Links 6/10/2020

Why I’m Not Worried About America’s Trillion-Dollar Deficits Stephanie Kelton, NYT. “Politics aside, the only economic constraints currency-issuing states face are inflation and the availability of labor and other material resources in the real economy.”

OECD warns of deepest economic scars in peacetime for a century FT

Exclusive: ECB prepares ‘bad bank’ plan for wave of coronavirus toxic debt Reuters

System of blind spots (review) Ann Pettifor, Times Literary Supplement. An entertaining look at several books on financial fraud.

The Macroeconomics Of Degrowth Steve Keen, Econintersect

Making a Planet Worth Saving Biill McKibben, The New Yorker. Of Another view of NGOs:

Woke insurance. Carlos, you’re killing me!


The science:

Analysis of hospital traffic and search engine data in Wuhan China indicates early disease activity in the Fall of 2019 (PDF) Harvard Medical School vs. China, scientists dismiss Harvard study suggesting COVID-19 was spreading in Wuhan in August Reuters

Characteristics and outcomes of pregnant women admitted to hospital with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in UK: national population based cohort study BMJ. Conclusion: “Most pregnant women admitted to hospital with SARS-CoV-2 infection were in the late second or third trimester, supporting guidance for continued social distancing measures in later pregnancy. Most had good outcomes, and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to infants was uncommon. The high proportion of women from black or minority ethnic groups admitted with infection needs urgent investigation and explanation.”

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The Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine Runs on Horseshoe Crab Blood Smithsonian

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Convalescent Plasma: A COVID-19 Treatment Speeds to Clinical Trials Public Health. From Johns Hopkins. “For the last decade, [Arturo] Casadevall [(Johns Hopkins)], [Michael] Joyner [(Mayo Clinic)], and a small cadre of like-minded colleagues had been pushing for the U.S. to spend more money on broad, one-size-fits-all public health measures rather than investing so much in personalized medicine. Convalescent plasma fit right in with this ethos. It was cheap and low tech, and it didn’t require months of innovation that the world simply didn’t have.” Readable and important.

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WHO expert backtracks after saying asymptomatic transmission ‘very rare’ Guardian. Come on, man.

Exclusive: Half of Singapore’s new COVID-19 cases are symptomless, taskforce head says Reuters

SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Serologic Responses from a Sample of U.S. Navy Service Members — USS Theodore Roosevelt, April 2020 CDC. “Among a convenience sample of 382 young adult U.S. service members aboard an aircraft carrier experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, 60% had reactive antibodies, and 59% of those also had neutralizing antibodies at the time of specimen collection. One fifth of infected participants reported no symptoms.”

19 states see rising coronavirus cases and Arizona is asking its hospitals to activate emergency plans CNN

D.C. National Guard members test positive for COVID-19 after responding to protests McClatchy

Incarceration And Its Disseminations: COVID-19 Pandemic Lessons From Chicago’s Cook County Jail Health Affairs

Covid-19 will hit developing countries hard Martin Wolf, FT

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Testing and tracing:

Detection dogs as a help in the detection of COVID-19 Can the dog alert on COVID-19 positive persons by sniffing axillary sweat samples? Proof-of-concept study (preprint) bioRxiv. “We conclude that there is a very high evidence that the armpits sweat odour of COVID-19+ persons is different, and that dogs can detect a person infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

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Political response:

A detailed timeline of all the ways Trump failed to respond to the coronavirus Vox

Arizona Covid Debate Exposes Our Loss of Trust John Authers, Bloomberg

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Business response:

More Food Shortages Loom With Outbreaks at 60 U.S Plants Bloomberg

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Locking down too late but ending lockdown too early Mainly Macro. “The idea that we have to lift the lockdown for the sake of the economy is the new austerity.”

The Elevator Arises As The Latest Logjam In Getting Back To Work KHN


After COVID-19, Can China Still Become ‘Moderately Prosperous’? The Diplomat

China Backpedals on Push to Revive Street-Selling Economy Bloomberg. In favor of air-conditioned malls? Good for real estate interests, I suppose.

Smartphone giant Xiaomi enters China’s online mutual aid industry with new health care platform South China Morning Post


Here’s Why All’s Not Well for India on the Ladakh Front The Wire

Domestic remittances by migrants climb back to clock 40% of pre-lockdown level Times of India

The Koreas

Cutting the Lines to the South 38 North

Thailand, Vietnam and the ‘Covid dividend FT


Israel looks to move forward with West Bank annexation “within weeks” Axios

Netanyahu soars in new poll, could form coalition without Gantz if new vote held Times of Israel

Libya’s war: Erdogan says ‘agreements’ reached with Trump Al Jazeera

Syria sends advisors to aid US rebels Duffel Blog

New Cold War

US, Russia to start nuclear arms control talks this month AP

Europe, Russia and Attitudes Towards the ‘New Cold War’ Between US and China Valdai Discussion Club

MH17 Court Cartoon — Dutch Judge Presents Bombshell, the US Delivers Dud – No Satellite Evidence of Russian Shootdown John Helmer

Part Three: The schizoid world of a Soviet anti-communist propagandist Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

Trump Transition

Following messy start, enormous Paycheck Protection Program shows signs of buttressing economy WaPo

Bernhardt Extends BLM, National Park Director Terms Indefinitely Bloomberg. Another norms violation.

Ransacking the Republic NYRB

Black Injustice Tipping Point

George Floyd and Derek Chauvin “bumped heads” while working at nightclub, former coworker says CBS. The personal is the political…

How Racial Disparity Does Not Help Make Sense of Patterns of Police Violence Adolph Reed,

Dust in the Light Stratechery. Recommended by Mark Blyth.

Mass Exodus: The Alarming Re-Segregation of Cleveland’s East Inner Ring Public Schools The SEL Experience Project (Carla).

5 Key Lessons To Take Home From The First #BlackBirdersWeek All About Birders (Ignacio).

Florissant woman helps change Merriam Webster’s definition of racism KMOV4. Florissant, MO is adjacent to Ferguson.

Manufacturer that burned as Minneapolis protests turned violent plans to relocate from city Star-Tribune

Police State Watch

The Siege of the Third Precinct in Minneapolis Crimethinc. Learning from Hong Kong?

‘Welcome to Free Capitol Hill’ — Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone forms around emptied East Precinct — UPDATE Capitol Hill Seattle Blog (JacobiteInTraining).

A Glimpse Into Lawlessness The American Conservative

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Festival of Antifa:

No Sign Of Antifa So Far In Justice Department Cases Brought Over Unrest NPR

How The Antifa Fantasy Spread In Small Towns Across The U.S. Buzzfeed News

He Tweeted That He Was the Leader Of Antifa. Then the Fbi Asked Him to Be an Informant. The Intercept

Trump Claims 75-Year-Old Man Shoved By Buffalo Police May Be An Antifa Agitator Forbes

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White House claims violence incited at Floyd protests linked to Venezuela’s Maduro Miami Herald. Come on, man.

‘This has to stop,’ appeals court says in siding with family of West Virginia man killed by police CNN

Why Were Out-of-State National Guard Units in Washington, D.C.? The Justice Department’s Troubling Explanation Lawfare

Imperial Collapse Watch

Ultimately, All Monuments are Ozymandias Craig Murray

The Failed American Experiment Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News

Guillotine Watch

Wealthy buyers reportedly in ‘mad rush’ to leave San Francisco Chronicle. “They were careless people….”

Owner of flooded Michigan dam used it as tax shelter, ignored federal regulators, according to report Detroit Metro-Times

Class Warfare

Baltimore’s ‘Squeegee Boys’: ‘If We Don’t Go Out, We Don’t Eat’ KHN

If it ain’t broke: You share your oldest working gadgets BBC

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here:

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Icecube12

    Regarding Harvard’s suggestion that covid was spreading in China earlier, I am reminded of an interview from South Korea’s English-language Arirang News with a non-Chinese PhD student living in Wuhan that I saw way back in February. The student said they started hearing about an outbreak of pneumonia in September and then about another major outbreak of pneumonia in November. He said that by Christmastime people he knew were aware enough to start social distancing. I went back and found the link. He starts talking about the timeline at around 3:50.

    1. Ignacio

      I am skeptical about the claim. If there was something spreading by august it was not SARS CoV 2 as we know it. First, given how this virus spreads, the outburst in Wuhan should have occurred much sooner than December-January. Evolutionary clocks signal the start of this epidemic to about November. Whatever was happening before is obscure. Before, it could well be that some virus was jumping into humans but yet unable to spread person-to-person. Hospital traffic data could be related with some other seasonal disease.

      This study is wildly speculative IMO.

      1. John

        I suppose it makes sense to investigate the origins, but that seems of historical interest at the moment. How does knowing when and where it began assist, at this moment, in finding an efficient means of treating it and forestalling its recurrance with a vaccine?

