Links 6/24/2020

Thanks so much for your generous donations to CalPERS board member Margaret Brown’s litigation fund! She very much appreciates your support. And if you haven’t yet chipped in to help in this David versus Goliath fight, please take a short detour here.

Watch a String Quartet Perform for an Audience of 2,300 Plants Rolling Stone

Cat With Two-Toned Face Fathers Two Kittens In Each Of Its Colors AnimalRescueSite (David L)

Crows are watching your language, literally Corvid Research

Maybe life on Earth is as good as it gets? Advanced Science News (Kevin W)

Iceland Under Threat of Volcanic Eruption After Being Jolted by Thousands of Quakes Sputnik (guurst). I was a volcano refugee in London in 2010!

Why the Oaxaca earthquake made buildings sway hundreds of miles away National Geographic (David L)

Why the World’s Most Advanced Solar Plants Are Failing Popular Mechanics (resilc)

Segway will stop making its iconic self-balancing scooter Engadget (Chuck L)

#COVID-19

China dog meat festival goes ahead but virus takes a toll Agence France Presse

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro ordered to wear mask in public BBC

COVID-19: This is when life will return to normal, according to the experts World Economic Forum (David L)

World tennis number one Novak Djokovic tests positive for COVID-19 Sydney Morning Herald.

Science/Medicine

What Does and Does Not Correlate with COVID-19 Death Rates NBER. Hhhm. Lambert featured this yesterday, but some of the results seem so illogical that I wonder if it confirms that the death data is way off. Recall that Madrid concluded it has missed nearly half of its Covid-19 deaths.

Initial COVID-19 infection rate may be 80 times greater than originally reported Penn State

Fauci says in 40 years of dealing with viral outbreaks, he’s never seen anything like COVID-19 MarketWatch

UK/Europe

UK ministers in talks to create air bridges with ‘core’ European nations Guardian. Vlade:

A bridge needs to be anchored on both sides. Did they consider that some of the nations might not be so keen on the UK tourists (with the UK daily numbers still some of the highest in Europe)?

I know that Croatia is desperate for tourists, and so is likely Greece, Spain and at least some parts of Italy (Sicily comes to mind).

But I’m not sure French, German and Austrians are, and at least some of them may quarantine the UK tourists on arrival or require (which is really a CYA thing) a negative test no more than a couple of days old. The article happily ignores all of this, in the best of the UK/US tradition of “what do you mean the foreigners have a say in this too?”.

PlutoniumKun added: “Croatia may be less keen following the fiasco around the Adria Tour.”

EU May Ban Travel from US as it Reopens Borders, Citing Coronavirus Failures New York Times (resilc). Some readers, plus I believe Lambert, foresaw this as a possibility.

US

Why Reopening Isn’t Enough To Save The Economy NPR (DK). Not the first report on this study but a good recap.

Las Vegas Casino Workers Beg Guests To Wear Masks As Nevada Cases Rise HuffPost (Kevin W)

India-China Joust

Toward a smart Indian response to China Asia Times. Smart?

Brexit

The UK Steers Toward a No-Deal Brexit in the Middle of the Pandemic Der Spiegel

New Cold War

A chain of stupidity’: the Skripal case and the decline of Russia’s spy agencies Guardian (resilc)

HOW THE DUTCH PROSECUTION AND THE JUDGE HAVE RIGGED THE OUTCOME OF THE MH17 TRIAL ON A CHARGE THAT REQUIRES NO PROOF Dances With Bears (Chuck L)

Syraqistan

Saudi coalition shoots down Houthi ballistic missiles and drones Al Jazeera (resilc)

The US “soft war” on Iran and its allies turns against Washington Elijah Magnier (Chuck L)

Trump Transition

Trump, Barr, and the Justice Department Takeover, Explained Rolling Stone

Trump aides consider a CDC overhaul as virus cases surge Politico

President Trump vows to arrest anyone pulling down statues Al Jazeera

Trump visa ban stokes stranded Indians’ fury Financial Times

Bolton May Be a Beast, But He’s Washington’s Creature American Conservative

Is Police Reform A Fundamentally Flawed Idea? FiveThirtyEight

‘BlueLeaks’ Exposes Files from Hundreds of Police Departments Krebs on Security

Inside The Dangerous Online Fever Swamps Of American Police HuffPost (furzy)

2020

‘This is a war’: Republicans ramp up bid to control election maps for next decade Guardian

Joe Biden Can’t “Heal” the Country by Picking the Right Running Mate Slate

VICTORY: AOC’s decisive win proves she’s “no fluke,” establishes her as a “political powerhouse” DFA

Amid fight over Jeffrey Epstein’s dark secrets, Dershowitz seeks access to sealed documents Miami Herald

Success Academy spokesperson resigns over ‘abusive’ practices at NYC’s largest charter network ChalkBeat

MTA Pulls Emergency Brake on All Major Projects as Financial Woes Mount The City

Steven Mnuchin says US tax deadline may be extended past July 15 Financial Times

Facebook Loses Antitrust Decision in Germany Over Data Collection New York Times

Sitting CalPERS board member sues California pension fund president, claiming retaliation Sacramento Bee. Wellie, the headline is evenhanded, which is better than Brown normally gets from the Bee. And the reading from CalPERS watchers is that the story was sufficiently muddled as to not hurt her much. Plus IMHO Henry Jones looks like a moron for whining.

Class Warfare

Study Finds Gap Widening Between Rich Pets And Poor Americans Onion (BC)

Revealed: millions of Americans can’t afford water as bills rise 80% in a decade Guardian (resilc)

REVEALED: 10 large Silicon Valley tech firms employ ZERO Black women and the net worth of the region’s 10 richest moguls – all white men – is $248B, staggering inequality study finds Daily Mail

4,300 Shipyard Worker Strike – AFL-CIO’s Racist Attack on Payday’s BLM Strike Coverage – HCA Hospital Strike Mike Elk

U.S. Ranked Worst for Workers’ Rights Among Major Economies Bloomberg

Antidote du jour. Furzy: “My sister’s llamas, off on a trek in the Oregon hills…..”

And a bonus (Kevin W). So cute!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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238 comments

  1. Lou Anton

    Thanks for the Popular Mechanics article about failing solar plants. Before I even clicked the link, I thought about Michael Moore’s “Planet of the Humans.” In the movie, they talk about issues for solar related to scalability, maintenance, and efficiency. From the article:

    The other kind of CSP plant is a tower design, where mirrors concentrate the solar power directly into a central reservoir usually made of molten salt. These plants take a very long time to come to temperature and are subject to leaks and underperformance. All of these factors mean that molten salt plants have not yet reached their performance goals or the numbers their builders have often promised locals served by these grids.

    This wasn’t what we were promised.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Who’d have thunk it, a first generation technology has teething problems. Moores arguments have been taken apart on other forums, he is certainly not a reliable source on the technical issues.

      The primary reason the first generation of CSP hasn’t succeeded is the huge drop in costs of PE cells ensured that for around a decade pretty much all investment in solar with into PE, CSP just couldn’t compete. But as both technologies have matured there has now been renewed interest in CSP, mostly because of its advantages in providing more on-demand power, a new generation of CSP plants promise far better financial returns and more reliable outputs.

      Reply
        1. Ignacio

          If you prefer a dystopian world littered with black rocks mined and then burned releasing tons of shit to the air it is your choice.

          Reply
          1. Duck1

            We already have that. But let’s drop a billion dollars worth of junk on the creatures in the desert so I can have toast.

            Reply
          2. Massinissa

            We live in that though. And renewables, while they may lessen overall reliance on those black rocks, are not feasibly going to entirely replace them on any timescale. The truth is civilization simply uses too much energy as it is, especially considering energy use has ballooned over the last few decades.

            Reply
        2. nothing but the truth

          at the risk of my future statues being destroyed by the woke crowd, nuclear energy is the best option for humanity. zero greenhouse emissions, very long life.

          Reply
      1. Billy

        The analogy is relying on distant mega farms to chemically grow, harvest, process and ship food to your supermarket, where you pay top dollar for it, and the middlemen along the way–
        versus investing in your own food garden and learning about seed saving.

        Rooftop solar and hot water are independence.

        Centralized anything, is an invitation to hand power, profits and your rights to others.

        Reply
        1. XXYY

          Yes, thank you for saying this. The difference between centralized utilities and distributed ones is about political power as much as cost or technology.

          Another factor here is resilience. A small number of mega-plants, feeding into thousand-mile distribution lines, are extremely brittle, and single failures can affect large swaths of the society. Large numbers of widely distributed power sources will keep most of the grid operating no matter what.

          Reply
        2. JohnnySacks

          Rooftop installations place the cost of installation, maintenance, and repair squarely on the homeowner whereas centralized installations rely on teams of engineers, technicians, contracts and procurement departments. Homeowners don’t have the technical knowledge to evaluate any aspect of those services regarding quality and cost, we’re just fresh meat ripe for exploitation at every point. I’ve never hired a contractor who hasn’t provided me with some piece of shoddy work or a crappy component.

          Reply
          1. Ignacio

            My experience is that studies provided to homeowners for rooftop installations here in Spain are seriously done and the analysis of solar production and consumptiom coverage is quite accurate. Maintenance is not such a problem except if it is difficult for you to clean the pannels which is the main maintenance needed given the installation is properly done and robust equipments are provided (which is generally the case). This said I would only reccomend rooftop solar when heating/coolling and hot water production systems rely on reversible heat pumps or if for some other reason the consumptiom pattern coincides very much with sunny hours. A good case can also be made for shared installations.

            Reply
        3. PlutoniumKun

          Its not that simple. CSP cannot be replicated at a small scale, only PV can be scaled down without much loss of efficiency, although there are still substantial cost savings involved in building larger PV institutions. However, CSP fulfil a different function in the power mix as the power they generate can be stored for hours or even days. In other words, a CSP plant can produce efficient power at night, a PV cell cannot. So if you reject CSP because its highly centralised, then you have to mix your PV with batteries, which greatly increases costs and inefficiencies. PV in theory can scale down efficiently to domestic level, but that assumes everyone has a clear roof without obstruction, pointing the right way. In reality, domestic level PV rarely comes close to the possible theoretical outputs.

          Other renewable sources have to be scaled large. The Scaling Laws for wind turbines means that very large turbines are vastly more efficient than smaller community or household scaled turbines.

          Networks, whether highly centralised or not are vital for constant power provision, as anyone who has lived off-grid would tell you. Local power networks only make sense in remote areas, where there are a variety of energy sources and connection costs are excessive – for example, in much of Himalayan India, where many smaller communities are quite successfully autonomous.

