Links 6/22/2020

Summer solstice 2020 heralds changing of Earth’s seasons this weekend

The cat’s whiskers: new way of counting lions could boost conservation efforts Guardian

The Cave Kingpin Buying Up America’s Underground Outside

U.S. Home-Mortgage Delinquencies Reach Highest Level Since 2011 Bloomberg

The successes of the Fed’s dollar-swap lines The Economist

The problem with Big Food FT


Ayurvedic Treatment of COVID-19/ SARS-CoV-2: a case report Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. “The patient aged 43 years is an investment banker in New York, United States of America (USA).”

Why More Testing Doesn’t Explain the Rise in COVID-19 in Several New U.S. Hotspots Time

We Will Be Living With the Coronavirus Pandemic Well Into 2021 Bloomberg. More demand destruction.

The worst-case scenarios for COVID-19 are still in play The Week

A Global Scramble for the Coming Coronavirus Vaccine Der Spiegel

Debunking Trump and Corporate Media’s WHO/China Coverup Conspiracy Theories FAIR

How Did Vietnam Become Biggest Nation Without Coronavirus Deaths? VOA


Hong Kong gov’t, politicians, law experts and activists react to Beijing’s draft security law report Hong Kong Free Press

A water crisis looms for 270 million people as South Asia’s glaciers shrink National Geographic

Underdeveloping the Mekong?: Extraction and Unequal Exchange in Vietnam Sociology of Development

How to Prevent a War in Asia Foreign Affairs


Competent managerialism is not enough for Labour Tax Research UK. Beautiful plumage!

German coronavirus outbreak at abattoir infects more than 1,000 Reuters


Brexit: Why hopes are rising that EU and UK could find compromise FT

Brexit: the effects of withdrawal EU Referendum


The Global Problem with Israeli Annexation The Century Foundation

New Cold War

Putin On World War II Moon of Alabama

Trump Transition

Exclusive: Trump cold on Guaidó, would consider meeting Maduro Axios

Trump Expected To Suspend H-1B, Other Visas Until End Of Year NPR

McKinsey helps oversee recovery payouts to former clients Politico

Ransacking the Republic NYRB


Tulsa fire department says just under 6,200 people attended Trump rally Axios

The Rally That Could Have Been The American Conservative. Re Silc: “This will be the josh hawley 2024 campaign and will win.” Ends with an Acela trope, interestingly.

Justice Democrats: The left flank in Tuesday’s New York primaries AEI

Anguished by America’s Decline, More Foreign-Policy Wonks Run for Office Foreign Policy

Police State Watch

Minneapolis Investigates Police Use Of Ketamine On Suspects NPR (dk). Yikes.

Civilian control of the military:

Why Was a Grim Report on Police-Involved Deaths Never Released? NYT

The FBI Used Its Most Advanced Spy Plane To Watch Black Lives Matter Protests Buzzfeed

How America’s Wars in Asia Militarized the Police at Home The Diplomat

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

IRS says it bought in to location database for millions of US cellphones to track tax crime suspects Boing Boing. Not sure how cellphone data would help track the really wealthy….

A tale of two cybers – how threat reporting by cybersecurity firms systematically underrepresents threats to civil society Journal of Information Technology and Politics

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Mapping the hundreds of Confederate statues across the US Al Jazeera (Re Silc).

Protesters, Here’s How to Set Up A Cheap Burner Phone The Intercept (nvl).

George Soros conspiracy theories surge as protests sweep US AP

* * *

Protesters in Boston Are Setting Off Fireworks All Night Every Night. And It’s Working. Penelope Trunk (Olivier).

Yes, You’re Hearing Way More Fireworks Than Usual Slate

What’s with all the fireworks in Baltimore? The question on many residents’ minds doesn’t have a simple answer. Baltimore Sun

Health Care

‘They Just Dumped Him Like Trash’: Nursing Homes Evict Vulnerable Residents NYT


Pontifications: Deferrals, bankruptcies continue; order recovery far off Leeham News and Analysis

KC-46 delivery to Seymour Johnson delayed after debris found in fuel tank Air Force Times

Will Global Mobility Recover After the Pandemic? Valdai Discussion Club

Guillotine Watch

Wealthy Mexicans find they can buy comfort but not protection FT

The Social Codes of the Crazy Rich The Atlantic

Class Warfare

‘The whole world is watching Oakland’: Thousands gather for Juneteenth protest and port shutdown San Francisco Chronicle. Thanks to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

U.S. Meat Plants Are Deadly as Ever, With No Incentive to Change Bloomberg

Vast Federal Aid Has Capped Rise in Poverty, Studies Find NYT

It Didn’t Have to Be Like This Adam Serwer, The Atlantic

The Dark Soul of the Sunshine State The Atlantic (Re Silc).

Nation’s Politicians, Law Enforcement, Corporate Executives Marvel At Futuristic Utopia They’re Living In The Onion

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. Yen

    Ugghh all this bad news ain’t good news for me. By the way, is there anyone here who has used a psychologist to recover from their depression? I think for the past few months I have been falling into one and the meds prescribed to me by gp don’t seem to be useful. It feels there’s some kind of chaos in my mind that I’m unable to come to terms with and it’s affecting my mood and work productivity.

    1. Ramon

      Try CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) if you haven’t already. Personally I found it some what of a revelation. Much of it you will probably know but it puts it in a structure that makes it easier to deal with problems. Meds are always trial and error, what works well for one person makes someone else worse. When they work well they are good but IMO used on their own they can just let you go continue with the same behaviour but mask the symptoms. Good luck.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        CBT is great, but form many people, like me, who have physiological depression/mood disorders, all it does is help you cope with the altered state of mind to minimize your suffering. So best first find out which one you have. If you have a family history of mood disorders or addiction I would say it is physiological and changes in nutrition might help.

        I would be interested to know the med you are taking…

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          It trains your brain to not over react from a stimulus. It helped with my OCD and my catastrophic thinking. Feeling distress will distort your thinking, so it is a matter of trying to see through the distorted thinking.

          With my OCD of my groceries being poisoned for example, the CBT helped me look at my behavior objectively and helped me with exposure therapy.

      2. Yen

        What did CBT entail in your experience? And how did it improve you? I’m asking cause I’ll be paying out of pocket and it’s more expensive than meds

        1. John Zelnicker

          June 22, 2020 at 11:16 am

          I have a lot of experience with cognitive behavior therapy, which can be very helpful, and a number of other interventions. Krystan is correct, there are some folks who do have a physiological issue that CBT can only partially address. However, as she says, even if you need meds, CBT can help you cope.

          If you would like to continue a more personal discussion, I can be contacted at banjo23 [at] comcast [dot] net.

    2. KevinD

      Been there, I can empathize. What worked for me – tune out. I work from home. Since my gym is closed, I force my self to take neighborhood walks – at least one mile at a time. My goal is 5-6 miles a day. I spend a lot of time in the yard – gardening, making projects. No cable news – just local news. My goal is to make myself tired at the end of the day, so I sleep!! and keep my mind clear of garbage I cannot control. I hope you find some equilibrium.

      1. nycTerrierist

        these are good tips from KevinD
        years ago I had depressive spells — went thru analysis – not for everyone, i know…
        ‘talking it out’ helped me to stabilize over time, and to defang the worst of it
        i recommend daily exercise, whatever you can keep at, for good sleep
        try not to go online before bed, if this is do-able for you
        a hobby, something to make or cultivate, learning a fresh skill can bring a small satisfaction every day, and a sense of moving forward: all classic tips for good reason
        in my case, i discovered yoga, then got a dog – who eventually replaced my analyst!
        best wishes, many of us have struggled with this
        oh, and skip social media

        1. pat D

          ++ to yoga and dog. Nothing like following a Labrador on his walk to bring my thoughts and breath back to the present.

          1. MLTPB

            Was going to ask about Yoga as well.

            Maybe zazen, with a guide or master.

            The Neo Confucians suggest Jing Zuo, or quiet sitting, instead zazen.

            1. Krystyn Podgajski

              Reading one of the many versions of the Dao De Ching always helps me.


              Can you coax your mind from its wandering
              and keep to the original oneness?

              Can you let your body become
              supple as a newborn child’s?
              Can you cleanse your inner vision
              until you see nothing but the light?
              Can you love people and lead them
              without imposing your will?
              Can you deal with the most vital matters
              by letting events take their course?
              Can you step back from you own mind
              and thus understand all things?

              Giving birth and nourishing,
              having without possessing,
              acting with no expectations,
              leading and not trying to control:
              this is the supreme virtue.

              1. MLTPB

                The Dao…Laozi and Zhuangzi (they seem to go together historically).

                Perhaps not everyone can relate, but the story goes that when his wife died, Zhuangzi was drumming and singing.

                Practitioners of other religions sometimes do that as well. I think, for example, people on Bali…traditionally.

    3. zagonostra

      Vigorous exercise, good food and vino, music, some weed, and some good friends…not necessarily in that order.

