Links 6/21/2020

There may be 36 other intelligent civilizations in the galaxy, but odds of communicating with them are small CBC. Hidden assumption, here.

Arctic records its hottest temperature ever CBS

With bees in short supply, soap bubbles could assist with pollination, study finds CNN

The fund managers who kept faith with Wirecard FT


Antibody cocktail to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein prevents rapid mutational escape seen with individual antibodies Science

Neutralisation of SARS-CoV-2 by destruction of the prefusion Spike Cell

UV-C Light Kills SARS-CoV-2, Triggering Novel Lighting Options for Public Spaces Biospace

Mapping Covid-19 outbreaks in the food system Food and Environment Reporting Network

It Doesn’t Look Like the Protests Are Causing a COVID-19 Spike Slate

“Fast-Tracking” a Coronavirus Vaccine Sounds Great. It’s Not That Simple. Pro Publica

Coronavirus Pandemic Threatens to Derail Polio Eradication—but There’s a Silver Lining Scientific American

The unintended impact of COVID-19 on cancer The Hill

“Repurposing” off-patent drugs offers big hopes of new treatments The Economist


Key details in draft of China’s Hong Kong security law Straits Times

Hong Kong national security law: China’s top body to meet again in a week to discuss bill South China Morning Post

Hong Kong satire forced off air as China clamps down on free speech Nikkei Asian Review

Hong Kong unions, students fail to get support for strikes against security law Reuters

China finds heavy coronavirus traces in seafood, meat sections of Beijing food market Reuters


HCQ beneficial as preventive drug: SMS doctors told ICMR Economic Times of India

India’s Modi promotes yoga against coronavirus Agence France Presse


K-pop fans: A diverse, underestimated and powerful force Korea Herald


Trump Says He’s Cutting Troops in Germany Over Pipeline and NATO Bloomberg

Millions of European jobs at risk when furlough support ends FT

Germany: Riots and looting grip Stuttgart Deutsche Welle

Exclusive: In Daphne murder investigation, money trail leads to Montenegro venture Reuters. Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bombing in October 2017.


Scoop: White House to discuss this week whether to approve Israeli annexations Axios

Why the World Should Fear Trump’s UN Moves Against Iran The National Interest

New Cold War

US-Russia nuclear disarmament talks to begin, but no sign of China joining in Guardian

Trump Transition

U.S. attorney says he will leave office after Attorney General says Trump fired him CBS. Norms Fairy sheds tear.

One Press Release on OSHA Violations Yields Compliance Equal to 210 Inspections (press release) Duke Sanford School of Public Policy


TikTok Teens and K-Pop Stans Say They Sank Trump Rally NYT. The arena was not full:

Always hire a hall that’s too small. Whoops. More:

K-Pop fans are, I believe, all about online polls.

‘It’s going to be an angry mob’: Kentucky cuts number of polling stations by 95 percent ahead of primary voting Independent. “In a typical election year, Kentucky has about 3,700 polling sites, according to most reports. When Election Day arrives on 23 June, there will be just 200 polling sites across the state — with some of those sites having to serve upwards of 600,000 residents.” What could go wrong?

The Postal Service Is Steadily Getting Worse — Can It Handle a National Mail-In Election? ProPublica

Trump Says Mail-In Voting Is His Biggest Re-Election Threat Bloomberg

Trying to predict Biden’s veep? The conventional wisdom is usually wrong Harry Enten, CNN

Don’t believe the polls: Trump’s populist presidency may carry him to victory in 2020 The Hill

The Danger of Electoral Violence in the United States The American Interest

Police State Watch

The End of Policing left me convinced we still need policing Matthew Yglesias, Vox

Video shows FDNY firefighters light off illegal fireworks in Brooklyn New York Post. Normally, I’d pass over the following thread, but it’s worth a read:

I have also received this communication from a friend in a large “urban” area:

ok this may be foily, but the fireworks he described have been going off in my neighborhood. and the same thing, very powerful, professional, I can see them from my balcony.

black neighborhoods observe July 4 in a big way, and it typically starts

before July 4, but this is way in excess of previous years, and my NextDoor list is talking about this…

I remember seeing fireworks — not just firecrackers, but real, star-burst-y, “professional” Fourth of July fireworks — in the sky over Minneaopolis, IIRC on the night the Third Precinct burnt. At the time, I put it down to youthful exuberance, but now it seems odd. “Like clockwork” is odd. These days, I don’t like odd. Have any readers experienced this?

The Nova Scotia shooter case has hallmarks of an undercover operation Macleans

Black Injustice Tipping Point

One reported dead, one wounded in overnight Capitol Hill protest zone shooting — UPDATE Capitol Hill

Holy cow, Buchanan and the Slave Power almost made it. This thread is a must-read:

‘From Here to Equality’ Author Makes A Case, And A Plan, For Reparations NPR

Arrest warrant issued for woman who allegedly set Wendy’s in Atlanta on fire ABC

taking yes for an answer Fredrik deBoer

Imperial Collapse Watch

The ungoverned globe Benjamin Studebaker, Aeon

Class Warfare

Scientists’ warning on affluence Nature

“Workers Are Being Told to Shut Up and Work” Jacobin

Pseudo-materialism and class identity Carl Beijer

Poorest seniors shut out of California’s coronavirus meal program Los Angeles Times

Quotas Can Help Fix the Glaring Whiteness of America’s C-Suites Bloomberg

Socialism and the Argument against Race Reductionism Adloph Reed, New Labor Forum

Mekong region at risk of extreme weather events–report

Sudan says talks on Ethiopia’s Nile dam did not produce deal Al Jazeera

COVID-19 is the quiz, climate change the final exam Jeff Masters, Yale Climate Connection. Sadly, Masters’ blog at Weather Underground is defunct; this is his new home.

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. PlutoniumKun

    K-pop fans: A diverse, underestimated and powerful force Korea Herald

    Its weird that such a commercialised, bland form of music could be a force for good, but outside of Korea it does seem to have become a sort of rallying point for younger activists. The history of K-Pop is kind of interesting – it originated in the ruins of 1950’s Korea with the de facto US occupation. There was literally nothing else for young people to do but adopt US music – its not the same as in other countries where it seeped in through other channels. K-pop may be based entirely on a foundation of commercial Black American music, but its simultaneously a very Korean phenomenon.

    I guess its sort of random that fans have rallied around it – I think its pretty awful music in comparison to (for example) the incredible melting pot of sounds that you find when rap and rave and R&B overlap with local forms of pop music in India and parts of Africa and South America. But you take what you can get, when I was young I had pretty lousy taste in music too, along with (I think) better taste in politics.

    1. The Kpop Explainer

      Respectfully, this argument is a little like saying “well, I don’t understand why everyone is eating potato chips instead of spicy mango kuchela, but I guess young people just have bad taste in food.” Kpop ticks all the same boxes MTV would have for Gen X, or the Beatles for an earlier age. MTV is a better touchpoint as quite a lot of the Kpop appeal is in its visuals: see your favorite synchronized-dancing beautiful teens in videos, fancams, photobooks, a constant drip feed of pictures and interviews. It is a multi-channel entertainment product that is easy to find, easy to consume, and does not present any challenges to anyone (the music is glossily produced 90s r&b; the lyrics (even if you understand Korean) seldom cover anything more profound than love hurts or I like to party. You’d get racier stuff from Disney.), and is therefore easy to build huge communities of active participants in.

      I love spicy mango kuchela, but I don’t put in on anyone’s plate unless I already know they are into that kind of thing. Meanwhile, nobody ever got mad at me for showing up at the potluck with a bag of chips. Sort an important consideration when you consider the dwindling number of things any two people can expect to have in common these days.

      1. occasional anonymous

        I’m well aware how pretentious this will sound, but there was actual substance and artistry to much of the stuff that got play on MTV, especially early on. And especially to the Beatles and other British invasion bands. K-Pop (and J-pop and C-pop, etc) is mostly slickly produced, shallow pop trash. It is every negative attribute of commercial pop music cranked up to eleven. It’s every bad thing that has ever been said about disposable music going straight back to Tin Pan Alley. With very, very few exceptions.

        The way it even has a carefully engineered ‘rebel’ group in BTS that pretends to make subversive or insightful music is breathtaking. That’s some 1984, controlled opposition stuff there.

        1. Sacred Ground

          Survivor’s bias, dude. I remember MTV. It was just as much bland commercial pop crap as is made today, we just don’t remember the crap that came and went but we do remember the stuff that wasn’t.

          Sturgeon’s Law applies here.

        2. ChrisPacific

          I don’t know. After watching Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast (a show in which a former Kpop star and her music industry partner host guests at their home) they seem pretty much like musicians from other countries to me. They have jams in the studio, write songs, play with arrangements, look to their environment or relationships for inspiration, and so on. I don’t see how you could listen to something like Yoona’s ‘To You’ (which was written and demoed on the show) and conclude it was shallow pop trash. Granted a lot of it is heavily choreographed poppy group performances, but how many famous artists in the US got their start in similar circumstances? Look at Justin Timberlake, for example. Granted there is a considerable amount of survivorship bias in the show and you’re generally watching the successful performers who have made it all work, but in general they strike me as (a) genuine performing artists and musicians and (b) relatively normal people.

          When I was younger I used to try to be the music police and categorise people’s listening choices based on artistic merit. These days I’ve mostly given up on that and decided that people like what they like, and their preferences aren’t necessarily any more or less valid than my own, even if I disagree with them. It’s hard to know except in hindsight what posterity will consider artistically significant or valuable anyway (for all we know, ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’ could have been the Kpop of its time).

        3. The Kpop Explainer

          Again respectfully, why are you sorting through the most corporate version of South Korean music conceivable in order to identify genuine counterculture messaging? You ever dial in the New York Times to see what the CIA doesn’t agree with?

      2. CoryP

        I liked a lot of terrible music being a white kid in the 90s. Eg. All those pop songs written by the same two or three Swedish guys, sugary j-pop etc.

        For a while I was ashamed of it but I don’t think it’s that the music is objectively unpleasant as much as mass-produced for maximum dopamine.

        Potato chips are a good example. We can bitch and moan about how they’re unhealthy and how people (including ourselves) shouldn’t like them. But largely people do. So there must be something there.

        I assume k-pop is hitting on the same formula, being as popular as it is. (And I’ll probably check out more of it now since I like to revel in this stuff).

        So I’m okay with saying Ive enjoyed derivative pop, or junk food, or grindy MMORPGs, or recreational drugs. They’re not edifying or healthy, and they cater to some of the worst impulses. But some people go overboard in making a value judgment by denying they have any appeal. That seems to be false on its face.

        That k-pop is shit and simultaneously k-pop is great is probably true.

    2. occasional anonymous

      In it’s current form it’s heavily based on a Japanese model, but taken to an even greater extreme.

      It’s heartening to see K-pop fans take up activism for something, but it’s a shame they apparently can’t apply that same sense of justice to K-pop itself. Everything I’ve ever seen or read about it tells me it’s a truly miserable industry that treats people as disposable, with very few exceptions who manage to achieve a degree of power and control over their own careers.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > it’s a truly miserable industry that treats people as disposable, with very few exceptions who manage to achieve a degree of power and control over their own careers.

        I don’t think it’s much different from Motown in that regard. And, as in Motown, at some point the stars break away from the machine and achieve a level of autonomy. The same business issues applied with reggae and Thai popular music as well (and I’m sure others), although only K-Pop, for reasons I don’t understand, exploded globally.

        1. bassmule

          Hunter S. Thompson:

          “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

      2. ewmayer

        The dream of many K-pop stars seems to be to use that platform as a launching pad for an acting career – Korean dramas do have a lot of actors who started out as K-pop stars. But I expect it’s a lot like so many other pop-entertainment genres – for every shining success story, there’s an untold number of broken lives and dreams.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    China finds heavy coronavirus traces in seafood, meat sections of Beijing food market Reuters

    Oh well, something else two worry about.

    Low temperatures favorable to viral survival as well as high humidity might be possible explanations for why seafood markets could be a source of outbreaks based on a preliminary assessment, Wu said, cautioning that further investigation was necessary.

    I’ve been largely vegan and entirely catering at home for 3 months now, but yesterday I treated myself to a pint (the pubs here have started opening with takeaway only) and sushimi. My local sushi place is excellent – its actually inside a seafood wholesalers so its super fresh, even local Japanese say its ‘ok’, which is Japanese speak for ‘wow, its nearly as good as I can get at home’. I sent a pic to one of my Chinese friends hoping to make her jealous, and she promptly told me not to eat it (too late), and sent me that article as a link. That spoiled my appetite. I’m dubious that anyone could catch the virus from food, but its not impossible. I couldn’t help remember that my sushi place is very small but has 6 staff crammed within it.

  3. Michael

    Re: Fireworks.

    Canton, Ohio: Yes and not as lengthy as what’s being described in Brooklyn (8 pm usually dying out about midnight) over the last three or four nights. Big, professional-looking fireworks I initially thought were strange if for no other reason than there is nothing special going on to my knowledge plus I’ve never experienced this in 30+ years in my location – which is coincidentally four blocks from the nearest fire station.

    1. Angry Gus

      Re: fireworks.
      Some people like em’. Some people love them… and stockpile* them, buy them out of state, illegal ones, and biggest ones possible. (kind of like guns)
      *and if you got a stockpile in the closet, and the cops start shooting “projectiles” at you… shoot back.
      I know a guy arrested in SF the nite the SF Giants won WSeries for lighting off “professional” fireworks that he had bought in Utah… Some people really like things that go boom .

      1. occasional anonymous

        I’ve grown to hate them because most of the dogs I’ve known hate them. Including the dogs of the people who are really into fireworks. I’m at a loss how some people can simultaneously consider a dog part of their family, and then actively and repeatedly do something the dog clearly despises.

        “Oh, there she goes again, to cower in the bathroom. Sucks to be her; we’ve gotta have the loud booms!”

        1. rowlf

          My younger brother is an adopted Vietnamese Bụi đời who couldn’t fit on the first C-5 out of Saigon in 1975. We were in the adoption process when the phone call came to go to JFK airport as fast as possible to be ready to pick up a six year old in shorts, t-shirt, with rotten teeth and sores all over his legs.

          That was April. We lived on an Air Force base and for Fourth of July we went to the parade grounds for the fireworks display, not really thinking of the new member of the family. The fireworks started and he tried to get underneath the grass as he thought the air base was being rocketed, so we had to hustle off that night and get him calmed down. We were always aware that we could be vaporized but had never thought about what a small attack would be like.

      2. Michael

        I like ’em myself, and I’m quite sure most people in my community do as well. Especially given we have never seen them so closely – in our residential neighborhood.

    2. Copeland

      Reporting in from the tony (I don’t know, but it sure seems that way much of the time!) suburb of Edmonds, WA, half hour north of Seattle: This town is a WAR ZONE from June 26 until July 12 or so. Another big burst for several nights around New Years Eve, and whenever the Seahawks or Huskies win a “big” game you can count on another flurry. Where do people store this stuff???…oh yeah, everyone has a huge house and a garage full of every imaginable thing, except vehicles.

      I’m pretty sure I’m somewhere on the spectrum, cause lots of stuff sets me off, mostly noises and smells, so I’m pretty sensitive, but we (wife and dog, dog is literally out of commission for 24 hours after a round of fireworks, a trembling, cowering mess, unable to do anything else) now leave the war zone for several days. Many people here who feel like we do escape to Canada each 4th, but not allowed this year. This year we’re heading to the east side of the Cascades where the danger of wildfire apparently outweighs peoples desire to blow stuff up, so very few explosions, we’re told.

      Of course fireworks are illegal in Edmonds but completely not enforced. There is an unincorporated area next to this town and it is even worse there. So sorry to hear that it seems to be just as bad in many other cities. It really never ends here, we hear them at night every few weeks all year long, usually betweeen 11pm and 2am.

