Links 6/13/2020

Random Search Wired Into Animals May Help Them Hunt Quanta Magazine (David L, Dr. Kevin)

Ancient crocodiles walked on two legs like dinosaurs

ISS astronauts create FIFTH STATE OF MATTER in space for first time ever RT (furzy)

Scientists detect unexpected widespread structures near Earth’s core (Kevin W)

The Blooming Blues Earth Observatory (David L)

‘Forever Chemicals’ Are Building Up in the Arctic—and Likely Worldwide Scientific American (guurst)

Lake Tahoe’s famous clarity is fading, report finds SF Chronicle

Debunking Fears Of Nuclear Waste At California’s San Onofre Reactor Forbes (UserFriendly)

Artificial Intelligence—The Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet Harvard Data Science Review (David L)

An understanding of AI’s limitations is starting to sink in Economist

A teenager’s guide to building the world’s best pandemic and protest trackers MIT Technology Review (David L)

NO ENEMIES TO THE LEFT Irrusssianality


Norah Jones’s Extraordinary At-Home Concerts New Yorker (David L)


Will Protests Increase the Spread of COVID-19? SpectrumIEEE (David L)


RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 11 JUNE 2020 by Patrick Armstrong Sic Semper Tyrannis (Kevin W)


Chief nurse dropped from No 10 briefing ‘for not backing Cummings’ Guardian (Kevin W)


Record Virus Numbers Thrust States Into Life-or-Death Choice Bloomberg

White House officials downplay chance of COVID-19 ‘second spike The Hill

Tables turned: USAID asks relief groups around the world for protective gear for U.S. use NBC (resilc)

Document NH’s Sen. Hassan demanded reveals FEMA asking nurses to reuse masks, gowns Union Ledger

‘Make Us All Safe. Go Back to Your Bunker’ Seattle Mayor Tells Trump Rolling Stone (resilc)


On the Future, Americans Can Agree: It Doesn’t Look Good New York Times (resilc)

Updated state unemployment numbers Economic Policy Institute


How Huawei can work around US chip ban Asia Times (Kevin W)

Revealed: Canada spy report written hours before Meng Wanzhou’s arrest predicted ‘shockwaves around the world’ once Huawei CFO was taken in South China Morning Post

Over 1,300 Chinese Medical Suppliers to U.S.—Including Mask Providers—Use Bogus Registration Data Wall Street Journal

Antenna up as US envoys rush back to Wuhan Asia Times


UK formally rejects Brexit transition extension Financial Times

Politics: independence day EU Referendum

New Cold War

Russia aiming to realize Greater Eurasia dream Asia Times (Chuck L)

Canada indigenous chief battered during arrest BBC

Imperial Collapse Watch

Bases named for Confederates changed to Afghan War generals, continuing tradition of naming bases after losers Duffle Blog

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How to Spot Police Surveillance Tools Popular Mechanics (resilc)

The hidden detectors looking for guns and knives BBC

Are you an anarchist? Lawyers say New York police grilled protesters’ politics Reuters (Kevin W)

Did a Government Drone Flight Over a Protest Violate the Fourth Amendment? Lawfare (David L)

Trump Transition

Melania Trump used White House move to renegotiate prenup, book claims Guardian (furzy). Haha, she’s no dummy!

Trump Administration Issues Rule to Roll Back Transgender Protections in the Affordable Care Act Wall Street Journal

OAN, Trump’s most loyal media ally promised a pro-Trump poll. It didn’t deliver — and then pulled its story. Washington Post (furzy)

Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley discussed resigning over role in Trump’s church photo op NBC. Resilc: “Talk is cheap.”

The Killing of George Floyd and the Final Fracturing of the Democratic Party, Labor, and Civil Rights Coalition Counterpunch (Kevin W). Important. My only quibble is the New Deal coalition was running on brand fumes since the Clinton Administration, and arguably to some degree starting in the Carter Administration. It wanted to get away from being the party of labor to the party of symbol manipulators.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

US faces allegations of human rights abuses over treatment of protesters The Hill

Snap CEO says in internal meeting he won’t release diversity numbers because it would reinforce the perception that Silicon Valley isn’t diverse Business Insider

How the Electric Slide became the Black Lives Matter protest dance Guardian (resilc)


Donald Trump DELAYS his MAGA comeback rally in Tulsa from Juneteenth to June 20 out of ‘respect’ following huge backlash over his decision to host first post-COVID campaign event at site of 1921 race massacre Daily Mail

Suggested Slogans for the Biden Campaign New Yorker (furzy). OMG this is good.

Via DDD. Maybe Sanders is playing this more cleverly than most assume. He still has to officially support Biden as a condition of running as a Dem, but if his supporters insist on this as what Biden has to put in the platform to get their vote, a lot of Team Dem heads will explode:

In Georgia Primary, Trump Gets Over 140,000 More Votes Than Biden Newsweek (resilc)

Police State Watch

Pentagon War Game Includes Scenario for Military Response to Domestic Gen Z Rebellion Intercept

Police search Baltimore family’s home after BB gun spotted in 11yo child’s online class RT (Kevin W)

Our Famously Free Press

There’s a better way to present opinions online – with radical transparency – and the New York Times should lead the way Press Watch (Chuck L)

Facebook incorrectly removes picture of Aboriginal men in chains because of ‘nudity‘ Guardian. Kevin W: “Facebook also blocks users from sharing Guardian Australia’s story based on its use of the image.”

Renaissance hedge fund loses 20% this year Financial Times (David L)

Iowa Quietly Passes Its Third Ag-Gag Bill After Constitutional ChallengesDon’t Say Paul Tudor Jones Didn’t Warn You Dealbreaker (furzy)

Class Warfare

Why do wealthy college students get more financial aid? MarketWatch

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

Sad that the wings are a bit in tatters, but pretty cool that it seems to still fly the same—they’re a bit erratic anyway, so I suppose I wouldn’t know if the poor little critter is sad about its wing. Just love it when the light strikes those scales, turning them into gold dust!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. zagonostra

    >Cardinal Vigano’s letter to Trump

    Cardinal Carlos Maria Vigano Apostolic Nuncio the the United States representing the Roman Catholic Church has inserted religion into the forefront of the consciousness of many people who follow and take the interplay of religion and politics seriously. Perhaps religion including the Catholic Church has always been involved in politics, but in the U.S., that usually stays in the background and rarely emerges onto the secular stage unless it is some trite question from the press to a candidate running for office. So now, even though it has taken a week for it to percolate the mind of this wayward Catholic, I actually read the text of the letter that the Cardinal sent to President Trump and which the President retweeted and linked to,urging everyone to read it.

    This is not some dry policy paper, it is more closely akin to mythopesis. It is not a journalistic inquiry into some game of counting blue and red blotches on a map or some celebrity endorsement. Rather it is a document such as Alighieri Dante in his capacity as a representative of Florence to Rome, and not the poet the wold knows today, would have submitted to Boniface in Rome.

    Here is just a small taste of Cardinal Vigano’s letter to President Trump.

    In society, Mr. President, these two opposing realities co-exist as eternal enemies, just as God and Satan are eternal enemies. And it appears that the children of darkness – whom we may easily identify with the deep state which you wisely oppose and which is fiercely waging war against you in these days – have decided to show their cards, so to speak, by now revealing their plans. They seem to be so certain of already having everything under control that they have laid aside that circumspection that until now had at least partially concealed their true intentions.

    …The American people are mature and have now understood how much the mainstream media does not want to spread the truth but seeks to silence and distort it, spreading the lie that is useful for the purposes of their masters.

    1. bassmule

      from Mr. Wiki:

      “While in the United States, Viganò earned a reputation as a conservative, arranging a controversial meeting between Pope Francis and former county clerk Kim Davis, known for her opposition to same-sex marriage, during the Pope’s 2015 visit to the United States. He was accused of covering up allegations of sexual misconduct against Archbishop John Clayton Nienstedt, but denied doing so.”

      I’d forgotten all about the Kim Davis episode, thanks for the reminder. (I was wondering how it could be that a Cardinal would actually use the expression “deep state,” but I wonder no longer.)

    2. Billy

      All these politics. Perhaps it is time to cancel the church’s tax-exempt or non-profit status?

      Why don’t churches, synagogues, temple’s, Ashram’s sell their real estate and donate the money to the poor, African Americans, the homeless etc?????

    3. Redlife2017

      The Catholic Church was VERY involved in the 2004 election where George W. Bush (Methodist) got the majority of the Catholic vote against John Kerry (Catholic).

      I recall this: Bishops calling for all priests to not give John Kerry communion . Also discussed in The Catholic Vote 2004
      Also this: I was visiting a church at my grandparents (in Colorado Springs) before the election and yes, the bishops definitely sent out the letter to be read to the congregation where they specified that good Catholics should make sure they vote for people upholding the moral teachings of the church (i.e. NOT John Kerry). NY Times has an article from October 2004 discussing what I got to see.

      So, dunno, but the Catholic Church most certainly will get too involved in US politics. I expect nothing less from a church that supported Franco and Pinochet.

      1. rob

        The church that made up the “bible”,in the first place. They arbitrarily decided what old stories to include and exclude….
        Then ,for 1700 years so far have been an example of “how not to be good”…
        corruption,indifference,perversion,cruelty…. all wrapped up in “their bible”….
        Don’t forget the crusade against the Cathars…. a group who made them look bad by example…
        The church put the jews in ghettos, and made them wear the star of david… until napolean ended that… and the church also sided with the nazi’s… who took their example of putting the jews in ghettos, and making them wear a star of david…
        (the nazi’s also got that idea from the US and how they treated the native american tribes/reservations/”educating the indian out of them”)
        So when it was happening in europe in the forties.. it wasn’t that “odd”… it had happened before… And all those good catholics and protestant germans just did what their church condoned anyway.
        The list is too long…
        So why should anyone think the “church”(any of them) has any legitimacy?
        In fact… satanists only exist as the opposition the church requires… without their stories… the archetype of bad only exists in the worldview of a created/ manipulated archetype of “good”
        This is just a layer of the 1700 year old onion…. which was growing on the thousands of years old mound of ignorance and superstition called religion.

        But the battle between “the children of light vs. the children of darkness”….does still apply… even though that story was left out of the modern catholic bible… despite it being around back then.. before 314ad-325ad, when the bible was being made by the romans at nicea.

    4. scarn

      Viganò represents the Church, and Gugino represents the church. Viganò says there is a battle between good and evil. Fair enough. On one side we have a wealthy prince of the church who demands that violent oppression of the poor and meek be increased. On the other side we have a man who in the tradition of the martyrs sheds his own blood for peace and the liberation of his fellow human beings from misery. Between the two, I think it is rather easy to perceive which man seeks the light and which man is lost in the darkness.

      There is an enormous appetite for Viganò’s conspiracy theories on the American Catholic right, though. It’s all over the place right now. Like all good conspiracy theories, his are partly true.

      1. Andrew Thomas

        Those who are old enough will remember that JFK had to deal with the issue of whether or not he would take orders from the pope. It seemed like bigotry at the time. Of course, in 1960 there was no effective birth control via device or pill and abortion was, if I remember correctly, illegal everywhere. And no one was making a fuss about child molestation by the clergy, because no one knew about it except the perpetrators and victims.

    5. eg

      As an indifferent Catholic it is useful to be reminded that the magisterium is not the church …

    1. Billy

      “Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it…”

      So, what do you suggest? Have you given up your car, A/C, heat, plastic merchandise, how many trees hast ‘thou planted?

      Looking at Krakatoa’s cooling, why not start and contribute to a GoFund me to finance the drop of a small nuclear warhead into a remote volcano to get it to erupt, spew ash into the atmosphere and cool the planet?

