not to work out well in the long run.

    And now the mainstream / liberal Democrats have pretty much revealed that the many “irregularities” of FISA courts, the national-security state, and the “intelligence community” aren’t just fever dreams. Who’da thunk it? Brennan, Comey, Clapper, and the rest likely have engaged in abuses of power.

    But: Pelosi truly has to go home, permanently, and stare at the freezer case of pricey gelato in her humble digs. I can’t imagine that she is capable of any responsibility more complicated than ordering chocolate ice cream.

    But: If anyone thinks that it matters to mainstream / liberal Democrats if they win the elections this fall, this recent evidence of stupefaction should indicate otherwise.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Can Air Conditioning Spread COVID-19? Probably Not”

    How about we all pretend that air-conditioning does spread Coronavirus. If it proves not so, then no harm done. But if it does spread that way, then we are ahead of the game. That is, unless some corporations want a negative result so that they can bring back their workers into all those air-conditioned offices that is.

    1. Keith

      Great in theory, but there are a lot of place where AC is needed, otherwise at risk groups can suffer ill effects of heat exhaustion. We need to balance risks, especially as it seems the US CDC has recently downgraded the threat of COVID.

      1. L

        Well you can do both right? I can say lets assume it does, then either I go without AC, OR, I require that people in an AC-laden environment be screened heavily, masked up, and engage in tracing.

        Assuming a likely threat doesn’t dictate only the extreme action.

    2. Lost in OR

      Not all AC is equal. There are options for electrostatic and/or HEPA filtration. Have there been studies on WHICH (or all?) AC systems spread the virus?

      1. Late Introvert

        Good question. UV is another option. The Senior Center I work for has three blowers on its HVAC system, but they were able to install only one UV filter because of obstacles. It’s an old Post Office from 1904 on the Register so they can’t make any physical changes to the place.

        We go back to the office next week. Thanks Governor Reynolds!

    3. Ignacio

      In closed unventilated spaces, where virus particles cannot dilute themselves indefinitely, unlike outdoors, it is simply common sense that air currents, by A/C or ventilation, or human movement, will only make more probable any air-borne pathogen contacting our sensible noses in enough numbers to surpass the infectivity thresold. Coronavirus particles have an average diameter of about 0,120 microns and it is almost certain these are easily aerosolized staying long times in the air, though fairly diluted. You just need some infected individual releasing these for hours to reach more dangerous levels. If there is not noticeable air current, the closer to this subject the most likely contagion occurs but if there is some current try not to stay leeward. Then there are the droplets in some surfaces…

      We could argue indefinitely if it is via fomites, direct contact, indirect air transmission, via droplets, or most probably the four ways you can get infected and it might really don’t matter very much if air speed is 0.1 m/s or 0.5 m/s this is noise. I don’t see the point of the argument on “A/C spread or no spread”. Good climatization practices try to reduce air speed because it reduces confort.

  17. John

    According to the website I have been following for statistics on the corona virus, the. number of dead read 1,000 on 26 March. It reached 100,000 on 25 May.

    All I can say is: Heck of a job Donnie.

  18. allan

    U.S. firms shield CEO pay as pandemic hits workers, investors [Reuters]

    … On April 10, Sonic’s board gave its top executives stock options to replace performance-based share awards, regulatory filings show. The options it gave Chief Executive David Smith, whose family controls the company, are now worth about $5.16 million – more than four times the value of the performance-based stock awards he got last year.

    Some of Sonic’s terminated employees, meanwhile, face hard times. After a decade of buying and selling cars, Allan Nadohl, 74, said he was laid off in March and now relies on U.S. government retirement payments that don’t fully cover his bills in Los Angeles.

    “Be a mensch,” Nadohl said, referring to Sonic executives with a Yiddish word meaning honorable person. “Take a 50% cut for six months.” …

    Poor Mr. Nadohl – so close to corporate America, so far from Adonai.