      End rant

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Pseudo-materialism and class identity Carl Beijer

    I think this is a pretty important (and admirably concise) article and expresses very well why shutting down anyone from a debate, including the ‘privileged’ classes, is ultimately pointless and illogical.

    This endless and inordinate fixation on the personal identity of particular speakers is always the most visible symptom of ID. And it’s a big reason to be skeptical of what emerges, on occasion, as a defense that one is not doing class ID: the claim that we merely happen to be talking about individual people in order to illustrate some broader point of material analysis.

    Its not particularly new – on my first contacts with the left wing as a teenager I recall some self righteous talk about ‘the working class voice’, and I was challenged as to whether I was working class or a middle class dilettante, playing with left wing politics. Truth is, I had no idea what class I was. My father came from dirt poor, but upwardly mobile farmers/peasants who were busy pushing themselves in the middle and wealthier business class. My mother came from a formerly wealthy upper middle class family who had fallen on very hard times – she had been orphaned and farmed out to various family members of varying background. We lived in what had been quite a posh suburb, but was very faded and run-down. So I had no clue what ‘class’ I belonged to.

    So yes, much as I dislike the stupidities of ID politics and wish for its replacement with a more class and material conscious one, I don’t want to see a progressive movement scarred with the same ‘mind your privilege’ type mindset. Ideas matter much more than who those ideas come from.

    1. David

      Yes, Beijer is always worth reading, and this in one of his better pieces. What needs to be added to this kind of analysis, though, is that traditional class-based political thinking was based on objective criteria: you were rich or poor, employer or employee, property-owner or tenant, shareholder or debtor. By contrast, ID (in a curious and unsavoury replay of the essentialist racialism of the last century) makes subjective feelings of persecution and entitlement the basis of an entire ideology. So, just as Freud’s theories about the mind could not be right because he was a Jew, so the views of Prof X on, say, community relations, cannot be right because he or she doesn’t have the right skin colour, irrespective of how well they are founded.
      As you say, the rot set in some time ago with the confusion on the part of the Left between social and economic class. Successive Labour governments got themselves twisted around the idea that the “working class” was only the (declining) manual working class, and so neglected the others who worked for a living. Marx would have been disgusted.

    2. occasional anonymous

      I’ve come to the conclusion that IdPol is just useless. Intersectionality brings no benefit to any kind of analysis, and none to organization. Trying to render class into just one of many ‘identities’ is probably the absolute worst way to approach it.

      Subsuming class politics into the pit of nothing that is idpol is a sure way to destroy it.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        This is quite an admission, considering that if we believe the length and breadth of the mainstream media these days the major opposition party, charged with the existential duty of removing a dangerous Russian agent from The White House, is utterly and completely informed and led by the strictures of IdPol.

        Maybe someone can tell them that it is, as you say, “just useless” and “brings no benefit of any kind”.

      2. jr

        I was so confused by ID politics ideologues when I first started to encounter them, I had thought of them as more traditional leftists looking to organize and build bridges, the next wave so to speak. Of course what I encountered were mostly privileged children spouting poorly understood concepts and waving around a license to throw shade at whoever disagreed with them. I was like what, how is this progressive, how is this consider an ideology of the Left?

        It finally sank in about a year ago, ID politics is designed that way, it was never intended to act as a bridge building project. How could it? It needs an enemy to point the finger at, it needs a black hat so that the white hats can bask in their moral superiority and ignore the real problems festering about them. It doesn’t seek to understand, to analyze like a Marxist, but rather to isolate. It’s weaponized diversity, demanding total acceptance while slamming the door on the concerns of others.

        It’s also an easy way for shallow elites and their empty lives to don the cloak of the victimized, to once again exclude others, this time on the basis of some fantasy of a shared struggle. The poor black family losing their home has zero in common with a white, wealthy Columbia student whose sexuality hasn’t gelled yet but along comes ID pol and suddenly everyone is on the same team. The student gets to identify with the struggle of the family but doesn’t have to partake in it in a substantive way. The family just loses their home.

        And don’t get me started on the language. LatinX is the most moronic excuse for a word I’ve ever come across. It’s ugly looking, like a brand of poison tailored for Latin people, and it’s clumsy on the tongue. If you want to de-sexualize language, at least put some effort into coming up with new words. But oh, right, it’s meant to alienate, it’s meant to make people go “Huh?” It’s meant to say “This isn’t for you.”

        1. YetAnotherChris

          “It’s weaponized diversity.”

          That’s it in a very small nutshell. It’s not inclusive at all. In fact it’s designed to mark out and ostracize those who can’t keep up. Not so long ago in a lecture hall I saw a young woman shamed and humiliated by classmates and professor alike for asking, “What do you mean by uncompensated labor?”

    3. CoryP

      It is a very good article. With the protests I’ve been thinking a lot about the pros and cons to Identity Politics. I’m drawn to the writings of Adolph Reed Jr, who I wish could write in a bit more accessible manner (but on the other hand, I find myself in awe of how dense with meaning his phrases are; every word is chosen perfectly if you understand it, and I really don’t think it’s empty showing off. Contrast H. Giroux)

      But then of course I’d like him since his “class-reductionist” point of view appeals to my middle class white biases so ugh..

      But Beijer is talking about the use of class distinctions in the same individual ascriptive identity context as eg. race/gender is commonly used.

      You can (sometimes) assign a Marxian class label to an individual but one should only apply a class analysis to the class itself. Because the class dynamic itself doesn’t necessarily apply to the parts of the whole.

      It’s a useful point to make since cancel culture (which already sucks) is being used to discredit good analysis by individuals whose personal backgrounds may not fit nicely into the proletariat.

      Say what you will about podcasters making too much money or the middle-class composition of eg. the DSA (There is truth in these). But it’s just another lazy means for people to shut down debate rather than tackle the ideas presented.

      1. Carolinian

        Your link has a lot more information. It says before he was shot Brooks told the police he was meeting the accused woman at the Wendy’s after they had drinks.

        Of course that doesn’t mean it is accurate information. And other stories have suggested a black masked woman also helped to start the fire.

  5. Dr. V

    Crown Heights resident here – the stories of loud fireworks are absolutely true. The weather has been perfect here the last week, very cool at night, but I’ve had to resort to shutting my windows and turning on my a/c & fan to provide some white noise so I can sleep.

    At first I thought it was just kids in the neighborhood being kids, but I definitely was curious when it kept going on night after night, especially one particular night where they were going off when I got into bed at 10pm, woke me up around 3am, and were still going off when I got up for the day at 6am. Who lights fireworks off at 6am? Makes me think those police conspiracy theories popping into my head might be closer to the truth.

  6. carl

    Sorry to see the final destruction of Weather Underground with the departure of the excellent Jeff Masters. Before being purchased by IBM, the weather app was actually good (weather apps are notoriously full of intrusive ads; this one was light on obnoxiousness). The new app was awful and generated reams of disgusted reviews on the app store. Thanks, IBM!

  7. allan

    Norms Fairy sheds tear.” I think you misspelled the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998.
    If one wants the rule of law to apply to, I don’t know, say banksters, one needs it to apply to everybody.
    Even presidents and attorneys general.

  8. timbers

    Too bad about the Post Office. This would have been a perfect time to beef up postal services that are not just postal services, that would create jobs that help transition America to a more Covid safe place to work that would benefit working folks.

    The Postal Service is mandated and/or authorized by the Constitution. If we had leaders that could think outside the box and were not trapped in their neo liberal group think, it could be used to hard wire the internet (or whatever is the state of the art now) for the entire nation including rural America. This would be a very big help to people re locating from their jobs in urban areas so they could consider a much greater geographical area for re location, and this would also benefit rural America and spread the wealth so to speak. Add Postal Banking could add more benefits to everyone especially rural, at reduced cost This would require good funding, more jobs many of them very good and long term jobs, more offices, and UPS and Fed Ex would throw tantrums

    Creating a national internet on a par with South Korea would one way to MAGA, no? But in the way that term is being used now a days unfortunately. But this is the kind of way we can remodel America to make her “jobs friendly” maybe even to foreign companies.

    1. Carla

      @timbers — yes, yes, yes!

      But neither DJT nor Ole Joe has any intention of MAGA for anyone but themselves. Nor do the Congress Critters.

      (The word “not” is missing from the 2nd sentence of your last paragraph — I think you mean “But not in the way…”)

      1. neo-realist

        Such an inventive use of the post office to empower the 99% economically is something the elites don’t want. They want to keep them weak, economically and politically, to continue dominate and control them. Better to have the masses attacking their opposing teams in the urban, suburban and rural areas than empowering them to eventually go after their masters.

        Maybe not so much being hampered by group think as much as the elites avoiding a deployment of government services that would disrupt their game plan.

    2. Wukchumni

      About the only bipartisan agreements in Congress come via renaming Post Office buildings, and if the PO is done away with, what sort of ersatz accomplishments could replace it?

      1. GF

        Put the names on the statues of confederate politicians and soldiers. No one will know the difference.

        Also, mail in ballots for a national election would not over burden the post office as the ballots would go to the counties of the voters.

        Another thing, post office workers are being hit hard by the pandemic resulting in experienced people not being around to keep things functioning. It actually takes some training to be a postal worker and the new hires need to be vetted.

    3. Hank Linderman

      The Post Office could be the basis for national broadband, including a secure email address for every citizen to communicate with the IRS, etc. – this would give a federal agency the power to go into rural America and wire up every home. Broadband is a requirement nowadays, like water and power.

      Just a thought…

      Btw, I am the D nominee for Congress in KY2, a progressive running in a *safe* R District.


    4. Aumua

      Interesting aside: I was listening to the AM talk radio the other day as I sometimes do (I like to keep my finger on the pulse of what currents of thought people like Rush and Hannity are pushing) and there I heard an ad from the postal workers union saying “save the postal service! Call your congressman!”

      I wasn’t expecting to hear a sentiment like being pushed in that “conservative” environment.

      1. ambrit

        Being as the Post Office is a part of the Constitution, and associated with Benjamin Franklin to boot, it carries a strong appeal to Strict Constructionalists and other sorts of small ‘c’ conservative. Neo-liberalism is properly not a small ‘c’ conservativism. It is really quite activist and “reform” oriented. (For various definitions of the term “reform.”)

  9. crittermom

    >”TikTok Teens and K-Pop Stans Say They Sank Trump Rally”

    Still smiling after reading this.
    I LOVE what they did!

    I’d been anxious to hear how that rally turned out.
    Now I couldn’t be happier about the results. Look at all those empty seats! Too funny…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Always thought that this Rally was nothing but a s***show but I think deliberately sabotaging it was not wise. Don’t forget the The Reciprocity Principle. What happens when the Democrats have their own Rally after deciding who they will select to run for President and it too is sabotaged? What if “hackers” cut the power supply in the middle of proceedings or trigger fire alarms? Yeah, the Democrats will blame the Russians but I am wiling to bet that there are a lot of conservatives swearing revenge right now.

      1. a different chris

        Nobody was ever gonna show up for Biden anyway so that doesn’t matter. Explanation:

        Trump is expected to and thus allowed to be nasty, saying “the quiet things out loud”. Whereas a Democrat will be eaten by his own party by saying anything other than the blandest observations.

        The flip side is that Trump is expected to have a roaring, scary mob hanging on his every word. Whereas Biden, again, is already painted as “Sleepy Joe” so nobody showing up for his speeches won’t even be below-the-fold. Page 3 maybe.

        Live by the mouth, die by the mouth.

          1. Charger01

            You must also consider that R sabotage was the plan the entire time. Voter suppression is the wespon of choice right now.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I mean I’m 100% positive for the lack of another round of bailouts is the GOP has decided evictions and moving causing disruptions to voter registration is a better bet than keeping people in their homes and sending them “your welcome” letters with Trump’s signature. If Team Blue wasn’t a faux opposition party, I suspect the whole momentum would be different. Even the GOP has acknowledged police reforms under a bit of pressure.

              Team Blue elites are chanting “vote” but the margins are won ando lost on how well registration was done which is over by mid-October.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I was talking about the rally with a buddy of mine who has a medium strength case of TDS. He was convinced a full house would show up, spread coronavirus everywhere and we were all going to die. I thought people might just not show due to virus fears – it’s not like all Trump supporters have a personal deathwish and it’s fairly clear at this point what types of gatherings are most likely to spread contagion. My friend responded that Trump’s people would just go out and grab people off the street to pack the arena.

        But now the narrative is that social media kids kept the rally numbers down, with AOC jumping on the bandwagon and pumping the claims. But what proof is there of this – that internet games kept not a handful but tens of thousands of people from attending? The same proof that Russians hacked the election I guess.

        I would have really liked to see if the rally would fail organically, but now with this new narrative, we’ll never know. And as you said, now that the idea is out there, what’s to stop conservatives from trying to do the same at political rallies they dislike? Judging by history, they would probably be better at it too.

        However, it seems that conservatives already have much more effective means of denying people the right to express themselves politically, as evidenced by the very next article in today’s links about Kentucky slashing the number polling places, certainly not the first nor will it be the last instance we see of this.

        Where is the Democrat party on this issue and where have they been for decades as our entire voting system has rotted – too busy crowing about rather meaningless social media shenanigans to do anything useful?

        1. Icecube12

          I don’t think the argument is that the kids kept the rally numbers down. Entry was first come, first in for everyone with a reservation, so that wouldn’t even be possible. The argument the kids are making is that they psyched the campaign into believing 1,000,000 people wanted to come, when in reality, as you say, Trump’s supporters are not quite that death-culty. So the campaign built up expectations, kept the booking in that large venue, and now looks foolish.

          So, the rally did fail organically. Or at least, it failed against the backdrop of Trump’s inability to do anything but self-aggrandize.

          1. Keith

            Yep. Exactly this. Not being able to completely fill the venue you book is a bad look for a campaign rally. As Yves has consistently pointed out.

            Although as anyone watching the Democratic primary, and the Sanders campaign specifically, can tell you filling your rally venues and consistently having many more people at your rallies than anyone else doesn’t guarantee squat.

            1. Michael McK

              But if the Media had reported on packed Sanders rallies and hyped the next ones even more momentum would have been built. Instead they hardly happened to those who were not there.
              Remember when a Sanders speech was cut away from to hover over an empty podium that Trump was due to appear at? Repeated a thousand times in a thousand ways it makes a difference.

              1. juno mas

                Without doubt Sander’s campaign rally’s were underplayed by the MSM. He spoke at my local community college and a broad demographic attended. However, many of his younger supporters disappeared on voting (Primary) day.

                It seems democracy really is hard work. Sysiphean when pushing against the MSM.

            2. Tomonthebeach

              What this rally did do was remind people of Trump’s Innaugural Lie.

              Trump certainly wanted to draw the many armed, white, racist, evangelical, militia people presumed to live in the area to his rally. The dog-whistle symbolism of picking Juneteenth AND the site of a black massacre was a loud whistle – yet nobody came. A half-empty stadium of bewildered loyalists had to listen to the same old Trump screed – possibly the first death throes of a dying fascist movement?

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Team Blue doesn’t want to win as much as pass the Trump Era legislation without the messiness of Trump but under the bludgeon of bipartisanship. Team Blue isn’t running on how Trump only tried to raise MIC spending by old record amounts until the Democrats demanded more money. Though to be fair, they weren’t trumpeting this behavior during Obama’s second term. At one point, the ousted a huge increase during Thanksgiving.

          But Team Blue doesn’t care about voting rights because it would lead to them having power. Even with Trump’s current political situation, the Democrats have one statewide director. This is a party not dedicated to flipping seats because plenty of people who would not vote in off years will be willing to vote in a presidential year. Team Blue isn’t even bothering.