          Domestic and community generated power has a significant role – I would say a vital role in producing renewable energy. But unless you are willing to live with candlelight for large parts of the year, or you are extremely rich and can afford a vast array of PV cells and batteries, then they can only be complementary to grid networks, they cannot replace them. And robust efficient networks have generating systems at all sorts of scales. In a sunny country, it makes sense to have PV panels on every house, along with water heaters, but it also makes sense to have multi scaled solar PV farms sized to the local network capacity, in addition to giant CSP plants if you have the available land and sunshine. Robust systems need variety, this is as true for a power network as it is for a rainforest.

          Reply
          1. Ignacio

            And I think that in CSP there is a lot of room for improvement, certainly research is focused on this, by changing the composition and properties of the molten salts currently used to store the energy. It seemed to me the article addresses a problem that has been known for long though I don’t know if there has been recent improvement. So, it is not exactly new news.

            Reply
      2. jef

        “The primary reason the first generation of CSP hasn’t succeeded is the huge drop in costs of PE cells ensured that for around a decade pretty much all investment in solar with into PE, CSP just couldn’t compete.”

        The main point of “Planet of the humans” right there. We can not rely on the profit motive to do what needs to be done. We simply do not have the time.

        “,a new generation of CSP plants promise far better…” More promises for the future.

        Reply
      3. dcblogger

        the great thing about solar is that you don’t need the grid. just put a solar panel on your house.

        Reply
        1. CanCyn

          “the great thing about solar is that you don’t need the grid. just put a solar panel on your house.”
          How does someone living in poverty in the inner city do that? Not saying it is not a good idea to put solar panels on your roof more communal actions would be a good too. We have to keep thinking about those less privileged when we’re trying to get out of this mess that we’re in. How about getting building codes changed so that commercial developments must use solar or wind where possible? And giving old buildings deadlines to convert?

          Reply
          1. Olga

            Cost is a concern – and if the US were run as a rational country, it’d find a solution. Some time ago, there were discussions about various ways to finance solar-panel installations on individual homes. There were substantial subsidies, also proposals to do ‘renewable mortgages’ – spread the cost over 30 yrs and attach it to the house, not the current owner. Where there is a will, there is a way.
            Alas, rationality is lacking, and so here we are. Rooftop solar always made more sense to me than utility-scale projects, since they require long-distance T lines (with T losses, high costs, and battling landowners). (Besides control and being able to continue the 100-yr-old centralised system of power delivery, there are other reasons why a utility might not want to encourage rooftop solar – e.g., as more homeowners depart the system, remaining costs would be shifted onto a smaller pool of customers.)

            Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              In the deep recesses of past time I had a small solar energy company that was cost-effective because a president named Carter imposed a windfall profits tax on fossil fuel companies, as I recall the tax lasted one year and generated $1.5B that was applied to solar and wind installations.

              Reply
        2. Tom Bradford

          Not entirely true. I investigated going roof-top solar last year but didn’t go through with it. To go off-grid you need a battery, otherwise you only have your own electricity in daylight and need the grid supply at other times, However a big enough battery to guarantee overnight power in a winter bad-spell doubled the cost of the installation. Even then the capital cost stacked up against annual power bills for a few years – with some inconveniences – but the drop in battery storage capacity over time exacerbated those inconveniences and increased the risks of starting days with a flat battery.

          Too soon the battery would need replacing, rendering the whole project grossly uneconomic.

          Except for those in the tropics, going off-grid is still usually uneconomic.

          Reply
  2. Krystyn Podgajski

    “Las Vegas Casino Workers Beg Guests To Wear Masks As Nevada Cases Rise”

    Ah, the service industry, the only job where you have two bosses; The manager and the customer. So if they want to strike they have no solidarity because the customer boss really really wants to lose their money and life (True gamblers till the end!) and the manager boss, well, that’s old news, sociopaths making bank so everyone go broke and die.

    But i would love to see them walk off the job.

    And if you have a chance read and share this pamphlet (PDF): Abolish Restaurants.

    Reply
    1. Fireship

      That pamphlet reads like it was written by a sneering snob who thinks that restaurant work is beneath them. I have many years experience as a waiter and I just do not recognize the place this pamphlet describes. Restaurant work is tough and not suitable for a lot (perhaps most) people. You need to genuinely care about food and drink, be a people person and have good physical dexterity and stamina. A well run restaurant where everyone clicks can be a thing of joy. I was a waiter in many European countries. A very good waiter. I worked hard and made good money. I could make 500 euro in a weekend when the average industrial weekly wage was 400. Waitering is considered a profession in Europe.

      I love restaurants and think they are an integral part of a civilized society. All the restaurant workers I knew enjoyed going to other restaurants on their days off. The problem is not restaurants; the problem is that America is barbaric and treats restaurant workers like dirt.

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        Your experience is not everyone’s experience. Do you think the waitress at a Waffle House has the same experience as you? Are people in there “clinking glasses”?

        But happy workers do not tend to be alcoholics, so I would say you are missing something.

        And everyone loves having a servant, even the servant themselves.

        Reply
          1. Krystyn Podgajski

            I am not talking about my experience. I am looking at statistics. See the link to drug addiction above or read anything by Anthony Bourdain of the subject. See, it is not just about me.

            And I am looking at form. You see, only people who have enough disposable income can go to restaurants, and the more you have the better the experience. Restaurants are the proving ground for elitism. The embiggen the myth that everyone in Amerikkka can be a king.

            I have dined at some of the most expensive restaurants in the world, including a few very exclusive establishments in France (with the senior editor of Elle magazine in Paris) and in St. Andrews, Scotland (with a famous criminal defense lawyer).

            I get the lure and the romance. I see how they target the worst aspects of humanity. I saw how they fussed if the waiter put a plate out of place.

            And I have been to restaurants in tourist traps like Key West and hung out with the servers who make bank but spend it all on drugs that the managers lets them take during service because it helps performance. The fake smiles they have to force on themselves all day are weighted by the sadness and dysfunction when they get off of work.

            Reply
            1. Billy

              Right, drug addiction and self-destruction is the fault of other people, circumstances or economics.

              I read here a couple of weeks ago. “It’s not his fault that he got addicted to heroin.”

              “It isn’t his fault that the pavement smashed his brains out,”
              after he jumped off the roof…

              It’s a personal choice to start a process that everyone knows is addictive, and or fatal, or at least to not stop it in time. Perhaps it’s Darwinian selection to weed out the narcissistic and those without self preservation from the gene pool?

              Reply
                1. MLTPB

                  Are there different types of addiction as far reasons go?

                  Addiction to money or wealth?

                  Personal or societal? A bit of both?

                  Reply
                2. Massinissa

                  I mean it doesn’t help that ‘Society’ as an aggregate also has addictions it can’t stop, like addiction to economic growth and fossil fuels.

                  Society will be facing some damn hard withdrawals when one or both of those start to run out. Hell, me may see withdrawals of the cessation of easy access to Economic Growth real soon… Hopefully society can get another fix sometime next year, I guess?

                  Reply
              1. jr

                @ billy

                Ah, “personal choice”, that hoary thought stopper…fear not though, I have some experience lancing that particular boil…

                Personal choices do not take place in a vacuum, sir, there is no Platonic solid version of a choice, they are all fundamentally context dependent because every thought you have is context dependent.* Unless you happen to do your thinking independently of your mind that is…

                Within that context there are degrees of agency or choice making that can be mapped out to a greater or lesser extent. Emotional states, misconceptions, unconscious predispositions, all of these and more feed into the seemingly crisp act of making a choice.

                For example, someone with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism can still make a choice not to drink, it’s just extremely hard. They have no where near the degree of freedom I have in such a scenario, They are what Harry Frankfurt calls “wantons”, persons who honestly will something but cannot make it actionable for some reason or another.

                “The unwilling addict identifies himself, . . . through the formation of a second-order volition, with one rather than with the other of his conflicting first-order desires. He makes one of them more truly his own and, in so doing, he withdraws himself from the other. It is in virtue of this identification and withdrawal, accomplished through the formation of a second-order volition, that the unwilling addict may meaningfully make the analytically puzzling statements that the force moving him to take the drug is a force other than his own, and that it is not of his own free will but rather against his will that this force moves him to take it.“

                https://thewinnower.com/papers/3854-the-way-of-the-wanton

                (@ all: I tried to get Frankfurt’s original paper but it’s canned up in JSTOR.)

                Are they morally bankrupt if they fail? Or say a teenager, brimming with the confidence and wisdom that only youthful naïveté can produce, does a bump of coke with her friends and becomes addicted. Sure, she made a choice, should she be condemned for being inexperienced in life? For being a goofy teen? Denied help on that basis? Is that a good “choice” for society, for that matter?

                And let’s take an extreme example, someone boldly announces that they are actively looking to develop a heroin addiction just for kicks, a G.G. Allen type. Why shouldn’t he be helped when the time comes? He actively made a stupid, dangerous choice, undoubtedly, but I think an argument could be made that a moral society would treat him irregardless. And you still have to consider the context, even in such a blatant case.

                All of this must come with the proviso that the exact question of what a choice even is is hotly disputed in some circles…

                * I think there are exceptions but that’s another ball of fishhooks to pick apart…;)

                Reply
                1. Krystyn Podgajski

                  WONDRERFUL!!!!!!!

                  I have some recovered addict friends who will love to read this. Thank you!

                  Reply
          1. Synoia

            No, we should adopt the UK’s method of training Doctors, without the University fees.

            If one is $500,000 in debt, one is also under and little stress, and somewhat strained.

            And forgive all Student debt.

            Reply
        1. Keith

          Happy worker, sad worker- well that can explain any worker. Who really enjoys working for someone else; that’s why they are paid.

          As for the alcohol or other substance abuse, that’s a personal choice. You shouldn’t blame someone’s paycheck for it.

          Reply
      2. vidimi

        Hear, hear

        I also love restaurants and agree that the problem is with the treatment of the employees, who are often treated as anything but that. The best are restaurants that give their employees a stake in the business’ success. Abolish tipping and avoid large chains.

        Reply
        1. jr

          Agree with the chain avoidance but the “abolish tips” idea has its own problems:

          https://www.grubstreet.com/2018/12/restaurant-tipping-returns.html

          This article argues that it would work if more restaurants got on board but who knows if that could ever happen:

          https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/no-tipping-tip-free-restaurants-discrimination-harassment.html

          At least one article I now cannot find noted that a significant numbers of customers stopped frequenting “no tip” restaurants because, well, they enjoyed the leverage they had…

          Reply
          1. Montanamaven

            I remember that article too, but didn’t bookmark it. It was a Seattle restaurant owner who had 2 restaurants and he tried no tips in one. Some Customers complained that they couldn’t reward or penalize service. Yes, they enjoyed the power.

