Links 6/17/2020

Patient readers, I had an administrative kerfuffle that ate up about half an hour. Hence links is short the COVID section and a few other orts and scraps. I’m adding those now, and Links for today will shortly be complete. –lambert UPDATE 7:24AM All done!

‘Snot palaces’ built by sea creatures could help scientists and maybe even Nasa BBC

Kings of Controversial Debt Trades Cry Foul When on Other Side Bloomberg

U.S. plummets to 10th spot in World Competitiveness Ranking CBS

Blame the Fed for the Disconnect in Markets Bloomberg

Pontifications: bleak near- to mid-term future for Rolls-Royce engine unit Leeham News and Analysis. See also Focus on Rolls-Royce Trent engines (2011): “We talked with an engineer a few months ago who isn’t involved in either incident but who knows RR. His view is that in looking at the Trent 1000 and Trent 900 incidents, focus on the design is actually looking in the wrong direction. Rather, the system issues at RR, this engineer tells us, are in the culture that are leading to the performance failures.” Sound familiar? It’s not just Boeing.



Coronavirus: Dexamethasone proves first life-saving drug BBC. The headline is hype. Dexamethasone, a steroid, only helped a third of those on ventilators, and for all we know it’s only mitigating the horrid effects of ventilators, and has nothing to do with the virus at all. Not to say that treatment options are not good; they are. But still. Here is a more measured thread on this topic:

How America’s Hospitals Survived the First Wave of the Coronavirus Pro Publica

* * *


There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave’ Mike Pence, WSJ

Anthony Fauci calls for action to prevent coronavirus ‘surge’ FT

What lockdowns do and what they don’t do Mainly Macro

The Pariah Ship BusinessWeek

Anyone else with similar experiences, especially in college towns? Thread:

* * *


Antibody Tests Are Everywhere Now and Confusing Everyone Bloomberg

* * *


Association of country-wide coronavirus mortality with demographics, testing, lockdowns, and public wearing of masks (Update June 15, 2020). ResearchGate

Repeated coughing seriously degrades face mask efficiency MedicalXpress (RM).

Why do so many Americans refuse to wear face masks? Politics is part of it — but only part MarketWatch

* * *

Social determinants of health:

Rapid Changes To Health System Spurred By COVID Might Be Here To Stay KHN. Nothing about single payer, of course.

* * *

Financial response:

Investors Are Watching the Wrong Covid Picture John Authers, Bloomberg

* * *

Political response:

This Texas Town Is America’s COVID-19 Future Buzzfeed

General keeps social distance by throwing coins at soldiers DuffelBlog

* * *

Business response:

Businesses ask patrons to waive right to sue if they get ill AP. Musical interlude.

* * *

Working class response:

COVID-19 Strike Wave Interactive Map Payday Report. Impressive. And under-covered.

* * *


A warning from South Korea: the ‘fantasy’ of returning to normal life (free) FT

* * *

Remedies and ameliorations:

A reckoning for health care professionals: Should they be activists, too? STAT


Xi Jinping’s favourite ‘two mountains’ theory is not all his own work Hong Kong Free Press. More interesting than the gotcha headline.

Business as usual:

Coronavirus: Beijing municipal government orders partial lockdown for city and elevates emergency response amid latest outbreak South China Morning Post

Chinese military urges India to return to correct track of dialogue, negotiations Xinhua. And now see India–


After Violent Clash, China Claims Sovereignty Over Galwan Valley for First Time in Decades The Wire. None of the war news strikes me as being especially reliable. But there’s a lot of it.

A Skirmish in Galwan Valley: India and China’s Deadliest Clash in More Than 50 Years The Diplomat

Violent India-China clash at LAC: What really happened that night India. A timeline

How Indian and Chinese media reported the deadly Ladakh clash Al Jazeera

* * *

China’s Great Wall Motor signs MoU with Maharashtra, to invest USD 1 billion Hindustan Times

Breakingviews – Economic arsenals intensify India and China clash Reuters

Modi government’s ‘One Nation, One Ration’ is an attempt to deflect attention from actual solutions Scroll

Uttarakhand’s ‘ghost villages’ spring back to life Times of India. Migration complete?

The Koreas

South Korean Unification Minister offers to step down amid worsening spat with North Korea CNN

Art of the deal:


Coronavirus: Has a second wave of infections hit Iran? BBC


Sadiq Khan demands emergency help for London services Guardian. See Yves here.

Brexit Heartlands Pay the Highest Price for Coronavirus Bloomberg

The Robert Jenrick affair has the potential to do lasting damage to the government Institute for Government

How Chile went from coronavirus role model to among world’s worst South China Morning Post

Neoliberalism vs Populism on COVID Stimulus Exponents. Also Latin America.

New Cold War

Pinning Down Putin: How a Confident America Should Deal With Russia Victoria Nuland, Foreign Affairs

Russian Reaction To American Protests – Part I Awful Avalanche. Part II.


How an Internet ‘Persona’ Helped Birth Russiagate Ray McGovern, Consortium News

Trump Transition

Trump signs executive order incentivizing police reforms Politico

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Right-Of-Way To Key Natural Gas Pipeline Oddly, this decision didn’t make the headlines.

Trump’s cronies, dumbshit Dems, and America’s foreign propaganda machine Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

Bolton’s Bold Move Could Result in Loss Of His Profits Or His Freedom Jonathan Turley

Conservatives Urge Trump, McConnell to Halt New Virus Spending Bloomberg

Apple holding out on Cook testimony for House antitrust probe Politico. So now Silicon Valley CEOs come to testify at their convenience?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Power of Black Lives Matter Rolling Stone

The Black Lives Matter Protests Are a Tipping Point in US History The Nation

The Killing Of George Floyd Is America’s Dreyfus Affair The American Conservative

Revolutions Happen. This Might Be Ours. Foreign Policy

The Triumph of Black Lives Matter and Neoliberal Redemption

Austrian police defend decision to fine man after ‘provocative’ fart Guardian (Re Silc).

Police State Watch

Air Force sergeant charged in shooting death of federal officer outside courthouse in Oakland ABC11 News

Camden Is Not a Blueprint for Disbanding the Police Truthout

replacing police with social workers Reading the Tarot (DG). “I don’t think these people have interacted with social workers.”

Police violence and class rule WSWW

Heatlh Care

Coronavirus survival comes with a $1.1 million, 181-page price tag Seattle Times

Our Famously Free Press

UPRISING: Narrative Control Operations Escalate as America Burns Caitlin Johnstone

Google kicked ZeroHedge off its ad platform and warned the Federalist CNN (Furzy Mouse). The lesson is go big or go home: Iraq WMDs, RussiaGate… We’ve had our beefs with ZH, but they certainly don’t deserve this.

Facebook Recruits an Israeli Censorship Expert Orient XXI

Class Warfare

How Woke Politics Keeps Class Solidarity Down The American Conservative

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Winston Smith

      This is a prelude to reenacting the Black Mirror episode “Metalhead” where robotic dogs hunt down people in a post apocalyptic world?

    2. JohnnySacks

      I view every robot Boston Dynamics produces in the context of how large a weapon it can carry. Writing proposals to obtain defense contracts is a large part of their operations.

  1. ChrisPacific

    Well, the Nuland piece was every bit as awful as I expected it to be (at least the few pages that I could stomach – she badly needs an editor). So much projection!

      1. jo6pac

        I’m glad you added the nuland piece it’s always good to know what the enemy of the Amerikan people is doing and the enemy isn’t Putin or Russia.

      2. Olga

        Funny, LS… but it was precisely my fear that she’d exceed my expectations (of awfulness) that stopped me from reading her piece.
        Any hope that her thinking – and the circles she represents – would be dragged into the 21st century must be abolished.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I assume you’ve noticed one of the main people being touted as the next president of the United States Joe Biden’s VP? The lovely Susan Rice. So we’d have Joe, armed with the best foreign policies from 1989, coupled with Susan, armed with the best strategies and ideologies that did so well for us abroad from 2008-2016.

          (Very few mentions of Susan’s pet project Libya, now opening a *Russian air force base* and casting NATO members on opposite sides of a real shooting war a few hundred miles from Italy).

    1. John A

      About as mendacious an article as I have ever read. At least one lie or more on every line. At least it made me laugh at its idiocies. God help the world if Biden wins and brings Nuland back into government.

      1. oliverks

        I have the utmost confidence that if Biden doesn’t bring back Nuland, he will find someone worse.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          There’s still the one whose Nobel Peace Prize made political satire obsolete. . . .

          1. Andrew Thomas

            There was Kissinger’s, too. And people said the same thing then. Plus ca change….