          They might be crowing, but Team Blue is closer to trying to claim credit with kids who have done more to oppose Trump than the entire #resistance.

              1. Glen

                Yes, totally agree. Team Blue is more than happy to let Team Red take the heat for running the country into the ground for Wall St and the billionaires.

                Clapping at Trump, tearing up paper, and going home to eat ice cream means you’ve earned all those billionaire donor dollars because you’ve DONE NOTHING for Americans.

                1. Pelham

                  This could explain the spontaneous, sudden tidal wave of support during the primaries for one of the most threadbare, self-serving political hacks imaginable. What better way to ensure defeat in November? Although given the onset of the pandemic and protests, Democrats may find themselves in the distinctly uncomfortable position of actually having to govern come next year.

                  1. ambrit

                    Add in the potential lineup of pimps, panderers, and political prostitutes that is the DNC “bench,” and we have the formula for a major societal crisis by Summer 2021.
                    (Assuming, of course, that the DNC doesn’t manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.)

        3. T

          Also want to see some evidence. Suprised AOC jumped on this. Might look kinda dumb if we get any facts.

          1. Biph

            She responded to tweet from a Trump campaign operative who said the venue was 2/3 full because protesters were blocking Trump supporters from getting in, that was a flat out lie.
            That 1 million requests for tickets should’ve been a red flag for team Trump, I doubt they’ve ever had 100,000 requests for tickets prior to this. Instead they screamed that number from the rooftops and look like fools for getting played by a bunch of K-Pop kids.
            Credit to the kids for keeping their mouths shut about what they were doing until after the damage had been done.

        4. Daryl

          I’m getting 2016 vibes at the moment. Couple of empty seats at a Trump rally, and they are ready to declare victory.

          1. rowlf

            2016 political rallies were kind of a Wizard of Oz type peek behind the curtains. You could watch Trump rallies on Youtube, see large crowds and the media report for the same event was from some other planet. A Clinton rally rarely ever showed the audience, usually only focused on the stage and her campaign was declared the most popular.

            I like how bumper sticker and political sign observations by contributors here tend to be out of synch with the media.

      3. Icecube12

        No one expects much of anything from the Democrats, and who knows if they will even hold rallies anyway. The real win I see for the Tik Tok kids, or whoever is behind the large reserving of tickets, is the blow to Trump’s ego. This was supposed to be his comfort zone after months of being miserable and inadequate. It’s a blow to the Trump mystique as a zeitgeist-whisperer.

        Of course, as lyman alpha blob points out below, the last laugh always goes to all those who do such a good job making sure working class, poor and minority populations have the most difficult and painful voting process possible.

        1. The Historian

          “No one expects much of anything from the Democrats,”

          Why should they do anything? Right now Trump is losing ground – why put their presumptive nominee, who doesn’t look all that good in front of the public, out there to change that? I think the smartest thing the Dems can do right now is keep Joe in hiding and let Trump keep damaging himself.

          1. Keith

            One of Bill Mauldin’s cartoons from the 1980 election was Carter in a crappy beat up old jalopy labeled “Carter Economy” and Reagan standing under a sign saying “Trade in that guzzler on Reckless Ron’s Masked Marvel” with the mystery car in question under a cover behind him.

            When you’re running against something most of the country thinks isn’t at all working, you don’t need to do much to convince them you’ve got a better option.

            Would have loved to provide a link to the cartoon, but I have so far been unable to find it.

          2. Icecube12

            Yeah, I agree with you. Expectations are low, and they don’t have to do much. My point was simply that I am not convinced it matters if Trump supporters try to exact revenge, unless a few of them really did something violent. The last three months and Covid-19 have done what I had thought impossible and turned me into an anyone-but-Trump voter even though I despise Biden and always thought I would vote Green/write-in. I doubt I am the only one, so (to get my vote at least) Biden really does just need to be relatively quiet and have his name on the ballot.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                This is great news, first Biden can try to get to the left of Strom Thurmond on race relations, then he can try to get to the left of Dwight Eisenhower on tax policy. Then, who knows, he can even go so far as to get to the left of Richard Nixon on health care and the environment. Things are looking up!

                1. ambrit

                  Uh, you confused me here.
                  Yes, Strom Thurmond had, shall we say, somewhat reactionary views on race relations.
                  However, Eisenhower’s tax rates were the most progressive in the post WW-2 era and Dick Nixon proposed Universal Health Care. So, running to the left of those two would be a real change in policy from the previous four or five decades in American politics.
                  Were you deploying Ultra Snark? (It’s late and I am not at my most analytic.)

              1. Michael McK

                But you don’t live in a swing state. If Biden can’t win Ca. without you he is toast in places where votes matter. Biden having won the popular vote by a few more does less good than any 3rd party vote showing that thoughtful, non-apathetic people are fed up. Don’t forget how afraid the Republicans are of their voters; that is why our government has slid steadily towards right Fascism for decades with team D following along merely to make sure it remains corporate/elitist instead of populist.
                I do salute all the people who are trying to reform the Democratic party from within at the County and State Committee levels and will get out the vote for any of your candidates who are anti-imperialist, pro-Medicare for All and MMT/GND conversant.

                1. ambrit

                  You have noticed the sharp divide between the National level DNC and the State and Local level Democrat Party? The Clinton campaign scam in 2016 of skimming almost all of the funds raised away from the local Party coffers should have been the wake up call for the rank and file Democrats.
                  (I’m sure that their fellow Politicos [too many to name in the limited space available here,] will hold a big ‘Welcome Home Bar-b-cue’ for Bill and Hillary when they eventually make it down to their Infernal Majesties realm.)

      4. Eureka Springs

        What happens when the Democrats have their own Rally after deciding who they will select to run for President and it too is sabotaged

        Only those giving out bribes and those trying to rake some in will notice. Who else could possibly give a rats derriere?

        I asked on twitter recently whether anyone had a photo of a Biden ‘rally’ in the last year with more than two hundred in attendance who weren’t buying influence, paid to be there, or asleep? No one even came close to producing evidence of such.

      5. Pelham

        Good point. Also, it appears here that foreigners (Koreans in their sinister Russia-like Asiatic way), have interfered with our sacred democratic process. We need a special prosecutor and three years of mind-numbing investigations! Now!

    2. QuarterBack

      This kind of interference of campaigns has gone on for generations, but nobody would ever go about admitting it – let alone admitting it in near real time. This only goes to reinforce the image that those who oppose Trump are unprincipled mobs wielding one false outrage cause after another. Not long ago, these same people were marching to show their passionate dedication to the “integrity of elections”. Anarchy is not a unifying platform.

    3. marym

      “Andrew Little, the Public Information Officer for the Tulsa Fire Department, confirmed to Forbes on Sunday that a tally taken by the fire marshal clocked the turnout at just under 6,200 people, far fewer attendees than the campaign expected.” (Link) (Link)

      Outdoor “overflow” area empty, speeches scheduled there cancelled (Link) (Link)

      The campaign “sold” 800k tickets. There was no cap on the number. I gather* ticket-selling is a data gathering exercise. Doors just open first-come first served at the events.

      If so, all due credit to the kids of course, but maybe some Trump followers also didn’t much care to attend, for reasons of politics or pandemic.

      fwiw – just from twitter ramblings

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Ahhh, but how many of the armchair resistors gave real info (names, phone numbers, addresses, etc) to the Trump campaign? Betcha they’ll figure out a way to use that info for ill intention….be it PR, harassment, fundraising, narrative control or voter suppression

        1. juno mas

          It appears many of the TikToker’s are likely under the age of 18. Gathering data on “children” without parental approval is illegal. That GOP database may need to be purged.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Apparently Trump was really worried that he might have seemed weak when he had trouble walking down that ramp at West Point recently. Being perceived as week is a cardinal sin to him. So he ends up talking for about 14 minutes about his visit to West Point at the Rally and why he had trouble walking down the ramp and drinkng a glass of water. The following article includes his monologue on the subject which makes fun reading-

      1. barefoot charley

        His recital of self-pitying woes is brain-numbing, the poor man forced to stand hours under “the pouring sun,” to salute cadets 600 times, to walk down a ramp in leather shoes under the sun still pouring–it’s a rant-ramble fully worthy of drunk-Trump imitators reciting off barstools. It reveals a side of Trump that I didn’t properly appreciate before: what a fatuous bore. He doesn’t need to drink.

      2. Wukchumni

        “I said, ‘General! I’ve got myself a problem, general. Because I’m wearing leather-bottomed shoes.’ Which is good if you’re walking on flat surfaces. It’s not good for ramps.


    5. CoryP

      This group of young fans must either be way larger and more organized than I thought (probably), or someone did some clever scripting or used a bot-net.

      I would assume even “free” ticketing services have some means of preventing fraudulent “purchases”.

      In any case well done.

  10. timbers

    “I remember seeing fireworks – Have any readers experienced this?”


    Fireworks have been going every night in Brockton for weeks now, starting at night and some lasting very late like 3am I think I awake once hearing them go off. Brockton is diverse city. When I lived on the coast in Quincy in a neighborhood and I do mean neighborhood much was local there – 4th of July lasted for months. But this is more than that, even. About a week ago, each night for maybe a or so, helicoptors could be heard flying above as if patrolling the area.

    This is my 4th living here, and I don’t recall this sort of fireworks in previous years.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Oakland has nightly explosions starting around Memorial Day thru the weekend after the 4th. Mostly M-80s or M-1000s or Roman Candles. Weekends we get some more flashy ones…

      Same as years past.

      Some neighbors have asked about them but I think they’re just tired and tense and think it’s more than years past.

    2. Rhondda

      Fireworks and very loud explosions here in KC, as well. Unusually loud and pretty much every night since the protests. Sounds like it’s coming from the east side.

  11. Raven

    Soap bubbles instead of bees for pollination? As a former beekeeper, this doesn’t work for me.

    Speaking of bees, it came as a pleasant surprise to watch a swarm move into one of my empty hive boxes in late May. As the old rhyme goes:

    A swarm of bees in May
    Is worth a load of hay;
    A swarm of bees in June
    Is worth a silver spoon;
    A swarm of bees in July
    Is not worth a fly.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      while about a third of the mesquite trees bloomed in april for some reason(and therefore produced nothing in the way of bean pods), the rest are in full bloom right now…and they are loud with bees…loud enough to hear from 100 feet away(at first, I thought that an a/c or something was burning up)…even before the sun was up.
      I’ve been hoping for the bee tree bees to produce a swarm, so i can capture it and put in my top bar hive at the other end of the place…but no joy, so far.
      the local bee guru said he put me on the swarm list, but i gather that pandemic, etc has discombobulated him,lol.
      when i called to remind, he obviously didn’t remember me.
      what’s the skinny on purchasing bees?
      i suppose that this should be done in Spring, when the flowers are just starting their run?

      1. Stephen V.

        You know this already : local swarms are way preferred over (expensive!) package bees. Wouldn’t be surprised if there were many of those left. And most swarms tend to happen in early Spring–here in Arky when nights are no longer in the 40’s. Good luck!

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yes…i would prefer that.
          although the bee guru, both times i talked to him, made certain to stress that all our local bees(ie: any not purchased) were “Africanised”, and that one shouldn’t get complacent about the protective gear….very aggressive and hostile to being messed with.
          that said, I’ve been a frequent visitor to the Bee Tree, these last several years…put a bench in the shade there, and hang out often on my peregrinations and scouting.
          I had the hive there for a year and a half, hoping to entice them, since the hollow branch they’re in is likely to fall at some point, and there’s not much room. Now, I think that they’re likely in the trunk, itself(very old and gnarled post oak, trunk is 4′ in diameter). Guru has a “snake cam”, but pandemic and such have so far prevented a visit. That would be cool, I think.
          the local pest control guy is an acquaintance, but they don’t really keep a swarm list…and i’m unsure of my ability to do it myself without damaging the bees.
          The Texas Hill Country is famous for it’s flowers…february through july, really…depending on the timeliness of the rain.
          I’ve wanted to do this for a long time….and my plodding tenacity finally overcame my lack of $$ in getting the necessary mise en place.

          1. polecat

            The packaged colony I installed in April is going great guns! I expect Queenie – with her requisite entourage .. to hightail it soon. Swarm season here (my bees, that is..) start on Father’s Day, and ends around the 4th of July-ish. Funny thing about swarms .. now you see em, now you don’t. Gotta be nimble, Gotta be quick! And I love to be smack in the middle of one while it’s in it’s low open, diffused state, as in my personal experience they tend not to sting. The only time I ever get stung, is when trying to transfer a swarm into an empty hive. In May, while inspecting the progress within the ‘packaged’ hive, I discovered a comb with a partially formed queen cell. So I transferred that, plus 2 others (containing nurse bees) to an empty hive nearby. They’re still active, now with foragers bringing in pollen. So it might do ok, increasing as the summer progresses. We’ll see …

            Almost time to brew another batch of melomel (Logan berry/ginger) – got 2 other types in secondary ferment as it is.
            I also have a couple of empty Warre` hives set n ready for occupation, should they be found wanting.

          2. Michael McK

            Your feral Bees are not likely to move into a box near their hive. They like to disburse a bit, try leaving boxes at least 1/4 mile away or so, in swarm time you may notice the bees checking it out and recruiting others to give it a look see. Eventually they disappear if the hive moved somewhere else or if they liked it best they move in. I often catch swarms in old boxes I leave out. There are lures you can put in boxes to entice them which smell like lemon balm to me though an old nice smelling hive box seems to work better. The year I did things scientifically I put out 16 boxes (all different places) and caught 4 swarms. It is too late for a good swarm this year, If one left your tree and you were able to get it right away (they rest for a day or so right by their former home) you would be better off folding it into an existing hive than starting a new one.
            PS. I gave up on top bar type systems because the Bees (especially the feral ones compared to inbred industrial ones) tend to make wavy comb sticking all the frames together and making them impossible to work.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              i did topbar due to my back(and the rest of me–bad arthritis)
              the hive i built is now a little more than a 1/4 mile from the Bee Tree.
              I’d rather have feral bees, from a swarm out of the Bee Tree, than bought ones.
              I’ve got the gear, now(in a water and snake proof box near the hive)…all i need is bees.

              1. Michael McK

                I suggest getting a swarm lure on line. If you can’t (they have all sold out at least one year) or would rather not, throw some lemon balm or verbena in your box and perhaps try rubbing some melted beeswax from a candle in it. If you catch a swarm this late be sure to feed it a bit so it builds up for winter so it will be there in spring (though perhaps your environment has plenty of good forage now through winter). If they are too defensive or ‘hot’ from being too Africanized you could try requeening them with a more farm friendly queen but I recommend finding a local artisinal breeder. There is certainly a bee community around you and i assume your County ag department could steer you towards them.
                I am a heretical beekeeper. I recognize that they are invasive exotics wreaking untold havoc on native ecosystems while enabling industrial agriculture. At first I bought oodles of bees and fed them and got a decent amount of honey. They died eventually after having sucked up much local floral resource, displaced natives, and sent new swarms to establish in the wild if they could. The summer before I got my first hive I counted 16 different pollinators on my Mint. The next summer I had only Honey, Sweat and Bumble Bees.
                In an ecological sense they were “subsidized predators” who were not limited in their plunder of the ecosystem by starvation because they got free food from outside the system (sugar water from me).
                Now I only catch feral swarms who get almost no sugar. I suck as much honey from them as I can and they often do not survive the winter. This way I get some honey and bee stings for health while removing honeybee pressure on my local pollinators.
                Getting stung will help your arthritis but you do not need your own hive for that. Just grab a bee off a flower. Don’t worry about her stinging you, that is the point.