      Bottom line man, worry about the things that you can actually change. Start a garden and a carbon hoarding compost pile today.

      1. Steve H.

        Compost piles are net releasers of CO2. I have three foot thick hugelkultur fifty feet long.

        1. Billy

          50 feet? Damn, that’s impressive. What are you planting on top?
          I found placing all my apricot, peach and avocado pits on compost/Hegelkultur mounds is perfect for germinating seeds in places where trees are wanted.

          1. Steve H.

            It’s formed like a tree, with a cairn as the mineral base. The trunk, which is topped with bark, is mainly garlic & onion. Where the limbs split, catnip. The crown is black raspberries, and it supports a pear tree just beyond the top. Running parallel is the normal garden, as the mycorhizzal fungi from the hugelkultur acts like a sponge and stores water. The ground around the raspberries, in the older section, can expand about a half-foot after a good rain.

      2. dcblogger

        we need to restructure society. right now the default setting is waste and carbon extravagance. we need to build a system of energy conservation, and renewable energy sources.

  2. fresno dan

    Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner’s interview with President Donald Trump aired on Friday, and one of the more puzzling moments came when he talked about what he had done for Black communities.

    During one point in the interview, Faulkner asked Trump about the revitalization of areas via opportunity zones.

    She asked him, “How does all of that fit into talking with the protesters? And people right now wanting for the black community—and not just blacks, but communities of color, people who are disadvantaged in general, I mean, the economy is the great unifier, right?”

    Trump responded, “I think I’ve done more for the black community than any other president. And let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln, because he did good, although it’s always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result.”
    I wish instead of a response from the reporter, we had gotten another question, such as, “how so?”
    I would very much like to know what President Trump thinks are Lincoln’s failings…

    1. Samuel Conner

      Perhaps, along the lines of DJT’s disrespect toward aircraft pilots who get shot down and captured by the enemy (and, also, who don’t lick his boots), he doesn’t think much of presidents who get assassinated.

      1. John

        Doesn’t Trump habitually hedge his responses and non-response responses in such a way that later he can claim he was correct no matter how ridiculous such a claim might be since, according to him, he is always correct?

        1. Samuel Conner

          Agreed. He tends to take all sides of a position, and later point to the moments when he was right.

          A clock that rapidly runs forward and backward at random is right more than twice a day.

        2. fresno dan

          June 13, 2020 at 8:54 am

          I agree with the fact that Trump typically uses constructs such as, “many people say, lots of people have told me” etcetera to hedge his statements, or deflect attribution solely to him.

          “… because he did good, although it’s always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result.” is pretty hard to decipher as coherent language, I think the true intent is obvious.
          Trump is saying he would have been on the side of the Confederacy.
          Who really won the Civil War?
          But what is interesting to me is that Trump must have advisors, even the ones sympathetic to the confederacy, that must know it is a controversy that will be negative for even Trump. So Trump’s experience over the past years is that he feels he can say what he truly feels and that there are no net negative repercussions to him? (I say let Trump be Trump) Or is he thinking that re-election is unlikely and his best option is to assure the 40% diehard base as an insurance policy?

    2. Stephen V.

      Um, Trump aside there is some outre’ history on the economic causes of the Civil War. Redistribution of Tariff income earned by southern exports unfairly to the North seems to be a key factor. It went on for decades. Charles Adams paints a picture of yet another preventable war. Freeing the slaves was icing on the cake.

      1. John

        Tariff income earned on exports? There were import tariffs but no tariff on exports. It is quite true that cotton exports were c.50% of US export trade in 1860. Read the southern state newspapers in 1860 and 1861; they state clearly what the reason for secession was and that was slavery. You can argue, if you will, that the bond labor system was the economic backbone of the cotton trade, or at least the source of excess profit, but absent chattel slavery, I see plenty of reason for intersectional political wars, but not for the shooting war that we had.

        1. Wukchumni

          Add in the idea of foreign intrusion, with Great Britain financing the Confederacy as war ‘loomed’ large.

          The UK ended up cashing in their investment by losing 99% of the value, 122 years later when the whole shooting works was auctioned off in 1 lot.

          October 31, 1987
          LONDON (AP) _ More than 75,000 bonds issued by the Confederate States of America to raise money during the Civil War have been found in a London vault where they were placed in storage in 1920, it was announced Saturday.

          The bonds, which had a total face value of some $60 million when they were issued between 1861 and 1864, will be sold in one lot in London Nov. 24, according to Sotheby’s auction house.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Considering that countries like the US are insisting that China pay off all debts issued by pre-revolutionary Nationalist China (as well as Imperial China too), perhaps present China can track down those Confederate bonds, purchase them, and insist in full payment of them – plus 156 years of interest.

            1. Wukchumni

              Dixie did nab the silver medal as runners up in the interstate competition, and the Chinese Premier’s name is right in the middle of it.

              Coincidence, I think not.

            2. MLTPB

              Not sure if Xi would like that suggestion of tracking down the bonds of a breakaway region.

              Imagine Taiwan borrows a lot from a global fiat currency issuer whenever things get tense across the Taiwan Strait. That’d be a big financial trap for Beijing.

              ‘Welcome to Mazu. You now owe $500 trillion.’

              Hope Xi doesn’t see it as a worse-than-19th-century-unequal-treaties anti-China idea.

        2. MT_Bill

          Papers from our recent history clearly state that WMDs were the reason for the invasion of Iraq.

          Does that make it true?

          1. Offtrail

            No, it doesn’t. But there is plenty of evidence that the Bush administration was using WMD as an excuse, starting with notes made by Donald Rumsfeld the day after 911. Where is the evidence that the Confederate leadership was using slavery as an excuse?

      2. Darthbobber

        Several of the seceding states decided to provide their own “declarations of independence”. All of those cited the defense of slavery as cause. Only one (South Carolina’s) cited anything else. And that in a very sideways fashion. (they treated federal money for internal improvements as an evil bribe to southern businessmen to distract them from the proper main issue-slavery.)

      3. TimmyB

        Here is a link to a number of Confederate States’ declarations of succession.

        In these declarations, they list the reasons they left the Union.

        Any fair reading of these declarations shows that for each state, the main reason for leaving the Union was slavery, specifically that the North was not fully supporting of slavery.

        Coming up with other reasons, like states’ rights or tariffs or something else, requires one to ignore the reasons given by the secessionists at the time they seceded. In this case, I think believe the reasons given by the people who left when they left are much more credible than those made after their defeat.

        1. JBird4049

          Nice bit of Southern stupidity and arrogance there. Slavery was legal in the South and was going to remain legal indefinitely, unless something a civil war were to happen, but as almost nobody really wanted one…

          The Northern population did not like “the peculiar institution,” and really did not like the corruption and brutality it caused in their territory, but they were not quite willing to go full on abolitionist everywhere. The Southern Slavocracy wanted full acceptance and the continued, unending expansion of slavery because profit, as conquering the rest of Mexico and the Caribbean and installing slavery would have been a very profitable validation of its “positive good.” Yes, it was labeled as such. (Vomit) They also feared that without the complete supine acceptance by the general American population slavery could be ended.

          One of the trends was the gradual weakening of the Southern political establishment over the whole country as the 3/5 clause with gave the Southern states greater representation because of the non-voting property of theirs as well as the power of being the wealthiest part of the whole country was starting to be eclipsed by the growing population and economic strength of the Northeastern and Midwestern states. States that had been antislavery sometimes for a century or more.

          However, actually going all out was not really likely unless the Southern leadership went all out on the stupid, which they did, but violently opposing any abolitionist movements, first in their states, later everywhere, and imposing laws of their own creation over the Free States, most importantly the Fugitive Slave Act. State freedom for me, but not for thee.

          The doctrine, whose name I’m completely forgetting that states could do mostly whatever they wanted including leaving the union was, if not generally accepted, a very valid idea, except the South wanted federal laws protecting their slavery on all states. Well the Civil War ended that generally accepted idea that a state could leave the Union for everyone. Good job idiots. So the phrase “the United States are” used before the war changed into “the United States is” afterwards.

          So slavery could have lasted for decades, possibly still ongoing now; the unreasoning violence used, including the suppression of any verbal opposition, to protect, maintain, and hopefully expand the very lucrative institution of slavery whatever the cost to anyone else ultimately killed the de jure slavery much sooner than anyone had thought possible.

          I keep thinking on the Antebellum South, partly because of the whole mess we’re in, and partly because of one side’s violent insistence on having everything their own way, much like a growing number of people today. The violence does not have to be physical and not only one side can be so foolish. Maybe we’re more like Spain in the early 1930s

          1. Darthbobber

            Agree completely. Hard to predict when slavery might have ended without secession. But certainly much later than it did. The only way to bring about abolition that rapidly was for the slaveholders to do what they did and fail. Even a rapid defeat for the confederacy (say McClellan had taken Richmond in the Peninsula campaign) probably wouldn’t have led to immediate abolition.

          2. VietnamVet

            With the 1850 compromise, California entered as a free state but no federal restrictions on slavery in Utah or New Mexico. This froze slavery. No more growth. Utah and New Mexico are not suitable for planation capitalism. They need federal government water projects to grow most anything. The Succession was not only to get rid of Northern financial handcuffs, it was also so Southern Cavaliers could seek out new plantation opportunities elsewhere and have the force of a nation behind them.

            In most respects, the Western Empire once Washington DC took over was directed by Southerners with a plantation owner’s mindset. Even though the Empire has fallen, much of the unrest today, together with job losses and a pandemic, are protests due to the Elite’s exploitation of humans and the environment. This denial of reality by the 10% enablers of the Plutocracy is not too dissimilar to the mindset of plantation overseers a century and half ago.

          3. John Anthony La Pietra

            The doctrine, whose name I’m completely forgetting that states could do mostly whatever they wanted including leaving the union was, if not generally accepted, a very valid idea, except the South wanted federal laws protecting their slavery on all states.

            Could it be nullification that you mean?

        2. Big Tap

          Alexander Stevens the Confederate vice-President said slavery was one of the main reasons for succession.

          “Its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

          Alexander Stevens, Cornerstone Speech, 1861

          1. JBird4049

            It’s worse than that. The conflict that evolved into the Civil War was not really about equality or subordination. It was about treating someone as a human being.

            Most Americans, then being blatant racists, believed that Blacks were inferior to Whites, and that maybe you don’t want to live next to one or have one marry your daughter; however, as they were fellow human beings made in the image of the God, they were not things to be owned nor animals to be used and abuse.

            The Southern elites treated their slaves as things to be used and not as subordinate people regardless of whatever they said and I think they could not accept the growing contempt from the majority of the population. So they left.

            1. epynonymous

              The constitution included a sunset for importing slaves. It was ignored as too profitable. States Rights do exist and did… Just not for slavery.

              Also, any Confederate who defected from the army after their oath can get bent, historically.

