Links 6/25/2020

Toxic methanol that causes blindness found in hand sanitizers, FDA warns Ars Technica

Do Not Mourn the White Saviours of DfID Craig Murray

Mining Company Obliterates Sacred Land in Australia Foreshadows Distressing Events in the American Southwest Counterpunch

40 Times People Ordered Things Online But Received Something So Awful, They Just Had To Share (New Pics) Bored Panda

Tanzanite: Tanzanian miner becomes overnight millionaire BBC

Siberian heat wave is a ‘warning cry’ from the Arctic, climate scientists say Reuters

Amazon creates a $2 billion climate fund, as it struggles to cut its own emissions MIT Technology Review

Julian Assange

ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Assange Hit With New Superseding Indictment Broadening Computer Intrusion Charges Consortium News

Justice Department broadens case against Julian Assange Washington Post

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Senate Democrats Block GOP Policing Bill WSJ

House to pass sweeping police reform legislation The Hill

Multiple teams interested in Colin Kaepernick, could set up workouts closer to training camp, per report CBS


Are Swedes Shunned for High Covid Rates—or Is It Really ABBA? FAIR

How the split over face masks sums up America’s chaotic coronavirus response WaPo

Texas is on the verge of a Covid crisis: Houston’s largest hospital’s ICU is 97% full as daily cases surge to record highs and expert predicts ‘herd immunity may be the only way to stop the virus’ Daily Mail

Gov. Cuomo wants travelers from states with high coronavirus rates to isolate NYPost

Africa’s COVID-19 health technologies’ watershed moment The Lancet

The pandemic has made concentrated reading difficult. How are book reviewers dealing with this? Scroll

Why Iran won’t be broken Asia Times Pepe Escobar.

The Pandemic’s Worst-Case Scenario Is Unfolding in Brazil Bloomberg (vlad)

An app for football fans became a digital contact tracing tool — and could be a litmus test for Covid-19 technology Stat

Coronavirus: US Secret Service staff self-isolating after Trump rally BBC

COVID Testing Sites to Lose Federal Funding Even as Fauci Calls for More Testing TruthOut

The many challenges of covering the coronavirus haven’t gone away Columbia Journalism Review

What To Look For In A Face Mask, According To Science FiveThirtyEight

The COVID Shock to the Dollar Project Syndicate. Stephen Roach.

The Health Transformation Army London Review of Books


Chinese study: Antibodies in COVID-19 patients fade quickly Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.Very small scale but if results hold, this is consistent with our worst fears re a vaccine.

Coronavirus: will vaccine deals lead to poorer countries missing out? SCMP

What’s Really Behind the Gender Gap in Covid-19 Deaths? NYT

Human genetics provides clues about mysteries of coronavirus FT


What Angela Merkel wants Politico

Imperial Collapse Wtach

The Decline of the American World Atlantic

Class Warfare

How Covid-19 has reframed the war on cash FT (vlad)

The Supreme Court Has Given the Green Light to Bosses and Financial Managers to Steal From Workers Jacobin. David Sirota.

“The Despair Is Smoldering in Society” Der Spiegel. Today’s must-read, an interview with Angus Deaton and Anne Case.


Pandemic shines a light on the Gulf’s three-way split Qantara


Eyes in the sky Rest of the World

India-China Joust

Explainer Why are Indian and Chinese soldiers fighting with fists, sticks and rocks? SCMP

China Ups Rhetoric, Warns India of ‘Severe Consequences’ for Violent Clash The Wire


A “New Cold War” With China Could Mean Curtains For US Retail Jing Daily


‘Money Couldn’t Buy a Movement’: AOC Trounces Wall Street-Backed Democratic Primary Opponent Common Dreams

Showing Strength With White Voters, Biden Builds Lead in Battleground States NYT

These Political Candidates Are Embracing Their Criminal Records Marshall Project

Nancy Pelosi Calls Jamaal Bowman To Scold Him For Winning Primary The Onion (chuck l)

Trump Transition

The Unpresident and the Unredeemed Promise New York Review of Books

Antidote du Jour (SS). I overlooked posting this photo, which was sitting in my inbox for the last couple of months, even though it portrays one of my favorite birds.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Zagonostra

    >The Decline of the American World – Atlantic

    Isn’t curious that the methodology the Atlantic adopts to examine contemporary American society. Why didn’t they interview a dozen normal middle class citizens from five major European countries?