        1. Ignacio

          It makes a lot of sense to investigate it as long as we want to decrease the chances something like this will happen again. To be sure, the closure of all wild animal farms in China was a step in the good direction but I wonder if they could be reviving sometime as this was one of the strategies of the Chinese oficialdom for rural development. Never underestimate human idiocy.

          1. Susan the other

            Wozniak and his wife claimed to be the first to get Covid in China on a trip in September, they were very ill and they brought it home to California, I think via Washington State, in October. The very first case I heard about in the US news, around the last week of December, was in Washington State, a couple who had been to China and returned to Spokane Washington, in eastern Washington. This was a good month before the outbreak around Seattle. I’m sure there were other “firsts” but for some reason they have been expunged from the story. It was because of these first cases in Washington state that I began to assume coronavirus had been loose in China for months. I have to wonder, if everyone is such a successful virus tracer these days, why can’t they trace this back to the very first victims? August really would not surprise me.

        1. anon in so cal

          An article in either the SCMP or Xinhua on or about November 19, 2019 mentioned doctors in Wuhan identifying an “atypical pneumonia” in patients around November 17. This leaped out at me from the screen. For anyone who experienced or followed the SARS epidemic, “atypical pneumonia” is a trigger term. Tourists from China are everywhere, at all times of the year. So it is plausible that, if the virus emerged some time in early- to mid-November, tourists could have spread it far and wide, soon thereafter.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Tourists FROM China go everywhere too, so give credit where it’s due when speculating about how CV might have spread. And give full credit to globalization, which guarantees infectious spread not only of plagues, but of the catalysts of social collapse to all corners of the planet. All the incentives to profit off increased vulnerability and massive destruction of the elements of social, political and economic homeostasis. Profits collected by individuals who themselves, thanks to wealth effects, are immune to the multiplying disasters while they live.

        2. Biologist

          That French study you link to was based on re-examining old chest x-rays. Is that 100% reliable way to diagnose Covid-19? It could very well be that the virus was already in France by then, I’m just not sure if this evidence is strong enough for such a claim.

          They also did a study in France testing (using PCR) earlier blood samples, and found a positive case, if I recall correctly, end of December.

          1. WJ

            I do not know. Apparently practicing doctors–pulmonologists? radiologists?–are pretty confident in diagnosing atypical pneumonia from these chest scans, but they could be wrong, or atypcial pneumonia might not be (in these cases) associated with Covid, etc. I don’t think anybody has decisively *rebutted* the claim, but, then again, this is not enough to confirm its truth. I also agree that other evidence seems to be pointing toward a mid-late November origin in China.



      2. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve heard lots of rumours – from Chinese people – that a pneumonia was spreading December and before. I have one Chinese friend who is quite convinced that she and her staff (she has a small airport shop) came down with a mysterious severe Covid like illness in mid December and is convinced it originated from one person they know from the Wuhan region. But having said that, a former colleague of mine lives in Wuhan (he works in Wuhan University) and he says he heard no rumours about it from any of his students.

        But I think any research like this should only be taken seriously if it is consistent with what we know of the spread of the disease. If it is true that it arrived in France as early as December, then it is credible I think that it was circulating significantly earlier in China. The Chinese themselves of course have been promoting the claim that it was brought to China from the US during the Wuhan Military Games in October.

        But from what I’m aware, the DNA studies seem to have quite firmly placed its origin sometime in the mid autumn, which does not fit in with that Harvard studies timeline. There are also of course many other possible explanations for the search term surges and carpark use identified in that study, especially at that time of the year when you will always get a surge in flu cases in China anyway. S

        So I think the only real comment you can make on that study is ‘more evidence needed’.

        1. Susan the other

          I don’t quite understand how Covid RNA studies can deduce anything except the origin of one virus per patient. Bec. virus RNA is opportunistic, it doesn’t evolve like DNA; it’s a parasite. A parasitic form of genetic material. Which is very volatile and mutates like wildfire. Unless the DNA studies are from Chinese recovered patients, lots of them, all correlated and with timelines. I’m at a loss to imagine how they can even do a virus. And add to that the new discovery that some “giant” viruses can create their own RNA… where does that leave us?

    2. The Rev Kev

      If I got it right, satellite images show more cars parked outside hospitals and more people searching for information on the search terms cough and diarrhea on the internet. And Harvard says yep, gotta be Coronavirus. No more proof needed. Sounds right.

      I think that at this point that Harvard can join Stanford and The Lancet as being guilty of spruiking bad science. Did they check to see social media, hospital reports and Chinese newspapers for other data points? he “proof” here is really thin. If a student had put in a paper with this being offered up as proof, any decent professor should rip it up in front of the student and say try again – but with proof this time.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > If I got it right, satellite images show more cars parked outside hospitals

        Parking lots are an intriguing proxy, but they would really need to test more than one city. They only tested Wuhan.

        1. Ignacio

          Yeah, and the time span is very short to get any concluding remark. There might be large variations in different years and different seasons. The more I think about this the more convinced I am this is a crappy analysis.

          1. The Rev Kev

            China had swine flu run through the national pig herd about the same time so by September, the size of the herd was about 41% of what it was the previous year. All those extra hospital visits and diarrhea might just be a result of the Chinese substituting other meat which proved a bit dodgy.

          2. MLTPB

            Is it just bad research, or as often the case these days, a hint of some ulterior motive to push it back in time, but still in Wuhan (spatially)?

        2. curlydan

          I actually would say parking lots are not a good proxy in China. I’ve been to a couple Chinese hospitals, and I’d guess that 90%+ of people going to Chinese hospitals do not have cars and arrive instead via public transport or cab.

          In the Good Morning America TV ad I saw on this report, I also noticed that one before and after photo clearly showed a “before” shot with a parking lot under construction and an after shot with the parking lot completed! My son who was showing me the report was shocked at my strong reaction to that poor data analysis.

          I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I am saying that the authors need to visit some Chinese hospitals before pontificating on them.

          1. AEL

            I am shocked that after opening a new hospital parking lot there would be more cars parked around the hospital.

    3. MLTPB

      I believe in August and September, the weather in Wuhan* is usually hot and humid…not favorable for the thing, from I have read.

      *one of four, five or six so-called ‘furnace towns’ of China.

  2. fresno dan

    How Racial Disparity Does Not Help Make Sense of Patterns of Police Violence Adolph Reed,

    But, when we step away from focus on racial disproportions, the glaring fact is that whites are roughly half or nearly half of all those killed annually by police. And the demand that we focus on the racial disparity is simultaneously a demand that we disattend from other possibly causal disparities. Zaid Jilani found, for example, that ninety-five percent of police killings occurred in neighborhoods with median family income of less than $100,00 and that the median family income in neighborhoods where police killed was $52,907.
    What the pattern in those states with high rates of police killings suggests is what might have been the focal point of critical discussion of police violence all along, that it is the product of an approach to policing that emerges from an imperative to contain and suppress the pockets of economically marginal and sub-employed working class populations produced by revanchist capitalism. There is no need here to go into the evolution of this dangerous regime of policing—from bogus “broken windows” and “zero tolerance” theories of the sort that academics always seem to have at the ready to rationalize intensified application of bourgeois class power, to anti-terrorism hysteria and finally assertion of a common sense understanding that any cop has unassailable authority to override constitutional protections and to turn an expired inspection sticker or a refusal to respond to an arbitrary order or warrantless search into a capital offense. And the shrill insistence that we begin and end with the claim that blacks are victimized worst of all and give ritual obeisance to the liturgy of empty slogans is—for all the militant posturing by McKesson, Garza, Tometi, Cullors et al.—in substance a demand that we not pay attention to the deeper roots of the pattern of police violence in enforcement of the neoliberal regime of sharply regressive upward redistribution and its social entailments.

    1. Tom Stone

      Hoocoodanode Police violence was related to class, my goodness what brilliant insight!I
      I suspect most poor people have noticed this and felt it was too obvious to mention.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Excellent article, as usual from Reed, probably because I agree with him. But I think my favorite part was from the first end note, because it gets to the point with slightly shorter sentences:

      I’m not much given to autobiographical writing, least of all as a mechanism for establishing interpretive authority, even though I recognize that that pre-Enlightenment ploy has become coin of the realm for the “public intellectual” and blogosphere bloviator stratum.
      I’m still not going to natter on about my racial bona fides; I’ll leave that domain to the likes of Mychal Denzel Smith and Ta-Nehisi Coates, for whom every sideways glance from a random white person while waiting on line for a latté becomes an occasion for navel-gazing lament and another paycheck. (A historian friend has indicated his resolve, when white colleagues enthuse to him about Coates’s wisdom and truth-telling, to ask which white college dropouts they consult to get their deep truths about white people.) I just wanted to anticipate the reaction and make clear that I recognize it for the cheesy move that it is.