            Reply
            1. hunkerdown

              The servile relationship is the entire purpose of the middle class. It’s an unpopular opinion round these parts, but the concept of a middle class is inherently aristocratic and right-wing. The middle class doesn’t need to be saved. If anything, it needs to be broken up and melted with the working class.

              Reply
              1. Massinissa

                I disagree, only to the point where I think the Middle Class is a myth, and *is* a part of the working class, but they fail to realize this, due to a mix of intense propaganda and at least some level of willful delusion, perhaps as a coping mechanism. “I’m not one of *them*, I’m better than them, I have a modicum of power over them so that makes me better” is essentially a coping mechanism, one that is socially promoted by the Capitalist class as a means of divide and conquer.

                It has worked…

                I don’t want to immiserate those who think they’re middle class. But its going to happen anyway thanks to natural tendencies of unregulated capitalism, I’m afraid. More importantly, what I don’t know is how to prevent the ‘middle class’ from simply kicking down at the working class the more they fall down to their level. The realization that everyone who isn’t explicitly a capitalist is equal after all will cause very violent reactions that almost certainly will not be directed at, well, capitalists.

                Reply
        2. Chris Hargens

          Abolishing tips is okay if the resulting salary/benefits make up for lost tips. I haven’t seen this in the $15-an-hour proposals.

          Reply
          1. tegnost

            Yeah I tip, extra these days, because I figure it makes it to the server in most cases and if you’re a worker in america you are underpaid by design.

            Reply
            1. Peter from Georgia

              Plaintiff’s side employment lawyer here in the US – I am getting a lot of potential waiter/waitress clients calling and saying their (almost exclusively high end) restaurant got PPP, put them all on salary, and now retains tips (or some variation).

              I have a bet with another lawyer that efforts made by employers to overcome financial difficulties due to Covid-19 responses would create a huge pool of potential clients and, t date, I am likely to win that bet.

              Reply
            2. neo-realist

              I tip because dealing with the public can be a hellacious experience, so people who can do it well in spite of the nature of the work should be rewarded with a little extra combat pay.

              Reply
              1. scoff

                A kind word or something as simple as a heartfelt “thank you” goes a long way.

                I’ve never worked in a restaurant, but I have worked service jobs. A show of appreciation, whether a tip or a thanks, is gratifying.

                Reply
    2. jr

      That’s an interesting PDF and I agree with many of the sentiments. One point I have to disagree with is the claim that restaurants make a “reliable” profit. That’s if you discount the vast majority of them whose lifespan ranges from 6 months to 2 years tops. Even successful restaurants see their profit rise and dip significantly over a years time for any number of reasons.

      And then there is actual seasonality: for example I’ve worked in ice cream production and retail. In mid January our NYU cashier kids were sitting around playing “Angry Birds” and blowing joints out front until the other restaurant owners complained and we got them to move that behind the building. No one cares for ice cream in January, not enough to keep a shop open. If your restaurant is half indoors/half outdoors, in January the patio is the smokers lounge in many places.

      Fireship is right, a well running restaurant is a beautiful thing and they can be decent places to work. Its gratifying as a server to have a huge table out for grandmas birthday and to have them tell you that you made it the best it could be. It’s also rewarding as a chef or cook to have a customer come to the kitchen door to thank you for making them the best pasta they ever ate. It is our “system” that makes it a horrible and within that context it truly is one of the worst jobs around:

      “In a study conducted by Chinese scientists last year, results indicated that the highest stress jobs are ones that are very demanding and allow for little control. In what should come as no surprise to most of you, restaurant employment was at the top of the list.”

      https://blog.pedanco.com/the-scary-truth-behind-stress-in-the-restaurant-industry-8ee5f9c3d2ed

      Reply
    3. Maritimer

      What are the rules for Nevada ecdysiasts? G-string et al can go but face mask remain? Do patrons get a covid discount? The bureaucrats must be working triple overtime (more deficit) micro-managing covid.

      Reply
  3. Fireship

    The Miami Herald publishes good stories. I found the following one absolutely horrifying.

    Florida man got 4 years for stealing 4 $15 phone chargers. He was beaten to death in prison

    A mentally disabled man with the IQ of a ten-year-old child was savagely beaten to death by a masochistic ‘corrections’ officer for a minor infringement. These daily stories, which detail the inherent wanton cruelty of American institutions, tell me more than anything that America is past the point of no-return. The system is beyond reform. The only thing now is to figure out how best to survive the slide into outright barbarity.

    Reply
    1. jaackiebass

      Unfortunately law enforcement has morfed into catch the criminal act any cost. Police kill suspect over minor crimes like shoplifting cheap items. If the suspect ties to flee they may be killed. This to me seems extreme. I remember when a petty theft criminal would be allowed to flee. The officer knew the he would eventually catch the guy. Now it seems too be apprehend and take into custody many cost. Even the life of the suspect. I understand being a police officer is dangerous work. I also believe their tactics make it more dangerous.

      Reply
      1. Pookah Harvey

        ” being a police officer is dangerous work”
        This is one of the biggest misconceptions that is held by the general population and even by the police themselves.
        The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps a record of job related fatalities according to occupation. The overall average is 3.5 job related deaths per 100,000 persons. Police work in 2018 had a rate of 13.7, so yes it is quite a bit more dangerous than the average job. But here is a list of the rates for some other occupations:

        Electrical power-line installers 19.3
        Structural iron and steel workers 23.6
        Farmers, ranchers 24.7
        Truck drivers 26.0
        Refuse and recyclable material collectors 44.3
        Roofers 51.5
        Fishers and related fishing workers 77.4
        Logging workers 97.6

        So being a police officer is only a third as dangerous as being a garbage collector, half as dangerous as being a truck driver, quarter as dangerous as being a roofer, a sixth as dangerous as being a fisherman and a seventh as dangerous as being a logger.

        Police work has been given an aura of danger that far outstrips the reality of the job and that has become ingrained in the psyche of the general population and especially in the members of the police force themselves.

        Reply
        1. Billy

          A lack of women in those 8 disproportionately male and mostly highly paid occupations might explain the
          “Women earn .57 cents for every dollar men earn”

          myth.

          Reply
        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I thought I read somewhere that a large number of police deaths while on the job were due to traffic accidents which resulted from high speed pursuits. [no link and could be mistaken]

          Reply
      2. hunkerdown

        > Unfortunately law enforcement has morfed into catch the criminal act any cost

        The? More like a. “You supply the people, we’ll supply the criminals.” -with no apologies to W. R. Hearst

        And the real, absolute, only crime in Western society is insubordination, for which no punishment is too grisly, grim, or evil as long as it preserves the servile relation. Unbossed people are dangerous to bosses and those whom bosses privilege. Keeping the dogies in their place is the very act that creates and reproduces class society.

        Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        -for profit prisons encourage through political donations warehousing of smaller offenders and the mentally ill. A PA judge caused quite a stir a couple of years ago when he was so blatant.

        -again the for profit model relative to government contracting leads to a situation where cuts are made at all levels: training, background checks, resources, number of personell, etc versus a place operating with public government standards.

        -because they are private, reform advocates and watch dogs have harder times getting access to data and access to facilities.

        -not that I’m an expert, but I suspect the white supremacist “infiltration” (the more virulent kind of the last decade or so) likely got their foot in the door through private prisons because of the model which has lower standards

        Reply
  4. jackiebass

    The biggest reason people can’t afford their water bills is because water delivery has become privatized. Over a decade ago a propaganda campaign was launched to promote privatization. It was sold on the idea this would save money and provide better service. Studies have shown that in too many cases the opposite has happened. Unfortunately facts don’t seem matter because privatization is still being promoted. I believe certain things and services are so important that they shouldn’t be controlled by private for profite companies. Water is only one of these. I believe it was Ronald Reagan that promoted privatization big time by constantly saying government can’t do anything right. The size of government has to be reduced because it is wasteful.The Covid virus shows how misguided this thinking can be.

    Reply
    1. Carla

      “The size of government has to be reduced because it is wasteful. The Covid virus shows how misguided this thinking can be.”

      Actually, I would call that thinking criminal, not misguided. It has been systematically spread — like a fatal virus — by those who profit from destroying all that which is a public good for their own personal, private gain.

      The best book I have ever read about precisely how this was done is “Democracy In Chains” by Nancy MacLean. I think it should be required reading in every American high school — by college, it’s already too late. Their minds have been captured.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        A government has to be as complex as the technologies you want to live with, otherwise the technologists run off with everything.

        And the con artist run off with everything the technologists aren’t interested in: this is privatization in a nutshell.

        Reply
    2. drexciya

      I really don’t get why some people still seem to have the idea that privatizing water supply is a good thing. I recall a documentary from quite some time ago, detailing this in France (companies like Suez have become big players), and that it just doesn’t work, and it’s fraught with corruption.

      That’s where I also learned, that they love to use chlorinated water, since that means you don’t have to invest as much (typically long-term investments) in maintaining the infrastructure.

      Reply
      1. Carla

        Unfortunately, the long-term corruption of the governments that have traditionally been responsible for providing water has meant that public water infrastructure often suffers from under-funding and neglect. Certainly this is true in much of the U.S., particularly older communities, where some parts of 100+ year old systems haven’t been upgraded at all and in fact have barely been maintained. People pay ever-higher water bills, and the infrastructure languishes.

        As the Irish people have made abundantly clear to their government, access to clean, fresh water is a human right:

        https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39594886
        http://www.moneyguideireland.com/water-charges-2017-new-rules.html

        Reply
  5. nycTerrierist

    re: Fireship at 7:32 am

    “…savagely beaten to death by a masochistic ‘corrections’ officer for a minor infringement.”

    if that’s a masochistic ‘corrections’ officer, I’d hate to see their sadists….

    ;-)

    Reply
    1. Fireship

      Facepalm! I got carried away in my outrage. Let my shame be a warning to others who may type faster than their brain.

      Reply
    2. Keith

      I suspect there may be more to the story, although I did intern with the FL DOC, and I heard stories where the inmates would kill the juveniles over silly things, like stealing soap. Problem with a lot of prisons is that the inmates and staff literally can spend a lifetime together, so traits and rub off on each other.

      Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Sherman led what some would call a genocidal war against indigenous people and Grant has already had a statue toppled. Chainsaws to those “monuments”?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Where would you find a 22 foot bar & chain to be able to pull that off?

        p.s.