    2. ambrit

      My G-ds! Vikky Nuland returns from the Crypt!
      A completely neo-liberal screed. She calls for nothing less than the restoration of the post WW-2 Cold War era. Every section had references to old style anti-Soviet strategies and tactics.
      As mentioned just above by John A, about every other sentence contained an old and supposedly debunked lie.
      Even though it is well known as a mouthpiece for the Establishment, it is high time that “Foreign Policy” magazine was ‘regime changed.’

    3. oliverks

      Whenever I read a Nuland piece, I remember one of the many reasons I didn’t want HRC as president.

    4. km

      The election isn’t for another six months yet, and Nuland is already making plans for the restoration.

      1. ambrit

        She could also be laying the groundwork for a ‘soft coup’ if Trump wins again.
        “The Norms made me do it!”

    5. JTMcPhee

      That adjective, “confident,” is often used in literature to describe the behavior of “entitled” men in deprecating, fondling and raping women.

      I recall an article from the National Law Journal from 1976 or so. NLJ was a kind of “National Enquirer” for the legal profession. The editors sent out teams to collect saliva from a couple of hundred attorneys in various specialties (“specialities” theoretically were not allowed in those days, nor was advertising) to be analyzed for testosterone content.

      Litigation lawyers scored almost an order of magnitude higher than municipal bond lawyers, no great surprise. But it turned out that woman litigators equaled and in quite a few cases exceeded their male counterparts in this index of likely aggressiveness.

      I wonder how much testosterone and adrenalin would assay in Nuland’s spittle…

    1. ambrit

      Our ‘browsers’ are factivores, and thus always happy to be led out to these fields of gold.

  2. Steve H.

    > Anyone else with similar experiences, especially in college towns?

    Beer pong party two doors down yesterday, about a dozen, 10:1 bros:female. Fbombs and falling down and I didn’t begrudge them a bit, gave me a smile.

    Seemed like a core group, they worked on that beer pong table for weeks, enormous university logo. “We should not make fun of {a young person} who despairs at the state of the world when good, solid middle class people with solid middle class grades can no longer achieve the middle class lifestyle they were promised.” [tinzorg, modified]

    I’m discussing with the city having social distancing between groups for Shakespeare in the Park. Within groups:

    “Social network-based distancing strategies to flatten the COVID-19 curve in a post-lockdown world Nature. Recommended strategy: “[I]ndividuals must decide with whom they regularly want to interact and, over time, restrict interaction to those people. This reduces the number of contact partners rather than the number of interactions. This strategy of limiting contact to very few others with repeated interactions is in the spirit of a social contract with others to create social bubbles allowing only interactions within the same group delineated by common agreement.” Very interesting.”

    1. Stephen V.

      Kids don’t worry me in our 80k town. The City, only now!, memos local biz to all wear masks. What worries me is the meat worker problem. You know the one: where immigrants work and live in slavery type conditions–falling Ill now means loss of job. That’s before we get to unimaginable animal cruelty, cafo water pollution, pathogen incubation and farmer indentured servitude…that problem. We loves our 99c per lb. Chicken.

      1. nycTerrierist

        thank you — the grotesque meat industry a leading producer of grief on this planet

        i wish more people were bothered by this

        enough to stop eating meat

          1. nycTerrierist

            fair point

            fwiw, imo killing a sentient being should be a last resort

            only when there is no other option for survival

            not sure I could do it, even then

            I cite the great Dick Gregory:

            “In his memoir, Callus on My Soul, Gregory wrote:

            “I had been a participant in all of the “major” and most of the “minor” civil rights demonstrations of the early sixties. Under the leadership of Dr. King, I became convinced that nonviolence meant opposition to killing in any form. I felt the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” applied to human beings not only in their dealings with each other—war, lynching, assassination, murder, and the like—but in their practice of killing animals for food and sport. Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel, and brutal taking of life.”

            1. Stephen V.

              Appreciate this very much. Now if I could only find the Hannah Arendt quote about the way we treat animals and the way we treat each other. Or am I making this up?

              1. Late Introvert

                Not sure of her quote but mine is:

                If you can a treat a dog like a dog then you can treat a person like a dog.

                31+ years a vegetarian. Just eat less meat if you can, and not the cheap nasty stuff.

                1. MLTPB

                  Animals and humans alike.

                  Haiku poet, Issa:

                  Don’t worry spider
                  I keep house

                  (Something like that, in original Japanese, it was Haiku…I think).

                  Monk Ryokan slept with his feet outside his net.


                  Mosquitos would die too without food.

      2. ambrit

        Here, at the retail level, whole chickens are running at $.99 USD the pound, but ‘cuts’ are much higher. (This in an area with a high population of battery hen ‘warehouses,’ and three or four industrial scale chicken “processing plants.”)
        The local ‘shopper paper’ has ads for workers in those chicken processing plants every single week. All of the local “Employment Agencies” have ads for “Meat Processing Workers” in the papers. This has been true for years. Those jobs are so ‘bad,’ there is a continuous turnover in that workforce.

        1. Wukchumni

          We must be up to 50 wild turkeys hereabouts, and if Thanksgiving gets pre-poned before November, might be in need of a meat processing worker, and how does a scrawny feral turkey taste anyhow?

          I’m amazed they find enough fodder to thrive in such numbers as it is.

          1. ambrit

            Set up a ‘feeding spot’ for the gobblers, (on the quiet now, it’s illegal just about everywhere,) and fatten them up for the Holiday Season. Otherwise, treat them as a ‘game’ meat. (What did you think ‘Sauce Piquant’ was formulated for anyway, the flavour? [You would be sort of right if you said yes.])

          2. oliverks

            Not great. Wild turkeys are full of sinuous and very tough, without a whole lot more flavor than the already bland domestic turkeys. I would suggest braising them if you want something to eat.

            1. Michael McK

              Our host shot one in her front yard last T-day. It was young, that is the trick unless you stew it a long time. It was small by industrial standards and perhaps a bit tougher than a Butter Ball but flavorful and deeeeelicious.

            2. Yves Smith

              I grew up eating wild turkeys. Young ones can be good and they actually can be roasted the traditional way and come out OK. Old ones very stringy, as you say. I developed a taste for poultry innards as a result. Gizzards are good eating!

          3. IdahoSpud

            Tough and gamey. Taco seasoning and blending with other, less feral, meats is a must.

          4. lordkoos

            You have to fatten them up on corn first.

            We have a lot of wild turkeys in the NW part of this county. A friend who lives up there used to beat on a pan and then throw out some corn for them. He eventually trained the turkeys to come when they heard the pan, which eventually lead to a few of them being killed for dinner.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Not quite a college town thing, but my niece, a junior doctor, was telling me that everyone in her hospital has had antibody tests and she tested positive – the doctors and nurses are planning as a result an ‘antibody’ party, where everyone positive can attend. I know she was only part joking (I think), but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is one future option for desperate extroverts.

      1. ambrit

        Would that be similar to the old custom of holding “chicken pox” parties for toddlers?
        See, and avoid like the Plague:
        And, what about different strains of the virus? Are the antibody tests granular enough to show what ‘version’ of the coronavirus one had? Since there is evidence that people can re-catch the virus, such a possibility would be very troubling.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Kind of like the “herpes dating” social networking function? And there’s something similar for HIV-positives. Not sure if it’s penetrated to chlamydia, syphilis and gonnorhea yet… I bet there’s a app for all that.

      3. Pedro L

        Not very smart to make any kind of individual decision based on antibodies as the rate of false positives is not to be ignored.
        They are useful as a population wide monitoring tool. Not so much for individual decision making. People can gain a dangerous sense of false security.

    3. The Historian

      In Boise, the bars were allowed to open on May 30th.

      Doing a running calculation from Idaho’s Covid-19 website:
      for Ada County:

      On June 5, there was one new case of Covid-19.
      On June 6, there was 5 new cases of Covid-19.
      On June 8th, there were 6 new cases of Covid-19
      On June 9th, there were 4 new cases of Covid-19
      On June 10th, there were 6 new cases of Covid-19.
      On June 11th, there were 12 new cases of Covid-19.
      On June 12th, there were 11 new cases of Covid-19.
      On June 13th, there were 15 new cases of Covid-19.
      On June 15th,there were 23 new cases of Covid-19.
      On June 16th, there were 32 new cases of Covid-19.

      6 bars within a two block area have caused an increase in Covid-19.

      1. ambrit

        Now there it is, in black and white. Cause and effect has not yet been successfully repealed in the ‘real’ world.