      Sometimes only a word like “cheesy” will do.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Meanwhile, Reed is in the process of being cancelled by Identitarians in DSA for his trouble.*

      Needless to say, the woke liberal/left’s often-unhinged censoriousness is a sign of weakness, not strength, and is a tonic for the right and Overclass.

      *Problems linking from current device: go to “”DSA cancels Adolph Reed” on YouTube.

      1. flora

        Your second sentence is spot-on. They want ‘conversation’ but only the conversations they control. Actual thinking and questioning are not allowed.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Thinking and questioning might undermine their moral vanity, which is a primary motivator for many of them.

          When weaponized, as it invariably is, it’s a useful way to shut down debate and assert control.

    4. flora

      A very good article.

      News reporters sound surprised to see so many white people in the protests against police violence. It’s not surprising at all.

    5. Kurt Sperry

      Most of the better likely corrective measures I’ve seen proposed would make *everybody* less likely to be victims of police violence.

    6. Deltron

      Good article. I think it would’ve helped if Reed had provided a frame of reference for the economic stats. For instance, Reed cites Jilani’s research that 95% of police killings occurred in neighborhoods with median income of less than $100k. What percent of neighborhoods, or even counties, have median income of less than $100k? Is it also 95%? Re: the stat that median family income in neighborhoods where police killed was ~$53k, how does that compare with median household income nationally? What does the distribution look like? As a reader, I would’ve appreciated that information.

      I passed Reed’s article/essay onto two people, both of which have grad degrees, and both of which found it cumbersome to read through to the end. If Reed’s objective is to reach a larger audience, I think it would help to be less verbose. If his objective is to reach an academic or elite niche audience, then perhaps he’s writing accordingly, but then the question becomes, is he publishing in the right place? I think Chris Hedges has a similar issue. The concepts aren’t difficult to understand, but the way they are written makes them difficult or cumbersome to follow.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Jilani’s point:

    Is it possible to convince corporate America that our lack of universal health care, guaranteed paid leave, or free community college is problematic and offensive so that every firm in America rushes to declare its support for these causes?

    can be rephrased as a question to the billionaires:

    Will you actively support governmental policies that will provide a standard of living for everyone in the United States at which you and your family would be willing to live for just three months?

    Let them think about that one for a while. If they answer no, just what is it that they consider the rest of us to be? What do they consider themselves to be?

    1. John

      Consider us to be? Occasionally useful; otherwise beneath notice.
      Themselves? Special, above, beyond, outside any restraint save their own wishes.
      Never forget: “They were careless people…”

      1. Carla

        Never forget, those billionaires have worked hard every day of their lives to steal the money they have; nobody ever handed them anything!

        Clearly, the rest of us are going to have to work much harder and more effectively at stealing it back. I don’t think asking nicely — or even loudly, at protests — is going to work…

        1. The Rev Kev

          Some of those billionaires had to work even harder to choose their parents to be born too so that they could be rich at birth and have a palette of opportunities laid out. That is what Trump did.

          1. The Historian

            it’s pretty obvious that if Trump had been born into my family, he wouldn’t be President right now. He’d just be that crazy uncle who worked in the mines every day and who now sits in his ratty armchair in his trailer watching FoxNews all day and ranting at anyone that he can corner.

            1. Massinissa

              “watching FoxNews all day and ranting at anyone that he can corner.” I mean that’s pretty much a quarter of what he does as president: Watch Fox News and constantly rant on twitter.

            2. wilroncanada

              Work in the mines every day? As the soap opera said, “Not on your life-boy!” He would have chosen gun runner or drug runner first.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I’d rephrase it this way:

      Is it possible to convince the people that no matter how many knees they take, how much looting they “forgive,” kente cloth scarves they wear, or pious “solidarity” tweets they tweet, politicians and their mega-corporate masters don’t give a shit about you beyond your vote and have no intention of giving even an inch?

    3. polecat

      Us – Eloi


      See .. It’s that simple!

      Get rid of the machinery of predation .. that being that paean to shareholder value – the Corporate Charter as the omnipotent all-knowing God of universal commerce. Only then will we start to change the course of humanity to align with what’s left of the natural world, of which we have always been a part.

      Right now, all I see is a Corporate ‘parade jump’ into hoodwinking the riled losers into consuming more putrid gruel, without even the benefit of anything like fresh-picked evolved fruits-of-labor .. because it’s for the greater good of course! Winkwink .. if only temporarily, until such time that a complete eloi lockdown is at hand. Then THEY dine, unencumbered!

  4. zagonostra

    > Zaid Jilani

    Is it possible to convince corporate America that our lack of universal health care, guaranteed paid leave, or free community college is problematic and offensive so that every firm in America rushes to declare its support for these causes?

    Convince!? Come on, be real. That’s not the way capitalism works. Even if those running “corporate America” where benign folks, and I don’t think for a second that they are, their raison d’être is to maximize profits.

    There is no convincing involved here, it’s raw power vs power, one force against another. If American workers can’t coalesce and muster enough political power to dislodge the control corporations have over politicians nothing will change except empty gestures broadcast on corporate media like “taking the knee” and obeisance to identity politics that yield mainly symbolic (non-economic) results.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      There’s a number of convincing equality and justice tools that are already in the arsenal of law. They’re just not used on the entire population.

      On an unrelated note, the last public guillotining was held in Versailles, in front of the Préfecture, in 1939. A German serial killer was beheaded after being convicted for a series of murders, natürlich. The courtroom where he was tried is about 50m from the gallows. There is nothing marking the site.

  5. Wukchumni

    Been up in the National Park, wondering if the Marmot Cong is affiliated with Antifa, which wouldn’t surprise me the least as the object of their desire starts with the very same first 5 letters. Coincidence, I think not.

    Although its thought they have no political ax to grind, the potential of them grinding their teeth into a radiator hose in search of anti-freeze remains a constant threat to the well being of any vehicle left at a trailhead parking lot.

    1. Redlife2017

      Your reference to Marmot Cong made me laugh! Reminded me of one of the many great bits in Caddyshack: Varmint Cong!

      “Licensed to kill gophers by the government of the United Nations. Man, free to kill gophers at will. To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit – ever. They’re like the Viet-Cong…Varmint-Cong. So you have to fall back on superior firepower and superior intelligence. And that’s all she wrote.”

      1. Wukchumni

        The ‘Cong congregate in the hidden typically, vis a vis tunnel systems with a boulder weighing many tons above them, planning their next strike. It’s all about hit & rum (supposedly anti-freeze is akin to an alcoholic beverage for the low to the ground 4 legged ones) & retreat tactics.

        We had an encounter with one on the way back from our hike, and while i’ll make no claim to be an expert on deciphering the shrill pig whistle they make, i’m pretty sure it was sending off GPS coordinates of my car to a confederate contemplating conquering internal combustion, leaving a much bigger adversary incapable of movement, in an ongoing David vs Goliath gig.

        People tend to obsess over black bears (Black Bear Lives Matter!) here, and the potential that they’ll get into your stuff in the backcountry, and i’m afraid its mostly stereotyping, and not really based upon any color, as bruins come in all shades from dirty blonde to cinnamon to brown or black.

        Its the ‘marms you gotta watch out for, and the MC can’t climb, so you have to hang your boots high up on a branch overnight (An MC once ate the tongue of my friend’s boot which was on the ground only about 40 feet away from us as we were talking, oblivious to what evil was lurking) and make sure any sweaty anything is not available, as they’re all about our salt outtake. If you leave a shirt out for them, it’ll have a hundred holes in the morning, that is if they didn’t take it back to their torture chambers.

      2. MLTPB

        The Chinese Cong is a ritual vessel.

        First appeared in Liangzhu culture around modern Yangtze delta area, howiow it was used exactly remains largely unknown.

        Speculations center on its rectangular outer form (earth, perhaps) and circular inner core (maybe heaven).

      3. John A

        Man, free to kill gophers at will.

        For me, one of the most memorable lines in Grapes of Wrath is when one of the characters swerves to kill a gopher snake and Tom repremands him. That thought has always remained with me.

    2. rowlf

      You may want to look into Honda part number 4019-2317.Tape, Rodent (or just it’s technology) and some of the newer anti-freeze formulations that have bitter flavor additives that discourage ingestion by animals.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        went to a stock show when i was in FFA, long ago.
        cold enough for ice to form on the numerous troughs.
        facility had a kid doing the crap jobs…he was MR…somebody’s nephew.
        they told him to keep the troughs from freezing.
        so he finds a jug of antifreeze and puts a dab in each water trough.
        it was only several days later that they learned why all those rabbits and chickens and goats and pigs died so suddenly.
        the moral of the story?
        give better instructions.
        I think about that kid each time i’m telling the boys how to do something, if there’s even the slightest chance of catastrophe.

    3. JP

      Lots of fine chicken wire. Even the old farm truck, with the hood open to the cats, will get the ignition wires chewed up by wood rats. Stuffed all the holes with chicken wire and closed the hood. End of problem. Does make it hard to change the oil filter though.