  3. Amfortas the hippie

    if i may be permitted a minor threadjack…
    regarding the berkley prof’s anonymous letter, Sirota’s thing on Tone Police and especially Taibbi’s substack on “cancel culture” and Woke Robspierres…
    none of this is all that new, of course…but it’s been like a bad tooth that you can’t help but fiddle with yer tongue.
    I have very little real world experience with it, due to where I’m at…the Local Dems are like that, more or less…but they’re easy to ignore, and even to forget about altogether(winesipping in hilltop mansions, afraid to say anything in public that might confirm Uncle Billy Jim’s opinion that they’re Pinkos).
    all 3 of those stories make me remember my first encounter with Torquemada, in the form of a bright, pretty and imperious young woman at a hippie commune outside of Austin, some 25 years ago.
    she was a UT student, studying “Gender Studies”, which at the time I didn’t understand.
    took issue with me for saying “my wife” when introducing said wife…Patriarchy, you know…and it went downhill from there.
    meat eating, cussing, being male, being white(she was white, too),all the now usual tropes of IdPol, flung at me in the forest…and i was disarmed by the novelty. I didn’t know how to defend myself.
    I thought about her a lot when i was in the process of abandoning social media due to the same, if more virulent, phenomena…having Thomas Jefferson as a childhood hero meant that I was Pro-Slavery, and Gandhi slept naked with teenage girls, so his whole oeuvre must be burned. The last straw, for me, was being told(and reported to the robot moderators) that I was a Misogynist for liking the music of Miles Davis.
    automated banhammer kicked me out of facebook…and I had no more interaction with those people. all i ever heard about them came from Righty sources…about college campuses, etc.
    I have no idea how prevalent this attitude is in the real world, outside of Big Media, Academia, etc.
    does any of the Commentariat have experience in the office or whatever?
    I’d be very interested to know.
    Because it smacks of some at least loosely coordinated effort to further divide and conquer, fomenting the very hyperdivision they so often lament in the next paragraph…and making Class Based discourse and analysis even more difficult than it already is.

    1. scarn

      It’s extremely uncommon offline except on University campuses or within the small leftist orgs that are scattered across this country. Personally, I think that there are people on the left who have achieved a working synthesis of idpol and anti-capitalism, and that synthesis is spreading, which can only be a good thing.

      The American right has it’s own idpol, of course, and it’s simply the previously dominant discourse about American history. Now that this discourse has been seriously challenged due to social media, the right sees their own mirror-image of the ‘boogeymen’ of left-liberal idpol. Instead of slavering patriarchal racists everywhere, the right sees their imago of sexually transgressive Bolsheviks in anybody who doesn’t think Tom Cotton is amazing.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Ive had the same experience. I tried to join this group in Nola but they wouldn’t let me because I wasn’t black. Or when I spoke at an affordable housing campout when I should have let others go before me.

      I knew this Identity Politics stuff was Mumbo Jumbo. It’s brilliant by TPTB as we endlessly fracture into 300 million unique identities

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “…endlessly fracture into 300 million unique identities…”

        again, a Hobbseian All Against All is the stated endpoint of Neoliberalism…”there’s no such thing as society”…Human/Citizen, instead as Consumer/Entrepreneur, Competing in a Holy War with everyone else.(Laval and Dardot: )

        The very Idea of Union…of Community…of Getting Together to Address a Wrong…all that is to be relegated to obscurity.
        Won’t even be able to Think in those terms.

        1. JBird4049

          It is how the Women’s Rights and the Civil Rights Movements were neutered; make about issues concerning upper middle class white women or equal representation (Access, rather like being guaranteed “access” to healthcare instead of actual healthcare.) Any of the multiple attempts to make these reform movements more inclusive, more about the rights and needs of all classes and connecting different races into the movements were defeated.

          For instance, Gloria Steinem was given financial support and she helped deflect the Women’s Movement from issues like childcare. The same thing happened with the Civil Rights Movement especially after Martin Luther King Jr. got lead poisoning as his Poor People’s Campaign was starting up. Effective Black leadership that could not be co-opted got imprisoned or dead.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I remain skeptical of people like your Torquemada princess. It was 25 years ago? If you could find her on Facebook (or more likely LinkedIn) now, you would probably find that she is now a senior executive in a Big Pharma company and living in a gated community with her husband Chad. :)

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        she’s a Karen.
        married to a would be oil baron.
        precariat in waiting.
        I’m only distantly aware of her at all, these days.

        1. Massinissa

          Wow, she married someone in the energy (fracking?) business? Ironic. Guess virtue signalling matters more than the environment.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            grew up on an actual hippie commune and everything.
            now she’s church of christ republican suburban soccer mom with an SUV and a chip on her shoulder.
            Her name’s Bridget, but she’s the quintessential Karen.
            I guess Radical Chic Leftyism when in college is like doing a girl that one time.
            My honest consistency really stands out in relief,lol

  4. ex-PFC Chuck

    re Patrick Armstrong’s Russia SitRep 11:
    Col. Lang of Sic Semper Tyrannis has, for whatever reasons, instituted a sign-in requirement within the last day or two to view his blog. I’m finding that my Typepad ID and PW are not working even though I’ve been following the blog for over a decade. However you can find the post at Patrick Armstrong’s own “Russia Observer” blog here.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Now that’s weird. I tried today’s link and it was a no-go like you said. But when I went to the Sic Semper Tyrannis site and clicked on that link, it worked fine. Most mysterious.

    2. Michael Hudson

      Johnson’s Russia List also has this, and other valuable reports and translations regarding Russia. I read it every day.

  5. Samuel Conner

    re: the JB slogans, I don’t see why the interlocutor was asked to leave for JB’s whiz. We have seen (and heard) that he is perfectly comfortable doing that while live-streaming to the entire world. What’s with the privacy thing now?

      1. Samuel Conner

        Well spotted!

        I reckon it’s another “not consciously intended” double-entendre.

        Perhaps I’m even cleverer than I believe myself to be.

        (that would be a good line in a future episode of ‘Doctor Who’)

  6. Samuel Conner

    Re: antidote: I suspect that the tatters are due to failed bird feeding attempts, that got a beakful of wing rather than vitals. I’ve seen narrow beak-shaped cutouts in the trailing edge (I suppose that leading edge damage would be more crippling) of other butterfly/moth wings.

    There is a cabbage moth (I think a single one; I never see two at the same time) that is laying eggs all over my vegetables and it is very adept at evading my attempts to swat it.

    1. polecat

      I recently attempted to give a caught cabbage butterfly to my hens to tussle over, by first disabling (diagonally so) 2 opposing wings. When I tossed it into their run, assuming that it would drop, precipitously, it just missed a closing beak .. only to fly up and through the overhead bird netting, continuing on it’s merry way to .. wherever ..

      Insects Are Tough !

    1. Clive

      Yes, I agree and I’ve begun to think this is a long-term cyclical trend.

      What, if anything, is the media for today? While I was reading Taibbi’s article, I was casually flicking through the news channels — BBC, here, CNN, CNBC, Euronews, Russia Today, France 24, Al Jazeera from overseas. What struck me was how little I learned. There was a lot of single person to camera “stories” or interviews, talking head panels, audience question format discussions. But it was all so meta. News about the news. Much centred on emotional reactions (“how did that make you feel”, “we learned it’s okay to cry”, “people are hurting”, “this is a difficult conversation”, “it was a wonderful thing to experience”, “we’re striving for…”) — all these I heard in the time I’ve been typing this.

      Plus the dominance of human interest stories. And the lack of expertise — much reporting relied on single sources or unsubstantiated assertions. Frankly, I learned nothing I didn’t already know. I’d have done better finding a topic I was interested in and researching it myself.

      1. Brindle

        “people are hurting” is one of my favorites–seems like it is used instead of the more accurate “people are angry”–“hurting” denotes a passivity that “anger” does not.

        1. MLTPB

          Speaking of being angry, the peaceful protests mentioned in the tweet above are more appropriately described as non violent, it seems to me.

          One is not at peace, or one’s mind is not at peace, when one is angry (@ inequality, for example, and justifiably too…justify…just…not decency here though…).

          1. Andrew Thomas

            When MLK was leading, with others who mostly agreed with him about non-violent civil disobedience, there were three television networks which covered domestic events in news departments separate from corporate profit centers and which were expected at best to break even. At the beginning, there were 15 minute newscasts, and no way to cover anything via satellite. MLK embraced his credo for two reasons- he was opposed to violence in all of its manifestations, AND non-violent civil disobedience was an effective strategy. It was covered by a media which was not an oligopoly, even with just three networks, because of a plethora of print media, and because that media was relatively immune, by FCC regulation, or its market power, to do real journalism if it chose to do so. It is clear today that the only market power that exists in the media is in its massive oligopolies which are completely dominated by their massive corporate advertisers. Even the right is not immune, if the ludicrous narratives, or the behavior of its purveyors, crosses certain lines. The upshot is simple: non-violent civil disobedience gets no coverage at all, except when it “ turns violent”, when it is savagely finished off by police/ military violence, which is certainly not portrayed in the same manner that the violent attacks on civil rights protestors were in the mid-1960s. And, for that matter, the anti-war protests of the same description were not treated in the same way that the massive worldwide protests were in 2003 before the Iraq invasion even occurred. The media, from everyone to the right of Taibbi to the Alex Jonesers, are part of the deep state, and the only way to get their attention is to NOT be non-violent, whereupon you will be sanctimoniously smeared. What’s a person wholly committed ethically to non-violence and to ending race to self-destruction in which we are presently engaged? Demonstrate peacefully, get beaten and gassed and arrested and blamed for it, to the extent you’re noticed at all? Commit acts of vandalism that you ethically oppose, and get beaten, gassed and arrested for that, and noticed, but only because of your destructive criminality? Try to recreate the Paris Commune in Seattle? I have an inquiring mind but no answers. Except that I do know that the Paris Commune didn’t end well, or accomplish anything lasting, unless I missed something.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              I feel the same, Andrew.
              the Answer you’re looking for is the Evangelical Model of Rabble Rousing..One Mind at a Time, until we win.
              That’s how the Modern Right came into existence.
              We don’t have Joseph Coors or Mellon-Scaif backing us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do the same.
              Separate individual Humans from the Herd, and walk them to a Better World.
              Socratic Method has worked pretty well for me, among this hostile tribe in rural Texas….with a lot of Jesus-Speak.(Epistle of James, actual quotes from Jesus—avoid Paul and Revelations…although some of the Old Testament Guys can be useful(Rev Barber for this))

              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                Micah 6:6-8 is pretty good, as is the start of the 10th Chapter of Isaiah. . . .

      2. Edward

        It sounds like what you are observing is the Fox business model. Real journalism is expensive. About a month before 9/11, CNN adopted this model, which consists of replacing actual journalism with people offering opinions. The real journalist, Julian Assange, is in prison.

    2. Carolinian

      Thanks for link. Taibbi not mincing words.

      It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.[…]

      They’ve conned organization after organization into empowering panels to search out thoughtcrime, and it’s established now that anything can be an offense, from a UCLA professor placed under investigation for reading Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” out loud to a data scientist fired* from a research firm for — get this — retweeting an academic study suggesting nonviolent protests may be more politically effective than violent ones!

      The thought crimes trend and the notion that some ideas are “fascist” and should be stricken from the discourse are why some of us pay attention to rightwing sources as well–not just The American Conservative which often gets linked here, but also people like Tucker Carlson or the UNZ site. It could be that the truth, whatever it is, does not in fact have a liberal bias in an era when so much of what the media puts out is propaganda. That Taibbi now feels free to say these things may be one reason he moved to Substack. As the MSM fills up with commissars we still have the web, at least for now.

      1. Clive

        Yes, one of the many important points in the article. Most media outlets (and the left is particularly prone to this) now are so trapped by their priors, prisoners of their ideologies and craven to their canon theocracies that there’s no way a coherent reportage or commentary can escape from their ideological monocultures.

        Like Taibbi, I simply cannot see how they can free themselves from these self-created distortion fields. They’re supposed to be their distortion fields imposed on us. But rather then their audiences being wrapped up in the perception management, like the crude WWI chemical weapons, when the wind changed, they just blew back on the forces wielding them.

        As the proverb has it, “change is hard, but extinction is worse”. But for our deranged media, they seem to prefer extinction.

        1. Ignacio

          Here when I red “left” as in Taibbi’s excellent piece I guess you are all talking about some self-considered “left” but nobody knows WTH this exactly means. Am I correct? Because for what I have read by myself to find something I could consider “lefty” in some of the mentioned media is a hard challenge.