    4. ex-PFC Chuck

      The dead-tree edition of the June IEEE Spectrum Magazine has a short article about how, using appropriate algorithms, group testing can be used to extend the range, so to speak, of a limited number of test kits. Perhaps you could use group testing to make your proposal even more safe. Unfortunately I’ve so far been unable to find a way to make the link to the online version available to the general public. The person interviewed in the article is Dror Baron, a prof of electrical & computer engineering at North Carolina State. Maybe you can interest him in using your theater-going groups for a test of his ideas.

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      Supposedly part of those very expensive college “educations” is teaching students to think “critically.”

      Is it remotely reasonable to expect anyone exposed, even marginally, to the concept of “critical thinking” to accept the idea that social distancing is a health imperative unless one is participating in politically approved “mass gatherings,” where the idea is completely abandoned for political expediency and advantage?

      No. It is not remotely reasonable. Give those kids an “A” for thinking “critically” and bring on the beer pong.

    6. lyman alpha blob

      I thought the tweet was a little on the hysterical side – it’s not that younger people don’t think they’ll catch COVID – it’s that they aren’t afraid of dying from it. Everything we’ve seen over the last several months indicates younger people, absent pre-existing conditions, don’t get seriously ill or die all that often if they do catch it, and those that do are the exceptions that prove the rule.

      I’m not really worried about the college kids getting together either – presumably they’ll put a mask on if and when they visit grandma.

      1. Aumua

        So it’s really just plain old selfishness and self-centeredness of modern youth. Their behavior increases the spread of the illness, but they aren’t going to die from it so who cares? Beer pong, now that’s a priority.

        1. BenLA

          As opposed to the world being left behind by the elders. How blind do you have to be to call the youth selfish.
          No wonder we are living in a country going off a cliff

          1. Aumua

            Well everyone is selfish and self-centered in modern times, of course!

            I was simply pointing out a specific case of that universal human trait as it applies to… certain young people and their attitude about COVID.

      2. Cuibono


        Maybe there own grandma, maybe. But likely not with someone elses grandma.
        not from what i am seeing

    7. Glen

      I just heard on the news that one of those “third world $hithole” countries in Africa tested everybody in the country by going door to door and doing the testing!

      Thank heavens I don’t live there! Having to live with competent public health and probably a better health care system would – let me think on it, I’m sure I can come up with something…

  3. fresno dan

    How an Internet ‘Persona’ Helped Birth Russiagate Ray McGovern, Consortium News
    Here’s how it went down:
    1 — June 12: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced he had “emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication.”
    2 — June 14: DNC contractor CrowdStrike tells the media that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.
    3 — June 15: Guccifer 2.0 arises from nowhere; affirms the DNC/CrowdStrike allegations of the day before; claims responsibility for hacking the DNC; claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that forensic examination shows was deliberately tainted with “Russian fingerprints.” This to “corroborate” claims made by CrowdStrike executives the day before.
    We added this about Guccifer 2.0 at the time:
    “The recent forensic studies fill in a critical gap. Why the FBI neglected to perform any independent forensics on the original ‘Guccifer 2.0’ material remains a mystery – as does the lack of any sign that the ‘hand-picked analysts’ from the FBI, CIA, and NSA, who wrote the misnomered ‘Intelligence Community’ Assessment dated January 6, 2017, gave any attention to forensics.”
    Here’s how bad the problem for the Democrats was. The DNC emails eventually published by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016, just three days before the Democratic convention, had been stolen on May 23 and 25. This would have given the DNC time to learn that the stolen material included documents showing how the DNC and Clinton campaign had manipulated the primaries and created a host of other indignities, such that Sanders’ chances of winning the nomination amounted to those of a snowball’s chance in the netherworld.

    To say this was an embarrassment would be the understatement of 2016. Worse still, given the documentary nature of the emails and WikiLeaks’ enviable track record for accuracy, there would be no way to challenge their authenticity. Nevertheless, with the media in full support of the DNC and Clinton, however, it turned out to be a piece of cake to divert attention from the content of the emails to the “act of war” (per John McCain) that the Russian “cyber attack” was said to represent.
    Now, I’m not going to say ANY pink bunny slipper rabbit antenna eared wearing Putin agent ensconced in his mom’s basement, could have been Guccifer 2.0, but you don’t get the medal, Distinction for Special Operations unless you can justify restarting the cold war…
    Now, some in the tin foil hat wearing bunch will claim Guccifer 2.0 works for MICC…and imply certain bunny slipper’ed individuals are actually double agents…but c’mon man, that’s paranoia…

    1. ambrit

      Don’t be so modest Comrade FD! At the least, the Higher Order will award you the Eleventy Dimensional Medal for Distinguished Service. (The EDMDS is eleventy dimensional, and thus, invisible to all who have not been initiated into the ‘mysteries’ of the Higher Orders.) You’ll be in curious company. A recent American politico was rumoured to be conversant with the mysteries of the eleven dimensions. Go figure.
      As for the assertion that it was Putin Agents, (the modern Pinkertons?,) who ‘exfiltrated’ the e-mails, well, that’s just rich.

      1. fresno dan

        June 17, 2020 at 11:57 am
        “that’s just rich”
        well, I see what you did there, but rich had lotsa help…

        1. ambrit

          Sort of like the scene in Star Wars where the ‘Intelligence Officer,’ in reference to the plans for the Death Star intones: “Many Americans died to get these plans to us.”

    2. Susan the other

      Agree the Consortium News’ McGovern and Lawrence retrospective is a timely reminder of the treachery of the Dems. But I really do think they know they fell flat on their face because the hysteria they expected against Russia just didn’t happen. And that absence was heavily downplayed and the hysteria constantly provoked by the MSM. But it really never succeeded. So there is clear evidence that even the average American ignored it. Which is great news.

      1. ambrit

        True so far as that goes, but how then do we reconcile ourselves to the fact that both “approved” candidates for President this year are complete neo-liberal droids? Just ignoring the propaganda isn’t enough when faced with ruthless and fanatic power seekers.

  4. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Coronavirus: Dexamethasone proves first life-saving drug

    Since the news is all bad lately the only news that sticks out is good news, so the News Corps are sensationalizing “Good News” or trying to make things look better than they are in an attempt to get eyeballs.

    And of course steroids would make someone better when there is a half inch tube stuck down their throat. If does not cure the virus, it cures the doctors cure for the virus. Doctors have mutated the Hippocratic oath to “First do no harm” into “we can never do harm”.

    I am so done looking at the science of it all becasue there really isn’t any.

    1. jackiebass

      If you read about the drug it might scare you. The side effects are many and very bad. As a last resort under strict supervision it should be used. it isn’t a magic bullet that people depend on because they act in a careless manner.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Sadly, my cynical side on reading that first thought was that a lot of athletes are going to be using the old ‘I was taking steroids to help prevent Covid’ excuse when they test positive…..

      1. Paul O

        They did not tell me that after my cataract surgery. However, I still have a bottle of drops somewhere so now I am safe :-)

    3. The Rev Kev

      A nice side benefit of this push for Dexamethasone is that it pushes alternate treatments like hydroxychloroquine/zinc and also MATH+ protocol out of the headlines too.

    4. Kevin C. Smith

      Corticosteroids were tried early on in the pandemic, and generally were found to be associated with prolonged time in ICU and increased mortality.

      I expect that the benefit of dexamethasone will be found to be related to a non-corticosteroid property of the drug, perhaps yet to be elucidated. In any event, the rather low dose [~6 mg/d] is unlikely to have a lot of corticosteroid effect — and that’s a GOOD thing, given our past experience with corticosteriods in the management of Covid-19 patients in ICU.

      It will be fascinating the read the research and scientific speculation which flows from this discovery.

    5. DorothyT

      Dr. Paul Marik was widely covered in 2017 when he wrote up his ‘Hail Mary’ treatment of his patients who were dying in hospital of sepsis. Hydrocortisone, Vitamin C, and Thiamine. I’m not going to attempt to make his case but to furnish these links that appear hopeful for sepsis (of which it is said most critical C-19 patients die of). This doesn’t make the case for yesterday’s news but hopefully Marik’s research is an avenue that scientists like those at Oxford are looking into regarding Covid-19.

      “Hydrocortisone,Vitamin C, and Thiamine for the Treatment of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock…” Note, if you do a little armchair research into Dr. Marik’s protocol and early patient results, you would wonder why our public health system hasn’t undertake serious studies when this came to light in 2017. Oh, that’s right: we don’t have a public health system and pharma isn’t interested in research that doesn’t stand to make billions in profits.

      Here’s another article, this time as of April 2020, in which Marik’s protocol is cited: “High Dose IV Vitamin C on ARDS and Covid-19: A probable low cost ally with a wide margin of safety.”