        Its quite something for pesky humans to name ancient trees after humans with lifespans 1/30th as long, it’d be akin to a hamster naming a human in honor of another gerbil.

        Reply
        1. Billy

          “22 foot Chainsaw
          long enough to reach the middle of the tree.
          Not everyone is up on logging terms Wukchumni.

          Somewhere out there, someone is pondering as they go through their day, what short taverns and long chains have to do with pulling down statues.

          Reply
          1. furies

            Billy

            You remind me of someone who was here a coupla weeks ago under a different name–it can’t be true??

            Reply
      2. Keith

        I don’t think Sherman is faddish enough in this latest round of outrage. Perhaps the next round of historical revision will allow for those who may have committed crimes against native americans.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          What if we reverted back to the original name of the General Sherman Tree, which was bestowed by a socialist utopian society in the 1880’s named the Kaweah Colony, when they called it:

          The Karl Marx Tree

          Reply
          1. MLTPB

            Sherman Tree is about 300 ft.

            The world’s tallest statue, the Statue of Unity in India is about 600′. The next tallest is the Spring Temple Buddha at about 500′.

            Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I’m sure that Those Better Than Us can find a long enough rope to pull down the Statue of Unity. And hey, isn’t there also a really big statue in New York harbour? You know, the one holding the torch? That was a gift from that notorious nation France, you know, the country that had all of those colonies around the world? And doesn’t the phrase “huddled masses” signify members of certain repressed classes? Down it comes.

              Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “REVEALED: 10 large Silicon Valley tech firms employ ZERO Black women and the net worth of the region’s 10 richest moguls – all white men – is $248B, staggering inequality study finds”

    Now there’s irony for you. You have a bunch of hoons running around trying to pull down statues because of something that happened in seventeen hundred and whatever in a fight against white supremacy. And yet at the same time they are ignoring current demonstrations of white supremacy going on today. And not by MAGA types, not by red-necks, not by conservative voters but by ‘progressive’ companies like Google and Apple. In other words, their contemporaries.

    If they were serious, they would start a campaign against Silicon Valley companies to force them to do what they should be doing all along and in that way get other corporations try to get ahead of the curve by changing their practices. Since when did Silicon Valley get a free pass? If those companies tried to eliminate them from the net, then I am sure that a few demonstrations outside their HQ buildings will remind them that they have a home address still. Pulling down statues is only a cosmetic protest. It’s a feel-good demonstration. So why are those protesters not going for macro-changes in today’s corporations instead?

    Reply
    1. woops

      Chances are you are using a device produced by one of those firms to write this post in addition to the internal and external parts that were developed by those companies. The network they’re using that is hosted by servers developed by one of those companies. The infrastructure might not be owned by those companies yet.. but a great deal of creative public financing went into the interwoven parts that allow those big firms to still profit off technology with planned obsolescence. All of those intricate items and networks tested/produced/copyrighted and mass manufactured / sold for a profit that is earned by those billionaires and their companies. The core innovations that we all use are simply exaggerated forms of technologies produced over 20 years ago. And those white men have been associated with other white men to get to where they are.

      Perhaps you’re looking to advocate for women of color by arguing for “Right to Repair” legislation.. which can allow all us plebs to become interdependent — and spread the tech sector outward. Perhaps advocate for adding explainers about white supremacy on those statues instead of taking them down. However — all of the aforementioned options require bureaucracies to operate at a higher level and politics to be less irrelevant to the experience of the average worker. So as it stands.. the feelings that is.. we’re in place where the conversation needs to operate at a higher level. So maybe tear those suckers down is a good idea?.. and then threaten more.. until the aforementioned conversation operates at a level where everyone knows whats at stake?

      Reply
    2. R. S.

      The answer to your question is: Because the protests are allowed and celebrated only because they advance corporate interests. The agenda of BLM is deeply divisive and is increasing tension even between minority groups.

      Reply
      1. woops

        Maybe tension is a good thing? By Agenda do you mean Defund the police vs Reform the police? I’m not sure how thats divisive in a bad way. You’re rallying around The Particular thing that has to change: Police Violence. Hence my argument for advocating change for a The Particular thing* which is: Right to Repair and Improving historical education in monuments. These are specific things that can have differentiation within them, but still result in change. Either way you’ve got grassroots momentum to change the relationships between city hall/ town hall with regard to local police precincts about The Particular thing*: Police Violence. The answer to your question is the thing thats happening right now: a public conversation on police violence and different changes that are happening in small communities everywhere.

        Reply
        1. R. S.

          Defund the police, meaning reduce police spending and increase social services, was tried in my city. The social service money was eaten up by grift. And the police was defunded in my neighborhood to very bad consequences of violent crime (stabbings, physical assault) and drug abuse on the street (tens of people shooting heroin and smoking crack at all times of the day, with much open air drug dealing). Meanwhile, in the same city where the wealthy lived there was no such defunding of the police. They maintained heavy police presence and aggressive enforcement against violent crime.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Dangerous Truthiness detected! Report immediately to your local Ministry of Right Thought or you will be cancelled

            Reply
          2. woops

            Please name the city you’re referring to. Also — that description of “”drug abuse on the street” — is this better behind closed doors where no one can see the abuse and all the white people can happily live in their gentrified do-good dreams? You know what open-exchange programs does? It reduces the transmission of disease. America’s culture is lets hide the real poverty so we can pretend that our little donation to NPR, or doing our taxes is a real slap on the back. Lets just ignore the messed up part of society and complain about welfare. Lets also let the police deal with all of that. Oh yeah – overdoses? Police go for it. Oh noise complaints? Oh yeah police go for it. Lets outsource meeting other people and tell someone with a gun who is trained be okay with murder people to go meet people for us. Clap clap clap

            Reply
          3. Procopius

            “Defund the Police” is a flawed slogan, only just less than “Abolish the Police.” Maybe “Unbundle the Police,” meaning separate the functions that don’t need weapons from the very, very few that do.

            @R.S. You don’t tell us what “your” city is, so I don’t have any way to rebut your assertion that there was a heavy police presence in the rich part of town, but I’d bet it was a temporary spike, at best, and was primarily on the perimeter, and I’d bet a larger amount that enforcement against violent crime in that neighborhood was not “aggressive.”

            Reply
    3. Keith

      That’s the thing, it is not serious, it is a fad, something to do while locked down and out of work. A big plus, is it allows you to look down on the undesirables, formally labeled as the deplorables. I suspect once the economy opens up, a lot of this new found “wokeness” will fade away as people are able to carry on with their lives.

      Reply
    4. Jeremy Grimm

      The lack of black women at places like Google and Apple is much more complex than squeezing Google or Apple to hire and promote more black women. You have to start at the neighborhood schools paid for with local property taxes and local sales taxes and fees, often with minimal State and Federal support and often burdened with State and Federal mandates. Actually you have to start earlier and visit a few homes to see how children get fed and what sort of stimulation they enjoy at home while their family gets by on too little money and too many expenses. Maybe take a look at the park where they can go play with their friends … if there is one. Maybe go back to around the time that child was born and see what kind of care their mother received before during and after delivery. Rather than go on and on like this I believe Black Lives Matter is pursuing goals far more dangerous and threatening to Google or Apple than a goal like trying to make them hire and promote more black women. Pulling down statues is about as meaningful as hiring a few more black women at Google or Apple although pulling down a statues is much faster, easier, and far more visible.

      Reply
      1. neo-realist

        To expound on those factors, look at the water supply that the community or city is reliant on, e.g., Newark. Is it contaminated with lead? Also, is the neighborhood or city where the residents live situated in a polluted environment–toxic wastes, dirty air, etc. Such environment hazards will seriously damage the IQ’s of children that live in those areas and not allow them to be all they should be.

        Reply
      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Sorry, I don’t buy this for a second. Black women have higher average educational attainment than men. You are seriously telling me Google etc could not hire some black women for admin positions, like HR, PR, or legal? This is absurd on its face.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I need a do-over. I was ready to complain “Ouch! Oooooo! Owie! I am being spanked for something I didn’t do! … but then I carefully re-read my comment.

          Is it difficult to hire black women to work at Google or Apple? The firm I worked for and the Army commands I was contracted to, used several very competent black women in their technical management. I worked for over a year each for each of two different black woman managers at different times and on different assignments in my career as a contractor. The next to last assignment I had was very well run by a black COL. who got his ‘bird’ through his management of the group I am proud to have served. However, I have worked with relatively few black women who worked as engineers or programmers at the “pointy-end” of an engineering effort. The one I can recall was responsible for the idea which resulted in a major project my firm proposed and sold to the Army, the very project I later worked on for several years under the black COL I mentioned. [She left the firm after the former Marine Corps officer who was her direct manager threatened to tear-off her face if she didn’t complete on-time the pile of work that fell on her back thanks to her idea. I talked with her at length about what happened. She was in her middle twenties and somewhat physically afraid since her boss was a very big, loud guy, but mostly she was deeply and rightfully offended. I don’t know where she ended up but I hope it was a good slot. She was a great loss to the firm. Was her white boss fired, or reprimanded, or censured in any way? Dream on! He told the story his way and the next level of management didn’t care about anything but the $$$ now and the headcount the new project promised to bring in to our office.]

          The really sad part of my story is that it required the US Army to develop and fully utilize the abilities of their black soldiers, and it is a recent development since the 1960s [I doubt other services are remiss but I worked with Army]. Knowing the few black woman line-managers I served. I can reasonably wonder whether they would be willing to work for a place like Google or Apple, and also wonder how well they might fit in. The two black woman managers I served were definitely NO NONSENSE types who might clash in the Google or Apple corporate cultures. Money talks but it would have to yell to them since they were already doing well enough.

          The linked story has utility as a diversion, though little novelty. It is a story of corporate hypocrisy, with an overview of the statistics of inequality. It will take a lot more than ‘correct’ employment statistics at Google and Apple to untarnish their Corporate images. Big Money has constructed a bomb and placed it under the hood of our Societal ‘car’ which is also their ‘car’. Hiring quotas at Google or Apple will not disarm the bomb even symbolically. The Silicon Valley Pain Index offers no answers.

          Our society is running out of time. Are we destined to tear our Society apart before it collapses under the weight of Climate Chaos?

          Reply
    5. Duke of Prunes

      I have a hard time believing this study. How “large” are these “large” corporations? Interesting that they don’t name them. My personal experience working at a few SV companies over the last 25 years contradicts this. Also, aren’t people of Indian descent counted a “People of Color”. I have a hard time buying into the “white supremacy” narrative with so many south Asians (men and women) working at all levels of most SV companies.

      Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          There are indeed a large number of people of Indian descent working in software companies, often under contract to firms like TATA. I bought my old Corolla from a database programming contractor who worked for TATA [Ganesha still blesses my dash and protects my car], after his job evaporated and he was called home. But he didn’t automate his job away. His job ended like an Uber-ride. Just after selling his car TATA contacted him telling him he had a new assignment in Cincinnati. And if you believe the guy had special skills unavailable from local programmers … you would be much mistaken.

          Reply
    6. nothing but the truth

      statues are being pulled down as a show of bullying by the group, to rest of society.

      there’s this maddening hatred of “them”, as anyone who may remotely disagree with the group.

      Google types do not disagree – but their words speak, not their actions.

      So this is really an intellectual compliance movement.

      Reply
    7. False Solace

      Toppling a statue is a concrete material action achievable by a small local group.

      Organizing a mass boycott of FB or Google used by billions of people worldwide is on an entirely other level.

      When it comes to changing the world each of us do what we are able. Whether you support the methods or not.

      I doubt the people who oppose Confederate monuments have a favorable opinion of tech industry hiring practices.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I’ll be honest lyman alpha blob and say that I think that case was all about a shakedown of Microsoft by the Washington establishment. Back then Microsoft did not do much in the way of lobbyists in Washington and so the money was not flowing from Seattle to Washington DC. Microsoft realized that they had few friends in DC during those hearings. After that episode was over Microsoft learned the errors of their way and started to hire a big contingent of lobbyists in DC along with appropriate money flows. Call it the Cost Of Doing Big Business these days.

        Reply
  7. John A

    Re A chain of stupidity’: the Skripal case and the decline of Russia’s spy agencies

    Luke Harding, who wrote this article, is a long time peddlar of Putin bad and Russiagate, and has written more than one book on it, plus one due out soon, which this article is puffing. He was interviewed by Aaron Mate to discuss his previous book on how Putin controls Trump. All he offers is allegations and inuendo, when Mate tries to pin Harding down to proper evidence, Harding finally admits ‘I’m a storyteller, not a journalist’. Harding pulled the plug on the interview shortly after. Well worth a watch
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ikf1uZli4g&lc=UgwwtkO2_imMV1bT0SB4AaABAg

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      a storyteller, not a journalist

      Gag–“storyteller” being a polite term for liar?

      The nostalgically inclined can head to their local library (if open) where they will still find sections labeled “fiction” and “nonfiction.”.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        Caitlin Johnstone’s term “narrative manager” is more appropriate to describe the banality and uselessness of that lot. But societies are little more than sets of lies we take as givens and act as if they were true. Anything else, they scream “nihilism” and try to smash it.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          RussiaGate was a trial run for “let’s see what we can make people believe despite any actual real-world evidence for it whatsoever”. It was a smashing success

          Reply
    2. Cian

      Yeah Luke Harding has been bad for years. He plagiarized Mark Ames, and in his final years as the Guardian’s Russia correspondent was insanely paranoid about being surveilled based upon absolutely nothing.

      Reply
    3. km

      I recall one of Luke Harding’s many fabrications (but they all seem to follow a common theme) was when The Guardian published a breathless article by Harding, when he claimed to be among the thousands of Russian tanks poised to invade helpless little neo-Nazi Ukraine.

      Of course, the idea that Russian operational security was so lax as to let a well-known foreign propagandist with an axe to grind simply waltz up to the front lines and poke around is a laff. Especially as Harding has at times claimed that the FSB was trying to kill or scare him, but this time, with Russia on the brink of open war, they apparently just couldn’t be bothered.

      I also recall that the reason Harding couldn’t take photos of this enormous invasion force (which was also invisible to satellite recon) was that his camera was out of batteries, gosh darn it family blog. Right – the biggest journalistic scoop of the decade and Harding could neither plan ahead nor run to the nearest Mobilochka (name of a Russian mobile phone distribution chain) and buy a backup battery?

      That Harding is a storyteller goes without saying – but why is he still employed as a journalist?

      Reply
      1. divadab

        Good question – but I think the subject matter and the disinformation in his writing give a pretty good clue. I doubt most of his income comes from the Guardian. Now another good question is why the Guardian publishes Harding’s obvious disinformation?

        Reply
      1. D. Fuller

        The potential to see massive looting of pensions by PE firms above and beyond what is occurring is reinforced by a rules change by The Trump Administration governing PE’s ability to access pension funds.

        A Labor Department letter could help Trump’s private equity donors fleece 100 million workers.
        https://sirota.substack.com/p/news-trump-just-fulfilled-his-billionaire

        Also reported on here at NC prior in a different article IIRC.

        Both might CALPERS litigation in the long run.

        The end result is that PE access to pension money resulting in losses not realized until well in the future leaves workers unable to safeguard their pension proactively until it is too late. Even then, PE firms could be shielded legally by their contracts with pension funds.

        That such is happening in such a short time might lead the more conspiracy minded to believe in a concerted coordinated attack on pensions.

        Next up, Social Security. The wolves won’t be happy until they have eaten all of their prey. Which will leave wolves with an issue: where is their next meal coming from.

        Reply
      2. chuck roast

        Fiduciaries have long had the right to loot pension funds. Corporate bankruptcies involving defined benefit pension funds routinely see pension funds stripped by courts and bankruptcy overseers. Then current and future beneficiaries are routinely left to the tender mercies of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. But I think that’s the way congress set up the bankruptcy process. I guess the Supremes are taking their cue from our lawmakers and just allowing the existing fiduciaries to do the looting rather than wait for the actual insolvency. Kind of a pre-packed, pre-pack.

        @D. Fuller has it right…next up SS and the Grand Bargain.

        Reply
    1. vlade

      Which tells you the state of American politics. First it elects a total idiot, then to make it even better, it elects (quite possibly) a walking corpse. Will the next one be a horse?

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          I seem to be seeing a lot of re-legitimized “Rainbow Coalition Sparkle Ponys” lately. So, your “SilVa Unicorn” cannot be too far off.

          Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Well there is a precedent for trying to elect a horse. The Roman Emperor Caligula wanted to have his favourite horse “Incitatus” elected as Consul but he got the chop before that could happen. We are more economical in the modern world and only find it necessary to elect half a horse. Two guess which half.

        Reply
      2. Pookah Harvey

        The back half of them have been filling Congress for years. Having the whole horse would seem to be an improvement.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          And if they won’t represent their cronies as expected, they might just wake up to the other half one morning.

          Reply
      3. Andrew Thomas

        Go right to the source and ask the horse
        He’ll give you the answer that you endorse
        He’s always on a steady course
        Vote for Mister Ed!
        I think vlade is onto something here.

        Reply
        1. Billy

          A horse is a horse
          of course of course
          unless his ass would a camel embarrass

          Biden’s choice will of course of course
          be…………………………………..

          Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Does anyone actually believe this “poll”?

      Biden, meanwhile, has been largely confined to the immediate vicinity of his Delaware home, conducting fundraisers and campaign events online. A Tuesday fundraiser with former President Barack Obama raised $11 million.

      biden is a ghost. It’s “reported” that he’s “making inroads” and raising money. His “campaign” has all the usual trappings-commercials, logo bumper stickers, surrogates–except for one–a living, breathing candidate. So far, everything about this “candidacy” has been “virtual,” and pretty much everything we know about it is what we’ve been told.

      If there’s a functional person in that Delaware basement capable of being president, let him show himself and prove it. This is beginning to seem like ultimate gaslighting, or the movie Dave.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_(film)

      Reply
          1. D. Fuller

            Write-in rules are different for each State. Some States require that write-ins be from an official list of candidates. Other States allow whatever.

            Writing in a candidate for President frequently gets an entire ballot tossed, depending upon which State one lives in.

            Always check the rules. Too many do not. Also, with mail-in ballots, provisional ballots, and absentee ballots – all of which are different? One needs to check after the election to confirm that their ballot was accepted.

            Depending upon the type of ballot? Tossed ballots are frequent and common. Signature “mismatches”, ballots that are challenged by a party, etc.

            Reply
          2. RMO

            Max Headroom – Well, although he was raised in Canada Matt Frewer was born in DC so he qualifies. Governing as Headroom he certainly couldn’t do any worse than either of the current possibilities.

            Reply
      1. km

        I am yet to see a Biden bumper sticker.

        I live in a fire-engine red state, but I still see Sanders bumper stickers all the time.

        Reply
        1. Lost in OR

          I live in deep blue territory. I’ve seen one Biden lawn sign.

          There are more fading Bernie bumper stickers than all other signage combined.

          Reply
        2. D. Fuller

          I was in Deep Red Rural Washington State back in 2016. Sanders signs outnumbered Trump signs which outnumbered Hillary signs.

          That was a common occurence out West. Even in Deep Red areas.

          After Hillary was nominated? All the Sanders signs on Republican lawns were replaced with Trump signs.

          People don’t realize that the modern Progressive movement began in rural Conservative areas such as Kansas. Or that unions were strengthened by Conservative areas such as W. VA. after the Battle of Blair Mountain. Which became a coalition with workers in the cities.

          Reply
      2. a different chris

        >Does anyone actually believe this “poll”?

        Yes, because elections are a referendum on the incumbent and most of the people picking Biden probably don’t know if he’s “Joe”, “Jim”, “Jake” or whatever, they just know he’s not Trump.

        Reply
      3. chuck roast

        Let’s remember that The Rose Garden strategy worked like a champ for Nixon. He spent the election season winding down the troops from Nam and won in a landslide. All Trump has to do is announce his support for M4A and hang around the Oval Office. He’ll win in a rout.

        But, of course, there is the little factor of his needy, outsized ego. He would need to be largely silenced for a few months, and that is not going to happen.

        Reply
    3. km

      Considering that almost nobody is voting for either candidate so much as they are voting against the other candidate, Biden’s strategy makes perfect sense.

      Give Trump as many opportunities to make a fool of himself as possible, and watch Trump take every one of them.

      Reply
    4. anon in so cal

      >Biden

      Obama fund-raised with Biden yesterday.

      Biden’s campaign transition advisor—Avril Haines—was Obama’s CIA Deputy Director: helped Obama with his “kill list.”