          1. Clive

            That’s a key distinction — “self-styled left” is probably more accurate (the Guardian is a prime example and the New York Times when it tries to be liberal), or, supposedly neutral but nevertheless congenitally sympathetic to the left (such as the BBC for the UK).

            I wish I could name more international examples, but that’s symptomatic of the whole issue and why it’s so confusing and you need local knowledge to accurately describe which media suffer from what problems. Outlets which 10 or 20 years ago were indisputably synonymous with the left (as we’d have quite correctly understood it to be at the time) are now merely left-in-name-only or, even more confusingly, genuinely left-wing, but subsumed in identity politics, the politics of protest or lost in an attachment to a fog of reactionary tropes that are inherently anti-worker — such as open borders. The London Review of Books, for example (and sorry again, another anglosphere stalwart not an international example) is so devoutly anti-populist, it’s now simply irrelevant outside of a narrow authoritarian-liberal academic cliquey echo-chamber.

            1. Bazarov

              I think the LRB is more irrelevant because, though it occasionally publishes some wonderful work, it’s articles are:

              A.) Often extremely boring–like a 10,000 word article that’s half think-piece/half book review of 2 books about a second tier impressionist painter’s uneventful life, with a granular focus on the importance of her relationship with her sister.

              B.) Take too damn long to read.

              So, by the time you realize that you’re reading the “boring” type of article, 45-minutes have passed into oblivion, and there still remains 15 more articles in that week’s issue. Who can put up with that? I wish I had someone to review the articles in the LRB, so I know which ones are filler and which ones are interesting! Even if it was more plugged into the zeitgeist vis-a-vis populism, it wouldn’t get much traction. I used to subscribe, but I realized the magazine was wasting too much of my time.

              1. Clive

                Indeed, my copy for this last week is sitting here on my sideboard waiting for its traditional Sunday morning read over coffee. Over the past few years it’s taken on an air of duty rather than pleasure to work my way through it. I approach the task in the same spirit of eager anticipation as I approach a pile of broccoli.

            2. David

              Some of these outlets don’t even describe themselves as “left” any more, and none of them are of the Left in any way that makes historical sense. They have taken over the Left in the same way that PE took over traditional companies, and have been asset-stripping it. The traditional Left was universalist, inclusive, communitarian and saw the world in terms of class politics. The current “left” if we must use that term resembles 19th century liberals who got up petitions to protect horses pulling carriages while people died of hunger in the street. The modern “left” is elitist, identitarian, exclusive and dedicated to Me Me Me. Traditionally, when the revolution happens the people quickest to turn their guns on on the real Left are the Liberals. In symbolic terms that’s what’s happening now.

    3. shinola

      And another thank you for the links DCG.

      I would flag Taibbi’s article as a “must read”.

      The article on Bill Moyers site (by Eric Alterman) is one of those “thought provoking, but…” things.

    4. Jesper

      I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason why the thought police is so strong in academia and in journalism is the increased competition for the paid positions. The stakes are very high. People might get desperate when the stakes are so high, the difference between winning (having a paid job) and losing might be the difference between having a decent life and becoming homeless.
      Someone who might have lost a fight to gain a paid job at the Times might in the past have had the option of finding a job in some smaller newspaper. Someone who might have lost a fight about a job in an Ivy-league university might in the past have had the option of finding a job in a less well known university.

      Some claim that competition brings out the best and there might be some truth in that. However, when I see competition where the stakes are high then I am not surprised to see if it has brought out the worst in people as well.

      And there is a bit of the ‘Cry wolf’ in these ‘Cry witch/warlock’. Cry wolf too many times and people stop listening. Going through the facts to verify the wolf is time-consuming so while the twitterati might in their professional life demand verifications for claims and interpretations but when it comes to something that might open up a paid position then it seems to be ok to go wild.

    5. Edward

      I am glad Taibbi wrote this article. The left (and other political orientations) face the temptation of authoritarianism, especially if people feel certain of their own virtuousness and do not appreciate their own weaknesses, and form a large group. To the extent it is happening, it probably reflects a lack of experience. I was part of a cooperative radio station in the 1990’s and I saw something like this happen there. The station was taken over by a radical faction that attacked people with less radical views. Robespierre is a classic example of this authoritarianism.

      Having said that, I have mixed feelings about some of Taibbi’s examples. The national press are political; they are not neutral journalists just reporting the truth. I can’t think of a correction that has ever been made over the many lies told about Iraq, for example. The fact that there are no corrections or steps taken to prevent such “mistakes” in the future says to me this is deliberate; the press use their position to propagandize the American public, including unprincipled behavior such as lying. The lying means that they can’t argue for their issues on their merits, but have to trick people. Until the internet came along, you could forget about “freedom of the press” for anyone without a newspaper on many issues, at least in the national press. So what are the politics of the Philadelphia Inquirer? I don’t know myself. The main rhetorical attack on the protests has been to portray the protests as violent affairs which are looting and destroying businesses. The headline “Buildings matter, too.”, then, could mean that the editorial was an attack on the protests, which is within the prevue of the editorial page.

      There is also the issue of whether these newspapers are implicated in war crimes. One of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials was a newspaper editor. He was hung because his propaganda was held responsible for the Nazi genocide. How many American journalists are war criminals?

      Another question I have is whether editors are even desirable. They seem to function as censors, preventing important stories from being reported.

      I don’t think the firing or not of these writers will have any effect whatsoever on the real problems with American journalism. The Fairness doctrine, repealed by the Reagan administration, imposed some accountability on the press, but it is long gone.

      1. polecat

        Where’s V when you really need him?

        It seems as though, in a way, that the manifestation of our version of a *’High Chancellor’ .. who, or whatever that materializes into, is the winning goal .. pushed forth in great part, by our various corporate propaganda-enhanced securitystate-sanctioned communicatory ‘organs’.

        *a disparate and somewhat fractious grouping of very rich psycho/sociopaths .. many of whom having multinational ties.

        1. Edward

          Is this a reference to the “V for Vendetta” movie? I haven’t seen that one, but we do seem to be living in a dystopian Sci-Fi movie, albeit one with clowns running the government.

    6. @pe

      Ahh — I like Taibbi — but, I think that article totally misses the point.

      Nothing has changed about the range of opinions that are acceptable in the US, the range that won’t get you fired, ostracized, your ability to make a free living endangered. There’s just been a shift in where it falls.

      Big f* deal, so f* what? A few people are tripping over this shift, so _now_ people notice it. It’s always been the case that the thought range in the US in corps, universities, governments, etc, have always demanded that you keep really, really quiet if you don’t fall in the narrow socially acceptable spectrum.

      There’s not even minimal legal protection in most of the US for political expression, except for protection from an explicit order to get a baton to the head. And that’s called being free from censorship!

      Why are most of the names on blogs like this pseudonyms? Why do we all talk fearfully as if we lived in Soviet times publishing samizdat?

      And now Taibbi finds out? Does he not know why he hasn’t been able to hold a day job since he came back to the US? Does he think he freely chose to work gigs and giggish jobs? Does he think he could be on the payroll for the NYT and write about the vampire squid?

      In fact, it’s a bit disconcerting for folks on this blog to not notice how extreme the hegemony of orthodox thought in the US is. You literally have university departments of economics for whom Krugman is the representative of heterodoxy, have you not?

      Fight for the right not to be fired without cause first, rather than chasing ghosts about who the NYT happens to fire for wrongthought today.

    7. fajensen

      Intelligence services are just running the same pattern on reporting that they used on “the left” back when it meant anything: Agents gets close to the leadership, then coaches it into assuming ludicrous positions based on “purity”, the sane people leave or are kicked out, the fights kick off and “the movement” fractures into a million little crazy bits on its own!

      If one were to look properly, one would find TLA-Assets employed as influencers in every news organisation.

      Their objective is no longer to control the news and shape public opinion, which then shapes the politics. Today, their purpose is to make people discount the news entirely, so no shared reality is formed outside of that of the intelligence community, which are then uniquely positioned to shape the politics *directly*!

      The TLA’s are cutting out the fat, basically.

    1. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurred that maybe he (or his handlers, or both) thought it was cool, like wearing ones jeans waaaaay too low.

      Mask on one ear, mask on one ear, lookin’ like a fool with your mask on one ear.

    2. Samuel Conner

      On reflection, a better guess might be that he wanted to wear a mask to emphasize that he’s not as irresponsible at DJT, but the mask he was given was too tight to fit comfortably when pulled below the chin to get it out of the way briefly.

      What to do? Perhaps hanging from one ear was the only way to square the circle.

      At least it was his left ear.

    3. curlydan

      Here’s my thoughts: Maybe someone said that it’s safest to keep the mask dangling instead of placing it on a possibly un-sanitized table, or if someone is asymptomatic, it’s safest not to put it on the table and put an possibly infected mask there. Also, if you remove the mask by the ear string, then you don’t need to touch the actual mask. Hence, hang it on the ear and look kind of stupid.

      When COVID just got rolling, my mother visited her doctor who continually admonished her for touching her mask.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Record Virus Numbers Thrust States Into Life-or-Death Choice”

    It didn’t have to be this way. It really didn’t. So a coupla hours ago I was watching the evening news here and they featured a story from New Zealand. I have mentioned them a coupla times already for their go-early, go-hard approach leading them to eliminate the virus totally from their shores. So tonight – get this – tonight they went back to have football games again. And a packed crowd of 22,000 people turned up to watch and cheer them on. After months just watching endless reruns on the telly, they could finally go back to the real thing. Below is a link to this story with a film clip. Watch it and weep-

    For American viewers, in this type of football, it is not enough to just cross over your opponent’s line but you have to actually ‘ground’ the ball which the other team can try and prevent.

    1. MLTPB

      We American viewers are better off focusing on what we do now…like washing hands, growing vegetables, etc…

      If one country in the world can do X, to feel we must also be able to, is it exceptionalism?

      If 2, 3 or 4 nations can do Y, do we must be able to?

      If half of the world can do Z, to be average or median, we should.

      Perhaps one country, S Korea can make known the location, within some distance, of a spreader. Does Australia, or any particular nation, must also be able to? Maybe if 50% of the world can do that.

      If only NZ or a few other countries can do this or that, good for them. We have our own work to concentrate on, and hopefully we better our situation. No point thinking presently about joining 20,000 others for a game of soccer or football.

    2. Daryl

      > Record Virus Numbers Thrust States Into Life-or-Death Choice Bloomberg

      Here in Texas, the choice is easy: death. The population of red states means no more than cattle to our so called “governors,” who are all too happy to commit mass murder in the name of attempting to re-open and collecting some piddling profits.

    3. Laughingsong

      Not only that, the conversion must be kicked from where the try line was crossed!

      I fell completely in love with rugby living in Ireland and I just can’t ever return to American football….

    4. skippy

      The best explanation I’ve formulated to describe the difference between American football and Union Rugby is the American variant is ridged measurements of ball movement [largely viewed as individual achievement] in set plays seeking a first down or score, where Union Rugby flow of ball movement [entire team] seeking field position or a score.

      Its also interesting to note the occasion of games where a club team plays against a barbarian mixed team.

      1. Conrad

        Our success in mitigating the pandemic owes a lot to two factors in my opinion.

        Scale- With only 5 million people on two islands a thousand miles away from other large countries it was much easier to stop people coming in. The government moved pretty swiftly to largely shut down the 5 international airports and limit internal movement when the total number of infected was in the triple digits.

