Links 5/29/2020

‘Zombie fires’ are erupting in Alaska and likely Siberia, signaling severe Arctic fire season may lie ahead WaPo (Re Silc).

Rolls-Royce downgraded to junk by S&P FT

U.S. Corporate Bond Sales Smash Record, Soaring Over $1 Trillion Bloomberg

Check your junk mail — 4 million Americans are getting their stimulus payments as prepaid debit cards, not checks MarketWatch


The science:

Research provides important insights into genetic adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 to humans Medical Life Sciences News (DL). Original.

* * *

The data:

Hospitals facing big hurdles to public health data reporting HealthCare IT

Bad state data hides coronavirus threat as Trump pushes reopening Politico

* * *


Adverse Consequences of Rushing a SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine JAMA. “Warp speed” and low risk?

When could a COVID-19 vaccine be ready? AP

* * *


Half of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases in Washington are in people under 40 Seattle Times

* * *


Face coverings for the public: Laying straw men to rest Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. Splendid polemic, a must-read.

Masks and Morality ZDoggMD (via MedPage). Click plus sign at bottom for transcript. “Moral taste buds.” Also very interesting, albeit prolix.

McConnell urges people to wear masks: ‘There’s no stigma’ The Hill

San Francisco New Health Order Requires Residents And Workers To Wear Face Coverings Outside The Home

How Mask Mandates Were Beaten Down in Rural Oklahoma The New Yorker

Special masks being made with transparent portions for teachers, to help deaf students who rely on lip-reading Straits Times

Covid masks give the French a new way to be chic The Economist

* * *

Social determinants of health:

Coronavirus ravages poorer L.A. communities while slowing in wealthier ones, data show Los Angeles Times. The original headline, captured in the URL, is a bit more pointed: “coronavirus-surge-in-poor-l-a-county-neighborhoods-reveals-two-americas.”

America’s Assisted Living Residents Are Falling Through the Cracks of COVID-19 Response, Families Say Time

Political response:

How the U.S. Fought the 1957 Flu Pandemic Smithsonian

State Rep. Goes on Profanity-Laced Tirade After GOP Colleague Hid Positive COVID-19 Test Rolling Stone

* * *

Remedies and Ameliorations:

The Coronavirus Killed the Handshake and the Hug. What Will Replace Them? Time

Vietnamese cops bust US$2.6 billion online gambling ring Channel News Asia. “Wildly popular” in Vietnam. So you can imagine the scale in China.


Explainer: How important is Hong Kong to China as a free finance hub? Reuters

UK says it will extend Hongkongers’ visa rights if China pursues security laws Guardian

Joint Statement on Hong Kong U.S. Department of State. Sinocism comments:

Question: Where is New Zealand, the fifth member of five eyes and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations? And w[h]ere are any Asian countries? This kind of milquetoast statement is not going to worry Beijing much

Then again, it’s State.

What to Make of Secretary Pompeo Decertifying Hong Kong Autonomy LawFare (DL).

* * *

U.S.-China Tension Only Set to Get Worse: ‘There Is No Off Ramp’ Bloomberg

China Manufacturing Risks are Sky-High Right Now. Act Accordingly. China Law Blog

China rounds up Wuhan’s citizen journalists for ‘provoking quarrels’ FT

Ours is less transparent:

Coronavirus misinformation fuels panic in Asia Channel News Asia

50 days of Indonesia’s partial lockdown. Is it enough for the ‘new normal’? Jakarta Post


Benefits of HCQ outweigh risks, if any: Govt Times of India

China rejects Trump’s offer to mediate in border standoff with India Times of India

India’s Farmers Told to Scare Locusts Away by Beating Drums Bloomberg


The Mother of All Parliaments. Thread:

For years, the Tories have banked on impunity. Is their luck finally running out? Guardian

Britons Stick to the Lockdown and Fear Health Risks When It Ends Bloomberg

Revealed: Serco under fire over fresh £90m COVID-19 contract Open Democracy

Black Injustice Tipping Point

UPDATE George Floyd protests spread nationwide CNN. Rollin coverage, including this. “Breaking: CNN team arrested by Minnesota police on live television” (!). Crude.

George Floyd Riots: Violence Spans Twin Cities: 3rd Precinct Overtaken & Burned, Looting Continues, Businesses Torched CBS Minnesota

Right near the Lake Street Target, which is “temporarily closed“:

So… it was personal, too:

At least 7 shot in Louisville as protesters call for justice in Breonna Taylor case CBS

Bad Policing, Bad Law, not ‘Bad Apples,’ Behind Disproportionate Killing of Black Men by Police Rutgers Today. From 2018, still germane.

From Mother Jones to Middlebury: The Problem and Promise of Political Violence in Trump’s America Foreign Policy. From 2017, still germane.

What to do if you’re exposed to tear gas Popular Science. From 2019, still germane.

Tear gas: an epidemiological and mechanistic reassessment Annals of the New York Academy of Science. From 2016, still germane.

Protestors Criticized For Looting Businesses Without Forming Private Equity Firm First The Onion

Ecuador Grapples with Food Sovereignty NACLA

New Cold War

Trump’s War on Arms Control and Disarmament Counterpunch

Moscow, Ankara ‘Divide Up Influence’ In Libya: Analysts Agence France Presse

Why America Has Misdiagnosed Russia’s Role in Syria The National Interest

Restrictions to stay in Moscow until COVID-19 vaccine is ready — mayor TASS. “Health Minister Mikhail Murashko predicted that the first results of clinical tests of COVID-19 vaccines will be there by late July, and that a vaccine should become available for mass administration at about the same time. Hmm.

Trump Transition

Graham urges senior judges to step aside so Trump, GOP can replace them The Hill


Touchscreen Voting Machines and the Vanishing Black Votes Jennifer Cohn, Who What Why

Ilhan Omar on War, Arms Sales to Israel, Margaret Thatcher, and Prince Current Affairs. Musical interlude.

Our Famously Free Press

Trump signs executive order targeting protections for social media platforms Axios

Donald Trump’s executive order is ‘plainly illegal,’ says co-author of Section 230 The Verge

Tit for tat (openly):

Should Silicon Valley determine “public interest”? And where is the State that does not “glorify violence”?

Class Warfare

Yes, Millennials Really Are That Screwed New York Magazine. Re Silc comments: F*ck them. People working in afghani rug factories are screwed. People picking coffee in Guatemala are screwed. People breaking ships in Bangladesh are screwed. People selling cigs by the piece in Lagos are screwed. Americans make me sick.”

Amazon won’t say how many workers have gotten COVID-19. So workers are tracking cases themselves Los Angeles Times

Why We Have So Many Problems with Our Teeth Scientific American

What Kind of Country Do We Want? NYRB

Translation From VC-Backed PR Jargon to English of Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz’s Statement That He’s ‘Stepping Down’ Daring Fireball.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Links on by .

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. zagonostra

    >NYRB What Kind of Country Do We Want?

    Seriously does this question not cry out with a different one, like who the heck is this “We” that the author uses throughout the article ? There is not a “we,” there are competing class interests that vie for financial and economic dominance. Sentences like the one below tell me the author is living in some windowless academic ivory tower.

    “… we have to get beyond the habit of thinking in terms of scarcity. We live in the midst of great wealth prepared for us by other generations.”

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Wow, that sentence you pulled! Have these people never read the Bible? Guess what? There was never scarcity! We all had access to the worlds abundance! But then someone figured out if they had more abundance than others they could control them.

      1. Martine

        Interesting that you mention the Bible. The author of the piece is a life-long mainline protestant of serious devotion. You really should read the whole piece. Based on your comments here (which I always read and find most stimulating), I think you would find it very interesting. The quote extracted by zagonostra, in context:

        We should step away from the habit of accepting competition as the basic model of our interactions with other countries, first because it creates antagonisms the world would be better off without, and second because recent history has shown that the adversary is actually us, and for ordinary people there is no success, no benefit.

        And we have to get beyond the habit of thinking in terms of scarcity. We live in the midst of great wealth prepared for us by other generations. We inherited sound roads and bridges. Our children will not be so favored. Since the value of basic investments is not realized immediately, we cannot rationalize the expenditure. We are the richest country in history, therefore richer than the generations that built it, but we cannot bring ourselves even to make repairs. Our thrift will be very costly over time. The notion or pretense that austerity is the refusal to burden our children with our debts is foolish at best. But it is persuasive to those who are injured by it as surely as to those who look at a pothole and see a tax cut. Hiding money in a hole in the ground has seemed like wisdom to some people since antiquity. And there are many who are truly straitened and insecure, and are trusting enough to assume that some economic wisdom lies behind it. Legislators all over America, duly elected, have subscribed to this kind of thinking and acted on it.

        We have seen where all this leads. It creates poverty, and plagues batten on poverty, on crowding and exhaustion. If the novel coronavirus did not have its origins in the order of things now in abeyance—other possibilities are even darker—that order was certainly a huge factor in its spread.

        1. jsn

          Yes, but where has she been for the last 50 years? I’ve been watching this train wreck unfold since 1979, she’s almost 20 years older than I and just noticing.

          I put great hope in collective action, but the naievete regarding the institutional forces at work here is monumental. What’s going on in Minneapolis is what will be necessary for all the excluded to confront the institutions now arrayed against them.

          I try not to disparage allies, but after Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama, now she notices the trajectory of her prescious educational institution, at the point when it’s become almost useless.

            1. jsn

              Better late than never, quite right and that’s the attitude I try to strike.

              But the obvious, sustained self isolation from the realites she’s talking about does grate.

              “but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”… MLK

    2. Fireship

      Americans have the economic system they want. If you build a society based on greed, this is what you get. This ain’t brain science, folks.

      “We can do this as individuals and as a nation. Someday we will walk out onto a crowded street and hear that joyful noise we must hope to do nothing to darken or still, having learned so recently that humankind is fragile, and wonderful.”

      I actually laughed out loud at this. The poor woman has clearly overdone the hopium bong.

      1. Donald

        Bingo on the hopium comment—

        A friend of mine sent me a link to her current piece, which appeared here last week and I have been trying to think of a nice way to tell him how much I hated it. The goals are nice. The problem is that it is almost politics free, except for a statement that until recently we had a functioning democracy. She talks in grand terms about what she would like to see but never about how politicians in both parties are bought and paid for by lobbyists.

        I think there are comfortable upper middle class people ( like me for now) who are theoretically in favor of leftist policies but who fondly imagine that Democrats like Obama are on their side. I am guessing it is a social comfort thing. She obviously loved her mutual admiration talk with Obama—- facing up to the fact that the most prominent Democratic politicians are on the wrong side might cause her discomfort.