      “Biden’s new transition advisor on national security & foreign policy, Avril Haines was Obama’s CIA deputy director. But most don’t know she was also Obama’s direct advisor constructing his targeted assassination “Kill List”.”

      https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/10/21/the_cias_real_drone_queens_124369-3.html

      https://www.newsweek.com/2013/06

      /26/avril-haines-least-likely-spy-237616.html

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Just saw S. Rice “interviewed ” by Bill Maher recently. He is hosting show( for those who don’t know) from his creepy outdoor kind of tiki bar. We do get to see his dogs get fed lunch, too. Dogs are great…innocent bystanders. Who does not like doggies…Well, not too many. Susan was primed and ready. First noticed…wow! Make over was flawless. Like my spouse said: tuning for VP. She just went into an articulate presentation of Obama hope, change and “progressive” rhetoric. Maher let her go. He kissed her feet(virtually) and said yes, siree. Hope you are the pick. Another stand in for Biden. I am betting on none of the short list propagandized by his handlers . It will be a black woman. It will be one that many Americans could either live with or actually like. She has name recognition, articulate, likes to grow organic garden at the White House, and as a bonus hugs G.W. Yes, a unifier… Not a divider. Guess who may be hosting White House dinners? And, we get those cool White House performances back on PBS again.

        Reply
        1. neo-realist

          Speaking of foot kissing, Maher also let George Will bash Government Health Care, i.e., Medicare for All without putting up a proper alternative that Main Street Americans can afford.

          Between constantly sucking up to the likes of Sullivan, Frum (on past shows), and Will, I’m coming to believe that Maher is a Neo-con that smokes pot.

          Reply
  8. vlade

    The no-deal Brexit is now IMO more or less baked in, as the govt believes that
    a) either it will be all sunny uplands
    b) if not, what best time to hide it safely behind something big? CV-19 is once-a-lifetime opportunity to break Britain. And, as some (Cummings) believe remake it. If I was living somewhere outside the planet, I’d say “pass the popcorn and get me a comfy seat!”

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I don’t doubt for a moment Cummings and his inner crew are planning exactly that.

      What I do wonder is whether the remaining Tories who have some sense of reality and pragmatism may start panicking when the clock starts running down and the Chancellor starts pointing out the size of the deficit (yes, I know it doesn’t matter so much, but they do believe in it). I would not put it past the Tories, or indeed Johnson himself, to pull a 180 degree turn if they think it will save their skins. The reality of a no-deal is likely to become real just as Q3 figures come out, which are I think likely to look very scary indeed, especially if Covid is not under control by then.

      Reply
      1. vlade

        In Q4 (when the Q3 numbers are out), it will be too late. I don’t think the EU would do a deal in Q4. It could do the US approach “take it or leave it”, but not a negotiated deal. It’ll have too much on its own plate to spend time haggling with the UK

        Reply
  9. timbers

    The US “soft war” on Iran and its allies turns against Washington Elijah Magnier (Chuck L)

    It’s good to see movement away form U.S. economic hegemony, and this show it can be done.
    \
    Said it years ago: The ONLY sane way to deal with the U.S. in it’s present form, is to embrace a policy of 100% total complete economic independence from her. The U.S will never back down in it’s present policy, so Russia, China, Iran, Syria must move to toward complete separation and independence. The sooner it’s done, the better off they will all be. The U.S. is non agreement capable and waiting for someone like Biden to make minor changes to policy – like being nice to Iran and China so we can wipe out Syria and Russia so we go after China and Iran later – isn’t an option these nations can look forward to.

    IMO, if these nations – Russia, Iran, Syria, China – can get traction on this, it’s only a matter of time before Europe slowly begins to follow.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden is already running to the right of Trump on foreign policy. Biden doesn’t even complain about Trump tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, basically one of three sound accomplishments of the Obama administration.

      Biden spent years huffing about how we needed to divide Iraq into three ethnic states which demonstrates how dumb he is, even from his own stand point. Turkey would seize northern Iraq, and Iran would absorb the Southern oil fields. Just an absolute mad idea put forth by people who thought we could manage a Balkanized Iraq better. Of course, the originators probably expected to invade and Balkanize Iran.

      I’m not sure about Europe. They need to break German hegemony first. When it comes down to it, I think Berlin will see the US as the guarantor of Berlin dominance. And I suspect the EU fp elite still see the US as a means of reliving colonial glory days.

      Reply
      1. Lost in OR

        basically one of three sound accomplishments of the Obama administration.

        I agree on the Iran deal.

        But then I’m lost regarding the other two sound accomplishments. The only thing I’ve given him credit for was soiling “hope and change”.

        What are the other two?

        Reply
      2. Lost in OR

        basically one of three sound accomplishments of the Obama administration.

        I agree that the Iran treaty was a sound accomplishment.

        But then I’m lost on the other two. The only credit I’ve given O was soiling “hope and change”.

        So what were the other two?

        Reply
    2. km

      Russia and Iran and even Russia and China are not natural allies, in the sense that they don’t each necessarily have things that the other wants and can trade to get. (Russia and Germany are better suited as natural allies, but that is another story.)

      American aggression has pushed these countries into a de facto alliance, and the Americans have so far been unable to break up that alliance, because all parties know that America only offers peace so that it may more easily divide and conquer.

      Reply
      1. RMO

        Regarding treaties, international law, alliances etc. the US reminds me of the scorpion in the fable about the scorpion and the frog. It’s well past time for the rest of the world to recognize this and act accordingly.

        Reply
      2. Olga

        There are those who argue that the concept of “natural allies” has never made much sense. As geopolitics, goals, and interests change, so do allies. In the current situation, it makes perfect sense for Russia and China to work together. They both face the same enemy. (On at least one occasion, VVP identified this as “international capital,” not necessarily the US as a country.)
        The idea of Germany/Russia being natural allies may have come from the UK, which has expended much effort to prevent such an alliance. The irony is that in the long process… Russia has been pushed toward China.

        Reply
        1. MLTPB

          Russia and China…

          Last week, CNN reported Russia accusing a leading arctic researcher of spying for China.

          What happened there?

          Reply
            1. MLTPB

              He is being accused now, after searching a little more.

              We may not hear his side of the story until later…unless someone has inside information to leak.

              Will it be proven wrong or will it an ally or a potential ally spying, or something else?

              Reply
  10. bandit

    A chain of stupidity’: the Skripal case and the decline of Russia’s spy agencies

    This is exactly the kind of bullshit I have come to expect from the Guardian, but not something that is linked here on NC. I am not sure why NC chose to include this in the Links section which gives voice to two of the worst perpetrators of fake news and misinformation: Luke Harding and Henry Higgins.

    Although, not specifically related to this story, the OffGuardian is a much more accurate and incisive source for the alternative sides to msm propaganda pieces. And specifically related to this subject, Craig Murry is the definitive source for information on the Skripal case.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      NC often puts in links to shall we say, dubious articles and authors? It makes you put your thinking caps on to tear apart that article by looking at the flaws and lies in those articles. Also, you get to see where other people get their ‘information’ from. You have to know what people on the other side of the hill are thinking. So you would quickly remember while reading that Guardian article that Luke Harding is a serious Russia-gater with axes to grind while Higgins get paid by the Atlantic Council and is on staff there. Both of them beyond redemption.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        I get the “let’s see what the other side says” notion… but the problem with Harding is that in his many years of “writing” he’s not offered a single original idea beyond “Russia bad.” You’ve read one of his articles, you’ve read them all. Anything else is a waste of time. At least Nuland may get close to power, but Harding?

        Reply
    2. jr

      One of the reasons I come here is to read the commentariats’ shredding of such sources, let alone the savage beatings the mods dish out…it’s like watching a bunny rabbit fall into a medieval wolf pit…

      Reply
  11. JacobiteInTraining

    Thanks for the Corvid article – I have always loved depressurizing up at the mountain compound, preferably with a couple close friends and/or the chipmunks, Steller’s jays, and camp robbers. (Canada jays, specifically – still corvidae)

    I make little clicking noises with my mouth to call the camp robbers in (well, OK…they would come anyway, but at least when they hear the clicks they know the restaurant is open for business) and distribute small chunks of suet. Often in the early mornings, or after a quiet nap, when I am sipping a cup of tea on the porch a couple will swoop in to perch on the awning and twitter at me, looking me in the eye from a couple feet away as if to say ‘wassup, pal? getting stingy in your old age?’

    Since I have been doing this for nearly 15 years, we can always tell gramma/grampa, uncles aunts and mama and papa jay, when they bring their fledglings (youngsters have a different darker grey-black feather coloring) each spring to introduce them to my greasy spoon’s menu. :)

    Ravens and crows are a lot scarcer though….every once in awhile a raven swoops by on his way elsewhere, and they have always been so much more aloof then the camp robbers. Unwilling to slum it with the humans, methinks, despite sometimes spending some time hopping from perch to perch checking me out as I try and call to ’em.

    Likely thinking to themselves “What IS this dudes deal….his Raven-speak is soooooo unintelligible!..”

    Reply
    1. petal

      I feed them in the winter(northern NH). I put peanuts out for them in the morning before getting in my car to go to work. They are always waiting for me, and they don’t fly to the peanuts until they see me get in the car(they know me and my car). I do talk/call to them when I put the peanuts out. Usually one will be sitting on the peak of a nearby house, waiting and watching, then it will call to the others that brekkie is ready. They are fascinating. There seems to be a regular group of 3 or 4 that stick together.

      Reply
    2. jr

      Re: Corvids

      Before the plague I volunteered with the Wild Bird Fund here in Manhattan. They have two grackles, Baby and Rosa, who cannot be returned to the wild because they not only bonded with their former owners, they were friends with the family cat as well…so they live in the shelter.

      Flying gremlins: snatching food out of peoples hands, demanding sips of water when you are scrubbing dishes, stealing shiny pens…Rosa has a gorgeous emerald sheen to her feathers, Baby is in scarlet. You will feel a sudden light touch on your shoulder and turn to see one of them staring at you with obvious intelligence. Then they start to peck and pull your ear for reasons known only to themselves. I miss those guys… they are also the reason I repeatedly referred to the CORVID virus for the first few weeks.

      Also, there is a mated pair of crows atop one of the buildings here in the Willage as well as a feisty jay, a cardinal, and wood doves as well as the usual suspects…

      BTW the WBF is always looking for newspapers for the cages and volunteers as well. You’ll never enjoy cleaning up feces more in your life!

      Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I suspect some form of sign would be most effective for communicating with Corvids once you have their attention. Spoken language combines the problem of parsing meanings with the problem of identifying sound symbols, often in an alien range of sound frequencies. Sign reduces the complexity of interaction and gets around problems of interspecies verbal speech.

      Working with Corvids would equire first learning the gestures they use among themselves and adapting our gestures to match as best we can. After that, further communications could be advanced by designing a simple sign language to fit Corvid gesture patterns, something most comfortable to their bodies. We would need to adapt that simple sign language to our own bodies as well such that Corvids would perceive the correspondences between human and Corvid gestures and signs. Once we achieve a level of mutually respectful manners for our meetings we could work at developing a richer language for communicating.

