2:00PM Water Cooler 6/25/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. The three main poles of our multipolar world:

If you’re asking which political system took better care of its citizens, and working class, in particular — China, Europe, or the United States — it’s not hard question to answer, is It? I hold no brief whatever for the CCP, and believe them to be as incapble of nobless oblige simple human decency as our own ruling class, and therefore I’d speculate that the balance of class power is different; China’s elites fear their working class in a way that United States elites do not.

AZ: “Fewer than 200 ICU beds available in Arizona as state reports more than 60,000 coronavirus cases” [ABC15]. “There are 198 Adult Intensive Care Unit beds available in the state, or 12%, as of Wednesday, state data shows. There are currently 1,495 ICU beds, or 88%, in use.”

FL: “Florida has less than 25% of its ICU beds available, state data shows” [News4Jax]. “Florida is currently seeing a surge in new coronavirus cases with the state’s seven highest daily increases since the pandemic began coming in the last week. But it’s not clear if that’s what’s causing the near-shortage in ICU beds. In fact, a Jacksonville doctor told News4Jax on Wednesday that — at least locally — most of the patients coming to the hospital with COVID-19 right now aren’t showing severe symptoms that require ventilators.” • OTOH, it looks like the State is gaming the capacity figures.

FL: “Homestead Hospital’s ICU at Capacity, Baptist Health Officials Say” [NBC6]. “Baptist Health confirmed that Homestead Hospital’s intensive care unit is at capacity due in part to coronavirus and more patients having elective surgeries, officials said Tuesday. Baptist Health officials said they are able to transfer patients to other hospitals in their system to manage capacity. Regular beds can also be converted to ICU and acute care beds if needed, they added.”

TX: “TMC 2-Week Projection Using Bed Occupancy Growth” [Texas Medical Center]. Handy chart:

TX: “Texas governor says there is a “massive” coronavirus outbreak across the state after reopening” [CBS]. “Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Wednesday the state is facing a “massive outbreak” in the coronavirus pandemic and that greater restrictions may be necessary….. New restrictions would be a reversal of Texas’ reopening plan, which has been moving forward this month despite the continued increase in cases and hospitalizations.”

The view from AEI and Pfizer:

“With technology” sounds like a deus ex machina to me (or, to put it less kindly, “And then, a miracle occurs!” That doesn’t mean I think the situation is hopeless; just what’s worked has been well-understood public heatlh thinking dating back to the Victorian era, not shiny toys. That, and doctors and nurses fighting through cases to learn which treatments work.)


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

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

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

Since we’re getting closer to the election, maybe it’s time to start looking at the electoral map. As of June 21: NPR and U.S. News forecasts added. Lots of new polls. And get so far the consensus remains the same.

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

So, taking the consensus as a given, 270 (total) – 204 (Trump’s) = 66. Trump must win 66 from the states in play: AZ (11), FL (29), MI (16), NC (15), PA (20), and WI (10) plus 1 to win not tie = 102. 102 – 66 = 36. So if Trump wins FL, MI, NC, and PA (29 + 16 + 15 + 20 = 80), he wins. That’s a heavy lift. I think I’ve got the math right this time!


Biden (D)(1): “Dems warm to Biden’s bunker strategy” [Politico]. “In the three months Biden launched his stay-at-home campaign from his cellar TV studio, his lead has grown to double-digits in national polls while Trump has pinballed from crisis to crisis. While the president’s approval ratings have suffered under the weight of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, an economic recession and protests over racism and police brutality, Biden just posted his widest lead yet — 14 percentage points, according to a New York Times/Siena poll released Wednesday. ‘Trump is running against Trump. And it’s smart of Biden to not get in the way of that,’ Hilary Rosen, a consulting partner of top Biden adviser Anita Dunn, said in echoing the sentiment in the campaign. ‘It’s become a referendum on Trump’s behavior.’ Democrats who were once alarmed that Biden needed to do more are suddenly perfectly happy with a schedule that keeps him as close as possible to his Wilmington, Del., home most days. Only recently has he begun to make forays beyond his own neighborhood.” • The beauty part of a Democrat running and winning as Not Trump™ is that they make no policy commitments. To voters, I mean. Not donors.

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “Blackstone’s Tony James Hosts Fundraiser for Biden” [Bloomberg]. “Blackstone Group Inc. Executive Vice Chairman Tony James hosted a small, high-dollar fundraiser for Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday. James and his wife, Amabel, led the virtual event for 30 donors with Biden, who’s been appearing nearly daily at fundraisers before the end of the quarter next week. Biden has been seeking to balance his efforts to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for his campaign from wealthy donors with the policy concerns of progressives who hope to see him enact tough rules on Wall Street if elected… ‘We’ve got to bring it back, we’ve got to rebuild the middle class and this time we’ve got to bring everybody along. Everybody of color. Those with disabilities. We’ve got to bring them all along. When we do, everybody’s better off,’ he said. ‘We can all win together,’ James responded.” • Wut:

“This time.”

Trump (R)(1): “Will 2020 Be a Repeat of 1972 and 1984 or a Version of 1994?” [Cook Political Report]. “For 38 months, President Trump’s job-approval numbers have seemed impervious to news developments, either positive or negative. His approval numbers declined through 2017, as he ended his first year under 40 percent, but through 2018 and 2019 they gradually ticked up to the mid-40s. Apart from that modest ebb and flow, his numbers just didn’t move. Even in the early stages of the coronavirus crisis and the economy going off a cliff, his numbers were frozen in place. But starting about the beginning of April, seven weeks before George Floyd’s tragic death in Minneapolis under the knee of a police officer, Trump’s approval rating started declining. His RealClearPolitics average peaked on March 30 at 47 percent with a 50 percent disapproval; as of Monday afternoon, his approval stood at 42 percent, with 55 percent disapproving. When matched up with Joe Biden, Trump typically trailed by about 5 or 6 points. At the end of March, the numbers started oscillating, as undecideds jumped from about 5 percent to 12 percent of the electorate. Then, beginning two weeks ago, about five days after Floyd’s death, a new pattern set in. Now the RCP average shows an 8-point lead for Biden. If we look at only live telephone interview surveys, his lead swells to about 10 points.”

Trump (R)(2): “This is the best American policy in 50 years” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “he United States is in the pit of the deepest recession since the 1930s. And yet, a recent study from the University of Chicago using Census data found that the poverty rate actually decreased from 10.9 percent in early 2020 to 8.6 percent in April and May. That’s not just unusual and highly welcome, it is the lowest rate ever recorded since the government began keeping official poverty figures in the 1960s. The reason is two parts of the CARES Act, passed back in March: the one-off economic rescue payment (which gave $1,200 to most individuals, and $500 to children) and the huge expansion of unemployment benefits. Despite ongoing administrative difficulties, these programs are certainly the most progressive policy America has seen in over half a century — nothing else since Medicare, Medicaid, and various civil rights laws from the mid-1960s can compare in impact.” • Now, that doesn’t mean these programs will persist. However, it’s worth nothing that the CARES Act — with Orange Hitler in the Oval Office, and a Republican Senate — has been far more effective in relieving suffering for the working class than Obama’s miserably inadequate response to the Crash of ~2008 and the subseqent foreclosure crisis, when Democrat held the House and the Senate, and Obama was the greatest orator of our time and the next FDR. It’s a funny old world.

* * *

UPDATE “Booker edges ahead of McGrath in too-close-to-call Kentucky Senate Democratic primary” [NBC News]. “With 12 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, Booker, whose candidacy has received the support of progressive lawmakers and groups around the country, led McGrath 45.1 percent to 40.2 percent, or by just over 3,200 votes, according to NBC News. The race remains too close to call, NBC News projects. The current tally includes only votes cast in person at the polls on Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots that will likely determine the outcome of the race have not yet been counted and will not be for days.” • So Booker edges ahead due to his late surge. Now we get to see how many voters the DNC suckered into early voting for McGrath. Still, good news in my book. If Booker wins, that would be truly seismic.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Coronavirus threatens democracy, prominent figures warn” [Politico]. “The future of liberal democracy is under threat because of the Covid-19 pandemic, as even democratically-elected governments have accumulated emergency powers that restrict human rights, numerous prominent figures argue in an open letter published Thursday…. It was signed by such well-known Americans as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Vice President Walter Mondale, former Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster, former U.S. Sens. Tom Daschle and Gary Hart, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, and Hollywood actor Richard Gere.” • Oh.