    They could have compared how many sick, vacation, or maternity leave days they receive compared to the U.S. They could have compared how much they pay for healthcare, maybe they could have looked at each country’s gini coefficient. They could have asked if they were willing to rewrite their “social contract” with that of U.S. Citizens. They could have asked how it is that countries devastated in WWII came to have vastly a superior social safety net than the U.S., that remained relatively unscathed.

    Instead they selected the class of the 10 or 20 percent of the population that have economic security within the current political scheme of the distribution of societies’s goods, not the bottom majority of the population.

    If you have friends from other countries I think they would tell you that they are disturbed/alarmed at the plight of the American middle class and that analyzing it in ephemeral terms of an election cycle or in terms of Trump vs. those afflicted with TDS is bootless.

    I don’t know, maybe my criticism is misplaced. I “skimmed” the article and didn’t “scan” it, a distinction someone in the NC Comentariat made clear in yesterday’s comments.

    To understand how this moment in U.S. history is being seen in the rest of the world, I spoke to more than a dozen senior diplomats, government officials, politicians, and academics from five major European countries, including advisers to two of its most powerful leaders

    1. carl

      I think your take is correct. Tony Blair, seriously? I read the whole thing, and it was so mealy-mouthed there was no there there.

    2. Off The Street

      How did America decline? Nobody I know voted for decline?

      The Atlantic, full of little Pauline Kael wannabe writers.

      1. Carolinian

        Do you know anything about Pauline Kael? Were she still around she’d probably say she doesn’t know anybody who likes The Atlantic. She most definitely wasn’t an elitist since she spent years in relative poverty and didn’t make much money at The New Yorker

    3. Toshio_Mifune

      It is lacking in awareness. The author notes the protests in American cities and streets. Follows up to say there are similar protests in European cities and streets (cant remember if there is a mention of Hong Kong) and then fails to make the connection that this is larger than just an American issue.

    4. km

      I dunno, ask the average frustrated middle class educated European and they are certain that all the United States has to do is vote Trump and those gauche Republicans out and we’ve got the problem licked.

      Then again, as much as they kvetch that America doesn’t do what they wish it would, they cannot imagine a world in which Europe isn’t subservient to the United States.

    5. Billy

      I spoke to more than a dozen senior diplomats, government officials, politicians, and academics from five major European countries, including advisers to two of its most powerful leaders IOW, the people who caused the problems to begin with, certainly not going to point at the local and even American pond side results of their own policies.

      Oh, and this panegyric: “the British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua rapped the lyrics to Tupac’s “Changes” alongside other protesters.” Does the author, and Mr. Joshua, like gun violence? The killing of black children by Tupac’s family members? The raping of women? Drug sales? And the biggest crime of all; encouraging tens of thousands of black youth to seek and self identify with the Thug Life, thus invoking police reaction, instead of bettering themselves within the public education system and a society bending over backwards–guess not far enough– to give them advantages over Whites, Asians and Hispanics.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i get “how to do pavement” from that link,lol.
          here’s what he made me think of, in light of Ryan Cooper’s “world quarantines america”:

          I’m perusing the Texas news all morning with growing despair….but the unsurprised kind of despair, which is even worse.
          and it ain’t just the “can’t make me wear a mask” right wing nutters…but more or less progressive people like my brother(PMC-ish bubbleman), who asks to bring his bunch way up here right as his own city is starting to blow up.
          how is he unaware of what’s happening right in front of him?
          and i get to be the meanie, and say “hell no!”,lol.

          wife’s been worried about school opening this fall…contacting the admin about requiring masks in her classroom at least…and no answer yet.
          I tell her, not to worry,lol…we’ll be collapsed by then.

