2:00PM Water Cooler 6/29/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. The United States as a whole:

Second verse, same as the first. (OK, I grant the two slopes aren’t exactly the same.)

“Analysis: Governing in reaction mode, and always a beat or two behind” [Texas Monthly]. “The Texas resurgence was predictable. Local officials who wanted stronger rules on masks and crowds and social distancing — in both big and small Texas cities and counties — were right after all. And Abbott, who blocked local governments from acting on their concerns about the coronavirus, waited until case numbers, infection rates and hospitalizations jumped. You can get ready when a storm is coming or wait until it blows your roof off. Abbott, who’s been reinstalling some of the regulatory safeguards he dismantled in May, dithered until the wind was blowing…. Maybe people have to see it to believe it. The state’s restrictions were working pretty well. After a month, the governor — hoping to revive the state’s economy — began easing up, slowly and then rapidly. The coronavirus made its comeback, slowly and then rapidly — probably a mix of opening the state’s businesses and other institutions and of people gathering in restaurants, demonstrations, parks and beaches. Every step of this has been more reaction than part of a plan. The rise of the disease led to restrictions. The fall of the economy led to reopening. And here we are again, reacting to the pandemic that never left. All that changed was the response.”


“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

The electoral map. As of June 25: Lots of new polls. And yet so far the consensus (aggregating ten organizations) 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): “What Americans Don’t Know About Joe Biden” [The Atlantic]. “Voters’ vague sense of Biden doesn’t seem to be hurting his poll numbers. But the polls are more a measure of how many Americans are rejecting Donald Trump. With a little over four months until the election, most voters don’t know what Biden stands for—except for not Trump. Still, perpetually anxious top Biden supporters say that he is unprepared for another seismic event in a year that’s already been full of them. ‘There is some awareness that he is a longtime politician, but there is little substance or specificity behind the impressions,’ consultants associated with the pro-Biden super PAC Unite the Country warned in an April memo about swing-voter focus groups they had conducted. When told a little bit about Biden, though, participants in the groups were inclined to support him, because they saw him as decent and his biography left an impression on them. ‘People feel good about Joe Biden, and it doesn’t take a lot to make them feel really good about Joe Biden—but this is the time when voters need that information,’ says Lily Adams, Unite the Country’s communications director. Other focus groups have revealed similar data. The word young voters most associate with Biden is old, followed by good, and then roughly by creepy, Democrat, and smart, according to a focus group conducted over the past few weeks for NextGen America, a political organization that focuses on increasing youth turnout. Mixed in are leader, great, nice, experienced, okay, and cool, but also senile and dementia.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “The woman Biden isn’t considering for vice president, but should” [WaPo]. Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF. “In a better world, Lee’s prescience would already make her a contender for the bottom of the Democratic ticket. Her foresight contrasts with Biden’s many foreign policy lows, including a vote for the Iraq War and a proposal to federalize Iraq that Iraqis hated. (In no policy area is Biden more fortunate to be facing a complete incompetent.) That Lee isn’t on Biden’s list, while someone like former national security adviser Susan E. Rice is, speaks volumes about the hold the pro-intervention, pro-endless war national security establishment continues to exert over much of our politics.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Why Aunt Gloria wants Biden to pick Elizabeth Warren” [Jonathan Capehart, WaPo]. “But what about an African American woman? ‘I am going for experience, who has the experience and is known nationally. Would love to see a black candidate, but the only thing important is beating Trump,’ said Aunt Gloria, unmoved by arguments like mine that the former vice president should choose an African American woman as his running mate. ‘Warren would pull young people and [Sen. Bernie] Sanders [I-Vt.] supporters.'” • If those things were true, Warren would have been more than a spoiler. The continued media love affair with Warren continues to amaze.

Trump (R)(1): “Trump Is in a Deep Hole. Can He Dig Himself Out Before November?” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. ” And, for those of us who covered the 2016 campaign, we feel as if we’ve been here before. After all, back in June of 2016, Hillary Clinton led Trump by anywhere from 4 to 10 points. Trump was deeply unpopular back then and still won. So, can Trump to turn things around this year like he did in 2016?… The biggest challenge for Trump is that he’s not the outsider anymore. He’s in charge… [Trump could try to drive up Biden’s unfavorables but], one of the biggest impediments to driving up Biden’s unfavorable ratings is the president himself. Trump is unable to take himself out of the spotlight, even when it would benefit him. In fact, we may all look back next year and point to two unnecessary public appearances — the one in front of St. John’s church that required the military to clear peaceful protesters in front of the White House and the rally in Tulsa in the middle of a spike in COVID infections — that sealed his political fate. The Trump campaign and GOPers know that they can’t afford this election to be a referendum on Trump. But, the president himself can’t help but ensure that it is.”

Trump (R)(2): “Fox’s Gasparino: GOP operatives raising possibility Trump ‘could drop out of race’ if polls don’t rebound” [The Hill]. “A Fox News report on Sunday says that “GOP operatives are for the first time raising the possibility” that President Trump could drop out of the 2020 presidential race “if his poll numbers don’t rebound” against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The report by Fox Business Network senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino, political reporter Andrew O’Reilly and producer Lydia Moynihan comes as the former vice president leads the Republican incumbent by 9.2 points in the RealClearPolitics index of major polls…. “It’s too early, but if the polls continue to worsen, you can see a scenario where he drops out,” a GOP operative who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News. Gasparino also reported that one “major player” within the Republican Party described “Trump’s current psyche as ‘fragile.'” • I should, I suppose be following the polls more closely. If I could be sure they weren’t all push polls, or advocacy. I hate to sound foily, but see here.

UPDATE Trump (R)(3): “Trump Defies Liberals By Chugging Entire Bottle Of Aunt Jemima Syrup” [The Babylon Bee]. “Liberals are trying to ruin America by destroying all our favorite corporate mascots, logos, and team names. But President Trump says he won’t have it. He defied the woke progressive crowd this week by chugging an entire bottle of Aunt Jemima syrup at his Tulsa rally.”

* * *

“The Lincoln Project is trolling Trump. But can it sway voters?” [Politico]. “In the past few months, the Lincoln Project — a PAC with not much funding, as far as PACs go — has successfully established itself as a squatter in Trump’s mental space, thanks to several factors: members each boasting hundreds of thousands of social media followers, rapidly cut ads that respond to current events and a single-minded focus on buying airtime wherever Trump is most likely to be bingeing cable news that day, whether it’s the D.C. market or his golf courses across the country. And every time Trump freaks out — or every time the media covers his freakout — the Lincoln Project scores an incalculable amount of earned media, and millions of views online to boot.” • 

“DNC hires Bloomberg-tied tech firm Hawkfish for 2020 election” [McClatchy]. “The Democratic National Committee has hired the digital and technology firm Hawkfish, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation, bringing the Michael Bloomberg-founded company on board for the final four months of the 2020 campaign. The DNC’s decision will be controversial among some progressives, who bristled at the idea of Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and multi-billionaire, gaining influence within the party. Earlier this month, Joe Biden’s campaign opted against hiring the firm, though the DNC and Biden campaign are working hand-in-hand during the general election. The nature of the Hawkfish’s contract with the DNC, and what work they’ll specifically do for the committee, was not entirely clear. One source with knowledge of the agreement said it was for a ‘small data contract.'” • Hmm.

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Great Assimilation™ (1):

Obama’s claim is beyond ridiculous. Bush’s program of post-9/11 warrentless surveillance involved multiple felonies. And Obama knows this, because in July 2008, while still a Senator, he voted to give the telcos retroactive immunity for their participation.

The Great Assimilation™ (2):

Granted, the Lincoln Project. But the Resistance is a big tent!

The Great Assimilation™ (3):

* * *

“Government Sachs” [Michael Lind, Tablet]. “Who needs democratic legitimacy when you can have demographic legitimacy? Under the private authoritarian rule of woke capital, the United States could be Singapore, but with diversity.”

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.

Manufacturing: “June 2020 Texas Manufacturing Improves” [Econintersect]. “Of the five Federal Reserve districts which have released their June manufacturing surveys – two in expansion, two in contraction, and one is at zero…. Important subindices new orders improved (remains in expansion) and unfilled orders also improved (remains in contraction). This should be considered a better report relative to last month. It will be interesting to see what the Federal Reserve’s industrial production is this month with such a split of results from the various federal reserve districts.”

Housing: “May 2020 Pending Home Sales Record Comeback” [Econintersect]. “The National Association of Realtors (NAR) seasonally adjusted pending home sales index had a record recovery from coronavirus shutdown – but the index remains in contraction…. The year-over-year growth is in NEGATIVE territory. I believe the housing industry will reset due to the coronavirus – and I suspect housing will slow after this initial recovery.”

Retail: “Men’s Makeup Goes Mainstream With CVS Rollout” [Bloomberg]. “Men’s makeup is going mainstream in America. CVS, the country’s largest drugstore chain, is making the biggest bet on the category in the U.S. yet, by adding a cosmetics line from Stryx, a brand launched last year, to 2,000 stores (about a quarter of its total). The retailer is giving more legitimacy to a small, but growing, group of products that had mainly been sold through high-end stores. With this move, CVS likely has potential customers such as Max Belovol in mind. The 23-year-old grew up wearing dazzling eyeshadows and foundation for figure-skating competitions, but didn’t become truly comfortable with wearing makeup during work until the coronavirus lockdown. ‘It’s a Zoom effect,’ said Belovol, a law student based in Atlanta, who prefers concealer and its subtle look. ‘People don’t have to worry about how they look at work. You can paint your nails, and nobody on the Zoom call is going to know.”” • So it’s not that you look better on Zoom; it’s that Zoom’s resolution is crappy?

Concentration: “Break Up Google” [Tim Bray]. “Why break it up? · There are specific problems; I list a few below. But here’s the big one: For many years, the astonishing torrent of money thrown off by Google’s Web-search monopoly has fueled invasions of multiple other segments, enabling Google to bat aside rivals who might have brought better experiences to billions of lives…. Financially, I think Google’s whole is worth less than the sum of its parts. So a breakup might be a win for shareholders. This is a reasonable assumption if only because the fountain of money thrown off by Web-search advertising leaves a lot of room for laziness and mistakes in other sectors of the business.” • Well worth a read, and from a solid and well-respected tech insider.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 46 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 52 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 29 at 12:20pm.

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Earthquakes. “Massive quake strikes southern Mexico” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. I feel apocalyptic. Why don’t these guys?

The Biosphere

“Why are plants green?” [Science Daily]. • Read it twice. This is the best I can find: “Our model shows that by absorbing only very specific colors of light, photosynthetic organisms may automatically protect themselves against sudden changes — or ‘noise’ — in solar energy, resulting in remarkably efficient power conversion,’ said Gabor, an associate professor of physics and astronomy, who led the study appearing today in the journal Science. ‘Green plants appear green and purple bacteria appear purple because only specific regions of the spectrum from which they absorb are suited for protection against rapidly changing solar energy.'”

Health Care

“School Children Don’t Spread Coronavirus, French Study Shows” [Bloomberg]. “Scientists at Institut Pasteur studied 1,340 people in Crepy-en-Valois, a town northeast of Paris that suffered an outbreak in February and March, including 510 students from six primary schools. They found three probable cases among kids that didn’t lead to more infections among other pupils or teachers. The study confirms that children appear to show fewer telltale symptoms than adults and be less contagious, providing a justification for school reopenings in countries from Denmark to Switzerland. The researchers found that 61% of the parents of infected kids had the coronavirus, compared with about 7% of parents of healthy ones, suggesting it was the parents who had infected their offspring rather than the other way around.”