        Or as I said last week when this latest piece was linked, how convenient to see someone come out for social democracy immediately after Sanders dropped out of the race, after months in which his liberal detractors ridiculed him for focusing so much on inequality.

        1. Chris Hargens

          Yes, a kind of can’t-we-all-get-along pablum with no concrete finger pointing. Maybe useful to some people as a kind generalized overview of the nature of American society/culture, but not worthy of it’s positioning as a kind of editorial placed at the end of NYRB. I’d like to say I was disappointed but didn’t really expect much given the previous “conversation” be Robinson and Obama.

    3. John A

      We live in the midst of great wealth prepared for us by other generations.

      Or more accurately
      We live in the midst of great wealth stolen by the US by raping, pillaging and looting most of the rest of the world for generations.

      1. Anthony K Wikrent

        There must be precise targeting. Both statements are true: much wealth was created, but much wealth was also stolen. What has gone wrong in USA is that the the economic philosophy of creating wealth has been displaced by and economic philosophy of “anything goes.” Wealth is created by pushing the frontiers of science and technology to increase the productive powers of labor (see, for example, John Quincy Adam’s First Annual Message as President, December 6, 1825; or Abraham Lincoln’s speech at the Wisconsin State Fair, September 30, 1859; but the founding document is Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton’s Report to Congress on the Subject of Manufactures, December 5 1791).

        There were two opposing views of political economy in USA from the founding until the 1930s. Increasing the productive power of labor, instead of economic looting, is obviously to be preferred, and is associated with the Hamiltonian and Whig tradition in USA political history (I highly recommend Gabor Borritt, Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream. Memphis, Memphis University Press, 1978). Hamilton has been relentlessly slandered, and if you trace the recent attacks of the past few years, you find the Austrian school economists and radical libertarians, who promulgated and promoted neoliberalism.

        Phillip Mirowski, in his paper “Hell is Truth Seen Too Late” explains that Hayek and his collaborators rejected the idea that humanity can be rational, and that only the market could fairly and equitably decide the best allocation of society’s resources. This is, Mirowski explains, fundamentally a philosophical rejection of the Enlightenment. I argue that it is also a rejection of the Hamiltonian/Whig ideas of the American republic. Mirowski explains that the neoliberal rejection of human rationality makes it philosophically impossible for the left to win. Mirowski makes the same argument very quickly in his recent interview by Jacobin magazine.

        So, besides the confusion caused by not clearly identifying the two contending ideas of political economy in USA history, answering the question of “what kind of country do we want” has been made more difficult by the protracted, relentless, well funded, and highly organized efforts of the reactionary rich. These efforts began as opposition to the New Deal, and now have achieved political and ideological success, beginning with Thatcher and Reagan. Mirowski calls this the “neoliberal thought collective,” (NTC) and I think the left will remain crippled until it adopts his very precise targeting.

        But the NTC is not the only agent of the change in USA ideology from the founding ideas – and ideals – of republicanism, to libertarian and financial capitalism. For example, Kevin Kruse has documented how American Christianity was deliberately targeted and corrupted by the reactionary rich (such as Texas oilman Sid Richardson, patron of Billy Graham) to turn its back on the social gospel of Christ, and insist instead that “free enterprise” was the “American way of life.”

        So, I have a real problem with the usual left critique that the USA has always been exploitative and militarist. What were all these efforts by the NTC and the reactionary rich aimed at doing? If the USA was already exploitative and militarist, why did they waste their money and time working to change the economic philosophy of the country?

        1. David J.

          Spot on. (and I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one that recommends the Boritt book.)

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I wonder about one sentence in your comment: “Mirowski explains that the neoliberal rejection of human rationality makes it philosophically impossible for the left to win.” Isn’t Mirowski saying it is philosophically impossible to win an argument if you fail to attack the pillar supporting the arguments of your opponent and countering the basis of all your arguments. I thought Mirowski was arguing that the left had to very deliberately dismantle the Neoliberal concept of the Market as epistemology. Leaving that Neoliberal axiom in place leaves no foundation for counter arguments to the rest of the Neoliberal edifice. The extent of the well-funded Neoliberal Thought Collective operates to make arguing counter to Neoliberalism like slicing heads from the Hydra. Instead dismantle the Market nonsense at its root.

          1. Lil’D

            Sounds like a nice collaborative project

            How do we effectively make the arguments?
            And concisely enough not to make eyes glaze over…

          2. Anthony K Wikrent

            I’m struggling to fully understand Mirowski, so I welcome any ideas and discussion such as yours.

            ” the left had to very deliberately dismantle” I don’t think that’s what M has written, though it certainly seems to be what M himself is doing.

            On the other hand, here is part of what M wrote in “Hell is Truth Seen Too Late,” which I judge to be his least convoluted attack on the epistomology of neoliberalism so far:

            ….neoliberal claims stripped socialism of any rational philosophical basis; the erstwhile ambitions of socialist political movements no longer made any sense in the brave new neoliberal framework. It would be one thing if socialist intervention failed provisionally due to a lack of understanding of fundamentally knowable social structures; it would be a different washout altogether if it failed, due to hubris, in seeking to comprehend something that Homo sapiens could never fully know. From this perspective, socialism has nothing to accomplish and can be dismissed as a relic from an earlier [Enlightenment] era in which magical powers of ratiocination were thought to be the natural endowment of all humankind.

            “Leaving that Neoliberal axiom in place leaves no foundation for counter arguments to the rest of the Neoliberal edifice.” I agree 110 percent. The question though is: why has the left failed so spectacularly to do this. I think Lambert is on to one factor, when he attacks post-modernism. Another factor I think is the intellectual infatuation with Nietzsche. Corey Robin wrote about this in May 2013: Nietzsche’s Marginal Children: On Friedrich Hayek.

            I never liked Nietzsche, and Robin showed what an elitist, pro-oligarch asshole Nietzsche was, as were Mises and Hayek. The article drove the libertarians nuts, which Robin wrote about in a follow-up article in Jacobin, I believe.

            The other factor is what I mentioned: the left’s rejection of the American Revolution and the USA Constitution as a product of the Enlightenment. In fact, it appears to me that the most doctrinaire of Marxists also reject the Enlightenment in their belief in dialectical materialism and class conflict, which leaves so little room for conscious human agency.

            Another factor — and one that is extremely impolite to discuss it seems — is that any leftist organization inevitably is infiltrated by police and intelligence agents. Stalin in his 20s was a Okhrana plant. The money bags for socialism and communism in USA in the 1950s and 1960s was Corliss Lamont – son of Thomas Lamont, the top partner at J P Morgan bank. And of course there is the account given by Carroll Quigley in Tragedy and Hope, which is the basis for the “bankers’ one world government” CT stuff. Quigley has some incredible revelations, but also often made me cringe.

            My personal conclusion after just over three score on this planet is that the fight always has been, still is, and probably always will be, between the working class and the leisure class, as defined by Thorstein Veblen. And, by the way, Veblen ably explains why socialist economies end up with authoritarian hierarchies, and issue that has splintered the left into a number of bickering factions.

      2. MT_Bill

        I’d edit that to “We’re cannibalizing the corpse of a Empire that accumulated great wealth through raping, pillaging, and looting most of the rest of the world for generations.”

        Reading through the links this morning I was reminded of Gibson’s quote ” the future is here, it’s just not equally distributed”. The future for 99% of Americans is what resilc described for other countries, it’s just a little ways off.

        We’re not waiting for the jackpot, we’re living it.

        1. carl

          Greer’s hypothesis of a series of step downs followed by temporary plateaus is looking more prescient every day.

          1. TXMama

            How else to acclimate the proles? We get used to the pain, breathe, and then there’s new pain to adjust to. They hope to avoid blood in the streets that way. Seems that is not working as smoothly as they had hoped. Perhaps they will extend this plateau a bit longer than usual before putting the next step down in place.

      3. Oh

        great wealth is still being stolen by the US but most of it is for the uber rich. Not even crumbs for the others.

    4. Alternate Delegate

      Nevertheless, people bumbling in the dark through “beyond scarcity” can help them get closer to the real goal, which is to get beyond *competition*. To do this, a consensus majority of people have to be willing to settle for “enough” rather than “more than the next person”.

      Because it is competition itself which creates scarcity. As Darwin wrote, “more are born than can live”. It is only when we deliberately do *not* demand *more* that we can pull back from resource limits, and incidentally leave room for nature and other species.

      And for each other.

      1. Alice X

        Thank you – America has the most powerful education system yet devised, it is centered in Madison Avenue. Its principle tenet is the promotion of the acquisition of consumer goods based on emotion rather than necessity. – — see Fred Hampton – On The Importance Of Education Prior To Action.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      This link wanders around wrapping multi-layers of verbiage around a pastiche cataloging of some of the afflictions crippling our nation. Its conclusion “sharpen a functioning sense of justice based on a reverent appreciation of humankind, all together and one by one” is slightly less satisfying than suggesting we should all gather and sing Kumbaya together or “Teach the World to Sing”. I am disappointed by the lack of depth in the analysis of “Why” things have become the way they are: “we have consented, passively for the most part, to a kind of change that has made this country a disappointment to itself”. This call to self-flagellation captures nothing of what happened to the US, the “How” and “Why”, and assumes ‘we’ have agency I have never felt.
      “We” … “We” who?

    6. MLTPB

      The question of ‘who is that we’ has been asked often.

      I tend to think it refers to minimally those of us agreeing with the writer.

      If you don’t agree, you don’t have to be in that ‘we,’ if you don’t want to.

  2. Krystyn Podgajski

    Re Silc comments: F*ck them. People working in afghani rug factories are screwed. People picking coffee in Guatemala are screwed. People breaking ships in Bangladesh are screwed. People selling cigs by the piece in Lagos are screwed. Americans make me sick.”

    Thank you for that editorial comment!

    I am trying to hatch a plan, to help younger people see that their quest for stuff is what is causing not only other harm, but self harm. And that their dopamine seeking acquisition, both physical and mental, has turned them into addicts. All they have to do is stop for a while and they will see how free they are.

    But how do we make “nothing” attractive? They need to see it in action.

    The corporations (media) are trying to tell them they are suffering, only to get them to work more for less. A new normal(!).

    1. You're soaking in it!

      But how do we make “nothing” attractive? They need to see it in action.

      That kind of voluntary simplicity has typically been associated with some kind of community of belief, right? Not for everybody, and not easy to maintain, historically.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        Community, right! But just wait, it will be more attractive and easier to maintain when the struggle to keep up becomes more difficult. So the plan is to have a framework where these people can find comfort.

        1. scarn

          This is a wonderful idea. Please publish your framework somewhere, when you complete it.

    2. Andrew

      Any body else remember Reverend Billy Talin and the evangelical “Church of Not Shopping” from 10 or 15 years ago? His hellfire and brimstone presentation really grabbed your attention first and then really landed it with a message of love and respect among ourselves and mother earth.