      1. MLTPB

        For those avoiding alcohol, maybe a bowl of matcha, with incense, not weed, and silence, not music (or sound of boiling water in a cast iron kettle over fire)…in a 1 1/2 mat tea room.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Or yerba mate, which has a mild, calmly stimulating effect, and provides a sense of well-being (perhaps because of the happy marriage of caffeine and theobromine, the euphoria-producing chemical in chocolate).

          Check it out: the Argentinians, Uruguayans and Southern Brazilians who swear by it are on something…

    4. jr

      I live with a pretty constant stream of chaos in my head due to my bi-polarity. I’m on meds but they are only half the equation, it was a few years of therapy that really gave me the tools to get my life in order. If you can find someone to talk to, it could help.

      One common notion about therapy is that you will somehow talk your way through or out of your problems, rather I found that talking about them help me to conceptualize myself differently and therefore change my “inner story” (at the risk of sounding like an Oprah guest) from someone at the whim of his emotions to someone who is aware of their capricious nature. That awareness let’s you prepare in advance, you know the signs and even if you can’t stop the mood, you can alter your behavior to a degree…

      Also, meditation. I’m not good at the quiet, drift away kind so I do things like focus on candles and chanting etc. Whatever gets you into it. Working with your mind in this way can really give you some power over yourself. I am, on occasion, able to actively, with forethought, flip my moods from depression into a much more positive state. I don’t talk myself there, or strive to see the bright side of things. I literally focus on my mood and flip it. Ive only been able to do it maybe three times in two years of meditating but it’s profound and liberating when it happens…

        1. jr

          Thank you, I like to share my account because I wasted a few years of recovery time resisting therapy. (It takes time to reprogram oneself.) I didn’t see how it would fix my problems. I’ve come to see things very differently now.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        Yes, all of this. My experience as well, being a bipolar aspergers type.

        Just FYI on all this, getting closer to a diagnosis; PKU from a GCH1 deficiency.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Or yerba mate, which has a mild, calmly stimulating effect, and provides a sense of well-being (perhaps because of the happy marriage of caffeine and theobromine, the euphoria-producing chemical in chocolate).

        Check it out: the Argentinians, Uruguayans and Southern Brazilians who swear by it are on something…

    5. Adam Eran

      My sympathies.

      One reminder: exercise is as effective as antidepressant medications, without the side effects. Nothing cheers me up like a bike ride (or regular yoga).

    6. Utah

      I find that SSRIs and SNRIs don’t work for me. Older classes of anti depressants are what finally relieved some of the depression and anxiety/ panic. I also see a therapist who specializes in mindfulness and dbt skills, which I find to be more helpful, personally, than CBT because I really have to think about what emotions I’m feeling. There’s also great research into yoga and meditation to help alleviate depression and anxiety by connecting your body to your mind. I highly recommend therapy in general to everybody because we live in a chaotic world and therapy can help.

    7. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I read the headlines but then only selected one to click on: The Onion. I’ve definitely got “foreboding” fatigue, and that’s my overriding emotion across the board, from economics to politics to social science to natural science.

      And I read with interest that there is a “primary election” in New York on Tuesday. Are those still a thing? And here I thought the next president was obviously going to be chosen for us by the trio of Zuckerberg, Dorsey, and Brin.

      And since it feels like 7/10 of wild conspiracy theories seem to come true if you wait long enough, elsewhere I read an interesting one: that Berman was fired because he controls the Epstein case. Since absolutely everything is a political football these days, and I think what Trump did with Jeffrey (met and partied with him many years ago, sans anything really damaging) probably pales when compared with what they know about prominent members of the other faction.

      As far as distractions go I am surviving through intimate contact with wild nature (the Tasman Sea) and by entertaining my lifelong fantasy about writing a book someday. A well-worn path by countless other neer-do-well fantasists, egoists, and other lost souls: scribble endless notes and use them as an excuse for inspirational visits with Bacchus (was there a Greek god for 4/20? The internets answer for me: Pasitheia is one of the Younger Kharities, she rules over rest, relaxation and all altered states of consciousness, and is the wife of Hypnos (sleep). Also Euphrosyne, she is one of the Kharities and ruled over mirth, joy and laughter). Ha ha

    8. juneau

      CBT is a little more work outside of the appointment (reading, homework) but has lots of research to support it’s effectiveness at least over a period of months. Psych research on meds is pretty clear in showing that meds work best when combined with therapy, IF you have a good alliance and the therapist is competent, ethical, licensed, well trained etc…it doesn’t have to be CBT but if you like the idea of working on how your thinking affects your mood it can be very useful. There is a self help book called “feeling good” by David Burns MD that has been used for years by various hospitals and recommended for people who want to learn more about CBT on their own. I hope you feel better soon.

      1. Yen

        Thanks for all of your replies. Today my anxiety was quite bad so had to take a damn clonazepam to calm down. If only they weren’t so harmful for regular use. How can I know if my increased anxiety levels are psychological that require therapy or due to SSRIs that I (with the help of my doctor) have been decreasing over a roughly a year?

    9. Gerry

      Fasting helps; at the very least eliminate sugar, white flour an alcohol from your body and EXERCISE

  2. Winston Smith

    Police state watch: nothing new. Try it elsewhere, bring it home.

    Alfred McCoy (historian at the university of Wisconsin- “Surveillance State: The Making of the U.S. Internal Security Apparatus”. Excellent talk on the Philippines were a laboratory for the nascent surveillance state

  3. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Ayurvedic Treatment of COVID-19/ SARS-CoV-2: a case report

    While being an advocate of the aspects of Ayurvedic medicine, one has to admit that the treatment might have done nothing and he recovered as he would have without the treatment.

    And the patients statement “Because I was taking Ayurvedic medicine, I was never really worried.” sends up a big placebo flag for me.

    And do not be deceived by the simplicity of the treatment. For example, the Sudarsana Churna he was given has 44 herbs in it!

    1. PlutoniumKun

      This is the problem with traditional treatments like Ayurvedic – they may work, but the mechanism may be something very simple and straightforward and nothing to do with the reasons given by practitioners. For example, there are some quite complex concoctions recommended by Ayurvedic medics for rinsing your mouth out for maintaining dental health, and studies I’ve seen indicate that they work – but most probably not because of all the herbs and oils, but simply because flushing your mouth with any liquid, including just plain (or as my dentist recommends, salty) water, helps a lot with inflammation.

    2. DJG

      Krystyn Podgajski and Plutonium Kun: And yet the placebo effect is a real effect, measurable in epidemiological studies. A certain number of patients recover from use of the placebo or have less pain from use of the placebo. So a placebo is a powerful thing. It is part of the “mind-body” problem in that if we assume that the mind and body are seamless (rather than dual), a placebo can have some effect on the immune system. After all, ritual is effective, as we all know, and isn’t a placebo a ritual?

      That written, I note with Plutonium Kun and you that the herbals have many, many components–including several with Sanskrit names and scientific Linnean names that I didn’t recognize.

      However: There is a theme across the man’s medications: Vata is the “windy” body type–so the medications treated his lungs and windpipe. Kapha is the “phlegmy” body–so the medications were reducing secretions. The analysis in the article called coronavirus something that strongly affects the vata and kapha doshas, although also affecting all three doshas because it is an epidemic. (I kept wondering, because I tend toward pitta, which is the “mesomorph” dosha. So I’m not exempt.)

      Another theme across the medications is that so many of the herbals that I recognize are anti-inflammatories, anti-virals, and, I gather, effective against fever: Turmeric, long pepper, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, camphor, and cardamom come up across the three medications.

      I note that the man’s diet was pretty much lacto-vegetarian. Any opinions? (It sounds as if Plutonium Kun is nearly vegetarian, as am I. Meat consumption as a potential problem? Hmmm.)

      Back to placebo. The man is 43. He weighs 190 lbs and is 6’4. Sounds like an athlete with a strong control over his daily diet. Maybe basic health determines the outcome?

  4. zagonostra

    >The Dark Soul of the Sunshine State

    I grew up in South Florida. My dad went there from Southern Italy on a lark and to visit a friend in the mid 60’s, he said the topography reminded him somewhat of Calabria, less mountains. There were still cow pastures east of 441.

    Growing up, friends and I spent countless hours in what we imagined was the African Jungle, all of us early having imbibed Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan novels. This is pre-I95. There were fresh water lakes where we would climb trees and jump or swing over, we saw all manner of fish and the occasional alligator. It was a different world than after I-95 was built. The canals were brimming with Tarpon, and we would crab off of bridges. Occasionally we would run in to some older black folks using their cane poles to fish for catfish.

    At one point before “Satan’s Vatican” there was “Africa USA” which was the number 1 attraction in Florida, when I was older and moved back I purchased a house in Boca Raton near the site that still had exotic trees that were native to Africa.