    2. Carla

      I have almost no bees and few pollinators of any kind in my extensive perennial gardens this year. The plants that normally swarm with bees are nakedly lonely. It’s very worrisome. (NE Ohio)

      1. ambrit

        We have had the same conditions as you for the last four or five years. (South Mississippi.) The main pollinators we are seeing are Bumble Bees and mosquitoes.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “HCQ beneficial as preventive drug: SMS doctors told ICMR”

    Meanwhile in the US, the National Institutes of Health has halted its study of hydroxychloroquine saying in a statement issued on Saturday that although it did not appear hydroxychloroquine caused harm to patients in the study, it was also “very unlikely to be beneficial.” Yeah, we know that this stuff has a proven track record in overseas countries but we can’t be bothered testing it to see if it works. Sounds legit. But wait, it gets better. The US government has several scores of millions of doses of HCQ stored but since everyone agrees that the stuff does not work, they are trying to find ways to get rid of all these stocks by selling it or whatever. Bridge burning anyone?

    1. divadab

      HCQ is out of patent therefore no profiteering available; HCQ touted by Trump therefore bad; HCQ is most valuable as a prophylactic or very early stage covid-19 treatment – which conflicts with the US healthcare system’s priorising heroic last efforts over prevention and early treatment. Consider the emphasis on ventilators, a heroic last stage treatment only 20% life-saving – and contrast with the absolute absence of guidance on treatment – I have a friend who got it, and was told by her teleconference doctor “assume you have covid-19; stay at home and isolate; there is no treatment nor testing available”. Just a complete abdication of the doctor’s duty of care and indicating a failure of leadership of catastrophic proportion. It’s almost like the authorities wanted more people to die………

      1. barefoot charley

        Bless his heart, it’s true that Trump gets twisted media treatment. He said he was taking HCQ prophylactically; “Why not?” Studies soon say it doesn’t cure existing cases; media hoots that Shithead’s all wrong again. Rest of world media notes that HCQ seems to work prophylactically–just not here in profiteering Pharmaland. I’m counting the hours to November.

  13. Amfortas the hippie

    Re: the Nature article on Degrowth, etc
    –“People who have already downshifted should be enabled to share their motivations and experiences to break through stigma and isolation, as would activists building a larger popular movement on climate action.”
    —is where i think of myself as fitting in.
    again, evangelist for sustainablity, self-reliance, sewer gas…all under the rubric of evangelism for a New New Deal, and the application of Thought to how we do things.
    but like the jibe, “steampunk vs clean air”, there’s only so much one guy with limited means can do.
    …especially when countered by the great wurlitzer of corporate culture-jamming and wall to wall propaganda, TINA and other methods of social engineering.
    with so many assumptions falling apart at the moment(and I’d venture that we’ve only begun our now more or less rapid descent), now is a perfect time to get out there and talk to people, as well as to get in there and make whatever individual changes one can.
    I’ve managed, in 25 years, to have an influence way out here…from composting to organic ag to localism to trying new things re: food, to tankless waterheaters to picking through the refuse at the dump for useful material being seen as almost normal behaviour.
    I even got the county to stop spraying diesel as a weedkiller(!) along the county dirt roads. No burning crosses in my yard, nor mobs at my door, as yet.
    Admittedly, this is a small, isolated, and low-population place…but if an incomprehensible weirdo from somewhere else can instigate such big changes in such a conservative and clannish place(with no credit for it, of course,lol) then surely such efforts can be replicated elsewhere.
    That article lends itself to depression….the task before us is enormous.
    mass appeal, nagging acrimony and storming the walls of mainstream politics have had, at best, moderate success in addressing these problems….and that mostly in the realm of sentiment.
    To shift over to Action will take more.
    Happy Dad’s Day, y’all.
    be sure to say hello to a tree, a bird or a soil microbe, today.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        methane, from the sewer plant, is “natural gas”, which is a marketing term for “fossilised sewer gas”.
        about a decade ago, the city/county were getting ducks in a row for improvement on the 50 year old current “plant”(a series of ponds).
        I went to work, gathering and sending information…including potential grants from all over that would have made a digestor plant all but free.
        but it was too heavy a lift, intellectually, for the local ptb.
        so we, instead, have a “new, improved” series of ponds.

    1. barefoot charley

      As Harry Truman (of all people) said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” The credo of successful organizers, like you.

    2. hunkerdown

      There are points between the extremes that work out really nicely in some other ways: one, they and their donors/spares are still cheap and available; two, they haven’t yet succumbed to the smartphone-on-wheels “experience”; and three and most pertinently, tighter fuel and spark control means the exhaust burns into cleaner and less ecologically destructive forms, independent of power efficiency. In my mind, and granted knowing nothing about the used vehicle market out your way, an early-mid 2000s pickup which spent most of its life in a salt-free city as someone’s status symbol would be ideal. Better, get two so you have a donor. Might be worth sending off to Tennessee for one, at that rate.

      I’m just pointing out that reaction is an ever-ready impulse under such as the present conditions, and it’s real easy to dissolve the baby in the bath water with too strong of stirring. Besides, everyone knows the Toyota Hilux is the real choice of the freedom fighter. ;)

  14. doug

    the non native species of bees (ie honey bees) may be in ‘short supply’, but there are many other native bees that pollinate orchards, and gardens.

    1. Carla

      Are they invisible? They don’t appear to the naked eye anywhere in my yard or gardens.

      1. Mel

        Almost. Many of them are 1/4″ long or under. You could mistake them for flies. I’d still rather have honeybees.

          1. polecat

            The bumbles have been pretty numerous here too. They, with those long tongues of their’s, are what pollinate our blueberries, and they absolutely love Lithiodora blooms. They pollinate the cane berries as well, along with our honeybees, and any orchard bees that hang around. We have Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), a native here .. about ready to bloom, and will no doubt be crawling with various little bees, wasps, nats, flies – flitting to and fro, totally alive with the sound of ‘hums’.

            Compared to the properties on either side of our lot, we’re an insect (and bird) Eden!
            Let me just end by saying – that the making of an oasis takes a bit o work!

      2. Off The Street

        We have a lot of bees pollinating away. However, we also notice too many dead bees on sidewalks around the area, presumably due to indiscriminate use of herbicides.

    2. jonboinAR

      I see a lot of quite small bees or flies, I’m not sure, pollinating. At least, I think that’s what they’re doing.

      1. ChristopherJ

        Native bees can be mistaken for a fly, but not for long. They don’t sting and if you are lucky to have a hive in your house, ours enter through a small hole in the lounge room window and have their hive in the space between my weather boards and the inside sheeted wall. We see the occasional bumble bee and sometimes one of those giant ones, but most of our plants, veggies and fruit trees get pollinated by these little guys

  15. zagonostra

    I don’t know exactly how but it seems to me that the story on The Nova Scotia shooter case has hallmarks of an undercover operation , and the Germany: Riots and looting grip Stuttgart Deutsche Welle and Arctic records its hottest temperature ever seem to me somehow connected.

    The links/news, even within their rubric, seem like some crazy Brownian movement, but maybe they are more akin to the lines Shakespeare has the Choir chant in the opening scene of Macbeth.

    Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
    Hover through the fog and filthy air.

    1. JEHR

      Amazing that the shooter could either be an agent for the police or maybe even one of the bad guys, judging by the horror he exacted on the victims. Pretty good chance we will never know what really happened.

    2. Rhondda

      The Nova Scotia shooter struck chords in my mind of Stephen Paddock, said to be the Mandalay Bay shooter. Weird.

  16. a different chris

    As dBoer points out:

    >Some people feel a reactionary backlash brewing

    But… of course there will be a backlash. There is a backlash to *every* change in society. If nobody at all wanted things the way they are then they wouldn’t be that way. Plus there is the normal 1/3 of us that are decent-hearted yet always worried about change even knowing that things aren’t perfect (cough, looks in mirror, cough) which tend to be a deadweight on everything.

    We just have to screw our courage to the sticking place. Whatever the heck Bill S. meant by that.

  17. Dalepues

    Tulsa crowd. I don’t use twitter, but I love to read the comments. Twitter seems to be the platform for humor in the U.S. This one made me laugh out loud: “If Trump was a touring band he’d be playing casinos and state fairs.”
    Should be “If Trump were….”, but still.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Why the World Should Fear Trump’s UN Moves Against Iran”

    Sounds like that Trump may be on the warpath about Iran again because of Pompeo and Netanyahu. Thing is, which of America’s allies might turn up to help in any attack on Iran? Maybe the UK? Maybe France? Probably any other nation would be telling any of their ships to leave the Gulf immediately. More importantly, what happens if Iran attacks back? They could end up killing hundreds of Americans at a minimum across the whole middle east. They have that capability.

    Came across something the other day which made me think back. The last time Trump was on about Iran, he threatened to attack all their cultural sights which cause a lot of Iranians to post images of these cultural sights in case he actually did it. But doing so is actually a war crime and got zero support so he dropped it but I think that I discovered another reason why so.

    Back in WW2, the German Luftwaffe undertook a series of raids on the UK which was called the Baedeker Blitz and they were deliberately targeting any site of cultural or historical note. To help in the planning, they used a popular tour book on the UK called Baedeker’s Great Britain guide and any site that had a three-star rating was selected as a target. So perhaps someone in the Pentagon pointed out to Trump that if did the same, that there would be comparisons made between the US Air Force and the German Luftwaffe of WW2. I don’t think that a lot of officers would want to be in that position, hence why the idea was dropped-

    1. Olga

      “But doing so is actually a war crime and got zero support so he dropped it but I think that I discovered another reason why so.”
      Attacking a country that is not a threat is also a war crime, a far bigger one – as in “[t]o initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Let’s not forget…
      The trouble with DT’s re-election is that he may just embark on a war against Iran.

      1. rowlf

        The media, churches and schools in the US are all ok with war crimes, just like the media, churches and schools in the Confederate States thought slavery was right.

      2. Massinissa

        Honestly, I don’t think Biden would be any less likely to start a war in Iran than DJT.

        My opinion is that if Trump wanted a war with Iran, he would have done it in this past January or shortly after. Remember, in January Iran shot US military bases: What better casus belli could Trump possibly get than that?

        1. integer

          Biden would likely focus on Russia, which would mean a wholesale re-engagement in Syria and Ukraine. My read is that Trump has – through inaction if nothing else – significantly set back the neocon agenda, and they are champing at the bit to make up for lost ground. Biden would be willing to indulge their every whim. As an aside, I expect Biden would also revive the TPP. It’s a shame Sanders didn’t guide his supporters in the direction of forming a new party after the 2016 primary. Surely some sort of progress, however small, would’ve been made by now, and perhaps it would’ve even given sane USians some kind of hope for the future. I also think the current coronavirus situation would’ve worked to its favor, in that people who weren’t already aligned with the left would’ve been more willing to consider alternatives to the duopoly. In any case, 2020 is once again a “Giant Douche vs. Turd Sandwich” election (South Park really nailed it in that scene).

  19. anon

    In Houston at least, where masks are not mandatory, there appears to be a clear association (not implying causation) between the protests and the surge in cases, based on publicly available TMC data. There was a small increase after Memorial Day but a large increase 5-15 days after the start of protests.

    1. barefoot charley

      Wow. CalPERS will borrow so much money they’ll still make 7 percent returns on the money they actually have, which they’re losing because markets. So more markets! I’m glad Yves’s trained us on CalPERS logic, or this story wouldn’t make any sense.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “It Doesn’t Look Like the Protests Are Causing a COVID-19 Spike”

    There could be another reason why there was not a dramatic spike. When you think about it, the sort of person that would attend a mass protest in the middle of a pandemic is likely not taking regular precautions in their day to day live. So they go to bars if they can, they don’t wear masks and they don’t bother to social distance with others. Of course behaviour like this is likely to lead them getting Coronavirus and the fact that there are over 2.3 million cases – officially – in the United States at the moment provides some validation for this assessment. So perhaps most of those attending the protests had the virus before, are in the middle of having the virus, or were going to get it anyway. This would mean that the case already appear in the daily count of the 33,000 odd new cases appearing each and every day in the US and that is why no spike.

    1. Carolinian

      Of course yet another explanation is that it isn’t as infectious as people think–particularly outdoors. In China they concluded that most people got it from family members which is to say due to constant exposure, indoors.

      Here in SC we have had a big surge in cases and there is even talk, as there is in some other states, of mandatory mask laws (in Columbia, SC it would be a misdemeanor).

      However the daily death total has not been surging and in fact is down quite a bit from the peak some weeks ago. And even with the surging these Southern and Western states are far below every Northeastern state except Maine and Vermont.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I hope that what you say is true. I heard that both Florida and South Carolina have been copping a flogging the past few days but I also hear that half the States are experiencing increases in cases which is not good news. The projections for South Carolina don’t look so crash hot right now so wearing masks sounds like a good thing right now which I hope you are doing-

        1. Carolinian

          Oh I always wear a mask in stores but think any requirement that they be worn outdoors is over the top. And the proposed Columbia ordinance does make exceptions for “exercising” etc.

          Should also say that in SC as in other places about half those that pass away are in nursing homes and that the daily report of deaths have the victims overwhelmingly described as “elderly.” Obviously some young people do get sick and some have lingering complications but I’ve not seen any account of whether they also have “comorbidities” or obesity that might contribute to this.

          There’s been a great expansion of testing here which also of course increases the number of positives.

          1. Rod

            As reported in The State newspaper of Columbia SC:

            It is the fourth straight day there have been more than 900 new cases reported in the state. More than 1,000 new cases were reported the previous two days, including a record 1,115 cases on Saturday.

            Read more here:

            from the day before:
            The numbers reflect more than just an increase in testing, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. They show that people are transmitting the virus more, shooting South Carolina upward on its curve, which government leaders called a plateau just weeks ago. While much of the country starts on its downward slope of new cases, South Carolina is at the highest point it’s ever been. And that’s even before what scientists predict could be a worse “second wave” of the virus, along with influenza, in the fall and winter months.

            Read more here:

            and according to SC DHEC, 62% of the infections are coming from ages 18-60 with the 18-25 demographic accounting for 18%–age 60 and over less=15% infections, also lost in the numbers is the significant rate of infection within the Hispanic Community accounting for more positive tests than the black community–especially Greenville and Spartanburg Counties(Latinos are grouped under White for racial demographics–in Greenville Cty=14% Latino pop and +50% infection–same as in Forsythe Cty NC)

            imo–the infection rate amongst Latinos is very difficult to discuss within the context of Political Correctness in both Carolinas

            Surely, Nothing to put a bow on here in the Great State
            Our Governor knows we shall rise to the occasion….

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          AC and not going out under the more onerous sun.

          I’m really worried about cooling centers when they are open or not opened depending on the situation, but plenty of poor people go to libraries to escape the heat.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        And yet another explanation is that this is just more unconscionable politicization of a purported national emergency. After all, it could be “politically” damaging for authorities, many of them democrats, to have switched abruptly from using draconian orders and even drones to force america into quarantine, to endorsing and even participating in ideological “mass gatherings.”

        In a pandemic that has funneled trillions to corporations, cost millions their livelihoods and may yet cost them their homes and families’ futures, what does a headline that begins “It doesn’t look like” even mean?

        There is still no national standardized definition of what constitutes “cases” or covid “deaths” for that matter. No mention of what testing confirmed the headline or the reliability of that testing. All we get are “impressions,” theories and “expert” opinions masquerading as data “analysis.”

        One thing is undeniable–the repercussions of whatever is currently going on in this country will be serious, and will last far longer than its political / electoral utility. Vague, unsubstantiated headlines like this don’t help, and, in fact, make the situation much more chaotic and confusing. I don’t “believe” this junky article for a minute, and I’m beyond pissed that political chain-yanking like this keeps muddying the waters.