      Reply
    4. ewmayer

      Q: Whaddya call the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, nutcrackers and 10 further oscine passerine bird types to be named later?

      A: The Corvid-19.

      Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week, please make sure to generously tip the waitstaff!

      Reply
  12. Brindle

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will likely run for president in 2024….IMO. Whether Biden wins or loses she will be in an excellent position for a 24′ campaign. Biden likely to be a one termer—-would love to see AOC vs Harris or whoever Biden picks as VP—it won’t be a progressive.
    AOC is the best communicator the progressive side has. I like her chances.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      If what’s been going on in this country for the last four years is any indication, I think the key is to de-emphasize the presidency and focus on the speaker of the house and senate leadership.

      Congress determines priorities and political “feasibility”, writes the laws (including the loopholes), sets the budget, approves judges and other presidential personnel among lots of other things. The bona fide criminals hide out in congress and go largely unscrutinized. Despite the perception of the power of any president, the destructive policies of the last 40 or 50 years are directly attributable to corruption in both houses of congress IMNSHO.

      I’d like to see AOC cut through the bullshit as speaker of the house or senate majority leader. Then we might get somewhere. If she were ever to be elected president which, is doubtful in the foreseeable future, she’d be just as hamstrung as Trump has been or Bernie would have been.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        **this**

        Also: Abolish the freaking filibuster. The Senate was supposed to be a bit of a leash on the House, not the Palace Of No.

        And another minor whine: I don’t even know why they write their own bills to “reconcile”? We know the Constitution expressly prohibited them from certain types of bills. But I find it hard to believe, because the Senate was envisioned as a place for Gentlemen – and we know the people envisioned would not be the type to lower themselves to the actual dirty work of creating things – that the Founders really saw them generating much in other areas either.

        Finally – the age. My god the decrepitude. Term and age limits!

        Reply
    2. R. S.

      AOC is a fake progressive. She will be 100% identity politics and maybe (at best) 5% economic progressiveness. Her votes and silence when her voice mattered show who she really is.

      Reply
      1. The Historian

        Really? And where is your reasoned analysis for your comments? Or are you just throwing shite against the wall to see if it sticks?

        Reply
        1. R. S.

          I pointed to her votes and ability to use her bully pulpit, and you used swear words and ad hominin attacks. Just a quick look at how she responded to the bailout packages this year supports my point.

          Reply
          1. The Historian

            You completely missed the point, didn’t you? WHAT about her votes do you dislike? And how did she respond to the bailouts that you dislike? Is it just enough to call AOC a ‘fake progressive” because of ……. (?). And then you say she will be “100% identity politics” because of ……(?). Sorry, but I cannot read your mind.

            I don’t think you understand the meaning of the phrase ‘ad hominem’.

            Reply
          2. Massinissa

            I have to agree with Historian. WHICH votes do you dislike? You didn’t mention even one. You can’t just say “Her votes were bad!” without providing even one example, same with saying she was ‘silent when her voice mattered’ without mentioning when exactly that was. Your comment was the conversational equivalent of a drive-by shooting, which is why Historians third sentence was a little… Overly ascerbic. Your reply to HIstorian at least partially rectified that by mentioning the bailout packages, but the point that your original comment had functionally zero content still stands.

            Reply
    3. Keith

      Would she agree to a debate? She kicked out the press the her own constituents before shoe would debate her opponent. It may take a lot of work to make her ready for prime time.

      Reply
  13. Tom Stone

    American Police are legally a superior class of Citizen in many Jurisdictions.
    Maryland has adopted the “LEO Bill of Rights” which is no less than a caste system, as have many counties across the USA.
    Here in California ordinary Citizens are restricted to purchasing only those handguns on an Approved Roster, LEO can purchase whatever they like, and resell those handguns to ordinary citizens.
    To get on the approved list a handgun must use microstamping, a technology which does not exist and which manufacturers say can not be implemented.
    Another oddity of that list is that a 1911 model Pistol made by Colt is NOT approved, however 1911 models made by Ed Brown and Wilson are.
    All of the parts will interchange, but one ( Oddly less expensive) manufacturer can sell thei product while the other can not.
    The effect has been to increase prices, making it more difficult for poor people to arm themselves.
    I’m sure that’s just a coincidence…

    Reply
    1. Keith

      Gun laws have nothing to do about stopping violence. Their only function is to a talking point to sway gullible voters.

      Reply
  14. allan

    More reports of COVID-19 stat manipulation from DeSantistan:

    Deleting deaths? Former Florida COVID-19 data scientist says numbers cooked
    [Florida Politics]

    Conspiracy theory or whistleblowing? Whatever the case, former Department of Health data scientist Rebekah Jones continues to challenge the state’s coronavirus narrative.

    On the Wednesday morning edition of CNN’s New Day, Jones questioned the state’s approach to data, one that has seen shifting parameters in recent days and weeks, including changes in how ICU bed capacity is calculated.

    Jones has charged on her Twitter account that the state is actually “slowly” deleting cases and even deaths. She alleges the goal is to create a narrative that Florida has gotten over the hump,
    in terms of case management, ahead of the July 4 holiday. …

    If this pans out, we’re into crimes against humanity territory.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      According to the JH DIVOC site the number of daily reported cases in FL is now about 3,342 and has almost doubled in the last week and the incidence is about 0.015% of the population daily, similar to Texas and only below Arizona. More important than “deleting cases” would be to know how many are they testing and estimate how many might be missing. If the recent trend (bear in mind that confirmed cases trail real contagions by about 12 days) keeps going on and alarms are not sounding up to after the 4th of July it is almost certain that by then the situation will be out of control.

      Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “Fauci says in 40 years of dealing with viral outbreaks, he’s never seen anything like COVID-19”

    You would think that this was not Fauci’s first rodeo but apparently it is. If you are going to be a spokesperson, it is vital that trust be established with the people you are talking to. And yet he totally lied his face off to people about masks. Did he think that it would all be over in a few months so that it would not matter? Tough luck if this was so. And he was not alone. The Centers for Disease Control, the White House and the World Health Organization were all saying the same thing about the dangers and uselessness of masks while people could see people in Asia mask up as recommended by their own governments.

    Turns out that the people in places in Asia were right. Masks do help flatten the curve and slow down infection. So now Fauci, the CDC and the WHO have suffered enormous reputational damage as has The Lancet and Stanford. They are all broken vessels now incapable of holding a reputation. And as a result of their lies, at a minimum tens of thousands of people are now dead and untold billions of dollars has had to be spent compensating for their ropy advice. Will they pay for what they have done? Probably a few people will lose their jobs but what should happen is that some people should go to jail for what they did.

    Reply
    1. Icecube12

      European authorities also told people not to wear masks for quite some time. I don’t know if they were outright lying to cover up their lack of preparation or just following WHO advice or a combination thereof. I live in Iceland, where the health authorities still maintain that masks do little good. They haven’t really been much of a talked about issue here though, political or otherwise, most likely because the country got the spread under control pretty quickly with few deaths through testing, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation and gathering bans. I would feel better about Iceland’s continued opening up, especially to tourists, if masks had become more acceptable here, though. It bothers me that so many health authorities (and their media helpers) in North America and Europe took/take this “no evidence that it helps” line, but at least they have stopped with the truly despicable claim that masks could actually hurt.

      As I wrote this, I began to wonder whether people in Beijing were wearing masks when this new outbreak started to occur, so I did some research. It seems mask wearing was no longer mandatory in Beijing as of around mid-May.

      Reply
    2. WhoaMolly

      RZ Masks makes serious masks with replaceable filters. Their masks have been favored for years by Burning Man attendees and bicyclists.

      Fastens with velcro behind neck, instead of ‘over the ear’ loops, thus avoiding interference with glasses and hearing aids. Comfortable to wear and easy to put on and take off.

      Expensive at $40 — but as a high vulnerability person, I think $40 is a small price to pay for even 1% reduction of risk.

      Reply
  16. Mike

    Re: Icelandic volcano. The volcano is about as far away from Akureyri as it is Reykjavik, not a few hundred meters as implied. Grimsvotn routinely rumbles under the ice cap, and routinely causes flooding of the rivers that drain from the bottom of the glacier, Vatnajokull.

    Reply
    1. allan

      Banana republic, indeed. There’s at least a glimmer of hope that this will be reversed:

      Steve Vladeck @steve_vladeck

      A friendly reminder that any active judge on the D.C. Circuit can ask the full Court of Appeals to vote whether to rehear a panel decision “sua sponte”—that is, even without any party formally petitioning for such an “en banc” rehearing. …

      The D.C. Circuit currently has 11 active judges, any of whom (including a member of the original panel) is eligible to request a vote to have the full court rehear a panel decision.

      It takes a majority—so 6 votes to take a case “en banc.”

      This is a P/F test.

      Reply
    2. Keith

      Well, making telling falsehoods or having a bad recollection being a federal crime is pretty banana republic to me. Time to get rid of that law, otherwise, there is no point in talking to a fed, even as being a helpful witness, because no matter what, in the interaction is adversarial due to that law.

      Reply
      1. Romancing The Loan

        It’s a particularly odious practice because there’s no requirement for the feds to record the interview in which you supposedly lied to them.

        Reply
    3. Olga

      Sorry, but why would this be banana news? Or, banana republic… Seems to me that proof of Flynn being set up has been overwhelming… and his prosecution was biased. Not to say, a destructive circus. Why would anyone want to continue it?

      Reply
  17. grayslady

    Some Covid humor, if that’s possible, from an op-ed by Eric Zorn in today’s Chicago Tribune titled “Getting tough with the maskless is the quickest way back to normal”:

    “The best pro-health sign I’ve seen this pandemic is the one posted at both North Side locations of the Chicago Bagel Authority sandwich shop:

    “To accommodate anti-maskers,” it says, “we have provided a space 40 feet west where you can stare at your reflection in the window since apparently you’re the only person you care about.”

    A little humor. A little shaming….The point is to underscore a message that seems slowly to be seeping into the public consciousness, that covering your mouth and nose with cloth or other semipermeable material when you’re likely to be near strangers in public settings displays courtesy, not fear.”

    More seriously, he ends by saying something that Yves will appreciate:

    “Until further notice, I won’t fly on any airline that won’t promise to strictly enforce the wearing of masks, and neither should you. I won’t go to any theater or club or ride any form of public transportation if I can see anyone else’s lips. And if I see merchants being lax about enforcing the requirement, I’ll take my business elsewhere and let them know why.”

    Reply
    1. Keith

      Right, we should accede to the most panicked portion of the population. If he is so frightened, let him stay in doors and hide underneath momma’s bed. This whole shaming people into conforming into the latest “crisis” is a bit old.