“Introducing the ‘Great Reset,’ world leaders’ radical plan to transform the economy” [The Hill]. “For decades, progressives have attempted to use climate change to justify liberal policy changes. But their latest attempt – a new proposal called the ‘Great Reset’ – is the most ambitious and radical plan the world has seen in more than a generation. At a virtual meeting earlier in June hosted by the World Economic Forum, some of the planet’s most powerful business leaders, government officials and activists announced a proposal to ‘reset’ the global economy. Instead of traditional capitalism, the high-profile group said the world should adopt more socialistic policies, such as wealth taxes, additional regulations and massive Green New Deal-like government programs. ‘Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed,’ wrote Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, in an article published on WEF’s website. ‘In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.’ Schwab also said that ‘all aspects of our societies and economies’ must be ‘revamped,’ ‘from education to social contracts and working conditions.’ Joining Schwab at the WEF event was Prince Charles, one of the primary proponents of the Great Reset; Gina Gopinath, the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund; António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations; and CEOs and presidents of major international corporations, such as Microsoft and BP. Activists from groups such as Greenpeace International and a variety of academics also attended the event or have expressed their support for the Great Reset.” • No wonder the reaction to Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans was so vicious….

“America’s Democratic Unraveling” [Daron Acemoglu, Foreign Affairs]. Fighting through the anti-Trump ranting, we come to this: “U.S. institutions were vulnerable to Trump’s attack because public trust had been quietly ebbing away from them for some time… The financial crisis of 2008, and the subsequent bailout for banks, only accelerated the trend toward inequality and deepened distrust in Congress, the judiciary, the Federal Reserve, and regulatory agencies. To regain that trust, the next administration must confront endemic racism as well as economic inequality. Good jobs must once again be on offer for most Americans—even those without college degrees. Redressing these wrongs will go a long way toward restoring faith in American democratic institutions. But the next administration must also redouble its commitment to bureaucratic expertise, competence, and autonomy. Institutions don’t merit public trust if they serve the interests of the president or other politicians instead of the interests of the people. Americans deserve better. One hopes they will use the ballot box, and if necessary the streets, to make sure that they get better.” • “Once again”?

* * *


OTOH, I’d argue that the success (at least in cultural terms) of the Sanders slogan #NotMeUs, as well as the protests generally, would indicate that matters are not nearly as bleak as this poll suggests.

Stats Watch

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

“20 June 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims 1,480,000 This Week” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 1,250 K to 1,400 K (consensus 1,340 K), and the Department of Labor reported 1,480,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 1,781,500 (reported last week as 1,773,500) to 1,620,750…. The pandemic has so far caused a 47,532,000 job loss. Likely half of this number are now employed].” • Handy chart:

The curve is similar to new confirmed cases; I wonder if the initial claims curve lags covid, and will turn up in the near future.

GDP: “Third Estimate 1Q2020 GDP Unchanged at 5.0%. Corporate Profits Declined.” [Econintersect]. “The third estimate of ffirst-quarter 2020 Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was unchanged at -5.0%. The coronavirus lockdown is the reason for the decline – and pushed GDP into contraction. No doubt the U.S. economy is in a recession…. I am not a fan of quarter-over-quarter exaggerated method of measuring GDP – but my year-over-year preferred method showed a significant decline from last quarter.”

Durable Goods: “Headline Durable Goods New Orders Improved In May 2020” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say the durable goods new orders improved after months of decline. Our analysis shows the rolling averages declined…. The data this month was better than expected – however, the previous months were revised down. In the adjusted data, the improvement in new orders was widespread – however, this sector remains deep in contraction.”

* * *

Commodities: “U.S. soybeans are heading back to trans-Pacific shipping lanes and that’s driving up prices of the agricultural commodity. China has ramped up its purchases of U.S. soybeans… making the crop profitable again for U.S. farmers after the coronavirus pandemic slammed demand” [Wall Street Journal]. “Soybean futures are up 7% since April and some traders believe the market momentum could push the prices to their highest level in over a year. China is behind the growth, with purchases of nearly 5 million metric tons of American soybeans in the past month. The

Shipping: “Supertanker rates collapse: ‘The dam has burst'” [American Shipper]. “Some sayings pop up again and again in shipping circles: ‘The way to make a small fortune in shipping is to start with a big one.’ ‘Moving cargo is what you do between buying and selling ships.’ ‘If analysts say the market can only get worse, buy.’ There’s also one that goes: ‘If there are 98 ships and 101 cargoes, boom, 98 cargoes and 101 tankers, bust.’ Alas, there are now a lot more tankers than cargoes. Rates are sliding, owners are capitulating, and charterers have the upper hand. Rates for very large crude carriers (VLCCs; tankers that carry 2 million barrels of crude) from the Middle East Gulf (MEG) to Asia were down to $20,000 per day on Wednesday, with the global average assessed at $26,537 per day by brokerage Howe Robinson. ‘The dam has burst, and VLCC rates have taken an overdue nosedive,’ said the brokerage Fearnleys in a new report.”

The Bezzle: “Wirecard Files For Insolvency, Seeks Court Protection” [PAYMNTS.COM]. “Wirecard, the embattled Germany payment services company, said Thursday (June 25) it was filing for insolvency. The decision comes less than a week after auditors disclosed $2.1 billion of supposed deposits were missing from two Philippines banks. Shares have fallen by more than 90 percent and the company has lost nearly $12 billion of market value. Wirecard becomes the first member of the country’s Frankfurt Stock Exchange to go out of business, ChannelNew Asia.com (CNA) reported.” • 


Accurate. See, we’re not the only ones!

Tech: “Apple Inc.’s decision to insource its semiconductors is raising big questions for the electronics giant’s suppliers. Apple is breaking off a 15-year agreement with chip supplier Intel Corp. as part of a broader strategy to replace third-party parts with components designed in house…. Apple’s drive toward its own custom components may have harsh repercussions for the broad eco-system of technology parts makers” [Wall Street Journal]. “Several supply Apple even as they fear the company will start making the components they produce. That’s a concern at the heart of many supplier-buyer pacts, but Apple’s scale and the high value of tech components make it a matter of survival for many companies. Tech manufacturers Imagination Technologies and Dialog Semiconductor were staggered by earlier Apple insourcing decisions. Such moves give Apple greater control over its components, however, and can reduce costs by eliminating a link in the supply chain.” • Shows you why “ecosystem” was always a terrible metaphor; after all, a panda doesn’t decide one day to in-source its bamboo.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 48 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 51 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 25 at 12:28pm.

The Biosphere

I believe this video might be of Wukchumni’s earthquake:

But the prose is a bit weird. Possibly auto-generated?

Health Care

“What to know about the 14-day quarantine requirement for New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “The governors of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut announced Wednesday that anyone traveling into their states from areas with a high level of community spread of the coronavirus must quarantine for 14 days…. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will continually update and publish on their websites a list of states to which the new advisory applies. Right now, it includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.” • Chutzpah! Unfortunately, upstate New York wasn’t able to similarly defend itself from New York’s rich. From the Times “How the Virus Won“:

Or New Orleans from Mardi Gras revelers, highly unlikely to be “essential workers”:

The whole thing makes me so angry and disgusted. Then this classic example of media/party incest doesn’t help:

The “Luv Guv”?! Get a room! (Chris Cuomo, of course, famously broke quarantine.) Trump’s never gonna win the coastal Blue states, so why he doesn’t run against them, I don’t know. He really needs to get Bannon back on the team.

“The shift of the coronavirus to primarily red states is complete — but it’s not that simple” [WaPo]. “It’s not exactly clear how New York, New Jersey and Connecticut established the metrics used for recommending quarantine or why it ignores states like California [lol]. It is clear, though, that the locus of the pandemic has shifted to states that were more likely to support Trump four years ago. However, the fact that only Trump counties in Clinton states have seen both static per capita and overall rates of increase in recent weeks complicates attempts to overlay this shift onto politics itself.”