        Structure – As a unitary state a comprehensive and coherent nationwide effort to control infection was much more achievable throughout the country. The key political and public health leaders did an excellent job of communicating why these measures were necessary and public compliance was very good on the whole. And I attribute the competency of the political leadership in a large part to the well designed electoral system we use in New Zealand. It is far less likely under a proportional representation parliamentary system for a glib incompetent to become Prime Minister than it is under a directly elected Presidential system.

        And it was indeed a great game of rugby. The next game between the Hurricanes and Blues should be even better. It starts in four hours and is on ESPN2 if any insomniac American readers are interested in watching live.

        1. @pe

          It is far less likely under a proportional representation parliamentary system for a glib incompetent to become Prime Minister than it is under a directly elected Presidential system.

          Yeah, let’s highlight that — the US constitutional structure is just kinda crappy. It’ll _inevitabley_ lead to either a one or two party state (most local govs are one party states), and lead to something that looks like burning racial conflict.

          The logic is obvious — if you get 51% of the vote, you have the government. If you continually get 49% of the vote, with a bit of random number generation, you can share the government with one other indistinguishable block. You are rewarded for eliminating counter-voters, you are rewarded for forming ignoring significant minorities as long as they don’t coalesce into a functional 49% voting group.

          And if they do, well, that’s not a lot better, is it? That people invent an ethnicity and a counter-ethnicity as the only other possibility than having a single ethnicity with a scattering of unrepresented “others”? Racial supremacy, idpol, and oligarchy is functionally embedded in the FPTP principles of the US constitution — in fact, if you read the Federalist Papers, the constitutional convention notes, the historical ephemera of that time, they actually tell you that’s the goal.

          So no shock here. Just becoming more obvious, and yet USians totally fail to even face it.

    5. ewmayer

      It is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison, though, what with NZ being an island nation. But good on them for maintaining strict entry measures rather than succumbing to “we must restart mass tourism for the eonomy”-itis.

  8. No Party

    RIP Social Distancing:

    I’ve been fortunate enough to work from home the past few months, but now my employer has started requiring us to report to the workplace for certain important meetings or tasks. I had to report to the workplace for the first time this week for several meetings with senior management. (Senior management btw have had to report to the workplace during the course of the pandemic, deemed essential workers)

    Anyway, I reported to the workplace in full COVID-19 prevention mode – mask, gloves, maintaining 6 feet of distance, no groups larger than 10 people, etc. Yet no one else I encountered at the workplace did the same.

    I walked into my first meeting with the top two people in charge of my organization and they were visibly taken aback by my precautions. We met in #1’s corner office, and I briefed them both while wearing my mask the entire time, but neither of them had taken hardly any COVID-19 precautions; no mask, no gloves, only token spacing from one another on the couches/chairs of the corner office lounge area.

    We continued to our second meeting, which included the top people in charge of another organization we work with, moving to a conference room down the hall. Again, no one had taken any COVID-19 precautions; no mask, no gloves, only token spacing from one another in the conference room (definitely not 6 feet apart), and exceeding the 10-person limit on gatherings (this meeting included a bunch of other staffers like me). Before the meeting started, my boss (number 2 in charge of our organization) turned to me and motioned that I remove my mask. Unfortunately, I succumbed to the peer pressure of the room and did so for the entire meeting. I continued without a mask while the group mingled in small groups at the conclusion of the meeting. It was all smiles and laughter, as if nothing was wrong with the world, as if nothing was wrong with our lackadaisical approach to safety precautions. People slapping backs and going to shake hands, like the calendar said June 2019. I quickly excused myself and rushed back home to sanitize as best I could, totally distraught at what I experienced and that I had succumbed to the peer pressure by removing my mask.

    I honestly don’t think our country’s mis-leadership class has any clue what’s about to happen with such hasty re-opening plans and lax prevention standards. Either COVID-19 is going to rip through the population, or the workers are going to strike (if not revolt) in the face of such horrid working conditions. If my workplace is any indication of how poorly we are going to handle social distancing, then even the white collar workers will start to balk at the re-opening. I manage a small team of people who are seriously concerned about returning to the workplace. After I told them about my experience this week, they are extremely upset and refusing to return to the workplace if directed. I’m have no idea what to do, and I’m worried about having to thread the needle of my employee’s safety and staying employed.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Why so surprised? There is nothing new to this behavior. People were not concerned about plenty of dire issues before COVID19. Climate Change? What Climate Change? I’m flying to the Galapagos Islands this summer! Opiate addiction? Just some bad apples. Police brutality? Just other bad apples. Rampant mental illness? It’ll never happen to my kids. Internet Privacy? But it makes my life SO easy!

    2. allan

      I’m sorry you’re having to deal with what sound like completely irresponsible bosses.
      That kind of denial is a hell of a drug:

      Public health workers fighting virus face growing threats [AP]

      … As the director of the Rio Grande County Public Health Department in rural Colorado, she was working 12- and 14-hour days, struggling to respond to the pandemic with only five full-time employees for more than 11,000 residents. Case counts were rising.

      She was already at odds with county commissioners, who were pushing to loosen public health restrictions in late May, against her advice. She had previously clashed with them over data releases and control and had haggled over a variance regarding reopening businesses. …

      Then came the Facebook post: a photo of her and other health officials with comments about their weight and references to “armed citizens” and “bodies swinging from trees.”

      The commissioners had asked her to meet with them the next day. She intended to ask them for more support. Instead, she was fired. …

      This will not end well.

    3. Wukchumni

      Talking with my sister in San Diego via Zoom, she told us that, no mask-no entry into stores there, which would disqualify 75% of those unmasked here from going shopping.

      I guess it isn’t all that surprising, as our country pre-Coonavirus, had no sense of national purpose or direction, and intrastate things are a mess as far as cohesion goes. It’d be as if we were in WW2, and some cities blacked out all lights @ night as a precaution, while other cities hardly made any effort.

      Now, pull the magnifying glass back from the lay of the land and compare it on a state by state basis, and its elephantine-the enormity of the escalation, as there’s nothing to stop it, with our encouragement in breaking bad the quarantine-which was our only defense, when you get right down to it.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        You are using Zoom? =/ Why?

        They just instituted enforced masks wearing in all stores and indoor spaces in my county, even outside if you cannot socially distance, so that is great. Although many were already doing it. But the counties getting hit the hardest are not doing it.

    4. cnchal

      The large and in charge think they won’t get it, and if they do, are smart enough to beat it.

    5. carl

      Thank you for this comment. A friend is about to go through a similar situation and she’s quite worried about it.

    6. verifyfirst

      That sounds horrible. The only thing that pops to mind is for you to come up with a pre-commitment strategy, I think it’s called. So when I go to the car dealer I say upfront–“Oh, it’s all going to depend on the missus at the end–she decides”. I don’t have a spouse, but the point is they now think there is an outside decision maker (who is not there and who they cannot communicate with), so all their potential pressure on me is futile.

      In your case, that could be harder, since they already know you and your life situation, but maybe you can gin something up–“my wife’s mother just moved in and she has leukemia, so I have to be super careful re COVID or my wife will divorce me, among other things. This might give your team a little cover too, since they now “have” to be careful for your sake.

      I doubt it will change the behavior of the bosses you describe, but maybe you and your team could at least carve out an exception for yourselves–for doing the responsible things on your end.

      I’ve been thinking lately about the (supposed Churchill) quote that goes something like: “Americans will always do the right thing, once they have exhausted all the alternatives”. That seems to me to be where we are with pandemics–we are going to have to learn the hard way that viruses don’t care about entitled notions of “freedom”

      Best of luck.

    7. marcyincny

      Frightening. It doesn’t even occur to someone like #2 that you could be recently exposed or immunocompromized??? I hope you can find some solution…

        1. chuck roast

          Lemme know how that turns out. Sounds like a likely prescription for The Atlantic.

    8. Mikel

      I’m enjoying what I am calling “The Golden Age of Work From Home.”
      It’s so comfortable that it is too good to be true. Before long, I expect that to end with things like requirements to leave your camera on during working hours.
      When has anything that provided workers with a sense of comfort been allowed to last?

    9. Anthony G Stegman

      As far as I know there are no legal protections for businesses at this time. Employers face legal liability if they force workers to return to unsafe offices. You should have refused to attend these so-called mandatory meetings and set mgmt straight.

  9. funemployed

    Bernie proposes a 10% cut to DOD. Soooo, last year’s budget was optimal?

    Also, why is he out there supporting this budgetary framing. Yes, we should cut “defense” spending, by a lot more than 10%. Yes, we should also spend money on nice things. Should we yoke those two things together arbitrarily? No. No, we should not do that.

    Do better Bernie.

    1. funemployed

      Never really understood why he didn’t go full bore “Bring our troops home!” Combined with, “Everyone deserves health care and a decent job!” seems to me how you win middle merica. What do I know though; I’m no political consultant.

      1. Jomo

        I never understood why national Health Care was never made a part of the USA military. Every congressman could get multiple Health Bases in his district and senseless overspending on services is a bonus and not a problem. Health Care would already be organized to respond to a nuclear attack or say a pandemic. Health Care spending would be part of the military budget and contracts subject to the usual graft and corruption.

      2. jr

        I really wish I knew how to feel about Bernie. I hear on one hand he raised the bar and on the other that he was a sell out. I’m going to wimp out and go with something in the middle. I know he faced a political reality warping apparatus in the form of the DNC. He never used his power to stop bills or hold ups votes on the fleecing of the US during COVID, to take the bully pulpit, on the other hand. I used to be interested in what he had to say but he seems to be, well, irrelevant in the face of the calamities we face. My deeply subjective take is that he missed some important opportunities.

        1. Bruno

          Bernie Sanders has always, and unapologetically, been a Social-Democrat of the least radical sort: politically no different from a Schroeder or Holland (or historically, an Ebert or Blum.) A picture on his wall is the closest he ever got to the radicalism of Gene Debs. He is not, and never has been, a “sellout” or “sheepdog.” His total political failure is nothing personal–it is that of Social Democracy (including its Stalinist variants) itself.

          1. Darthbobber

            Which still suffices to place him in the unthinkable category for a large fraction of Americans.

            Organized tendencies to his left are notable to date for failing so thoroughly that their very existence escapes the notice of the bulk of the populace.

      3. Amfortas the hippie

        in TeamBlueLand, it’s an Article of Faith that one must never, ever appear to be another McGovern:
        “Bring Home the Troops!” sounds suspiciously like one of my all-time favorite political speeches:

        (and, btw, I’m a big McGovern fan…response to said fandom was a leading indicator that the Dems had abandoned me, back when)

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          McGovern did the impermissible in that speech: he expressed compassion for the Vietnamese we had killed.

          There will be no more Asian children running ablaze from bombed-out schools. There will be no more talk of bombing the dikes or the cities of the North.

          1. Bruno

            A speech he gave at an hour when very few were still awake to hear it. McGovern stole the nomination by a deal with the most “leftist” (Fred Harris) of his rivals to seat a monolithic McGovernite California delegation. And he then proceeded to betray it by naming the abortion-prohibitionist Eagleton as his VP. He fully deserved to lose as badly as he did.

        2. jr

          I just had a Qwiki and learned that some Dems went as far as to form “Democrats for Nixon”, I didn’t know that.

          Our political system has a type of healing ability that knits up wounds quickly and efficiently, so much so that it traps the necrotic flesh within….

          1. nous

            “Our political system has a type of healing ability that knits up wounds quickly and efficiently, so much so that it traps the necrotic flesh within….”

            The term Neo-Con was coined by Michael Harrington in 1973 to identify just what you said. Harrington, an architect of the War on Poverty and eventual co-founder of DSA, had tried to work for years within the Democratic party.