      As of now, living in NYC and having had a somewhat recent collapsed lung thanks to an antibiotic resistant bacterial infection, I keep a copy of Marik’s protocol handy if I should succumb to Covid-19 and/or sepsis. And keep an eye out for the potentially fatal effects of antibiotics with present Covid-19 patients. The ‘protocol’ worldwide seems to be to give them all antibiotics without testing for secondary bacterial infections — thus affecting their immune systems.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        Want better protection than Vitamin C and an explanation of why people with diabetes and hypertension have more symptoms from COVD19?

        Omega 3 Fatty Acids. They have been shown over and over to lower oxidative stress and inflammation.

        Seed oils are killing us.

        1. Off The Street

          What is safe, these days? I like olive oil, coconut oil (but a tropical oil, so?) and butter for taste but don’t know about the safety of other options.

    6. Vastydeep

      If we leave the “science of it” behind, perhaps we can make headway with the literature of it. Many readers will already have heard of dexamethasone from its description in Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air.” If I may grossly oversimplify — perhaps some COVID-19 patients may be dying of low-altitude HAPE, so a treatment from that other realm is not nonsensical.

      So, what else is used to treat HAPE, and might it help with COVID as well? The goal here is to try to identify all the ways that coronavirus can kill you, and by whatever means increase patient survival odds for each one of them.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        Genetics may play a large role in HAPE. The JAK2 gene has been implicated in some studies and it is an enzyme dependent on Magnesium. JAK2 also plays a role in angiotensin 2 signalling.

        But Nifedipine, a calcium channel blocker, is used to treat HAPE. And magnesium is a well studied natural calcium channel blocker.

    7. Cuibono

      “The headline is hype. Dexamethasone, a steroid, only helped a third of those on ventilators”
      last i checked 1/3 is quite excellent by almost all medical standards. Look at the NNT: compaes very favorably to many common treatments for other illnesses

  5. fresno dan

    Austrian police defend decision to fine man after ‘provocative’ fart Guardian (Re Silc).

    A man in Vienna has been fined €500 (£447) for breaking wind loudly in front of police in a move the Austrian capital’s police force was at pains to defend.
    City police wrote on Twitter that “of course no one is reported for accidentally letting one go”.
    He got up from a park bench, looked at officers and “let go a massive intestinal wind apparently with full intent”, they said.
    Its well known the police cover for their peers….how exactly do the police determine the source of these ill winds?
    actually, this is a “moderation” test – what words get a moderation time out

    1. Samuel Conner

      In view of the possibility that breaking wind might be able to aerosolize virus particles, the man fined for violating public decency might consider himself lucky that he did not get hit with a more serious charge. In future, perhaps he will consider wearing an N95 butt plug.

      In US, this might be a “freedom of speech” issue, with sounds emitted from the distal end of the alimentary canal falling into umbras — perhaps in this case, wind shadows — of the rights conferred by the 1st Amendment.

      Perhaps this is a way in which Joe Biden can be considered to be a true leader.

      1. fresno dan

        Samuel Conner
        June 17, 2020 at 9:24 am
        I am more of a chuckler, or merely bemused, but(t) the N95 got me laughing so hard there were tears
        just reading it again gets me laughing
        AND from the ACLU, with minor editing
        “The First Amendment really was designed to protect a debate at the fringes. You don’t need the courts to protect sounds that everybody agrees with, because that sound will be tolerated. You need a First Amendment to protect sounds that people regard as intolerable or outrageous or offensive — because that is when the majority will wield its power to censor or suppress, and we have a First Amendment to prevent the government from doing that.

    2. ewmayer

      For the German-speakers amongst the NC commentariat:

      I wonder if der Furchtbare Furzer hailed (ha, ha, Hitler joke) from Darmstadt, Deutschland? Oder womöglich von Pforzheim…

      I mean, there’s a reason they call it Das Farterland, right?

      BTW, we can even invoke classic Teutonic literature here: Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche has Till, among other merry pranks, letting loose a thunderous fart in a church, IIRC the literary phrasing was s.t. along the lines of “das die Balken dröhnten.” (“such that the rafters shook.”)

  6. jackiebass

    The article of the TX town as an example of Americas future unfortunately is pretty accurate. It quote a lady who had the virus and favored opening things back up. She is using her emotions instead of common sense and facts.Personally I will be cautious when my part of NYS opens up. I look at facts not my emotions. We are going to have a lot of sick and dead people because they let their emotions control them. It will happen faster than people realize. This virus is very contagious and people need to understand that being careless could cost them their life. We should be more like China in acting. Look how quickly China reacted to the outbreak in Beijing. I can’t imagine such quick action if the same thing happened in the US. Unfortunately we have made the virus a political issue instead of what it should be. It’s a health and life issue. We seem to favor money over peoples health and safety. It will result is a very weakened country and we may never recover.

  7. kees_popinga

    Re: Zero Hedge. First they came for Alex Jones… But seriously, Google became evil when it changed from a search company to an ad platform (a long time ago), Facebook was always evil, but it’s taken this long for purveyors of “difficult” ideas (right or left) to realize that being hosted or supported by these platforms was sleeping with the enemy. Jimmy Dore, you are next! Clearly a different means of “monetization” and dissemination of ideas is going to have to emerge for troublemakers. It may mean having to accept a smaller “reach.” I guess I’m a little surprised that people can be surprised when deplatforming like this happens.

    1. Wukchumni

      They came for the profits, but I didn’t make any money from my ideas pitched online, so I didn’t care.

    2. Carolinian

      ZH says they are appealing the suspension and without linking and getting bounced here is a quote from their site.

      It is also notable, the two articles that are referenced in the NBC article – which in turn is based on a complaint by some self-appointed arbiter of free speech, the UK-based liberal Center for Countering Digital Hate – were not ours, but were contributor op-eds by third parties (here and here) one of which is from 2016. Do we now live in a time when ad platforms will suspend, say, the New York Times for publishing highly controversial Op-Eds?

      The “here and here” are links to articles suggesting BLM is a deep state operation. Since Google does have an appeals process it’s quite likely ZH will be reinstated as they have now been with Twitter.

      And if the “platforms” are really going to get into the fact checking business then they are going to have to decide what they are going to do about the NYT and WaPo. Just sayin’…

      1. ambrit

        The Media are just as ‘unequal’ as is everything else in our society today. Indeed, I will go so far as to say that inequality in wealth ‘drives’ these other inequalities.
        The best media money can buy.
        The best justice money can buy.
        The best medical care money can buy.
        The best government money can buy.
        And on and on…..

        1. Olga

          It may be more complicated than just $$. I read somewhere – and makes sense to me – that in running a large business – particularly with an extensive reach and particularly tech – it becomes difficult to avoid the blob or MIIC. Ever wonder who paid for google earh and/or for what purpose it was constructed?

          1. ambrit

            That’s a wonder pseudo typo! “Google Earth.”
            “Welcome to the Realms of Google!”

              1. ambrit

                It actually is an image to conjure with.
                A generic Terran Human with a big globe by the ear. Depending on the message desired, the world could be anthropomorphized to be smiling or frowning.
                it alsp brings up the image of the Lobot from “The Empire Strikes Back.” (He’s the one with the headset who runs Cloud City. Lando’s right hand man.)

    3. Billy

      If Google, and internet providers, use taxpayer funded “roads” i.e. high speed communication acilities, across state lines, and they are so essential to schools and universities and homes and “underserved minority communities that laws force them to extend service, then by god, they are a PUBLIC UTILITY and should be regulated and not allowed to discriminate against anyone.

      Can AT&T or Verizon deny service to an organization that they don’t like?

      1. LifelongLib

        I agree with you, but some people think Google etc should be “publishers” and thus responsible for content. They’re ok with BLM but don’t want to see (say) Stormfront.

    4. marksparky

      I grew up one county south of Amarillo TX. Southern Baptists are the prevailing cultural force. anything bad that they can’t control is labeled ‘God’s will’ and anything good, such as financial success, they generally take credit for themselves. There is no open hostility between ethnic groups, but there are clear geographic divides of which neighborhoods each group lives and shops in (as described in the article). The strong libertarian streak in the populace contributes to the lack of mask-wearing and the resistance to any lockdown edicts. The meatpacking plants are the only positive-trend economic activity for some of the smaller panhandle towns. When the plant closed in my hometown a decade ago, it threw the town into a severe recession for years.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Rolls Royce.

    Thats really concerning – I’d love to know if anyone has gossip about whether there are deep issues in the company as is implied. There is very little competition worldwide for aero engines, just a handful of manufacturers.