      1. furies

        It’s not just ‘black people’ who emulate gangstas…the pot growers in my former N. Cali town think being a thug is cool…

        I think they think they’re being ‘anti-authoritarian’ or something.

        Identifying with one of the most economically oppressed groups on the totem pole just about worldwide is a head scratcher.

        Up north a bit further my Trump lovin’ NRA totebag Heratige Foundation donatin’ neighbor and I have been having hours long conversations. It is sad to see so many caught up in the propaganda. Like amfortas, I try to bridge the divide, but when my friend told me she has absolutely no problems with rich people buying our elections or income inequality…pfft.

        I sense she knows there’s deep structural problems with our economic system but is so wedded to her rhetoric that she can’t reason properly.

        She did zing me when I told her about my awful experience at the COmmunity Garden in my town where someone ‘in charge’ gave away my 4 year old compost pile…my friend says, “See, how does it feel?”


        I’ve left this latest convo with a link to Century of the Self. We’ll see if she really watches any of it~

  2. Henry Moon Pie


    The ruling class is paralyzed by corruption & its deranged ideology.

    It goes beyond corruption and even ideology. Thomas Berry cites a ceremony of the Omaha Native American tribe that is performed when a child is born. A member of the tribe holds the newborn up to the sky and presents her to the Universe while asking for that Universe to protect and watch over the child. Once past demonstrations of wokeness, most of our modern elites and most of us would be skeptical about such a ritual if not inclined to ridicule it.

    Such a reaction reveals the fundamental neurosis of our time. Unlike the Omaha, we claim power over that Universe, power to exploit, power to manipulate, power to OWN. The problem with such a vast claim of power and authority is that it leaves responsibility for everything lying at our feet. “I must save my child from all perils” is the modern belief, and the burden is simply too much for parents, for bosses, for political leaders. Everyone is fleeing to the Prozac until the lakes and rivers are polluted with it.

    No wonder that TPTB are paralyzed by the Coronavirus that seems so unyielding to our will, even the will of our demigod billionaires. The best they can do is what they always do: shift the risks to the less powerful.

    More fundamentally, why this desperate clinging to the idea that we really have power over our cosmos aside from a power to destroy? Has the death of the transcendent god wrought by Science and the Enlightenment left us so afraid of the Universe that we’re in denial about our limited abilities? It’s time to remember that it is this Universe that has created us through evolution, and that our hunter-gatherer ancestors had no choice but to trust that Universe for sustenance each and every day. Somehow, that trust helped humanity survive well before human culture and technological skill made the old perils all but obsolete.

    1. zagonostra

      “…our hunter-gatherer ancestors had no choice but to trust that Universe for sustenance each and every day.”

      I’m drawn to how the Omaha approached life, but the deeper I delve the more I don’t know. I remember reading Frazer’s The Golden Bough, A Study in Magic and Religion and the title of the books comes from a ceremony where if the things were not going well, the “King of the Wood” would be sacrificed and a new king selected. Attempts to assuage the “Universe” with rites and sacrifices are rife in the Old Testament.

      I love Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” but I’m not so sure about his depiction of the Halls of Montezuma.

      And the women all were beautiful
      And the men stood
      Straight and strong
      They offered life in sacrifice
      So that others could go on.

      Hate was just a legend
      And war was never known
      The people worked together
      And they lifted many stones.

      1. Billy

        Actually it was thousands of war captives who had their beating hearts cut out and tossed in the brazier so that the smoke could rise from the top of the pyramid to appease the gods. The body was then thrown down the steps, so steep that it made it to the bottom, where priests cut the skin off, donned it and danced around.

        This gentle culture was then conquered by the European barbarians.