            1. nous

              Re: Democrats for Nixon
              The War On Poverty was key executive program of Johnson’s Great Society. It certainly would’ve been picked-up by and followed through on by George McGovern, since his running mate had been its first director, Sargent Shriver. However, four years earlier Nixon had appointed Donald Rumsfeld to run the Office of Economic Opportunity, aka the War On Poverty.

              Somehow the Guns vs. Butter issue morphed into the War On Crime, aka the war on the poor.

        3. Phillip Allen

          McGovern/Nixon was the first election I was old enough to vote in (and only because of the expansion of the voting age to 18). It was the first and only time I have voted for a Democrat for president.

          In other news, the Old Dog is old.

          1. Katiebird

            I also cast my first vote for McGovern. In fact, I was still 17 when I caucused for him. There was so much energy and excitement in his campaign through the spring. But summer and fall was a complete disappointment — I’ve never understood what happened. Very much like the deflating of the Sanders campaigns.

            1. urblintz

              It’s when I first understood that Democrats run to the left in the primaries and do an about face for the general election.

              plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

            2. pjay

              I also turned 18 in 1972. Just out of high school in a small midwestern town, I was fairly “progressive” on social issues, a good student starting college (first generation) — and I voted for Nixon. Why? Because in my cultural mileux, McGovern was simply not seen as a viable candidate. He was just way too far “out there” in his ideas. My grandfather, a union pipe-fitter and die-hard Roosevelt Democrat who wouldn’t have been caught dead voting Republican in previous years, was voting for Nixon. While McGovern was favored by a few of my “hippie” friends, I wanted my first vote to be “realistic” and “responsible.” We were all politically clueless. If you were caucusing for McGovern at 17 then you had a fortunate start; one not shared by the majority of us.

              Within a year I was in college, Watergate was exploding, and I began to experience those regular shocks that occur when we realize that something we’ve been conditioned to believe is a delusion. Never voted for a Republican again. But unfortunately, I continued to have various delusions exposed regularly up to the present. Several of these had to do with the significance of electoral politics.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                I forgive you, Pjay.
                for whatever it’s worth.

                I was born in ’69, and only remember Humphrey, given my small manufacturer family.
                I heard about McGovern over the years, here and there..but it was like hearing anecdotes about Harding
                It is an indicator of the influence of the Right that in Texas that I didn’t even know who McGovern was until i was in my 20’s.
                In my childhood newsfeed(born:69), he was absent

                it was only when this came out that i fully realised what i had missed:

                …and what was missing from the Historia Officionale

            3. John Anthony La Pietra

              I was only 14 that fall, but I did hand out some literature — including on Election Day 201 feet away from the neighborhood polling place in our quite conservative western suburb of Chicago.

              I had measured the distance to the door as best I could, and then put up a poster on a phone/power pole I stood next to. It was a cartoon of Nixon standing on a soapbox with a quote from his 1968 campaign along the lines of: “Those who have had a chance for four years to produce peace, and have failed, do not deserve another chance.”

              Apparently someone complained, because a poll-worker was sent out to summon me inside. I donxt remember for sure if that poll-workerwas asked to describe the situation or I was myself . . . but the moment it was mentioned I was standing under a picture of Nixon, the chief poll-worker said, “Oh, then he can stay.”

      4. Samuel Conner

        > I’m no political consultant.

        No, you’re not. No political consultant who is serious about a career in political consulting would advocate that a candidate adopt policy positions that actually solve real-world problems.

        That would be too much like “working oneself out of a job.”

    2. Carolinian

      Baby steps? If the protestors wanted to adopt a truly radical slogan it would be not so much “defund the police” as “defund the military. Presumably BLM, with its connections to the Democratic party, would never do this.

      1. J.k

        What do you mean by BLM connections to democratic party? From what i recall BLM did not endorse any candidates in 2016. The dems are doing their best to co opt them. Perhaps you mean letting a democrat speak at a rally or protest? Or them appealing for and demanding change from politicians that govern their cities and states when they happen to be democrats. But they demand the same from their Republican governed areas as well. Maybe I missed them endorsing democratic candidates?

        1. Carolinian

          This is a claim making the rounds on some sites–won’t go into the details–but fair enough. I didn’t do my homework and shouldn’t have said that.

          Nevertheless would they support “defund the military”?

          1. John k

            Politics is the art of the possible. Police kill a lot of unarmed blacks, and a lot of whites, too. Plenty of support to radically reform the police.
            The military is seen by most as protecting us from foreign enemies. They are our most respected institution. Importantly, they don’t kill unarmed americans in America. And recently quickly backed off from patrolling domestic streets.
            Cutting their budget at all, as Bernie proposed, will have a lot of pushback, granted people can see the local need for infra spending.

          2. J.k

            I don’t think BLM actually has any expansive coherent political program which would demand a defunding of the military. BLM in different parts of the country seem to be organized around certain ideas and demands that all the chapters share. You will certainly find individuals within these chapters that will talk about the obscene amounts of resources wasted on militarism. At the same time im sure you will find people within the ranks who dont think its a problem or have given it any real consideration. Sadly i have not really come across anyone with notoriety or standing within BLM speak on or organize around questions of empire and imperialism and how it connects to domestic policy.
            I know BLM work loosely with dozens of different organizations on various issues that may very well be connected in some ways to the democratic party.

            1. Carolinian

              Actually MOA has pointed out that the “donate” button on the Black Lives Matter home page does indeed go to Act Blue giving them a partisan Democratic party connection. This is what the right wing and other sites have been going on about. It doesn’t mean they are controlled by the Democrats which is what I seemed to be saying with no evidence.


              1. Yves Smith Post author

                We pointed out early on that BLM was successfully infiltrated by Dems once it started being effective…as in you were seeing die-ins with more whites than people of color in many major cities. And notice how the die-ins stopped?

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      You fail to credit Sanders for reading what is effective. Defense contractors run DC. Too many college tuitions depend on not breaking those rice bowls. See what happened to Trump for merely saying, during the early parts of his campaign, bad things about America’s military misadventures. It got him branded a Russian stooge and having the military-industrial complex out to get him removed from office even before he was sworn in.

  10. Party on

    At the end of March, 2020 the total debt outstanding in Canada (bottom line of the Statistics Canada credit market summary data table) was $8.919 trillion.

    In the 1 year period from the end of March, 2019 to the end of March, 2020 it increased by $557 billion. This is an increase of 6.6%.

    Update on the total (household, business, and all levels of government) debt numbers in Canada and the size of the Bank of Canada’s balance sheet

    1. JEHR

      Re: “all levels of government”: The federal government spends into the economy so that households, businesses and municipal and provincial governments will have money to use for their purposes. If the federal government did not spend into the economy (whether in billions or trillions), there would be no revenue for households, businesses and municipal and provincial governments. It’s not a party.

    2. eg

      What is this contextless concern-trolling “oooh look at these big scary numbers!” doing on a site where macroeconomic understanding is prized?

      The innumeracy of displaying numerators without any consideration for the size of the denominators is bad enough, but then to lump in all forms of debt without any consideration for which portion belongs to the monetary sovereign and which does not is simply irresponsible.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “How to Spot Police Surveillance Tools”

    Wait, wait, I know how to do this. What you want to do when out protesting is to look for an object. It is about 5 inches long, 2-3 inches wide and is pretty thin. On one side is a screen and when you press buttons on the side, the screen lights up. That thing will rat you out seven ways to Sunday so leave the damn thing at home. You want pictures and videos? Then just take a digital camera and upload the images/videos later. I suspect that plain clothes police go through crowds equipped with devices to suck up as much data as possible from nearby mobiles as they walk by.

  12. Parker Dooley

    “Bases named for Confederates changed to Afghan War generals, continuing tradition of naming bases after losers Duffle Blog”

    Is there a Fort Custer?

    1. Samuel Conner

      While it is true that during the Civil War, Custer became a brevet brigadier general (of volunteers) — at age 24 and 2 years out of West Port; experienced generals were still in short supply at that point in the war — he never made general rank in the regular Army post-war. He was colonel or lieutenant colonel at Little Big Horn.

      Perhaps you have to both reach general rank and lose a battle or a war to have an installation named after you.

        1. Samuel Conner

          An interesting fact that I read years ago is that General Douglas MacArthur is the only commander in US history to have twice lost a major campaign to a numerically inferior enemy.

          The campaigns were the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and the first stage of the Korean War, in which the UN forces were pushed back into the Pusan perimeter.

          In fairness to Mac’, the forces he led in both campaigns were composed mostly of formations whose combat capabilities were inferior to those of the enemy forces.

      1. Wukchumni

        Is there a George Armstrong Custer Institute of Strategy & Tactics?

        It’s online, Custer died for your sims.

      1. barefoot charley

        Those colorful splotches all over Milley’s uniform are service ribbons, which record each of his duty stations. They’re a full-chest military resume, and especially important nowadays because many career paths within and surrounding the military are only open to soldiers and vets with combat experience.

        Yes, peaceniks, war is a career requirement in the military-industrial complex. My nephew who regretfully left the Marines without a tour of combat duty told me he was thereby disqualified from applying for an FBI investigator post. Makes sense of the war-wagons we’ve recently seen the FBI ride into work on, don’t it?

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Has been in the running for F-35 stationing, drone piloting, and a missile-defense installation in recent years.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Random Search Wired Into Animals May Help Them Hunt”

    I think that the next time I load up “Age of Empires II” on my computer, that I will have to try to get my initial scout to do a Lévy Walk and see of it is any better at scouting out resources and enemies.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Almost 20 percent of US firms now have debt service costs greater than their profits.”

    It is my understanding that a few companies at least load themselves up with debt to make themselves a poison pill to discourage hostile takeovers. I suppose that these days it would be by private equity firms. Could this explain in part what that chart is showing?

  15. Donald

    I thought the Irussianality post was too tendentious, but some of the comments rebutting it were good. You can criticize people who justify mob violence ( where innocent people and their small businesses are attacked) without making dubious analogies to what happened leading up to the Bolshevik takeover.

    As some in the comments over there demonstrate, you can take historical analogies and with sufficiently clever cherry-picking make them prove whatever you want.

    1. Darthbobber

      The bourgeois liberals represented by the Kadets were so inconsequential on the power scale that what they decided to do wasn’t going to matter one WA or the other. They had no power on the street, they had provided virtually none of the soldiers, and they were largely absent in the rural areas.

      Elections to the constituent assembly demonstrated that their ballot box support was as pathetic as their street cred. 4.5 percent.

  16. jr

    I found this really interesting article about using compressed air as a way to store energy, it’s mind blowing to me. The tech seems immature but the potential enormous. (There’s a related article that explains just how inefficient electricity generation is at the small scale, something else that’s news to me.)

    “By discharging the cylinders sequentially, the discharge time can be greatly increased, making the system comparable to lead-acid batteries in terms of energy density. Based on their experimental set-up, the researchers calculated the efficiencies for different starting pressures and numbers of cylinders. They found that 57 interconnected cylinders of 10 litre each, operating at 5 bar, could fulfill the job of four 24V batteries for 20 consecutive hours, all while having a surprisingly small footprint of just 0.6 m3.

    Interestingly, the storage capacity is 410 Wh, which is comparable to the 360 Wh rural system noted earlier, which requires an 18 m3 storage vessel – that’s thirty times larger than the modular storage system.“

    I imagine you could even produce small amounts of electricity with it, say to run something like a simple land line network in a small community or banks of low output lights. A stream of compressed air could spin a tiny windmill, generating a small steady current. No chemical batteries necessary. Having a household spend a bit on a pedal powered pump would to be able to return pressure to the system pretty handily, much more efficiently than a generator returns juice.