    As an engineering company, RR seemed to have been doing the right thing over the years – selling off non-core areas of expertise to unwind from the acquisition happy years before. They’ve long ago sold off their marine, energy and nuclear engineering arms. But if you put all your eggs in one basket, then… well, we know what could happen. They are an enormous employer in the English midlands, its hard to see the government let them fall, but if nobody wants to buy their engines, they may have little option.

    1. Oh

      Technology for the manufacture of turbines is quite sophisticated. It might be valuable to companies that need it. Calling Tata in India!

    2. Nameless

      I’ve been an engineer in aerospace for coming up on 25 years, and in defense for 15 years prior to that. We have been overrun with PMCs that first and foremost manage everything to maximize their pay.

      A while back we had a very large project to use robots to manufacture major parts of our product. The engineers that supported the equipment on the factory floor, after a year of working with the people on the prototype reported it was not ready for production. Result, it was installed in the factory, and engineers that stood up and gave honest reports on it’s performance were removed. For years it caused carnage in our production process until it was finally removed. Engineers that were honest about it’s performance were pushed out.

      For years, I could not figure out why our upper management persisted in this project until I saw the truly monstrous bonuses they got while the system was “being used”. They are not dumb people, but they had huge financial rewards to ignore reality as long as possible and then “get out of Dodge” before the flying brown stuff hit the fan. But that is the upside to this management style, after a while the honest engineers leave or are pushed out and your engineering community gets as messed up and perverted as the managers.

      Not amazingly, an almost identical system is being used by our major competitor because they listened to their engineers and re-designed the system to remove the flaws.

    3. rtah100

      Friend’s brother is at risk at RR. Head of 100-man projects. Top notch Mech Eng. They have survived all previos restructurings but this one is a magnitude larger and they suspect the new organisation may just not have enough projects to manage. They are worried about being unemployable at 45 given how few alternatives to RR exist, even if they were prepared to move globally, uproot children, leave ageing parents and their siblings and cousins etc.

      One correction PK, RR is the proud owner of a marine and land division, the former MTB in Germany. Not sure if nuclear got sold either, I think they are still pushing for small modular approaches and I think they still service MoD sub fleet.

      1. ambrit

        Will we ever see or hear the likes of the RR ‘Merlin’ engine purring overhead again?
        Seriously, who handles the engineering side of the “Green” projects today? I mean, wind turbines, water turbines, be they tidal or gravity fed, or even solar boiler power plants. Set some of the latter up in the desert regions and take the Mickey of global warming.

    4. bstamerjon

      Among RR’s past acquisitions was Bergen diesel. They power some of the sealift commands ships. RR changed the connecting rod design and the lifespan went from 40,000 hrs to 10,000 hrs. Job security, baby.

  9. UserFriendly

    “Neoliberalism vs Populism on COVID Stimulus” – Exponents. Also Latin America

    In case anyone was wondering…

    Exponents is a community publication that seeks to promote neoliberal ideas. The pieces published by Exponents do not necessarily reflect the views of its editors or the Neoliberal Project.

    1. Grebo

      Interesting; someone has decided to own up to being Neoliberal.

      Exponents is the house organ of the Neoliberal Project which is affiliated with the Progressive Policy Institute, a DLC think tank.

      It claims to be pragmatic and center-left.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Coronavirus: Beijing municipal government orders partial lockdown for city and elevates emergency response amid latest outbreak South China Morning Post

    Michael Pettis on twitter gives regular and very informative on the ground reports on China’s recovery from the virus – in particular he’s been tracking things like subway trips as proxies for the recovery, as well as the old fashioned way of just wandering around shops to see if people are buying. He’s been reporting that certainly in Beijing, the return to spending and ‘normality’ was returning remarkably rapidly, but that this second wave is a very serious blow.

    People seemed to have relaxed and thought the worst was over, but this has shaken their confidence. It makes it far more likely that consumers will not spend for the rest of the year. This is very bad news for the government, as for many reasons they are structurally quite constrained in how far they can go in replacing consumer spending – you can only pour so much concrete in time.

    1. L

      Yes, as WolfStreet has reported their economic restart has included things like producing massibe amounts of Steel, more than their usual. Fine as a way of stimulating those factories, but useless unless other people are importing and building.

    1. Off The Street

      Bolton previously admitted to pushing book release for the sales. Why not continue to believe that he is amping up his book-talking given that the window for peak sales will close this November? There may well be many juicy details for readers, however Bolton brings priors that raise suspicions.

  11. PlutoniumKun

    replacing police with social workers Reading the Tarot

    Just as an aside on this – more than a decade ago in Ireland a new investigative organisation was set up for sexual and other offences against children – the idea was that neither the police nor social workers were doing a particularly good job in dealing with allegations of sexual crimes, and that an ‘in between’ agency was best – one focussed on helping victims, but with the powers to investigate allegations and make a recommendation for criminal action. It was set up entirely as new with the idea being that it would introduce fresh ideas and a new approach with none of the baggage of past institutional failures to deal fairly with child abuse.

    Short version – it has some defenders, and some apparent successes, but its become embroiled in a number of high profile scandals, some involving an apparently too close relationship with police officers who were not afraid to use allegations against individuals as a ‘weapon’ to get what they want. So there are no easy solutions.

    1. David

      And of course the great child abuse scandals of the 1980s and 90s, sometimes with a helping of satanic ritual abuse allegations, were entirely the product of over-zealous social workers and paediatricians, who had powers to put children “in care” without any due process. In the 1980s the comedian Alexei Sayle had a routine which included threatening audiences that didn’t laugh with social workers coming to take their children away.

      1. RMO

        I’ve only been able to watch Alexi Sayle on the television shows he did seemingly ages ago now. I love them and wish I could see him in person sometime.

  12. fresno dan

    Police violence and class rule WSWW

    The promise of police reform has repeatedly been offered up by the ruling class as a supposed solution to excessive violence. The aftermath of the urban rebellions of the 1960s saw the claim by the Democrats that more black police officers on the beat, more black police chiefs overseeing forces and more black mayors would solve the problem.

    Half a century later, African Americans account for more than 13 percent of police officers, an over representation compared to the population as a whole. Black police chiefs head departments across the country, and cities large and small have elected black mayors. In the last decade, the introduction of police vehicle dash cams and body cameras have been offered up as yet another panacea.

    And yet the killing and abuse continue, and indeed have escalated.

    What is absent from all of the media commentary on police violence, let alone the statements from bourgeois politicians, is any examination of what the police are and their relationship to capitalist society.

    The uniform explanation of police violence as a manifestation of racism fails to explain anything. Of course, there is racism in the police. Fascistic sentiments are ubiquitous among the layers recruited into the police forces. However, the victims of police violence are the poor and oppressed of all races. Even as the protests are unfolding, the killing goes on—including of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, Georgia, who was black, and Hannah Fizer in Sedalia, Missouri, who was white.

    The police function not as an instrument of racial oppression, but as an instrument of class rule.
    I don’t think it has to be one or the other – class rule OR racism – I think it can be both. But the fact that class is NEVER ever brought up in the MSM proves to me that there is an agenda, and that agenda is never to question who has the money and why…

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I thought it was pretty neat that that WSWS art and the one from TAC were in so much agreement.
      as in “Capital’s need to exploit workers comes first…racism is just one of the excuses for that exploitation”
      the few years i spent on socmed(abandoned it sometime around the 2016 election), i often preached the provenance of racism…invented by the Planter Class to keep the Po White Folks from banding together with the newly freed Black Folks, against the Planter Aristocracy.
      even back then, this was met with incredulity and what i now know to call deplatforming…from “progressives”.
      and speaking of deplatforming…and the stated search for all things Adolph Reed…this site has a lot of him on offer:

      for whatever reason, i cannot access the Black Agenda Report any more(or the Nation, or the Atlantic, and a few others), so I’m pleased to have found him somewhere else.

      1. fresno dan

        Amfortas the hippie
        June 17, 2020 at 10:03 am

        I thought it was pretty neat that that WSWS art and the one from TAC were in so much agreement.
        As did I! I’m sure you saw the link – well, I’m so old I can’t remember if it was a few days or a few weeks where Taibbi makes the point in “Hate.Inc” about how much “news” is just click bait designed to get the emotional responses from viewers to keep them coming back for more.

      2. Olga

        “I often preached the provenance of racism…invented by the Planter Class to keep the Po White Folks from banding together with the newly freed Black Folks, against the Planter Aristocracy.”
        Yes, I think it is important to remember where this entire concept of race of racism came from. It was a divide-and-conquer tactic used for social control. At MoA someone commented that in the beginning, whites were also kinda like slaves (poor English folk, who wanted to come to the colonies, but had no money for the voyage; instead they entered into what were servitude contracts). At some point, the whites rebelled, and to calm them down, were elevated into higher status. No such luck for the black folks. Racist views were promoted and enforced to maintain class division – back then and still.