    My love/hate affair with Florida has developed and changed over the years as the State has changed and developed over the years. Now that I split my time between rural Central PA and family house in Florida, I’ve come to understand that today if you have money and live near the beach and don’t have to drive through unending traffic lights, life is good. If you don’t have money it is a soul-less place without community or roots, a snarl of traffic and cars, shopping strips, and pavements – unless you’ve carved out a niche that protects you from what Robert Pirsig called the “Giant” (Lila – an inquiry into Morals).

    Below is a good quote from the Atlantic article and a link to a web site on “Africa USA.”

    The truth is not out there waiting to be objectively uncovered. The truth is made. Facts are fabricated as seen fit by the powers that be, and then consent for those facts is manufactured, enforced.

    1. Darthbobber

      The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny was an agitational parable using the Florida of its era. Always worth attending any production of it, and not just for the Alabama song.

  5. zagonostra

    >Meet BlackRock, the New Great Vampire Squid

    In March 2020, it was awarded a no-bid contract under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to deploy a $454 billion slush fund established by the Treasury in partnership with the Federal Reserve. This fund in turn could be leveraged to provide over $4 trillion in Federal Reserve credit. While the public was distracted with protests, riots and lockdowns, BlackRock suddenly emerged from the shadows to become the “fourth branch of government,” managing the controls to the central bank’s print-on-demand fiat money.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Let’s try and stick with the facts. Did the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank decide they would buy corporate bonds? Yes. Did they decide to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to make those purchases? Yes. Did Congress approve $450B of taxpayer money to fund that SPV? Yes. Is the U.S. taxpayer the “first-loss” equity in those deals? Yes. Did they decide to leverage those purchases 10:1? Yes. Did they select Blackrock to administer the SPV? Yes.

          1. zagonostra

            That’s it? Can you support your view?

            I’ve read many of her articles (mainly on TruthDig) over the years and always thought her views were well articulated and substantiated, that has been my personal take. If I’m wrong that would be good to know.

            I’m a moderate consumer of news, getting my views adjusting is one of the reasons I like coming here so much.

            1. Yves Smith

              She’s regularly running hair on fire articles where the basic premise is flat out wrong or greatly exaggerated. See my short form debunking of her current piece below. That sort of predictable hysteria with substantial errors and/or misconstructions helps Big Finance, because it enables them to tar all critics as off base.

        1. Yves Smith

          No , she’s typically over 80% wrong in everything she writes. I have not deigned to shellack her but I ought to. She can’t even get the history of BlackRock right.

          The basic fact of the no-bid BlackRock contract is well known and has been widely reported. It stinks to high heaven but this is all of a piece with the other handouts that the Treasury has made.

          Her hair all a fire about BlackRock bailout out some of its own credit ETFs (along with those of everyone else offering the product, like Vanguard) is for all of a bit over $700 million of product, which is a nothingburger in debt land.

          Brown also insinuates that it would be a big deal for BlackRock if these funds had failed. Newsflash: no. The funds likely would have been frozen to redemptions. Even if BlackRock had to liquidate the assets at distressed prices, it wouldn’t have hurt BlackRock,save for a short-lived reputational black eye, along with the other fund managers who offered these products….and that means most investors would take the view BlackRock could not be blamed since everyone offering the product had it go tits up. Goldman had much bigger quant funds fail in the 2008 crisis and it did them no harm. Fer Chrissakes, even the principals of the poster child of all fund failures, LTCM, went on to launch new funds!

          On top of that, corporate bonds (these were investment grade) have readily gridded prices. So even if BlackRock in theory had to dump them, there should have been plenty of bids at reasonable prices.

          Frankly, the real potential chicanery is one that completely eludes Brown: that BlackRock could have screwed both its own investors in these funds and the other funds it “rescued” (roughly as much in $ amount) by selling the bonds (I assume the ETFs held actual bonds; they could have used CDS for some of the value too but that market isn’t what it used to be by a long shot) at artificially low prices to other BlackRock funds that hold corporate debt.

          The other part that eludes her is there was no reason for credit ETFs to be allowed in the first place. Retail investors should not be encouraged to trade to begin with, and debt products are supposed to be the boring stable risk-reducing part of a retail investors’ portfolio. Mutual funds offer daily liquidity, which should be more than adequate for a retail investor. All those ETFs do is provide arbitrage opportunities for hedgies. They deliver zero societal value.

  6. Louis Fyne

    Vitamin D deficiency (which skews to seniors, the chronically ill, and certain ethnicities in northern latitudes) and its correlation w/covid mortality.

    Indonesian sample in which 98% of cohort of D-deficient people died versus 4% of sample w/adequate D levels.

    This should be an extreme easy hypothesis to replicate/reject.

    from a sample in the Philippines,

    brief overview on the role of Vitamin D and the existing studies

    1. voislav

      These kind of studies are very difficult to conduct because Vitamin D deficiency is usually caused by underlying conditions, so you end up trapped in the correlation vs. causation loop (is the cause of increased mortality Vidamin D deficiency or the underlying conditions).

      To actually prove Vitamin D efficiency it needs to be decoupled from the underlying conditions, so either a control group with the same underlying conditions but no Vitamin D deficiency or a test group with Vitamin D deficiency and no underlying conditions. Otherwise all your study is telling you is that sick people die more easily from COVID than healthy people.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        This is only the case of Vitamin D was some sort of novel new compound. But it’s not – it’s been studied intensively for decades – the first studies indicating that Vitamin D was important for reducing all cause mortality and provided immune benefits go back to the 1940’s. Likewise, numerous studies indicating that even quite high doses of Vitamin D can be taken without any harm have been published.

        Of course there is no ‘proof’ that vitamin D can substantially reduce mortality for Covid. The virus has only been around for 8 months, it will take years before we can be scientifically sure of anything about it. But the evidence pointing to Vitamin D as a cheap, utterly safe and possibly very effective prophylactic has been around for even before Covid (as there are published studies indicating its effectiveness against other coronaviruses). I cannot think of one good reason why we should not have been giving vulnerable populations Vitamin D since the very beginning of this outbreak.

        As with masks, this is yet another sign of inadequate understanding of risk and evidence by health authorities.

        1. voislav

          We are talking about two different things here, one is addressing general immunity and the other is COVID-specific treatments. Doing studies on effects of Vitamin D on COVID patients is frankly a waste of time, as Vitamin D effects on general immunity are well known and it’s common to give patient vitamin cocktails.

          The question is if there are COVID-specific effects beyond the general immunity benefits, where my educated guess would be likely not. Time is a factor here, doing studies on Vitamin D means study on another treatment is not being done.

          1. John k

            Does common mean nearly all? More often than not? Or just sometimes?
            Also, clearly some with underlying conditions are not taking supplements and are therefore deficient, while others with the same conditions are taking supplements and are not. Certainly there might be, and probably are, significantly different outcomes on these cohorts.
            To me the argument is, why not advise at least all of the most vulnerable, which just happen to be those most likely to be deficient, to take the vitamin?
            It might even be that this and other deficiencies are the major risk factor. My own thought is that those deficient in vit d are the more likely to also be deficient in zinc and selenium.
            Not, of course, something pharma would like to pursue.

          2. Yves Smith

            That is false. In the US, insurance companies stopped paying for Vitamin D tests about 3 years ago. Their position is unless the patient is suffering from a very short list of conditions, testing for Vitamin D isn’t warranted.

    2. Huey

      With the low tolerance for heat and the recent finding thar UVC radiation kills Corona, might it really be that D-deficiency doesn’t cause increased mortality as much as it’s associated with the same factors that do?

      Edit- Now seeing this was already pointed out above

  7. The Rev Kev

    “How to Prevent a War in Asia”

    Michèle A. Flournoy wrote this? I recognize that name. She was one of “Hillary’s Valkyries”. If the Borg Queen herself had won back in 2016, then undoubtedly Michèle would have been given a prime post, probably with the Department of Defense. In short, her solutions are to massively increase the Pentagon budget, station more military power next to China, encourage other neighbour countries to go after China, threaten their navy and merchant shipping, threaten their world-wide economy and finally open a strategic dialogue with them where the Chinese can state their concerns which can then be ignored. And this way you will have peace in the Pacific because we all know there is nothing that China could ever do about any of this. Yep, sounds legit.

    1. John A

      That article is amazing. Just as Russia is described as aggressive because it is not enamoured with NATO expanding all the way to its borders and putting missiles in Romania and Poland, for example, she similarly complains about China being aggressive as the US rings China with military bases – see John Pilger’s ‘The coming war with China’ for details of all these bases.
      Plus, her great long shopping list of what the US defence dept needs to acquire. How much more bloated can the US MIC become?
      God help the world if she, like ‘Toria Nuland, is brought back into the fold by Biden.

      1. MLTPB

        Little neighboring countries like Latvia and Estonia perhaps don’t feel all that comfortable next to Russia.

        I imagine they try their best, no perfection solutions there.

        1. John A

          Latvia and Estonia have been destroyed by free market neoliberalism and anyone who can has already emigrated to other parts of the EU. The foolish anti-Russian sentiment of those that remain has meant that, whereas previously, Russian exports went via Latvia and Estonian ports, they now go via St Petersburg, another revenue loss for them. Russia is already the largest country in the world, has Baltic ports in St P and Kalingrad, no need to stir a hornet’s nest that any encroachment on the Baltic states would create.