      3. philnc

        Here in Wake County, NC the number of cases never leveled off, yet the State began a phased “re-opening” and the county went along. So far, only the city of Raleigh has recently imposed a rule making masks mandatory. From the beginning the short-term economic gains of a few have been put before the safety of ordinary people by governments at all levels. It is a stunning indictment of representative government that officials high and low have chosen to actively cover up or avoid the facts in the interests of their shareholders. The refusal of authorities to even consider an aggressive testing program like those in Asia and New Zealand are bad enough, but outright lying about the efficacy of masks while tens of thousands were dying was pure evil.

    2. Darthbobber

      I’m not inclined to go with this. The assumption of the “sort of” people participating in demonstrations is just wrong, at least in Philadelphia. A large fraction of us wouldn’t have been out in a crowd for any other reason. Masks were the norm (and the city, at the larger gatherings, had people passing them out)
      Physical distance is harder to maintain under those conditions (especially if you get kettled, but that’s another story.) But where there was room, people were generally better about it than I would have expected.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Sorry Darthblobber. When I referred to the “sort of” people in my comment, what I was talking about was young, not stupid or anything. Last night I saw a street view image showing some place in south-west US with young people going about their lives (but with hardly any masks to be seen) outside a bar and an open patio. It was so inviting. Looking at it, I realized that if I was that age again, that I could very easily be one of them.

        1. marym

          Public health officials in cities where there have been large protests are still being cautious in assessing whether there’s been any spike. In the meantime, it seems unlikely that people who protest wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and even trying for some degree of social distancing are likely to unmask and go to bars, even if there’s some overlap in the age range of both groups.

          1. Jackson

            Four bars in Boise reported Covid-19 cases. Two of cater to 21-25 year olds and the other 2 cater to hard core alcoholics between 45-65 years old. Go figure…

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          we loosened the restrictions on the boys(14 & 18), somewhat, for the past month…with the understanding that they’d continue not licking people or doorknobs.
          the Eldest’s usual bunch all have a family member who is similarly compromised to my wife, and are scared enough about giving covid to them to be remarkably cautious for young adults.
          Youngest has been more limited in his excursions off-farm…and is more scared than his brother of getting covid…he went to a birthday party at the river, yesterday…outside, keeping his distance, etc.
          But now Eldest wants to go one a road trip,lol.
          and we’re simultaneously considering re-implementing restrictions…causing grumbling and surly-ness.
          I’ll take on the role of Bad Cop, and shamelessly play the Cancer Card…and continue sending both boys terror tales of young people having strokes, and grandmother’s dying from covid brought to them by their grandkids.
          It’s a shitty position to be in…and would be a whole lots easier if 1. the MSM, gooberment, etc would settle on a non-politicised Official Story…and 2. if the local yokels would not be so ignorant and childish about it all.
          (“can’t tell ME to wear a mask..I’ll show those Commies!”)
          I send the boys easy to digest scienc-ey stories, too(…and attempt to mitigate my Bad Cop role play with commiseration…”it sucks that this is happening at this time in your life”…etc.

          Eldest is now talking about moving into the Library/decrepit trailerhouse/ad hoc Pest Tent….so as to free himself from these restrictions.
          It’s a hard row…and harder for the lack of a light at the end of the tunnel.

        3. Darthbobber

          I was about 30 before I began to realize that I was not really immortal or invulnerable.

    3. td

      The incubation period is from 5 to 20-odd days. During that time, people become infectious and start others on the pathway to illness. Then it takes a week or two to get sick enough to seek hospitalization and another couple of weeks for the deaths to spike.

      Be patient; we’re not out of the woods for a while yet. The numbers to watch are ICU admissions which will result in deaths in the following period of time. Increased testing increases case numbers but hospital and ICU admissions really reflect the levels of illness. Several hospitals in Texas are now getting significant admissions from the original reopening of the state.

      1. VietnamVet

        It is a tragedy that the best advice available is in the comments at NC. There was bipartisan agreement to dump the pandemic onto the States. A failure of basic governance that has killed 122,000 Americans. There is no national public health authority to coordinate data gathering, preparing factual responses, testing, tracing or isolating the infected. All is haphazard and ill-informed. The virus is likely less deadly and less contagious that the initial hotspots thanks to the prudent avoiding contact with others. But there have been super-spreader events since the start of the pandemic. The President of the United States set up a perfect facsimile of another one in Tulsa. Although media reports fewer attended than planned, this is such a cluster mess, it is doubtful that the Oklahoma Department of Health is doing contact tracing to find out.

  21. TroyIA

    Quotas Can Help Fix the Glaring Whiteness of America’s C-Suites

    I applaud the bold stance of this article. It is about time a select few black CEO’s should be allowed to make 287 times more money than their workers.

    At least they didn’t propose something radical like raising the minimum wage. Can you image how many black people would benefit from that? (shudders)

    1. divadab

      That Bloomberg is touting quotas is a very bad sign – of the ideological bankruptcy of the neo-liberal order. They’re basically admitting that corporate leadership is as symbolic as political leadership; that its leaders are mostly about privilege and not about competence; and that just adjusting the racial mix of corporate leadership will make all its manifold sins go away. Profiteering is just aok; exploiting employees is situation normal; exporting US American jobs to foreigners is inevitable and good for the company. It’s just that we don;t have enough brown faces so we will be virtuous actors when we hire on a few tokens.

      ALso – Bloomberg has political ambitions and is pandering to the wokesters.

      1. Tom Doak

        Bloomberg had political ambitions, four months ago. I cannot believe he still does, after his reception in the D primaries.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I recall how I felt when I made an appointment to have a badly-impacted wisdom tooth removed, as the days until the appointment ticked by I managed all sorts of mental avoidance conniptions.

            I feel the same feeling today awaiting the arrival of Mini Mike’s billions of dollars to be flung at promoting the Biden “candidacy”. How much agitprop, outright lies, non sequiturs, virtue signalling, weird stories, retellings of history, and business-as-usual neo-lib apologias can one man be expected to endure? Talk about a hate crime against those of us who are addicted to reality, it’s absolutely inhumane.

            (Yes yes yes of course we will see the same from The Orange Man, but his will be flayed and laid completely bare for what they are. Biden’s by contrast will be framed with holy reverence for their “normalcy” “factual basis” “scientific reason” and their assumptive goodness and light. I think I’m gonna be sick).

  22. stefan

    The money quote from Trump’s “Mein Rampf” address:
    “Whatever magic I used to have, it’s gone.”

  23. fresno dan

    Holy cow, Buchanan and the Slave Power almost made it. This thread is a must-read:

    What I find most fascinating is the use of euphemisms for the word “Slavery” – even than they were trying to.. ..whitewash slavery now, slavery tomorrow, slavery forever.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I guess that they split the slavery-is-a-thing Amendment into five Amendments so that the failure of one would not lead to a total break-down of talks. The trouble was the slave States wanted it all and demanded that all five Amendments pass. Even if it had all passed, it would have delayed the Civil War by a generation at most. Feelings at the time were far to strong to be denied. Did they nearly pass? Maybe. But as I always remind myself, nearly doesn’t count.

        1. marym

          It’s not an uncommon theme on the right that the R’s were the party that freed the slaves, and the D’s were the party of slavery and early 20th century segregation.

          Republicans should keep their name so they can own every bad policy they’ve supported since the Dixiecrats defected and the parties realigned over civil rights 72 years ago.

          “…some thoughts on the history of the parties’ switch on civil rights.”

          “Usually, the popular debate over the partisan realignment over civil rights focuses on southern Democrats, but it’s just as instructive to look at the first wave of southern Republicans.”

          “The Party Realignment on Civil Rights, Take 2”

          (Not a defense of the D’s. They too own all their bad policies since the realignment, and also their surrendering their party name from Democratic to Democrat without a fight.)

      1. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        June 21, 2020 at 10:57 am

        The would-be 16th Amendment would have imposed harsh penalties on any state interfering with slavery: “If any state shall enact … any law impairing [the Fugitive Slave Act] such state shall not be entitled to any representation in Congress [ ] until the the repeal of such law.”

        And then there’s the would-be 17th Amendment, in which the Senate would be divided into two classes — the slave-state class and the non-slave-state class — and “a majority of the vote of each class shall be necessary to the passage of the presiding motion, bill or resolutions.

        The 18th Amendment: “The provisions of … the several amendments to this Constitution, numbered Articles 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17, shall forever be unalterable.”
        What gets me is how important owning slaves was – it was the most important thing to these southern men at some deep psychic level. I really get the impression that they would sooner lose their Intromittent organs than their slaves.

        1. barefoot charley

          “Possession is nine tenths of the law.”

          Laws exist to defend property. Judges are paid to defend property. Justice is so expensive because it’s for defending hella property. The most influential Enlightenment philosopher, John Locke, majestically summed up what matters to bourgeois man: “Liberty, Equality, Property.” Jefferson’s clever euphemism when he cribbed Locke in the Declaration of Independence must have earned some cynical giggles: Property, after all, is little more than “the pursuit of happiness.”

      2. Dirk77

        Decades ago, but I still remember my high school history teacher saying that the US Civil War was not about slavery initially, it was about preserving the Union. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. And I’m sure some enterprising politicians in US history made tries to extend slavery to poor whites or anyone really.

        1. barefoot charley

          Preserving the Union by stopping the spread of slavery–that was Lincoln’s platform. Which would have made slave-breeding less profitable, and slavery ever more marginal. In other words, it was about slavery.

          1. Dirk77

            One argument of my teacher was that the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves only in states still in rebellion. It did not apply to states such as Kentucky, which were under Union control by then. If Lincoln’s platform was as you mention, then I guess it is possible that Lincoln was prevented from freeing them by restrictions on his wartime powers. It would be interesting to see some evidence of that. Also I don’t doubt the South view was that the war was about slavery.

            1. JBird4049

              Even if all the proposed amendments (13th-17th) had been passed, the Fugitive Slave Act had radicalized the North; as a population they were not going to accept the expansion of slavery into any new state although the continuation of slavery in the South was acceptable for not having a war.

              The entrance of Kansas and Missouri as states show just how bloody it would be. Free-staters and slavery supports had an actual, unofficial civil war. The South’s peculiar institution as it was set up needed to expand for it to remain as profitable as it was. It was like capitalism in needing to expand or die, but then American slavery was a capitalist institution.

              The South also needed to have what were effectively slave patrols in the Free States to continue as well, which was not going to happen. The armed resistance by abolitionists, or those who just didn’t want armed bands of kidnappers roaming free, would have just increased.

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              Your teacher is actually right about this part. The Emancipation Proclamation only officially applied to areas in rebellion. The criticism of Lincoln as a “freer of the slaves” is Lincoln was only giving cover for the reality created by the chaos and the simple reality of soldiers from the North who weren’t big on slavery.

              Spielberg certainly has his movie, but the simply reality is troops were freeing and slaves were simply leaving in “occupied” areas or areas with access to troops because plantation owners out of the rebellious areas weren’t loyal.

              I’m not sure what Lincoln thought the future would look like. I mean I didn’t see “defund the police” being a prominent slogan in March. Was he providing a bludgeon? Then there is the foreign policy explanation. Whether it was already the case, he made it politically unviable for European governments who might be eager to not see a North American colossus emerge in the New World.

              Lincoln didn’t have the authority to simply “free” a class that was part of the Constitutional order.

              1. barefoot charley

                Lincoln ran for president on a platform of restricting the spread of slavery but leaving existing relations alone. Just that caused the rebellion. He famously said that, if it would preserve the Union, he would end slavery, or continue slavery. Then in the summer of 1862, he clamored for a victory, any victory, which he could use to promote his purely military measure of freeing slaves only in areas in rebellion. The Brits had done just the same thing in our Revolution, and it was an effective, terrifying war weapon. Then Lee march on Gettysburg, and history was unleashed.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            My memory is hazy, but the plantation class was looking to move West (the oligarchs owned multiple plantations) as unregulated cotton farming was destroying the soil.

            I’m not sure where Lincoln was, but I’m fairly certain the Plantation Class knew they couldn’t function without Westward expansion. I don’t think the slave breeders would be the drivers of that project. It might be a conspiracy theory, but Sherman subscribed to the idea the Mexican War was instigated with the ultimate goal of secession.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              cotton…like corn…is a heavy feeder…it depletes the soil.
              I suspise that it’s also aleleopathic…exuding what are effectively pre-emergent herbicides from some part of itself.(sunflowers and black walnut also share this quality…i plant the former in areas of problem weeds, like johnson grass, for just that reason)
              It’s well known among long time farm country folks that cotton ruins the land.
              so , although i’ve never heard of thi sangle, it makes sense that the Planters wanted to move on to undepleted land.
              Frelling capitalists…despoiling the planet from the get-go.

              1. barefoot charley

                Yep, cotton planters were always moving West from land they ruined. It’s the most fundamental reason that the cotton kingdom had to grow or die, and couldn’t be penned in.

              2. The Rev Kev

                I have read about that. And because of this factor, the southern States were planning on invading Cuba to expand to the fertile lands there. Of course that would have meant war with Spain 35 years earlier than what happened but the southern States would have been fighting Spain alone without the northern States.

            2. barefoot charley

              The tidewater states, Virginia and Maryland especially, had exhausted their soils by the decades before the Civil War. The principle crop of many ancestral plantations had become slaves. Chain gangs driven westward were common sights haunting northern travelers there before the war.

              Clearly, oligarchic interests converged on keeping their economy humming. Lincoln pretended he wasn’t threatening it, but my guess is he knew better, and wanted the evil to waste away as even many Southerners expected it to, before cotton became king.

              1. Dirk77

                Interesting angle there by you and others. Cotton gin + cotton + slaves = profitable -> soil depleted -> new land => westward expansion needed. I suppose the recovery time for the land was too long for plantation owners. Or they had no idea how to do it, if it takes more than time. Not that it matters.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  The debt cycle for the plantations was extreme too, so its reasonable to conclude that ole Honest Abe really did know what he was doing (I tend to view these people as reactionary to realities on the ground). They might not have the cash to keep everything flowing or reconfigure their operation.

                  Then they needed the slaves to control the workforce.

    2. richard

      their effrontery was amazing
      and their literal and spiritual descendents still plague us
      their shameless entitlement and shrieks of horror when their sick “rights” were even questioned should seem very familiar to all of us
      these ghosts do hang on

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Amazing effrontery…..shameless entitlement……these ghosts do hang on

        No need to wonder how much righteous indignation and historical moral superiority was stoked while scrolling through this twitter thread on an iphone, produced for that blm-banner-flying darling of american consumers, “investors,” and retirees Apple Corp., in the anti-slavery paragon of human rights virtue Foxconn facility, populated with “workers” at tim cook’s beck and call and festooned with suicide nets to “protect” them. I know it’s a lot.

        Then there are the famously “free” men, women and children who mine the rare earth minerals that make the phone, the twitter scrolling and thus the righteous indignation possible.

        And how much of that scrolling was done while sporting that sparkling symbol of love and devotion–a debeers diamond–or trendy clothing sewn by those “free” souls who labor in fetid compounds featuring barbed wire and locked doors?

        I could go on but you get the picture. “Revulsion” at “slavery” would seem to be a rather fluid emotion, subject as it is to the more concrete “principles” of economics and, maybe most notably, distance away from the person expressing that revulsion .

        I always find it helpful to remember this handy old saw, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

        1. ambrit

          Don’t be a “purist” KE! (sarc.)
          The modern, intersectional version of that old saw is: “Let we who are the least sinful cast the first projectiles.”

        2. richard

          I understand your point, but the idea that nobody who uses an electronic device can throw a stone at slavers seems unworkable to me. For one thing, it would make it very hard to actually stop modern slavery.

        3. polecat

          Yes. Also those pesky things referred to as eyes, motes, logs … and such.