“Universal Health Care Supports Thailand’s Coronavirus Strategy” [NPR]. “While the pandemic has raged in the U.S. and Europe, Thailand has been able to control its epidemic with a caseload among the lowest in the world – just 58 deaths. Thai epidemiologists say the country’s universal health care system played a major role…. Dr. Pongpirul says the fact that the taxi driver sought medical attention early on, that he wasn’t put off by having to pay for something he couldn’t have afforded, made a huge difference in helping them control the virus.” • Say, since we’re a First World country, maybe we could set up a system of tax credits for COVID-19 Testing Savings Accounts…. That way, risking $1,000 for testing woudn’t seem like such an insuperable obstacle. Granted, costs, random and opaque as usual, don’t generally reach that level. But still.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“How Planes, Trains and Automobiles Worsened America’s Racial Divide” [Politico]. “This is not just an obscure social critique: It’s a finding endorsed by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. In a 2019 research paper that examined the reasons and impact of the Freeway Revolts against urban highway construction, the researchers concluded that the American history of road development systematically shifted prosperity from inner cities to suburbs: ‘Freeways caused slower growth in population, income, and land values in central areas, but faster growth in outlying area. These patterns suggest that in central areas, freeway disamenity effects exceeded small access benefits.’ In other words: Cutting through communities helped spur suburban growth but destroyed urban communities.”

“DuBois’s ‘General Strike'” [Nonsite.org]. “Erasing slavery from the origins of the Civil War was a common theme among “progressive” historians like Beard and U. B. Phillips, and DuBois was among the first to call them to task. But the erasure of slavery involved two distinct arguments, only one of which DuBois rejected. Beard claimed that the southern states seceded to protect “the agricultural interest,” and DuBois easily exposed this fallacy. Secessionists openly and unashamedly insisted that they were leaving the Union precisely because of their desire to protect and perpetuate slavery. But from what? Progressives not only denied the proslavery origins of the Civil War, they also denied that the war had any antislavery origins. For Beard, the arch-economic determinist, the northern war effort was little more than selfish move by “the manufacturing interest” to promote high tariffs and a stable currency.6 Antislavery sentiment had little to do with it. Having effectively repudiated Beard’s cynical account of southern secession, DuBois naively adopted Beard’s equally cynical account of the Northern war effort. The consequences for DuBois’s account of slavery’s destruction were significant. Having fallen back on economic determinism, he could not imagine that by 1860 generations of northerners had grown up in states that had long since abolished slavery and took it as an article of faith that societies grounded on “free labor” were economically, politically, socially, and morally superior to societies based on slave labor. On the contrary, DuBois wrote, the North “started out with the idea of fighting the war without touching slavery” (66). By perpetuating the erasure of the antislavery origins of the Civil War DuBois ended up producing an incoherent account of federal emancipation policy. Noting the steady flow of slaves escaping into Union lines, DuBois claimed that U.S. officials neither planned nor foresaw “this eventuality” (62). In fact antislavery leaders had been warning for decades that slaves would take advantage of war by escaping to federal lines in overwhelming numbers, and during the secession crisis Republican leaders—editors and politicians alike—repeatedly predicted that if the southerners provoked a war the slaves would stream into Union lines in overwhelming numbers. ” • A fascinating controversy with great contemporary relevance. Worth reading in full!

Police State Watch

CHOP shootings:

“One Dead, One in Critical Condition After Shooting at CHOP at 2:20 am” [The Stranger]. “Early Saturday morning citizen journalist Omari Salisbury reported two people shot near or on the borders of the Capitol Hill Protest Area (CHOP), one dead and one wounded…. [His] video [(included)]also shows protesters confronting a phalanx of cops who entered the zone with guns out and shields raised on a mission to retrieve the victims. Cops say they were ‘later’ told that the victims had already been transported to Harborview before they arrived, but video shows the protesters telling the cops that at least one of the victims had already been driven to the hospital, though there was confusion over ‘a second body.'”

“At least two shot as camp reportedly opens fire on jeep after Capitol Hill protest zone drivebys — UPDATE: One dead” [Capitol Hill Seattle Blog]. “At least two people were reported shot in a chaotic scene of frightened campers, security volunteers, and heavily armed private security early Monday morning on the edge of the Capitol Hill protest zone…. 911 callers reported a person shooting into a vehicle… A group of heavily armed private security was seen taking position in the area of the Car Tender [a luxury car repair shop] lot at 12th and E Olive St where the group has been deployed in recent days…. The white Jeep Cherokee involved in the shooting was reported empty of occupants by police near 12th and Pine, pointed north where it crashed through a barrier near where the core group of occupying protesters has set up camp outside the emptied East Precinct. It was not clear if both people reported shot were in the vehicle or if there were any victims from the camp.” • Normally, I wouldn’t post this tweet, but since it shows a White Cherokee, here it is:

Sanders was the compromise….

* * *

“Gun-Swinging Lawyers Confront Protesters in Central West End” [Riverfront Times]. “As hundreds of protesters marched toward Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house this evening they were met by a surprising sight — a gun-swinging couple on the lawn of their Central West End mansion. The couple, personal injury attorneys Mark and Patricia McCloskey, shouted at marchers who seemed to be just passing through the gated community. A video recorded by freelance photographer Theo Welling for the Riverfront Times shows Mark, dressed in a pastel pink polo shirt and khakis, brandishing a rifle with an extended clip while Patricia, wearing black-and-white-striped top with capri pants, casually holds a small handgun.” • For copycats:

The interior of the McCloskey’s house:

Hilariously, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson lives in a gared community:

* * *

“Minneapolis Council members get private security after threats” [FOX9]. • Private security forces are one obvious outcome of defunding the police.

Our Famously Free Press


Can this be true?

Nothing anywhere I can find, as of this writing. (Riley, who I remember from Occupy Oakland, directed “Sorry to Bother You,” among other ventures.

News of the Wired

Machine learning:

* * *

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 (WB):

WB writes: “Vinca and Columbine; finally some color in MN.” Columbines! One of my favorites!

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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. Carolinian

    Went in the Walmart food store after lunch (they call it Walmart Market) and almost everyone in there had on a mask including me. One guy who didn’t looked like a grumpy middle aged Republican–not to be stereotyping or anything. In the pharmacy they were selling stacks of 25 pack boxes of disposable masks. So that’s at least one place you can now buy them in a retail store.

    Seems the new law may be working…..

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      But people are still being selfish. A woman who works at a dental office was complaining about their 80 year old (!) boss telling them that if they go travel anywhere that they have to get tested for COVID and cannot come back to work until the results come back.

      “I mean, he can’t tell us where we can go!”; was the response.

      This is NC, a Right to (not) Work state, so he could just fire you if he finds out you have been traveling. Welcome to the labor laws you were ignoring all your life! Welcome to authoritarianism you accepted for a paycheck! And besides, she is complaining about loosing a few days of work over infecting the whole staff and being out of work for a month or for good.

      It is like these people never suffered in their life so they have no idea there is risk involved with any of their choices.

      Get off of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TiKtok already. It’s making you all selfish.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Krystyn, your final paragraph presents one of the main reasons why I logged off Facebook, became a Twitter quitter, and have never touched Instagram or TikTok.

        Does this slender Arizonan miss Facebook or Twitter? Nope. Do I feel that I’m missing anything by not being on Instagram or TikTok? Uh-uh.

      2. Massinissa

        TikTok is even marginally worse than the others due to its connections to the Chinese government.

        And note that I said *marginally* worse.

      3. anon49

        Welcome to the labor laws you were ignoring all your life!

        Rather, welcome to the injustice of an economic system where far too many citizens are wage, rent and debt slaves – contrary to the Old Testament.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Maybe a re-read the of Old Testament is in order? https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/biblical-slavery/

          Apparently there was an issue with upward migration of wealth, and what might be called “unfair distribution,” leading to Hebrew mopes becoming debt, wage and rent slaves way back then. And as has been discussed here at length, the Jubilee was a nice thought but maybe more of an “aspiration.” Haves vs have-nots is pretty universal, it seems, a constant struggle, often waged by have-nots wanting to become big-time haves…

      4. NotReallyHere

        In the ineterst of discussion. I don’t wear a mask and I wont patronize a store that insists I do. I am late middle aged male, so maybe that is the reason. I will state my genuinely held belief about masks and this virus, though.

        The human race has survived
        – polio
        – Tuberculosis
        – measles
        – mumps,
        – smallpox
        – yellow fever
        – dysentery
        – deadly flu

        and on and on. In none of those cases were the population asked to self isolate both physically (stay-at-home) and socially (wear masks, practice “social distancing”). And we survived. We have never before voluntarily sacrificed our communal ability to generate wealth – and invest in a better life – in order to fight a virus. And now that we have tried it, we are finding that even with these draconian measures, we are not winning.

        We have shut down the global economy for a disease with a 5% fatality rate and even that fatality rate is probably inflated because of low testing levels and a financial incentive of the part of hospitals to register Corona deaths. The average age of those succumbing to Covid is a full seven years past the average life expectancy.

        The vulnerable are the old, the obese and those with Diabetes, i.e. a minority of the world population. So, if you feel vulnerable stay at home. Don’t destroy the economy and give up your natural freedom to associate in a hopeless fight against a virus.

        and I didn’t even mention the scary extension of political power that these measures give to politicians and their lackeys.

        1. Carolinian

          if you feel vulnerable stay at home

          And starve? Maybe it would be easier if you simply put on a mask. This is a totalitarian imposition on your rights only because you choose to see it that way.

          The local law that took effect today was specifically targeted at grocery stores and pharmacies because those are stores that people do not have the option to avoid. It doesn’t tell you what to do on the street or in your home.

          And let’s say you are right and mask wear in stores is little more than a placebo. If it serves to reassure people during this period when victims are in fact dying then why not undertake the courtesy of cooperating? Public confidence in the safety of shopping is the very thing that will bring back the economy and avoid lockdowns. I live in a Republican state. They aren’t exactly anti business.

        2. td

          In the interest of historical accuracy, the human race survived those diseases but hundreds of millions of individuals did not.

          During outbreaks of many of them, there were numerous quarantines, travel restrictions and lockdowns. People with TB were often forced into sanatoriums of variable quality. Ships with Yellow Fever on board were often fired upon if they attempted to land. During the 1918 flu, there was widespread mandatory mask wearing. Measles was highly fatal to the Inuit populations of the north, so travel by random white people was ultimately banned during the epidemics in the 1950’s. And on and on.

          Hope you enjoyed the discussion.

        3. ambrit

          Despite the seeming “rightness” of your arguments, do consider that the economy that is ‘in play’ was trending heavily towards benefiting the very top of the financial hierarchy well before this coronavirus came along to upset all the apple carts.
          Yes, humans have survived really bad pandemics in the past, but, just because such has been the case in the past is no argument for not employing newer methods of preserving human lives. If one believes even a little bit in ‘progress,’ one must admit that the protection of lives from preventable fatal infections is a perfect definition of “progress.” To throw that away in favour of a limited and generally sequestered economic wealth creation is the antithesis of “progressivism.”

          1. NotReallyHere

            I fully agree that the economy has been hijacked by “the very top of the financial hierarchy” and that there is an urgent need to change this. I doubt however that the government bodies that helped create this “rigged” economy will somehow “see the light” and make a fairer one with all the new powers to direct where we can go, when and for how long that they have accumulated in this debacle.