            1. Olga

              You’re right – if they want to be independent, they should be just that. But why waste so much energy on demonising Russia? Have you thought about that?

              1. MLTPB

                That’s for them to decide themselves.

                I read and see what they have done, how they have prioritized. Why? You have to ask them.

          1. Maxwell Johnston

            All three Baltic countries have awful demographics. Amazingly enough, they are often upheld (especially Estonia) as poster children for the neoliberal Washington consensus: they have sat meekly in the front row and diligently answered all their teachers’ (from Brussels and Washington) questions perfectly, and therefore have been rewarded with EU/NATO membership cards and visa-free travel. And yet these three countries are very literally dying out before our eyes. Makes you think.

            1. MLTPB

              We have see people voting against their own interests.

              So we can’t rule that out here.

              Though it helps to hear from them directly.

              Do they fear Russia that much? So much so it is irrational or hysterical?

              Before we decide, let’s hear from them, not just Russia.

        2. Olga

          This ignores historical reality. Plus, I think many today see through the Baltic states’ hysterical accusations against Russia as a way to give them meaning… not the least because so much of their young population has actually moved out.
          And to put things in the proper context on this day – the 79th anniversary of Nazis’ attack on the USSR: the area that is today the three Baltic states became a part of Russia after Peter the Great beat Swedish king Charles XII in a humiliating battle, at Poltava in 1709. (This was a part of the Great Northern Wars –
          Even wikipedia writes about it:
          “The Swedish Empire formally accepted the capitulations in the Treaty of Nystad in 1721.[7] The transfer of the Baltic provinces marked the end of Sweden’s and the beginning of Russia’s time as a great power.[8] The Baltic provinces retained their special status until the late 19th century.[9]”
          Before that, Baltics were not “free,” but were a part of Sweden.
          The USSR was forced to cede this territory in the terrible Brest-Litovsk “peace” treaty (3/1918), which Germans forced Soviets to sign, since the USSR could not continue to fight in WWI.
          When the USSR won in WWII, it took back the area – not unlike France, which took back Alsace-Loraine after the victory in WWI.
          The irony is that the Baltics actually did quite well in the USSR, similarly to Ukraine. The other irony is that Sweden lost its drive to fight wars (the mighty Viking warrior spirit), after many defeats by the Russians (starting with Alexander Nevskij in 1240). By the time my generation came along, we all learned about the Swedes’ noble pacifism.
          Today, many in the Baltics celebrate their Nazi collaborators. My guess is that Russia wouldn’t take them back even if the begged for it.

          1. MLTPB

            How is saying they are not comfortable with Russia (or imagining they are trying their best) ignoring historical reality?

            They feel a certain way. Why? If you are interested, you should talk with them.

            I only see and say they are not comfortable with Russia.

            1. ilpalazzo

              I’m a Pole so I can make a guess. Massive propaganda on the part of the elites? Polish noble elite has always been vehemently anti-russian, while peasants raised votive shrines to celebrate tsar’s decree abolishing corvee labor on former polish land – a thing that polish rulers never managed to implement.

          2. cripes


            Thanks for your always informative primers, it helped fill out my understanding of relations between Sweden and Russia and the old Hanseatic league.

            However, like Estonia, increasingly I “don’t feel all that comfortable next to” MLTPB. YMMV.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Russia is predominantly 1. white; 2. European; and 3. Christian. The idea that they are somehow the West’s “natural enemy” that does not share its ideals and principles and culture is a completely outdated holdover from the Communist era, confected mainly to justify unlimited military spending and so that private equity raptors like Browder et alia can scythe through their economy. The weight of this “confection”, supported by endless propaganda is enormous. So I guess my point is that yet another voice (MLTPB’s) impugning their motives relative to the tiny issue of the Baltic states is not helpful. How about, instead, we line up with them to de-escalate, discuss and solve mutual problems, find areas of economic cooperation, and avoid conflict where we have real issues? Putin acts in his own *national* interest: can the West say the same? Or can the West only continue to replay an entirely fantastical war agenda from 30 years ago that only serves to make a handful of war profiteer billionaires even richer while making all the rest of us poorer and less secure?

                1. MLTPB

                  I agree they are not our natural enemy.

                  My point is it’s not just Russia and the US . There are countries nearby. They decide or, economy, etc.

          3. Upstater

            The Baltics’ major export is educated young people to western Europe. A major source of earnings are remittances.

            And the Baltics decide little for themselves. Nordics own the banks (with eyewatering money laundering scandals), energy sector is largely foreign owned, retail is almost all western European. Collective farm Ag land has been sold to Germans. Public transportation has withered with under investment and roads are choked with old, polluting diesel cars from the west. Hospitals closed, private healthcare. And on it goes…

            The electric grid is integrated with former Soviet republics, yet there is a fanciful notion to tie the grid to western Europe. There is a hugely expensive undersea connector to Sweden and ties into Poland. Retail electricity costs went from 2-3 Eurocents to over 20 Eurocents. But energy traders make money, which is important!

            The Baltics don’t decide anything important for themselves; at least since Vytautas ruled from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

            1. MLTPB

              Sounds like they decide subject to various considerarions.

              Then, they have to prioritize themselves…not an easy task, from what you wrote.

              1. upstater

                The local oligarchs took control of key industries after independence and sold them off. For instance, IIRC, a senior politician’s wife got most grocery stores and flipped them to Germany’s Metro for tens of millions.

                The “They” you refer to are oligarchs and nomenkultura. “They” are the EU (market liberalization) and NATO.

                “They” treat Russians,
                Many whom lived there for generations, as third class citizens.

                I have dual LT and US citizenship. I’d never live in Lithuania.

                1. MLTPB

                  Thank you, upstate, for a local perspective.

                  Are there many Lithuanians in Russia today, as there are Russians in LT?

                  (There is a film, Tangerines, about an Estonian crate maker living in a remote village in Abkhazia set during the 1992 1993 War in Abkhazia…used to have more Estonians before the war…only two at the film time…reminding me all the possible places people can settle in).

      2. ewmayer

        “Just as Russia is described as aggressive because it is not enamoured with NATO expanding all the way to its borders and putting missiles in Romania and Poland…” — Good point. And it occurs to me, our modern-day Hero-Warrior™ ThugPolice use more or less the same kind of anything-short-of-abject-and-instant-self-abasement-will-be-treated-as-a-hostile-act when dealing with suspects, especially ones from the economic underclasses, especially++ ones of color. Coincidence? I think not. The lick-my-shoe-sole scene from Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange comes to mind.

    2. JustAnotherVolunteer

      Man in Black: [smirks] You guessed wrong.

      Vizzini: You only think I guessed wrong! That’s what’s so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha, you fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia,” but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go in against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line!!!” [He laughs hysterically, but suddenly freezes mid-laugh and dies; the Man in Black removes Buttercup’s blindfold]

      1. MLTPB

        Sadly, that’s likely Russocentric or Eurocentric.

        For Mongols, land wars in Asia were their business.

        For Batu Khan, a grandson of Ghengis, the conquest of Kievan Rus’ was something he did, for example, after all those land wars in Asia.

  8. Woodchuck

    How reliable is the FAIR article about WHO/China’s response to Covid? From reading it, the facts seem pretty strong, but since I didn’t follow this whole thing that closely I’m wondering if it’s missing important information to put things in context (which is usually how propaganda works from my experience, not by showing flat-out false information that’s easily disputable but by just withholding important information that doesn’t fit the narrative you’re trying to push).

    I find in general the whole anti-China/WHO attitude of the US regarding Covid pretty ridiculous and overboard, but I want to know if I point out this article to people who are pretty heavily invested in that narrative if it’s solid or if it’s actually misleading.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve seen the writer elsewhere and he takes a very strongly pro-Beijing stance on a variety of topics, notably Taiwan and HK.

      I think that article hugely understates the issue – and skirts over the manner in which WHO was clearly terrified of acknowledging Taiwan, which strongly indicates that they felt a lot of pressure from Beijing. It also fails to note the active role China has played in spreading its own conspiracy theories, most notably the one that the virus came to Wuhan from outside. The reality is that WHO cannot operate without Beijings co-operation – its not just the money they provide, but that without access to China they simply can’t study the environment where so many recent dangerous pathogens have arisen (Bird Flu and SARS1 as examples).

      The clearest evidence that WHO/China got things badly wrong, is that those countries with the most suspicion of China acted quickest and most effectively – South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and HK. WHO screwed up badly in the early days – whether this was because they were pressured by China, or that WHO themselves were guilty of providing bad advice, I think only time will tell.