      1. carl

        Yes! I do remember him. Also, Adbusters had/has a lot of effective messages. Of course, for a society which defines itself as consumer-driven, these folks are on the outer fringes.

    3. Marlin

      I disagree with the editorial comment. The “there are other people, that have it worse” sleep pill to avoid people resisting olgarchic takeover must not be taken and does not do anything to help the poorest people in other countries. Quite the opposite, if we accept more and more misery in the advanced countries, the willingness to support changes helping people in other countries will reduce – as well the capacity.

      Yes, consumption as a status symbol is bad. But e.g. homeownership isn’t pure off-showing, but makes a community more resilient compared with a pure renter society (paying rent to whom?).

      1. jason

        Indeed. Isn’t it a false equivalency to say people in Afghanistan have it worse so we can say “f*ck you” to millennials? I think there was an article about logical fallacies posted here just the other week. People in Afghanistan have it worse than most people in America, so can we ignore the suffering of those Americans? If so, why are we watching the riots?

        This attidude reminds me of the dismissive “in my day we had it so much worse…” kind of comments. It’s not that time anymore, america is not Afghanistan… A lot of people’s suffering is relative to their peer group, not the entire planet’s sum of suffering.

        Yes, we should try to move behaviors and consumption habits, but talking down to people or ignoring their problems won’t help. If millennials “just stop for a while” they will miss their loan payments, lose their apartment, lose their jobs, their insurance… Maybe then some laws would be passed to course correct, but after what happened during the financial crisis I have one feeling about that – doubt.

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          No, quite the opposite! Its telling them that people have it worse in Afghanistan becasue we bombed the crap out of them so we can have a less slowly diminishing way of life. That we made other peoples lives worse so we coul have something “better”.

          It is to say to them, what they told you was “better” was a lie. And in trying to get that “better” we killed, polluted, and enslaved other people both at home and abroad.

          Their “problems” are just conditioning. When I was forced to live with a chronic illness in a van it revealed showed this to me even more. We need to stop listening to the capitalist terrorists who keep instilling all the fear in our brains. “What happens if I get sick?”, “What happens if I loose my house?” You know what happens, it sucks for a while and you get used to it. But it is much easier to do voluntarily than being forced into it.

          If we elder folk want the millennials to have a better life, what should we give up? Our greed, our fear, our illusions.

        2. Billy

          No matter how bad it is here, people from Lagos, Afghanistan etc strive to and often do come here, legally and illegally. Their problems are not our problems, nor our concerns, until they cause us problems by lowering the attempts of Americans to demand a livable wage, or compete with poor Americans for housing and public services.
          Cue the “But the Elite policies oppressing poor people…” in 3,2,1. Agreed!
          Send them back to where they, or their parents, came from…e.g. Slumlord Kushner.

      2. Krystyn Podgajski

        “The “there are other people, that have it worse “sleep pill to avoid people resisting olgarchic takeover must not be taken and does not do anything to help the poorest people in other countries. ”

        The best thing we can do to help people in poorer countries is to not persuade them that capitalism is the answer and have them make cheap goods and keep all the toxic pollution as well. So I cannot say that buying good made in these “poorer countries” reduces misey. That is just a story of apologetics.

        Why does oligarchic take over mean “getting more stuff”? To take them over we need to reduce their power. We reduce their power by not buying what they are selling us. What if that means that a generation should live on the street to save the future? Imagine the power!

        Do we need rent or “home-ownership (which is actually renting as well, but from the bank)? Should we keep thinking as capitalists to get rid of capitalism? Why do people think we know what is best for other countries?

      3. Brendan

        I’m shocked, honestly, by this callous answer. Considering this site’s attitude that we shouldn’t blame boomers as a generation for structural problems as a “category error” or whatever, along with your point that about whataboutism, I don’t really understand this perspective other than that it is unthinking generational hatred.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Agreed. That really stuck out as off key to the point that I wondered if it that comment was sarcasm or I was reading it wrong.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            Also agreed. Older Millennial here. I thought this kind of dismissal of the economic concerns of young people would not be par for the course at NC, especially since, as Brendan says, we aren’t to blame Boomers or Gen Xers tout court here.

            I’ll be the first to castigate rich and clueless bobo Millennials and Gen Y cohort mates of mine. But the vast majority of us are working people, who came into adulthood with a world imperial crisis (Sept. 11th) which led many of us to lose friends or relative or fight ourselves in those wars; to have any chance of a better life wiped out in 2008 for ourselves and our parents, and a decade plus misery-recovery [sic] that left us worse off; we are debt peons for daring to do as we were told and to get an education. Opioids and deaths from despair have taken many of my friends and classmates. And now as we approach middle age, the pandemic, and climate change, and kleptocratic capitalist looting, make our prospects that much grimmer (I just found out my community college teaching position will be axed as of next Fall; I have over one hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt for the crime of being a working class kid in higher ed, as well as dependents to care for). I’m frankly disappointed and not a little sadly surprised by that comment and it’s publication.

            It reminds me of a comment here back in Spring, 2018, when someone was decrying therapy as “privileged” or frou-frou. I was indignant, as most people I know in therapy are recovering heroin addicts, child sex victims, and yes, working class.

            In response, someone pointed out that NC’s roots in finance often make for the acceptance of genuinely reactionary tendencies here that go unnoticed by the site.

            Likewise, the argument that “others have it worse, so suck it up, peon!” is what Yglesias tells rustbelt workers who don’t like NAFTA, or woke cosmpolitans telling Brexit voters they have to be unhappy and suffer economically so Poles and Romanians can have better lives. It’s insulting and frankly unworthy of this site.

            I hope this was satire from Re(silc).

            p.s. We are Bernie’s foremost supporters — probably not a good idea to tell us to go family blog ourselves.

            1. Yves Smith

              The comment said nothing of the sort. It said the 1% and their allies are your enemy, but you want older people to be the enemy.

              Do you seriously think Mark Zuckerberg is lobbying for your interests as a fellow Millennial? How about the other Millennial billionaires who are not yet household words, like RJ Scaringe of Rivan? Brian Armstrong of CoinBase? Julio Mario Santo Domingo, III of Sheik ‘N’ Beik? I can provide a lot more names if you like.

              There is a whole class of people that are pulling the strings in the US and their lifestyles are so removed from yours that they have no common interest with you. They regard flying on private jets as a right. They have multiple homes in glamorous locations. They go to big ticket fundraisers. They have staff: drivers, nannies, personal secretaries.

              And you are mad at the average old person who has never had any power? Go read Tom Ferguson. Politics in the US are all about money, not about voter interests. Polls for decades have shown that voters overwhelmingly favor progressive policies, like higher minimum wages, stronger social protections and workplace safety. Even now, polls show a majority favor some version of government-paid universal health care. That includes the older people you attack. Yet notice all we are getting in DC is lip service?

              Older people as a whole haven’t wanted the polices we have either but average voter wishes are not what gets done. Do you think, for instance that a majority of voters in any age group wants more spending on our never-ending wars as opposed to more services here in the US?

              And if you do want to blame older people, pray who? The people who came back after WWII and built suburban starter homes, which (along with earlier suburbanization in the 1920s) is the big culprit in car use and hence global warming? Those in the small but very well focused and funded effort to move the country right that started in the 1960s and was codified in the Powell Memo of 1971? The Carter Administration, for starting deregulation, along with the Reagan Administration, which carried it forward? The promotion of financialization as US policy, which started under Reagan and given huge impetus by Greenspan and Rubin?

              And do you seriously think Millennials with rich parents are screwed? They go to elite colleges and have parents buying houses for them and even putting them in business, say by buying a franchise. Tons of stories about this in the Wall Street Journal.

              This effort to create generational hostility is a prime example of Jay Gould’s saying, “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.”

              1. occasional anonymous

                “but you want older people to be the enemy.”

                A significant number made it clear they were my enemy when they rallied behind freaking Joe Biden.

                1. ambrit

                  Well, to counter your point, I being an old codger, leftist variety, since the AA vote helped defeat Sanders on Super Tuesday in the South, that vote shepherded by the aptly labeled “Black Misleadership Class,” would you conclude that Blacks are your enemies?
                  I suggest jettisoning the demographic based pigeonholing in favour of a class based analysis. You get a much clearer and ‘genuine’ understanding that way.
                  My experience has been that when the “analysis” becomes too simple and determinative, it has devolved into propaganda.

                  1. Yves Smith

                    The press is a huge part of this picture. The media has been full bore against Sanders, ignored or belittled his successes, took up the false BernieBros meme, ridiculed his policies as leftie tax you into oblivion or “unrealistic”. Also covered big time for Biden’s horrible record and his mental decline.

                    The top TV types have multimillon dollar deals. So they are solidly in the 1% and rub shoulders enough with the 0.1% (kids in fancy schools, getting invited to various tony parties) so as to often envy the 0.1%. Their social circles are entirely liberal, unless they happen to be conservative hosts/commentators. They see Bernie as a flaming commie who will increase their taxes….which is actually true, he vowed to tax the rich.

                    As one of my friends said a long time ago, “Society is very well designed. No matter how much you have, someone has more.

                  2. occasional anonymous

                    Blacks as a whole, no. But the generational divide was very much present there as well. Young blacks went for Sanders. The older ones did what Jim Clyburn told them to do.

      4. The Historian

        First paragraph in the introduction to Picketty’s new book, “Capitalism and Ideology”:

        “Every human society must justify its inequalities: unless reasons for them are found, the whole political and social edifice stands in danger of collapse. Every epoch therefore develops a range of contradictory discourses and ideologies for the purpose of legitimizing the inequality that already exists or that people believe should exist. From these discourses emerge certain economic, social and political rules, which people then use to make sense of the ambient social structure. Out of the clash of contradictory discourses – a clash that is at once economic, social and political – comes a dominant narrative or narratives, which bolster the existing inequality regime.”

        Perhaps this is a book you should read.

      5. choosy beggar

        Thank you for this. Comparative suffering is not helpful or healthy in any way.

      6. CarlH

        That editorial comment did not sit well with me either. What was it supposed to convey other than meanness? There are plenty of people in this country that have it as bad as the people mentioned in that comment. I was at that level at one point myself. Total lack of empathy, though I grant that I could be misreading it. If that is the case, I apologize to Resilc.

      7. Yves Smith

        Germany has a very high level of rentals and very low homeownership. If renters have strong legal protections, rentals are a fine arrangement and are consistent with stable communities because tenants stay in the same unit a long time. You see this in cities that have rent regulation and where tenants have strong rights to lease renewals.

    4. diptherio

      help younger people see that their quest for stuff is what is causing not only other harm, but self harm.