          Look. EVERYONE .. I don’t care who they are, carrie’s a monkey .. maybe more, of some sort upon their back. Anyone who states the contrary is a lier, certainly not the outlier they profess to be!

  24. Wukchumni

    The NYC fireworks show idea probably emanates from V For Vendetta, as the movie really kicked off the Guy Fawkes mask gig, and in the film fireworks were set off to get the proles attention off of other things happening.

    Was listening to LA news radio this morning, and the talking head was describing the great harm half a million pills garnered from 177 looted pharmacies could do out on the streets!

    The emphasis was totally on prevention, and the 177 number kind of mentioned in passing, can you imagine that many pharmacies being looted in the city of angles, brave new world indeed, with a Soma chaser.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Given the costs of so many drugs maybe the drugs looted were not all of the recreational variety. That thought comes to mind after having recently re-watched my DVD of the “Ariel” episode of Firefly.

  25. Oso

    Lambert confirming the fireworks deep east oakland and fruitvale, everybody hears it and nobody knows who the hell it is. last night woke me up.

    1. Keith

      I can confirm that this level of fireworks activity is standard where I live in North St Louis City and has been for many years. I hear and see everything from large booms well in excess of the legal stuff (at random times during the day sounding like someone’s house exploded a few blocks away) to normal firecrackers and rockets/shells. This starts mid-June or earlier and goes through the 4th usually sporadic during the day and picking up to war-zone levels between 9 and 11 pm with it going well past midnight around the fourth. Setting off fireworks is illegal by city ordinance, but the cops can never be relied on to enforce this. You’d have to set it off in front of one to get nailed for it and even then I’d be surprised if someone got more than a verbal warning.

      Missouri is one of the states where class C fireworks are legal for public sale. I do occasionally see things that look like they may be commercial grade, but the legal stuff has gotten closer and closer in appearance/effect to the commercial grade. You have similar types of booms and air-bursts, but much smaller scale. I haven’t bought any in the last ten years, but I’ve seen what friends buy and set off.

      In a built up area it’s really hard to tell distance to something you see over a roof line. What looks far away may in fact be very close. My guess is that what’s being reported is probably nowhere near the commercial stuff in magnitude, but only looks that big due to problems judging the scale. That said, if a lot of the big public shows have been called off this year due to Covid, at least some of the fireworks they would have set off probably ended up being sold non-commercially. I’d always heard about that sort of thing where someone knew someone who had gotten commercial grade stuff for their home fireworks show.

      Although, if you think the fireworks are bad, maybe you should come here for the New Years Eve gunfire some year. That will really make you think you’re in a war-zone. I’ve always suspected that if we could get large numbers of the gun-rights crowd to spend NYE night in North St Louis, a large proportion wouldn’t be so eager to strike down city and state gun laws afterwards. Partly racism (Hey I didn’t know black people have lots of guns!) and partly the shock of experiencing that sort of irresponsibility with guns first-hand. I grew up in the country with guns in the house and it was a total shock to me. Something I though only happened in very backwards places or in some movie about the wild west.

    2. DJG

      Thanks, Oso and TroyIA.

      The Son of Baldwin thread is fascinating–in all the wrong ways. Fireworks displays–of the colored skyrocket kinds–are expensive. People on the thread are reporting full displays–not just firecrackers and “M80s” (that’s what we call them in Chicago). Who has the money for displays night after night for hours? At Fourth of July celebrations, the display goes on for an hour–and the municipal governments report spending thousands of dollars on them.

      We aren’t talking here about someone breaking into a fireworks warehouse.

      I posted the thread on my FB page to try to determine which neighborhoods in Chicago are affected. The three or so comments in Son of Baldwin’s thread didn’t specify their neighborhoods of Chicago.

      1. barefoot charley

        In the middish-90s Mayor Daley fils cracked down on New Year’s gunshooting in Chicago, after years of stories of falling bullets killing a few innocents every New Years. From treetop level on the South Side the firepower didn’t just sound like advancing military, the flashing sky looked like it even through Chicago’s mighty puke-pink streetlights. Machine-gun ratatat-tats, explosions, nonstop, started after 11, continued for hours. He actually calmed it down.

      2. Keith

        This is what I ask myself every year. Where I live is one of the poorest parts of the metro area. Yet there seem to be a literal ton of fireworks set off privately within my area of the city every year during the run-up to the 4th.

        The biggest variations in this that I see come from weather. Much hotter and you see less. Much cooler and you see much more.

        I am truly getting a kick out of all this excitement over something I see every year.

        I suspect the increase in illegal fireworks seen around the country is merely unusually bored people looking for some excitement that isn’t indoors.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          in our little town, there’s always fireworks on those two nights, and the cops do a perfunctory cruise around, just for show…maybe issue a warning.
          such activity is mostly in the Barrio…and in the White Barrio(Rednecks).
          Both are also prone to firing guns into the air.
          I suspect that the richer folks, up on the hill, are split between fainting couch and going to the ranch to set a few off.
          Most years on the Fourth of July, the City/County hire a professional to put on a show in a field north of town(field is donated for this purpose by a not rich family who is very old blood around here)…volunteer fire department on hand, and people in their cars and trucks lined up along the fences, in the bar-ditch.
          I’ve been thinking for a while that this latter part is pretty conducive to the whole social distancing thing. It’s a great big tailgate party…much like our graduation parade was. distanced by family/clan.
          i noticed a week ago that that field has been mowed, as well as the bar ditch surrounding it.
          our one fireworks stand is there, too.
          I think that the company the fire works stand people work for are the ones who are contracted for the show…it’s pretty rinky-dink by big city standards.
          smell of gunpowder and thermite wafting on the air, along with the smell of dry grass and exhaust and the sound of drunken rednecks and their women and children, all under a starry sky…Americana, right there to touch and smell and feel…very Kerouacian:

          “…So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”

          -from On the Road.

      3. Southsider Chicago

        This is our third summer in Hyde Park (south side) after ten on the NW side. The fireworks for the last week plus have been more intense than anything we’ve heard for the last two summers here. In previous two years we were actually pretty happy at how much less firework noise there was in our new location. The volume and length rival even July 4th itself on the NWSide, but it’s been many nights in a row. Definitely weird.

        Fireworks “season” in Chicago is definitely all summer long bc you can buy whatever you want 20min away in Indiana, but it’s usually sporadic and irritating and peaks on July 4th. This year is not that.

      4. katenka

        I’m in Budlong Woods, and it’s absolutely bonkers (and unprecedented, and *consistent*) to the west of me.

      5. Oso

        yw. I share those same thoughts as you do, in regards to Son of Baldwin post. lot of folks here in deep east been discussing it. typically only M80’s and firecrackers here too, like you say, and never this early. things that make you go hmmmm. otoh hella things atypical these days with a pandemic going on.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      An exciting tail to Midsummer’s Eve celebrations after a last Calle Schewen’s Waltz?

    4. Beyond the rubicoN

      Confirming the fireworks, SF tenderloin as well. It has been on for at least a week. However it does not go on all night. New to the area and I could not say if this is normal. It sounds like an artillery barrage.

    5. Big River Bandido

      A number of states in recent years have relaxed sales of fireworks in the period around Independence Day. Could this spike in use be related?

      1. Oso

        Big River Bandido good question. my info is they can be sold legally here after June 28th, for what that’s worth. i haven’t paid much attention to fireworks sales in years, possible some are being sold earlier? but otoh cause of the fires and droughts in california costing so much $ and lives, it’s possible for that reason there may be stricter regulation and enforcing of fireworks sale laws. only a guess tho

    6. ChristopherJ

      Where are all the fireworks made?

      A Chinese plot to deny you a good night’s sleep? /s

  26. Carolinian

    Adolph Reed’s contention that identity politics are class politics seems to go off the rails a bit here.

    An agenda of egalitarian redistribution on class terms would disproportionately benefit blacks and other nonwhites, women, and probably LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) people as well because these populations are disproportionately poor and working class.

    Happy to be corrected but is there much evidence that LGBTQ (and there is that “probably”) are “disproportionately poor and working class”? Indeed, without a sociological study on offer, I’d say just the opposite is true.

    And while without question discrimination against different sexual choices is a bad thing, it simply isn’t the same as racism and couldn’t be. If a movement puts David Geffen in the same category as poor people in housing projects then it loses all meaning in class terms. Here’s suggesting that the struggle against discrimination in general and the struggle for economic equality are different things, however much dubious historical interpretations like the 1619 project try to say they are the same.

    1. Yves Smith

      You’ve seen too many TV shows and movies with the only gays in them middle or upper class (and men who are seen as higher status in our society are overrepresented in the popular media relative to lesbians, let alone bis and transexuals).

      65% of the working age people in the US do not have a college degree. On top of that, quite a few college educated people are in the precariat, like driving an Uber.

      Yet you assert that gays are grossly disproportionately members of higher income groups. Quite an assumption.

      1. Carolinian

        Yet you assert that gays are grossly disproportionately members of higher income groups.

        Where did I assert that? I’m sure the proportions are the same in all economic classes unless one assumes being a member of a particular class makes you more inclined to be gay–which would surely be contrary to any known study.

        What I am challenging–or at least questioning–is the notion that being gay makes you subject to economic discrimination in the same way that blacks and women are. That’s what Reed is saying and even he says “probably.”

        1. Yves Smith

          Are you being obtuse?

          You said:

          Happy to be corrected but is there much evidence that LGBTQ (and there is that “probably”) are “disproportionately poor and working class”?

          Americans are disproportionately poor and working class. Unless gays are exceptionally affluent, they will be at least as poor and working class as the rest of America, and as an out group, there is every reason to believe more so. For instance, workplace pay practices have long discriminated in favor of married men with kids at the expense of everyone else.

      1. Carolinian

        From your link

        Women of all sexual orientations have significantly higher rates of poverty than cisgender straight men and gay men. LGBT people of most races and ethnicities show higher rates of poverty than their cisgender straight counterparts.

        Here’s some more

        ◦Several characteristics known to be related to poverty are more common among LGBT people. LGBT people, particularly bisexual and transgender people, are more likely to be:
        ■people of color,
        ■young, and
        ■experiencing a disability.
        ◦However, some LGBT groups have higher levels of education, live in urban areas, and have fewer children (namely, gay cisgender men), all factors that protect them from poverty.

        So even your link says that women as a group experience significantly more economic discrimination than LGBT and also suggests that the openly gay may be more likely to be members of groups–the young, blacks–who are traditionally less affluent. But it also says

        some LGBT groups have higher levels of education, live in urban areas, and have fewer children

        and let’s add some are also closeted and not available to surveys.

        I’m not claiming any special knowledge other than personal observation on this and, as I said, happy to be corrected. But what I will assert is that being gay is not the same as being black–historically or otherwise.

        1. Yves Smith

          You are straw manning Reed big time. He clearly put LGBTQ later in the list than blacks, non-whites and women and added a qualifier too.

      2. hunkerdown

        If I’m understanding this correctly, it’s that wealth inequality is more pronounced among the groups that the Democrat Party has taken as its standard-bearers, and it’s the vocal minority of the always-vocal, always-entitled bourgeoisie that we see demanding their allegiance.

        “tHeY’rE vOtInG aGaInSt tHeIr eCoNoMiC iNtErEsTs”

    2. JBird4049

      (Me banging my head against a wall. Followed by slight? rant.)

      Why are we trying to somehow poo-poo just how difficult it is to be different and make it just how each difference is more or less difficult? How far back do you want to go? IIRC, Stonewall was only five decades ago and the gay rights movement only really got traction in the 70s. And what areas of the country are you referring to?

      This reminds me of the conversations I have had with the idiots who think racism is not a factor because Jim Crow officially ended fifty years ago. Then there are the Holocaust deniers. Or somehow the homeless have privilege if they are white as if any such thing shelters them from the rain or hunger. Then again I have heard of gays and lesbians saying that bisexuals were not “real.” That they were somehow faking it. (Well, okay. Just like how people sometimes claimed you were not real or legitimate?)

      Now on how race and class must be two separate things approached separately… if you want to compare numbers, whites are the largest in every negative category for Americans while as a percentage of each individual group, why yes, blacks have it worse. However, the Native Americans have it worse than any other race in the entire country, but I don’t see any protests over them. Of course, the remnant Indian population are left to rot isolated in the reservations. That couldn’t be the problem. /s Does anyone really believe that MLK was finally assassinated just as his Poor People’s Campaign and not during the violent assaults on protesters during his Civil Rights Campaign? The stupid never, ever ends.

      I personally remember when being gay or lesbian, forget anything else just might get you dead and certainly a beating. That’s in the San Francisco Bay Area mind you. It has only been since really the last thirty years that people can usually come out without putting themselves in physical danger. Keeping your employment is different unless you’re in one of the ultra blue areas like the Bay. Then there’s the rest of the country. Children are still being thrown out of their homes by their families for just being gay or lesbian. I have never, ever seen nor heard of how being gay can make you well-off unless it is because a gay couple is less likely to be raising a child.

      I despise the Victim’s Olympics and even more Identity Politics. “Oh, I have more ways to be discriminated against than you. I win!” Being in a minority, or poor, or physical disabled, or having some mental or emotional issues can all get you hurt or killed. All are interwoven and all must be faced at the same time. Splitting the hairs is just a fool’s game and just gives control to the elites running this country.

      1. Carolinian

        Guess I don’t agree that all harms are equal and must be equally addressed. In fact, poorly explained as it was, I think that is my point–not an endorsement of grievance culture but just a statement of the facts in my experience. Where I grew up being black put you at the bottom of what was not even a class system but more of a caste system. Sex on the other hand wasn’t even talked about much less the subject of political activism. Lily Tomlin, gay woman, has joked that in the Fifties gay men were always referred to as “confirmed bachelors.” My mother was quite shocked when she found out that her heart throb Rock Hudson was gay. Historically the movie biz, which I know a little bit about, was full of gay people and they thrived. Whereas Hollywood’s treatment of blacks–perhaps to appease their Southern audiences–was beyond appalling.

        So to me Reed is being a little too Big Tent in his description of the underclass of minorities to be benefited by his proposed socialism. Obviously my minor point is a minority view.

        1. JBird4049

          I absolutely agree that Hollywood has incredibly racist, that black people today still have to deal with racism as well as the militarized police.


          Have you ever noticed that when the systemic and massive problems of corruption and economic collapse gets attention, like a drummer’s rhythmic beat, up pops Identity Politics a few days, maybe a few weeks later. Identity Politics includes the separation of Americans into different categories with different benefits; it is exactly the way the American elites have for four hundred years divided and ruled over first few colonies of a few thousand people to our massive fifty states, one district, a common wealth, and assorted bits of three hundred and thirty million people. However, the tools used by the powerful have remained much the same.

          Racism was created to protect the new American institution of slavery and to use as a tool to break the various attempts at alliance of local tribes, black slaves, and white workers who were often indentured. Give the whites some pathetically small improvements in their wretched lives while telling them that they are white and better than them, kill a few natives and drive them away, kill a lot of blacks and take even more what rights they had had. (Blacks were given the status of indentured servants, not property at first. It didn’t last.). Finally, imprisoned, exile, perhaps kill the few troublesome leaders. Rinse and repeat. Hey, it’s mostly worked these last four centuries.

          So we have a massive underclass, increasingly poor, often living in economic sacrificial dead zones. No jobs, medical care, political representation, poor schooling, sometimes living in tents or cars with an increasingly brutal and corrupt police force. A police force that focuses on all the poor people. However, we must ostensibly focus on looking for the most oppressed to the exclusion of everyone else. The Victim Olympics.

          So, that usually means reparations, which means separating the black population including the well-off Misleadership Class and giving them restitution. How does one means test the recent African and Caribbean immigrants or the successful and often wealthy black upper class that has been around for generations?