      I’m not generally a ‘the truth lies in the middle’ person, but it probably is true that the truth is somewhere between the sort of whitewashing represented by that article, and the anti-Chinese view taken by some of the Western Media (some of the western media of course finding themselves in a bind in deciding which they dislike more, Beijing or Trump). The article also ignores the evidence that there are very close ties between China and some of the Western Media, most notably the Murdoch press. Prior to its current Beijing bashing, his papers and TV stations have taken a very strongly pro-Beijing line, every since the 1990’s when a deal was done over his satellite TV access to the Chinese market.

      1. Woodchuck

        Thank you for the answer (and thanks to others also), certainly helps filling the gaps. I learned not to take one source at face value, and people here certainly are well informed.

    2. TroyIA

      As a member of the U.N. China is required to inform the WHO of any new disease outbreak. China did not inform the WHO rather the WHO has created a media scanner that searches for stories that indicate a new outbreak. When the report leaked in December was when the WHO first heard of the outbreak and then gave China 48 hours to give a report on the situation

      Also China didn’t provide a sample of the virus rather a private company in China uploaded the RNA sequence to the internet. The lab was then shut down and other samples were destroyed.

    3. Ignacio

      The only thing the article acknowledges regarding China is that they “didn’t act perfectly”, so China acted almost perfectly if we follow this account. The article discusses the reporting of human to human contagion, that was acknowleged by Chinese HC bureocracy on January the 20th and the author seems to think or believe this was the best they could do with existing evidence. I strongly disagree with that and Chinese scientific papers published later indeed show that human to human transmission was indeed very likely as contact tracing of people infected with a rare pneumonia indicated as early as by the end of december. It was possibly for internal reasons that the leadership did not communicate this while China was celebrating their New Year and lots of Chinese citizens were not at home were allowed to go back before declaring emergency. Earlier reporting of human to human contagion might not have saved the rest of the world given the state of negationism in Western countries but this was a crucial epidemiological trait that should heve been released ASAP and suggests China was not acting exactly in good faith with this and was putting some internal interests before the necessity to report as accurately and fast as possible.

        1. Oso

          spaglishear tanto como quiere ja ja ja
          but may i ask a question, i know tienes sabiduria medical, i put in a comment in this thread addressed to Lambert, couldn’t remember your name but regarding masks and protest, how were not doing the sana distancia we should be but being masked up and outdoors, people saying not a spike like you would expect. i know still soon, do you have thoughts?

          1. Ignacio

            Contagions outdoors are less probable that in closed spaces due to rapid dilution of viral loads but it is not impossible. Wearing masks while in a crowd is very much advisable to reduce the chances of contagion. Spikes because of protests? Not necessarily but there is a chance for some spread if precautionary measures are not taken. These days, all new clusters I am hearing about in Europe have to do with working places most of them related with food processing and not in high population density places.

  9. Winston Smith

    “Trump Expected To Suspend H-1B, Other Visas Until End Of Year”

    Surprised he has not included TN-1 (Trade NAFTA) visas in this list…maybe too complicated since it’s part of the treaty. These are one year visas for mexicans and canadians who want to work in the US. All you need is a one page letter from your prospective employer offering you a job specifying the terms of employment. Limited to people with technical/professional qualifications

    1. td

      The TN flow goes in both directions and by suspending it, a hundred thousand or so US professionals would lose their gigs in Canada and about 150,000 Canadian health care workers would leave the US. Not a good time for that. Also, the free trade agreement would be toast once that kind of thing begins to happen.

      1. Winston Smith

        I had a TN-1 at one time…I can see why Trump shouldn’t do it but when has that ever stopped him?

    2. voislav

      As a TN holder, suspending TN’s would be a nightmare because a lot of companies use them for their cross-border employees. As a Canadian, I am not allowed to do work for my company in the US unless I have a visa and as you said, TN is the easiest of these, I obtain it at the border in about 1 hour. My understanding is that the Mexican TN’s are different, their application process is longer and more complicated.

  10. bob

    “Protesters, Here’s How to Set Up A Cheap Burner Phone The Intercept (nvl).”

    Tor (us natsec honeypot) defender teaches how to set up a burner phone he ordered from amazon using his real name.


    1. The Rev Kev

      And logging onto their own accounts on that mobile to upload images and send messages is probably not a good idea either.

      1. bob

        It’d be better advice to tell people to go to the worst looking phone store in an urban area with lots of immigrants and ask the clerk how to set up a phone and pay only with cash. Many people are stuck with phones they can only get this way as the are unbanked and don’t have a permanent address to get things delivered. It wouldn’t make a good video and would probably scare the crap out of the Micah Lee fanbois.

        “you want me to carry CASH into THAT neighborhood?!”

    2. Yves Smith

      If the point is photos, why not just get a cheap camera?

      And if you want to mess with the police, bring a NON WORKING smartphone to give to them. You could look puzzled as to its non functional state. If they assume the phone got broken during the protest they probably won’t think to ask for a camera.

  11. Carolinian

    Thanks for Putin on WW2–really worth a read. Perhaps some day we’ll have some politicians that smart.

    1. timbers

      Somewhere else a comment to the affect when the U.S. won WW2…I noted Russia defeated Germany, not the U.S. I got a response asking if I support 5 year plans, and that America won the war because we gave Russia trucks or something plus we did the bomb first. Too funny.

      1. MLTPB

        To the extent China won WW2, the UK won WW2, and the USSR, we can say the US also won.

        And to the extent Moscow, Chongqing and London were under attack, they contributed by fighting (what other choice except surrendering) and to the extent American industry base was still productive, the US contributed that way, and with fighting as well, it’s everyone doing the defeating, not just the USSR or Russia.

        1. timbers

          But Russia more than any other nation or all the rest combined defeated Germany and won WW2. Not the US. The size and scope of Russia’s contribution is so vastly larger it really is an insult to her and falsifying history to word it as you just did.

          1. MLTPB

            Wonder if the French ever said to the Poles, we did more than you.

            Or the British to the French.

            Or the Dutch to the Danes.

            1. chuck roast

              The Russians claim to have lost 20 million souls in WWII. Considering their modes of mass attack, this is entirely believable. Particularly when you add in the generosity of the Nazis towards the locals. But it really is hard to comprehend. I can only imagine 500,000 buses with a person in each seat going off a cliff one-by-one. Now, the totality of the sacrifice is comprehensible.

          2. fresno dan

            June 22, 2020 at 12:34 pm

            I agree with you. I think a dispassionate analysis shows that if Germany hadn’t initiated a two front war (of course, a competent leader would not have initiated any war), the very best the west could have done would have been stalemate. Imagine the resources of the eastern front instead on the French coast, and without the staggering losses of the eastern campaign…
            Oh, the things we are taught indoctrinated when we are young…

            1. MLTPB

              Without China, could the Imperal Japanese Army have marched all the way to the Middle East or Europe?

              1. MLTPB

                Unfortunately, ‘the war’ also involved China and Japan.

                Maybe another 20 parts later.

            2. LifelongLib

              My understanding is that Hitler didn’t want a two front war, but it was forced on him when Britain and France declared war after Germany invaded Poland. IIRC Britain and France had earlier guaranteed Poland’s independence, but Hitler was gambling they’d forget about it since they were in no position to actually do anything. He reportedly sat silent for a long time after receiving the declaration; it apparently was something he hadn’t expected.

              1. ambrit

                That actually was the European side of the War. The other side, which pulled America into it all was triggered by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Hitlers generals warned him against declaring war on America as part of the treaty with Japan, but he didn’t listen, and the rest is history.
                Churchill was so desperate to give America an excuse to enter the war in Europe that he had agents working in America doing things like psy-ops and propaganda to shift the American public out of it’s strong isolationist stance. Japan gave Churchill the pretext he needed. Remember that, even though it was Japan that attacked America, America’s first priority after December 1941 was Europe, not Japan. Curious to say the least.
                Also, Hitler was almost as surprised as anyone else at the ease with which the Wehrmacht overran Poland. One thing he probably did know was that France and England had little to help Poland with in 1939. The Allies could have attacked Germany across the Franco-German border, but did not. That might have helped Poland a little. Once the Soviets joined Germany in the dismemberment of Poland, it was all over. Who was going to fight Germany and Russia in those far off plains?

                1. MLTPB

                  If the eastern front is unknown, the China part of China Burma India theater is obscure, if not more unknown.

                  Could have used a 40 part documentary at least 50 years ago.

                  The experiments, Nanjing, Battles of Xuzhou and Changsha, etc

            3. Schmoe

              Germany didn’t want a two front war, but needed Russia’s oil and thought that after the Blitzkreig wins on the western front they might have been able to quickly crush the USSR. As you are probably aware there are quite a a few signs that Hitler would have been willing to negotiate a deal with Great Britian, but they would not play ball. Germany was poorly endowed with natural resources other than coal, and even feeding its own population was a challenge, and that also played into invading the USSR (they wanted Ukraine’s grain fields).
              If you want to read about how these dynamics, albeit in excruciating detail, I recommend The Wages of Destruction by Adam Tooze.