            “one must admit that the protection of lives from preventable fatal infections is a perfect definition of “progress.” “

            The protection of lives from preventable human diseases sounds like a laudable goal. Unfortunately it’s an impossible one. There are always new diseases and diseases will always find new vectors to aid transmission . The idea that we can be totally safe if we only stop socializing and obey orders is an extremely dangerous one. And now that we have agreed to invert the logic of public health we have opened up a cycle whereby politicians can exert ever tighter social control on us at a whim. By inverted logic I mean we have abandoned the axiom “stay home if you feel vulnerable” in favor of ” stay home because somebody else may be vulnerable”.

            Isolation is extremely damaging to young people. This damage is potentially enormous, and there is no real discussion of these costs.The very young are are losing valuable socialization months (years?), young adults are being denied opportunities to network and find a place in the “real” economy . This is just two examples. Young families are being financially and emotionally destroyed by reduced income and isolation. And middle aged families – with a need to support older parents and to fund the education of their teens are being fully destroyed.

            This isn’t progressive, its dictatorship dressed up as “concern”.

            1. periol

              Ah yes, won’t anyone think of the children? They’re our future, so let’s make sure NOT to wear masks.

              What you seem to be missing is called “risk management”.

              Also, on a personal note, I hope the economy dies from contracting COVID-19.

            2. jsn

              There are a number of countries successfully managing their exposure to the pandemic. South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand come to mind.

              Seen as an essential part of “wealth creation”, as the labor with the knowledge and skills to make the fixed and working capital of their respective societies productive, workers in those nations were prioritized briefly over production and profit.

              Productivity and profit no doubt took hits there as well, but on the far side we’ll see who’s losses, both in lives and economic production were greater. It isn’t a choice between “the economy” and “public health” except at the core of the neoliberal empire, the US & UK where “there is no society, only individuals”. The worst in class results are in, with the UK better than the US only because of the residual NHS, that socialist atavism in Thatchers kingdom that allowed them to actually get control. The choice is between economic and social destruction, both of which are now on full display, or new and better forms of cooperation, which is always and everywhere where real productivity increases and wealth creation come from.

              Isolation is bad for everyone, even extreme introverts like myself, but permanent physical impairment or early death strike me as worse.

              I agree completely that our political class can in no way be trusted with the new powers they’ve arrogated to themselves, but then they couldn’t be trusted for the last 40 years. The current experience has been clarifying in that regard in that more people now understand this than have since Reagan or before that Truman.

            3. a different chris

              >By inverted logic

              You do seem to be an expert at inverting logic…

              It. Is. A. Mask. Do you get to walk down the street naked?

              >Young families are being financially and emotionally destroyed by reduced income and isolation.

              WTF does that have to do with wearing a mask when you go outside? The whole point of requiring a mask is that so the economy can -ideally, I don’t personally believe it will happen as envisioned -return to normal more quickly. Seriously, dude.

              God this is the dumbest thing I think I’ve ever read and I just came from oogling at Matt Gaetz’s post about those gun-toting morons.

        4. marym

          That’s a lot of fancy words to say you don’t care if you transmit a disease to other people.

        5. John k

          Old people like me are staying home. That’s why the average age of those infected has dropped like a stone, from 60 to 40. And also why the death rate is in decline, the larger number younger victims are less likely to die. But just 1% overall means 3 million if unchecked; most would think that unacceptable… of course, in a let er rip scenario we quickly far overflow all hospital capacity, meaning not just no ventilators but no care at all, so the death rate would be far higher than now.
          But many survivors will have long term issues, particularly lung scarring, but other organs may also affected. So enormous long term costs.
          If everybody except you wear masks we will be ok. Unfortunately, many of the states currently surging have hordes of people that feel just as privileged as you do, so it’s gonna be tough to turn this around.

        6. ChiGal in Carolina

          The human race has survived
          – polio
          – Tuberculosis
          – measles
          – mumps,
          – yellow fever
          – dysentery
          – deadly flu


          smallpox killed 56m in the 16th C. Do you really suppose economic activity wasn’t impacted and people didn’t take steps to try and save themselves and their families?

          It wiped out 90% of Native Americans—call that survival?

          In 18th C Europe it killed 400,000 every year. The first vaccine was developed to prevent smallpox.

          Thanks for sharing your rationale, but you haven’t convinced me!

        7. richard

          “if you feel vulnerable stay at home” isn’t an actual choice for most real people
          in other words, it’s exactly the kind of “choice” our society (natural freedoms!) specializes in:
          Gotta eat and keep a roof over your head? Then pursue your natural freedom to potentially scar your lungs! Afraid of that? Then freely starving is for you!
          but of course masks represent the true tyranny

        8. Yves Smith

          So you reserve the right to kill others out of pure selfishness. That is what your stance amounts to. You are so not on top of the issues and science that you don’t get that masks are about protecting others, not you. You are fine with endangering people like lower income “essential” workers because you can.

          So you have also self-identified as the sort who would not wear a condom if you had HIV.

          And we’ve repeatedly debunked the bullshit claim that the economic damage was due to lockdowns. People were restricting activity BEFORE restrictions were imposed. The biggest cutbacks were by the rich, who unlike normal people have the luxury of being able to do so.

          Wearing masks is a minor restriction, have been shown to work, but you’ll make things unsafe for others, encourage infection, and make this bad situation worse.

          Jefferson County, here in the retrograde South, has mandated that everyone over 2 must wear a mask to enter any business.

          And your claims about who is at risk are false. Even network news is reporting that the current wave of Covid-19 has a higher # of people 20-50 in hospitals than 50+. And that includes athletic young people with no underlying conditions. People in their 30s to 50s have been getting strokes which look to be Covid induced. Kids under 20 (down to infants) are getting a previously extremely rare, in cases fatal, inflammatory ailment that similarly is almost certainly Covid triggered. A friend’s wife who is a top pediatric researcher is heading a national task force to investigate.

          Agnotology is a violation of our written site Policies. Go spew your uninformed and hateful views elsewhere.

        9. Krystyn Podgajski

          It’s not about you dude. I do not ONLY wear a mask so I do not get sick. I wear one so others might not get sick.

          I get where you are coming from. You, like most people, were abandoned by community, so now you are giving it the big middle finger with your suicidal ideations.

          Yeah, protecting ourselves from every disease is impossible, but does that mean we have to help spread disease? I mean, you have clean drinking water coming out of your taps, right? Why don’t you complain about the gobernment forcing you to drink clean water? You do not complain becasue NO ONE TOLD YOU TO COMPLAIN ABOUT IT.

          Listen man, you make no sense, and I am telling you that so you can get in better touch with what the real problem is and in touch with your emotions. They made you believe that you should care about masks, because these “masks ‘r dumb” people are the ones taking away your freedom to socialize and build community.

          People are not forcing us to be in isolation and closing businesses, it is the virus doing that, just like any other natural disaster. Yeah, let’s have the old and at risk stay at how, but why can’t you just wear a mask so the rate of transmission slows? Imagine not sacrifice something that small for someone you are in a foxhole with? what do you think they would say to you?

        10. dcblogger

          many of those diseases you listed were wiped out with vaccines.

          if we all wear masks we can stop the spread of the disease. without the masks we are going to be in lock down until 2021.

        11. rd

          Pandemics and epidemics often have a lot of self-isolation or quarantines associated with them. History has shown that people and economies shut themselves down. The data from Open Table, credit cards, etc. from March show that locales had largely shut down two weeks before the governments ordered shutdowns. That was the case in out area. Even now, many areas that have “re-opened” don’t have the customers despite massive infusions of cash into the economy.

          The huge difference today, compared to pre-20th century, is that we actually know what causes these diseases today and what can stop them, if not cure them. The economies that are doing the best today are the ones that stopped the disease in its tracks by isolation, quarantine, contact tracing, and universal face masks. This is based on science and in turn kept their economies largely intact.

          Right now the US is looking a lot like the 1918-19 influenza with economic depression, collapsing stock markets (I expect a double-dip in the fall like in 1920), and fearful population. This is despite the greatest medical advances in history over the past century. During the 1918-1919 flu, they suspected that there could be a “filterable virus” but it was generally blamed on a specific bacteria that turned out to having nothing to do with it. Capps did work to show masks could be effective in 1918 but it has taken a long time to get much more good data and info on the practice:https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.201203-0548ED. The cause and genetic make-up of Covid-19 one was known by January.

          One of the issues that is currently under-reported, but is slowly building up data, is the long-term impacts on people who have gotten the disease but did not die. This disease, like many previous pandemics, is likely to leave behind many debilitated people of all ages. As these data become clearer, expect to see many people more fearful, not less. Once the first pro or college athletes have to quit their sport due to complications, expect behavior of under-40s to change.

          Unlike most pandemics, there seemd to be little natural immunity in the community. Historically, the viruses or bacteria were floating around and even the deadly 1918-19 flu had relatively low infections of people over 60 because they think there was a mild strain circulating 40+ years previously. That doesn’t appear to be the case with this one, so it is likely that 60%+ of the population would have to get sick in this event to build up immunity. It is unusual to have more than about one-third of the population to get sick in a pandemic due to the past immunity build-up, even of measles, smallpox, polio, flu, etc. Native americans had 90%+ death rates from those diseases because their immune systems had never been exposed to them or even had the opportunity to evolve to fight off similar diseases.

          A second “wave” due to increased virulence of this disease is a distinct possibility because of
          “serial passage” which often increases virulence. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_passage This is likely what happened in 1918 when the second wave of three caused most of the mortality. The less passage we allow of these bugs, the less likely this is to occur.

          I am living a relatively normal life right now, even had a haircut a few weeks ago. We get together with friends in ours or their yard (sans mask as we are 10+ feet apart). We will be going on vacation, doing winery tastings etc. We go to the store. All of this is done carefully with basic precautionary measures. I don’t expect to be working out in a gym with other people in the near future, eating in indoor restaurants, hanging out in bars, or doing much plane travel. None of these deletions seem particularly life-changing at the moment.

        12. posaunist

          Quarantines have been common during epidemics for thousands of years. I’ve seen a lot of photographs of mask wearers during the Spanish flu. I know three people who have had COVID, one died, another will probably not completely recover. A mask is more to protect others than yourself. Wearing one is a sign of respect.

          1. orlbucfan

            It is also a sign of consideration, and basic common sense. Judging from your comment, I guess the latter must be extinct.

        13. Milton

          It’s just a goddamned mask! If people such as yourself were not so mask-averse we could have a semblence of an open economy with few, if any, restrictions. We have restrictions for not being able to smoke indoors, not being able to consume alcohol on the street, not driving without seatbelts fastened, no diddling underage people, we have lots of restrictions in our society dude, suck it up and take on for the team. Needless to say you just piss me off.

        14. Carla

          So, NotReallyHere — I tend to agree, you’re not really here. I don’t give a sh*t if you won’t patronize a venue that requires you to wear a mask — be my guest. If you’re not wearing a mask, I invite you to stay home — and be Not Really Here. Or Not Really Anywhere.

        15. YetAnotherChris

          If everyone wore a mask in public this thing would be contained inside of three weeks and your beloved economy could reopen. But a significant cohort of Americans has been persuaded that masking up = being owned by the libs, so no dice on the easy way out. Well played, freedom rider!

        16. Cuibono

          that must have been tongue in cheek..

          I esp loved this line:
          “We have never before voluntarily sacrificed our communal ability to generate wealth “

        17. SteveW

          We accept restrictions or limitations to our absolute freedom all the time. Seat belts. Municipal building bylaws. Masking is trivial inconvenience in comparison with all these things you have accepted, reluctantly maybe. So unless you go/practice against all these limitations, your points are not valid and actually hypocratic.

        18. SteveW

          Also if masking and other measures have been adopted earlier, we would not need to lockdown. Just look at Taiwan and South Korea. So all the bonehead no limit to freedom BS attitude caused the shutdown of the economy.