* * *

“Outpatient visits rebound, but some specialties like pediatrics lag behind” [Health Care Dive]. “Outpatient visits have rebounded across the country, but they are still substantially lower than before the COVID-19 pandemic gained a foothold in the U.S., according to a report from Harvard University researchers who analyzed data from Phreesia, a healthcare technology company. Overall, outpatient visits are down 11% as of the week of June 14, compared to the prior-year period. However, the cumulative deficit is much larger. When looking at the period between March 15 through Saturday, visits are down nearly 40% from the same period a year earlier. Yet, over the past week, visits to some specialists have returned to normal, including dermatology and rheumatology. However, pediatric practices are among the hardest hit and have seen the greatest decline in visits when comparing specialties, according to Thursday’s report, the third in a series tracking outpatient volume.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Why Did the Washington Post Get This Woman Fired?” [WaPo]. “Last week, when Sue Schafer learned that the Washington Post planned to publish a story about one of the dumbest things she had ever done, she had the same question that many readers would have about the resulting 3,000-word article, ‘Blackface Incident at Post Cartoonist’s 2018 Halloween Party Resurfaces Amid Protests’: Why is this newsworthy? Readers within the Post newsroom were asking the question, too. ‘No one I’ve spoken with at the Post can figure out why we published this story,’ said one prominent reporter at the paper. ‘We blew up this woman’s life for no reason.’…. The Post said Schafer’s transgression was news because it happened in front of Toles and somewhere possibly in the vicinity of columnist Dana Milbank.” • “Somewhere possibly in the vicinity of Dana Milbank…

Class Warfare

UPDATE “For Portland, Ore., Woman, Home These Days Is Where She Parks Her Minivan” [NPR]. “Lavon is 67 years old, a retired school bus driver, and she was recently furloughed from her part-time job at Avis Rent-a-Car. In March, she also found herself without a home so she started living in her minivan on the streets of Portland, Ore. For the past few months, Lavon has been keeping an audio diary of her experience being newly homeless. Her first night living in her car, Lavon didn’t know where to park and feel safe. She drove around and found a road in an industrial area on the west side of Portland’s airport. The road is lined on both sides with people living in their cars, RVs and trailers. Many look as if they have been parked there a long time: They have awnings and furniture set up. Lavon parks alongside them each night, and although she doesn’t interact with her neighbors much, she says she feels there’s safety in numbers….. Lavon has struggled with housing instability since she was a kid. She grew up with a single mom who worked multiple jobs, and they moved around a lot. ‘I’m just one of those people that’s always on the move, not always willingly,’ Lavon says. ‘That’s just how my life has gone.'” • Just let me take a moment to find one of the Tweets produced by The Biden™’s Platitude Generator:

“Many look as if they have been parked there a long time.”

News of the Wired

There would be no sign if this had not already happened:


log scales

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

ChiGal: “For some reason the iphone focused on the droplets rather than the buds; maybe if I was a physicist I would understand how they morphed the horizontal wood siding of the house into a grid.” (The grids are there if you look. What I don’t understand is if, with the proper depth of field to get the buds and the droplets both, the grid effect would still happen. Readers?

And a bonus plant (BH):

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Billy

    ‘In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.’

    What they fear is a Great Reset of Decapitacion.

    Bring on the guillotines!

    Megajoules of energy not showing the massive amounts of energy needed to create the uranium fuel rods and the reactors to house them.

    1. flora

      ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.’ Schwab also said that ‘all aspects of our societies and economies’ must be ‘revamped,’ ‘from education to social contracts and working conditions.’ Joining Schwab at the WEF event was Prince Charles, one of the primary proponents of the Great Reset; Gina Gopinath, the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund;….

      Well, at least they aren’t calling it a New World Order. /s

          1. Bernalkid

            revamp social contracts, ha ha ha, more like mine them for any value the oligarchs can rip out and then tear them up and revamp them in the recycling bin, a green new deal letting the surviving peasants scratch a mere existence in a zero-hour gig “sharing” economy run by an Apple app from their silicon walled corporate castle of corporate greed

    2. hunkerdown

      EROEI on the uranium fuel cycle has been figured anywhere from 1:1 to 90:1 depending on where one draws the system boundaries. One study by researchers in the industry conservatively but cursorily estimates 5:1.

      My impression of most of the mainstream “conversation” about the manufactured “issue” is that it’s calculated to avoid talking about subjects uncomfortable for vested interests, such as alternative fuel cycles that don’t require crony capitalism to work.

    3. Jessica

      What the megajoules of energy show is that the energy in molecular bonds, the breaking of which is the energy source for sugar etc., is tiny compared to the energy in atomic bonds.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        Yes but you are not going to harness’s all of the energy from the mass defect in the atom.. just like you are not harnessing all of the energy in the molecular bonds of sugar.

        And the graph doesn’t consider all that pesky nuclear waste.

        1. Jessica

          You are right. The graph does not show that we should use nuclear power, but it does show why it is so tempting to try.

          1. jcmcdonal

            If we’d competently invested in it, lots of R&D etc., it would probably look a lot better. It’s not like some older reactor designs (CANDU) don’t offer major risk advantages if the concern is meltdown. And those were first built in the 70s. But oil is cheap…

            I think the relevant comparison is subway systems – if you keep building them and retain the competencies of the people doing the work, you can improve over time. Instead we like to start from scratch every 20 years.

    4. Mikel

      “Reset of the global economy”. This is the term I’ve used explaining to friends why “return to normal” is language used in order to keep the frogs in the boiling pot.
      Other sedating language: “V” shaped recovery.

      But none of the men in that meeting will feel the heat from the fallout of their sure to be inequitable and dystopian reset. Like Charles Hug Smith wrote in the article posted on NC last week: “For the Rich to Keep Getting Richer, We Have to Sacrifice Everything Else.” Everyone in that room is interested only in maintaining their massive wealth.
      They pay the politicians dearly to step up and take the heat.
      Whatever is not liked about the oligarchs’ reset is already all the “gubment’s” fault – never the oligarchs who are their true constituency. Then they use the divisiveness of policy, elections, and the MSM to keep the pleebs fighting among themselves.

    5. Pelham

      Re uranium: Good point, though I’m still partial to nuclear power as possibly the dominant means to beat climate change. But I’d still like to see some reckoning of the power downsides you mention for uranium, as well as similar numbers for various other energy sources.

      Fifty years into this environmental emergency you’d think everyone would have solid, proven figures of this sort at their fingertips.

      1. Synoia

        We know the answers:


        What we have not answered is the countervailing argument:


    6. L

      If you read through the article you find two things: First, according to the piece the plan is World Economic Forum types who are relying on armies of “Left Wing” troops to enact their change and that this will be nefarious. Second, the author is from the Heartland Institute funded by the Koch’s.

      Notably the “article” (really a hit piece) omits any discussion of what is actually being proposed or how it would work. Instead the goal seems to be to link the Davos set directly to the left-wing mobs attacking America, to … Prince Charles, in a global conspiracy to take over. This sounds more like Agenda 21 and less like an actual functional conspiracy.

      That said I am sure any attempt to “reset” along the lines defined by Schwartzman or any of the people who get invited to Davos will be bad for actual people but I don’t think the author of this piece exactly has our best interests at heart.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. Agenda 21 2.0.
        Run to the Hills!
        as a boneyfried Lefty, I am crestfallen that i haven’t got a check from Soros…or Davos…or whatever shadowy oligarch is allegedly pulling my strings.
        Heartland Institute is an insane asylum….de facto, if not de jure.

        1. Hepativore

          The antagonism of the political left towards nuclear energy is troublesome, particularly on how there are reactor types that address all of the usual issues that are raised about nuclear energy and they have existed for decades. There is also the fact that many on the left, particularly the “liberal” left (Karens) seem to be the largest component of the anti-vaxxer movement in many developed countries. As left as I am on the political spectrum I am more than aware there is also plenty of pseudoscience to be found on the political left as well as the political right.

          In any case, I think that propaganda from “liberal” corporate sources is more dangerous since many people still think that Democrats=political left as well as the media at large. So people who identify as rank-and-file Democrat are not as likely to recognize just how corporate-friendly the media they watch and their party is. I mean, at a passing glance it is evident that Obama was nothing more than a center-right neoliberal, yet he is still seen as a champion of social freedom and good governance by the populace at large in retrospect.

          1. periol

            Opposition to nuclear energy is not pseudoscience. You and I simply disagree about the long-term risks, the potential dangers that could arise in risky scenarios, and quite literally the fallout that would happen if those dangers materialize into reality.

            1. Felix_47

              Good points but can we maintain the current and anticipated world population that expects a high energy air conditioned future on renewable energy? I spent years living in the Mojave desert trying to figure out a renewable way to keep cool. I tried wind, solar, evaporative. In the end I had to break down and get a gas generator running a swamp cooler which was cooling the coils of an air conditioner that was also running off the generator. I don”t think the Mojave was any different than Rajastan or most of Afghanistan, which I have visited on a few occasions as a guest. So how do we get the big loads of power that will enable us to air condition, for example, Pakistan or Palestine?

              1. periol

                Nope, we can’t maintain. We are going to have to learn to use less.

                If AC is an absolute requirement for some places, they’ll just have to figure out a way to allocate the power. Just because we’re heating the planet like nobody’s business doesn’t mean we should jump to solutions where the fix ends up worse than the problem it was fixing. We have a nasty tendency to do that though, so I’m not holding my breath.