  6. Steve H.

    > The Macroeconomics Of Degrowth Steve Keen, Econintersect

    : if there was over time a trend for GDP to “decouple” from energy, so that more GDP was produced per unit of energy;

    I’ll suggest introduction of a principle with explanatory value:

    Odum’s Fourth Law of Thermodynamics: 4. You cannot play for long unless you steal your opponents’ game pieces

    which is exactly what speculative finance has done. Keen’s article follows an assumption of correlating GDP with industrial output. The ROI of speculative finance (about 100:1 on derivatives) swamps the ROI of productive activity/work.

    That work requires energy, but energy defined differently than Keen’s article… I generally appreciate Keen’s view, but not this. There are issues at the level of definition, and I urge anyone interested to look at the link to Odum’s perspective at the end of this comment.

    Here is a harsh criticism of Keen’s article: He is advocating a solution which adds to the problem. Financializing a solution doubles down on material degradation. Carbon credits for everyone? Who counts those votes? An Inconvenient Truth did not solve climate change, but Gore got rich by flogging carbon tax credits. The wealthy can give themselves negative interest rates and get paid for buying up credits from the serfs. Does that seem too harsh an assessment? I think this solution is like a ‘non-violent’ bullet – the words fall to material reality as soon as the solution gets loaded up.


    1. Amfortas the hippie

      2 things stuck out for me in that article:
      1:”Labour without energy is a corpse; capital without energy is a sculpture.”—which might be a candidate for a sign in or around the Shop.

      2:” To completely replace our planetary energy production with solar power would require an area of solar panels roughly equivalent to one third the area of Spain.
      That amount of land could be provided by the world’s road networks and rooftops, with farms also hosting wind generation, so the goal is not unreachable.”

      I’ve wanted solar/wind for most of my life…but the expense/capex is just too great. Would have made sense to have that before i even began to build this house…but we were doing good to do even that.
      I’m sure there are many, many others who are in the same boat…especially out here in the hinterlands(there have been many solar panels added out here in the last 20 years, but they’re only on the houses of people of means.)
      after 20 years of collecting tools, i finally have a shop that could conceivably produce a serviceable wind generator or ten…but i haven’t the skillset.
      the obvious answer, if we were serious about transitioning to renewables at scale, is government largesse…but that’s reserved for Exxon, et alia. the GOP/Vichy Dems have colluded with the Big Power Companies to all but forbid distributed generation(Must maintain Hydraulic Despotism!) on a scale that matters…all the tax credits and such notwithstanding.

      I once met the man—don’t remember his name—in Hempstead(or Waller) Texas who built his own wind generator out of an airplane engine/prop, and sued to get hooked up to the grid(this was in the mid-80’s). That case made it the law, for a time, that the Power Company had to buy one’s surplus generating capacity. That’s, to my knowledge, been largely undone, because the power thus generated is “unreliable” and “dirty”…which, again, could be remedied with public policy and a helpful government.

      (I’ve been compelled to go the other direction(into the past) for our eventual disconnection from electricity(grid will one day fail, and the Hydraulic Despotism Model will, too)—ie: capacity for candlemaking and oil lamps, using bacon grease and/or sunflower oil, and whatnot.)

      as noted in the article, there have been major strides in especially Wind Generation in the last 20 or so years…but this is mostly on the grandest of scales, which fits into the Hydraulic Despotism Model. Great Big Windmills, owned by giant corps(e), and feeding into the grid to be sold by other giant corps(e).
      There are many Wind Farms out my way, and points West…enormous windmills, spread over hundreds of acres of rangeland…and each built over the objections of vocal and uninformed morons who swallowed Big Oil/Gas propaganda(“but it will kill the birds!”–as they spray poison all over the place and teach their children that killing birds with bb guns is manly—or “they’re noisy”–which they most certainly are not, etc. –we had just such a moron festival here, some years ago. morons won).
      Ergo,any statements of purpose that say 100% renewable by 2030 are pipe dreams.The people who own the world don’t want that, unless they can have their grubby hands on the spigot, and extract rent and the bending of knees.
      like so many other things, it’s the people in charge that are the largest obstacle.

      1. Susan the other

        It’s catch-22. GDP and energy use are directly correlated. Keen didn’t elaborate much on the addiction we have to oil because it is high-energy; combustible and hot. There’s gotta be some reckoning there too. But there’s no escaping the message: Cut back energy, cut back GDP. And the lesson is that if we cut back GDP, work and consume less, we will minimize our carbon footprint. And speaking of the corruption inherent in various carbon caps and credits, that could be easier solved by rationing. Which a per capita “Universal Carbon Credit” might accomplish. It’s depressing how we have been avoiding this situation.

  7. fresno dan

    The Failed American Experiment Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News

    Hamilton Nolan
    If all the companies saying “Black Lives Matter” would stop making it impossible for their workers to unionize it would cause a transfer of wealth to black and brown working people a thousand times greater than any charity donation and that is exactly why they won’t do it
    Nolan goes to the farce of it — the cheap grace, the virtue-signaling — in five lines. American corporations are jumping onboard the race question to keep the discourse from spilling into the true causes of our national illness — neoliberal economics and the attendant greed. Cynical times 10. We will see no grand donations if these matters are ever put on the table.

    1. rd

      Personal income rose 10% in April YoY during an economic collapse because the goverrnment sent a bunch of $1,200 checks out and also aded $600/week to some people who were collecting unemployment insurnace (if they could actually get it filed in their state). That is about all that is needed to understand how many people in this country are not paid a lot of money.

  8. Beyond the rubicoN

    “Wealthy buyers reportedly in ‘mad rush’ to leave”

    I live in SF and everyday on my street there is a moving truck, residents who can work from home are moving to places with cheaper rent.

    Why would you? When you can move to a cheaper place and pocket an extra $1000 or more every month in rent savings.

    No one wants to live here anymore with the homelessness and cost of living as high as it is. All the things that made this an interesting place are gone if not at least on there way out. The long time residents are hopeful that the old SF of yore will return.

    1. Wukchumni

      I would think the right rural small towns would be in high demand to those wondering what the Big Smoke has left in terms of endearment.

      Take here for instance, we’re so on the down low that although there are 4 rivers, we only claim three of them as our namesake.

      And with vacation rentals all over hill & dale and then some, a good many Californians have gotten a chance to see there’s another way to live, and to be honest there’s no work here and precious little in the way of shopping, so it would appeal primarily to retired city slickers looking for an out, and most parts of the 44 square miles a few thousand of us inhabit have high speed internet, while the rest of us are rooftop satellite enthusiasts.

      Remember how the internet was going to set us free to live anywhere, but it didn’t really happen all that much?

      The moment of clarity is upon many…

      1. MLTPB

        Curious to know how far away they move. One hour, two, four, etc.

        As for shopping, they probably do it online.

        1. barefoot charley

          The article mostly mentioned Bay Area collar counties–Marin, Napa, and, up the Sierra Superhighway, Tahoe. It stressed that the rich people move to farther colonies of rich people. Real gentry do not gentrify.

      2. The Historian

        Why would small towns be in demand? I know small towns are glorified as ideal places to live, but I’ve found that to be more myth than reality. As a person who has lived in small towns, the smallest being about 1000 in population, I can tell you they aren’t exactly desirable places to live if you haven’t lived there all your life. They lack services, the people in the small town are usually clannish – and it is hard to not feel like an outsider all the time you live there. It is true that small towners depend on each other more than people in cities do and help each other out more than people in larger cities do, but if you are an outsider, those benefits usually aren’t available to you. If you want decent medical care, you have to drive to a larger city, and in fact, you will probably have to drive to a larger city to get basic things like food and clothing.

        Even with the internet, why would most people want to give up services they depend on and that they can only get in larger cities? If you grew up in a small town or have lived there most of your live, you probably know how to deal with small towns, but for city folk? It can be daunting, and most city folk I know who tried small town living for a while, usually give it up within a short time and move back to the city.

        But there is another reason that the internet isn’t going to set us free – do you realize that if most of your work can be done from home on the internet, then why can’t corporations have that work done in India or Mexico, or Bangladesh? They can hire people to work for them from their homes-where ever they are- without having to go through the H1B process. So, in reality, working from home isn’t really going to benefit American workers in the long run.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I think there is a lot of wishful thinking going on. I know quite a few people who could work from home who did the ‘move to a small town/rural area’ type thing, and found that it didn’t suit them at all, especially those who came from big cities in the first place. Pre-Covid, I know of at least two people – one a retired couple, one a home based worker – who moved back to the city after a few years in lovely rural areas, both because they found that their rural idyll wasn’t half as idyllic as they had dreamed of. Large cities tend to thrive for a very good reason, and that reason isn’t that they somehow force people to move there at gunpoint.

          And as you say, if companies can shift everything online, a lot of people dreaming of working all day in their pyjamas will find that there is someone somewhere else in the world, willing and able to do the work for a fraction of the wages.