        19. SteveW

          I would imagine you give up all kind of freedom to make a buck, earn a living. But you would not tolerate trivial inconveniences to help others. I sure hope that few people think or act like this. By the way, I respect individual’s right to live remote and off the land. But to conform for the purpose of making a trivial living and yet crying out for absolute natural freedom, that is hypocritical.

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    re: Trump re-election; I haven’t been following the polls either. If I was going to go by anecdotal evidence I see a lot of Trump 2020 bumper stickers when I go running. I still haven’t seen a Biden one yet. This is in suburban NJ

    1. cocomaan

      In suburban Philadelphia I have seen a smattering of Biden signs, a few trump. Edge to trump right now, though not by much, and not nearly as much as Trump->Clinton back in 16.

    2. hunkerdown

      Speaking from personal experience, some of those Trump bumper stickers have been posted without the permission of their vehicle owners. Ask the now-banned r/The_Donald how they feel about private property when it’s their daddy’s career at stake.

    3. km

      Crackpot conspiracy theories aside, Trump won in 2016 because he eked out a series of razor thin victories in three states (WI, MI and PA) that have gone for Team D in recent elections. I think his total combined margin of victory in all three of those states was something like 60,000 votes. That alone was the electoral equivalent of rolling snake eyes, and doing it three times in a row.

      But there’s more – not only was Trump running as an outsider against the odious HRC, she didn’t bother to seriously campaign in any of those states. Obnoxious as she is, had she just made a little focused effort, she’d probably be president today.

      Very unlikely that Biden’s handlers will make that mistake twice.

      Also, in 2016, Trump was running as an outsider. He no longer has that option.

      1. Tom Doak

        Biden isn’t campaigning in *ANY* states, though. It seems to be his main strategy.

          1. richard

            She has the same problem as biden (k. kulinski often points this out): the more people see or hear her, the less they like her
            hiding joe makes all the sense in the world
            no one much likes what he has to say
            (“Listen fat, if it’s popular I CAN’T SUPPORT IT”)
            and listening to him try to say it is no fun either

          2. ambrit

            She would have done better if she had had a more efficient and less obtrusive exo-skeleton.
            What surprises me about all the still fanatical Hillary support is the fact that she had zero charisma, and crappy policy proposals.

            1. marku52

              Oh Dog, I’m glad I wasn’t holding a drink over my KB when I read that.

              Too funny.

            2. Donald

              Everyone I have ever heard praising Hillary talks about her amazing ness in terms of being the most qualified person ever to run. She was the dream candidate for the PMC, plus she is a woman, so you would hear about how women have to be twice as good to get that far ( which is probably true). The end result is that she became some sort of heroic symbol for a lot of women and some men. I would hear the sort of thing you would hear later about Warren— she had a plan for everything. This was total nonsense on foreign policy, but most people in her camp only care about foreign policy to the extent it can be used to argue that Democrats are better than Republicans.

              I once talked to a friend of mine, a really nice guy, who basically said that foreign policy was so complicated he didn’t think about it much. That is a fairly close paraphrase. He loved Hillary.

            3. neo-realist

              Hillary had also been damaged by 30 years of right wing talk radio, which Biden hasn’t suffered.

              Additionally, Hillary was hurt by a lot of potentially democratic voters sitting on their hands in 2016, which may change after four years of Trump with a candidate those voters perceive to be less noxious. Senility beats Shrill?

              1. ambrit

                Remember Air America? Maybe you don’t, but it was a stab at a left wing talk radio. It didn’t get very far.
                Hillary and her cohorts should have countered the Right wing propaganda organs, but they didn’t. Perhaps they didn’t counter the Right wing propaganda because they had already abandoned the core values of the Left and were just a pale shadow of their “opposition.” As someone much smarter than I once said; “Why should the voters vote for a pseudo-Republican party when a real Republican party was available?”
                Hillary lost for several reasons, not the least of which is the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of her political faction.

      2. D. Fuller

        Trump won through voter suppression efforts by Republicans that encompassed 27 States, winning 15 of those states. Total was 250, 000 or so votes averaging around 14,000 votes a State. Averaging.

        Obama won precisely because he organized a voter registration drive on a massive scale. Hillary did not.

        Greg Palast is an invaluable resource for documenting Republican voter suppression.

          1. neo-realist

            A great book too, especially for describing the mechanics of how Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris suppressed the black vote in FL in the 2000 election.

        1. periol

          Careful with your crackpot conspiracy theories.

          I’m sure those shiny electronic voting machines worked flawlessly too.

        2. Pat

          And he started reporting on it in great detail with the 2000 election. Funny how not doing anything about it, even when you own the House, the Senate, the Presidency and a majority of the Governorships in the country at one point, comes back to bite the Democrats in the ass in 2016.

          Oh wait they would need to admit they have agency AND care about it as an issue not an excuse for it to really matter to Democrats.

      3. flora

        Plus now in 2020 we have shiny new electronic voting machines with no auditable paper trail. Not that I’m foily.

      4. Ford Prefect

        I think a key factor will be that Trump will be the first non-wartime president to run for re-election after espousing policies designed to sicken or kill his supporters. I am utterly baffled on how this will help him win the swing voters that elected him in 2016.

      5. anon in so cal

        The polling site that Lambert posted last week that showed a tossup in Michigan, now shows a tossup in Wisconsin (although 7% or so undecided). This was a polling site that was apparently one of the only ones to accurately predict 2016. The other one that always had T ahead was the LA Times USC Dornslife poll.


    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      I saw my first Biden sign Friday. It was hidden in a highly manicured lawn on the expensive side of town. On the other hand, I never stopped seeing Trump signs. But, in the interest of accuracy, I’ve been seeing Trump 2020 signs since, oh, about November of last year. I still see the occasional recent vintage Sanders signage as well.
      This is Indianapolis, btw. Yes, Trump will comfortably win the state, but I’m still used to seeing support for the Dems in the city at least. I saw more Dem bumper stickers during primary season than I do now.

  3. Toshiro_Mifune

    Boots deleted his Twitter account in April after deciding there were other things to focus on

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        I think he did come back for a few quick tweets and then deleted the account again

        1. ambrit

          “It’s just a jump to the Left, and a step to the Ri-i-i-i-ght.”
          I really can imagine Dr. Frank-n-furter being the Evil Genius behind this year’s Presidential candidates.

      2. geoff

        Riley tweeted about the ILWU strike after Juneteenth, so yeah, within the last ten days or so.

      3. Eureka Springs

        I believe it was last week he mentioned from time to time he suspends his account and was about to do it again.

    1. D. Fuller

      As a former Range Safety Officer while in The US Army – now retired, that couple waiving their guns around? I noticed several issues.

      That couple represents all that is wrong with many American gun owners. They are why I favor psychological testing, extensive testing for licensing on a repeated basis, gun owner insurance, and prosecution for loss of an unsecured weapon. As well as expanded back ground checks, repeated periodically.

      1. In the video, the muzzle of the AR-15 looks to be repeatedly pointing at his wife.

      2. I can’t tell if his finger was on the trigger.

      3. The woman obviously is unsafe holding the pistol in that manner.

      Never point your weapon at someone unless in immenent danger. Keep your finger off the trigger until necessary to pull the trigger.

      In my time as an RSO, I would have had several options, all legal. If a soldier had behaved as that couple.

      Disarm the soldier as fast as possible. Including the use of extreme violence. I once disarmed a soldier by grabbing the handguards to orient the muzzle downrange while beating him with my “stop sign”. Rendering the soldier unconscious. Soldier was discharged immediately afterwards for several violations.

      My other option was to to?

      Shoot the person endangering others. Legally. In my day, RSOs carried pistols for this exact purpose. If not, I could have been prosecuted under UCMJ if a soldier on a firing range discharged a firearm resulting in injury or death of another.

      Fortunately, I never had to do this.

      Being an RSO was an unnerving experience every time. I hated it. The worst was the grenade range when qualifying using live grenades. Never had an incident there. Everyone was nervous about grenades.

      As for firearms?

      The display of a firearm is for pure intimidation. Whether holstered or not. Whether carrying in peaceful times or not.

      Too many gun owners in America are unfit to own firearms. They are why I do not go to shooting ranges. The number of unsafe gun owners violating basic gun safety at shooting ranges are simply too many. They are threats to themselves and others.

      1. flora

        Have to repeat this.

        Never point your weapon at someone unless in immenent danger. Keep your finger off the trigger until necessary to pull the trigger.

        People unmindful of where a gun is pointing should not be holding a gun.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          used the more shocking, “don’t point that at a person unless you want to kill them dead.”, in training the boys.
          and I’m a nut for keeping the damned chamber empty, until it’s actually time to fire.
          when cousin and his kid(18) were up for 3 months for initial lockdown/potential collapse, i went to the Library/trailerhouse one night—after their 2 week quarantine–and noted all the guns. Cousin is something of a gun nut…mighty hunter, and all.
          i picked up a shot gun, and found that there was a round chambered, safety on..
          they got read the riot act that night.
          be it a rabid skunk, a coyote, or ravening hordes of mutant zombie bikers, there’s plenty of time to chamber a round.

          1. flora

            i picked up a shot gun, and found that there was a round chambered, safety on.

            o.m.g.! Good for you reading them the riot act. Hope it made an impression.

            1. JBird4049

              Yes, like with driving, people get too comfortable with guns. It’s… disturbing to have someone accidentally without thinking point/swing a gun at me.

          2. The Rev Kev

            The gun is always loaded. If you turned your back on a gun, then a cartridge would jump into the chamber when you are not looking. I also believe that all guns are loaded unless proved to be otherwise.

            1. Lost in OR

              Richard, double tap is the second rule.
              The first rule is… Cardio. Looks a little late for that.
              Perhaps they should take a bathroom break before they buckle up.
              Rough ride ahead.

      2. fresno dan

        D. Fuller
        June 29, 2020 at 4:00 pm

        Very elucidating – thank you for that.

        The display of a firearm is for pure intimidation. Whether holstered or not. Whether carrying in peaceful times or not.
        That is a good point.

      3. JCC

        Too true.

        When I was in Army Basic Training we had a “fire in the hole” situation when training with live grenades. Frightening is putting it very mildly, particularly for the trainers. They were far more shaken up than we young, ignorant, and innocent-at-the-time saps were.

        Your second paragraph should be the bare minimum requirements.

        1. fajensen

          I had a good colleague with a nice Rorschach pattern on his back from training someone to throw a grenade.

          The guy threw the pin, dropping the grenade, then made a run to retrieve it, my colleague then grabbed the guy and threw him over the protective wall but he was a bit slow himself so 2 cm of his back was still exposed when it went off.

          They don’t even pay someone extra for being a Range Officer.

  4. nippersmom

    RE: Private Streets
    So protesters can’t walk down private streets, but cops can burst into someone’s home without a warrant and without even knocking or identifying themselves, and shoot the occupant? These (family blogs) and their apologists better prepare for the tumbrils, especially since they are evidently clueless about how to operate the firearms they are wielding.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Where have you been? Private streets are private property. Welcome to capitalism!

      All police are people but not all people are police. And police can legally bust down doors without a warrant for many reasons.

      The fact that people surprised by anything that is happening is awesome to see. People like me have been living exposed to this (family blog) for years.

      1. nippersmom

        Oh, I’m not surprised. It is “clarifying”, as Lambert would say, to see how blatant these people are, however. And they will be shocked when they discover the rest of us proles have finally decided we’ve had enough.