      Fair enough, just make sure you don’t stop with the “younger people” because I’m pretty sure their are also a few older people who are also questing for stuff, too. Just sayin’.

      1. MillenialSocialist

        medicare for all so my spouse doesn’t die before she’s 45 = “quest for stuff”

    5. Infinite Onion

      The trick is, you don’t sell them `nothing’ you sell them something that’s more meaningful than empty consumerism (regardless of how “hip” it is). Which is what we’ve been working on creating for years. The real left needs more than some kind of new age spiritual woo-woo or woke consumption. It needs a real, meaningful narrative which can properly channel people’s justified frustrations into something more than burning down a CVS.

      We’ve watched trap after trap be set and walked into. Personally, we’ve had enough. So we’ve begun to spread our ideological virus.

    6. tongorad

      I’m not young, but I want more stuff. Stuff like health care, education, more wine, more weed, more shrooms, more good food,more books, more art supplies, time for my community, time for myself and my family.
      Most people aren’t ascetics, the austerian trip is a dead end. We need a working class politics of material bounty.

      1. Yves Smith

        Once people have an adequate standard of living (and having only $400 or less in the bank for emergencies in a country where even a small unexpected medical bill can be much bigger is not there, so we need to do more on wages and social safety nets), more income does not make them happier. Happiness is correlated strongly with the quality of one’s social connections. Neoliberalism, by weakening community institutions and attachments, is destined to make people unhappy.

        1. fwe'zy

          Yes, we are locked into a hedonic treadmill, but the adequate standard of living is not trivial. Precarity is pure hell on the heart and mind. Wages and social safety nets are just the beginning. Stable communities, as you discuss farther up in the comments, are key. Time, as tongorad discusses here, is too.

    7. hunkerdown

      By making “nothing” better and more stable than ruin. Scandinavian individual savings are generally low because their systems aren’t out to actively ruin them most of the time and they don’t need to have six months salary saved up to avoid ruin.

    8. Susan the other

      If we replace the profit incentive directly with socially and environmentally beneficial ones then we’re halfway there. If making a profit is no longer an imperative then over-consumption will slacken considerably. The mistake we are inclined to make is creating less demand (austerity), thus forcing less manufacturing, thus slowing down our own destruction. That’s a negative solution, but it is still based on the profit motive. We could use a positive one instead. Incentivize first – with leisure; medical; educational; low tech innovations; various organic lifestyles; the arts – you know, civilization itself. We’ll need a new medium of exchange, no? I submit it should not be a private one – no cryptocurrency please, because crypto is fully vested in crypto-profiteering. It should be a social one.

    9. Sam M

      Myself and many of my friends (I would qualify as a young person) are shocked at how much enjoyment was found in the peacefulness and simplicity of the world during quarantine. Tapping into that enjoyment that has now been experienced might be a good starting place. The capacity to “nothing” and consume little is there.

    10. UserFriendly

      Really? It’s the broke kids with debt up to their eyeballs (from their insane materialistic spending spree on things like a useless college education, and you know food) that are the problem? Have you been in a bubble for the last decade? The fact that we are so broke and not spending anything on materials goods is so obvious that there is an entire genre of article dedicated to ‘Millennials Killed …..” because we stopped buying it. And that genre of article is literally so overdone that they make parodies off it.

      RIP: Here are 70 things millennials have killed

      There are dozens more, try googling it.

      Try reading:
      Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression.
      The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > there is an entire genre of article dedicated to ‘Millennials Killed …..”

        Yes, that is the discourse that is permitted, indeed encouraged. One can only wonder why. In only Louis XVI had sold Jacques Necker to the French people on the the basis that he was young, he might have kept his head

  3. UserFriendly

    Oh so we are good with generational warfare as long as it’s from the generations that ruined everything and aimed at the people who have been screwed the most. Cool. I love hypocrisy.

    1. UserFriendly

      Screwed as in by far the best thing that could possibly happen to me is I get hit by a bus, or get cancer, or COVID. All of those sound infinitely better than anything that is within the realm of possibility for my life.

      1. Yves Smith

        I am sorry you had the misfortune to graduate in 2008 with student debt.

        But generations do not have agency. Please show me the lobby for Millennials versus the one for the Greatest Generation. I have yet to hear of either.

        After the crisis, there were 9 million avoidable foreclosures, when only about 54 million homes had mortgages. Do the math. How many people, as in old enough to have bought a house, got wiped out with that? People over 45, and in some industries, 40, who lose their job are relegated to McJobs. And if you are unemployed for over 6 months, you are pretty much unemployable.

        40% of Americans who are now middle class will be in poverty in their retirement. This study was of people 50 to 62, so not young people.

        So this idea that being older and even being of the supposed right class older is some sort of meal ticket is a myth that has been cultivated by the likes of billionaire Stan Druckenmiller (of Soros Fund Management) who has been promoting elder hate for quite a while.

        Put it another way: what about virtually all of the income and wealth gains since 1980 going to the top 20%, and mostly to the top 1%, don’t you understand? The biggest extractors are in private equity, and most of the money in private equity carry pools goes to men (virtually without exception white men) from 30 to 45.

        You see too much American TV and movies, where people in supposedly sort of middle class jobs are overhoused, wear clothes that are too nice for their jobs, and have teeth and skin that are way too good. Look at top show NCIS, fer Chrissakes. Houses are always too big because you can’t get decent camera angles in normal sized rooms.

        And you are really out of line in criticizing resilc. He’s paid his dues. He’s spent huge amounts of time on the ground in poor countries, doing nitty gritty, often unglamorous work trying to help the locals in places where there was no fancy expat hotel or housing. That’s why Americans getting upset about their lifestyles (the woman in the article was whining because she couldn’t buy a house) doesn’t cut it wit him. He’s been in way too many Third World slums.

        1. Roger Smith

          This is a good comment. I grow increasingly tired of the endless new (and old) false dichotomies dumbing issues down into virtually unrelated slop defined by extremely polarizing hyperbole. All of this just drives people away from reality and any chance of truly recognizing problems, not to mention having a chance to fix them.

        2. occasional anonymous

          “But generations do not have agency. Please show me the lobby for Millennials versus the one for the Greatest Generation. I have yet to hear of either.”

          This is obtuse. There doesn’t need to be a formal lobby for a group to have influence and agency. People within a certain age range did shape policy to their advantage, and to the disadvantage of people younger than them. Screwing younger people may not have been the intent, but that’s where we are now. and they continue to shape policy and defend interests that are solely to their own advantage.

          Also, Boomers aren’t the Greatest Generation. They’re the kids of the Greatest Generation.

          You can say “well, it’s not the whole generation, I’m not like that”. Fine. But plenty of people are. I myself was resistant to the Generational Warfare meme for a long time, but the Democratic primary broke me of that. There is a clear, massive divide between the policy platforms of most young and most older people. The refusal to do, for example, any meaningful form of student loan forgiveness is justified by a large number of older people as “well I didn’t get my loans forgiven, so you shouldn’t either”.

          Mark Blyth, who is well liked and referenced on NC, and if not a Boomer himself, just slightly younger than them, has been vocal for years that the Boomer generation really are awful on a systemic basis.

          As for resilc, frankly, screw him. Just because we aren’t living in a third world slum doesn’t mean we aren’t suffering. This is an especially ridiculous claim to see on NC of all places. We’re the ones condemned to a lifetime of debts, outrageous rent payments, and crappy jobs (when you criticize Obama for creating millions of garbage McJobs, we’re the ones working most of those jobs), as well as the ones who will have to face the bulk of the environmental damage ahead, after the people who largely inflicted it on us have already checked out.

          And Generation Z is even more screwed than us and may very well be literally the last generation.

          1. Aumua

            Well everyone thinks they couldn’t possibly turn into their parents, but then somehow they do.

        3. Brendan

          This is an unsatisfying response. Why endorse this “f*ck them” comment? You skip the key point about being “good with generational warfare” and focus on fact that suffering occurred across generations, which was just a side note to UserFriendly’s point. The bottom line is that you’re comfortable dismissing young people’s concerns with whataboutism while getting tetchy when people blame your generation. I get it, we’re all human, but it’s not honest discussion.

          And what is your and resilc’s point? That Millennials should accept a lower standard of living and stop whining, because other people have it worse? What’s the point of this website, then?

          1. MillenialSocialist

            it is the children’s fault for not wanting to be poorer than their parents

        4. UserFriendly

          Yves, you can stop acting like I brought up the generational warfare argument on my own. It was a provoked response. One I specifically made out of spite to point out the hypocrisy of reslic’s comment.

          Yes, it is tragic that so many elderly people will be in poverty in retirement. As someone who has spent every single day of my adult life in poverty with absolutely no prospect of ever not living a single day of my life in poverty I can empathize with that. It’s too bad reslic can’t, and would rather kick me in the teeth and call me a spoiled brat for not living in poverty in the third world.

          And you are really out of line in criticizing resilc. He’s paid his dues. He’s spent huge amounts of time on the ground in poor countries, doing nitty gritty, often unglamorous work trying to help the locals in places where there was no fancy expat hotel or housing. That’s why Americans getting upset about their lifestyles (the woman in the article was whining because she couldn’t buy a house) doesn’t cut it wit him. He’s been in way too many Third World slums.

          How nice for him. And what did he do before that? Did he build up a nest egg to be able to travel the world and do good? Must be nice to have the luxury of being able to ponder a future where you have a positive net worth.

          Ah, homeownership! I pass many a wistful hour on Zillow trying to imagine the possibilities. Alas, I can more easily picture myself leading a left-wing militia into battle than I can see myself buying a house

          What an entitled brat, crying about not being able to not afford a house. /s She was trying to use humor to make our level of desperation relatable to people who have had the good fortune of being able to build wealth over their lifetimes. Which is why that is all she said about houses.

          1. Yves Smith

            A rough rendering of a passage in Dune:

            “I present a general garment and you find it to be made to order?”

            Your projection about resilic is pretty remarkable. You think anyone who works in super poor countries is a well off dilettante who can leave at any time? Your default is to assume anyone is way better off than you are.

            He worked for the Peace Corp and then took other development jobs.

            And that bit in the story about “I pass many a wistful hour on Zillow trying to imagine the possibilities” did not come off as in jest but more trying to make light of an obsession. The author spends a lot of time looking at houses. Even people who are buying houses usually don’t spend as much of their waking day on it.

            And I don’t understand wanting to buy or own a house, much the less fixating on it. I’ve spend nearly two decades with a negative net worth, so don’t try pulling debt rank on me. Houses take a ton of time and energy to keep up and can easily become financial or practical millstones. Both my brothers lost money in inflation-adjusted terms (and one in nominal terms) on houses, as did my parents. I’d much rather rent provided the local laws provide for reasonable protection of tenants (as they do in NYC and Sydney).