        2. Offtrail

          if most of your work can be done from home on the internet, then why can’t corporations have that work done in India or Mexico, or Bangladesh?

          Much of it already is, especially in IT.

        3. sj

          …do you realize that if most of your work can be done from home on the internet, then why can’t corporations have that work done in India or Mexico, or Bangladesh? They can hire people to work for them from their homes-where ever they are- without having to go through the H1B process.

          In my personal experience, this has been a reality since the late 80’s. It has resulted in many a failed project. To be honest, I have never seen such a distributed project ever come in on time, on budget and on spec.

          apologies if this is a duplicate comment. I had a weird browser glitch

    2. jr

      Same here in the West Village, the storefronts were already half empty before the pandemic hit. If half of what was left doesn’t come back it will be a wasteland. I’m sure that will be repeated around the city.

      There have been piles and piles of trash indicating people are moving: furniture, boxes of old clothing, etc. The homeless are out in force as well and I cannot imagine what their numbers will look like come August when everyone owes back rent. The West Village hosts large groups of dispossessed queer youth in the spring and summer, it’s where they come to hang out. It’s loud and crazy and busted glass is oftentimes the least offensive thing they leave on the sidewalk afterwards but it’s part of the scene. I suspect it’s going to be off the charts this year. There have already been numerous fights and screaming, much more than usual and sometimes in broad daylight.

      I’ve been gently but insistently talking to my GF about moving. NYC is a >very< tough town to live in vis a vis stress, cost, and hassle but when it's alive and breathing it's worth all of it. But this place is currently on life support…the prognosis is grim…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think avoiding a few “trendy” cities and areas in defense corridors matter, but Atrios went on a riff some months ago about cost of living in Philadelphia and other cities being pretty decent. The obvious problem is how do couples move. Single people might have more flexibility if they can find roommates. Costs of moving are real, but if the jobs are in those places, they can make sense without climbing costs of living. I think Virginia’s independent cities are by and large nice and you don’t have to deal with the quirks of “county” living. They have ups and downs, but if you have a fall back plan, they can work. The counties around them are like super Alabama, but they don’t vote in the cities.

        Then there are monstrosities like Houston.

        1. jr

          I agree with the points made above about people’s fantastical perceptions of small town life. Unless you live in a college town, they’re often boring, narrow minded, and very unfriendly to strangers. Especially if it’s obvious you aren’t from the same economic strata as the locals. It can take a long time to wear down those barriers. My thinking is to find a place in one of the less trendy burbs that’s not too far from the city, try to find a decent balance.

          As for Philly, well I lived in that dump for almost 12 years and I would literally rather couch surf than move there again. Remember this about Philly, and remember it well: if you live within the city limits, you live in a crime zone. I lived in the Northen Art Museum district, a “nice” neighborhood according to all the real estate agents. To paint a picture, standing on my front stoop and looking to my immediate right I would see BMWs and three story walkups converted into single family homes. Looking to my left, across Girard Ave, locally nicknamed the DMZ, there were burned out cars and young ladies in bathing suits standing on the traffic island all afternoon in the summer. Pistol fire is not at all uncommon just a few blocks north, in fact one lazy summer afternoon whilst reclining in my tub I overheard three separate shots fired. Next day, the Inquirer “newspaper” reported a triple execution style murder, drilled em in the base of the skull, not but two blocks up and over. That’s not counting the pistol two 14 year olds stuck to my head a year later as I walked my laundry home. If you’re thinking Philly, think again long and hard…

          1. Dan

            I mean, you lived there for 12 years, you must have had some sense of community. What were some of the good things about Philly? What were some of the proverbial “little things” you found that helped keep you sane and grounded? 12 years of misery?!

          2. roxan

            I lived in Philly, near the Italian Mkt for about 20 years. When I first moved there, it was peaceful. My neighbors were mostly Italians and Vietnamese who owned stores. Then, in the mid-90s we began to see an increase in crime, not only robberies and shootings, but a firebug who set 40 some fires. A big truck was firebombed right in front of my house. Fortunately, the fire dept got there in time. The final straw was a crack-house opening next door. I fought with them for five years, even had the cops escort me to my door a few times. When they sprayed my house with bullets, I was done.

      2. Pat

        I’m slightly north of you, in what I now refer to as Googleville.

        We weren’t seeing the empty storefronts, that was the previous couple of years, but the feel of the neighborhood changed over the last decade. Long term residents got older, the younger ones moved, and we got an influx of “professionals”, some financial and some tech. Newer buildings with either astronomical rents or purchase prices flourished.

        This neighborhood emptied. I thought it was just me, but talking with the workers at the grocery store, pharmacy and particularly the deli I found they were noticing the same thing. The professionals largely left. We don’t know where they were but it wasn’t here. One of my favorite signs were the packages in my lobby for three tenants that were never picked up. As my deli guy put it, he was seeing the people he had seen for the ten to twenty years he had been there. But the people who came in a couple of times a week for last few years probably went “home” which isn’t here.

        I don’t know how many will return or will move for good. I also don’t expect even a half of shuttered businesses to survive. This city is probably going to face another “drop dead, New York” period like the seventies. It is not going to be pretty.

      3. Michael Fiorillo

        Moving vans on every other block in the West Village in recent weeks, all outbound.

        As a loser from the block who happened to be born and raised here, I’ve seen the neighborhood become a very transient place, colonized by the uber wealthy and the lumpen affluent who would have been terrified to even visit the city in my youth.

        Most of them never planned to stay, just do their New York thing for a few years and then leave. The landlords loved and sought them out, as their heavy turnover deregulated apartments. Now, those people, and many others, are going to get out of Dodge as soon as they can… chickens and roosts and all that.

        The neoliberal era formally begins with the Banker’s Coup in NYC in 1975, when capital went on strike (by boycotting bond sales) in order to rein/reign in public benefits and services, and impose austerity. That era may look very tame compared to what NYC faces in the coming years, as that regime devolves…

        1. Wukchumni

          I was in NYC for about a week once a year in the late 70’s-early 80’s, and remember seeing carcasses of cars ‘parked’ with nothing left, stripped to the bone.

          Half of the area surrounding Central Park was a no-go zone, as the Big Apple was almost feral, and certainly maggoty.

    3. Marilou

      We did. Our apartment on Turk Street was $3,200 for a two bedroom. Moved to Canal Street, {San Rafael, not New Orleans}, rent is now $2,000 for a two bedroom, with parking and a view of the yacht harbor and green hills instead of a sea of rooftops. No homeless, no traffic noise and far nicer weather. No sense of foreboding and constant menace like in San Francisco. If you are not happy where you are, don’t waste the rest of your adult life in that place.

    4. Anthony G Stegman

      Many corporations are confused. Here in Silicon Valley where I live tens of thousands of Indians have immigrated to the region over the past 2 decades – most via the tried and true H1B route. One can ask why the businesses that employ them don’t just hire them back in India where they can get the work done just as well (as the COVID-19 restrictions have demonstrated). For some reason, many corporations want their employees here. I think the fear of people leaving SF and other expensive locales is overblown. Most will stay, including those who can continue working remote. Those that do leave will be quickly replaced by newcomers.

  9. Off The Street

    Ann Pettifor’s article about the systemic blind spots reinforces my views about the parasitical nature of so much of what may be called modern finance. The various types of control, distribution and other frauds evolve and mutate. How much human ingenuity went into, and continues to go into, such systems?
    Those range from the more exotic like the products dreamt up similar to Fraser’s works or the mundane like nameless and faceless clerks preparing and tracking all those those multiple filings for companies in Shaxson’s travel fee.
    Shaxson’s book was quite interesting, and I look forward to borrowing Pettifor’s book from my local library, once it reopens.

    On another note, that Dust in the Light article was in Stratechery, which one could read as Stratreachery.

    1. Susan the other

      Pettifor is reviewing a book, a list of books, on the subject. Which sound worth reading just to understand how lax the laws for finance were and are. The irony is that finance manipulation has virtually killed finance. Fudging the distinction between money and insurance was a clever step.

  10. Ramon Z

    Stephanie Kelton might have been more convincing if if she had not told us of all the previous things she had believed and which she no longer does.

    1. John

      But she now knows what the government knows every time there is need for a flood of money to bail out the capitalists. The Fed can just create it out of thin air. Fiat money is like that. The weenies in Washington and Wall Street only back away from MMT when they want to either cut something that they think we don’t deserve or they are whining because they have not found a way to get a piece of the action.

    2. skippy

      As YS has noted many times … MMT takes rewiring of ones environmental biases. More so for anyone that worked in finance – orthodox economics or related industry. Its like walking away from ones childhood religion and everyone connected too it.

      Kelton is doing a service by showing that process, rather than plant irretrievable stakes in the ground, because the evidence does not support it.

      Just look at Krugman and the IS-LM, albeit had to acquiesce of late about acknowledging developed sovereign issuers is a different ball game than developing – so its not one size fits all.