    2. martell

      There are a great many popular misconceptions about the war, largely owing to the ideological demands of postwar conflict. It seems clear to me that the vast majority of German forces were dedicated to the eastern front and that, correspondingly, Russians did most of the fighting and dying required to defeat Germany. That said, Russian officials have likely downplayed the importance of Lend-Lease to the war effort. It is a little known fact, for instance, that many of the best Russian combat pilots flew the Bell P-39. Indeed, several of their top aces scored the majority of their kills (50 in one case) flying that plane. Oddly enough, this plane was available for export in large numbers because American and British pilots hated it, considering it a deathtrap in combat with contemporary German (and Japanese) machines. Somehow the Russians took the very same aircraft and made a highly effective weapon of it. The Douglas A-20 also seems to have been widely and very successfully used by the Russians in a variety of roles. Thousands of both types of aircraft were supplied by the US to the USSR. In any case, this part of the history of that conflict has been obscured owing, I think, to US efforts to downplay the Russian contribution to victory, on the one hand, and Russian efforts to downplay somewhat embarrassing US industrial and technological assistance on the other.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Exclusive: Trump cold on Guaidó, would consider meeting Maduro”

    Of course Trump is cold on Greedo. Greedo is a young, little pipsqueak who screws up constantly and who on his own would amount to nothing. Trump already has Jared Kushner for that.

    1. Susan the other

      Sometimes Trump’s nicknames are spot on, Guaido is “the Beto O’Rourke of Venezuela.”

  13. Reality Bites

    Re: Axios article on Trump and Guaido

    “By spring, Trump was calling Guaidó the ‘Beto O’Rourke of Venezuela,’ hardly the sort of compliment an ally of the United States should expect.”

    I largely disagree with Trump but this was right on the money. The article still begs the question of why Trump brought Bolton on board in the first place.

    1. marcyincny

      If you can access Jimmy Dore’s premium videos, Max Blumenthal discussed this on Friday and connected lots of dots for me.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The reception to his Syrian bombing “when he became President” (MSNBC’s slogan was briefly “actually Trump is good”), but Bolton was probably so obviously a nutter even Trump recognized it.

      Woodward’s “Plan of Attack” struck me as notable for how openly the administration members notably Rumsfeld discussed pr and election aspects. Bob Shrum had a book detailing John Edwards’ Iraq War vote. I think you can’t separate the political strategerists from these decisions.

      In 2004, Team Blue’s campaign was “we would have done Iraq but smarter”, and Libya gave them that opportunity. We don’t hear much about Libya in the msm for obvious reasons, but I’m fairly certain HRC knows dawn well her Iraq War vote cost her the nomination in 2008 and wanted to have something to point to explain her position. Obama hot off his victory in Libya swung to Syria for no reason other than he thought it would be easy and he would be hailed as a liberator. Trump is no different. He picked Bolton to make the neocons happy and probably intended to be more aggressive just not at the level Bolton wanted.

      1. km

        Nobody is going to be aggressive enough to make Bolton happy.

        If someone took Dr. Strangelove, Heinrich Himmler, and Gen. Curtis LeMay and rolled them into one, Bolton would complain that they were not aggressive enough to his liking.

        The solution, of course, is to make Bolton a platoon leader for one of his beloved neo-Nazi paramilitaries in Donbass, and make sure that he leads the attack personally, from the front, rifle in his sweaty, shaking little hands.

        1. Gc54

          I did like the NYT comment on Bolton’s book that he came across as an unhinged melding of Ned Flanders with Yosemite Sam.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Never would happen. Bolton had his chance when he was young. He supported the war in Vietnam ‘but avoided combat through a student deferment followed by enlistment in the Maryland Air National Guard.’ Also-

          He wrote in his Yale 25th reunion book: “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.” In a 2007 interview, Bolton explained his comment in the reunion book saying his decision to avoid service in Vietnam was because “by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from.” In his 2007 book, Surrender Is Not an Option, Bolton described his perception of the war as a “futile struggle”, and that “[d]ying for your country was one thing, but dying to gain territory that antiwar forces in Congress would simply return to the enemy seemed ludicrous to me. Looking back, I am not terribly proud of this calculation…”

          1. RMO

            That is impressive. Usually when someone is given a chance to explain, justify, defend or add context to a statement that has been used to criticize them they manage to make it seem a little less awful… not Bolton! Given the chance to talk he just sounds even more vile and repugnant.

    3. Carolinian

      why Trump brought Bolton on board in the first place

      Adelson, supposedly. Trump is in thrall to his funders, as are the Dems.

  14. Duck1

    Ketamine and the Minneapolis police? What was this police department doing that was right? And now they have let slip the dogs of war in this country.

    1. MLTPB

      People have talked about in East Asian countries like Japan, Korea, etc that elderly parents are more likely to be cared for at home.

      Culturally, it’s different.

      It’s not entirely safe to be in a nursing home these days, and not good to be not in one like that in the story.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you for your link. I did find the article interesting. My daughter had been working as a bartender in Brooklyn when Corona shutdown NYC in March. Sometimes an eyewitness report of conditions at the ‘front’ is of far greater value than a review of all the high level ‘strategies’ and ‘tactics’ at the ‘command center’.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “KC-46 delivery to Seymour Johnson delayed after debris found in fuel tank”

    Boeing forgot how to build aircraft I guess. This problem is just one in a string of problems. They have found tools, nuts, shavings and even a ladder once inside the tanks and walls which could cut the electrical wiring used to control the aircraft with. They have had problems with the video camera used to let aircraft hook up for fuel and the plane cannot refuel A-10 Warthogs which is not good. They have also had problems with fuel leaks which does not sound a good thing to have in what amounts to a flying gas station-

  16. Amfortas the hippie

    haven’t had time for perusal of links, today…but during the second breakfast break, and 2 coffee breaks, i read this:

    from march…Grassland 2.0.
    this is what i’ve been shooting for with our 2 1/2 5 acre pastures, with no equipment, irrigation, and in spite of the ad hoc capriciousness of my mother.
    20 years, and it’s gone from sand and sticker burrs to diverse (mostly native) grass and forbes and wildflowers….with actual brown to black soil underneath.
    cross fencing into paddocks will hafta wait til mom is gone(like so many other things,lol), but I’m talking up 2 ponds and a gravity fed irrigation infrasturcture for this winter.

  17. Oso

    thank you Lambert for sharing Oakland/ILWU march and rally. that was larger than usual but it’s like this on the daily.
    i know there is a medical professional who comments here, this comment tangential but has that individual expressed thoughts on (expressed by increasing numbers of boots on ground people, also some media) allegedly no spike in new covid cases despite huge numbers of people mobbed up for hours because being outside and everybody masked up apparently offsets social distance? that’s the talk and like i say, people in the streets on the daily and those of us still expressing caution about social distancing beginning to be seen as overcautious.

  18. Reify99

    Re: German abattoir article.
    China bans exports from plant.
    And from Tyson plant, Springdale, Arkansas.
    So these are not open air meat markets like Wuhan but the Chinese have traced virus in imported meat. It’s becoming a semantic distinction,- no, the virus did not originate in the Tyson plant but if you contract it from the tainted meat it could kill you just as dead. More chlorine?!
    The link is long gone but I remember reading that a cousin of our pandemic virus persists in your freezer
    for a couple of years. Buy local meat and be careful!

    1. Susan the other

      Use the Woody Allen cooking technique and cook everything until you’re sure it’s dead.

    2. MLTPB

      I think people will want to look into frozen veggies as well, in addition to frozen fish anywhere (Russia, Norway, etc), if that’s the case.

  19. DJG

    Ransacking the Republic:

    Trump, Trump, Trump. Oops, he slips and tries to defend Strzok. Trump, shocked to discover corruption, must be Trump.

    And then writer really slips in maintaining his partisanship:

    The Trump era has revealed that our systems for accountability and checks on executive power are too fragile. What can be done? The House of Representatives is now considering a bill to amend the Inspector General Act to limit the reasons for which inspectors general can be fired and to require the president to produce documentation showing cause exists before firing any of them. That’s a good idea, even if there’s little chance the Republican-led Senate will consider it, and it may be challenged in court on constitutional grounds. Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, has offered another worthwhile suggestion, this one for whistleblowers. She urges Congress to give federal workers the right to press claims of whistleblower retaliation in jury trials. As for the civil service, I encourage Congress to shore up due process protections for career federal employees by guaranteeing all of them the right to seek independent review of major disciplinary actions against them, with ample time for processing their complaints and filing appeals.

    Really? So it turns out that forty years after Saint Ronald Reagan, Ora Pro Nobis Sancte Ronnie,if you remember to, the federal government is wildly corrupt and its personnel policies are a shambles?

    And it took Trump to show this degradation to the world?