      2. marcyincny

        The comment may have been made in regard to the article about millennials but it was extended to all Americans and it echos my own when some ‘Never Trumper’ tries to tell they don’t recognize their country since he was elected.

        If there is some generational distinction to be made I just hope millennials are more aware of the systemic problems and more interested in making the necessary changes.

        1. occasional anonymous

          And who created those systems, and who refuses to make any meaningful reforms of it? It isn’t the millennials. We consistently vote for reform.

          1. flora

            My guess is it was the powerful rich of earlier generations who created those systems, and the children and grandchildren of those powerful rich are doing just fine, including their millennial and gen Z offspring.

            The children and grandchildren of the earlier middle class and working class aren’t as financially fine or comfortable. Of course, their not powerful and not rich parents and grandparents didn’t create these systems, but only tried to navigate them as best they could in their time.

            There’s a lot to be reformed. It starts with wealth, imo. Reagan more or less eliminated the inheretance tax so wealth accumulates across generations of the rich faster and faster; reduced circumstances squeeze harder across the generations of the not rich. My 2 cents.

          2. Yves Smith

            Oh really? Who has power in America? Mark Zuckerberg. Jeff Bezos. Tons of young and young-ish private equity barons. The idea that all younger people are blameless is bunk. It’s the monied interests that are your enemy, not old farts who never had any influence.

            Policy in America has zilch to do with votes. It has to do with political donations. Rich people are the donors that count. Average people of any age group don’t.

            Tons and I mean tons of studies show how easily it is to move the opinion of an entire country in as little as six weeks with sustained messaging. Money lets you do that and even invest in focus groups to find the right appealing-sounding deceptive packaging.

      3. Cripes

        User-friendly, I can assure you if you get cancer hit by a bus or the plague you won’t be as happy as you expect. In my experience people who say that really haven’t had to cope with personal grief. Usually just mad they don’t have what they imagine they deserve.
        Just a comment from someone who has lived long enough with too little money and knows better.

        1. UserFriendly

          lol. option one:
          Continue this miserable existence where It literally does not make financial sense for me to work unless I can get a starting salary above $70k/ year and with my swiss cheese resume and 30% unemployment that isn’t gonna happen. Where even the thought of having to interact with people in person or on the phone just makes me want to run away. All just so I can watch climate change destroy millions of lives and not be able to do anything about it.

          Option two: be doped up on opiates till I kick the bucket while refusing any medical treatment and not having to deal with any of the BS around suicide.

          Gee, decisions decisions.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “McConnell urges people to wear masks: ‘There’s no stigma'”

    That may be what McConnell is saying but Trump is now labeling people wearing mask as being ‘politically correct.’ He actually mocked a reporter trying to ask him a question while wearing a mask as being so-

    What do you say to someone who displays such a lack of leadership in the middle of a pandemic? The only thing that comes to mind is “You just keep thinking, Butch. That’s what you’re good at.”

    1. Louis Fyne

      as with many things, everyone in leadership is at fault with the masks debacle—-

      add in the WHO, CDC, Obama, Fauci, local health officials , et al who poisoned the public goodwill in the early days with their insistence that masks/face coverings were useless despite near universal mask usage in East Asia at the same time

      1. bwilli123

        Face coverings for the public: Laying straw men to rest
        “Mathematical modelling suggests that a face covering that is 60% effective at blocking viral transmission and is worn by 60% of the population will reduce R0 to below 1.0.26 This leaves plenty of room for error as people make their own imperfect coverings from old clothing and as some people either cannot or will not wear a face covering. Not all respiratory viruses are filtered equally; masks appear to be more efficient at blocking Sars‐Cov‐2 than rhinoviruses or adenoviruses, for example.27 Materials scientists have shown that whilst different fabrics are more or less efficient at blocking particle transmission, cotton weaves with high thread count or a double layer of two different fabrics (eg, cotton‐flannel) typically provides high filtration efficiency.

        There are now many natural experiments of the wearing of masks or face coverings in Covid‐19, as countries introduce either mandatory or voluntary policies. Of note is the example of the Czech Republic and Austria, both of which introduced social distancing on the same day; the former also introduced compulsory face coverings. New covid‐19 infections fell more quickly in the Czech Republic, and only began to fall in Austria after masks were made mandatory 2 weeks later,3 though an alternative interpretation of this natural experiment is that Austrian data was confounded by changes in testing policy. Also noteworthy is the observation that every single country where masks or cloth face coverings have been introduced as national policy (often but not always alongside other measures), rates of transmission fell in the subsequent days.

        1. Robert Gray

          He said, she said, who shot John?

          Finnish Ministry of Health:

          Research has shown that widespread use of face masks have little or no effect on reducing the spread of upper respiratory infections, according to a report presented a government-appointed working group led by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (MSAH) on Friday.

          “There is no scientific evidence for its use,” Emerita Professor Marjukka Mäkelä said at a press briefing to unveil the report.

          1. mpalomar

            Regardless, I find it comforting that from Hong Kong to Minneapolis, as protesters and police knock each other about the head with sticks and stones, masks are in use by all.

    2. Winston Smith

      Question: why should Rich *itch McConnell’s name appear on this site unless he has something of substance to say? Like “I resign” or “I look forward to retirement this summer”

      1. Duck1

        Realize you are going for rhetorical effect, but to answer. McConnell is one of the few very powerful people in the representative government because he leads the Senate majority. In this particular case his mask position is contra the Trump opinion, so one of those interesting fractures in Republican party unity. In general being aware of the views of those you oppose is sort of a prerequisite for oppositional action.

        1. Winston Smith

          I take your point and appreciate what you are pointing to. I think calling this a “fracture” is an overstatement. I devoutly wish that you are correct and that the republican senators will try to distance themselves from Trump. But they know it is too late for that, they cannot survive politically without the support of his base supporters. McConnell’s gesture is akin the Susan Collins’ “concern”. Whatever happens, the country is in for a very difficult year indeed

    3. Clive

      Unfortunately as soon as politicising and moralising entered into the (what should have been) basic, ordinary public health campaign, that was the end of that. And I’m not that tolerant of any countering which goes along the lines of “well it was them that started it…” — that sort of argument gets short-shrift if used by small children in the schoolyard so adults attempting to invoke it aren’t highest on my list of sympathetic actors.

      As a consequence, whatever the science says on the matter, it’s become not a public health question but a proxy for wider societal, cultural and political battles.

      So all is now lost. Where are we now with this? Mask sceptics can (and will) launch legal battles, people can make whatever statements they are trying to make by not wearing them and police will, perhaps not unwisely, refuse to get into enforcement (and after all, at the very best enforcement can only ever be patchy and token gestures). And mask proponents can — what? — attempt some kind of interventions directly (not advisable for a variety of reasons) or do the old standby, a passive-aggressive display of putting on some dirty looks. Neither of which reactions will gain sway over the people who they need to influence.

      All that’s left to try is to attempt improving adherence through coercion and punishments. Which won’t be any more successful than any of the other approaches. Then, it’s merely a matter of abandoning the entire attempt at convincing anyone to do anything and put the whole sorry saga to bed for a few years until, hopefully, everyone’s forgotten all the furore. And coming back with a properly considered, disciplined and executed public health campaign, the principles of which have been known and understood for at least 50 years, possible a century. While hoping that the reaction isn’t “oh, no, they’re not trying that whole mask thing again, are they?”

      There’s a stack of well-researched, comprehensively documented material on how to do this sort of public health campaigning properly. Let’s hope people read it next time. Certainly, the current COVID-19 pandemic has elicited just about the worst possible dynamic for promoting the adoption of widespread wearing of face coverings. It’s like someone’s taken everything that is known about how to do things correctly, and then gone and done the exact opposite. And people are surprised by the sorry state it’s in now?

        1. Clive

          We don’t, as you say, live in those sorts of societies where cultural cohesion and group harmony are extremely important. It brings enormous benefits.

          But there are costs. I love Japan, lived there several years, heavily imbibe the history of the place and know its people and language about as well as any non-native can know them.

          I would hesitate to return there on a permanent basis. Yes, there’s a free press, but it operates within very cosy, narrow, agreed and tame limits. The workplaces are a disgrace with microagressions keeping people in line, bullying and social pressures to make your work your family. Housing is poor considering the cost because land ownership and construction is corrupted. The legal system is harsh and not always entirely fair. Forget any notion you have about US-style tolerating of unconventional lifestyles except on a bell jar “ooh, look at that” safety valve basis.

          You might move there and love it to bits. But you might also move there and be desperate to return “home” after a few years.

          I’ve certainly looked long and hard for the perfect society in the perfect country. Suffice to say, I’ve not found it yet. A few have come close, but there’s always a fly inner ointment or two.

          Oh, and I can’t help but laugh when you mention HK. You may have missed that the U.K. government has offered visas to the population there to Get Out Of Dodge if they want and come to the U.K. to escape the Chinese government. Talk about Hobson’s choice, but that tells you something about idealising a place from a safe distance away.

    4. crittermom

      The Rev Kev–
      I love that you quoted a line from one of my favorite movies.

      When I clicked on the link, however, it said ‘it was restricted from viewing in my geographical area’!
      Hmm… (I’m in Colorado)

  5. timbers

    China / India / Hong Kong / Minneapolis / Electronic voting

    Maybe President XI might consider making an offer to America to mediate between the police and Minneapolis residents.

    He could offer to fund an Electronic vote using Diebold electronic voting counting systems, and ask Shelby County Election commission to oversee implantation of election to see if Minneapolis wants to succeed from the Union. Since the undesirable votes will likely be disappeared, the vote shouldn’t be a concern. President XI could ask if the UK would be interested in offering passports to residents who want to flee in advance of the releasing the Diebold voter tabulations.

    President XI might also consider make his views known on any security measures American or Minneapolis might be considering in response to recent events, and consider imposing sanctions on America if they make the wrong decisions.

      1. witters

        Yeah. If he got voted in he’d be nice as a daisy.

        Though the CPC does vote, of course.

  6. pebird

    “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” – Trump

    Not sure Wall Street approved that tweet.

    1. Lost in OR

      I wonder how many voters would approve the implementation of that tweet.

      The economy isn’t the only trap Trump might stumble into.

      Heartlessness has its limits.

      1. Aumua

        Well he doesn’t have to do it. To get the reaction he wants he just has to say it.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “UK says it will extend Hongkongers’ visa rights if China pursues security laws”

    ‘Foreign secretary Dominic Raab threatens to change status of British national (overseas) passport holders’

    The Tories made a lot of hay during the Brexit debates talking about all the foreigners coming in and taking British jobs. I read that Dominic Raab was a big name here. So now they are saying that it is cool to have what, 300,000 from Hong Kong stay in the UK now. Will they be able to circle that square?