        1. cocomaan

          I mean, what were Ken and Karen supposed to do when the “protesters” came into the neighborhood, exactly? Call the cops? Stand down?

          St Louis riots have claimed more than one life in the month of June and at least a half dozen cops have been shot in the same amount of time. I didn’t see the people breaking into the neighborhood waving signs.

          I can’t blame Ken and Karen. I’d have probably done the same thing.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Watch them go by? Especially since — readers will correct me, here — neither of them looked particularly expert at handling weapons. Some of the shots I saw appeared to show McCloskey point his gun at his wife, for example.

            1. dk

              Yes, noted here: Standing Their Ground in Well-Manicured Yards

              But then I noticed that this gunman—who wore a form-fitting pink polo shirt tucked into spacious flat-front khaki slacks—was barefooted outside the grand portico. He was also holding his AR-15 left-handed, even though it was a standard carbine with its ejection port on the right side, meaning that if the polo-sporting gentleman had fired his gun, with every discharge, it would spit a spent, white-hot bullet casing directly into his nipples. Clearly, he didn’t carry this gun very often, a fact made all the more obvious by the frequency with which he pointed its business end toward his wife, who was also barefooted, beside him, wielding a small semiautomatic pistol loosely in her hands, like a once-cherished dream that now might burst and dry up at any moment.


              1. D. Fuller

                Good catch on the port. Unless he had a deflector for spent casings.

                That couple should not own weapons at all.

                1. Massinissa

                  When you own a home with rooms that look like they’re imitating Versailles, you feel like you need guns to protect it.

                  Maybe they should just… Not have rooms that look like Versailles instead? I don’t think I could stand living in a house that had insides looking like that. What does this couple do for society to deserve a house like this when others are homeless or living in poverty?

                  1. Samuel Conner

                    Years ago, I read a description of the job performed by lawyers (paraphrased from memory):

                    In every transaction, there is a magic moment in which the treasure being transacted leaves the possession of one party but has not yet arrived in the possession of the other party.

                    The task of the lawyer is to identify that moment, insert himself into it, and get for himself as much of the treasure as he can.

                    My apologies to all the pro-social attorneys reading this; I recognize that you do exist.

                    Also apologies to the female anti-social attorneys — this is an old quote and gender neutrality was not yet a big thing.

                    1. Massinissa

                      The pro-social ones are usually among the ones that don’t live in mansions. Not that there aren’t non-pro-social attorneys not living in mansions, mind you.

                  2. Acacia

                    Evidently, they are personal injury lawyers. From the looks of their palatial residence, though, they’re probably not defending the poor or even the middle class.

                    1. Romancing The Loan

                      With that kind of money, they would be representing the (large, corporate) defendants in these lawsuits.

                    2. Ford Prefect

                      Actually, they probably are representing the poor and middle class, but they probably collect 40% of low-balled settlements that they didn’t even prepare for trial. There is a reason why half the advertisements on TV are personal injury attorneys.

            2. cocomaan

              Oh I have nothing but contempt for their handling of their weapons. It’s clear that it was the second time they’d picked them up.

              But the couple said that they grabbed their firearms when the protesters arrived with their own weapons. The couple claimed that people were threatening to burn their house down.

              To me, blaming them for defending their house because they’re rich is like bringing up George Floyd’s criminal history when talking about his killing. It’s not material to the immediate situation.

              1. a different chris

                The solution is – You. Stay. Inside.

                This gun nutz crap always cracks me up. Parading around with your weapon makes you a target. Anybody from any angle could have dropped those two without half a thought.

                Stay inside, blow them away when they come thru the door is the only fantasy that actually has any connection at all to reality.

              2. Bill Carson

                The McCloskeys could have avoided a lot of trouble and harassment if they had greeted the protesters with lemonade instead of weapons.

              3. Romancing The Loan

                …It kind of sounds like they’re lying though, doesn’t it?

                If you saw a huge crowd of armed people in front of your house that you really, truly thought were actually going to break in and harm you, you wouldn’t come outside and stand there in the open like a chump, showing to all of them that your fabulous mansion is guarded by exactly zero security other than your pudgy middle-aged attempt at felonious brandishment. You’d point your guns through the windows and frantically call the police.

                As these guys marched by on their way to the mayor’s house do you really think they were yelling threats towards these specific fools? No, Ken and Karen heard anger or even threats aimed at the rich in general and decided to come outside and stoke the flames by threatening the marchers with the guns they clearly had no intention of using nor ability to use. My guess is that any specific threats to burn down their property came only after they went outside with their guns.

              4. RMO

                They’re both waving the firearms around idiotically but in every picture I’ve seen of them he’s holding the AR-15 right handed. Unless every picture I came across was mirror-flipped.

                What they did was colossally stupid. If there had been anyone in the crowd that actually was intending to attack any of the residents of the neighborhood, the only thing that walking out on to their lawn waving their guns around would have accomplished would have been to get themselves shot multiple times before they could even figure out what was happening. They could have just stayed inside and watched.

                  1. RMO

                    @#%^^!^#@~ – You’re right! My apologies, apparently my eyes were mirror imaged this morning. I hope it was just lack of sleep or a hold over from looking at the Moon through a telescope last night and doing the mental contortions required to relate my Moon map with the flipped image in the scope. The picture lower down of his wife pointing her pistol in the general direction of the heads of the crowd with he finger on the trigger is even more horrifying. They’re a far bigger danger to themselves (and others) than any of the protesters as far as I can tell.

              5. D. Fuller

                Odd how other homeowners are not reported to have resorted to, as one poster put here on NC, “felonious” handling of weapons.

                Why is that?

                1. rowlf

                  Maybe they came from central casting. It’s a news and social media story, why does it have to be true? Maybe they’re the parents of that kid in Syria that always was in a town the Russians bombed. Maybe they’re Antifa in mufti? Maybe a news crew got bored.

                2. Romancing The Loan

                  You’re welcome to call me out by name.

                  2005 Missouri Revised Statutes 571.030. 1. A person commits the crime of unlawful use of weapons if he or she knowingly:

                  …(4) Exhibits, in the presence of one or more persons, any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner;

                  …(7). Unlawful use of weapons is a class D felony

                  There’s an exception for persons engaged in permissible “lawful acts of defense” under 563.031, but that’s for use of force in defense of persons. It doesn’t say anything about property.

                  There’s no exception for being on your own property threatening people walking by. I think they could be charged. Not that anyone has the balls.

            3. KevinD

              The only “clowns” here are those two “armed clowns”. Their guns are obviously investments and or compensation for a lack of something somewhere – ask Karen.

              1. David Carl Grimes

                Look at their mansion. I should have become an ambulance chaser/Personal Injury Lawyer.

          2. richard

            i don’t understand why you are scare quoting protestors
            the mayor publically gave out addresses of people who wanted to cut police funding in an area where some suspect death squads are operating
            they had every right to march to her house and demonstrate
            you would point guns at these people? really?
            and this is in the name of safety?

          3. Basil Pesto

            I mean, what were Ken and Karen supposed to do when the “protesters” came into the neighborhood, exactly? Call the cops? Stand down?

            Invited them in for a sumptuous banquet, I reckon. Maybe followed by a portrait sitting.

          4. Berto

            Those two clowns would have been killed in a hail of police bullets if they were black. Period.

    2. Massinissa

      This is America. Only rich people have rights here. Proles get a police state instead, since they don’t have enough money to afford rights or good lawyers, and are not eligible for free money from the FED. Because remember, you need government help to be rich enough to have rights, apparently. I guess that’s why they call it socialism for the rich.

      1. a different chris

        Haha I posted then deleted the exact same (but not as well-written) thing. Word.

        And it should be rich “white” people, as more than one pro athlete can tell you.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Would be interesting to review how the street came to be private. Who did what in the platting and comprehensive planning and subdivision approvals? I remember a bit of a kerfuffle in Chicago, decades ago, when one of the big downtown retail entities “arranged” to have a formerly public street removed from public ownership and given to the developer. Same here in St. Petersburg, FL. Such touching and naive beliefs we Mopes have in the nature of “property,” especially “public property…”

      Lambert offers, “Private security forces are one obvious outcome of defunding the police.” I bet he knows that private security forces already are a big bit of the political economy, long before mopes started up that “Defund The Police!” chanting: https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/08/31/private-security-outnumbers-the-police-in-most-countries-worldwide-infographic/#3c37e284210f Maybe the trend will accelerate now, on the way to the final feudalization of this chimerical “Thin coat of democracy gouache on an iron fist of Empire…”

    4. dk

      Found some follow-up on this, the whole thread is pretty thorough:

      Portland Place and Westmoreland Place in St. Louis are historic neighborhoods, closed to vehicle through traffic… but open to pedestrian traffic.

      I know this, because they’re under the National Register of Historic Places.

      Basically, some historic neighborhoods have gates that are designed to prevent cars from cruising through.

      However, the sidewalks and roads are, “public thoroughfares accessible via pedestrian gate” — which is literally the opposite of private property.

  5. SerenityNow

    Plenty of places are still expanding freeways through central cities, including ODOT in Portland and TXDOT in Austin. Departments of Transportation across the country continue to insist that these expansions are a way to “mitigate congestion”, even though adding lanes has never been an efficient or effective solution. The fact of the matter is, the more public space you provide for driving (including both lanes AND vehicle storage at the end of every trip–parking), the more people will drive.

    And, even if we ever get to the imagined scenario where EVs/AVs are affordable, safe, and widespread, they will still not be effective in addressing sprawl, vehicle storage needs, and all the other negative impacts of single occupancy vehicles.

      1. SerenityNow

        How can it be that DOTs are still building this way? What will it take to stop them?

    1. carl

      I really think TXDOT should readopt its old name, The Highway Department. Much more honest. Of course, I’m also in favor of renaming the county jail the county jail, not the current “Adult Detention Center.”

    2. JWP

      The ODOT project actually will help congestion seeing as going from 405->5 requires merging in, then merging back over to exit. It merely ads the exit lane to NE from the convergence of the highways. It’s mostly an ecological catastrophe because it will hurt the already vulnerable and trying to recover riparian area along the Willamette. Despite this, I fully agree lane additions are awful and any DOT funds should be diverted to transit systems and bikes when possible.

      Regarding sprawl, the US has to give up its ideal of everyone get their own house. To eliminate sprawl, townhouses and multiplexes need to replace single home neighborhoods. And like Vancouver BC, programs of ceding urban area to habitat is a start.

      1. Darius

        Evanston, Illinois, is a good example of an early streetcar suburb where single family homes predominate. This kind of suburb, with a traditional street grid and comparatively small lots is the model for a suburb. The postwar car-dependent suburb is the problem.

    3. anon in so cal

      Stretches of the 405 Freeway through Los Angeles have 14 lanes. It’s still gridlocked during rush hour. Expanding a stretch through the Sepulveda Pass cost $1.6 billion. Roads always lead to development and more congestion. Isn’t it mostly developers who want to create new roads through pristine areas?

    4. BlakeFelix

      Autonomous taxi EVs could help with the storage, and make all the commuting less dangerous and unpleasant, and work with public transit, which could help quite a lot I think.

  6. juno mas

    RE: Trains, Planes and Freeways

    Freeways in Los Angeles and other cities did more than move people to the suburbs. Freeway alignment was determined by the politically dominant to preserve white park lands and their valuable business property. Not only did the freeway development/alignment of 50’s and 60’s destroy vibrant Black business and residential zones. The freeway became the new “railroad track”: a line of demarcation useful to the police to enforce segregation.

    1. periol

      I lived in Jersey City for a while, and I can vouch that the highways were definitely built to box in the ghettos. I remember the first time I tried to get on the turnpike, and got lost winding my way through a maze of signs. I finally gave up and went back home to study the map I had there.