    Or I could be completely wrong, this is not my neck of the woods…

    1. h2odragon

      Pressure vessel failure modes suck vs batteries. “5 bar” is not incredibly dangerous pressure but i want something simpler. I ran the numbers on using 9 acres of land with 40ft of fall for stored hydropower, about 8Kwh as i recall. Not even that expensive hardware wise but the earthmoving required would have been prohibitive.

        1. h2odragon

          Tesla/SpaceX is supposed to have some fancy composite bottles that would be miraculous if they were allowed to use them in other contexts. So Maybe.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        5 bar can easily be contained in a rubber bicycle tire. Much higher pressures can easily be contained in metal or composite vessels.

    2. Dr. Roberts

      There are small cars manufactured in India that run on compressed air. I thought it was a very interesting idea when I read about it several years ago. I would imagine it could be an effective way to store renewable energy, with some loss from the compressors and engines.

    3. John k

      Tanks used for recreational diving are normally filled to around 3000 psi, or 200 bar. Perfectly safe.
      Part of the energy loss comes as the heat gained during compression dissipates. In fact, the tank is normally immersed in water when filling because the water is a good heat sink, which keeps the tank from heating.

      1. ambrit

        To preserve his cognitive abilities for when they will matter most, the DNC has ordered “Creepy” Joe’s ‘handlers’ to restrict his thinking to every other day for now.

  17. JacobiteInTraining

    I’ll never convince anyone who has already made up their minds, but the autonomous zone – CHAZ, but now named CHOP – thing in Seattle is turning out to be the biggest leftist troll of right wingers imaginable – Fox news and Facebook groups furiously hyping hysterical reports of warlords, extortion, chaos, mayhem…cats and dogs LIVING TOGETHER!!!!! OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!

    That would be funny, if it wasn’t so sad.

    The 26-year-old ‘sorta-adopted-daughter’ of mine went there after the silent march yesterday. She had a great time, dropped off some food, supplies and $$ to a medical tent and a free food tent. The area involved in the autonomous zone is basically one big BLM-themed block party, with costumes, movies, teach-ins, speakers, local residents mingling with kids, a band playing off to the side.

    Poets speaking on the street corner, kids mingling with old ladies, a Tulalip tribe speech about indigenous lives and challenges. Organic vegetable carts. The beginnings of a community garden.

    No violence. No extortion. No crazies with guns taking IDs at checkpoints. No ‘cats and dogs living together’ (although, being Capitol Hill, after all….they are very understanding of non-traditional roles there so that would prob be just fine)

    Was there a local rapper named Raz who got a little heated the first night or two? Yeah, he has been chastened and embarrassed. Is there something called the John Brown Gun Club who have had a couple armed members there at nights? Yeah, I think so…but particularly after the SPD started – false – rumors of ’20-30 proud boys marching on the zone’ the very first night, can you imagine why someone might want to avail themselves of their 2A rights?

    SPD spokespeople read a social media post about ‘OMG EXTORTION’ and relayed it as if it was fact, it was NOT. They have since walked that claim back, along with the unfounded claims businesses/locals were threatened.

    But, the oligarchs live and die by their propaganda….so lets hope the individuals – like the 26-year-old daughter marching silently for a cause – will swell in ranks enough to defeat it. And, BTW…though the media doesn’t cover it anymore now that there isn’t looting to emblazon on their byline – yesterdays silent march was the biggest I have seen in Seattle yet.

    I think maybe, in Seattle at least….we are winning.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i’m really digging your on the ground(and once removed) reports on that.
      nothing even remotely like it anywhere close to me.
      Member Reports are one of the things that made Latoc so cool…during Katrina, and the Deepwater Horizon thing, especially. we had people on the ground(or in the water) reporting their observations that directly contradicted the Historia Officionale.
      That’s what the web is FOR.
      Thank you.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Heh…right back at you. I have read your reports of your acres and the work your collective is doing there (Deep innnnn the heaaaaart of Texassss, if not mistaken!! :) with the food gardens, sustainability, and perhaps more importantly…trying to change the mindsets of locals down at the feed store and elsewhere as are receptive to new worldviews.

        Gods Work, it is…whether religious or not.

        I feel a particular kinship with that sort of report because I – mid-50’s lily white guy – was raised on a redneck farm. Relatives that are loggers, gillnetters, dairy farmers…salt of the earth type people. Oregon has always been fairly more ‘liberal’ then most, but the elders and crusty guys and gals I grew up with were like any population – some yahoos, but mostly all good people, hard workers, believed in fairness and honesty.

        Some percentage more may have been poisoned by propaganda….but in their heart they can see whats right, and whats wrong. Sometimes just a little convincing and truth speaking from people like you, me…and everyone…sets the keel back to a proper voyage.

      2. periol

        LATOC during the Deepwater Horizon disaster was a full-on demonstration of the power that internet vigilance could wield. Also not that surprising it didn’t take long for the site to disappear after that. Full-on 24-hour citizen surveillance of the crime scene, revealing corporate and government lies in real-time. That was a crazy time.

        Fun fact, I was driving along eastern Texas coast at the moment Deepwater Horizon blew, about as close as you could possibly be on land to the blow-out when it happened. Very weird to get home later and read the news and look back on the map to see where I was when it happened.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I cut my internet teeth at Latoc.
          We’d had infiltration and dirty tricks before(especially after katrina)
          but it got crazy after the DWH coverage.
          This, per the Engine Room People who ran the nuts and bolts of the site.
          Matt ended up closing it down, then re-opening it up with all kinds of weird new rules…and then closing it down for good, to become a mild mannered herbalist in californian obscurity.
          Our Tech-Bros were adamant that we had been overrun by the fbi.
          et alia.
          Too accurate was the consensus.
          I’m still internetfriends with a bunch of Latoc People…as is my wife(she’s still on FB).
          I settled on my handle, Amfortas, there…and it became Amfortas the Hippie after I forgot my password and had to re-join.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > Member Reports are one of the things that made Latoc so cool…during Katrina, and the Deepwater Horizon thing, especially

          OK, I’ll bite. What’s LATOC? Since NC seems to be a sort of catchment basis for people who are familiar with it….. Thank you!

          1. The Rev Kev

            LATOC seems to stand for Life After The Oil Crash but I do not know if they are still active or not.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            peak oil forum of some repute, circa 2002-2009.
            distributed think tank.
            during Katrina, we had several folks on the ground in and around NOLA…including an EMT in the thick of it.
            During DWH, had a guy on a boat in the Gulf rescuing birds, and a guy who had been on a team that patented the underwater robots, and another 2-3 who had experience with well capping, deepwater rig ops, etc…and several marine biologists and other ocean sciences.
            in both instances, all these folks’ reporting/knowledge base put the Official Story to shame….and exposed it for the lies they were.
            I’m proud to have been a part of it.

            1. periol

              I would add that peak oil was the reason for it’s existence, but there were a large number of members, and the forum really became a place to watch and discuss (dumbfounded) all of the things NC still focuses on today, finance, politics, environment, etc. There were lively finance and political discussions as well.

              The death of LATOC also happened the same time as a bunch of other corporate-control moves were happening across the internet.

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      Oh, and some of y’all not from this area may not have heard about this guy yet: On Sunday last, when the police were still tear gassing and clubbing crowds with gay abandon…before the CHAZ/CHOP…we in Seattle got a Hero.

      A True Hero: This guy deserves recognition –

      As is done these days, Mr. Gregory had a gofundme, and his hospital stay has been covered…and then some! :

      1. urblintz

        speaking of riot control

        Tear gas is a chemical weapon banned in international law for use in warfare:

        “The 1925 Geneva Protocol categorized tear gas as a chemical warfare agent and banned its use in war shortly after World War I. The protocol was signed at a conference held in Geneva and took effect on Feb. 8, 1928..
        In 1993, nations could begin signing the U.N.’s Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) that outlawed the use of riot control agents in warfare…

        International Committee of the Red Cross: the ban of riot control agents in war went into effect in 1997, but still made it legal for law enforcement use. The Senate approved the CWC in a 74-26 vote on April 25, 1997.”


    3. lordkoos

      Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglass weighed in on the Capitol Hill scene:

      1.) The East Precinct has not been burned down. It hasn’t even been occupied. The doors were left open, and after the shit the police pulled the last few days of the protests, no one wants to walk into that trap.

      2.) Local businesses have not been terrorized or extorted. The local businesses just spent a week getting gassed, as did the residents. The protesters helped board the buildings up *to protect them from damage from cops* and their rubber bullets and concussion grenades. The businesses were opening their doors to protesters whenever the police attacked.

      3.) They’re not out of food. It’s a small area with several wonderful restaurants, and most of the people there are residents of the area. The houseless people in the area are now getting hot food and drinks. They’re happy to accept donations, but they’re not starving, and the houseless people did not run away with all the food. Please stop believing random Tweets.

      4.) No, businesses do not have to pay protection money, ffs.

      5.) No, women are not being raped, buildings are not being burned down. Come on, people.

      6.) IDs are not being checked. There IS security, because in case you hadn’t noticed, the tangerine terror has devoted TWO tweets and one whole new misspelling to the movement.

      7.) Everything I’ve heard is that they are taking time to heal and settle. Whatever you might believe the motivations or actions of the protesters, the last week and a half were traumatic for the locals.

      8.) Clergy have started going down there regularly to offer counseling. Medics are on shift. Music, movies, community discussion, and decompression is happening. I know several residents of the area, and they are raving about how peaceful and joyful the area is.

      9.) Volunteers are SUPER welcome. They need to have enough people in the area at all times to help keep saboteurs from coming in and burning the precinct or starting other trouble. For example, Tim Eyman showed up today, and was not set on fire, so you know they’re under good discipline down there.
      10.) These are not violent people. They are people who just stood up to a corrupt, sadistic police force which deliberately shot concussion grenades and rubber bullets directly at medics. These police took a disabled man’s cane and tried to force him to walk without it, they maced multiple children. These are people who refused to be terrorized anymore.
      I am really tired of the stories of vandalism and wanton destruction going around. These are good people who just lived through a week and a half of hell for the simple crime of trying to call the police to accountability.

      Please share this. The Seattle Protesters are now being targeted in force by alt-right fascists, and our ‘President’ has just thrown gasoline on the flames. Please push back where you see these people described as violent, childish, or out of control. They’re very thoughtful people who’ve simply had enough fascism and decided to stand their ground.
      Strangely, last I checked, standing your ground was very ‘Merican. I wonder why it’s suddenly a problem? *taps chin*”

  18. Big River Bandido

    The Newsweek story about Trump/Biden in GA either buried the lede, or completely missed it (paragraph 5):

    Trump has been able to drive up voter turnout, resulting in his getting more votes than Obama did, multiple times already during this primary season. In the Iowa caucuses, Trump got over 30,000 more votes than Obama did in 2012. In New Hampshire, Trump got nearly 130,000 votes, more than twice as many as the former president received in 2012.

    IOW, he has activate and energized his base.

    But don’t worry, I’m sure the Joementum will kick in, any day now.

    1. dave

      My medium sized blue voting city has proven to be pretty accurate as far as election predictions go. Lots of yard signs=Democrat enthusiasm=Democrat wins.

      I know it’s early, but I haven’t seen a single Biden sign yet. There are more Warren signs I’d be willing to bet.

    2. rowlf

      Being a fan of anekdoty, I think I found the model on how this problem will be handled:

      This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “When Nixon visited Moscow, he and Khrushchev ran around the Kremlin in a race. Nixon came the first. How should our media report on that?”

      We’re answering: “The report should be as follows: ‘In the international running competition the General Secretary of the Communist Party took the honorable second place.’ Mister Nixon came in one before last.”