              2. Ahimsa

                I do believe the people of Rajastan and Afghanistan have been doing without Airconditionibng for thousands of years ;)

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            aside from Thorium, I’m pretty agnostic on nuclear power. I have family history with workers on the South Texas Nuclear Project, and am therefore not at all sanguine about quality control, etc at such facilities.
            as for the rest…yup.
            stepdad, if sufficiently in his cups when we eat over there, will alway…always…end up asking me why i won’t vote Biden.
            My response is pretty canned, by now, and wouldn’t surprise anyone here.
            But both him and mom still insist that Obama was the best president evah…and as progressive and well meaning in his baby steps towards socialist healthcare as anyone…
            so…what are ya gonna do? lol
            That age cohort in aggregate is likely a lost cause, as far as democratic socialism, or defunding the cops, or reining in the military and a whole lot of things goes.
            a lot of that intransigence/inertia is where they get their news from. Msdnc is on both tv’s all day long…mom takes breaks with home and garden(which causes other domestic issues around here,lol) and stepdad takes breaks for gunsmoke and the like(and football, of course)
            stepdad is afraid of computers, and mom gets her online news from Bing and Daily Kos, and is proud of her sophistication.
            A lifetime of Cold War anticommie propaganda has also done it’s work…”socialism” is scary to them, even when i enumerate the benefits…and, indeed, how both of them have benefited from it already(VA and Tricare)
            lead a horse to water, and he’ll stand there looking at ya.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Maybe you should tell your stepdad when he asks why you won’t vote for Biden something like this: “It’s simple. If Biden was here in the room with us, you would quickly discover that not only do you have more integrity than Biden does, but he is losing his marbles and is not the man he once was. And I believe that you should always vote a person for President that is better than you.”

              1. John Wright

                Even when Biden HAD all his marbles, the results weren’t good (the Clarence Thomas Hearings and the Iraq War Hearings he chaired are just two harmful and very consequential actions promoted by Biden).

                Maybe the DNC will promote the “marble losing” Biden as an improvement on the old version.

              2. Procopius

                And I believe that you should always vote a person for President that is better than you.”

                Admirable. How are you going to do that, given the parties that exist?

                1. The Rev Kev

                  Hey, don’t pick on me. :) I have a hard enough time trying to make a choice for Prime Minister of Australia while choosing from a shallower pool of candidates – all of whom are from the shallow end of the gene pool.

                  Anyway, with that question I was trying to word it in a way that might appeal to Amf’s stepdad. if I lived in America, I guess that I would normally vote for a Green but in a time of pandemic, would not risk my life at all by voting. I should mention that in Oz that voting here is compulsory though.

          3. Acacia

            there are reactor types that address all of the usual issues that are raised about nuclear energy and they have existed for decades

            Jeremy Rifkin has argued persuasively that nuclear power is pretty much a dead end. If you can refute every point that he’s made against it, I’d be curious to hear.

          4. Fireship

            If you make basic category errors like ‘liberal = left’ I don’t really trust you to understand the dangers of nuclear power.

  2. a different chris

    >“Dems warm to Biden’s bunker strategy”

    Aren’t we all? Given that the odds of Biden being the next President are at least 50/50, the less I have to see of him before then the better.

    1. jr

      In video gaming, someone who hides in a heavily defended bunker is “turtle-ing.” From now on I’m going to try to imagine Biden wearing a turtle costume whenever I have so see him…and then imagine an alligator messily devouring him.

      For the finance types:

      I found this book in my hallway, doubtless left by one of the many PMCs that are fleeing the Village. I can’t read it because of a serious allergy to numbers I’ve suffered from since birth but I thought it might be appreciated:


      “Called to Account does an excellent job of presenting the frauds as catalysts for the changes that have taken place in regulation, in accounting and auditing standards, and in accounting practice over the period from the early 1900s to the first part of the 21st century. The information about the frauds is presented in enough detail so that the reader can see why the fraud was successful. I recall Professor John Willingham saying a number of years ago that most partners and managers in public practice had not been involved in an audit where there had been a fraud and thus were not as well equipped as they might be to recognize a fraud at an audit client. Called to Account provides enough detail that the readers can easily imagine themselves in the picture and being required to make the decisions the auditor had to make.“

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > In video gaming, someone who hides in a heavily defended bunker is “turtle-ing.”

        Is this generally a successful strategy? Why or why not? Thank you!

        1. jr

          I played Team Fortress 2 as an Engineer, he builds auto cannons, ammo dispenser, teleporters etc. Engies are a gaming archetype, like spy or medic. If he is properly supported, mostly against spies yes, it can work, but you have to be vigilant. It’s a balance though, you need turtles to protect flags etc. but you need a front line to slow the advance or they overwhelm you. A good team knows their positions and know what types a particular team/map needs. It’s nuts, I got my GF to play it once and she said it was the most frenetic hour of her life.

          EVE has Citadels, space castles, which have a siege mode IIRC, and some of the bigger ships do as well. It can take hours to wear those mothers down…


          The price tag is 100 trillion in game credits, ISK, Inter Stellar Credits (Icelandic game), a billion ISK gets you 20$, so that Citadel will run you 20K$ real world….

          I hope the book is useful!

        2. anon y'mouse

          that would depend entirely upon the game, would it not?

          i can see variants of this strategy used commonly in MMOs. we used to call it “pulling to base” or somesuch. make the enemy enter a narrow room that you have locked down with your team, and wail on them at leisure.

          in that instance, it fails usually because someone fell asleep or someone’s pull failed to weed properly down to the desired mob, sometimes called “too many adds”.

          1. Larry Y

            Camping is more focused on staying place in a spot. Usually a choke point, valuable resource, or high ground.

            For example, hide/stealth at an area where lots of opposing players will come through (chokepoint, valuable resource, spawn points), then ambush attack.

            My person favorite is a tower or mountain top where snipers usually hang out. Since they usually get too comfortable and oblivious, bring a buddy and just humiliatingly melee them.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          I presume it depends on the strategy and opponents. Against AIs in 4X games, its really all you can do because the AI usually gets too many resources to simply beat by doing what the AI does. You can “min/max” to win, but it requires basically just clicking the buttons in a set pattern. Against people, its okay until you run into an aggressive player who knows “min/max” strategies. All you can do is hope the AI doesn’t have it out for you and attacks all at once.

          The games also have bonuses which basically snow ball until you get to the end of the game where the AIs advantages are nullified in some fashion usually in game inflation.

          Its best to just play for fun on lower levels such as emperor in the Civ series and have fun.

        4. occasional anonymous

          Depends on the game. But generally it is a viable strategy, if you can hole up around resources. It won’t win you a game by itself though; eventually your opponent(s) will get access to late-game, long range weapons that can obliterate your defenses from outside their defensive range. You *have* to have an army, you can’t just cower behind your walls forever.

        5. Larry Y

          Depends on the game. I found the Wikipedia Turtling entry.

          In some games, the turtle is so your opponents go after easier targets – especially if the game mechanics make it very difficult to eliminate people employing the strategy.

          In fighting games, the player plays in a defensive manner and plays keep away with quick/fast attacks and ranged attacks. This is usually a more beginner friendly style.

        6. Dr. Roberts

          It’s generally done in the mid-game in order to build up forces for a decisive attack at the end, preferably after the enemy has smashed themselves against your defenses. The problem with the strategy is that it allows your enemy to build their own forces unmolested and they can generally afford to build superior forces because they’re not spending money on defenses. Not sure how this translates into politics

        7. ChrisPacific

          It helps form one of the classic rock-paper-scissors triangles in real time strategy games like Starcraft. Generally it’s strong against early aggression or all-out assault tactics, but weak against opponents that avoid confronting you directly and invest in expanding or teching up instead, in which case all your fortifications become a useless misallocation of resources and you fall way behind.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I would see this in Age of Empires 2 when nubes would build up ten or twenty layers of walls and would have towers everywhere to protect themselves with. They only cut themselves off from their own resources. If Biden is turtling, then he may be copying Hillary. In her run for President, she went without being interviewed for month after month. The Press kept a count of days without Hillary appearing for an interview. Now Joe has the pandemic as an excuse to hide away. All he has to do is film clips but I can see his staff now trying to film one-

        “OK fellas. Take 172 and if he flubs it again, we’ll break for lunch.”

      3. rd

        Sorry, the turtle costume is already claimed by the “leader” of the Senate.

        Biden should probably be a clam from the Delaware beaches.

      4. integer

        The term “turtle-ing” (I thought it was “turtling”, but whatever) is also used in Mixed Martial Arts. It refers to fighters curling up into a ball on elbows and knees, with forearms protecting the sides of the head. It is generally used by fighters who have sustained a blow rendering them unable to fight back, but not unconscious, and is essentially a way for the hurt fighter to limit the damage they sustain until the referee steps in to stop the fight, usually about 5-10 seconds later. Occasionally the hurt fighter will recover enough during this time for the referee to allow the fight to continue. It really is a brutal sport.