      1. Susan the other

        But speaking of “developing sovereign issuers” – Why isn’t there a reasonable adjustment allowing developing countries to be sovereign issuers – it can only benefit them domestically. Why are they always forced to race to the neoliberal bottom in order to extract wealth from labor and commodities in order to trade up for foreign currencies, etc? That very labor and those commodities are the wealth.

  11. Wukchumni

    A tale of 2 Sierra National Parks in a pandemic…

    Sequoia NP opened last Thursday, and a friend went up and took a walk in the Giant Forest in the main part of the park, and related:

    “it was very quiet. When I went in at about 7:00, and out about 1:00, there was not one car at the gate”. (They’re not collecting fees.)

    I’ve been up in Mineral King the past 4 days, and while not a ghost town, the only game in town for tourists-the trailheads (the car campgrounds are closed for another month, along with the ranger station) were about half full-not exactly a mad dash rush or anything.

    Took a hike up to the Franklin Lakes/Farewell Gap junction in search of Mentzelia laevicaulis, or more popularly known as Giant Blazing Star-a pistil packing mama, in one of the few spots (along the trail for about 20×20 feet) it grows in the NP, and it was a fortnight away from blooming. One of the most spectacular of wildflowers, a real see me-dig me diva of the floral set.

    In contrast, Yosemite NP opens this Thursday and will limit entry to only those with a day pass or overnight reservation. There’s an extra fee in addition to the regularly collected park entrance fee.

    The newly-required $2 reservations – in addition to normal park entrance fees – are aimed at reducing the number of Yosemite visitors initially by about 50% to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The popular national park in California had more than 4.5 million visitors last year.

    Tuesday morning was a crucial time for those seeking access to the park, since 80% of day-use reservations were available for the first time for June and July dates, which were expected to go fast. Officials said approximately 1,700 vehicles will be allowed in the park daily for day-use (in addition to about 1,900 overnight vehicles for those with lodging and camping reservations, which do not require a day-use reservation).

    Yosemite officials advised people to be logged into and ready to pounce at 7 a.m. sharp. But many who did found a website operating with numerous problems.

    1. furies

      Oh, Wuk
      We have that growing alongside the road here in Siskiyou County! Lots of “Klamath Knot” lovelies well worth a hike up into the Marbles.

      I’ve been out exploring my new-ish neighborhood too. Yesterday a trip to Shackleford Falls. A plethora of botanical interests kept my camera at the ready. Pentstemons! Aruncus! Lilies! Silene! O My!

      It has always been my preference to live near wilderness–forest bathing makes everything else bearable. It’s such a lovely planet, isn’t it?

      1. Wukchumni

        Too many people are so hell bent on getting into heaven, that they miss out that it’s right here on this good Earth, with no purity test required for entry.

        There is so much promise in floral arrangements about to burst into outer space in the higher climes, like so many coiled colorful springs.

    2. Carolinian

      I would think the international air travel shutdown would take care of that 50 percent all by itself.

      While I am a gadget freak I grow nostalgic for the days when you could visit natural places without owning a computer. Many state park systems now expect you to reserve campsites over the internet and charge you the reservation fee even if you don’t.

      1. Wukchumni

        NPS has installed hand sanitizer stands outside the long drop toilets, but that’s about it here in terms of battling germs. There is no place to wash your hands aside from faucets in the campgrounds, which are turned off for the next month as the NP is essentially a drive-by affair for most.

        In the pre-Covid era if I wanted to go out for a few days, i’d just go to the ranger station and get a wilderness permit on the morning of departure-easy peasy.

        Now, it has to be done online, which isn’t difficult, just cramping my style.

  12. timbers

    ‘This has to stop,’ appeals court says in siding with family of West Virginia man killed by police CNN

    There are lists of hundreds of cases (won’t give links because moderation), in which the Ivy League folks on the Supreme and lower courts have make jaw droppingly non common sensical rulings in favor of police actions (brutality, aggression, killings). Some even have given these rulings fancy terms so new rules of latitude of police actions can be enshrined as precedent for future brutality and killings.

    Probably not surprising though, as the Supreme Court is led by a man who supposedly changed his vote on the Affordable Care Act at the last minute, such that it might appear entirely on the basis to make a logical exception, so that rich gigantic corporations could make lots and lots of money on the American people by forcing them not into a public good for their benefit, but to buy a bad product so profits could be had.

    1. anon

      “Everything that happens in this administration happens because people decided they could get away with it.”

      Is this something new?

    2. rd

      This indicates a level of planning that I am convinced does not actually exist in most cases. I think they do something and then they get away with it. Other than nominating judges and deregulating, theere appears to be no thought or planning other than at the second-grade level. I think they just go under the working assumption that nothing ever has negative consequences for them. Negative consequences are simply foreign to their experience on pretty much any front and simply never enter their thought process.

  13. Judith

    As a bird watcher, I would like to suggest a further contextualization to Christian Cooper’s response to the woman walking her dog off leash in the Ramble on May 25, which is the height of spring bird migration.

    Here is how the Central Park Conservancy describes the Ramble:

    “A 36-acre woodland retreat, the Ramble features meandering pathways, quiet coves, and rich forest gardens. Over 230 bird species have also been spotted here, making it a favorite area for birders.
    Described by Frederick Law Olmsted as a “wild garden,” the Ramble was created for strolling, exploration, and peaceful contemplation.”

    Christian Cooper is described in the link from All About Birds as being in love with birding. Spring migration offers a narrow window of time for birders to see certain birds that are only migrating through, such as warblers. Sometimes you catch a wave of migrating birds, and sometimes you don’t.

    So Christian Cooper was birding in the Ramble hoping to see migrating birds, and a dog was running free and scaring away the birds. I expect he was frustrated. So frustrated that he took an enormous risk and in the middle of Central Park with no one else around politely asked a solitary white woman to put her dog on leash. Her racist response was unfortunately not surprising.

    For further reading see J. Drew Lanham “9 Rules for the Black Birdwatcher” in Orion Magazine. His rule number two is to “carry your binoculars, and three forms of identification, at all times. You’ll need the binoculars to pick that tufted duck out of the flock of scaup and ring-necks. You’ll need the photo ID to convince the cops, FBI, Homeland Security, and the flashlight-toting security guard that you’re not a terrorist or escaped convict.”

    He also has a short piece in Vanity Fair responding to the Central Park incident.

    1. Ignacio

      So, is it true that we are all terrorists/convicts, some more than others, unless we can show the contrary? Given how difficult it is to firmly show a negative…

  14. fresno dan

    How The Antifa Fantasy Spread In Small Towns Across The U.S. Buzzfeed News

    The rumor that shadowy leftists planned to start trouble in Great Falls, Montana, first appeared on the Facebook group of the Montana Liberty Coalition late last Wednesday afternoon.

    “Heads up,” a man named Wayne Ebersole, who owns a local cover crop business, wrote. “Rumor has it that Antifa has scheduled a protest in Great Falls Friday evening at 5 p.m. in front of the Civic Center.” He asked the group if anyone had any more information, or if anyone was available to “protect businesses.”

    “It has been confirmed through the police department,” one commenter replied. “They have a permit for tomorrow night and are in town now.”

    They weren’t. Police later said they had been “working to quell the rumor.”
    Cast aside by MSNBC and CNN and ignored by the Biden campaign and DNC, I have decided to give up my pink rabbit eared (antenna) bunny slippers. Instead, to fill my I will become another imaginary subversive on the brink of causing the downfall of the US, Antifa agitator.
    The only question is: what iconic article of clothing or symbol do I wear while undermining the country?
    As the article mentions “shadowy” I’m thinking about eye shadow liked David Bowie used to wear…but that may be too showy.

    1. Berto

      “what iconic article of clothing or symbol do I wear while undermining the country?”

      Most where Brooks Brothers suits.

    2. BobW

      A trench coat is traditional, but seldom seen these days, so not very stealthy. Maybe a t-shirt that reads “don’t look at me!”

    3. Screwball

      I was told by my liberal friends there is no such thing as Antifa. They are a made up ghosts by the right wingers and Trump for so they can blame stuff on the left. Proof they don’t exist? Where do you sign up? See, they don’t exist.

    4. barefoot charley

      The Humboldt County Sheriff in Deep North California press-released this nonsense threat to his flock several days ago, and replied when challenged that the warning came from official sources, who vet information, so it was reputable, so there. Like WMD, yellowcake uranium, Russiagate, p*e tapes, etc, it’s *vetted* fake news!

    5. ambrit

      I would say, in the interests of full transparency, while sitting at the PC, wear nothing at all. That’s how, according to Durrell, Miller worked while staying with the family on Corfu before the war.
      Don’t throw away the Pink Bunny suit just yet. A major American election is still on, for now, and that wiley Russian might still need agents here to carry out his nefarious subversions.
      (What better avatars of “Moose and Squirrel” can we find today than Trump and Biden? It is, almost literally, a ‘no brainer.’)