    3. Lambert Strether

      > Trump has been able to drive up voter turnout

      As the Sanders campaign discovered to its chagrin, two can play the turnout game. It may be that the liberal Democrats are about to discover the same thing.

  19. Jason Boxman

    Matt Stoller’s book has a great, deep discussion of the death of the New Deal coalition with regards to corporate concentration and monopoly.

  20. flora

    re: Artificial Intelligence—The Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet

    Great article. Thanks for linking. He makes important distinctions among the various meanings implied in the overly broad use of the term Artifical Intelligence (AI). I like his engineering approach to the problem(s).

  21. Alex Cox

    I think there is a mistake in the ancient crocodile article. The author says scientists initially thought the bipedal crocs were pterosaurs.
    But pterosaurs were flying reptiles, not dinosaurs, and neither their tracks nor their bones would resemble a crocodile’s.
    Once a teenage palaeontologist, always a teenage palaeontologist!

  22. Susan the other

    Interesting about the Einstein Bose Condensate. At near absolute zero quantum particles align their wavelengths. That happens naturally in deep space, I assume. A new form of matter? I wonder if space itself at those temperatures is almost solid?

    1. Bob Tetrault

      Cosmic background radiation left over from the big bang keeps space at a toasty 3-odd degrees above absolute zero. Humans are operating outside the envelope, kinda sorta.

  23. KFritz

    Re:Debunking Fears Of Nuclear Waste At California’s San Onofre Reactor

    Hubris, thy name is James Conca. His confidence about our ability to deal with these deadly wastes is terrifying. I’d love to see Nassim Nicholas Taleb and the New Complex Systems Institute turned loose on this article and its author.

    1. The Historian

      I read that article early this morning and I just shook my head. I’ve worked along nukes for a long time and I’ve never heard any one as rabid – or as ridiculous – about nukes as this guy. In fact, most of the people working around nukes understand and do not discount their dangers – even those who are intensely pro nuke industry.

      I’m betting those people who work at San Onofre wished he’d just shut up.

      1. UserFriendly

        Yes, because of nuclear’s long track record of not killing people. You antinuclear people are every bit as responsible for climate change as republicans, if not more so..

        1. The Rev Kev

          With all due regard, having nuclear power as an option may be seen as an easy way to generate power rather than spending money & researching new sources of power generation. Is nuclear power capable of running a profit without all those huge government subsidies, insurance policies and give-aways? As the true economics of nuclear power have become clear over the past few decades, I suspect that this is why the drive to develop alternate energy like wave and wind powered energy.

  24. Reggie

    I don’t understand why Bernie cares when the.voters don’t to make him win the primaries. Let them suffer and realise their.mistake. let them eat democracy.

  25. ambrit

    This olding geezer hasn’t the requsite desire to go and see the demonstration today.
    Fair enough. Demonstrating, and then rioting are a youngster’s game. So far, no sirens or other sounds of discord from the Downtown direction. (We are close enough to probably be able to hear any serious civil discord happening there.)
    Secondly, the thread on Nextdoor about the demonstration has been “disappeared” by the site admins. The link I gave yesterday in comments to the BLM internet ‘organizational flyer’ now shows a message: “Sorry, the post you’re looking for has been removed.” Thus, a direct and clarifying lesson on the uses and abuses of internet platforms. The Nextdoor people evidently do not approve of “non-standard” attitudes towards civil strife. Of note is that the messages I read last night, including the BLM organizational ‘flyer,’ were tame and definitely non confrontational. So, are we to assume that only “officially approved” demonstrations are to be even mentioned on social media now?
    All this makes me wonder about all the myriads of people who casually glance at the “News Feeds” on their mobiles while strolling about. They don’t even know that they are being lied to and manipulated.
    Interesting times.

    1. ambrit

      Addendum: Ye plot thickens.
      Point ye first: The local television station has an informational piece on their website about the “parade and demonstration.” (All politics is local after all!) Good information, some useful graphics and maps, and information concerning timing and proposed “activities.” The local mini-bus line is out in force to assist the crowds to return to the points of origin at the end of the days ‘peaceful’ activities.
      Point ye second: Phyllis mentioned that the program might well come off peacefully because Hattiesburg is half ‘black,’ half ‘white,’ and a lot of the local police are black. We shall see about that. [I am accused of excessive cynicism. Fair cop.]
      Point ye third: All the weather cams and road cams in and around the Downtown area are “offline” at the present. The same cameras outside of the town proper are working just fine. Hmmm…. A very selective technical malfunction that.
      The speechifying is supposed to begin about 4:00 PM our time.
      Interesting times.

    2. lordkoos

      Nextdoor is a dodgy platform… from what I’ve heard they can get taken over by the most aggressive people in the neighborhood and then often twisted to personal aims and grudges. It’s also another data harvesting tool that is more focused and granular than facebook and the like.

      1. LarryB

        Useful for some things, best platform I’ve found for finding or returning lost pets, for instance, also good for getting rid of “junk” (another man’s treasure) that you’ve left on the curb. But not a place for good conversations, generally, And lots of “I saw a strange (read “black”) man in the neighborhood” just now (and it’s a multi-racial neighborhood)>

    3. ambrit

      Addendum Ye Second: I gathered my courage fast to me and went to the ‘rally.’
      Alas, it was more like a ‘Street Fair’ than a genuine protest anything. The mood there was curious. The crowd, which a copper I spoke too said they estimated at 500 to 1000 persons, was not congested, but absolutely no “social distancing” was in evidence. The crowd was basically younger petit bourgeois blacks, younger white hipsters and various odds and sods, myself falling into the latter category. Black was the almost universal colour scheme. I was feeling “out there” dressed in my Faux Camo shirt and slacks.
      More later.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Weird that. Your report sounds like that from that Duffle Blog post that was on links the other day – ‘Air Force gentrifies Marine MOUT’-

        ‘The first squad to infiltrate the town square reported seeing a horde of men in skinny capris and conflict-free fabrics riding around on Lime scooters, drinking ethically sourced artisanal Soy Chai lattes and perusing the latest from McSweeney’s on their iPhone 11s.’

    4. ambrit

      Hmmm….. The Internet Dragons eat yet another comment.
      Try the second for Addendum Ye Third: The ubiquity of surveillance.
      The main event was overseen by a quadcopter hovering at about 150 foot altitude. Coppers were at all entrances and exits to the courthouse steps. There was a SWAT squad standing around three blocks behind the courthouse. When I got to the event, the coppers were mainly easy going and calm. I spoke to two sets of “The City’s Finest.” Both groups were also calm and unworried. I could have sworn that “the fix was in” and nothing untoward was to be allowed to occur that day.
      A ‘counter demonstration’ by about twenty die hard Sothrons was kettled off on one side of the courthouse building and securely fenced and barricaded off. I initially wandered into this venue. Alas, even with my long white hair and Pseudo Cammo attire, I fit right in. I even had a Camo bandanna for face protection. How droll! Social distancing was most noticable by it’s absence. Almost everyone in the crowd was within physical touching distance from multiple other persons. Masks were being worn, but without ‘intensity.’ As an aside, can this be the initiation of a change in American social customs? Will regular mask wearing become the norm in public? (One can only hope.)
      After circumambulating the courthouse, I entered the Main Street site of the ‘demonstration.’ I received many disparaging looks from the almost uniformly attired in black crowd. Even most of the masks were coloured black. I adopted a stance designed to be unobtrusive and eventually found a niche in a doorway across the street from the speaker’s podium, set up on the actual courthouse steps.
      How can I adequately critique what had to be an early effort by the BLM cadre that organized this event?
      First, the speechifying was mostly idpol driven appeals to emotion. I had the distinct feeling of being swept up in a Tent Revival. Now, one can retort to that observation that the very name of the organization sets idpol level limits to the ‘reach’ of this organization.
      Second, the series of organizational tents set up on the sidewalks for organizational purposes by various “political entities” were voluntarily closed during the speechifying. Why? The crowd was in constant flux and many potential ‘converts’ were lost due to that decision. A tactical mistake.
      Third, the event was half in and half out of the sun, on a Ninety degree plus day in the heat island of the Downtown area. At the least, the organizers could have co-ordinated the ‘free’ water sites maintained by some of the older pedigreed organizations at their tents.
      Fourth, the ‘woke’ cadre of local politicos were in attendance. To that end, their presence could have been enhanced by giving such potentates some short chance at public speechifying. Make allies any way you can, even by supplying public relations reach arounds. Whoever is co-ordinating this chapter of BLM’s organization could do with some reading on the theory and practice of the “Common Cause” strategy.
      It’s getting late now and I desire rest.
      All of you take care and be safe.

  26. Winston Smith

    “Canada indigenous chief battered during arrest BBC”
    Saw it on twitter somewhere…someone of a contrary point of view posted the minutes before the Chipewyan chief was assaulted where he appears enraged that he was being arrested for an expired license (on tribal land-really?). In any event, to put these events in their proper context, I recommend that people read “The inconvenient indian” by Thomas King.

    1. wilroncanada

      Winston Smith
      In addition, two “First Nations” people have been shot and killed in New Brunswick just in the last 10 days; the most recent, today. The former was a 26-year-old woman recently moved from Port Alberni and Edmonton whom the RCMP were calling on for a “wellness check” at the request of family here in BC.

      The Inconvenient Indian (2012) was a good summary of what native people go through. His Green Grass, Running Water was an hilarious take on the mix of Christian and native religious characters. He presented The Massey Lectures on CBC Radio in 2003. (The Massey Lectures is a week-long series on CBC Radio/Radio Canada by a “public intellectual, broadcast one week a year since 1961). It’s where I first heard Noam Chomsky, John Ralston Saul and others.

      King was from Sacramento. His father was Cherokee, and his mother Greek. His “Dead Dog Cafe” segment on CBC, Saturday mornings for years was a fun bit.

  27. Maritimer

    ‘Make Us All Safe. Go Back to Your Bunker’ Seattle Mayor Tells Trump Rolling Stone (resilc)

    General Bone Spurs (fifty years later) hides again.

  28. Maritimer

    Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley discussed resigning over role in Trump’s church photo op NBC. Resilc: “Talk is cheap.”

    Why did the chicken cross the road?
    To have his picture taken holding a Bible in front of a church.

  29. lordkoos

    The MAGA rally… Trump claims innocence on the Junteenth date (he’s probably never heard of it before) but I bet that date was chosen by Stephen Miller.

  30. flora

    Nice article about PE and its discontents. Even CalPERS get a small mention. (Not in a good way.)

    What are America’s pensioners getting from private equity?

    Even if we momentarily set aside the societal impacts and thorny questions of political economy, we still face an important question: in what other industry does aggregate underperformance mint hundreds of millionaires and tens of billionaires each year?

    Despite this apparent mediocrity, the industry is booming. Private equity has tripled in size over the last two decades. The number of American businesses owned by private equity firms has quintupled over the same period. As pension funds and endowments chase returns, their appetites mirror that of CalPERS’ Chief Investment Officer, who last year declared, “we need private equity, we need more of it, and we need it now.”

  31. kareninca

    The Stanford shopping center in Silicon Valley was jammed today! I don’t shop there; we drove through as part of our daily tour of our Habitrail. Many of the parking lots were full. It was not as jammed as usual, since the distant lots were not full at all. Macy’s and Bloomingdales had taken down their plywood; Brooks Brothers still had plywood up.

    Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park was also full of people wandering about, but there were a number of newly- vacated stores; that is very unusual in this area.

    1. Aloha

      Thanks for posting that info! I used to live and work in PA in the 80’s and 90’s and sometimes get home sick for it. Got my first job at Gleim Jewelers on University Ave in bookkeeping and next job was at University Nat’l Bank around the corner. I am sure that everything has changed but I do have good memories. I wish you well.

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