        I’m guessing there’s a pretty good chance Biden will end up in the turtle position (figuratively speaking, of course) during one or more of the debates with Trump. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing the 2020 election being decided by a cage fight, after all Trump’s doctor has said he’s in perfect health and Biden was going around challenging people to push-up contests. I’d be rooting for a double KO (i.e. both knock each other out at the same time). It’s a very rare outcome but it does happen on occasion.

    2. rowlf

      “Free Joe Biden”

      “Release Joe now!”

      Maybe we need a “How many days has Joe Biden been confined” counter?

  3. periol

    Re: Wirecard

    “auditors disclosed $2.1 billion of supposed deposits were missing from two Philippines banks”

    I read that the company just flat-out lied. The deposits weren’t “missing” they never existed, the two banks in the Philippines said they had never had an account for Wirecard. The company just fabricated the bank accounts and siphoned the money off somewhere else.


    “The document claiming the existence of a Wirecard account with BDO is a falsified document and carries forged signatures of bank officers,” BDO said, adding that it had reported the matter to the Philippines’ central bank.

    Wirecard isn’t a victim here. This is fraud, plain and simple.

    1. Conrad

      I agree completely. The unwinding of the Wirecard fraud has been fascinating to watch over the last week. I’ve been watching avidly from my daughter’s bedside as she recovers from a burst appendix.

      I can’t help but draw some parallels between the two situations. The inflamed appendage festers quietly away until it eventually bursts, putting the wider body at grave risk unless skilled professionals recognise the danger and act quickly to excise the malign part and keep contagion at bay. Fortunately for my daughter the local public hospital staff were more than up to the task. I fear the German financial regulators are likely to be less competent.

      Oh and thanks to having the foresight to be born in a country with a functional healthcare system we have no need to start a Go Fund Me appeal to cover the 20 odd dollars in parking fees the surgery and 6 days in hospital have cost us. As the late, great Fred Dag sang ‘We don’t know how lucky we are’ here in New Zealand.

      1. The Rev Kev

        A burst appendix? Yikes! I hope that she recovers quickly. Probably for her the only sign of this will be a small scar but the Wirecard fraud will still be unwinding.

        1. Conrad

          It wasn’t pleasant. She will only have three little puncture scars from the surgery. Unless infection sets in I guess.

      1. Conrad

        It’s even worse than that. The German regulator took legal action against the Financial Times journalists who were pointing out Wirecards dubious accounts earlier this year.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Would those journalist be able to take legal action against the Regulator for making false accusations then? That is not a good story that. It means that the German government is giving, or trying to give, legal cover for Wirecards. But I suppose that after giving cover for Deutsche Bank, Wirecards would be a snap. The Germans deserve a better government here.

  4. McWatt

    “20 June 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims 1,480,000 This Week”

    This is anecdotal, however, one company I know received the PPP very early in the process, kept their workers employed, paid their mortgage, until the employment time commitment was fulfilled, then fired everyone a week ago. I think there will be a lot of this going on.

    1. Keith

      Kind of how it was designed. The goal was to keep people on the payroll until the virus passed. Then juice it up a little to give incentive to employers to bother with the hoops the govt puts out.

      The alternative was to close early, which I recall a famous chain doing. The chef/owner figured it was best to get out early while he still had money, gave out final paychecks and would get back into the business when/if things got better. I think shutting the shop and laying everyone off early turned out to be the better idea.

  5. arielle

    @chigal: tap the screen of the iphone where you want it to focus. You can select the area to focus on in this way and override what the camera wants to focus on. You will see a square box with a sun–this is the area of sharp focus and it can be moved. Can’t help you with the grid lines. Lemon tree? Very Pretty.

    1. fwe'zy

      Yes, those buds are motivating me to fish-n-kelp spray my poor lemon tree tonight! Does anybody have advice on whether I should use LawnStar surfactant to help the leaves hold onto the spray? I worry the cure might kill the patient, is that the saying?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          careful with that, though…it’ll kill whatever bees are there..and bugs in general. breaks the waxy coating on them and allows dessication.
          I use it on rare occasions i get aphids or spidermites. One drop in a regular handheld sprayer will do the truck.

          for foliar fertiliser(fish emulsion is my hands-down favorite), spray when it’s dry, and no surfactant is necessary.
          whatever falls off gets to the roots anyway.

          whomever my feedstore gets their fish fertiliser from has apparently gone out of business, so i’m stuck with my homemade cow patty tea, which can be quite vile, if i leave it to steep too long.

          1. furies

            My local hardware guy informed me when I bought the last gallon of ‘sea help’ that the source in Cresent City is running out of raw materials and looking to quit the biz.

            Amendments are finite too…o noes.

            1. fwe'zy

              “sea help” lol … yes, it dawn’d on me how absurd it was to use sea help but there it is. Thx for replies! I kind of want to just let the spray run off and forgo the lawnstar.

          2. Billy

            Does Dawn work on San Jose scale? The mollusc like things that ants deliberately plant on fruit tree branches so that other ants can lick up the sweet insect poop.

  6. Toshio_Mifune

    Apple Inc.’s decision to insource its semiconductors …

    I’d assume Apple is going to outsource its ARM chip designs to TSMC or some other foundry. There’s no guarantees on that one though and Apple certainly has the cash stockpile to set things up for themselves. Especially if they’ve identified that as being cost saving. That could potentially be pretty disruptive.

    1. Eureka Springs

      If all costs were zero would Apple make and sell a good 15″ laptop for less than 1500?

      1. JWP

        With zero costs, it’d be a lot easier to sell the computer Ikea style and sell each part for a hundred or so dollars and let the consumer deal with assembly. Add on a subscription service that sends you new parts and that special glue that makes repair impossible.

    2. periol

      Ever since Apple went to Intel, Hackintoshes became a thing again (I remember some from the 90s). I still run Snow Leopard on a Hackintosh, because you can swap out individual parts easily if something goes wrong, and PC parts are much easier to find (new) than Apple parts for old machines. I also still run an i7 MBP from 2012, really the last model where you can easily swap the battery, replace the hard drive, upgrade the RAM, etc. It’s been 8 years, and still the newest models don’t blow mine out the water, because the new models basically have the same upgrades I’ve installed, and the processors aren’t getting significantly better.

      Apple making their own chips would really lock their “ecosystem” down. They’ve already made their devices as unrepairable as possible, now they dump the Hackintoshes as well – it’s full systems control. This probably means that they’re preparing for a new generation of devices, because the odds are with a new non-Intel processor many of the current programs won’t work – everyone will be forced to upgrade. Similar to a decade ago, when the transition from Leopard to Snow Leopard to Lion obsoleted all the older machines in a space of, what, a couple of years?

      1. I won't even capitalize their name!

        My apple solution was to swear I would never buy an apple product again. That was several years ago. No problem at all. They do not deserve to make any profit off you, let alone their standard gouge.

        1. periol

          I am locked in by my audio recording hardware. Even if I could afford to upgrade to high-quality hardware not specifically for Macs, I’m pretty sure at the moment I don’t want to spend the time to learn new recording software. I’m going to keep this machine alive until the bitter, bitter end. Or upgrading to one of the old model nuclear bunker Mac Pros that can run Snow Leopard. Used all the way for me.

          Before I ever spend the money to upgrade the recording hardware, I’ll be diving into 8- and 16- tracks. Been doing more and more straight to tape. There’s just some things the computer interface is really good at handling.

          Before the music stuff nabbed me I hadn’t touched *apple products out of principle since the late 90s.

    3. JohnnySacks

      Gong to ARM is a really weird decision, are performance users going to appreciate that? Why not just offer AMD and Intel, each priced accordingly, and see what the customers say.

      1. periol

        One could ask, why not offer an iPhone with and without a headphone jack, and see what the customers say?

      2. Toshio_Mifune

        ARM makes obvious sense for mobile but there’s a lot of interest in ARM at the data center level. If nothing else it has the promise of power consumption reduction and less cooling requirements. Both of which are steep costs if you have a few thousand DL360s.
        Also, the new Mac Pro not withstanding Apple hasnt been all that welcoming of power users for a while.

      3. Larry Y

        It’s not weird if you want to make your own specialized chip with all kinds of AI acceleration, specialized image recognition hardware, etc. You do that with ARM – can’t imagine them doing that by licensing AMD or Intel processor cores.

        1. periol

          Back to the good old days of fanbois fighting over which processor is better, since they absolutely won’t handle benchmarks the same day. Can’t wait.

    4. Howard Beale IV

      Even IBM got rid of their foundries and relies on their formerly-owned fab’s to make their CPUs, thereby not really disrupting their supply chain.

    5. hunkerdown

      I used to joke that Apple is trying to be a better Sony than Sony. It’s not a joke anymore.

      Apple bought a semiconductor design team a while ago in an acquisition. They have enough talent in-house to create a system-on-chip for their new devices. (Hell, I did that while slumming it in retail years ago, and I dropped out of 11th grade.) They have also invested near-monumentally in compiler (Clang) and transpiler (LLVM) technologies, and have a proven track record of successfully migrating products to new platforms.