    2. David

      The two are indissolubly linked, because criminal activity is linked to poverty and immigrant or ethnic minority groups are more likely to be poor.
      In many (most?) societies around the world (and I don’t know enough about the US to comment) organised crime is disproportionately in the hands of ethnic minorities, often immigrants. From the Chinese in Thailand and the Nigerians in many parts of Africa, to the Albanians and Chechens in many parts of Europe, such groups leverage language, culture and social bonds to take away organised crime from indigenous criminals. The leaders of organised crime in turn use the poorer members of their own communities as foot-soldiers, because they can trust and discipline them, and because young people from such communities often have few other prospects. So statistically, police in any country are far more likely to encounter, say, street dealers from minority or immigrant communities than from majority ones. In every city in the world, there have always been areas where you are told “don’t go there.” In parts of East London, near where I was born, the police patrolled in groups, if at all, although the criminals were all white then. At the other end of the world, when I was last in Johannesburg I was shown apartment buildings in Hillbrow completely controlled by Nigerian drug traffickers. Any police sweep through such areas nets suspects who are disproportionately poor, and these days often from ethnic minorities or immigrants. Neoliberalism driving people from one country to another in search of work has made the situation a lot worse.
      But the solution is not to do away with the police. Real example : in 2005, after widespread riots in poor, high-crime areas in France, Sarkozy, then Interior Minister, decided to largely withdraw the police from the so-called “sensitive areas.” This did not, unfortunately, mean that the areas turned into amiable anarchist enclaves run by thoughtful social workers. It meant handing over whole areas of cities to organised crime, which enforced its own law and order, often with great brutality, and sometimes in cooperation with local Islamic extremist groups. Life for ordinary citizens has become a nightmare: social services have broken down, doctors are afraid to work there and businesses close. Since then, various ethnic groups have fought for control: just in the last few days there have been violent battles in Dijon (not the most deprived area of France) between Chechens from all over the country and local Maghrebian immigrants, after a young Chechen was assaulted. The police were outnumbered and didn’t have the equipment to tackle the Chechens.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        Sorry, but those areas of France you describe have nothing to do with Seattle. Lot’s of real anarchists up there who, I think, can handle what needs to be handled at least for awhile.

    3. chuck roast

      Lotsa good links today. Really, who needs the corporate propaganda outlets!? The Nonsite link looks promising. And to the thing at hand…

      I was reminded that the estimable Sam Bowles was writing about the prison/industrial complex years ago. Surfing around I found one of his papers behind a paywall. Anyway, here is a link to a 2014 op-ed in the NYT (somebody musta got fired for this) where Bowles and Arjun Jayadev estimate that fully 1/4 of the population is employed in “guard labor” that would be “…private security guards, that means police officers, members of the armed forces, prison and court officials, civilian employees of the military, and those producing weapons…” and the like. The quarter of the population figure is behind the paywall.

      I am also reminded of the old Jay Gould saw: “I can hire half of the working class to kill the other half.”

      1. newcatty

        Quite revealing. Goes with my observation of the military to police force pipeline. It is even more awful then I thought. When you see that it is 1/4 of the population is in the “guard labor” employment. It’s a racket, alright, and the forces that “guard and protect ” the “citizens have a common thread. The underlings usually have been indoctrinated in the military to obey and be willing to kill the Other. Add to that the fact that cognitive dissonance is inevitable. Now, it’s called PTSD. There is a part of those who are human beings that have to ignore or bury their knowing: killing other humans is abhorrent and goes against human nature. They are then channeled to serve their masters. The “civilian ” workers…It’s a job. The weapons makers…It’s a job. It is rationalized by saying it’s either God’s work and or, back again, to “serve, protect and love America”. The threads have to be followed, before the octopus tentacles can be broken. It’s not really racism, as the PTB, want us to think that divides us. It is class. It is fear. It is sadness. It is destroying a sense of self-worth in the struggling underclass. This is reinforced by the false propaganda and msm. I may be a poor white, brown, black, native American kid. I put my uniform on, in any of the “services” and I am entitled to any “perks” and total respect due me. I guess it’s also: If I don’t do it, somebody else will. Rice bowls will be filled. It’s consequential how.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Xi Jinping’s favourite ‘two mountains’ theory is not all his own work Hong Kong Free Press. More interesting than the gotcha headline.

    Its a very Chinese (although not uniquely Chinese) way of running a country – slogans that are sufficiently clear to give direction to chains of command down to local commune level, but sufficiently vague not to constrain local officials from experimenting and trying new things. In other words, it allows Beijings leaders to keep a firm grip on the tiller while not stifling local innovation. Some developmental economists see it as the secret sauce of China’s success, and how it overcame the problem of not having the institutional strength that allowed Japan and South Korea to pursue aggressive centralised economic development policies in the late 20th Century.

    The problem of course is that a slogan like that allows any local official to say that they are building mountains of silver and gold first, the green bit is just going to follow in a year or two. This is pretty much the way its been in most of China – if you think ‘greenwashing’ is a uniquely western capitalist innovation, you’ve seen nothing like the way its been done in China and other parts of Asia.

    The writer Alex Kerr, in his book on Japan ‘Dogs and Demons’ has written about how Japanese officials could publish poems and erect signboards celebrating the beauty of the coasts and rivers while simultaneously tearing them apart and quite literally covering them in concrete. The unnecessary thrashing of nature in Japan and Korea is quite staggering in scale – even tiny remote mountain streams are often funnelled through concrete chutes for no obvious benefit except to have provided a useful source of local graft. The coast of Japan has been completely re-engineered, even in areas where it is very obviously entirely unnecessary. Kerr attributes this to the weakness of a type of Confucious thought – whereby the expression of an ideal is considered sufficient, actually following it up is seen as less important. I’m not qualified enough in such things to say whether he is correct or not, but its a bit ominous for China if such slogans from Xi are allowed to be lit up (in neon and toxic paints, no doubt) all over China, without any actual attempt to implement them.

    1. MLTPB

      Confucianism…expressing ideals sufficient…

      Not sure about that.

      Performing rituals is important…maybe he was thinking of that.

      Yet, to actually be filial, for example, and not just expressing that ideal verbally is to follow it up.

      In the Zhu Xi school of Neo Confucianism, the concept of Ge Wu involves investigating Things. That’s more than just expressing ideals.

      As for poetry in or about Nature, in many historically sacred mountains of China, Mt Tai, for example, one can see poems, by poets and emperors, carved into numerous rocks all over. If they are considered beautiful, they were man-made, not natural.

        1. MLTPB

          Carving poems all over is not a particular neo Confucian thing.

          Sorry if I was not clear about it.

          The neo Confucians, starting from the Song dynasty through the Ming period, were responding to Buddhism and Daoism. Their ‘sitting quietly’ was answering Chan Buddhism’s, well, chan, or zen, i.e. meditation.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    South Korean Unification Minister offers to step down amid worsening spat with North Korea CNN

    As always with N. Korea, it seems to be anyones guess as to what is going on. But AAK is usually a very level headed and informed commentator, if he thinks they’ve just gone a bit nuts, then thats as likely an explanation as any. But I think he’s right to say that a combination of Moon and Trump in power is a perfect combination for the North Koreans to get some sort of a deal. Moon is determined to deal with the DRK in a level headed manner (he is under enormous pressure from hardliners not to do so), while Trump is desperate for a deal so he can get his Nobel prize. So on the surface, this kind of action makes no sense whatever (I’d recommend reading his twitter thread to see exactly why).

    Its reported in South Korea that this may be linked to a higher profile for Kim Yo-Jong. This may be their way of saying that she is a force to be reckoned with, and they can’t rely on her brothers apparent illness to prise open concessions. Or it could be that she’s every bit as much of a psycho as the rest of her family. If she does become the main leader in the country, I can’t wait to see the HRC Idpol warriors deal with the news of a strong young woman taking control of a previously male dominated government.

        1. newcatty

          Interesting. I was born under the sign of the bunny. I have always loved horses. I also admire wolves ( real ones. Not Wall street monsters). This might explain my being seen as too sensitive and over confident. What a paradox am I. Lol.

  15. Lark

    In re social workers and police:

    Most middle or upper class people either haven’t interacted with social workers or perhaps have been social workers and hence see no problem with the habits of condescension and command inherent in the profession. Replacing the police with an army of upper middle class professional women would definitely be an improvement – fewer people would die, proposed solutions to problems would have some chance of working, there would be no police union, etc – but it’s not an especially great solution.