      1. Andrew

        my pink bunny slippers are telling me that pink bunny slippers should be the next yellow vest, or black armband, or umbrella, or red beret…viva la resistance

        1. Susan the other

          That’s a really good idea bec. nothing says Stay Home like pink bunny slippers.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “US, Russia to start nuclear arms control talks this month”

    It’s not going to go anywhere. The only reason for the talks is on the possibility that China can be roped in to the agreement but China has no reason to do so. As it stands now, both the US and Russia have about 6,000 nukes each while China has only 300. The numbers are irrelevant for China as if only 1% of their nukes got through in an attack on the US, the damage would be too horrible a price to pay to risk starting a war with China.

    But here is the kicker. If China joined this agreement using the same rules, then China would stand to lose about 95% of of their ballistic and cruise missiles according to an analysis which would probably include a big chunk of those nukes. They would be nuts to agree to this so will never join that agreement-

    1. MLTPB

      Price to pay….1% got through.

      That sole focus on one nation seems to assume price is not much an issue with Beijing.

      Chinese lives don’t matter?

      Isn’t it more Chinese or traditionally Chinese to be ‘like water’ and be less rigid?

    2. Olga

      True, though Russians will talk just to find out exactly what it is that the US wants. The Chinese have no reason to be roped in. Not to mention that even if an agreement were signed, there’s no guarantee that the US wouldn’t tear it up, when it no longer suits them.

  16. Samuel Conner

    re: “woke insurance”

    This is definitely a giggle-inducing term, and I’m glad to add it to my list of subversive neologisms.

    I think it has to be a hopeful sign when the tactics employed by the elites, to distract the non-elites from the elites’ role in the sufferings of the non-elites, are accurately summarized in novel, catchy and derisive terms. I hope this new term becomes widely embraced.

    It’s a shame that the social-conservative part of the R base does not seem to have drawn similar conclusions about the “family values insurance” purchased by the R party over the last few decades.


    In a distantly related thought, the narcissism of the current WH occupant is blazingly evident in the wish to resume mass rallies. Will he mock those who prudently wear face coverings to them? Any representatives of the press present will surely be masked and I would not be surprised if there were some presidential public-illness advisories emerging from the proximal end of his alimentary canal (though there probably won’t be any obvious “Oh s#(t!” moments).

    The thought occurs that these rallies could have a material impact on the course of the epidemic in the parts of the country in which they take place, and as they will occur well before the election, there could be politically consequential marginal shifts in the population of “people feeling well enough (including ‘being alive enough’) to go to the polls”. Relatively small differences in the prevalence of the virus in the months leading up to the expected ‘2nd wave’ could have material effects in time for the election. Couple that with the Prez’ dislike for mail-in ballots. Perhaps JB is right to be in hiding and ceding the spotlight to DJT.

    I would think that by now DJT would have learned to be careful what he wishes for. But maybe he’s one of those who doesn’t forget, but also doesn’t learn.

    1. Billy

      It used to be called “Tokenism”, now it’s “WOKENISM”

      i.e. Amazon Prime has a big banner, across the list of “black movies” across the top of the selection window:
      “We support Black Lives Matter…”

      However, In 2018, Amazon paid $0 in U.S. federal income tax on more than $11 billion in profits before taxes. It also received a $129 million tax rebate from the federal government.

      “Therefore, Someone else can pay for black people’s social programs.”
      Our contribution? A banner ad on our own website.”

      Might I suggest Jeff Bezos giving away 13% of his pre tax income, to match the percentage of black people in the U.S.?

      1. polecat

        Maybe a discount on all those 70’s blaxploitation flicks .. but that’d about the extent of it.

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        A fair idea . . . but wouldn’t it still leave him ahead for the year?

  17. divadab

    Re: Wealthy people leaving SF – Same trends in Canada (anecdotal but several) – Montreal and Toronto near-retired and retired looking for rural properties. High interest and a real shortage of rental properties for the summer. Why are we in the city, anyway? The air is bad, pandemic risk an order of magnitude higher, increasing troubles, and taxes keep rising. Maybe the turnover will cause urban prices to fall and allow young people to buy in.

    1. Huey

      Death toll aside, it’t not particularly been the strangest or most impactful thing. I’m much more interested in how official responses to it are being bungled but for the most part it’s been easy enough to avoid, and I work in a hospital.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “The Elevator Arises As The Latest Logjam In Getting Back To Work”

    Perhaps the wrong questions and solutions are being used here. How about deciding if you really need a skyscraper full of people to do all your business. Maybe a big chunk can be done at home instead over the internet. Perhaps departments can be spread through different smaller building in outer areas. There would be a saving on rent then possible. You may need then only small teams coming together to coordinate and sort through issues. So you disperse your company to present a smaller target area for this virus. Something to consider rather than some of the mental gymnastics on display in this article. If you want to think about a complicated work issue, then how about the use of toilets in a building full of thousands of people. That is where the real games would start.

    1. HotFlash

      We should also consider the possibility that much of what passes for ‘work’ doesn’t need to be done at all.

      1. Oh

        Long ago I realized that when executives put in 16 hours days, it included two martini lunches, travel to meetings, meetings, indoor and outdoor golf sessions, dinner and going to clubs. Must be hard on those folks!

        1. JBird4049

          Well, I never had the honor to be an executive.

          However, being support staff, I went to all the semi regular departmental three hour lunches at any place with a good menu and primo wine and beer selection, it was usually hard to do any more work. Learned what real beer was, too.

          Stagger back to the office. Do the minimum needed to close the office and then staggered home. Not that anyone was actually drunk. That would have been bad form. Just really relaxed. But strong coffee helped. :-)

  19. jef

    Great overview of Australian economic response program DERP!

    “Hello, I’m from the Australian government. As we head into the worst economic recession in living history, what the nation needs now is leadership, evidence-based policies, and bold vision. And fucked if we have those.”

    1. JEHR

      My laugh for the day! Now all we need is a cute woman with a Canadian accent describing Canada.

      1. JBird4049

        For a moment I thought this is American despite the accent, but then the beloved Scotty from Marketing appeared. Makes me slightly less embarrassed as an American having the Orange Man as President. Slightly.

        Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, France and so on all having what we might kindly describe as dysfunctional national governments. They have all had good even great leadership before regardless of whatever the policies were at the time. Now it is just a contest to see what country falls into economic collapse, civil unrest, and perhaps social collapse because Free Market Capitalism™️ cannot fail us and our eyes are lying to us otherwise?

    1. The Rev Kev

      No, no – you got that backward. If there was leadership, it would be arrested because all the daily surveillance going on would tell them who to take out. The military call that a decapitation strike. And if you had a formal organization, it would be analyzed for weak points that could be attacked. Infiltrators would inform the Feds where to launch their attacks against. The main hope against what they are up against is flexibility and flattened leadership positions. In other words, deny their opponents a center of gravity to attack.

      1. Carolinian

        Begs to differ.

        But we got a problem. The insurrection, so far purely emotional, has yielded no political structure and no credible leader to articulate myriad, complex grievances. As it stands, it amounts to an inchoate insurrection, under the sign of impoverishment and perpetual debt.

        And I agree. Only charismatic leadership will lead to real change. Leaders are targets but also martyrs (hopefully not literally) and it’s the personal element that truly galvanizes change.

        1. Olga

          Heard one black man once ask ‘why should we have leaders?… so they can be killed?’ Having MLK as a martyr has not helped the cause much. That is the sad truth. Not sure what the solution is, but… All should learn how Black Panthers were destroyed.

      2. Huey

        Definitely agree with this. There’s disadvantages to both approaches but I gather this one has slightly better odds.

        1. Bruno

          “I gather this one has slightly better odds.” A true Bayesian. The past, alas, is absolutely not ergodic in any respect. The “present” (immediate past) is much less orgodic then that.

          1. Huey

            What makes you come to that conclusion?
            I’m not necessarily disagreeing, rather, genuinely curious

      3. J.k

        I think someone here may have posted this link here before.

        Even with decentralized organizations there are still leaders. People in different cities organize and end up leading protests and rallies. Here is a short article discussing how a chicago police officer monitoring a protest screwed up and requested over an open radio to a “fusion center” confirmation of surveillance of a cell phone of a young lady he perceived to be leading the protest. I suppose it makes it harder to compromise a movement, but the risk is still very much there.

  20. TroyIA

    Pregnant women and Covid-19. If I remember correctly pregnant women who are infected with influenza have children with a higher rate of schizophrenia. We’ll see in 20 years if Covid-19 causes the same issue.

  21. Wyoming

    Oldest working gadgets.