      An instruction set architecture is just a convention specifying what the machine looks like to the programmer and what instruction bit patterns cause what changes in the state of the machine. Apple, being well-resourced and very prone to not-invented-here syndrome, doesn’t profit much from enforced fidelity to another woman’s ISA, especially when your cores, whether your code or theirs, are covenantually obligated to not even talk to the neighborhood women or unfamiliar co-processors except by standardized protocols. Apple engineers would doubtless chomp at the bit for the opportunity to make their processors “think different” right down to the machine code, helping lock people into their toolchains and slowing down the infosec community’s discovery and exposure of any security vulnerabilities that may exist.

      (Oddly, Softbank, ARM’s owner, seems to be up a bit today.)

    1. periol

      I stumbled on a Great Conjunction conspiracy theory the other day, also apparently known as the Tecumseh Curse. Saturn and Jupiter come together in our night sky once every ~20 years or so, and it turns out that occurrence hasn’t been great for sitting US presidents. The cycle was broken only by Reagan (who survived an assassination attempt) and Bush the Younger (one could argue the real power, Dick Cheney, also narrowly survived some health issues).

      Anyways, not a good omen for Mr. Biden, but definitely a good one for his VP pick!


      Anyways, the date for the Great Conjunction this year is 12.21.2020.

  7. rd

    Abbot is suspending re-opening Texas putting a hold on new re-opening things. They are also starting to suspend elective surgeries in the big counties. https://www.businessinsider.com/texas-greg-abbott-pause-reopening-as-covid-cases-surge-2020-6

    Reality can really suck as some of these politicians are finding out. Viruses and bacteria are apolitical and don’t study economic theory. They just exploit efficient reproductive environments which many politicians are bending over backwards to provide. I finished reading John Barry’s “The Great Influenza.’ Politicians and most of the populace have learned nothing over the past century despite massive advances of the medical understanding of what is going on. There are entire chapters of that book where you could substitute “coronavirus” for “influenza” and it would read like it was happening today.

    BTW – NYC people are unaware that three-quarters of NYS even exists, so they never go east of Albany or Middleton in New York State. That is a key reason why much of upstate NY did not get hit hard – we were largely isolated from NYC, much more so than people along I-87 or I-95.

      1. rd

        Yates County has internet and telephone service, so you can work from home there at a fraction of the cost of Orange County. You might even be walking distance to some of the best wineries and cheeseries in NYS, as well as lots of hiking and aquatic recreation.

    1. Jason Boxman

      These politicians are surely doing just fine. Reality isn’t sucking for them. But a lot of constituents are in a world of hurt sadly.

    2. Keith

      But how long can you keep people locked down? Look at the recent riots and looting scenes. I suspect this had more to do with people being out of work and confined than with racial injustice, which is more like an excuse to get out and wreak havoc. I believe politicians noticed this, too.

      1. rd

        Upstate NY has quite a bit open, but everybody is quite respectful, wearing masks in public etc. Our numbers are going up a tiny bit, but not much.

        This disease can be addressed fairly safely without great restrictions, but people need to follow common-sense rules, not just pretend that it doesn’t exist. Respect for others seems to be missing. I blame the political rhetoric around this disease for much of that. The sicence of it has been difficult enough, never mind when it is put into a political blender. somehow, avoiding Covid has also become realted to 2nd Amendment issues in some places? Baffling.

        My big question is “How many people need to die or be disabled for politicians to be voted out of office”?.

      2. Daryl

        You are correct that we cannot continue lockdown with our current economic scheme without mass unrest. I don’t think it is impossible though. Just impossible for us.

  8. Adam1

    The Texas Medical Center chart makes me wet my pants scared. My younger brother is a young doctor at a hospital in San Antonio! He says the case load is increasing but he hasn’t yet seen any cases (he’s a urologist) but when it gets to the point of overcapacity it’ll be all hands on deck I would suspect.

    1. XXYY

      Worse is the fact that the situation in hospitals is an indicator that is lagging by several weeks what is happening in the larger society. So the trajectory in hospitals over the next 3 weeks is already baked in, no matter what steps we take now.

  9. Wukchumni

    I think that post earthquake video was @ Whitney Portal…

    Mt. Whitney area, (above Lone Pine), CA, June 25, 2020 – On June 24 at 10:40 am a 5.8 earthquake centered approximately 12 miles from Lone Pine, CA triggered several high-altitude rockslides. The most significant slide occurred south of the main parking area at Whitney Portal.

    At this time, there are no reported injuries or reports of missing individuals.

    There were approximately 40 vehicles parked in the area. Vehicles were covered in dust, but there did not appear to be damaged. The Whitney Portal store was also covered in a blanket of dust. The Inyo National Forest has not begun issuing permits to hike Mt Whitney.

    Aerial reconnaissance, as well as reports from hikers identified several additional slides; one directly above Lone Pine Lake, one about a quarter mile above Lone Pine Lake near the main trail, and three slides on the face of Mt. Whitney. It is unclear at this time if the Mt. Whitney trail has been damaged. Based on dust seen from the Owens Valley floor it appears that most canyons, including trailheads, south of Kearsarge Pass had at least minor rockslides triggered by yesterday’s earthquake.

    Due to several smaller aftershocks throughout yesterday afternoon and evening, only a preliminary search could be conducted near the slide zone. After an evaluation by a US Forest Service geologist this morning, the intention is to send in search and rescue teams and canines to check each of the debris fields.

    Today, if it safe, Inyo National Forest Wilderness Rangers will begin assessing if there is damage to the trail systems in the area. Yesterday’s initial assessment shows substantial damage to a section of the National Recreation Trail (that starts at Lone Pine Campground and ends in Whitney Portal). The focus today will be on the Mt. Whitney Trail. At this time, the Mt. Whitney Trail, The Meysan Lakes Trail, and the North Fork of Lone Pine Trail (Mountaineering Route) are closed until further notice. Permits for day and overnight summits of Mt. Whitney will continue be cancelled until further notice.

    1. Carolinian

      The area is also a classic Hollywood movie location. See, for example, George Stevens’ 1939 Gunga Din.

      I was there a few months ago on my Tour de Sierra. The gravel roads were dotted with govt land squatting RVs.

    2. anon in so cal

      Good to hear no one was hurt. The Eastern Sierras and Highway 395 are such a beautiful and still largely unspoiled area.

  10. L

    China’s elites fear their working class in a way that United States elites do not.

    I disagree with this. I don’t think that they fear the working class. I think that they a) fear the class being unable to work (i.e. too sick to keep making them rich); and b) they do not hold the illusion that disease will stay contained to the class. I think they may also see a practical power advantage in controlling it better than Trump.

    I think also that Xi Jinping personally fears his political enemies close to home. He has many and they want him gone.

    Our own elites have long felt that the working class are not in any way connected to their own global wealth and so do not care.

    1. Jessica

      The rulers of China know their history. They know that any governing regime that sufficiently pisses off too many of the Chinese ruled finds a way to become an ex-governing regime.
      They also know that invasion from the outside is one of the ways that that can happen. Particularly, for the past 1000 years (which for China is only a fraction of their history), a unified China was ruled by a government of Chinese (not foreigners) for only a small fraction of the time. One could even argue that the period since the founding of the PRC in 1949 is the only such period in the past millennium.
      So they are wisely concerned by both permanent dangers.
      If the virus situation in China and the US were reversed, the US government would most certainly be using this to reduce the power of the Chinese government and increase its own.
      Evil totalitarians though they are, the Chinese directing class is a coherent force directing their nation. The US directing class is more like foreign plunderers even within the US.

  11. RWood

    It’s a funny old world we live in ,
    Not the centre of the universe , 
    Just a relatively small speck of galactic dust at the edge of the Milky Way ,
    A tiny fraction of the billion + stars in our Galaxy ,
    And our Galaxy one of billions of others,
    A tiny , tiny fraction of a billion billion stars
    Inhabited by us , intelligent apes, alongside the rest of Earth species ,
    Well perhaps not all intelligent ,
    Well yes all intelligent by comparison to other Earth life ,
    But for most of us living in decided self deception ,
    Decided self deception ? I hear you ask
    Yes Decided Self Deception ,

    Posted by It’s a funny old world at 10:55 AM No comments:

    mine: cPerhaps, holobionts

  12. L

    OTOH, I’d argue that the success (at least in cultural terms) of the Sanders slogan #NotMeUs, as well as the protests generally, would indicate that matters are not nearly as bleak as this poll suggests.

    I really don’t see these points in conflict at all. I for one do believe that we live in a society where screwing people over is the way people get ahead. I have little faith in our institutions or the so called “moral values” that people preach to control that.