      It still blows my mind that I-78 travels right through the heart of Jersey City, but you can only get on or off at either end of the city. And of course there’s the Pulaski Skyway which conveniently hides the rough neighborhoods you’re traveling over and through.

      People went to great lengths to build this stuff the way they did. How many countless hours of work went into designing this stuff like this?

    2. geoff

      As seen in films like “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and the just concluded tv show “Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels”, freeway development has been ongoing in Los Angeles since the late 1930s (the Pasadena/ Arroyo Seco freeway was completed in 1940). “City Of Angels” is kind of a mess, but definitely has echoes of far better productions like “L.A. Confidential” and of course “Chinatown”. It explicitly addresses how freeway construction was directed by city government and land developers to break up and disperse minority communities. To drive home the point, the final episode concludes (kind of heavy handedly) with the show’s Chicano LAPD detective protagonist literally watching his childhood home being bulldozed and monologueing about how freeways are being used to “wall off” Mexicans and will continue to be used to separate minorities from white communities.

    1. ambrit

      Oh my. You “beefed” up our “browsers?” You wouldn’t “steer” us wrong, would you?

  7. Keith

    Funny thing about the Minneapolis folks hiring security, one of the firms is reported to be Aegis. They ran the ROC in Baghdad, ROC being the Reconstruction Operations Center and provided daily intel briefs to us contractors.

    Another note, I forget the name, but the founder of the company also ran Executive Outcomes, and earlier PMC that had success bringing peace to African nations until Kofi Anon convinced Clinton that this group was bad. In effect, the private security company was going the work of UN peacekeepers, but they were doing it better.

  8. Matthew G. Saroff

    How the hell are Karen and Ken McClosky not in jail for assault with a deadly weapon?

        1. shinola

          It’s in St. Louis. People from either coast are always amazed at home prices in the midwest.

          That said, it does seem rather low. Perhaps the figure given is from the property tax rolls which are nearly always lower than the actual market value (sometimes significantly lower).

        2. Massinissa

          I think most of the money went into the interior of the house rather than the house itself.

            1. ambrit

              Psychologically speaking, couldn’t we consider the ‘house’ to be the “outside” of their minds?

  9. GF

    Jerome Powell and Sec. Munchkin will be before the House Committee on Financial Services tomorrow at 12:30 EDT:

    Ten questions that need to be asked hoisted from WSoP:

    1. Since September 17, 2019, the Fed has made more than $9 trillion cumulatively in revolving repo loans to the trading houses on Wall Street at interest rates far below what the market would charge. Since mid-March, the Fed has made hundreds of billions of dollars of these loans at almost zero interest to Wall Street, that is, at 1/10th of one percent interest. Why, then, is the Fed charging the State of Illinois 3.82 percent interest on its loan under the Municipal Liquidity Facility? The states of our nation build our roads and bridges and educate our children, along with funding many other essential services. Why should a state have to borrow from the Fed at 38 times the rate of a Wall Street trading house?

    2. Mr. Powell, both you and your Vice Chairman for Supervision, Randal Quarles, have stated that you intend to provide full transparency to the American people as to whom the money from your emergency facilities is flowing. But thus far, you have provided transaction details on just 3 out of 11 emergency programs. The oldest of these programs is the Primary Dealer Credit Facility. At its peak in April, the facility had made loans of more than $31 billion to trading houses on Wall Street. It’s been over three months that this facility has been operating but the American people have yet to learn to whom, specifically, this money went. When do you plan to release transaction data for this facility and the other facilities that you have yet to report on?

    3. Mr. Mnuchin, the CARES Act earmarked $454 billion for you to hand over to the Federal Reserve so that it could leverage that into approximately $4.54 trillion in emergency lending to businesses, states and local governments, and nonprofits in order to deal with the financial crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Fed’s H.4.1 release, as of June 24 it has received only $114 billion of that money, leaving $340 billion unaccounted for. Mr. Mnuchin, the United States is in the worst financial contraction since the Great Depression. Why hasn’t that money gone to where Congress instructed you to deploy it?

    4. Mr. Powell, you and your Vice Chairman for Supervision, Randal Quarles, have repeatedly stated to Congress and in media interviews that the biggest Wall Street banks are “well capitalized.” But on June 24, Bloomberg News reported that from the start of 2017 through March of this year, “Citigroup returned almost twice as much money to its stockholders as it earned.” Those payouts to stockholders included share buybacks and dividend payments on common and preferred stock. The same article also noted that three other Wall Street banks, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, over the same period had paid out $1.26 for every $1 they reported as net income. Can you explain to us how these banks can be “well capitalized” when they have been paying out more than they have been earning for more than three years?

    5. Mr. Powell, back on September 17 of last year, months before the coronavirus emerged, overnight lending rates on Wall Street abruptly skyrocketed from 2 percent to 10 percent, raising alarm bells that one or more financial institutions were in trouble and nobody wanted to lend to them at less than 10 percent interest. You promised Congress back then that the Fed was researching the problem and would provide Congress with a copy of that report. The Fed jumped in to make those loans in its lender-of-last resort capacity – which is supposed to be a short-term emergency posture. But the Fed has been making those repo loans ever since, to the tune of more than $9 trillion cumulatively. As recently as the first week of June, the Fed had to make $304.20 billion in repo loans. These loans are not going to banks, which could offer that money to consumers and businesses, but to the Wall Street trading houses owned by these banks. Can you now explain to us the nature of the problem that has forced the Fed to continue to make these repo loans to trading houses?

    6. Mr. Powell and Mr. Mnuchin, I’d like each of you to answer this question. After the last financial crisis, the Government Accountability Office published the results of its audit of the Fed’s emergency lending programs. The public learned for the first time that the Fed had made over $2.5 trillion cumulatively in emergency loans to Citigroup over a period that stretched from December 2007 to at least July 21, 2010. For much of that time those loans were illegal because Citigroup was insolvent. The Chair of the FDIC during that crisis was Sheila Bair. She later wrote a book that said this: “virtually no meaningful supervisory measures had been taken against the bank by either the OCC or the NY Fed…Instead, the OCC and the NY Fed stood by as that sick bank continued to pay major dividends and pretended that it was healthy.” Are either of you aware today of any large bank that is under the supervision of the Fed that is being propped up by Fed loans and could not otherwise function?

    7. Mr. Powell, Reuters reported on October 1 of last year that JPMorgan reduced the cash it has on deposit at the Federal Reserve, from which it might have lent to consumers and businesses, by $158 billion in the year through June, a 57% decline. Can you explain to us why the Fed allowed JPMorgan to reduce its reserves with the Fed by 57 percent and what the bank explained to you was the reason for that dramatic drawdown?

    8. Mr. Powell, the European Central Bank in March called upon the banks in the euro zone to refrain from engaging in share buybacks and paying dividends. Large U.S. banks, on their own, announced the discontinuation of buybacks in March but have continued to pay dividends. Why hasn’t the Fed asked the banks to conserve their money available for loans to businesses and consumers during this crisis by suspending dividend payments? And part 2 of that question, has the Fed made repo loans to units of these banks that continued to pay out dividends to shareholders?

    9. Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Powell, are either of you aware of any Trump business or any member of the Trump family that has benefited from any of the Paycheck Protection Program loans or loans from the Fed’s lending facilities?

    10. Mr. Powell, on May 13 the Fed’s Vice Chairman for Supervision, Randal Quarles, testified before a House hearing. He was asked about the Fed’s corporate bond buying program regarding whether the Fed would hold the bonds to maturity or sell them before maturity in the open market. Mr. Quarles stated: “Our intention is to buy and hold.” Since the Fed is planning to buy bonds with maturities up to five years, are the American people to understand that the Fed envisions being involved in propping up the corporate bond market in the U.S. for half a decade?

    1. fresno dan

      June 29, 2020 at 3:11 pm

      best thing I have seen posted in quite a while.
      Hold it, that doesn’t sound right – worst thing I have seen posted.
      No, that is not right.
      The most important thing I have seen posted that describes how we are getting continuously abused by our “elite”
      I sure hope you post other suggested questions in the future!!!

  10. nippersmom

    The idea that Warren as VP would draw in young people and Sanders supporters is the clearest possible demonstration that Democrats not only will not but simply cannot comprehend that Sanders was always the compromise.

    1. Bill Carson

      Warren recently endorsed centrist Colorado senate candidate Hickenlooper over progressive Romanoff. She shows her true colors from time to time.

      1. Tom Doak

        Romanoff? The Russians are trying to take over Colorado via the Democratic primary? /s

        1. Massinissa

          I mean, the Democrats are anti-small-d-democratic enough that some ex-royals from foreign countries would probably fit right in. I mean, Hillary Clinton probably thinks of herself as something close to ex-royal. Or perhaps presently royal but in exile?

          1. a different chris

            >Hillary Clinton probably thinks of herself as something close to ex-royal

            ^This^ — I never thought of it that way, but that is the most succinct explanation for her (and her expectations for her daughter) that we have.

    2. Darius

      The liberals can’t see that Sanders was the compromise. Someone like Warren isn’t going to get Sanders voters who weren’t already inclined to support Biden because Trump. I suppose, though, that Kamala would actively repel them. I would go for Barbara Lee or Sara Nelson.

  11. Grant

    ““DuBois’s ‘General Strike’”

    He was one of the leading theorists in the early 20th century on worker-owned cooperatives and worker self-management as well.

    Different topic; are profits in finance not largely justified by the fact that lending does come with risk? The riskier the investment, the higher interest on the debt taken out, so the greater the risk the greater the potential reward. High risk bonds have high bond yields. If the state essentially removes the risk of the financial sector, what justification is there for profits in the financial sector? Why not just treat banking as a public utility and support public sector banking? Banks also only lend out money and take into account the information in markets. Since we know that markets ignore massive amounts of information, private banking seems to make us properly dealing with the environmental crisis all but impossible.

  12. Fireship

    > AR-15 Wielding Lawyer

    Why, why, why, in the year 2020 and with unlimited funds, is it still impossible to get realistic colored men’s hair dye?

    But seriously, how “free” are you if you need to live behind walls and iron gates and keep an assault rifle to hand in case the serfs revolt?

  13. Toshiro_Mifune

    Men’s Makeup Goes Mainstream With CVS Rollout

    I know I’ve posted this one before, but I’ve been hearing that men’s makeup is about to go big about every other year since I was 10. I am now almost 50 and have yet to ever purchase foundation.
    The thought of Bro versions of the Younique ‘Boss Babes’ gives me a headache.

    1. Keith

      Could be different this time. Past few years, as a society we have embraced the “boys will be girls and girls will be boys” notion, so this may be a go, especially with the media’s obsession (well until the protests picked up) of “toxic masculinity.” What better way to prove you are “woke” and in touch with your feminine side than by wearing a little mascara!

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        IDK – If you didn’t get men adopting make up during hair-metal era 80’s, I”m, not sure if you will.

        1. Keith

          Dee Snyder, the next top model from L’Oreal. Now that would be an interesting campaign, especially if they get the uptight dad from the music videos.

    2. DJG

      Mifune-san: Indeed. I seem to remember a brand called Warpaint when I was a youth.

      But my question is this: Who does the branding? Where was Mayor Pete and his squad of business consultants? Wasn’t there enough money involved? There usually is way too much.


      Now it may be that I dabble too often in the occult, but the word caused something to flash in my synapses.

      A quick look at Wikipedia:
      The strix (plural striges or strixes), in the mythology of classical antiquity, was a bird of ill omen, the product of metamorphosis, that fed on human flesh and blood. It also referred to witches and related malevolent folkloric beings.