    I will be happy for indictments, many, many bipartisan indictments. But the glitch is that white-collar America has impunity–no punishment for the consequences of its actions. This is by design. Too bad Unique Supercriminal and Destroyer of the Virtue of the Stock Market Martha Stewart didn’t know her role in these, errr, shenanigans.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      so…here’s what rubs me wrong.
      the GOP, at the behest of Big Money/Boss Class/ American Aristocracy(who’s #1 feature , for most of the last 100 years, is that it pretends not to exist)…corrupts and cajoles, bribes and outright purchases(Demparty, circa: Billary) all it’s rivals…all in service of “drowning government in a bathtub”…killing the New Deal and all it’s success implied all too plainly…so that the Boss Class/et alia can run amok.
      the question: did they not know what the result would be?
      were their ideological/religious(capitalism is a religion!) blinders on too firmly to ever think about the result of the experiment?
      are they really that dense?

      a part of my mind(the part with the tinfoil) wanders a bit…(-11 was Lihopped(let happen on purpose), IMO….and “They” pulled a bunch of stuff out of drawers in bunkers(make hay while the sun shines, and all).
      This has happened with every Crisis I can think of, since at least Reagan.
      What if the Covid Complex of Crises is being used the same way?
      I see Harvest ongoing at the tippy top…trillions of dollars, created out of thin air and distributed without much hassle to the Boss Class/Et Alia….and various crumbs to the Lower Orders…temporarily…to keep us occupied, while we watch all the chaos on TV.
      (cousin reports that in Greater Houston Area, it’s as if actual helicopters had flown over, dumping cash…people rushing out to buy boats and used cars and fishing lures and drinks on the house and on and on….like prisoners in the Cave, suddenly released into sunlight)
      Meanwhile…Biden is even worse than Hillary, as far as inpiration and excitement goes…as we say here often, It’s like they don’t want to win.
      Maybe they don’t!
      It’s been tossed around by the Commentariat that maybe Trump is there…allowed…to be the guy holding the bag when the rickety edifice comes down…the Judas Goat that can be pointed at and blamed.
      and once the dust is settled, and Black Rock is the Global Landlord, etc, the the Big Center Party of Adulting that I’ve been warning about for 6 years can come forth and lead us into the New Normal of Neofeudalism, abstracted into incomprehensibility….and therefore impossible to fight or to rally against…with Hypersurveillance and Digital Cash and all the rest of the Dystopian Oeuvre….

      I kicked my own ass again, today…and am well into the medicated state as a result…but this is what what running on Track Two in my head as i was being a welder and a farmer and a boss to 2 nubile farmhands.

      1. ChrisPacific

        I think yes, they are that dense. They have been trained to think in impression and spin because that’s how you win elections. They trust the free market doctrine because ‘smart people’ have told them it’s right, not because of any deep personal understanding (of course we know the gatekeepers of neoliberalism ensures that only those who support the doctrine get to be official ‘smart people’). So you get Trump and Graham thinking they can fix the healthcare system by letting the free market loose to work its magic, and wondering why it doesn’t work:

        “Well, I’ve been doing it for about a month. I thought everybody else knew what the hell they were talking about, but apparently not,” Graham clarified, adding he had assumed “these really smart people will figure it out.”

        This might seem dumb, but how many of us are really experts in (say) climate science to the point where we can form our own conclusions and not just accept those of others, for example? The neoliberal corruption of economics really has poisoned decision making in politics.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          a vapid and incompetent PTB is almost as terrifying as a nefarious and expertly skilled PTB.
          I waffle between thinking that they smoke their own stash, or are the aliens from Independence Day, here to harvest, and then move on…like interstellar grasshopper swarms.
          it’s prolly safer to just eat them now, and start anew.

  20. QuarterBack

    Re cell phone location data and the IRS, this data can be easily mined to identify secondary homes that may be owned by shell companies. Frequent overnight stays in residential properties can be a good lead, especially if paired with social networking data showing multiple phones from the same family staying overnight. This could also give insight into people that claim residency in low tax jurisdictions but don’t actually live there. Frequent visits (by individuals and family members) to luxury marinas or general aviation terminals may also give indications of people living beyond their declared income.

  21. a different chris

    I tried to enjoy “Crazy Rich Asians” but I simply couldn’t and didn’t make it thru. The underlying reality was too stomach turning.

    I didn’t ever catch on to if the central character was given as an actual NYU professor or an “adjunct”, which we all know what a major difference that would mean, but pretty sure she was a “real” professor.

    Now that puts her in, methinks, the top 5%. And we are supposed to be amused by how her (material) success – which would be roughly on par with mine – is dwarfed by these human pills that fill out the story.

    Not funny anymore.

  22. Susan the other

    Putin on WW2. Moon of A. Yes, this is common knowledge for people who read history. After WW2 we were OK with the Russian “commies” until Mao took China and then we went ballistic. We purged the State Department of all the old sympathetic “China Hands” and set out on a course to contain China aggressively and in the process we contained the entire far east region and went to war in Vietnam. It was an overreaction to say the least. It is certainly true that Russia won WW2, sacrificed 30 million citizens doing it, and went on to become a superpower. In my opinion this happened to the consternation of the old imperialists of whom Churchill was the most prominent. The fact that we, the US, did not ever go to war with Russia and the USSR is something to be proud of, looking back on all the confusion we were trying to juggle. The one sentence in the summary that popped out for me was that the rest of the world underestimated Russia’s industrial capacity to build a war economy and confront the Nazis. But that they did accomplish this at great expense. The reason this sentence surprises me is because we/US came to fear the Nazis more than we feared Russian communism and we began supplying the Russians with tanks and materiel as soon as we could after we understood that it was entirely possible for the Nazis to win WW2 and cut us out of the spoils – even though we had financed their rise for a decade. In fact, I’m glad to read that Russia did have the will and the capacity to fight for their survival and win. I like that. It rings true.

    1. Drake

      It’s undeniable that the Russians did the heavy lifting of defeating the Germans in WWII. The main reason the western allies invaded France when they did was to avoid the humiliation of seeing western Europe liberated by the Red Army. I’m always amazed how many people don’t know this.

      But also left out of this history is that the Russians signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler, invaded and partitioned Poland with Hitler (the reason England/France declared war on Germany), invaded Finland, and continued sending large quantities of natural resources to Germany right up until Hitler invaded Russia (resources Germany used to conquer France, Belgium, Norway, attack England, and invade Africa). Considering all this, it’s really pretty amazing the USSR was ever accepted as an ally. Patton wanted to recruit former Nazis and invade again, and he wasn’t the only one. And that would have only been a replay of what happened after WWI.

      1. WJ

        You could argue both Russia and the US were playing both sides as it were until fairly late in the day. See SusantheOther’s comment above. And then of course both the US and the Soviets had their competing programs of recruiting German scientists and intelligence assets for their own purposes post war.

        1. MLTPB

          You are right that the USSR also, meaning not alone, but also had their own European hegemony to establish, post WW2.

      2. Polar Socialist

        To give some perspective, Soviets tried to form an alliance against Germany with everybody and their dog, until the last option was to deal with the devil himself. France, Britain, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Romania all refused to ‘contain’ Germany in the late 30’s. Partly because encouraged to do so by UK and France who were hoping for Hitler to turn east, not west.

        And this time Poland wasn’t partitioned. Soviet Union regained the parts of Belorussia Poland had occupied in the 20s. The world community, even if it was very suspicious of Soviet Union, had not accepted the new border by the time.

        This, as well as occupying the Baltic states, Bessarabia and eastern parts of Finland were not part of exporting communism, but for preparing for the coming war. There was already a Stalin Line, but Red Army hoped to get a buffer zone, while it armed to the teeth.

        This buffer zone and the fast growth of Red Army were also one of the main reasons for the original success of German attack. When it came, many of the forward motorized units of Red Army were in the process of moving from Stalin Line to new positions, or had their trucks moving stuff or material for new border. Basically, they did not have the mobility they were trained for.

        That, and the ammo and petrol dumps being unprotected and all over the place for Luftwaffe to hit.

        1. RMO

          The USSR was trying to form an alliance or mutual defense or at least a non-aggression pact with Britain and France early on. Churchill was in favor of one and considered it to be absolutely necessary. Elite fear of the devilish Bolsheviks, disdain for the capabilities of the USSR and the Red Army and a surreal over-estimation of the abilities of the Polish armed forces stopped the idea dead in it’s tracks resulting in the USSR/Third Reich pact.

          The whole eastern front has been neglected in western films, books and television about WWII.

      3. Michael Fiorillo

        I’m not going to defend the Original Uncle Joe, but what was the Soviet Union supposed to do when its calls for a united front against fascism throughout the 1930’s were disregarded?

        Stalin knew that Hitler would eventually attack the Soviet Union (though he was disastrously wrong about the timetable) and annexing eastern Poland provided the Soviets with a defensive barrier, and provided time for them to arm themselves.

        While there’s no question that the CPUSA and other Communist parties at the time were embarrassing and self-destructive in their uncritical obsequiousness to Stalin and the 1939 agreement, a reasonable argument can be made that the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact was a strategic necessity for the Soviets… who, unquestionably, defeated Nazism.

        1. MLTPB

          If you are not going to defend Stalin, perhaps others could not defend working with him either.