    But I don’t want it to be that way.

    From this survey we can’t tell whether or not the other people believe that this is a desirable state of affairs we can only tell that they think it is the way of things now. If you believe that we are in a bad place, you are more apt to rally behind a message of change to make it better. If, on the other hand, you think that things are all good, or were before the nasty orange monster showed up, then you are apt to focus on returning to ‘normal’.

    From this chart the election results make perfect sense to me. What I would want to see is whether that report that Dems are happy with Biden’s bunker antics break along similar age lines. I for one am growing less and less happy with him (not that I was before) the longer he focuses on flinging “orange man bad!” videos out the door and the less time he spends on giving a clear vision of actual future directions. But then again yes, he did promise that “nothing would change.”

    1. EGrise

      That was kinda my take too: the poll reflected situational thinking, the slogan aspirational thinking.

      Personally I suspect that what many of the youngsters meant (it seems true among the millennials and zoomers I work with) is that they assume people are bad until they prove otherwise. Which is still not great, but given the incentives in our society can you blame them?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > That was kinda my take too: the poll reflected situational thinking, the slogan aspirational thinking.

        That’s a nice distinction. I would argue, however, that Sanders campaigners (the troops) actually did attempt to act on their aspirations.

  13. allan

    Graham Rebuffed Over Widening Barr’s Powers as GOP Senators Balk [Bloomberg]

    The Senate Judiciary Committee blocked an effort by Chairman Lindsey Graham to give the attorney general the power to veto investigations of Justice Department lawyers by the inspector general.

    The committee instead backed — over the objections of Graham and Attorney General William Barr — a bipartisan bill by Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah that would empower the department’s inspector general to investigate such allegations on his own authority.

    Graham said the attorney general, as the head of the Justice Department, should have discretion to overrule the agency watchdog in such cases. …

    But his amendment was criticized by members of both parties, including former Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, the senior Republican in the Senate.

    “I don’t care what the attorney general says on this IG thing,” Grassley said. Inspectors general need to be independent so they can handle sensitive investigations and cases, he said. …

    Too craven even for his fellow Republicans. Sad.

  14. jr

    Field report: West Village

    There is a BLM protest nearby, it was a few blocks away and it moved before I could pin it’s location down. Everything echoes in NYC, I know it does in other cities but it’s better here.

    I’m really curious about how Pride will play out this year. I suspect less Pride tourism, more protest. Which is fine by me, cause I know how to turtle like “Sloppy” Joe…

    1. jsn

      There’s been a BLM encampment at the north east end of city hall park all week. Surprisingly light NYPD presence given its across the street from police plaza (with the city office building in between).

      The police state is being patient, what they’re doing to those two black lawyers (45 years for graffiti) is what anyone with anything to lose can expect.

  15. JohnnyGL


    Glenn Greenwald’s show: System Update

    This week he does a monologue, as well as having two separate discussions. One with Krystal Ball of the show Rising on the Hill’s Youtube Channel and the other with Nathan Robinson of Current Affairs.

    It’s long, but really high quality long-form stuff. Greenwald does a nice job orchestrating.

  16. a different chris

    Yeah so Biden apparently now has iCarly Fiorina’s vote!

    So he really doesn’t need mine…

    We almost all wished for the return of the old Republican Party, and here it is. But it was supposed to be a restraining counterweight to the ascendant left, not *the* left side of “acceptable discourse” itself.

    If I didn’t have kids I would laugh myself silly.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Noted Ted Cruz ally, Carly Fiorina! Yeah, its not even a pretend where are the moderate Republican parties, but Ted Cruz supporters endorsing Biden. It fits his politics.

  17. fresno dan


    Last updated: June 25, 2020 at 3:53 PM

    Total Cases: 3,053 (+161)
    86 (Travel-Related)
    1,619 (Close Contact)
    1,416 (Community-Spread / Unknown)
    932 (Under Investigation)
    Total Deaths: 71 (+0)
    Little problem with addition – it happens
    yesterday’s total cases was 3892
    add 161 new cases and you get 4053.

  18. sierra7

    “The American people are tough, resilient, and always full of hope. There’s not a single thing we can’t do if we do it together.”
    Problem with that is Biden (and his cohorts) do their living and eating in Washington DC and the rest of us including those homeless have to do that living on the ground floors.
    Reminds me of a line in the Godfather:
    “Io non mangia in Las Vegas!”
    To Biden:
    “Io non mangia in Washington DC!”

  19. Daryl

    > “Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Wednesday the state is facing a “massive outbreak” in the coronavirus pandemic and that greater restrictions may be necessary”

    Abbott’s big move was suspending elective surgeries in Houston and Dallas. Nothing else. I wonder when the press will gain the courage to call this for what it is: genocide.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “As hospitals fill with coronavirus patients, Florida wants to know who is in the ICU beds”

    It’s only a matter of time before Florida does a Bolsonaro and refuse to release any figures at all.

    1. Daryl

      You’d think they’d be better at covering it up, with a Medicare fraudster as Senator. But then I guess he got caught, so probably not very good at it.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      It’s not Him, it’s Us. Us being the machine HerTurn was supposed to lead and blew it. Once Old Joe finally goes to the knacker’s yard, Kamala or whomever merely steps in as anointed spokesmodel for the nomenklatura.

      What’s not to like? Good looking, supercilious, nobody may disagree with a word she says without being defamed, silenced and Cast Into the Outer Darkness©.

      Ever since the Irish [and other groups] formally joined WASPS atop the American power pyramid in the Fifties, there’s been a cult crossing ideological lines that at its core wants America to be run like France, with none of those thuggish populists whipping up the idiot mob and jumping the queue for power.

      That might gladden the hearts of Francophiles, techies and weak tea SocDems here, but it also entails: governance by a caste of the Right People:
      – straight arrow from birth graduates of the Right grands ecoles
      – bellyfeeling the Right Values
      – and **New!** being collectively of the Right Ethnic Mix. Content of their character, right? (as defined by Us)

      All of them harmoniously convinced of their superior intellects, moral Rightness and Right (dieu et mon droit) to:

      1. guide the Nation, establish justice, secure domestic tranquility, feed the children, shun the wicked etc.

      2. ‘consultatively’ with other nations, guide the world order and the very planetary ecology itself.

      … Who after years of loyal service to the Team are duly rewarded upon retirement with sinecures (petouflage, amakudari, etc.) in the state-sponsored ‘private sector’.

      It’s a small corporatist world after all.

      JFK was these people’s original poster child and patron saint. BHO is his successor.

      They tried to beatify Slick Willie, but I Feel Your Pain didn’t have the self discipline to pull it off. Hillary was simply rammed down the electorate’s gullet (eww you mean we actually need to talk to those people?) And Biden is, well, liquefying before our eyes, albeit in time lapse.

  21. integer

    What I don’t understand is if, with the proper depth of field to get the buds and the droplets both, the grid effect would still happen. Readers?

    Yes, it would. The shape of the droplets causes them to act as lenses, which means the light reflecting from the grid (in this case the image is being created by the grid obstructing light, but the principle is the same) is being focused by, and projected from, the droplet. Therefore the sharpness of the image of the grid within the droplet will be proportional to the sharpness of the droplet itself. You can see some examples at the following link:


    1. Grebo

      It seems to me that the camera has focused on the images of the background which are refracted in the droplets, rather than on the droplets themselves. To get both in focus you would have to reduce the aperture to increase the depth of field.

      1. integer

        It might seem that way to you but it is incorrect. The image of the grate is formed by light rays being refracted at the surface of the droplet closest to the grate, resulting in a focused image being projected onto the surface of the droplet closest to the camera, much like a lens projects an image onto the surface of a piece of film or digital sensor. The shape of the droplet causes the image to be distorted, resulting in a fisheye effect. From there the light scatters and the rays that hit the camera lens are focused by the lens onto the surface of (in this case) the digital sensor. The macro pics at the supplied link show this more clearly (i.e. that the plane of focus is aligned with the water droplet), and it is worth remembering that DOF is very shallow at the subject distances from which macro photos are taken, even with a very small aperture (i.e. f/22). Some more images:


        1. Grebo

          No, if the drop has a radius of 2mm the image of the background will be focused roughly 2mm closer to the camera than the front surface of the drop.

          For the image to be at the surface the refractive index of the drop must be 2, water is 1.333.


          1. integer

            Just thinking about this a little more:

            – The image of the background that can be seen in the water droplet is the image of the background as projected onto the surface of the water droplet closest to the camera.

            – As the focal length of the lens created by the droplet is longer than the radius of the droplet, the image of the background is not in perfect focus at the surface of the droplet.