      Next week: The new men’s eau de cologne with a nautical theme: Bilgewater

      1. ambrit

        “Builgewater,” too declasse. Re-brand it as “Golden Nail,” for when you have to get to the “Fundamentals.”

    3. Darius

      I had a giant pimple under my eye once and thought that I could cover it up with makeup. Probably the last thing I should have been doing with it.

  14. BoyDownTheLane

    I didn’t see anything about the overnight NIH news…

    U.S. National Institutes Of Health Fires 54 Researchers As Ongoing Investigation Reveals 93% Failed To Disclose Links To Chinese Communist Party

    The National Institutes of Health, the foremost research institute under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has investigated 189 researchers for undisclosed ties to foreign countries, 93 percent of which were linked to China.
    The fresh round of terminations resulted from an ongoing investigation at the taxpayer-funded National Institutes of Health (NIH) into the failure of grant recipients to disclose financial ties to foreign governments.

    The news was first broken by Science Mag, a project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s oldest and largest general science organization.

    Originating in 2018, the investigation concluded with 54 researchers being “terminated or resigning” for violating NIH rules against simultaneously receiving funds from the U.S. government and foreign entities.

    NIH – the parent organization for high profile doctors like Anthony Fauci – employs 6,000 research scientists and has a multi-billion dollar budget. [snip]

    A common theme, however, among the majority of these now-terminated researchers is the entity funding them: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

    While 399 researchers were suspected of being on a foreign payroll, the NIH ultimately pursued 189 individuals. 93 percent of those involved in a documented foreign relationship listed China as the “country of foreign support.”

    One hundred and seventy-five researchers in 27 states and 59 cities were targeted and the average foreign financial investment – either in the form of direct compensation or research grants – was $678,000.
    The findings are in line with President Xi Jinping’s 2013 decree: “Only by controlling core technology in one’s own hands, can one seize the initiative in competition and development, and absolutely guarantee national economic security, defense security.” [snip]

    The NIH report points to programs like the Thousand Talents Plan as the primary avenue whereby the CCP commandeers U.S.-based researchers, American taxpayer dollars, and weaponizes their findings for their own benefit.

    Read the whole piece at the link.


    “… The National Pulse is owned by The American Principles Project (APP), which is a 501(c)(3) think tank founded in 2009 by Robert George, Jeff Bell, and Frank Cannon. APP promotes a combination of libertarian and socially conservative policies. The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused American Principles Project of promoting conspiracies but has not formally labeled them a hate group. Revenue is derived through advertising and donations to the APP…..”


    https://www.just-one-liners.com/confucius-say: people-are-like-teabags::-you-dont-know-how-strong-they-are-until-you-put-them-in-hot-water/

    1. a different chris

      Thank god somebody is paying enough for pure scientific research, is unfortunately my first and deepest reaction.

      And these people are actually “at” NIH? That is within our borders? Does anybody remember the halcyon days when people would do anything for asylum in America?

      Now we are such a bloated pig they suck on our near-carcass and plan to go back home.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Oooohh, “Chinese Communist Party!” Bring back the McCarthy show trials! Can’t use a slightly different formulation, “Chinese government,” because that doesn’t raise the same Cold War goose bumps. I wonder, how many “American Imperial Party” scientists are working on, you know, science, in China? And do the Chinese government officials just accept that US people “Doing science” in China are part of the grand Game of Risk ™ play that seems to be the end game for our species?

      And if this is such a freaking concern, where were the Intelligence Community vetters when these people, assumed to be H1B visa holders, crept out of the darkness into the secret corridors of US imperial “science?”

  15. NotTimothyGeithner

    and smart,

    I think we can assume this poll is weighted to Biden staffers who give orders to say this word because I can’t imagine anyone outside of MSNBC’s morning crew making this comparison.

  16. Carolinian

    Re the Civil War–I’m reading a book that tells how the British dealt with the conflict. It says that in the beginning the Brits very much bought the Secession line that the war was about the right to independence and slavery would soon be gone. And you had a link here the other day telling of various proposed and Congressionally passed Constitutional amendments that might have guaranteed slavery if the South would just stay in. It doesn’t seem at all controversial to say that the war came to pass because the South insisted on leaving rather than because the North insisted on abolition. The North too seem to have bought the “eventually die out” line.

    To further support this view one need only look to the postwar period where most people in the North were far more concerned with reuniting the country than with the fate of the former slaves. Jim Crow was a national thing and remained so until MLK.

    1. Pelham

      That was my understanding as well. Also, one of the Southern complaints was that some Northern states were refusing to return escaped slaves as mandated under Article 4, section 2 of the Constitution. Thus in a bit of a twist, you could say it was the North, not the South, that was fighting for states’ rights — such as they may have been interpreted — to abrogate that particular constitutional provision.

      Incidentally, that section 2 provision also applied to supposedly free laborers who left an employer without permission.

    2. Jessica

      A major reason for the failure of the North to insist on full reconstruction was that the North too was exhausted by the war. Within a year or so of the end of the war, most of the Northern Army (US Army) had evaporated and much of what was left was sent out West.
      Another factor was that the war itself had accelerated the emergence of an industrial capitalist class in the North and they had no appetite for land reform in the South. They soon came to see the now subordinated Southern plantation class as a potential ally in suppressing working people.
      Unfortunately, the Civil War lasted just the right (wrong) length to prevent demolition of the racial caste system in the South. A shorter war would have left the North with the energy for land reform in the South. A longer war would have continued the process of creating Black army units. If that process had gone farther, those Black army units would have forced through land reform after the longer war finally ended.
      Arming Blacks, many of them ex-slaves, may seem hard to imagine, but in pretty much every war of independence/secession in which one side had slaves, the other side offered freedom and arms to their opponent’s slaves. This was true in 1776 (the British freed and armed many US slaves, including some of George Washington’s). The British also did the honorable thing and insisted on evacuation of their now free and armed Blacks after the end of that war. Haiti and the multiple Venezuelan independence wars also featured arming of slaves.
      Barely on topic, but interestingly, because the British held back from intervening in the US Civil War, it was unable to hold back and did intervene in the Taiping Civil War in China. Had the Taipings won – and it was a close call – they would have enacted a program quite similar to the Meiji Japan reformations that made Japan a modern power and done so a decade or so before Japan. Instead, China endured another half-century of an utterly sclerotic Qing dynasty and fell even farther behind.

    3. Jessica

      IIRC, segregation/apartheid written into law (de jure) came in over time a few decades after the end of the Civil War. The first years after the end of the war were marked by white terrorism.
      Some people claimed, not sure how sincerely, that segregation would help protect Blacks against white terrorism.

  17. fresno dan

    UPDATE Trump (R)(3): “Trump Defies Liberals By Chugging Entire Bottle Of Aunt Jemima Syrup” [The Babylon Bee].

    If you swallow a box of uncooked Uncle Ben’s rice to own the libs, will you explode?

    AND…I don’t know how to say this….but it concerns Mrs. Butterworth. I don’t know if I should even be asking this….on second thought, skip the whole thing.

    1. Keith

      Are you launching a “War” against our breakfast icons? I remember as a kid that Aunt Jemima’s french toast was my favorite. Mrs. Butterworth was too hoity toity for my blue collar family, so it was Stop and Shop syrup, if memory serves.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Somewhere in the US is a small museum devoted to products with racist names and I saw it mentioned in a doc once. ‘Darkie Toothpaste’ was once of the names that cause you to wince the least.

          Just went looking and I found it and it is called the Jim Crow Museum. Anybody heard of the Coon Chicken Inn? WTF-


        2. Jessica

          God I wish I had taken a photo. Probably did but who knows where it is.
          In Thailand in 2009, I saw White Man toothpaste, the counterpart to Darkie toothpaste. The Chinese characters used for “Darkie” were just “Black Man”. The full specific racist nuance of “darkie” is probably untranslatable into Chinese.

        3. ObjectiveFunction

          I recall that brand could still be seen in Hong Kong pharmacies a decade ago. The Chinese manufacturer ‘caved’ to criticism in 1991 or so, and renamed it DARLIE while leaving all other trade dress unchanged, including the broadly grinning gent in a top hat.

          A similarly pragmatic approach was taken by a grocer near Wall Street who owned the NOOPY Deli. If you looked closely, you could see where the ‘S’ had been removed (after a friendly visit from da United Features Syndicate…)

            1. Basil Pesto

              Media reports said the news had outraged many in Germany.

              In Germany!! Bloody hell, they started it.

    2. DJG

      fresno dan:

      Whoa, there, pancake aficionado: You wouldn’t be fat-shaming Mrs. Butterworth, now would you?

      1. fresno dan

        June 29, 2020 at 4:20 pm

        OK, the thing is, I don’t know if Mrs. Butterworth is black. There, I said it. I mean, she is caramel colored, but that is because she, being a bottle that holds pancake syrup, is transparent. If she was a really light colored pancake syrup, would she be considered white with a really good tan? And why don’t we even consider that she is trans?

  18. fresno dan


    In a 5-4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the deciding vote, the court said the Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals created an unconstitutional undue burden for patients seeking an abortion.
    Justice Stephen Breyer, in an opinion joined by rest of the court’s liberal wing, wrote that the Louisiana law would make it “impossible for many women to obtain a safe, legal abortion in the State and [impose] substantial obstacles on those who could.” Roberts, in a separate concurring opinion, disagreed with the liberal justices’ reasoning but said he was bound by the precedent the court set just four years ago when it rejected a similar law in Texas.
    Roberts defended his finding at length, writing that he still believes the Texas case was wrongly decided but said “adherence to precedent is necessary to avoid an arbitrary discretion in the courts.”
    As I am well known for not being cynical, I am not going to suggest that Roberts ruling is due to Roberts not wanting to energize the pro choice faction before the election. Kinda like he upheld Obama care because Roberts didn’t think a lot of people losing health insurance before the election was good for repubs….
    But I’m not going to suggest those things because that would be cynical. And I’m not cynical. Some cynics may suggest that I am cynical….

    1. DJG

      fresno dan:

      I have a feeling that the malleable Justice Roberts has suddenly noticed the coronavirus, the unrest in Washington, D.C., the fact that he is confined to his house, and the likelihood that the Supreme Court had recently reached new lows in credibility.

      Of course, the advantage of confinement to quarters is not having to put up with the stench emanating from Sammy Alito, Noted Legal Scholar from the Late Middle Ages

    2. Rory

      What I have noticed about Justice Roberts’ (as well as Gorsuch’s) recent woke rulings, is that none of them have cost wealthy interests a penny.

    3. curlydan

      To Roberts’ credit (wow, I’m actually giving him credit), he finally came through with “stare decisis” after blathering it 1000 times in his confirmation hearings. maybe he did it to prevent another round of riots, but our “Leave it to Beaver”-era Chief Justice applied it.

  19. shinola

    From ‘The Atlantic’ article about Biden:
    “…With a little over four months until the election, most voters don’t know what Biden stands for—except for not Trump.”

    That’s pretty much all there is to Biden.

    1. voteforno6

      It will probably work – Trump has been an absolute dumpster fire, so as long as Biden remembers to wear his pants during the debates, and not drool on the moderators, he should win. Then again, he could win even if all that happens.

    2. John k

      It’s all there was to Hillary.
      And all there is to the dnc and the rest of the allegedly lesser evils.

    3. curlydan

      there wasn’t that much more to Obama than to Biden. After Katrina and the Iraq War, “not Bush” or “change” was pretty much what Obama ran on.