    1. John A

      Raab said, extend … for 12 months. Ie not permanently! How that will work is anyone’s guess, but whatever system they introduce or launch, will be world leading, world class, as have been all the recent coronavirus intiatives in britain.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I should have expanded my comment. Yes, that is for 12 months and not permanently but a lot of things can happen in Hong Kong in 12 months. Look where Hong Kong was 12 months ago. If China cracks down, those visa holders may ask for asylum on the grounds that they cannot return fearing arrest. The UK may do a Germany and demand that other countries take a share of those 300,000 people. Los of possibilities here. And like yourself, I have little faith in the planning ability of the Boris Johnson regime.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Gentlemen.

          Would Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaab change the status of the Chagossiens living in Mauritius and allow them to settle in Blighty? Perhaps, they are too dark and too poor for Borislavia.

          Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaab grew up down the road in Amersham. He’s one of these descendants of immigrants, of whom there are many in the Tory party, who want to outdo the natives in their imperial fervour.

          Up the road, in Milton Keynes, there’s a small community of migrants from Hong Kong. In order to stay in government for as long as possible and facilitate the return to Chinese sovereignty, they were given British passports and settled there.

          For part of his childhood, Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaab had Sir Ian Gilmour, Baronet and married to the daughter and sister of dukes, as MP. Gilmour was a gentleman in every sense of the word. WTF happened to the Tory party?! They don’t even have toffs one can tug one’s forelock to.

          1. Cheeky Tongue Excision

            That, sir, is why their bringing over nice fellow feelers from an exceptional economical land we can kowtow to, shows they move with the times you know! Whatever next it won’t be a Tory return, there is no remontada from this debacle. perhaps keep your powder dry on those also rans :)

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, John.

        It’s crazy, isn’t it. Plus the BBC propaganda that accompanies these disasters.

        Still, the unofficial tally, about 70,000 deaths in a population of, unofficially, about 70 million will put us at the top of the world rankings. My money is still on a Tory victory at the next election, perhaps a khaki one for Kemal Johnson.

    2. MLTPB

      British point of view.

      On the other hand, I imagine those Hong Kongers will be grateful, to even those not circling that square.

    1. Brindle

      Yes—body language, clothing, authoritarian attitude certainly make this individual a prime candidate to be an undercover cop.

      1. allan

        Since he was walking around with an open umbrella, he would stick out like a sore thumb on the inevitable police surveillance drone video footage, as he walked to the site that he vandalized and as he walked away. There’s no way they don’t know who he is.

          1. J.k

            I figured he was trying to hide any visible identifying physical features that may get captured by business security cameras.

          2. ambrit

            An umbrella is a good defense against various “sprays” used to incapacitate crowd goers.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        My guess is the umbrella was there so the cops would easily know who not to interfere with.

        There are lots of good cops out there, but there are also lots of bad ones. And the job pointedly doesn’t discriminate between the two. When it comes to the bad cops, bullies, virulent racists, sadists, murderers even, the profession operates more like a criminal gang than a public service. Loyalty is placed above the law, far above. It’s exactly the same as how organized crime operates. The various layers of impunity from accountability—from fellow officers who will—must— lie, even under oath, to protect bad cops, even murderers—to prosecutors and DAs who are completely allied with these criminal police gangs under the guise of “law and order”.

        The cops in Minneapolis were never going to be treated according to law, the fact that the perp wasn’t immediately arrested is clear proof of that. Nobody but a cop would be released unarrested and uncharged after a daylight public execution-style murder on the street. The way the system has been built, where cops can literally murder poor, brown people with near total impunity, means violent, racist young men with murderous and violent proclivities have a special place built just for them to operate. It also means there is no hope for justice within the legal system for the victims of these racist violent cops. The DAs and prosecutors won’t do anything, they are as in league with the criminal gang as any mob lawyer. Finally, what it means is that if the people being terrorized and brutalized have no means of obtaining justice except through what lawyers might call self-help—doing justice themselves. Mob justice isn’t a pretty or good thing, but it’s probably better than no justice at all, or worse, justice being violently and systemically denied to victims of injustice.

        As I watched the TV late last night, I was more behind the people torching that Third Precinct house than the cops who had abandoned it. The only way things will ever change is if the people in these communities make the lawless, corrupt status quo completely intolerable and protesting, rioting and looting are the only way they have to do that. The cops and the system will never reform or change voluntarily, not any more than the Mafia will. The only way to stop them is to stop them, and the law and legal system are so rigged, so broken that it, tragically, cannot be done within the system.

    2. Roger Smith

      This guy is certainly sketchy and other posts seem to confirm he is a cop. However, one dude smashing some windows does not excuse hundreds more for looting and committing arson. Even the guys in this video are all over him about what he was doing. The attempt to lay blame on this odd occurrence for the entirety of the riot would be beyond farce, if the Mayor and Governor of Minnesota didn’t just redefine the meaning of farce over the last few nights.

      1. hunkerdown

        Actually, it does. If you don’t want to be held personally responsible for causing riots, don’t kill poor people. It’s basic cause and effect and people who can’t understand it don’t have any business owning property.

        Okay, devil’s advocate and all that, but now do you see how moral warfare and transpersonal exclusion work?

      2. occasional anonymous

        “one dude smashing some windows does not excuse hundreds more for looting and committing arson”

        There’s nothing to excuse, at least in regards to the burning of the police station. This is a war. It’s been a war for a very long time. The cops drew first blood, then came the counterpunch.

      1. allan

        Ryan Grim @ryangrim
        Minnesota attorney general [Keith Ellison] asks the public for help identifying a potential provocateur. YouTube takes down the video.

        First they came for the umbrella-Americans, and I said nothing …

      2. Yves Smith

        Are they SWAT boots? Anyone can buy them and they are terrific. Best cheap boots for the money. The armed forces spent a ton of money on the design. I have terrible orthopedic issues and yet I find them comfortable despite the thick soles, which are normally intolerable.

        But in fairness, not many people know about them.

    3. fresno dan

      May 29, 2020 at 8:46 am
      “…is not a cop”
      I was responding to comments in reverse order, and I went over to MoA because of comments about Mo
      A – I saw the twitter about window breaking too. Now, its possible its just similar looking individuals, but I agree with your observation about the window breakers demeanor suggesting a police officer.
      A lot of people are having their eyes opened about the FBI – maybe this could be the eye opening event with regard to local police…

    4. periol

      I hope this isn’t too conspiratorial, but I’m *very* weirded out that both the cop and they guy he killed worked together as security guards for a good long while. Could this entire thing be the work of agent provocateurs, from top to bottom?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The original call to the police was about a counterfeit $20 “bill” Floyd supposedly passed. What do you want to bet this isn’t the only fake $20 bill in circulation in Minneapolis and the source of the counterfeit money?

        1. periol

          Oh damn, an organized crime thriller in the making!

          So at the end of this, we find out that some Minneapolis cops are thoroughly corrupt and are running counterfeit money along with other scams, and then you get real deep and you find out the cops are running all organized crime up there, and this was a gangland murder made to look like police brutality?

          L.A. Confidential was a fun movie. Minneapolis Confidential doesn’t have the same ring to it. St. Paul’s Apocalypse?

          I believe it. For a short time I lived in Missouri, and once every two weeks two cop cars would stand guard in front of the house across the street while meth was cooked. It was surreal. The sergeant in charge of the patrol division ran all the drugs in town. No proof. But I shook his hand and then stayed outside his house in the car while a friend went in to buy half a pound of weed once. I’m sure no one will be shocked to hear it was really a really poor quality brick of dirt weed. Cops, man.

        2. periol

          What do you want to bet this isn’t the only fake $20 bill in circulation in Minneapolis and the source of the counterfeit money?


          (sorry, couldn’t resist the bait)

  8. wsa

    Oh, look. CNN analyst — and former FBI agent! — Asha Rangappa is trying to associate events in Minneapolis with… the Russians!

    Russiagate is like a universal solvent, absolving liberal institutions of anything they care to throw it at.

    1. allan

      Neither that Tweet, nor the one she was replying to, had anything to do with Minneapolis.
      Did you mean another one?

      1. wsa

        Why else would we need “just a reminder” on May 28 2020 that the Russians’ mysteriously potent powers of persuasion were directed at black Americans during the 2016 election? Black Lives Matter got the same Russia treatment from some corners. Even the Civil Rights movement was accused of being a Soviet plan. The deep context here was pretty clear, I thought.

        1. allan

          Following the links, it seemed to be referring to an article,
          “Zuckerberg says Twitter is wrong to fact-check Trump”, in Newsweek.

          So, Trump’s war on social media, and Zuckerberg saying, “Hey, Don, don’t look at me.”
          I don’t see any connection with the events in MSP – the Tweets predate
          DJT’s inflammatory Tweet this morning about looting and shooting.

  9. You're soaking in it!

    “Still germane” indeed.

    One doesn’t even know how far back to start.

  10. jr

    The New Yorker article about screwed Millennials kinda soured my coffee a bit this morning. First the author has to let everyone know that she has the leisure to languish on Zillow for “hours.” Fairly typical class marker for the New Yorker IME. Then she describes very real problems but can only frame them as a competition between Gen Xers getting back “on top” while Millennials may never “catch up.” Ugh, Neolib Ratrace 101. She frames all of this with a smug bit about leading marches and militias. On the face of it she sounds self deprecating, “Can you imagine me doing that?!” but then that’s the point: she doesn’t have to get her hands dirty, she never will and the notion is so absurd you just have to chuckle…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Reckon that there is too much talk about Millennials and Boomers and Gen Xers but without recognizing that while they fight each other, the ship is sinking with the 1% have gotten into the half-empty lifeboats and who are now paddling away with all the money that they looted. So the other day I was reading an article by Umair Haque on how bad the general situation is. Personally I am not so pessimistic as he is but he does make some telling points-

      1. jr

        Thank you for that mind clearing link. This is rich:

        “Why are you negative, Umair?”

        How do you even answer that question? What pocket universe must that person live in?

        My GF works in luxury publishing and whilst I’m cooking and cleaning she Zooms around the living room all day. The conversations are sometimes surreal, I’ll hear the voices go from discussing the healing effects of pastel wallpaper to talk of riots and trailers of COVID corpses. One higher up opined that at some point the billionaires will just have to step in to fix things.

        They aren’t dumb bells, just extremely insulated. They have no idea what’s coming, let alone what’s here. All of them except my long suffering GF who has to listen to me ranting on…

        1. Massinissa

          “One higher up opined that at some point the billionaires will just have to step in to fix things.”