            – The image of the background in the droplet appears sharp as the magnification factor (i.e. image of background in the droplet is very small compared to the actual background) hides the fact that the image projected onto the droplet surface is not in perfect focus.

            – Therefore, regardless of the surface of the droplet not coinciding with the focal point of the lens created by the droplet, the place to focus the camera for these types of pics is still the surface of the droplet closest to the camera.

            I think…

            Very interesting discussion btw.

  22. 430 MLK

    I’m hoping Booker wins, but I’m less enthusiastic about what it portends. Much of his rise has come after some pretty centrist entities (KSR’s Matt Jones, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Louisville and Lexington papers) pulled quick, long-knives-esque, endorsements once the Floyd protests (in KY also the Breonna Taylor protests) took off and held. Bottom line is that McGrath was easy to cut loose b/c she was not a native KY politician, and this has allowed a lot of entities who are big parts of the problem in the state to re-brand themselves, particularly to national commentators (and Lebron James) temporarily putting their eyes on the state because of McConnell.

      1. 430 MLK

        Nationally, yes. But at the local and state levels where good candidates sprout, I’m not so sure. The big message from the McGrath dump was ‘she’s not one of us.’ She’s an outside agitator who ruffles our good state politics.

  23. Jack Parsons

    China’s elites fear their working class in a way that United States elites do not.

    Yes, the impression I have is that the Chinese government, down to the village level, is generally appointed from above. The 2000-year-old contract is that the government is an alien intervention that takes money. In return, it helps the peasants when there are floods or famines. The government’s ability to do this well is known as the “Mandate of Heaven”, that is, the emperor’s relationship with the unknowable forces that capriciously screw up life on the farm.

    The Covid response in Wuhan showed this dynamic: the people expect the govt. to not screw up the pandemic response, and they’ll go along with major intrusion (for awhile).

    This contract shows up in other ways: there are armed insurrections in mainland China every year. Nobody reports them, but there are peasants actively pitchforking around.

    Also, the government is very federalized, to a degree westerners don’t quite get. There are periodic armed standoffs, and sometimes clashes, between security forces owned by different government departments.

  24. VietnamVet

    The US coronavirus infection rate chart is chilling. November is too far off. Even Lindsey Graham is warning of another French revolution. A second lockdown without federal public health control and money for the affected is in rebellion territory.

    Vaccine manufacturers are making millions of extra flu vaccine doses for next season; WaPo “CDC and drugmakers boost flu vaccine doses amid fears of an unprecedented respiratory illness season”. But if you haven’t caught COVID-19, who will take the risk of catching it to get a seasonal flu shot?

    There is no future planning. Everything is ad hoc and disconnected. It is not just government that has fallen apart in the USA. It is the ultimate failure of the entire neo-capitalist ideology that markets control everything. Greed is the ultimate cause of the burgeoning deaths and the unrest in the West.

    1. skippy

      Firstly neoliberalism is just rewarmed Corporatism E.g. its a subset of Capitalism. Secondly I don’t think 19th century Eugenics in the U.S. died out, back of the bus post WWII, but reasserted itself with the advent of neoliberalism becoming dominate again in the 70s.

      Just to touch on your health care[???] point I would highlight the dramas with aged care as a final extraction point not unlike a financial abattoir administrated by MBA’s and its executives are beholden to their share holders interests E.g. its an assembly line to the final departure point of palliative care.

      Mates wife just started back to full time work after child bearing years [3 kids] and is working in aged care. She is a recent Mensa member and comes from a Japanese medical family, so shes not a pile of rocks. Anywho she is employed by an agency which flicks her around a bit [don’t want anyone in one place too long thingy] as basically a subbie. Now it gets even more interesting when one looks at how the system of work and credits is structured and how that plays out with charges and allocation of staff for it. Makes the episodes of Better Call Sal look salutary.

      1. ambrit

        Greetings from the Murky North American South.
        We experienced the elder human abattoir process from the other perspective when Phyl was involved with the Hospice company last year. The operative word in the foregoing sentence is “company.” The process was geared towards parsimony of an ‘exalted’ degree.
        The most prominent example of that being the following. We had arguments with the ‘company’ about a particular wound dressing to be used on Phyl’s tumours. The company, (henceforth referred to as “they,”) wanted to palm off the lowest cost, and quality dressings, and manage the amount of said dressings to be used per week. Phyl found out about silver impregnated bandages and their superior performance for weeping wounds. (The tumours were of a Mad Doctor torture basement quality. They never healed and kept growing, hence, the later amputation. [We were told that the ‘removal’ was a last ditch effort. It seems to have done the trick so far.]) After a few weeks of the silver bandages, which were approved by Phyl’s first RN Visitor, ‘they’ switched Phyl back to the old bandages. When asked by this messenger of the Goddess why the switch, I was told that the old bandages were “best practice.” ‘They’ never wavered in their knavery. We ended up getting the silver impregnated bandages ourselves from off of mainly e-bay for the time up until the ‘leg removal.’ I regularly managed to find the silver bandages online for about half the price that ‘they’ were paying. The Wonder of Markets???
        In one go round with ‘them’ about the bandage issue, I discovered, by accident, as I had managed to get hold of someone in the “back room” of the organization, that the office manager had priority over the nurses in the provision of supplies. The bean counters are firmly in control.
        To return to the point, the original RN Visitor left the firm after she had been seeing Phyl, once a week no less, for two months. (Later on, we re-met her. She was now the head nurse for the local hospital’s Rehabilitation Annexe.) After that, there was an ever changing stream of LPNs arriving to do Phyl’s vitals and basic evaluation once a week. These were almost all young and entrance level workers in the healthcare field. They were mostly new and a bit naive about the situation they found themselves in.
        There were two other ‘Visitors’ involved in ‘their’ scheme. One was a Social Worker, who was a nice woman, but obviously at her wits end in dealing with the situation. She seemed to be trying to “serve two masters.” ‘They’ wanted her to smooth the waters with Phyl, (I wonder why?) She wanted to shift some of ‘their’ attitudes, but was powerless to effect any change. The other was a ‘Pastor,’ to supply some moral support to the “customers.” This was a conservative fellow who had the good grace to be honest with himself and us about what was going on.
        As to your point about “charges and allocation.”
        First, I noticed right away that the Nurses, Social Worker and Pastor all drove their own cars for work purposes. Even with mileage, this is a losing proposition for the worker.
        Second, the Nurses were tasked with covering a fairly large area. Several of the Nurses spoke of driving over a hundred and fifty miles in a day, on the job.
        Third, we know, from the Medicare quarterly financials that the Hospice Company was getting over a thousand dollars a week per “customer.”
        Fourth, this payment system was structured like a HMO. The price was a one size fits all payment. Some of the “customers” had to be ‘warehoused’ at the end. that was part of the basic rate.
        Fifth, when Phyl decided to have the offending leg removed, she had to sign off of the Hospice program and re-enroll on the basic Medicare roll. The Hospice scheme was, therefore, aimed strictly at terminal patients, with no “wriggle” room. While good looking “on paper,” this guaranteed complications and delays in practice. (Everyone had reams of paper forms to be signed for any and all eventualities.)
        Finally, taking care of family members at home is a real chore, and to this spoiled scion of the Hippy Jr. Age, an introduction to the concept of “vocation.” Not only has the experience shown me reserves of ‘character’ that I never suspected that I had, but it has also exposed many personal dark corners where plenty of ‘bad character’ lurk.
        Kudos to you skippy for enduring your ordeal.
        Congratulation to “Yves” for not shirking this hard job when it presented itself.
        Everyone be vigilant and stay safe.
        Rant ends.

        1. skippy

          For all the dramas its good news to hear her sticking around longer, if just to poke they* in the eye.

          I can remember years ago when certain business sorts that had a puritan zeal were pushing the “best business” practice of breaking down human social attitudes at work, because it messed with MBA policy from above … all about malleability and setting up greasy pole competitions.

          For me I have the kids and dogs and have been able to keep working so everything else is just a matter of time. Can’t force things so its just focusing on the things I can do.


    2. skippy

      I would add that Yves keeping her mother out of one of these places is an act of high order. Just the relocation and time – energy spent to secure her mothers dignity at this stage in life is a sight to behold.

      So many others I know with or without means seem to want to just shuffle off the olds so they “can get on with their lives” and not be burdened with the non productive – because markets ….

  25. ambrit

    Just a report from the murky atmosphere of South Mississippi.
    It literally looks like the Sahara Dust plume has reached our environs. This afternoon, the atmosphere was dusky and brown, or tan coloured in our half horse town. This is very unusual for here. Visibility was half of normal, and distinctly murky.
    Some thunderstorms rumbled through the town this evening, but how well they cleaned the atmosphere up is something we’ll have to evaluate tomorrow morning.
    How long this will last is anybody’s guess.

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