    But the good news is that there are executive compensation rentboys consultants
    who will bravely defend these resets:

    …Others counter that the moves to protect executive pay might serve investors as well as executives.

    “It’s critical to motivate the team and get through the crisis,” said Yonat Assayag, partner at pay consultant ClearBridge Compensation Group. “Through that lens, a lot of these decisions are very much aligned with shareholder interests.” …

    Oddly, the word looting is not used in this story – apparently the Reuters stylebook reserves that
    for actions outside of the C-suite.

    1. a different chris

      >It’s critical to motivate the team

      JFC. I’m the CEO of Company A. The face of the company. “The buck stops here.” Do I really need extra $$$ to motivate me to do my job well?

      Apparently, yes. The rest of us get threatened with termination for motivation.

      1. Ignacio

        Yeah, I didn’t see yesterday the IKEA team as very much motivated with reopening. The (few) people in charge of deliveries in the shop doors were doing their best confronting fairly angry customers in long disorganized queue, but I guess their bosses confortably managing the business from their house laptops and the top brass almost certainly having fun in some castle with their shielded pay in mind were heavily motivated to have fun.

  19. njbr

    If the measles virus is transmitted in flight, why would CV be different?

    Consider the probabilities involved with measles transmission on a plane–there has to be a person with active measles infection on a plane with a person who has not had the measles vaccine. And then sitting anywhere from next to each other to 17 rows apart.

    Then think about a person ill with CV on a plane and most of the other people on the plane never having been exposed to the virus (Sweden, Spain and Italy all showed a 5% population exposed rate a week or so ago).

    Betting on no transmission is a fools gamble.

    …..Nine reports, including 13 index cases and 23 apparent secondary cases on 10 flights, were identified in which transmission on board the aircraft appeared likely and which included seating information for both the index (primary) and secondary cases. Separation between index and secondary cases ranged from adjacent seats to 17 rows, with a median of 6 rows. Three flights had more than one index case aboard.

    Based on previously published data, it is not possible to say how unusual cases of measles transmission among air travelers beyond the usual zone of contact investigation (the row the index case sat in and 2 rows ahead of or behind that row) may be. The fact that several flights had more than one infectious case aboard and that all but two index cases were in the prodromal phase may be of importance in understanding the wider spread described in several of the reviewed reports. Although the pattern of cabin air flow typical of modern commercial aircraft has been considered highly effective in limiting the airborne spread of microorganisms, concerns have been raised about relying on the operation of these systems to determine exposure risk, as turbulence in the cabin air stream is generated when passengers and crew are aboard, allowing the transmission of infectious agents over many rows. Additionally, the characteristics of some index cases may reflect a greater likelihood of disease transmission. Investigators should continue to examine carefully both aircraft and index-case factors that may influence disease transmission and could serve as indicators on a case-by-case basis to include a broader group of travelers in a contact investigation….

    1. fillefrans

      Nothing really compares to the measles virus, it has an R0 between 12 and 18, by far the most transmissible virus in common circulation.

      1. JBird4049

        True, but plenty of deadlier diseases kill in job lots just fine with lower rates of transmission.

        What worries me is having a COVID19 strain that’s as infectious as normal but has several times the fatality rate. It has happened before with other diseases changing infectiousness and lethality. Smallpox, the Black Death, Cholera, Influenza, and Syphilis have repeatedly changed. Syphilis in particular went from a mild skin infection in the New World to a horrifically disfiguring and lethal disease in Italy to a European wide generally far less disfiguring and lethal disease that could take decades, if ever to kill, instead of months.

        It is when a disease has an easier time to spread, it tends to become more lethal, and the more viruses or bacteria that is out there infecting people the more chances for a new version to appear. So, we are reopening the country up before stopping the spread of COVID19 meaning another long summer of death. It might turn into another 1918 Pandemic, which also had at least two different strains. Bad, and then horrible.