          Maybe it was that difficult.

      4. Olga

        The listing in your second par is a sign of revisionist history, really bad propaganda – and completely taken out of context. Did you even read what VVP wrote? He tries to refute just this kind of nonsense. Poland was first to sign a treaty with Germany – in 1934! Barely a year after H came to power. Other European nations followed… there is a lot more that one can learn about the 1930s.

      5. ewmayer

        “But also left out of this history is that the Russians signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler, invaded and partitioned Poland with Hitler” — Did you actually bother to read Putin’s speech linked in the MoA article? It covers the context for those episodes and the aftermath in great detail. Serial betrayals first by Polish government and then by the USSR’s supposed western allies. And VVP does not attempt to whitewash e.g. Stalin’s crimes against his own people, mainly noting the stark contrast between the domestic-policy Stalin and foreign-policy Stalin:

        Stalin and his entourage, indeed, deserve many legitimate accusations. We remember the crimes committed by the regime against its own people and the horror of mass repressions. In other words, there are many things the Soviet leaders can be reproached for, but poor understanding of the nature of external threats is not one of them. They saw how attempts were made to leave the Soviet Union alone to deal with Germany and its allies. Bearing in mind this real threat, they sought to buy precious time needed to strengthen the country’s defences.

        That leads in to the treatment of the non-aggression pact. I urge NCers to read the whole thing, over the course of several days (as I did), if need be.

        1. MLTPB

          Thanks for quoting that passage.

          Being able to see both the good and the bad is not an easy task.

  23. Synoia

    How Did Vietnam Become Biggest Nation Without Coronavirus Deaths?

    My wife is Vietnamese, born in Saigon, evacuated on a helicopter, here in the largest Vietnamese City outside Vietnam. The belief in the local community about Vietnam’s control of their Covid 119 management is:

    1. The Viet Government is Lying. (Especially about rural deaths).

    2. The Viet Government was very aggressive in treating their population with Hydroxychloroquine, Immediate doses on contact with an infected person.

    The Vietnamese gather in groups around the family, but their individual focus is on surviving. Face masks, low numbers of social contacts, and distancing.

    They were very quick to make do-it-yoursekf face masks to protect themselves.

    This is anecdotal. I have no proof whatsoever.

    1. periol

      Call me crazy if you want, but I bet this government-produced remake of a popular song in Vietnam helped. I remember when this video popped up at the start of the crisis, and thought it was really effective. There’s no talking down, the information in it is excellent and still valid. It’s very well done, and if nothing else shows the priorities of the Vietnamese government in fighting COVID-19.

  24. Susan the other

    Richard Murphy. Competent Managerialism is Not Enough for Labour.” Maybe we could call it Managerialistic. In this country there is a similar phenomenon. The “left” (the non-existent left) abdicated responsibility for governing in the 80s and left it all up to the “market” to sort it out. And now nobody really knows what to do since globalism utterly failed to manage its own markets. Nobody seems to know how to actually govern. RM says, “We are continuing to operate within an existing and political paradigm where the only basis for claiming the right to hold office is managerial competence.” Good sentence describing the malfeasance of contemporary “government” without an ounce of competence to progressively govern society.

  25. Pelham

    Re the worst case scenario for Covid 19: True, Trump has been derelict. But he has been aided and abetted by Democrats who have refused to put forth legislation that would take some of the pressure off states and off individual workers being forced to return to their jobs due to lack of income.

    People need help, and the currency issuer is standing by with folded arms, watching them succumb one by one to a deadly and lifelong disabling disease.

    1. False Solace

      The House passed another stimulus bill IIRC. Seems more like the folded arms are over in the Republican-controlled Senate. Admittedly the House passes a lot of things they expect to die, like the minimum wage increase.

  26. Pelham

    Re Trump possibly suspending work visas till the end of the year: If it happens, it will be nakedly political. But what are the chances that a Biden administration would do anything at all about these visas?

    My best guess: zero. However, Biden would be better at managed decline. I’ll give him that.

  27. Mikel

    For your 2pm Water Cooler “The Bezzle” (though you already most likely know):
    And also involved is that paragon of virtue Deustche Bank.
    “…For outsiders not privy to internal documents, the complexity and opacity of Wirecard’s business made it difficult to pass judgment. Nevertheless, the FT’s reporting raised sufficient doubts to warrant further investigation. Police in Singapore launched a probe.

    And yet, German prosecutors chose to investigate an FT journalist, and Wirecard’s regulator Bafin temporarily banned investors from shorting the stock last year. Instead of demonstrating diligence, Germany tried to shoot the messenger.

    Analysts were also too willing to take the company at its word. Mirabaud Securities’ Neil Campling was a rare voice that doubted Wirecard’s business and technology. In contrast, another analyst accused the FT of publishing “fake news” (the bank where they worked subsequently backtracked). Another said they hadn’t read the full conclusions of a recent special audit by KPMG because they were in German. Before today, Ernst & Young had signed off on Wirecard’s accounting for more than a decade….”
    MUNICH (Reuters) – German prosecutors may issue arrest warrants against former Wirecard bosses Markus Braun and Jan Marsalek as they investigate how $2.1 billion went missing from the electronic payments company, two sources said on Monday.

    Both executives are Austrian citizens and there is a risk that they may attempt to flee, added the sources, who were familiar with the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Lawyers for Braun, who resigned as Wirecard’s CEO on Friday, and Marsalek, who was fired on Monday, declined comment.

  28. ewmayer

    o “German coronavirus outbreak at abattoir infects more than 1,000 | Reuters” — But was it Schlachthof Fünf? Where’s Kurt Vonnegut when you need him?

    o “Anguished by America’s Decline, More Foreign-Policy Wonks Run for Office | Foreign Policy” — Dear FP, let me help you with that headline: “Anguished by America’s Decline Which They Did So Much To Help Bring About, More Foreign-Policy Wonks Run for Office.” You’re welcome.

    o “‘They Just Dumped Him Like Trash’: Nursing Homes Evict Vulnerable Residents | NYT” — Actually, they treated him worse than trash. Trash, they pay for regular pickups of that.

    o “KC-46 delivery to Seymour Johnson delayed after debris found in fuel tank | Air Force Times” — Ooh, old Sy’s not gonna like that one bit. In my mind’s ear I can hear the thundering from his office already: “I’ve waited long enough for this overpriced, underperforming boondoggle of a plane! That piece of %$@! better be on the taxiway, ready to fly by this time next week or someone’s gonna get a surprise visit from me, Simon Johnson!”

  29. JerryDenim

    “Protesters in Boston Are Setting Off Fireworks All Night Every Night. And It’s Working.” Penelope Trunk

    OMG- this made my blood boil. This woman is the epitome of naive, privileged and misguided, she has some ridiculous white savior Barbie complex to top it off.

    She’s claiming that POC setting off fireworks day and night in a working class POC neighbor is an effective form of protest and offers up a suspicious long story where she offers a fireworks scofflaw money to buy more illegal fireworks so he can continue his fight against the man. If anybody needs their sleep it’s working class minorities that have to wake up a 4am so they can clock in at 5am so they can run the economy clueless white liberals depend on.

    The fireworks have been terrible this year in my mixed race, mixed income, mixed use/type housing neighborhood and the frustration cuts across class, race, gender and age. The only thing the nightly fireworks barrage has achieved is widespread support for more muscular and aggressive police enforcement in a neighborhood that was onboard the ‘defund the police’ train three weeks ago. Penelope Trunk has everything backwards.

    1. Jen

      “The only thing the nightly fireworks barrage has achieved is widespread support for more muscular and aggressive police enforcement in a neighborhood that was onboard the ‘defund the police’ train three weeks ago.”


  30. Maritimer

    “IRS says it bought in to location database for millions of US cellphones to track tax crime suspects” Boing Boing. Not sure how cellphone data would help track the really wealthy….

    I have been following the metastasizing Elite (and other) Crime Wave since before 2000. I have always been amazed that in all the alternative and MSM material I have read over those years, I have never seen an in depth article on the use of Burner Phones by these Elite criminals. How’s one to do one’s dirty business without a burner phone? It is an essential tool as even a low level drug dealer knows.

    Yet, no significant mention of Burner Phones in the media. And, to boot, I would have thought that with the draconian Patriot Act that burner phones would have been outlawed. I have never heard of any proposal by any politician or law enforcement officer to outlaw burner phones.

    As one example, the UBS US tax fraud conviction for $2.5B which involved hundreds of their employees. So, were these guys so dumb as to use their regular cellphones or did they use burner phones? All these genius criminals on Wall Street are using their regular cellphones?

    If these Elite criminals and their agents use burner phones, for the amounts of money which have been looted and pillaged, they must buy them by the container shipload. I would love to see a chart of Burner Phone sales matched against the Dow, S&P, Nasdaq over the past twenty years.

    One possible explanation for the lack of interest in Burner Phones is that they are essential tool in our now criminogenic society. How many Congresscreatures have burner phones?

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