    Without economic justice, “social work” will never be truly just because it will always involve richer, more powerful people bossing vulnerable ones and providing solutions that are imperfectly related to the problems at hand. You can hack this a bit if you’re dedicated and have a structure for recruiting and training working class people and you make sure that if your client population is, eg, Native people, you have as many Native staff as you can at all levels, but even there the problem is going to persist.

    I’ve encountered social workers and I know some socially. Even if you are left-wing and you struggle against the constraints of the profession, it’s very difficult to get the system to do what you want it to. The whole way funding and credentialling are set up work against you, and there’s a lot of systemic class bias and racism which means that in a best-case scenario you may be able to hire and train a bunch of working class people, especially people of color, but it will be impossible for them to rise high enough in the ranks to direct the course of the organization.

    This applies just as much to left-leaning nonprofits as anywhere else – those nonprofits answer to boards, funding organizations and the state or they don’t have any money.

    If we were allowed to have actual solutions, the best thing to do would be reduce economic inequality as fast as possible through multiple policies while also recruiting and training the best community service providers available, recognizing that there are limits to how good that kind of thing can be. The bigger the gap in experience and power between the social worker and the person needing services, the worse it’s almost always going to go.

    1. Off The Street

      Eventual neo-lib coopting, leading to revised hiring and promotion ladders.

      If you can process four more cases per day, you will be eligible for promotion to Karen-First Class.


      You have to process eight more cases per day to retain benefits and avoid demotion. And, your car needs work.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      I’ve had 2 experiences with “social workers” in my time:
      1. a poor single mother friend of mine, long ago…had a scrap with another poor single mother about the laundry soap in the apartment complex laundry room. the latter called Child Protective Services in retaliation(I can attest that no abuse was going on, there). they came in, with cops, stripped the little girl naked to inspect her, and put my friend through the ringer…an inquisition in all but name.
      damaged mother and daughter.
      and 2.
      we learned that we were eligible to put our youngest in Headstart, when we needed child care. As part of the process, the 2 top Headstart ladies were required to do a home visit.
      wife had grown up with them in the Barrio, and they apologised ahead of time for the one-size-fits all questions they had to ask, etc.
      it involved queries about having sex with our kids(!), and admonishments that this was bad…because the assumptions, apparently, of the people who built the headstart program include the assumption that po folks don’t already know this. This was the most egregious, but there were others: don’t give your kid whiskey/codeine to help them sleep/stop crying…don’t leave your crack pipe out on the table….don’t lock them in closets…and on and on.
      while I understand that these things happen in the world, to assume…based on lack of income, alone…that they’re likely happening was offputting as hell.
      This fits in with just about all of my other experience with Poor People Programs, from Medicaid and SSI to Food Stamps…assumption of fraud and Moral Terpetude, from the get-go…because Poor=Lazy and Immoral.
      If this is the sort of “Social Work” they’re talking about, then it’s not much of an improvement…and the cops are always waiting in the wings.

      1. ambrit

        We had a similar ‘encounter’ with a State level ‘social worker’ back when we were home schooling our children. (The local school board ‘called us in’ we found out, because several thousand dollars per child per year in Federal funds to the school board were involved.)
        Luckily, I was out working, (always a plus with them,) and the kids were actually doing school work when the woman arrived!
        I don’t know what sort of report the social worker submitted, but we never heard from them, or the school board again.

        1. furies

          I’ve also had encounters with them…they pick on folks who can’t afford a lawyer. Nothing came from the reported abuse of my son (single mother/very little outside support). The narc was a jealous classmate in nursing school.

          I have tons of stories about CPS, “Mental Health” departments and Family Court systems. These people are not your friends. Or, to put it another way; if you don’t have access to lawyers/money you are doomed to suffer all injustices.

          1. ambrit

            Hear you loud and clear!
            We need to start our own #hashtag movement: #Poor Lives Matter.
            (For the conflict averse, that could be: #LessThanWellOffCitizen/ConsumersAreOfSomeImportance.)
            And this ‘narc’ wanted to be a nurse? Why not go learn coding and become an insurance compliance officer? That’s more in tune with the apparent personality.
            Good for you. Stay strong and be careful.

            1. HotFlash

              Nurses have an excellent opportunity to be bullies. As an elderly neighbour of mine put it after a seven-year long interaction with the health care system (her husband’s final illness), “Some people become nurses because they genuinely want to help people, but most of them just seem to want to boss people around.”

              Not true in all cases, of course, but that type tends to rise to admin.

              1. ambrit

                Our experiences with administrative personnel supports your contention.
                Perhaps that’s why, during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, office workers and bureaucrats were paraded around the streets with their typewriters hung around their necks.

      2. jr

        I used to have to interact with a number of social workers when I was teaching adult ed, some good and some bad. The System is of course the System. But one thing that stuck with me are the fairly common feelings of animosity between those who need the help and those tasked with delivering it. Many of the folks who work at the welfare office or the unemployment office or whatever came from the neighborhoods they now serve. They have “good” jobs and tend to be more secure than their clientele, although not by much.

        So, people being people, some start to lord it over their clients, assuming a patronizing attitude towards them. I made it, why can’t you? It’s one thing to earnestly counsel someone or make a firm recommendation, it’s another thing entirely to treat them as a child. Clients get lectured about their attire, their speech, their mannerisms. My students were hair trigger sensitive to such behavior and the counselor who acted thusly would find their jobs infinitely harder as a result. More stress, more attitude, more resistance. Wash, rinse, repeat.

        In their defense, anyone who works in these fields literally has to stare desperation and ignorance in the face everyday. They get cursed, threatened, and attacked on occasion. The rest of the world looks down on them because they are government or non profit employees. And the pay is pathetic.

        1. JBird4049

          The chopping and dicing of the funding is not good either as are rules being changed because reasons. It stresses everyone out on both sides. Then there is knowing about areas of the system better than the case workers (or college financial aid workers) better than they do. The training is often limited and that causes more problems.

          Add that with federal disability benefits the local state almost automatically denies it. Add the effective mandatory months’ long wait between the multiple appeals, the random “quality control” checks usually done on approved applications, the extended legal appeals, where you can get effective legal help on retainer, just turn over part of your back payments. Some poor souls have gone for a decade before approval (and any kind of regular work no matter how light is an automatic disqualifier)

          The other aid such as SNAP, Medi-Cal, SSI, and some small stuff IIRC is much easier to get, but you have to get recertification every year. They try to find BS reasons to deny it.

          With so many millions of Americans stuffed into the unemployment system and millions still trying to get approval even months later, I wonder how the welfare meme is going to be used this year.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “So, about N Korea destroying the Kaesong liaison office, top line conclusion first:”

    I can understand AskAKorean’s frustration with Kim and his antics such as blowing up that building. I even agree with a lot of the points that he makes. But I believe that there he has not taken something into account. All those joint deals with the South Korea are contingent upon whatever Washington’s viewpoint is that week. If the North Koreans had a lot of investment with South Korea, then a Pompeo would see that as leverage to be yanked away from them at Washington’s whim. And South Korea would be helpless to stop this happening.

    The only way to stabilize those deals would be a US/NK peace treaty but how do you do a deal like that with Trump? There would certainly be no good-faith negotiation to go on. North Korea has done deals in the past with Washington and typically Washington reneges on their part of the agreements. And would Washington sign a peace treaty with North Korea ending the Korean war from nearly seventy years ago? That would have to be part of the deal. They know that the Russians consider the US as agreement-incapable so how do you negotiate a lasting treaty with that in mind. In short, it is harder than AskAKorean thinks it is.

  17. Lee

    Police violence and class rule WSWW

    Half a century later, African Americans account for more than 13 percent of police officers, an overrepresentation compared to the population as a whole. Black police chiefs head departments across the country, and cities large and small have elected black mayors. In the last decade, the introduction of police vehicle dash cams and body cameras has been offered up as yet another panacea.

    And yet the killing and abuse continue, and indeed have escalated.

    The dirty rather large secret is that extensive racial integration of police forces has not made policing more effective in its putative duty to serve and protect, less brutal, nor has it prevented it from becoming militarized and functioning as an army of occupation.

    For more on this with a class perspective included, see David Simon’s interview on Amanpour and Company.

  18. Stillfeelinthebern

    Glad that we have the internet when this kind of debate is available.

    “John P. Ioannidis and Nassim N. Taleb (arguably two of the greatest living thinkers) holding opposing views about how to deal with the present pandemic and its potentially destructive consequences.