          What do you say to the other 85% of the American population, of which the majority is failing behind. Say 60% of that population, which gives about 168 million people against just under 45 million people. Say that the government gives reparations, and as has been true for fifty years continues the economic pillaging with bonus security state repression? How does the practice of not looking at whole classes and instead focusing on race work well?

          Remember that the 168 million increasingly desperate Americans including Appalachians, Southerners, the Rust Belt, working Californians sleeping rough or in their vehicles? The entire northern and eastern parts of California that are poor? So we proclaim their “White privilege” like some holy incantation warding off the vampires? How about the Native Americans or the Hispanics? I do not think that anyone in the working class or the precariat is not suffering cause we are all human beings.

          Still, shall we break apart the various American created racial categories and start means testing, somehow, each category with separate “benefits” for race? You do know that we are the most heavily armed population on planet Earth. Even California?

          I think that we would lose it all and either the security state or the alt-right would win or we might go the way of Yugoslavia. Let’s get Balkanized. Hey, the white supremacists would be happy to grab several Northwestern states for their white homeland. They want to do so.

          If all this discussion was really about racism, or reparations, or social justice we would be talking about the Native Americans first, the Indians often living on some fragments of badlands. The poorest and most abused group of Americans bar none. But we aren’t.

        2. Basil Pesto

          Reed says that the LGBT community will ‘probably’ benefit from bottom-up economic policies (as opposed to top-down). Even with this hedge, the reason seems pretty straightforward to me. It’s not because he’s claiming that the LGBT community is similarly oppressed as African-Americans (or Asian-Americans or what have you), but for the very simple reason that, as Yves points out, because all Americans are disproportionately poor. It was a weird part of his argument to pick to suggest that that’s where it started to fall apart.

  27. Mikel

    Re: The Danger of Electoral Violence in the US

    There are other branches of government that weild power and nobody understands this more than the Republicans – who also still have the lead in control of state legislatures.

    It seems that the Democrats have fetishized the Presidency the most and beyond all recognition. More so than Republicans.

    Presidential elections have been a go to place for the psyops of divide and rule so it really should be clarified that the election could be used as a pre-text for violence that will uliltimately be about control over particular groups and not one thing wiuld be changed about the electoral system.

    I am in the small camp of getting rid of the office of the Presidency. It is not necessary in a Republic or Democracy.

    1. RMO

      I think it’s necessary to preserve the office of president of the US as it is unique in the world – for some reason when a Republican holds the office the position of president is nearly all powerful, like the One RIng to To Rule Them All. But when the office is held by a Democrat we are told that it has all the power of an old Jonny Quest secret decoder ring. Or at least that seems to be the reason given for why Americans can’t have the nice things that other nations have even when the Dems have the White House, even though the Dems really, truly, really, really want to do those things and would if it weren’t for the Republicans!

      I can’t think of any other political office anywhere that has that feature.

  28. Susan the other

    Climate Change is the Final Exam. The suggestions that we need global policies and action; we need to listen to the science and take the best action dovetail nicely with another post: The Ungoverned Globe. Both pieces lament our inability to control ourselves. Both ask for global policy. I agree with both posts but I have a big quibble with Benjamin Studebaker’s list of to-dos. He manages to totally ignore the significance of national sovereignty. National sovereignty, imo, is the institution that will dig us out of our mess because sovereign nations can issue money and spend directly into their own economies to achieve good social progress. The other thing he ignores is the environment. He thinks we have created “prosperity” with our Liberal global order – I think we have created a global junk yard and that the “prosperity” hides a mountain of debt and devastation. Of the two articles, I’d put my money on global institutions for responsible climate change but I won’t put any on the claimed necessity for global “flows” of capital to prevent material shortages – that’s just the usual hysteria of finance determined to protect its own position.

    1. Keith

      Which is why global governing institutions will never be all that effective until there is a global currency issued by a global government. Without such a creature we’re at the mercy of whatever ability the “sovereign nations” have to cobble together a consensus. So far it seems they have no ability to do this if one big one (the US) adamantly refuses to join that consensus.

      To paraphrase an old saw: In a world of sovereign nations, they who have the global currency make the rules. For now.

      1. Susan the other

        But look at the mess the EU got itself in. The member states all agreed to a federation of states for trade cooperation and a shared currency – the euro. But it isn’t working. Their (only regional – not even global) currency is causing the individual nations to fail to address their own social and environmental problems because there has to be a limit on domestic spending to protect the strength of the euro to protect their “unionized” trading interests. So catch 22. They all gave up their monetary sovereignty to back the euro and without monetary sovereignty they cannot maintain their societies. They cannot “govern”. If they spend too much, austerity is imposed on them by the EU. So if that mindset goes global with a global currency we will most likely have even worse neglect of individual states and the environment. There will be less government, not more.

  29. Amfortas the hippie

    the Studebaker thing in Aeon is a good overview of where the pieces are on the board, re: globalisation and the neoliberal order.
    I’m old enough(50) to remember local repubs in rural texas yelling about how “One World Government” was such a terrible, Commie, Idea…that must be resisted at all costs.
    of course, below the radar of most, those same people…and the oligarchs they worked for…were busy erecting a global government…of by and for the Rich, and leaving out anyone else.
    (WTO, etc)
    in the same manner that the Boss class yells about Unions, while maintaining their own robust and powerful –and well funded– Union Movement(Chambers of Commerce, NAM, Nat’l Restaurant Association, etc).
    the problem, of course, is how to even agitate for a global governance that could curtail the rapine and plunder of the current, one-sided, one world order…when the means of connecting to people across the planet are wholly owned by the very folks who benefit from the status quo.
    Studebaker’s Trilemma…doing nothing, nationalism that does nothing, or radical localism that does nothing… is hardly encouraging, but I think it’s prolly where we’re at.
    That leaves the whole Nature Bats Last Option, which will be the worst of all worlds.

    1. Olga

      I think Studebaker’s effort to analyse the question he poses suffers from at least two instantly apparent weaknesses – one is the formulation of the question (“radial democratic reform” vs the continuation of the “liberal” order) and the use of the term “liberal order.” (I take it, BS never read Michael Hudson.) Other than that… well, maybe.
      The problematic analysis is clear in the first para… “The goal was to sustain peace and prosperity in the decades after the devastation of the war…” Well, no. The goal was to cement the US as a hegemon and to make this Earth safe for unobstructed movement of capital. That’s it… any other interpretation is just fanciful thinking…
      To the extent “liberal” still has some positive connotation – the system devised after WWII by the west was neither liberal, nor was it an order (as in ‘orderly’). It was (and still is) a brutally enforced system of the west solidifying its advantage over the rest of the world – first developed about 500 yrs ago via colonisation. (Just check out Jakarta Method.)
      The main problem today for the west is that – as the capital runs out of the space to be deployed – its exploitative tactics are redirected back home – in a spectacular form of blowback. And the white, formerly middle, class is beginning to notice…
      There is also little chance of of any “radical” democratic reform. For that to become a reality – well, a revolution would have to take place. And I certainly do not see one on the horizon.

      1. JBird4049

        The Bretton Woods system was essentially dead by the 1970s with zombie corpse disposed of by the late 90s.

      2. c_heale

        +1. The article is just another defending globalization. The liberal order is going to end, and it will be ended by climate change or covid or something else from the remnants of the the natural world if we don’t end it.

  30. anon in so cal


    Yes, every evening here in Los Angeles. Loud and reverberating. 10:30 pm or thereabouts, sporadically. Hard to know the origin, as sound carries (depending on weather conditions, we can sometimes hear trains at night and we’re nowhere near train tracks).

    “How Military Training Device Became a Popular (Illegal) Firework in LA

    LOS ANGELES — It’s that time of year again when otherwise peaceful neighborhoods erupt in a cacophony of bomb-like fireworks that transform them into sonic war zones. Morning, noon, or night, it doesn’t matter. Ear-splittingly loud “salutes” or “M-80s,” as they’re known, are as pervasive as they are illegal.”

    1. John Wright

      I am aware of a fire, attributed to fireworks, at a Los Angeles Condo complex last year.

      Carports and cars burned up and several condos had to be gutted and refurbished.

      In hot, dry areas, multiple fires could overwhelm the fire departments quickly and entire neighborhoods could burn.

      However, I doubt if today’s firefighters are following in the footsteps of their “grow the market” brethren of the 1980’s.


      “Federal officials charged today that a group mostly made up of police officers, firefighters and private security guards set the string of fires three years ago that brought Boston the nationally reported title of ”arson capital of the world.”

      “The fires were set, according to United States Attorney William Weld, to scare the public into supporting more positions for the Police and Fire Departments after property tax reductions had reduced their ranks.”

      1. anon in so cal

        Fireworks have caused quite a few condo and house fires. We are in a red flag area that would incinerate rapidly, so neighbors immediately call the fire department if anyone in the neighborhood uses fireworks. This has only happened once that I can recall. It’s not clear where the regular nighttime fireworks are emanating from.

    2. fwe'zy

      anon in so cal, have you heard the helicopters late at night too? Last night one was circling my area for hours, which somebody on Twitter identified as Sheriff’s helicopter n958la.

      1. anon in so cal

        Yes. They’ve usually got the searchlight on and seem to be backing up police vehicles. They occasionally make low-altitude turns, which seems very risky. They can come out for trivial reasons. Once some neighbors spotted what they thought were mountain lions near the local elementary school. Several police vehicles arrived at the school, cops were scurrying around the perimeter, then an airship arrived. The animals were just some bobcats.

  31. anon in so cal

    >Coronavirus mutations:

    “One of them could destroy an ionic bond between the virus and an antibody that is supposed to neutralise Sars-CoV-2, the official name of the coronavirus. These mutations were in a way similar to those that occurred in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and influenza, which dodge immune attack with fast mutation.

    “This means that even if the effective vaccine could be developed for current circulating Sars-CoV-2, the rapid, immune escape trend mutations will cause the [ineffectiveness of the vaccine] in a short time,” Qiu and Leng said.
    “Thus, we may expect the vaccine development [to] become a cyclical work … just like the case of influenza virus.”
    The United States and Britain are the two major mutation hotbeds at the moment, according to the study. In these countries, thousands of changes have occurred in each of the genes affecting the virus’ infectivity and immune escape….”

  32. NoOneInParticular

    Re urban fireworks. My perspective as someone who’s lived in various NYC neighborhoods for more than 20 years: I’ve lived in two areas where I’ve observed this — warehouse-land in Bushwick and working class Sunset Park. My personal geography in Bushwick allowed me to see them sometimes — and at first I was a little freaked out because some of the blasts were not just loud but the spark trails rose above the warehouses. This was not the backyard stuff of my childhood. Here in Sunset Park, I’ve only managed to see it once or twice but I hear it regularly, every year. The frequency of blasts starts low, and builds to July 4th, then trails off (like a coronavirus curve!). This year I heard some in May and said to myself, they’re starting early this year. And it does seem like there are more this year. “Seem” is important because in March, April, and May, nights here were generally dead quiet, like living in the country. In March and April, ambulance sirens broke up the silence, but really nothing else was happening at night. So, the contrast between three months of blessed nighttime quiet and an increasing load of random fireworks stands out. I’ve never called police about this, because it’s just normal here and I can’t see the police being able to stop it — it’s a real whack-a-mole situation. People run into the street, light something, it pops and sparkles, and then it’s gone, and they are, too, well before the system can respond. If there really are more this year, why? I could only speculate.

    1. Glen

      Fireworks use where I live in the PNW looks about normal for us. We live near some Indian Reservations that sell pretty much everything up to about six inch motar types, and you can probably get professional ones if you want to spend the money. Plus people shooting on their property is pretty normal too so a certain amount of gun shoots year round are the norm.

      I have to admit that back when the kids were at home we always went over to the neighbors house on the Fourth and sooner or later the sheriff’s deputy would show up. They would generally stay to light off a few motars before they left, and politely let us know that the same neighbor that complained every year had once again complained. Please understand that we live in a rural area where everybody has a minimum of five acres so I’m sure we were loud, but we were not intruding on anyone else’s property.

      It was quite a difference experience around here if one lives in a urban neighborhood. Those can end up looking like pseudo war zones. I haven’t lived in town for the last thirty years so I’m not sure if that’s gotten better or worse.

  33. richard

    The Kentucky voter suppression, 1 polling place for 600,000 people, is so shameless
    and they are worried about an “angry mob”?
    jesus on a bike
    they deserve a grimly determined mob, complete with torches, tumbrels, and guillotines

    1. The Rev Kev

      Kim Jong-un would be embarrassed to hold an election in North Korea that had 600,000 people trying to crowd into one polling place. Come to think of it, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe would have never seriously considered such a thing either. Even he had standards.

  34. FromWheretoEquality?

    Re: ‘From Here to Equality’ Author Makes A Case, And A Plan, For Reparations

    I’m beginning to think there’s some sort of Neoclassical compromise with reparations as a response to recent events, which is to say that the soon-to-be conventional wisdom among economists will be that providing a basic standard of living by the government is permissible but only for descendants of American slaves. if you’re a refugee whose family was murdered by US-backed death squads or, perhaps with a little less melodrama, you’re a 2nd or 3rd-generation immigrant from a colonial subject nation, tough shit. If you haven’t made it, that’s on you.

    I’m not sure of the author’s motives – he seems in earnest and not like a neoliberal tool – but I don’t see how you can honestly argue that only a certain ethnic identity has claim to what would resemble a social democratic safety net in one of the most unequal and the wealthiest society in the world. We already live in an embarrassment of riches, we just don’t distribute them reasonably due to our puritanical views on work, compensation, and exclusivity. To follow the author’s policy prescription would merely be an extension of that same puritanism.

    1. fwe'zy

      “We already live in an embarrassment of riches, we just don’t distribute them reasonably due to our puritanical views on work, compensation, and exclusivity … and our sworn allegiance to the mighty upwards-hoovering of wealth via privatizing profits and socializing losses. ” Fixedit4ya

  35. XXYY

    UV-C Light Kills SARS-CoV-2, Triggering Novel Lighting Options for Public Spaces Biospace

    This actually sounds pretty big.

    I like it because:

    (1) It’s low tech and familiar.  Installing a new or different light fixture is something people can get their heads around easily, including architects, interior designers, and facilities and maintenance people.  Tech designers will start to have good ideas for how to apply this all over the place.  It fits well into our existing technology stream and does not require new industries or distribution channels. 

    (2) It’s a one-time cost, as opposed to labor intensive cleaning regimes that will inevitably be relaxed and compromised over time to save money. 

    (3) It kills viruses in the air, which seems like a big part of the problem in indoor spaces, and is something that surface cleaning does not address.  (I’m thinking it could also be installed in ductwork to kill things passing through HVAC systems; in this application arbitrarily high flux levels could be used.) 

    (4) It works in indoor spaces, which are starting to look like the primary infection vector.

    (5) It kills all types of bacteria and viruses, not just CV, and so should help with things like influenza and other scourges, as well as new pathogens that come along in the future. 

    The big breakthrough here is using a wavelength of UV that does not harm skin or eyes, and so can be left on all the time.  (I remember in the bio labs at UCSD back in the 70s they used UV lights for sterilization, but they could only be on when the lab was unoccupied, which is obviously far less useful.)

    Obviously it will not kill things that are shaded from the light, perhaps a problem.  Also, the long-term safety needs to be verified before we start installing them in every home, classroom, car, elevator, convention center, subway, plane, and whatever else. 

    But still one of the most promising developments I’ve heard recently. 

    1. GF

      An issue with the UV-C lights that Signify are going to ramp up production of is that they are conventional mercury discharge lamps. Also, the far-UVC lamps mentioned aren’t quite ready for prime time yet. The LED versions also are not quite there yet. Here’s an article from LEDs Magazine with some background:

      There is a link to an on demand discussion of LED UV-C lighting progress at the end of the article.