    Well not really all gadgets but we have a good selection of cast iron cooking pans which were used on the family homesteads in Wisconsin and Wyoming circa 1895 to today. We use one or two of them almost every day. I have mechanics tools from the 1940’s and 50’s in the tool chest. I have a 1917 Springfield Army rifle (my grandfathers from WWI) which my son in law still uses in shooting competitions. I have a couple of power tools (circular saw, drill) from the 1960’s which still work – though i don’t actually use them. I gave my daughter a Leica microscope from the late 1800’s which still works that I bought in Budapest about 30 years ago.

    1. Pat

      I have one sewing machine I have had since 1972 which has a “stretch stitch” for knits (it was tiny but modern at the time). I have an even better one that is straight stitch only that is over 70 years old. And if I ever get to it, I will eventually have a wonderful Singer treadle machine that is over 100 (I need to really clean and oil it and replace the belt that is ready to go.) Unfortunately a savvy workman walked off with the griswold cast iron skillet my grandmother handed down to me 50 years ago.

      I envy not just cast iron, but the older tools.

      1. RMO

        My stereo system includes a 1978 Pioneer receiver and Klipsch Cornwall speakers from the early 80s, I play a 60s Fender Mustang guitar through pedals that date back to the 70s into an amp from 1994. The glider I fly has a radio made in the 80s that still works superbly – though in Europe it wouldn’t be allowed to be used as of a few years ago as they mandated narrower frequency spacing and the 720 channel radios like my old Walter Dittel don’t make the cut. When I used to carry a watch it was a pocket watch my paternal grandfather got from the mining company he worked for back in the 50s (it wasn’t a retirement thing, it was given to him for his shift in the refinery making it through a year with no injuries!). Things can be made to last a long time. So much stuff is made disposable though through repair costing more than replacement. Even that wasn’t enough to drive demand so we have planned obsolescence being supercharged through the novelty of new features (of questionable value to anyone who takes the time to think about them – or even of negative value to the buyer, often through new ways to exploit the customer) and updates that brick existing products.

        What I find really annoying are people that (despite seeing themselves as environmentally aware and progressive) aggressively mock those who try to keep using things that work for them as long as they can rather than glibly buying and throwing away masses of electronic and other items just because they’re a year or two old.

    2. Glen

      So far, my house, at about 120 years old, but really, really not in the best shape, and needs work. I am planning on getting the work done, and passing it on to our daughter. It is an original homestead for the area. (We actually still have some of the original homestead families living locally in their homes.)

      I know that my wife has a grinder that’s got to be pushing 60 years old which she still uses.

    3. integer

      I am lucky enough to have a Leica M2 that was built in 1965 and a Rolleiflex Automat from the early 50s. Both have been serviced since the turn of the century and are working perfectly. They, like other cameras from that era, are made from brass, steel, and glass. IMO the Leica is nicer to use than modern cameras, especially if one uses it regularly and the adjustments become intuitive. Look at the light, set the shutter speed and aperture, bring the camera to your eye, frame the pic, look at the subject and wait for the right moment (even if it’s just a few milliseconds), and release the shutter. One can guestimate focus using the distance scale on the lens or use the rangefinder to focus while looking through the viewfinder. The latter is more accurate but takes a little longer.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I am lucky enough to have a Leica M2… They, like other cameras from that era, are made from brass, steel, and glass. IMO the Leica is nicer to use than modern cameras

        Holy cow! I agree on all aspects of this (and even the tiny new Leica digital cameras like the D-LUX are fabulously pleasurable industrial artifacts). Except I need digital. Can’t do film anymore. Sigh!

  22. Wukchumni

    Trump Claims 75-Year-Old Man Shoved By Buffalo Police May Be An Antifa Agitator Forbes
    As a long time suffering Bills fan looking at the bright side of things, Buffalo finally found somebody that can block.

    1. flora

      I really, really, reallly should not laugh at your comment. but….

      On a more serious note: This November’s pres. election we’re faced with a choice between a fool and a knave. What a choice. oy!

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Arizona Covid Debate Exposes Our Loss of Trust”

    My first thought about this was that I hoped that Arizona Slim makes out OK. My second thought was that as Arizona is not famed for its cold daytime temperatures, then can we finally forget the idea that this virus will disappear in hot climates.

    1. Wukchumni

      Arizona has long been the crass-test-dummy which the far right deploys, to see what they can get away with in the bible belt.

  24. John Beech

    George Floyd and Derek Chauvin “bumped heads” while working at nightclub, former coworker says CBS.

    So they bumped heads, eh? In my book this upgrades 2nd-degree to 1st-degree. Put another way; this was payback and there was nothing inadvertent about it. Murder pure and simple. Of course, in largely white Minnesota, will it play? Me? I suspect Keith Ellison better do the right thing or his days in national politics are over.

  25. lyman alpha blob

    RE: No Sign Of Antifa So Far In Justice Department Cases Brought Over Unrest

    That’s because antifa are [family blog]ing cops.

    I’ve seen hundreds or thousands of protestors being arrested and hauled away by the cops on video or in person over the years. I was living in Seattle during the WTO protests and saw all that up close and personal. I have yet to see any cops arrest any black clad figures breaking windows, etc – not once ever. Somehow the authorities never seem to be able to catch them when they’re committing crimes in broad daylight with hundreds of cops around.

    I have however seen videos of black bloc types running to the police when things turn ugly.

    None of this is a coincidence.

    1. JEHR

      I saw the same thing in Canada. One black-attired “protester” had police-issued shoes on and got found out!

    2. The Rev Kev

      Jimmy Dore says in the present protests that there are plenty of videos of cops being brutal to protestors, especially when they are being peaceful. But that he has seen no videos of cops kicking the crap out of looters.

  26. lyman alpha blob

    RE: ‘Welcome to Free Capitol Hill’ — Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone forms around emptied East Precinct

    Well as someone who has spent a little time at that East Precinct back in the salad days, and not in a good way, I can’t say I’m disappointed!

    Very curious goings on though – I haven’t read the entire article yet, but there was an incident a few days ago where a driver in Seattle plowed into a crowd of protestors, shot one guy, exited his car with a few ammo clips strapped to him and then he ran to the police.

    Turns out the guy had a brother who worked at the East Precinct – haven’t seen yet whether the brother was a cop or not. I’m guessing the reason the city closed down the East Precinct was to prevent protestors from torching it. We’ll see if that proves to be a good strategy or not.

  27. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Just a good comment I saw, under an article describing London Mayor Khan’s new commission to review all of the statues in the city to be sure they had sufficient “diversity”. Those that do not will be scheduled for removal.

    “Good thing he’s not the mayor of Rome”


    But as with similar efforts across this great land, the Empire of Laughter and Forgetting, it’s very useful to erase who we are and where we came from. Will be interesting when they get to a certain individual named George Washington. Maybe they will manufacture a new origin myth, that the nation was born when two vegan LGBTQ wolves named ORomulus and ORemus decided to partner up? That should be OK, so long as the wolves were the right color.

  28. John Beech

    Mass Exodus: The Alarming Re-Segregation of Cleveland’s East Inner Ring Public Schools The SEL Experience Project

    Is anybody really surprised? In my experience, model airplane folks would rather not hang out with those who fly model helicopters. Ford pickup truck owners would rather not hang out with Chevy truck owners. And it seems despite the best efforts of honorable people, white folks would rather hang with whites, whilst black would rather hang with blacks. Me? I don’t know what to make of it but believe it’s better if we continue trying to integrate the nation but we can’t pretend anybody is color-blind.

    1. Carla

      “I don’t know what to make of it but believe it’s better if we continue trying to integrate the nation” — How would you do that, John Beech? If you read the linked article, the author gives the example of Louisville, Kentucky, where the creation of a county-wide school system has resulted in racial integration without re-segregation, to the benefit of everyone. Like any worthwhile human endeavor, it will take people of good will working together for the common good — a concept that seems to have become all too rare.

  29. Maritimer

    More Food Shortages Loom With Outbreaks at 60 U.S Plants Bloomberg

    Maybe the first question should be: how much of the food produced at industrial ag factories is actually nutritious? How much of it is harmful?

    How much of it meets this definition of food: Nourishment eaten in solid form.

    One of the first things I learned attending organic farming conferences in the early 80s was that all food is not equal. A carrot grown chemically in a field in CA and shipped to VT is not the same as a carrot grown organically in VT.
    Like a lot of language, food is a very broad and poorly defined term, a word thrown out to describe anything that goes into the human mouth. Pretty inexact science here.

    So, maybe the net out on Bloomberg’s “food shortages” is to the positive side—humans may be better off not consuming the product of America’s industrial agriculture and processing factories. Maybe diabetes, obesity, other illnesses will actually decrease from such shortages.

  30. Skip Intro

    Didn’t see it mentioned, but Paula Jean Swearengin won her WV primary against Trump-Democrat and paid killer Richard Ojeda. You may remember Paula jean from the documentary ‘Knock Down the House’, about the Justice Dem.s’ four working class women running in 2018 (spoiler AOC wins, the others, less so).

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