  20. L

    With respect to Hong Kong I think that this article in the Guardian “” summarizes it best:

    An attempt by the Hong Kong government to pass similar legislation in 2003 was abandoned after mass protests. This time, the laws will be enacted through a provision that bypasses Hong Kong’s legislature and therefore public debate and consultation. Legal experts have described the process as unconstitutional but say little can be done.

    “The Chinese communist party is … imposing a draconian law which can be used to silence dissent in Hong Kong and infringe on freedoms” said Frances Eve, deputy director of research at Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a coalition of human rights NGOs.

    This is the essence of the difference between the PRC and other systems. Rule of law as practiced in most countries assumes that the law is a separate entity that binds the rule makers and the operational entity in some way. Rule by law (in the PRC) is the use of laws to control others but with no sense that the law is binding on those making the decisions. In point of fact the PRC constitution guarantees some of the freedoms that this bill would be used to curtail (see Chapter II Article 35 here) and in theory limits what the government does. But the CCP interprets the constitution as binding only on others and sees judges and governments as operational arms of the party, which sits above the law, not as separate organs which are somehow bound.

    1. Buckeye

      You, sir, have just described the ideology of American conservatives/Republicans as well as any conservative group anywhere in the world: UK Tories, Poland’s “Law and Justice” party, Netanyahu’s Likud party, Bolsonaro’s dictatorship in Brazil….sigh, I can’t go on, too depressing.

      China is not alone in this atrocity.

      1. Wyoming

        I was going to say almost the exact same thing before I saw your post.

        The US is a poster child for ignoring the Constitution and any Law deemed inconvenient.

        I must state though that I feel this is a fully bipartisan approach in US politics.

        1. Olga

          “…the use of laws to control others but with no sense that the law is binding on those making the decisions.” Yes, isn’t this exactly the ideology of western elites? Singling out China is hypocrisy on steroids.

          1. MLTPB

            People should call it out wherever it occurs, China, Saudi Arabia…anywhere.

            I think commentors here do a pretty good job of it, often being critical of the US.

            So, if it’s Moscow today, for example, let it rip.

      2. L

        I think there is a substantive difference. We certainly do ignore limits but we still retain a functional, if not absolute, separation of laws and political operations. In the PRC the former clearly is driven by the latter and law be damned. That is why the PRC constitution is such an interesting case study. If you read it, it guarantees more than the US Constitution does. But it has no practical meaning because as a matter of ideology and practice the party places themselves above it and above all laws.

        Indeed a few years ago one of the terms most censored on Weibo, according to people I know there, was “constitutionalism” or the idea that the constitution has any actual meaning.

        We are by no means perfect, and downright awful when it comes to international law. But nationally imagine what any president would have done and could have done if they could simply order a rewrite of laws, or willfully blow them off, rather than having to fight over judges. Imagine Trump had the powers he keeps tweeting he has.

        In that respect we are better off if not morally better.

        1. Deltron

          Earlier this week, the NC Links section had an article by Barton Gellman regarding the GWB administration, specifically Dick Cheney, “willfully blowing” off laws…

          “Vice President Dick Cheney’s office had drafted orders, signed by President George W. Bush, to do something the NSA had never done before. The assignment, forbidden by statute, was to track telephone calls made and received by Americans on American soil.”

          and another:
          “From his West Wing office, Cheney ordered that Stellarwind be concealed from the judges of the FISA Court and from members of the intelligence committees in Congress.”

    2. MLTPB

      Historically, Chinese government consisted of three departments and six ministries (peacefully adopted in Japan and Vietnam…China can proudly say), or earlier, three lords and nine ministries.

      None was tasked with legislating. The Secretariat handled proposing and drafting imperial edits.

      The emperor or empress, being the son or daughter of heaven, was the law or above the law.

      The agency of the censorate wachted over all mandarins or officials, and even the emperor theory.