          Yeah, I’m sure Musk, Gates and Zuckerburg totally know what to do to stop both Covid-19 and riots. I mean, Musk did so great a job at promising to buy ventilators for hospitals and then… Never actually doing that.

      2. Fireship

        The comments on that piece are interesting. One kid claims that America is not technically a failed state. Another commentator agrees:

        “Tyler you are correct – America has flaws and problems but the freedom we enjoy is still the best system, flaws and all, that the world has ever seen.”

        Too many people are still asleep and dreaming the American dream.

        1. a different chris

          Thanks for reading them so I don’t have to. What is it, like 10% of Americans have “traveled overseas”? Explains a lot.

          The Haque article itself is pretty darn good, but everybody here knows he misses a fundamental point – America especially has no constraint on “how to pay for this”. We are the world’s reserve currency and can print as much as we want.

          But we *should* heavily tax (hey, charge the 1% a 99% marginal rate! – it has a nice symmetry) the rich just to bring the ship back into balance. This Gini coefficient is beyond unsustainable. That’s the true use of taxes nowadays.

          1. RMO

            “Tyler you are correct – America has flaws and problems but the freedom we enjoy is still the best system, flaws and all, that the world has ever seen.”

            Just the difference between my life here in Vancouver at the moment and the life of my best friend, currently living in San Fransisco with her husband, would seem to me to demonstrate that statement is as false as a subjective opinion can be. (And that’s even taking into consideration that she is Caucasian and has good health insurance through her husbands fairly well-paying job.)

      3. Big River Bandido

        Much of the writers analysis I agree with about the structural and economic points. But he completely misses the boat on the whole taxes-don’t-pay-for-govt-spending thing.

        Obviously there is no political will for real solutions. That doesn’t mean the solutions don’t exist. Although once the American state has failed, will the dollar still qualify as a “sovereign currency”?

  11. Democracy Working

    The Scientific American article about teeth & diet does not mention the important role of breastfeeding in palate and jaw development. I remember learning that breastfed babies are less likely to require orthodontia and wisdom tooth extraction, and I would speculate that when extended breastfeeding (2 years) was the norm in our species it would also have a protective effect on teeth owing to the topical antimicrobial properties of breast milk.

    I love to read condemnations of the Standard American Diet (SAD) but am always alert to the erasure of the foundational nutritional practice of breastfeeding!

    This article also echoes but does not explicitly reference the 1930’s research conducted by dentist Weston Price. Price traveled to several cultures with very different traditional diets, and produced an enormous collection of photographs devastatingly documenting the effect of nutrition on dental health as well as alignment and palate structure. The Weston Price Foundation has some cultish aspects that might trigger allergic responses among the NC commentariat, but I have long appreciated the simple underlying nutritional principles they derived from Price’s research comparing traditional diets to the Western industrial model.

    1. Harold

      Chewing is also supposed to promote straighter teeth. Food especially meat, used to be much chewier. I can remember myself having to chew meat much more.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Ilhan Omar on War, Arms Sales to Israel, Margaret Thatcher, and Prince”

    I was reading this article but when she was asked about Israel, she refused to answer and waffled instead so I gave up. America needs better progressives as the current bunch are not fit for purpose. It is bad enough that Omar seems to be fine with AIPAC but just today I was reading how AOC said that there is a place for nuclear power (??!) with the Green New Deal. Did these progressives run for office so that they could sell out or were they corrupted when they got into office? Either way, it did not take that long for it to happen.

    1. Infinite Onion

      It almost does not matter which it was, unless we can somehow use that knowledge to better avoid such useless folks in the future.

      But, if you’re disappointed with The Squad, perhaps you’d find us more to your liking. We actually love our people enough to attempt a revolution in the United States—and there is nothing you can buy us with. We know all too well:

      You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
      And get pats on the back as you pass,
      But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
      If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.

    2. zagonostra

      Jimmy Dore seems to be the rare voice in calling out progressives for continuing to (mis)place their hope on the Squad, Bernie, Tulsi, and Ro Khanna.

      The political institutional rot/corruption seems to advanced and infectious for newer members to effect progressive change, let alone not become tainted themselves.

    3. Anarcissie

      Omar was avoiding trapping herself with a soundbite (or textbite) which could be used against her. If she said something that could be edited down to ‘Yes, arms sales to Israel should be stopped,’ she would be castigated as an anti-Semite who was picking on poor little Israel. Instead, she said something like ‘Arms sales to [bad people] should be stopped’ so that the people who wanted to do the ritual castigation would first have to define Israel as ‘bad people’ which is the opposite of what they want to do. Is this not obvious? Is it progressive to offer your opponents an easy target?

    1. Roger Smith

      I quit reading Moon after b continuously played down COVID in January while praising China’s response. Very disappointing.

      1. anon in so cal

        B lost a lot of credibility with that move, as did many others, such as Off Guardian and John Pilger. Not sure what they were/are thinking. Moon has since gotten on board with the virus. Having said all that, hope he is not accurate in saying Minneapolis is the start of civil war. From Moon today:

        “Trump’s wordplay had an historically racist undertone:

        “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” is a threat coined by Miami Police Chief Walter Headley, who promised violent reprisals on black protesters in 1967. He also said: “We don’t mind being accused of police brutality. They haven’t seen anything yet.”
        Twitter marked the president’s tweet as ‘glorifying violence’ but did not remove it.”

        I would say Trump just lost 2020 with that tweet. The word “thug” is the equivalent of earlier extremely racist epithets.

        PS: I think Moon also falsely accused this website of something many months ago.

        1. Fireship

          Or won it. Racist dog whistles such as “thug” have had a long career in US politics.

            1. Dr. John Carpenter

              I think you are correct. There was a good bit on Raising today (Krystal’s radar I believe) that talked about courting the Karens with dogwhistle racism. Hell, the Amy Cooper video is exactly what you’re taking about. The Clintons have always been able to be more subtle about it, but the message is the same.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I suspect this going to be long summer. Traveon Martin, Eric Garner, the Baltimore protests, St Louis protests weren’t in the midst of a pandemic.

          And now the promise of restoring decency is being undertaken by Joe Biden.

          As for Trump, the gun nuts were allowed to wander about, seeking to intimidate people without any kind of real push back (they were probably off the job cops), but I expect them to really start doing nasty stuff all on their own, like “defending” confederate monstrosities.

          1. Aumua

            I predicted a while back that when the restrictions started to be lifted that we would see a resurgence of violence and anger in general. So far we haven’t seen violence of the mass shooting type, fortunately. But I suspect that will return as well, with a vengeance.

          2. False Solace

            Trump would much rather talk about looters and riots than Covid or the present state of the economy. Whatever might happen to stir up more inner city unrest is to his advantage.

      2. Olga

        You must be thinking of a different site. MoA has had many articles on covid (almost too many) – all very sensible, and not at all playing it down. Still a good site, too bad no longer linked to, though.

        1. fresno dan

          May 29, 2020 at 12:44 pm

          Pretty much the only time I go over to MoA is when there is a NC link. So I went over to MoA just to see what was up.
          So MoA has a twitter link asserting that someone breaking windows is actually an undercover cop. What is different is that now a days a lot more video, so it will be interesting if it pans out. The window breaker has a gas mask on, but he does look very much like a photo that is suppose to be of a local police officer…

          1. Olga

            I think the person has been “unmasked” as a cop.
            On other topics, it recently had a good take-down of NYT’s ‘reporting’ about Afghanistan, showing very clearly how the liberal establishment’s go-to-paper whitewashes history.
            No site is perfect, though in over 12-yrs of reading MoA, I have very few complaints.
            It had by far the best push-back on Syria, and now tries to counter the new (and growing) ‘must-hate-China’ narrative that is slowly creeping into too many news sites.
            In today’s world, I’d think, we need more outlets that challenge the prevailing tales, not fewer.
            (I missed the covid mea culpa, but it’d not be the first time a correction had been posted.)

        2. periol

          Olga, as noted above, MoA had a different take on coronavirus in the beginning, then actively shifted when faced with reality – I stopped checking him regularly at that time. He did publish a mea culpa of sorts, and on the rare occasions I’ve checked since, I’ve found that his articles are indeed sensible.

          People are allowed to be wrong, especially when they admit it and change their mind. More power to him for that.

          1. occasional anonymous

            His mea culpa was a kind of non-apology apology. He absolutely did downplay the severity of coronavirus in the beginning (his very first article about it is titled ‘The Coronavirus – No Need To Panic’). He also said it wasn’t particularly deadly. His tone absolutely did change over time, but he bizarrely insists that his attitude didn’t change, and that he only started to panic when Western governments failed to respond sensibly.

            He simply has a stubborn streak and is resistant to fully admitting when he’s wrong about something. He’s still a mostly excellent source of information. His (eventual) refusal to downplay coronavirus, and his countering of conspiracy theories related to it has visibly ticked off a bunch of his commentators.

            NC may no longer link to him, but just yesterday he was approvingly linking to multiple NC articles related to coronavirus.

            1. Yves Smith

              He is trying to make up for twice having falsely accused NC of being paid to take the position we have long taken on the Hong Kong protests, that they are home grown. They have way too much domestic support to be astroturf, plus their tactics are innovative in a way that is a threat to US crowd control, like how they contained tear gas cannisters and used laser pointed to thwart facial ID.

  13. anon in so cal

    >Coronavirus ravages poorer communities

    As the headline notes, there are continuingly vastly higher case counts and fatalities in the poorer areas of Los Angeles County than in the higher-income areas. Residents are more likely to work in “essential” jobs, rely on public transportation, live in crowded conditions and with higher levels of outdoor air pollution, be less able to afford whatever PPE is available, less able to afford avoiding stores, etc. All of those factors need remediation even independently of the virus.

    I scrutinize the Los Angeles County daily case report every day and even in the higher-income areas the case counts keep slowly creeping up. I attribute this to people being cavalier about the virus. Anecdotally speaking, plenty of people in solidly “blue” areas do not wear masks while outdoors and do not follow social distancing guidelines.

    Additionally, CA Gov Newsom seems hell bent on quickly moving through the reopening phases without pausing to assess outcomes. Dr. Sara Cody, the health officer for Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) whose initial recommendations of shelter-in-place saved many lives, sounded the alarm a few days ago.

    1. MLTPB

      That the case counts are creeping up in the LA county is more than just about rich or poor cities, aside from the important observation that the ‘not as rich communities’ are now seeing more, after the initial slower start (vs richer areas).

      Essential jobs, public transportation, or dense living don’t explain those persistent daily new cases in almost all neighborhoods.

      Higher mobility?

      People partying?