        1. AndrewJ

          …with the aid of the non-Aztecs the Spaniards encountered, who were quite understandably not thrilled to live under or adjacent to the ole Market Square Skull Rack people, and were quite happy to rally round the well-armed and -armored warriors to take down the Aztecs. One shipload of Spanish couldn’t take down an empire. Add in a bunch of pissed-off neighbors and novel diseases, though…

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Of course, changing shamans is an attempt to appease, and therefore control the Universe. Understandable in desperate times, but even our very limited comprehension reveals how pointless it was.

        At least that approach, deluded as it was, harmed only one. Our new hubris may bring us to the point where some flim flam like Musk decides to “geoengineer” the planet and sterilize Earth of higher life.

      3. ewmayer

        Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto gives a pretty good take on what the real Aztecs were likely like. An underrappreciated film, IMHO. It plays a lot on the local Spanish-language channels, though.

        1. Massinissa

          Apocalypto is more ‘inspired’ by history than a historical movie, but honestly that is probably the movies strength, and its a very good film. It gets the edges wrong (In some places intentionally, I think) but the core of it is right enough, as you say.

          1. ewmayer

            You’re right, Yucatan, not the Aztec empire to the west – similarly brutal blood rituals, though, at least in the late stages of the Mayan civilization.

            I thought for a film with the dreaded H-wood weasel-wording ‘inspired by’, a lot of effort went into striving for a degree of historicity – here Wikipedia re. the portrayal of the bloodiness:

            Many writers felt that Gibson’s film was relatively accurate about the Maya, since it depicts the era of decline and division that followed the civilization’s peak, collapse, re-settlement, and proto-historic societal conditions. One Mexican reporter, Juan E. Pardinas, wrote that “this historical interpretation bears some resemblances with reality …. Mel Gibson’s characters are more similar to the Mayas of the Bonampak’s murals than the ones that appear in the Mexican school textbooks.” “The first researchers tried to make a distinction between the ‘peaceful’ Maya and the ‘brutal’ cultures of central Mexico”, David Stuart wrote in a 2003 article. “They even tried to say human sacrifice was rare among the Maya.” But in carvings and mural paintings, Stuart said: “we have now found more and greater similarities between the Aztecs and Mayas.”

            What gross inaccuracies did you observe?

  3. John A

    Re The Decline of the American World
    “As my colleague Anne Applebaum has shown, the Soviet Union oversaw famine, terror, and the mass murder of millions. Whatever America’s recent flaws, they have been practically and morally incomparable to those horrors. ”
    Remarkable navel gazing here. Leaving aside fact that Appelbaum is rabidly anti Putin/Russia, the rest of the world has very fresh and recent memories of the US inflicting famine via sanctions on numerous countries, terror in the form of indiscriminate bombing, and the mass murder of millions in the Middle East to say the least. Whatever the faults of the Soviet Union, the USSR was disbanded nearly 30 years ago, since which time the US has regularly picked on some small country and smashed it against the wall, to keep the world cowed.

      1. Billy

        True dat. Applebaum’s just pissed off that her people, there was a Bolshevik Commissar named Applebaum, were kicked out of power by Stalin, after they started the whole mess, detailed at great length here:

        She wrote a great analysis of the Holodomor, blaming Stalin, but fails to mention it’s leading to the enthusiastic pro-Nazi participation of Ukrainians in the war.

    1. The Rev Kev

      My back-fur went up too when he said that Anne Applebaum was his colleague. I know about her and she has serious axes to grind against both Putin and Russia. Re your last sentence about the US smashing up a country every now and then. Was that a reference to the Leeden doctrine at all?

      “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business”

    2. Fireship

      When you need to compare yourself to Stalin in order to look good… well, let’s just say things must be pretty desperate.

      1. Fritzi

        Besides, as oppressive as the Soviet Union remained, the extreme practices of outright mass murder die end forever with Stalin, who was internally branded a criminal and maniac by his own successor (who of course had been complicit with it as long as Stalin was largely and in charge, but still did not continue it).