      Perhaps the CCP is more traditional than it sees itself?

  21. MT_Bill

    I’m really curious about how the riots will play out in the election cycle.

    Anybody think the Republicans would have the gall to use images from these riots in an election ad?

    The images of a burning Target store could get suburban white women thinking about all that “Live, Love, Laugh” wall art that could never be replaced and swing the vote for Trump.

    Could also give Biden the opportunity to say something like “poor people have right to justice just as much as white people”. They should probably keep him in the basement for a while.

    1. L

      Anybody think the Republicans would have the gall to use images from these riots in an election ad?

      If you count OANN, Fox, and the email chains my older relatives keep forwarding to me as ads then yes, they already are or soon will be.

  22. David J.

    “Is Capitalism Racist?” Interesting, if disjointed book review. And the book under review seems to be another in the long tradition of blunt revisionist historiography. These ebbs and flows in scholarship are useful and I plan to pick up a copy of Johnson’s book even if I know beforehand that I’ll see it as a little ham-fisted.

    If others have some interest in antebellum history covering the topic, then I highly recommend two books as starters:

    Eric Foner: Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men

    Gabor Boritt: Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream

    Each, in its own way covers antebellum attitudes and the conjunction of racism and political economy.

    Bonus: The original hardback edition of Boritt’s book has perhaps the best essays on Lincoln historiography I have ever read. If you get a chance to read it, you’ll find some good discussion about the manner in which historiography can ebb and flow, as I earlier mentioned.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Is capitalism the R word?

      Functionally, capitalism needs an identifiable, visible group of manageable “losers” to serve as warnings to anyone who might transgress. The Irish like Canadians walk among us undetected. There might be an element of the ruling class that can’t abide the likes of Barack Obama due to his skin color but destroying black wealth has probably kept people in line.

  23. Louis Fyne

    A/C used in East Asian mom/pop places and many homes are not like western-style duct HVAC…..more like a refrigerator-sized version of a US window AC unit that blows cold air without ducts.

    Both studies can be right.

  24. steve

    It’s confusing to see the discussion, or statements, around aerosol transmission of COVID-19 but I would like to point out a few facts.

    The oft repeated “droplets fall to the ground within 6ft” is misleading, implying they cannot remain airborne for more than that. In a controlled situation with perfectly still air, maybe so. In a room with the air being moved around by a system designed specifically to move air around (HVAC) aerosolized particles from your respiratory system can and will travel much further and is likely to be entrained in air currents that lead to their diffusion throughout the space and eventually travel back through the HVAC system. Typical HVAC systems will circulate particulate matter that is small enough to pass through their filtration. The concentration of particulates would be diminished through dispersion (and introduction of clean air if that is happening) and some will become entrapped in the filters and ductwork, but spread around they will be.

    There are parts of typical HVAC systems that appear to be conducive to virus survival, cold and wet, like the cooling coils and condensation pans. In poorly functioning systems these conditions may present throughout.

    Forced air HVAC systems(99% of all HVAC) will contribute to the dispersion of aeroslolized virus in any given space, to what degree and efficacy will greatly depend on the specific factors of any given situation. Relative Humidity levels may play a critical role in the survivability of the virus. Low RH leads to desiccation and shorter droplet life, high RH leads to longer droplet life and even droplet aggregation. It falls to the biologist to suss out the impact of these factors on the virus’s survivability.

    Fun Fact: dirty air filters filter more than clean ones!

  25. Pelham

    Re the TAC piece on Bush 1 kowtowing to China, which says: “Like it or not, China and the United States need each other.”

    The appropriate question should be why the US needs China? How did that come about? More importantly, who brought it about? Why should a (technically) democratic nation be so closely knitted to a totalitarian regime? Next question: Should we sever this objectionable linkage and urge allies to do so as well? Or should we just continue down the same path?