      1. anon in so cal

        Agree. And probably both. People keep congregating and partying. And more and more people are out and about. Today’s numbers show yet another increase:

        51,562 total cases; 2,290 total deaths; 1,824 daily new cases; 50 daily new deaths

  14. JTMcPhee

    Why America Has Misdiagnosed Russia’s Role In Syria:”

    Interesting quote in light of how bidness and corruption are carried on in the US Empire —

    Anyone who is intimate with Putin’s relationship with the vory v Zakone [thieves-in-law] could safely argue that Putin is pressuring Assad to mold Syria’s loose Mafia enterprise into a state-controlled organized crime, corporately minded and affiliated with certain elements of the state.

    Kind of like CIA involvement in drug trafficking, cops seizing property in civil forfeiture, all the gambling activities, huge subsidies to various businesses, and of course the manifest bribery that marks the supposed “political processes of democracy” here in the good old USA.

    On a slightly different track, here’s an article noting the size of the ‘underground economy’ in America — black market, off-books, cash payment, and arguing that this kind of economic activity helped cushion the last bankster-engineered collapse: And this article gives a notion of the scope of organized crime, which like “legitimate” supranational corporations has gone global: Here’s a look at the long comfortable relationship between the CIA and organized crime:

    So the observations of the writer of the “America Misdiagnosed Russia” post kind of open the blinds a little on one aspect of the reality of the world’s political economies that gets little attention. Seems to me that the US policy types intentionally obscure and gloss over complex realities in favor of glib neocon myths and wishes. Leading to more failed states (with more economic-looting activities presented in each one, to the carrion eaters that promote the chaos and drop in to dine on the carcasses. While poisoning the political economy of their nominal ‘home nation.’ As with Operation Mockingbird, the CIA’s pollution of public discourse in literature and media.

    1. km

      The author sounds like he’s perused a glossary of semi-current Russian jargon along with some conventional wisdom about Russia from the 1990s and has decided that makes him an expert on How Russia Works.

      1. RMO

        There was a bad omen early on in the article: “The astute (David) Ignatius”…

        And near the bottom of the first page: “Both Russia and Israel are at one in seeing Syria becoming stable and posing no threat to regional peace.” I’m pretty sure Russia really wants Syria to be stable (and not under a US controlled regime) but I think the Israeli government just wants Syria to be kept paralyzed by civil war.

  15. Alternate Delegate

    Report from Saint Paul Minnesota: Sirens and helicopters all yesterday and through the night along University Avenue. Helicopters continuing today. Don’t want to give Pioneer Press the link, but they report 170 businesses damaged. Luckily no serious injuries at this point.

    Please note the Snelling Avenue crossing University Avenue in Saint Paul is a different street from the Snelling Avenue crossing Lake Street several miles away in Minneapolis. Both are seeing protests, and both are near ghetto Target stores (all 24 stores in MN closed for the moment). Our ghetto Target is a half mile east of Snelling, directly across from the cop precinct. Again, this is a different precinct from the one in Minneapolis that Mayor Frey let the protesters have.

    Housemate reported inability to reach twitter or news from local IP address (kept “loading”). Had to go to VPN to see anything. Overloaded or possibly blocked? Everything seems to be reachable again later this morning, at any rate.

      1. Randy Middleclass

        We had helicopters and sirens, lots of sirens well into the early morning hours. A number of burning destroyed buildings. We’re a block off Snelling all kinds of broken windows and looting. We were very unsettled by the rampant lawlessness and arson, a lot of persistent arson. This in in Midway, St. Paul.

    1. False Solace

      I watched the 3rd Precinct on livestream for multiple hours last night.

      When a helicopter circled over the area someone in the crowd used a laser and the copter went away. Didn’t return. The protesters were setting off aerial fireworks which might have dissuaded them also.

      It was clear that law enforcement abandoned the area. Before nightfall there was a heavy police presence at the precinct. The police were lined up outside the precinct building firing off tear gas and rubber bullets like they were on sale. There were so many it sounded like popcorn going off. I observed Hong Kong style “firefighter teams” disabling the tear gas canisters with prepared gear and tactics. Then, as evening fell, the police abruptly vanished. For the next several hours there were no cops or security of any kind in the area. The protesters (or whatever you want to call them) were not rampaging by any means. There were some fires and property damage but honestly it looked like an evening at the State Fair. Where some people might be a little drunk or rowdy but it’s generally safe to walk around — in fact, a more communal atmosphere than that. The crowd was multiracial and multigenerational.

      I will note in passing the main stores that were looted were grocery stores. The people were looting food. Obviously other things were taken as well, but I thought that was significant.

      I was simultaneously watching a second livestream located in the downtown financial district. There continued to be a heavy police presence there. The protest had a more conventional flavor of people yelling insults at the lined up police. There was tear gas, some broken windows and graffiti, but no fires that I saw.

  16. barefoot charley

    Does anyone else have a problem with tweets in the feed just disappearing when clicked on? Didn’t used to happen, and I can’t even follow them to Twitter. I’ve tried evacuating cookies and cursing, nothing seems to work!

    1. Grebo

      No Twitter links have worked for me for several months. Just get a ‘whoops something went wrong’ birdy. I assume what went wrong is that I block ads, cookies, javascript and all the other tracking crap, which is of course Twitter’s raison d’etre.

  17. Tomonthebeach

    The Coronavirus Killed the Handshake and the Hug. – NOT

    This article is wishful thinking. Old habits die hard. This habit is alive and well and thriving in social settings globally. I do try to wash my hands soon after shaking. As for kiss-kiss – you can do it with masks on :-)

    1. flora

      A revival of lightweight, daily wear, washable summer gloves? In a cotton or nylon blend? Manners will change; men won’t need to remove the glove for a handshake.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I think that that this distaste to hugs and handshakes predates the pandemic. I have read accounts of how in high schools, if some guy touches a girl or displays affection, that he is immediately disciplined by the school for ‘inappropriateness.’ Police have been called in and students suspended irrespective of age. And yet humans are tactile by nature. It is who we are.

      What brought the idea of how much has changed home to me was when I was watching a TV series filmed in the late 90s. Often you will see the actors putting their arms around someone’s shoulder, patting hands or shoulders, etc. The point is that you see that now and say, hey – can’t do that in a workplace nowadays. This anti-handshake/hug thing is artificially imposed and goes counter to who we are as a species.

  18. jef

    “We should step away from the habit of accepting competition…” It’s not a habit, it is a mandatory element of capitalism. Is he saying we should step away from capitalism? …have capitalism without competition? Both are ridiculous.

    “…beyond the habit of thinking in terms of scarcity.” Again not a habit, it is the underlying principle of capitalism. So much so it is artificially created more often than not.

    Again I mention the fact that if everyone lived like the average american we would need 5 earths. We only have the one and it is sputtering and lurching so america must not allow the other 4/5ths to prosper and because we average americans have never stood up for the others, the 1% are targeting us too.

    1. Alternate Delegate

      Do you really think it is ridiculous to imagine stepping away from competition and capitalism?

      Maybe it’s time to start thinking through some apparently ridiculous possibilities.

      I mean, we’re out of alternatives from what we can see looking through the “non-ridiculous” Overton window.

    2. Olga

      “… because we average americans have never stood up for the others,”
      True, but when some did (MX, MLK), they were done away with – promptly.

    1. periol

      Major commercial businesses do not have a monopoly on practices that mistreat employees, screw customers, so on and so forth. Hard to make accurate judgments of intent (or lack thereof) just from seeing what type of business it is. Just because a business is “ethnic” doesn’t mean the owners are.

      1. sklar

        During the Rodney King riots, rioters particularly targeted Korean-American-owned businesses fueled by African-American racism against Asian-Americans. Why do people keep erasing and excusing such discriminatory behavior? Will this comment even make it past moderation here?

        1. CarlH

          I think Korean/African American relations in LA are far more complicated than just one side’s racism, as always in all human relations.

    2. Lucius Annaeus

      I found it interesting that this link keeps popping up. Seems coordinated.

      If you search for this link on Twitter, you can click through and see and see what else the people who posted it say on there. Anyone who has looked at Twitter more than a couple of times will not be surprised to find what other things they are reposting.

  19. Rod

    Whew, lot going on so…

    What to do if you’re exposed to tear gas Popular Science. From 2019, still germane.

    i agree–still germane.

    Always Be Prepared–

    In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote that to Be Prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.” More than a century later, preparedness is still a cornerstone of Scouting. Through its fun, values-based program, Scouting prepares young people for life.

    I have pledged two Lifetime Oaths’ in my lifetime–this above was one. The other had a lot more immediate consequences and involved Gov’t issued weapons.

    I still feel obligated to each–and, reassuringly, know I am not the only one.

    ASPIRE is a good word that needs to be used more often, along with the attendant effort.

  20. Michael McK

    Why was I not surprised to find an Everyone Counts (the CalPERS ‘voting’ vendor) alumnus at the heart of the e-voting mess in Georgia? Her son had worked there too.
    The fight for hand marked, hand counted ballots is one of the most important we face. The article shares studies (below) finding that e-voting cost Counties about twice as much as paper voting in Penn. and Georgia. That may be useful information for anyone to cite to their community’s officials as part of lobbying efforts to stay with (or return to) paper ballots.

  21. noonespecial

    Re: Black Injustice Tipping Point / George Floyd

    Music from the band Sublime – song title April 29, 1992. The lyrics speak volumes.

    I’m sure some at NC recall, or were present during, the moments when stores were being liberated in LA as a result of the Rodney King affair.

  22. m sam

    Thanks for sharing “From Mother Jones to Middlebury: The Problem and Promise of Political Violence in Trump’s America,” from 2017, still germane indeed! (And this, in Foreign Policy magazine, the Blob’s house organ?) What a great link to keep tucked away.

    To respond to moments such as this with empty and overtly hypocritical moralizing over such fleeting moments in history when the violence of social stratification is temporarily reversed. If I may riff on the theme a little, if you don’t want society to become a tinderbox of violence, then don’t allow it to become one. If you don’t want violence to be reversed upward and explode in such a manner, then stop punching down. Because the ‘shock’ to the system that is being delivered is mild in comparison:

    “What is so terribly difficult to understand about the clutched pearls of our present day is how readily those most eager to condemn the incivility of burning cars and punches overlook the most basic fact about their home. This is America. We do not resolve our disagreements with debate here; we do not respect all views, settle differences at the ballot box, and live calm and dutiful in civil peace except when we are interrupted by callous and unjustifiable outbursts of violence. The continent was cleared by guns and smallpox, the nation built up by the whip. A police baton and a jail cell prop up our civil life, and this is not simply a matter of who struck first. Political violence is a violation of our status quo, even one indulged by “both sides” of some political struggle. It is the essential mechanism. We have been examining what we took to be a feature of the landscape but instead discovered a foundation, deep and essential to the stone.”

Comments are closed.