        The US and it’s local proxies surpassed the post Stalin eastern block in bloodthirstiness quite regularly, while today’s Russia can’t even dream of equalling the seas of blood the american led westwas and is spilling, directly or indirectly.

        Besides, communism at it’s worst could not match capitalism as a species and planet killer.

        Capitalism was doing genocide for centuries on every continent before communism was a thing, with communism a direct response to capitalism’s horrors, including centuries of manmade mass death by famine, but all of those were only the steps leading up to omnicide.

    3. km

      Were to God that it was only every ten years or so.

      Meanwhile, the Soviet Union has been gone for almost 40 years, and was spent long before that, but the fact that the author needs to reach back that far to show that America Is Not So Bad, Comparatively Speaking shows how weak his argument is.

      And I am normally against guilt by association, but Anne Appelbaum is so foaming at the mouth that any reference to her as an authority calls the author’s argument into question. It’s like saying “as my good friend and Fantasy Football teammate Heinrich Himmler has shown….”

      1. Wukchumni

        Yes, being beaten on the field of battle in Lake Placid was the beginning of the end for the USSR, in retrospect.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Ha, but it was Brezhnev as he was largely dedicated to preserving the status of party elites, not just at the Politburo level but on down through the ranks. Ultimately the USSR had little in the way of turnover.

          Its structurally very similar to Biden support among elites. He’s a dimwit, but he’s unlikely to not support the ilk of Engel or the crooks who market themselves as strategerists. in the end, they make the same arguments as Brezhnev about baby steps and a fraudulent notion of consensus.

          They stick with bad ideas and call it reform while doubling on their terrible ideas. Take ACA, first, the argument was how great it was and we plebes didn’t understand, followed by just wait until its online, followed by we will fix it later, and then finally we share the idea of reform but we need to do it in steps.

        2. 1 Kings

          Need to watch ‘The Red Army’ documentary. Much needed new light on the bad evil Soviet team.

  4. Ramon Zarate

    I despair at the plight of Julian Assange. A great champion for freedom of information and holding power to account.
    He has been left swinging while so many people turn away.
    It’s shameful.

      1. Roady

        Voting for TPTB’s approved, ethically derelict sociopaths changes nothing. Now go run for office.

      2. Massinissa

        And vote for who or what exactly? Both Biden and Trump will keep Assange locked up. What the hell do you propose?

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Try an alternative.

          Every state will probably have one or two, maybe more.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they try and charge him with treason, ignoring the fact that charge is impossible since he is not an American citizen. They will just keep on throwing charges against him, hoping that one will stick and trying to keep him off the street at the same time.

      1. a different chris

        >that charge is impossible since he is not an American citizen.

        But not impossible if you are sure everybody in the world is an American subject.

        1. Synoia

          But not impossible if you are sure everybody in the world is an American subject.

          Hmm…I have felt that we, the populace are consider not “Subjects” at all, but Objects.

    2. timbers

      It would be nice if they charged all those shown to have committed some pretty heavy duty serious crime based on what Assange reported.

      1. Oh

        That would include that slime Obomber and his administration + the DimRats who stood by and said nothing + the current UnPresident and his gang + the RePugs.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Chinese study: Antibodies in COVID-19 patients fade quickly”

    Not sure if this is a real worry or not this. Even if the antibodies stayed in the system and protected people forever and a day, by next year you would probably have a new strain of this virus making the circuit such as the D614G mutation which those antibodies would not recognize and attack. And when you consider the number of people whose system has been damaged by the first bout with this virus, they are the ones that will be really vulnerable to a second attack. If this happens, then it won’t be just old people going under lockdown but also those fighting off the ravages of that first bout.

    1. cnchal

      > . . . And when you consider the number of people whose system has been damaged by the first bout with this virus, they are the ones that will be really vulnerable to a second attack.

      Precondition writ large. This aspect is not getting attention. What if it becomes shown that this virus, after one has had it and supposedly recovered, leads to drastically higher incidences of other diseases even years into the future?