    These are real questions. I’m torn. On the one hand, isn’t it our status as the world’s main, trade-deficit-tolerating consumer nation (complementing China’s status as a producer) that makes the dollar the world’s reserve currency, giving us a good deal more latitude than other nations have to do great things costing trillions of dollars, — if only we could muster the political will? On the other hand, 20 years of so-called trade with China has basically meant the gutting of the middle of the country and the now familiar scourge of deaths of despair.

    In any event, a certain degree of disgust over our accommodating relations with China is appropriate.

    1. Olga

      If the US did not try to dictate to the entire planet how to be and behave, China would not be a “problem.”
      Also, it is not the best approach to feel “disgust” toward a nation of 1.4 billion.
      The questions posed are right out of a kool-aid fountain.

      1. MLTPB

        I don’t know if 1.4 billion has much to do here.

        Would it be different if it’s only 140 million or 20 million?

      2. Dickeylee

        1990’s China was viewed as an enormous “human capital stock” that would work for a bowl of rice and a cot.
        A capitalist is always looking for their next slave…

    2. Milton

      We do have the political will. The fact that almost all of this nation’s wealth is hoovered up to the .01% is testiment to that fact. Where we are is no accident but has been a concerted effort by the true ruling elite through the ruling class.

      On a side note, with regards to us being the world’s reserve currency and not having to worry about pressing the Enter key on the money-making keyboard, the ruling elite is very much aware-and indeed employ-MMT. They just use it to service their pet debt obligations, thus keeping the gravy train forever rolling. It is MMT for me and austerity for thee.

  26. anonymous

    Related to the NEJM article on racial differences in Covid-19 outcomes, there was an excellent discussion by Dr. David Friedman in last week’s MGH Covid-19 grand rounds of the role APOL1 coding mutations could play in Covid-19 collapsing glomerulonephropathy. 13% of African Americans have the high risk genotype for kidney disease, a role for APOL1 in collapsing glomerulonephropathy previously has been shown with cytokines (therapeutic interferon) and HIV direct viral infection, and there are a couple of case reports (limited by the paucity of biopsies) of Covid-19 collapsing glomerulonephropathy in patients with the APOL1 high risk genotype. The speaker who followed, Dr. Wilfred Williams, discussed chronic kidney disease health disparities in Covid-19. I mention APOL1 because I found it so interesting, not to dimininish the role of socioeconomic factors and structural racism in Covid-19 outcomes.

    MGM Covid-19 grand rounds May 21: Covid-19 and Acute Kidney Injury
    genetics and health care disparities start 43 min into presentation 

  27. rd

    RE: US Media Failed to Factcheck Sweden’s Herd Immunity Hoax

    This headline could be made much simpler and shorter.

    “US Media Failed to Factcheck”

  28. Bsoder

    Reading the comments I wonder. It was a surprise that trump got elected because polls, especially post voting showed people were only voting for trump at level X. But the truth was people voted at level Y which was much higher. People just didn’t want to admit to it. Now with tax cuts, the markets back in place & the PMC protected what’s not to like about trump, assuming self-interest. So, given the nature of reality it is hard for me not to believe, point in fact that there are a number of trump voters here on @NC. The tell is the argument that Dems=GOP=PMC=Happy billionaires. Often said with cynicism but not denied. There’s other forms of the argument with the boggie man being Obama, HRC, the DNC, Wall Street social liberals, and Bernie being a cop-out. But all ends the same way, might as well vote for trump. Don’t have to be board certified to see the flaw in this. My guess is those are rationalizations, not self-interest. This is a finance, capitalist, blog, at least in part. We know the inside game. So, ya trump voters, just not saying it out loud because well how can you.

    1. Massinissa

      I don’t know, I sound a lot like the mindset that you’re describing, yet I voted Green in ’16 and plan to do it again.

      More importantly, though, if there ARE one or two people around here who have voted/plan to vote Trump.. So what? How does that even matter? I’m not sure I get your point.

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