    After discussion with my colleague Spyros Makridakis, we realized that organizing a scientific debate between John P. Ioannidis and Nassim N. Taleb would be of great value to the scientific community and to the broad audience. We therefore agreed with them that they would simultaneously prepare two blog posts expressing their views, to be posted at the same time. ”

  19. fresno dan

    Diego, the famed Galapagos tortoise whose high sex drive is credited with saving his species from extinction, has entered retirement after decades of breeding and fathering hundreds of tortoises.
    The 100-year-old was put out to pasture on his native island with 14 other giant tortoises after years of breeding in captivity on Santa Cruz Island, the BBC reported.

    “We are closing an important chapter,” Ecuador’s Environment Minister Paulo Proano tweeted Monday.
    Diego stated that he was not ready to retire, that he loved his work, and you can’t ever have enough tortoises, and that if he could only catch Paulo Proano, he would like to wring his neck (although tortoise feet make that a pipe dream).

    1. ambrit

      Then Diego started to tell the old joke about the old bull and the young bull, but we didn’t have that much time, so we left.

  20. Brian (another one they call)

    an odd result of a search; The story in “The Wire”. I was not familiar with the Galwan Valley and thought I would use Apple Maps to find it. I used ( I think) every search term found in the article to try to find it on a map. I failed. Apple Maps did not respond until I used “Leh”, which was not in the article. I don’t think I can rely on Apple maps. It seems irresponsible to not have places in India that have been on other maps for a long time.

    1. periol

      It is not you. I had a very hard time tracking it down on Google Maps a few weeks ago when the conflict first flared. It is at once in the middle of the mountains, with no signs of humans anywhere, but also the edge of Kashmir.

      I haven’t seen one article mention Kashmir, though I finally did find a mention that China is pushing it’s claim in support of the people of Kashmir, who as far as I can tell are still locked down by the Indian government.

      The whole scary setup reminds me of the 5 Armies from Tolkien’s Hobbit. China, India, Pakistan, Kashmir independence fighters, with maybe a late appearance by the eagles from the USA?

      Edit: look for Lale Galwan on the map. The valley isn’t labeled but the lake is…

      1. epynonymous

        Last year the NBA crossed china, this year the NBA is cancelled.

        Also just made up Roger Goodel to hired Colin Kaepernick as NFL civil rights comissioner.

        Or: Joe Biden to announce Alexa to be VP pick.

        1. ambrit

          That last is a good idea. Pick an imaginary person to be Veep. Next up, Trump ditches Pence for Siri!
          Trump on imaginary corporate whores: “Grab ’em by the ‘front office’ and the ‘back office’ will follow!”

      2. ewmayer

        “I wonder why you were not able to do it?” — Perhaps because they were looking for Galwan Valley, not Gaiwan Valley?

        1. ambrit

          You mean that those pesky ChiComs have renamed everything they claim in terms of Mandarin?

  21. ObjectiveFunction

    I’ve been touting Matt Stoller a lot on here lately, but this is yet another fine insight rich piece. I learned a lot of new (and depressing) stuff about what afflicts the US health system. Some of this is condensed. Please do read the original:

    Shortages in American hospitals are not new, and have not, until recently, been related to China…. These shortages started in the late 1990s and accelerated in the mid-2000s. Chinese dependence is merely a symptom.

    The United States’ underlying markets for medicine are broken. The rise of monopolies has distorted price signals that used to match supply and demand. Over the last 25 years, policymakers have allowed the monopolization of drug and medical supply purchasing, which makes it unprofitable to have a diverse and high-quality pharmaceutical production industry.

    In 1987, Congress exempted hospital Group Purchasing Organizations from anti-kickback rules, allowing GPOs to take money from suppliers…. [Open competitive bidding was replaced by fees by vendors] based on the total amount sold, providing an incentive to boost prices.

    [By the Clinton administration] shortages became a regular occurrence among generic pharmaceuticals, ones for which patents had expired. Almost inevitably the sole factory that produced the medication would be taken offline by the FDA for some health infraction, and then not restored to production because it was no longer profitable.

    Wave after wave of consolidation in purchasing and distribution has created a few ‘power buyers’ and massive fragility in the supply chain…. Today, four GPOs manage 90% of hospital purchasing, selling access to the hospital buying market. GPOs often contract with just one or two drug makers for any particular generic….

    You have to be able to supply large amounts at extremely low prices, putting relentless pressure on suppliers to cut corners. Ability to compete is solely based on bargaining power among middlemen and not on patients’ needs.

    China used its state power to build up an increasingly sophisticated pharmaceutical industry and to become a manufacturing powerhouse in other medical supplies…. By the 2000s, Chinese pharmaceutical companies were buying American players.

    It isn’t worth it for today’s domestic players to challenge Chinese dominance in supply. After all, even if you are able to level the cost advantage, you’re still up against power buyers…. Putting up tariffs hasn’t really brought production back to the US.

    This story of consolidation represents the American economy writ large. Everything from outdoor grills to construction cranes to consumer electronics is sold through a consolidated retail and distribution apparatus and made in China. Even our own ability to make weapons is increasingly controlled by a few giant defense contractors who thwart new entrants, leaving our military dependent on production in China.

    We aren’t going to create a resilient and flexible pharmaceutical supply chain with an industrial policy focused entirely on financing appendages of existing monopolies.

    1. Olga

      Not sure if Matt covers this – but it seems to me that the $$ support provided by the willing fed (and markets) to corporations has had yet another particularly corrosive effect – mainly that there is no need to develop, build, or improve anything… as long as $$ simply flows their way. Why should they work hard? They’d be dumb to do it… there are so many ways in which the industrial foundation of a country can be sabotaged and self-sabotaged that it is almost deliciously fun to watch (I know, mean). This is just one of many contradictions bubbling up to the surface.

      1. Andrew Thomas

        Exempting any industry from anti-kickback laws should be a jaw-dropping event. The fact that I don’t even remember that this happened, or never knew, is a real kick in the pants. Iran-Contra was dominating the news around that time, but, still- it is humbling to find out about such a serious outrage 33 years after it occurred. Thank you, ObjectiveFunction.

  22. Mikel

    Re: “Blame the Fed for the Disconnect in Markets” Bloomberg

    It has the ring of a cautionary tale until you get to the part about the Portnoy guy.
    Then you realize the article also works to generate FOMO to continue what it appears to be taking a critical look at.
    Do YOU really think the Fed is watching out for the “everyman” retail investor?

  23. Billy

    Revolutions Happen. This Might Be Ours. Foreign Policy

    It’s not a Revolution until
    hedge fund managers, foreign policy lobbyists, Facebook, Twitter, and M$M executives
    meet the same fate as Czar Nicholas or Louis XVI.

    1. ambrit

      I commented above that “Foreign Policy” magazine needs a bit of ‘regime change’ itself. It really is a tool of the Establishment.

  24. PhillyPhilly

    This thread on twitter gives a good overview of the lack of accountability that police face, from the point of view of a public defender:

    It covers how difficult it is to strip them of their pensions. Also, there is quite a bit of info on the abuse of overtime, where officers tend to make spurious arrests toward the end of their shift in order to collect overtime while they file paperwork and attend court.

    1. periol

      That was a good thread, thank you for the read.

      There were a few good links in that thread, one to an article by a former cop that I hadn’t read before. Long but good, and had this wonderful quote that really gets to the heart of the issue of police in America:

      “Capitalism requires a permanent underclass to exploit for cheap labor and it requires the cops to bring that underclass to heel.”

      1. PhillyPhilly

        Yes, that is a good quote. So really, to reform cops, you have to deal with capitalism. That’s a heavy lift.

        1. periol

          I would hope to redirect the focus away from capitalism and more towards fighting against the need for an underclass. But yes, definitely a heavy lift.

  25. L

    Conservatives Urge Trump, McConnell to Halt New Virus Spending Bloomberg

    Only in the world of the “conservative movement” could DC creatures like Art Laffer and Stephen Moore criticize everyone else for “inside the beltway thinking.” This in a letter that calls for tax cuts (again) and cites Milton Freidman.

    I used to scoff at the idea that our political system was just too old to address real crises but I wonder whether these movements are so insular that they have not just lost touch with reality but have outlived their own ideas.

    Realistically this only “adds to pressure” on Trump if you actually believe that Art Laffer speaks for anyone but Art Laffer or that his words represent reality. But that, I guess is “inside the beltway thinking”

    1. Massinissa

      Economy up? TAX CUTS! Economy down? TAX CUTS! Society collapsing? TAX CUTS!

      Apparently its the answer to every situation. If China and India end up in a war, the solution presented by Neoliberals will probably be yet more tax cuts. One begins to wonder if they have ulterior motives behind their economic advice… But that can’t be true, everyone trusts Economists. /s

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