      1. Phacops

        I find that except for this blog and other decent sources, little has been said about the incidence and etiology of organ damage by SARS-CoV-2 in anything but the most severe cases. This lack of coverage only gives traction to the idea that the younger cohorts escape damage.

    2. Winston Smith

      There is no question that there is dearth of info on people who contracted COVID and have suffered (and still are in many cases) long term consequences from the virus. These persons are not counted and very rarely discussed. There was a good “on point” hour on this subject on NPR today (what happens after someone recovers from COVID-19 with Dr. Mafuzur Rahman and @edyong209). Those who have “recovered” may not have. The fact is we have a lot to learn about a virus that was unknown 6 months ago.

      1. lordkoos

        I read that 30% of COVID victims who were ill enough to hospitalize go on to have long-term symptoms such as decreased lung capacity, kidney damage etc which would significantly compromise quality of life to say the least.

  6. allan

    Bayer bets on science in bid to prevent future Roundup lawsuits: legal experts [Reuters]

    Seeking to forestall further claims, Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE) is taking a risky bet that an independent scientific review will ultimately show that its widely used weed killer Roundup does not cause cancer, legal experts said.

    While many details of the proposal have yet to be released by Bayer and approved by a federal judge, the plan calls for an independent panel of scientific experts, who will likely be chosen and agreed upon by both sides. …

    The scientific review process is expected to take at least four years, and findings by the panel would be binding on Bayer and anyone who has used Roundup before Wednesday but not developed cancer. …

    To anybody who knows what Dupont pulled in the Teflon lawsuit (dramatized in Dark Waters),
    this stinks to high heaven.

    1. Billy

      “In recent years, researchers have discovered glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other common weed killer formulations, may affect your body’s ability to produce fully functioning proteins, inhibit the shikimate pathway (found in gut bacteria) and interfere with the function of cytochrome P450 enzymes (required for activation of vitamin D and the creation of nitric oxide and cholesterol sulfate)…”

      The biocide Industry can at least breathe a sigh of relief. After threatening to withhold their ad dollars, Google censored for them any links to the above author.
      However, the search term
      How Roundup weed killer chelates minerals like in the human body
      produces as its first result:
      This ad from Home Depot-
      “Save your yard and garden with the Roundup Save your yard and garden with the Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed and Grass Killer III with Pump ‘N Go 2.1 Sprayer. This formula kills the toughest weeds and grasses down to the root and is safe for use in flower beds, tree rings and vegetable gardens. “ (my emphasis)

      1. Eureka Springs

        I think of my youth on the farm, flagging crop dusters for miles of cotton and rice fields. With each pass birds would fall out of the sky, very sick or dying. Rabbits would go into fits of what looked like seizures with vomiting. I couldn’t watch them for long because I had to keep moving to get directly in line with flag for the next pass.

        Additionally before planting soybeans, we used some chemical before treflan came out I can’t recall its name, it stained your skin bright yellow for weeks, smelled like bad medicine. And then Round Up came on the scene. I can still smell it, Stam and malathion as well. We were all amazed at what Round Up killed.

        I don’t know what’s used nowadays but endless miles of absolutely no weeds, even at the edge of fields or in the ditch continue to amaze and frighten me. Oddly a lot of wildlife has made a comeback at least in the swamps. Herons first, eagles second, now wild cats and alligators. Snakes, frogs and bees are still in a world of hurt though. Nothing ever stopped the mosquito for more than a few days. I don’t know if fresh water mussels will ever return.

        For this and other reasons I never thought I would live past 35. Living on bonus time I have little several year old skin cancers in my fifties. Wonder if I should write these chem companies and ask for a coupon to my nearest clinic for a check up since Obama not care is meaningless to me?

      2. Chris


        “…interfere[s] with the function of cytochrome P450 enzymes (required for activation of vitamin D and the creation of nitric oxide…”

        I wonder if exposure to glyphosate increases susceptibility to SARS-CoV2, or predisposes to more severe COVID19 symptoms?