  20. 430 MLK

    Du Bois Civil War:

    For the past several years I’ve been researching 4 lynchings that occurred in my Kentucky home county across 1877/78. During the Covid shutdown, as context to those events, I’ve been reading some state-focused books that generally span from the Free Soil election of 1848 that destroyed the Whigs and spurred the formation of the Republican Party, on through Reconstruction.

    Kentucky, along with Maryland and Missouri, were slave states that remained with the Union. Hence, emancipation in 1863 didn’t apply here because the state wasn’t in rebellion against the Union. Slavery was legally allowed to continue, with the endorsement of Lincoln, who pledged no change for states loyal to the Union.

    Slaves still went on strike by flooding into Union camps, where they were put to work, but slave masters frequently entered camps to reclaim their property, and southern slaves making it north to here spurred a new industry of slave catchers capturing, penning, and re-selling slaves to Kentucky plantation owners. This wasn’t officially stopped until 1865, after the war’s end and (I think) after Lincoln’s assasination. Emancipation didn’t occur here until the 13th Amendment was ratified in late 1865. Kentucky’s legislators didn’t endorse it, in part because politicians still held onto the assumption that abolition shouldn’t apply to the loyal state of Kentucky.

    During the war, Kentucky regiments of Union troops, sympathetic to their slave-owning neighbors, often faced off against Union regiments from Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, who increasingly resisted owner attempts to recover their ‘property’.

    As the war went on, and also for some months after it ended, the Union army increasingly raided plantations to grab slaves to meet draft quotas as a way to unofficially end slavery in this Union state where it was still legal. (Because leaving the plantation placed female and elderly slaves at risk, not all left the plantation.)

    The state’s last governing general was a free soil’er born in KY but ‘runoff,’ to Illinois, he said, because slavery undercut his ability to earn a living wage as a white worker. His executive orders undercut fugitive slave laws still in place after they were abolished in the Confederate states, a practice that formalized the free movement of slaves leaving their owners, and provided thousands of Steamboat and ferry passes allowing slaves passage to free states across the Ohio River.

    1. deplorado

      Thank you for this illumination!

      Could you share links to reference materials – thanks!

      1. 430 MLK

        Here’s my first part on the lynchings I’ve been researching.


        Most of the KY stuff on the mother of all means testing came from Victor Howard’s Black Liberation in KY (1983). Also Ross Webb’s Kentucky in the Reconstruction Era (1979). The Free Soil stuff I read was by Joseph Rayback (1970). Rayback is more nationally focused but (to me) doesn’t read as well. Of the 3, Howard is the best read. I’m not an expert so there may be better sources…these were Amazon hits and random reads of bibliographies.

        Eric Foner’s Reconstruction is more focused on the south generally, but it foregrounds the next step of wage labor and land-ownership rights that the DuBois began. I need to buy the Du Bois book next!

  21. scarn

    The shooting in CHOP killed one black teenager and left another hospitalized. That vehicle has it’s windows up. That is not a vehicle that was engaged in drive by shootings. Someone shot the wrong kids.

  22. Goyo Marquez

    Re: Private streets
    I seem to recall during all the coverage of Ferguson and the shooting of Michael Brown an article or more discussing how privatizing towns was a common practice in St. Louis and was a way of maintaining segregation.

    Defund the police leads to private security? Well if the main point of the police is to protect the rich why should everyone else foot the bill and private police don’t have constitutional immunity. So sounds like a win to me.

  23. Icecube12

    “School Children Don’t Spread Coronavirus, French Study Shows”

    This is what the health authorities here in Iceland have been saying as well. In fact, schools were kept open here for kids under 16, and cases were still reduced to pretty much zero. The chief epidemiologist has said that there have been almost no cases of children infecting their parents. (Until recently, that is, when people were allowed to enter Iceland and forego quarantine if they submitted to testing at the border, leading to a case slipping through the cracks and causing a group infection of still undetermined size.)

  24. ChrisPacific

    Trying to co-opt mask-wearing as a Resistance thing is beyond asinine. Leaving aside the repellence of Cheney (which is extreme, but beside the point in this instance) people can and should wear masks even if they are opposed to the Resistance and everything it stands for. You can’t decorate a public health measure in your team colors and then act offended when it becomes a deterrent to universal participation.

    1. Jessica

      The very act of making mask-wearing a Resistance thing demonstrates that one considers their political stance (against Trump) more important than fighting the virus.

  25. ambrit

    Zeitgeist watch:
    Bumbled my way through four of the five thrift stores open now in our half-horse town.
    All of them were overwhelmed by ‘donations.’ Some pent up demand for “giving” to be wound down? A spike in local deaths? Maybe.
    Anyway, whilst searching through the thrift closest to an actual charity, I almost literally stumbled over a woman curled up on some blankets in the back of the store, sleeping. The attendant up front, who I have a friendly relationship with admitted that he has allowed some of the more “decent” homeless to kip in the back because they are afraid to bunk in at the local overnight shelters at night. I saw several obviously homeless people ‘hanging out’ at each of the thrift stores, except for the Goodwill. (They run that place like a boutique store now. The prices follow the trend too. However, today I managed to find a framed and matted Walter Anderson print for five bucks, so their workforce doesn’t catch all the bargains.)
    The local “Beauty Shops” are selling masks now.
    No one is ready for the Second Wave here. It will be bad, probably worse than this Spring was.

  26. McDee

    Got a letter today from Nancy Pelosi. The first paragraph reads “Someone had to do it Someone had to stand up to the bully in the White House and say no, you cannot abuse your power, you cannot abandon our allies, and you cannot do Vladimir Putin’s bidding from the Oval Office.”

    As Lambert has said, “They’re just trolling us now.”

    I registered as a Democrat here in New Mexico to vote for Bernie, so I am on the rolls as a Dem. I got a similar letter earlier from Obama. Both letters asking for money, of course. I told Barack what I told Nancy. Leave me alone. I am no longer a Democrat. I hope when I re-register as an Independent the letters will stop. Until then, I will enjoy giving them my 2 cents worth, but no money.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Well, think of it this way: they’re wasting their money trying to get your money. (And if you’re active with some alternative to them, then they’re helping you with opposition research.)

  27. Ignacio

    Why are plants green?” [Science Daily]. •

    Unfortunately the Science article will be under paywall at least for a year. I am quite curious about this. Remember that some plants and algae are red or brown, I would like to see a discussion on this. Red colors in plant leaves due to anthocyanins for UV protection amongst other functions aren’t rare. Yet the underlying chlorophyles are still there and their light harvesting antennae are basically the same as in green leaves, with two absorbing peaks. Once I read a paper on the photosynthetic efficiency in green algae illuminated with LEDs of different wavelengths (red, green, blue), that surprisingly found (if I recall correctly) that green light was best to stimulate photosynthesis and growth. I would like to see if this is compatible with this new hypothesis.

    1. fresno dan

      June 29, 2020 at 6:41 pm

      How the article starts:
      Why aren’t plants black? In theory, a black plant would absorb light from all wavelengths. However green plants (i.e. plants that reflect rather than absorb green) seem to have enjoyed an evolutionary advantage. According to Darwin they must have been the most fit, but what made them the most fit?
      I too have been curious about the “magic” of green – and I had never seen anything that addressed why it is the universal plant color.

      1. Aumua

        Green is where the peak intensity of (visible) solar radiation lies. Maybe it has something to do with that.

    2. a different chris

      >that surprisingly found (if I recall correctly) that green light was best to stimulate photosynthesis and growth\

      Wait what? I thought the whole reason a green leaf was green was because it was reflecting the waves that made up green, rather than absorbing them?

      I believe that is what the article said, that the reflected wavelengths of light were the ones that fluctuated too much to properly run the internal “factories”.

      1. Ignacio

        That is why it was surprising, but remember, most photons are not absorbed. The antennae have a mixture of pigments with different absortion peaks and function like semiconductors transferring excitones to other pigments until these reach the specific chlorophyl molecule that is able to release an electron.

  28. .Tom

    > But the polls are more a measure of how many Americans are rejecting Donald Trump.

    Nobody is going to vote for Joe Biden. Some people might vote against Trump but nobody at all will vote for Joe Biden.

    Max Blu Menthol said something along those lines on the Jimmy Dore Show last week. I thought it was quite witty.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can you imagine what would happen if in October Trump announced that he was instating Medicare for All and reminding people that Biden promised that he would strike down any such legislation? Would the House really try to block it or seek to have only those ‘qualified’ to receive it? And who would ‘progressives’ line up with? It would be sheer chaos – and Trump would love it.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        That’s the problem with Biden’s anti-strategy, isn’t it? All it would take is for Trump to do something positive like M4A, regardless of his reason for doing it, and Team Biden is sent scrambling. While I’m not going to hold my breath for that, stranger things have happened.

      2. a different chris

        Easy: Nothing would change nobody he needed to believe him would believe him.

        The right wing is a group of authoritarian followers, as I know you know. So they are going to vote for him if they think Medicare is a good idea or if they don’t, regardless. He is their Leader and Loyalty is not questioned.

        The rest are tired of his act and wouldn’t believe it. He made a lot of promises in 2016 that never happened.

      3. neo-realist

        Republicans would support it if it was private insurance scheme with the name of Medicare for all, but if it was a government program, the goopers wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole, regardless of what the democrats would want. But Trump doesn’t believe in government helping anybody but grifters like himself and the 1%, so yes, real M4all from Trump is a fantasy.

  29. ProNewerDeal

    Has there any expert’s guesstimates or studies showing what a mandatory scan-your-forehead-digital-temperature-check does for reducing the risk of a COVID-infected person entering a indoor establishment? Are these useful or are they US Airport TSA-style “Security Theater”

    Apparently East Asian nations are still doing such checks despite low sub-0.05% Estimated Currently Infected stats on https://covid19-projections.com/ . This leads me to believe these temperature checks are USEFUL & eliminate 50%+ of infected persons, but that is just my own WAGuesstimate.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Why are plants green?”

    It’s always the simple problems that are so profound. Got a book on my shelf by a physicist who talked about how he had to go through his final exam in front of a bunch of professors to get his ‘sheepskin’. When he entered the room, one asked him ‘Why is the sky blue?’ Our young hero stopped dead, looked out the window as if this was a new idea, and replied ‘Light refraction.’ The professor asked if he could explain further and would repeat this from time to time. After over an hour, our young hero had a whole blackboard full of mathematical equations and explanations to answer this simple but profound question and was almost lost going into the fundamentals of physics. And yes, he did pass.

  31. Sy Krass

    The snarks on this blog still don’t get it, Cheney, Clinton, Bush, Obama ARE/WERE indeed part of the evil Empire. Donald Trump, however was the one who started treating the citizens of the Empire like its subjects. THAT’s why he is more hated.

    1. Massinissa

      I mean, opinion polls for him weren’t particularly low until recently this year. He wasn’t really that much more hated than Bush or Obama until recently.

  32. Alternate Delegate

    As previously speculated here, travel restrictions to the European Unions are now being lifted (as of July 1st). If you’re from a normal country like Rwanda or Canada, that is. If you’re from the United States, not so much.

    I’m only seeing the Deutsche Welle article in German at this point. The full list of acceptable countries right now is: Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Japan, Canada, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunesia, and Uruguay.

    Conspicuously missing are the United States, Russia, and Brazil.

    “China will be considered only if it raises travel restrictions for Europeans in return.”

    Maybe there is no English version of this article yet because nobody wants to poke the toddler in DC?

  33. Robin Kash

    “May 2020 Pending Home Sales Record Comeback”
    Wait until the foreclosures come crashing in and Blackstone and others go on a buying spree as they did following 2008.

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