    2. Daryl

      Are UV-C lights unsafe for humans to be exposed to, or am I thinking of something else?

  36. Don Pelton

    RE: Modi and Yoga

    The right way to breathe during the coronavirus pandemic


    “Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. It’s not just something you do in yoga class – breathing this way actually provides a powerful medical benefit that can help the body fight viral infections.

    “The reason is that your nasal cavities produce the molecule nitric oxide, which chemists abbreviate NO, that increases blood flow through the lungs and boosts oxygen levels in the blood. Breathing in through the nose delivers NO directly into the lungs, where it helps fight coronavirus infection by blocking the replication of the coronavirus in the lungs. But many people who exercise or engage in yoga also receive the benefits of inhaling through the nose instead of the mouth. The higher oxygen saturation of the blood can make one feel more refreshed and provides greater endurance.

    “I am one of three pharmacologists who won the Nobel Prize in 1998 for discovering how nitric oxide is produced in the body and how it works.”

  37. polecat

    The ‘progressive’ that is AOC … firing off the twit congrats to those yute disrupters (That’ll show those ignorant flyover yayhoos!!) … whilst mostly voting for our own worst ‘interests’ (read – the continuation of the funding of ’empire’ & the security state .. you know .. where it really counts!
    What a gallant she is … /s

    She be all bluster and no spark.

    1. Biph

      AOC was responding to a claim by a Trump campaign operative that the reason the event was only 2/3 filled is that protesters were blocking Trump supporters from entering, which was a flat out lie.
      The Trump campaign was blaring about a million requests for tickets, my guess is that was several factors higher than they had ever had for campaign event and in and of itself should have raised a red flag. Instead they played right in to the hands of a bunch of kids into k-pop who pulled one over on the Trump campaign. The k-pop kids showed real discipline by not talking about what they did until after the Trump campaign had been embarrassed.

  38. fresno dan

    It is a great blessing that our current nation’s father figure (i.e., president) so completely epitomizes all of these attributes /s

    With regard to number 4, I’m not going to claim I’m tops at being humble, as it is not of my own doing, but merely that I have been blessed with so much to be humble about…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe there should be another one on that list-

      14: It’s Good to be the King. :)

  39. Amfortas the hippie

    I don’t know where this “Pocket” thing comes from(i assume it’s part of Firefox?), and usually, i find it’s offerings too trendy and breathless.
    sometimes, there’s something there that catches my attention, like a flutter in the grass seen peripherally:

    this review veers into a sort of performative idpol for a minute(Uncle Jurgen doesn’t prostrate himself sufficiently for Eurocentrist historical crimes, apparently), but overall, it made me want to get Habermas’ latest mighty tome(I’m a fan)
    at the very least, this review reminds me why I liked Habermas in the first place, and provides something to ruminate upon on my Dad’s Day-enabled Shiner Safari, which I now commence.
    The Big Oak beckons, and Peace, I’m out.

  40. Pelham

    Re Trump on pulling troops out of Germany: I watched a bit of the Tulsa rally and I have to admit, he made a strong case for the move. And, oddly, a factual case. Germany IS receiving natural gas from Russia. Germany HAS BEEN derelict on its commitment to defense spending. And Germany’s proposal to just begin fulfilling that commitment is 2031 (or 2032), is WAY TOO LATE.

    That said, I’m pretty much on board with what Germany’s doing. That’s their right, and Russia doesn’t appear to be the threat that Trump and others would like to believe. OTOH, what Trump said goes over well with a US audience and actually makes sense if we can save a few bucks (though that’s a very big “if”). And this is particularly true for those of us who believe that a Democratic administration would do absolutely nothing to curtail foreign wars, enforce our borders, or stop the ongoing managed decline of US productive capacity and accompanying deaths of despair while simultaneously building up China.

    1. Biph

      I’m all for dismantling the Empire so I’m for reducing and/or removing US troops from overseas, but I don’t buy Trump’s claimed reasons for a second. This is being done because Trump wanted to have an emergency G-7 summit and Merkel essentially told Trump she was washing her hair that weekend. Whatever Trump’s actions be they good, bad or indifferent it’s to best to assume he’s doing it for the most petty of reasons

    2. GF

      Germany is looking after its own interests. Natural gas from Russia is/will be much cheaper than the liquefied gas coming from the US.

      1. Olivier

        Penelope is, well, Penelope. I’ve been following her since the beginning and she does take getting used to. Her blog is a one-woman reality show. She is a practitioner of extreme candor, à la J.J. Rousseau in his Confessions.

  41. Pelham

    Re Trump in Tulsa: Another thought occurs to me. He could argue that his re-election would serve at long last to confirm the legitimacy of his presidency and give him the institutional leverage he needs to finally accomplish much of what he has demonstrably been trying but failing to do over the past 3 1/2 years — notably building the border wall but also drawing down overseas troop deployments.

    It might also give him a little extra leverage on foreign issues as well if leaders finally resign themselves to the fact that Trump isn’t just an aberration that can be waited out but instead a new feature on the US political landscape that’s likely to be followed up by more competent versions (such as Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley).

    These people want to govern. Unlike the Democratic establishment, which increasingly appears perfectly fine with raking in the enlightened dollars from big donors while posturing pristinely. Quite a gig!

    1. Glen

      Trump could easily win the election, and it’s no big secret. Back Medicare For All. He could call it TrumpCare. He would win in a landslide. He did say he would pass something better than ObamaCare in 2016, and mentioned in passing that he liked Canadian healthcare so it’s not like this would be totally out of line, but I do not expect him to do it.

      Because if I examine Trump’s record, that old Who song comes to mind: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. Trump’s biggest single achievement has been a massive tax cut for billionaires, and in more recent months, a massive bailout of corporations and billionaires. Real Americans got told to go back to work for Chinese owned meat packing corporations.

      1. Oh

        Trump is such a slime that even if he backs Medicare for all I would expect a bait and switch like Obama. As for the other lowlife JB, whatever promises he makes he won’t keep ’em. I don’t know what we have done to deserve this real bad choice for President in 2020.

  42. philnc

    Stuttgart “riots”. Exceeding my comment quota today, but had to say this: the question everyone should be asking here is “what genius decided it would be a good idea to do a drug sweep in the middle of a peaceful protest?” Seems… Nixonian to me.

  43. roxan

    Re: Fireworks. We live in an inner ring suburb of Philadelphia, a quietly shabby working class area that seems to have little crime. It’s mostly residential. We do have a park, and fireworks for the 4th of July. However, for the last two weeks or so, we have heard serious fireworks going off every night, as soon as it gets dark. You can only buy sparkler class fireworks here, so anything like the loud rockets being set off, have to be bought down South.

  44. Kael

    Strange ProPublica article about voting by mail. Obviously the post office has serious cashflow and financial problems and must have more money. But the coverage of vote by mail problems was pretty bad, I thought.

    300 ballots turned up here, another 175 overthere. No denominators in sight! I want to know what the failure rate is, and I want to compare it to in-person voting and tabulaton as it’s done in the wild. That’s hard. But at least the author could acknowledge that the relative performance of vote by mail is the important thing.

  45. occasional anonymous

    taking yes for an answer Fredrik deBoer

    “And when I talk with people who I know believe in the left-wing cause sincerely but who are looking for reasons to dismiss this movement, all I can think is… what more are you looking for?”

    An actually coherent message and list of demands. ‘Racism bad’ is not a set of policy proposals. Any movement against ‘systemic racism’ that somehow manages to completely omit class is doomed to failure. And any movement that thinks ‘literally abolish the police entirely’ is a reasonable message is not actually made up of serious adults.

    I’m not so much worried about a ‘collapse into self-interest and professionalization’, because I don’t see there being much there in the first place to be at risk of collapsing.

    “I can only look at the reality on the ground and recognize that if this moment is not good enough, I can’t imagine what moment could be.”

    Then deBoer has a crappy imagination.

    1. Dirk77

      Perhaps deBoer and others sitting on the bench could help to bring a coherency of their type to this movement. One of the sad things about the Trump administration was the difficulty they had in finding good people to staff positions. It would have helped if qualified people would have volunteered instead of going with PMC class solidarity and thumbing their noses. Those positions do have influence to some degree and any little bit helps. If I recall correctly, among the non-Republican politicians, only Sanders explicitly said that he would work with them.

  46. J.k

    Most here have likely read about the Trump campaign using the inverted red triangle also used by Nazis on prison uniforms for political prisoners. Mother Jones confirmed his campaign also placed exactly 88 ads with each starting with 14 word sentence.

    “1488: is a combination of two popular white supremacist numeric symbols. The first symbol is 14, which is shorthand for the “14 Words” slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The second is 88, which stands for “Heil Hitler” (H being the 8th letter of the alphabet). Together, the numbers form a general endorsement of white supremacy and its beliefs. As such, they are ubiquitous within the white supremacist movement – as graffiti, in graphics and tattoos, even in screen names and e-mail addresses, such as aryanprincess1488@hate.” From the ADL.

    Sending this to some family members who support trump but are not down with fascism or white supremacy. Looking forward to mental gymnastics they will have to come up with if they are still supporting him at this point.

    1. J.k

      Waiting with bated breath for a response from Israeli officials to condemn this kind of nonsense from Trumps camp.
      Can you imagine if Corbyn and the labor party were accused of even a fraction of stuff Trumps circle actually does?

      For those that may have missed it, here is a relevant documentary from al jazeera that was supposedly censored and then leaked…..

      “To get unprecedented access to the Israel lobby’s inner workings, undercover reporter “Tony” posed as a pro-Israel volunteer in Washington.

      The resulting film exposes the efforts of Israel and its lobbyists to spy on, smear and intimidate US citizens who support Palestinian human rights, especially BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

      It shows that Israel’s semi-covert black-ops government agency, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is operating this effort in collusion with an extensive network of US-based organizations.

      These include the Israel on Campus Coalition, The Israel Project and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.”

  47. Steven A

    Re “There may be 36 other intelligent civilizations in the galaxy, but odds of communicating with them are small”: Reminds me of an article by Gregg Easterbrook I read in The Atlantic many years ago on the subject of communicating with “alien” civilizations. Easterbrook pointed out two important milestones (I am writing from memory here): 1. Guglielmo Marconi demonstrated his wireless transmitter for the first time in the summer 1895; 2. The US successfully tested the first atomic bomb in the summer of 1945. That means that only 60 years elapsed between the time we achieved the ability to make ourselves known outside of our own planet and we became able to destroy ourselves. Assuming other civilizations out in the universe are capable the such achievements, the odds of communicating with them are not just small, they are negligible.

    1. ambrit

      That’s assuming ‘technical’ civilizations are the norm. Other forms are possible, indeed, probable. The real problem with the concept of “Aliens,” is that said “Aliens” might be too ‘alien’ for us to readily comprehend.
      ‘They’ could be here now and we just don’t know how to recognize them, much less communicate.

        1. LifelongLib

          I recall a comic from around 1970 where a spaceship piloted by metal beings flies past the Earth. They don’t have time to do a complete study but note that there seem to be a lot of metal structures that are infested by organic creatures. So the aliens release a poison gas to free their brethren of the “parasites”. The last panel is people choking to death in their cars and buildings.

  48. Tom Doak

    As always, “The Danger of Electoral Violence” assumes that the Republicans will be the ones to refuse to accept an election result as legitimate, even though the only example of that in recent history was by the Democrats, in 2016. They just didn’t resort to violence, thankfully.

  49. fresno dan

    Florida Man is back with a vengeance — this time, he’s fighting his way into a Walmart, which has a mandatory face mask policy … but FM NEEDS his discounts, ‘rona be damned.

    This wild scene went down Saturday in Orlando, and it starts off right in the thick of the action. An elderly man tries storming his way into a Walmart without a face covering — but gets stopped by an employee at the front door. That wasn’t gonna stop gramps here though.
    This is from the TMZ website – this is what happens with a stay at home advisories that keeps celebrities in their mansions and not getting into shenanigans in public – TMZ is reduced to showing videos of old geezers acting like celebrities for whom the rules don’t apply.

    1. ambrit

      It’s TMZ!
      Next up, TMZ ‘breaks’ the story that Florida Man is really that Braveheart actor backsliding. (Access Hollywood counters with; “Florida Man revealed as really Kevin Bacon.”)

  50. fresno dan
    Chief Justice John Roberts is under the microscope as the Supreme Court prepares to issue its first major ruling on abortion rights in the Trump era, which will give the clearest indication yet of the court’s willingness to revisit protections that were first granted in Roe v. Wade.
    One ruling in particular — the court’s 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt — looms large over the Louisiana case. It also raises the stakes for reputations of both Roberts and the court.

    The court in Hellerstedt ruled 5-3 to strike down a Texas law that required abortion-performing doctors to be authorized to admit patients at a nearby hospital. Roberts dissented on technical grounds from the majority, which said the Texas law was unconstitutional because its burden on a woman’s right to abortion outweighed any medical benefit.
    As a result of changes to the court’s ideological makeup, the Louisiana case may be a bellwether for the future of abortion protections in the Trump era. A decision to uphold the Louisiana law could signal the court’s willingness to rein in abortion rights that emerged in the court’s landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.

  51. Mr. Stevens

    It’s interesting, if tragic here in the heart of Trump territory. You can see outright the people that trust the President, just going into the supermarket without a mask. As if there is no pandemic going on.

  52. Mr. House

    Empty factories to the east and all our waste
    The shape of things that came show on the broken worker’s face
    To the west you’ll find a silicon promised land
    Where machines all replace their minds with systematic profit plans
    The course of human progress staggers like a drunk
    It’s pace is quick and heavy but it’s mind is slow and blunt
    I look for optimism but i just dont know
    Its seeds are planted in a poison place where nothing grows
    Its 1989 stand up and take a look around
    Weathers’ bitter tension it seems is sinking down
    Drunk with power
    And fighting one another
    Every hour shows the winter’s getting harder
    There’s a freeze up, there’s a freeze up coming!
    There’s a freeze up–freeze up coming!
    There’s a freeze up, there’s a freeze up coming!
    There’s a freeze up coming!
    One nation stands the tallest radiating blinding light
    Plastic and flourescent energy robbing us of sight
    Set in our way- content with our decay
    We wave the flag of freedom as we conquer and invade
    Ever ask yourself where’s my place in this hell?
    But no one’s there to tell you cuz they dont know that themselves
    The well-rehearsed lines from our elated politicians
    No longer offer solace we can see the self-destruction
    It’s 1989 stand up and take a look around
    Weather’s bitter tension it seems is sinking down
    Drunk with power and fighting one another
    Every hour shows the winter’s getting harder
    There’s a freeze up, there’s a freeze up coming!
    There’s a freeze up–freeze up coming!
    There’s a freeze up, there’s a freeze up coming!
    There’s a freeze up coming!
    Let’s go!
    Just one political song, just one political song
    To drop into the list that stretches years and years long
    Just one political song, just one political song
    To drop into the list that stretches years and years long
    Static and division is increasing like a storm
    We are sheltered
    We are forewarned
    Nothing can be changed except ourselves
    Nothing can be changed except ourselves!

    Operation Ivy

  53. kareninca

    I live very near Palo Alto, CA. There were fireworks in the distance last night around 8:30 p.m.. I noticed because I was walking in the neighborhood and I wondered if I should hurry home because of my dog. It is very dry already and so fireworks are hazardous around here; there has already been a fire in the hills nearby. I don’t think there are typically fireworks until it is actually July 4th, so now that you mention it it is odd.

  54. John Anthony La Pietra

    About those surviving Kentucky polling places that will be called on to serve 600,000 residents . . . let’s see — I can maybe think of two: Rupp Arena and Churchill Downs. Any other “candidates”, anybody?

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