      Reply
      1. furies

        I would have a very rough time if I caught it — and I live alone without minions to order around to do all the basic chores that life in Amerikka dictates. You know what makes me ‘panic’? The stupidity of my fellow citizens.

        It would be so simple if folks could just get over themselves and think of others while we deal with this.

        You are putting me and lots of others at risk and it’s not like the survivors are all good now. It’s a horrendous new viral disease that’s highly communicable with endless unknowns.

        And then there’s the financial aspect to this. $$$ Medicine in this country is very expensive. yanno,

        But I wouldn’t want you to be put out or inconvenienced or anything…

        Reply
      2. Massinissa

        Wearing a mask takes zero effort. If someone wants to go out without a mask for whatever reason, perhaps they could stay at home instead? There is actual evidence that places that enforce mask wearing contain the epidemic. Wearing a mask isn’t hard.

        Reply
  18. sam

    Re Initial COVID infection rate may be 80x greater than originally reported: Lots of discussion recently contrasting the increasing infection rate in south and west US vs the decline in the NY/NJ area. This may be attributed to the brilliant political leadership of Cuomo, DeBlasio, Murphy et al. Or it could be because the NY/NJ metro population has a high share of intelligent mask-wearing PMC Democrats vs reckless and stupid red state deplorables. Here’s a third possibility: by promoting social BAU in February and March when the disease was spreading rapidly and then actively infecting the most vulnerable population (Cuomo’s order requiring nursing homes to accept discharged COVID patients) the authorities inadvertently implemented the Sweden strategy and are now reaping the (unintended) benefit of partial herd immunity.

    Reply
  19. flora

    re: possible EU travel ban on US visitors.

    This might be the EU trying to get ahead of a story about huge fall offs in US visitors this summer. Everyone I know who was planning to visit Europe this summer for their 2 week summer vacation cancelled their plans when they learned a lot of countries instituted a 2 week quarantine for new arrivals. No point in spending one’s US short 2 week vacation quarantined in a hotel room. I think countries mandating a 2 week quarantine for new arrivals are doing the sensible thing. I also thing vacationers not wanting to spend their entire 2 week vacation is understandable. (2 weeks is all the yearly vacation time most working US people are allowed, and some are not allowed even that much vacation time.)

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      It is certain the EU will see many less visits from the US assuming flights are not cancelled. And the US will also see many less European visitors this summer. Because Covid-19 is a well stablished resident in both the EU and the US it is not that important now to ban visitors as they will almost certainly be a tiny small addition to the already infected in each recipient country. Fot this reason I believe the ban will not be enforced and rather be substituted by automatic testing of the few travelling above the pond. It will also be considered that many of the visitors coming and going could be EU citizens resident in the US or US residents in the EU travelling to see their families in summer.

      Reply
      1. MLTPB

        FT has an article about warning from S Korea regarding the fantasy of returning to normal life.

        I didn’t read it, but maybe it is related here.

        (Though, what is normal life?)

        Reply
    2. MLTPB

      The lugguage case and bags in the photo above, accompanying the link – many people must have touched them.

      The ones with metallic (guessing here) are easier to wipe down. Don’t know if wasy to sanitize those woven cloth or synthetic fabrics bags.

      Seems like a lot of work.

      And then, the hair is not covered. Do you worry people coughing into the back of your head, before you run your fingers through your hair, habitually?

      Staying home looks like a good or safer choice.

      Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    I spent time with a couple of cabin owners in our community the other day, one is nearly 84 and she told me she doesn’t do the social distancing thing and neither does her daughter who is my age. They’re more bummed out about not being able to go to church, frankly.

    The other cabin owner and I had a conversation that was from about the distance of a pitching mound to the plate, and she was sans mask, and a few minutes into our talk, she excused herself for a minute to get masked up so we could continue talking. She’s got Lyme disease and is pretty compromised she feels. There is a sign on the front door of the cabin: ‘NO VISITORS’.

    I thought the 2 extremes epitomized the country @ large, pretty much.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      p.s.

      The State of California came through with a couple hundred grand grant to take down dead trees within a football field of all cabins, that went toes up during our 5 year bought with the drought and bark beetles. I’m playing judge dead and marking those upright members for future horizontal status in a fortnight, when a logging company shows up to put them out of their misery as standing firewood and a potential menace in a conflagration.

      It is fun in that I get to explore areas I normally wouldn’t, and oh so many dead pines, i’m about halfway through the job, and have gone through 1,200 feet of orange flagging tape, to give you an idea of how many there are, I reckon the total will be 500-600 trees taken down.

      Reply
      1. divadab

        Here in northern appalachia the pine blister rust is taking out a few, mostly younger pines, but the big casualty this year has been red spruce. I’m also arranging a logger to take the deads and leaners out this winter when the ground is frozen. Get it milled up and build a garage.

        Globalization-related blights in progress – dutch elm disease – I have a healthy breeding population but at a certain size the bug gets them. I don;t cut any down until they’re dead in case one is the Jesus tree. One commonality – if the elm has wet feet it is more resistant. I have three trees that just died when we shifted the drainage and lowered the water table under them.

        Ash blight – not yet present but all the locals are cutting pretty much all their ash while it’s still not affected and it still has some value. This may work to reduce the spread of the flipping emerald ash borer, I’m hoping.

        Reply
    2. WhoaMolly

      re: I thought the 2 extremes epitomized the country @ large, pretty much.

      Pretty much reflects the state of things at Chez Whoa too. We came down on the caution side of the extremes. We in high risk category and cannot take risks until there’s a vaccine and/or the virus dies out on it’s own.

      I’ve bought comfortable masks with refillable filters for us. The N95 masks I had on hand for my drywall work are uncomfortable, a pain to put on and take of and interfere with hearing aids and glasses.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Hi WhoaMolly. We are also in high risk ( mostly due to age) and one of us wears glasses and hearing aides. If OK with you and management, could you post brand of masks? We have not found any that are actually comfortable or non interference. Thanks and be well.
        NC( not the blog, just my handle).

        Reply
  21. Wukchumni

    In the middle of a rolling earthquake as I type, wonder how far away it was-as we are nowhere near a quake zone, probably another Lone Pine flava flav aftershock perhaps?

    I bet Wolf Richter would know.

    Edit: 6.0 in Lone Pine

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      While in SF i never felt a quake, though there was one that everyone felt. Got me sleeping on the job? Last year i felt one in Southern Spain and it was surprising plus somehow frigthening. Now that the old theory saying small quakes serve to relax tensions and to avoid the big one has been abandoned (correct me if this is not true) I feel it even more frigthening.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        You got so used to being hit with 4 through 5’s in LA that it was more of a cheap amusement ride.

        Reply
  22. flora

    re: Sitting CalPERS board member sues California pension fund president, claiming retaliation – Sacramento Bee.

    Thanks for this link. I think the editorial question embedded in the video suggesting a board ‘feud’ -instead of, say, the board approving malinvesting – would hurt beneficiaries is a bit disingenuous. But at least the SacBee is reporting the story. That’s a plus.

    Reply
  23. ewmayer

    Trump, Barr, and the Justice Department Takeover, Explained | Rolling Stone — ‘Explained’ by a true RussiaGate believer, that is.

    Reply
    1. Berto

      Russiagate is a made-up corporate-media narrative.
      It’s supposed to make you think Trump won the 2016 election for a different reason than the Republican base was jacked-up to vote for a guy who wears his bigotry on his sleeve.
      The idea that it would take a foreign power to get Republicans to vote for a bigot like Trump, is laughable.

      Reply
      1. flora

        au contraire… imo T won because he wore his anti-TPP, anti-trade deals that screw US workers, and anti-regime change foreign policy on his sleeve. I could be wrong, of course. (And not that he meant it.) His campaign was the antithesis of Hills and both the dem estab and the gop estabs’ talking points.

        Reply
        1. flora

          adding: if they’re talking about ‘bigotry’ they aren’t talking about income or finances. Finances are not a secondary issue. Finances are a primary issue.

          Reply
    2. Duck1

      Pearl clutching in Versailles on the Potomac while Jan’s publication tries to relive the glory days of the Nixon debacle. Never was justice so pure debauched so flagrantly as in the hands of the orange demon. (We will forget about all those cheesy FISA applications, the 0bama administration left no fingerprints.)

      Reply
  24. J.k

    A young man named Elijah Mcclain died last year in police custody. The police approached Elijah after a call of suspicious person wearing a ski mask. His family said he was on the way home from a convenience store. They also said he was anemic and wore many layers when he felt cold. The video was released and it is horrifying. I wont bother describing it, you can find it. Elijah ultimately ends up in a choke hold, leaving according to the coroner hemorrhaging in the neck, and ends up dying from a heart attack.

    It turns out Elijah was also injected with Ketamine at the scene. Yes, they believed Elijah was on drugs and hence uncooperative. So after choking, handcuffing and subduing him they injected him with ketamine without knowing what may be in his system already. No wonder this kid died from a heart attack at the age of 23. He had committed no crime. He was described as a gentle soul. He reportedly played violin for lonely cats.
    The police were found to have done nothing wrong!

    Here were some of this young mans final words as he was being “restrained”. “ I cant breathe. I have my ID right here. My name is Elijah Mcclain. Thats my house. I was just going home. I’m an introvert. I’m just different. Thats all. Im so sorry. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies! I don’t eat meat. But i don’t judge people who do eat meat. Forgive me. All i was trying to do was become better. I will do it. I will do anything. Sacrifice my identity. Ill do it. You are all phenomenal. You are all beautiful. And I love you. Try to forgive me. Im a mood gemini. Im sorry. Im sorry. Ow, that really hurts……… i just cant breathe correctly.”

    Elijahs case seems to be getting attention again in the last couple of days.

    Here is a link that was posted here at NC just a couple days ago about law enforcement having paramedics administer ketamine to subjects without their consent. How widespread is this practice?

    https://www.npr.org/2018/06/30/624918812/minneapolis-investigates-police-use-of-ketamine-on-suspects

    I wonder how many other deaths occurred in 2019 such as this that are not counted toward the 1000 fatalities at the hands of law enforcement we know of.

    Reply
  25. John Anthony La Pietra

    IIRC from my criminal law classes, the Dutch prosecution in the MH17 case is arguing for what we might in the US call a “transferred-intent war crime”. . . .

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      “transferred-intent war crime” – Could you expand on that a bit? All I am seeing in that Dutch prosecution is “assume proof.” Anyway, if it was a provable crime, would it not go to the ICC? That is in the Netherlands as well so would only be a short drive from where they are.

      Reply

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