  7. timbers

    The Supreme Court Has Given the Green Light to Bosses and Financial Managers to Steal From Workers Jacobin. David Sirota.

    Writing for the majority, Kavanaugh declared that “the plaintiffs themselves have no concrete stake in the lawsuit” and therefore have no standing to bring a case, because they themselves did not (yet) see their own pension benefits reduced.


    When you can’t think of a valid reason to twist the law into a pretzel to side with the rich and powerful, pull the No Standing rabbit out of your hat.

    Maybe the Ivy League educated geniueses on the Supreme Court should just cut to the chase and set an official financial/social status bar for determining weather any of us have “standing” before their Royal Hignesses, before laws and rights and courts and the constitutioin, or if we are indentured servants or challte or better yet – if we just plan nothing, as in non esistent – something that does not even exist as far as the Supremes are concerned. There’s lots of case precident for that if we go back to the Civl War and earlier, so it should be easy. Would income/assets of say $5 million work?

    It’s a spectacle to see these Supreme Court justices hand out horrific ruling after rulling completely ingoring reality as they pretence being educated and intelligent. These people are niether.

    1. GF

      Today’s follow up from David Sirota:

      “If Trump now successfully installs Clayton as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Clayton would be able to make sure there is no investigation or prosecution of the private equity industry that he worked with as a Wall Street attorney, that he personally invested in and that is helping bankroll Trump’s reelection.”

      Jay Clayton will be grilled today at noon EDT by the House subcommittee which has AOC as a member:

    2. D. Fuller

      There now exists a more perfect regulatory and judicial environment for Private Equity firms to further loot pensions, now that restrictions have been lifted by government and green-lighted by Conservatives on The Supreme Court. It is unlikely that during the next Administration’s term, that anything will change.

      After pension looting? Next is Social Security.

      It’s as if the “Elites” are asset stripping America in what amounts to a fire sale, further weakening the United States, in what will eventually become the near-total economic collapse of The United States. As opportunities present themselves? The “Elites” are quick to take advantage of them.

      Examine the timeline, which actually stretches back much further. We’ll only concern ourselves with the immediate past.

      06-01-2020 Supreme Court Ruling as detailed in the article.

      Within 3 days of the ruling?

      06-03-2020 Employee Benefits Security Administration (ESBA), Department of Labor, issues guidance on Private Equity, giving PE greater access to pension money. As covered by Sirota. The Department of Labor is headed by Eugene Scalia, prior Secretary being Alexander Acosta of J. Epstein infamy. Eugene Scalia’s most prominent labor case helped undo an Obama-era rule to put stricter requirements on professionals who advise retirement savers on investments. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia oversees the ESBA.

      06-20-2020 Federal Prosecutor for SDNY, Bermann is fired. Clayton is nominated. Clayton disclosed to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics that his other corporate clients had included TeliaSonera AB, Ally Financial, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Volkswagen, SoftBank Group, The Weinstein Company, Pershing Square Capital Management, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals. A Who’s Who of corrupt financial institutions. His investments also included private funds managed by Apollo Global Management, Bain Capital, J.C. Flowers & Co., and Richard C. Perry but he divested these investments upon confirmation.

      Craig Carpenito is interesting. Strong prosecutorial background. Carpentino was first mentioned by Barr as Bermann’s successor. One would think that Carpenito is the prosecutor one wants to head SDNY. One interesting fact stands out. For a more in-depth biography, see “Faculty Biographies” here: under Alston+Bird LLP

      Carpenito’s career includes successfulli representing former Gov. Chris Christie regarding BridgeGate. Ultimately, Bridgegate resulted in another disastrous Supreme Court ruling that has further gutted Federal corruption laws.Carpentino was not involved in the SCOTUS case.

      Carpentino, along with former FBI Director Christopher Wray, were two personal lawyers for Chris Christie during the Bridgegate Scandal. Both were promoted by Trump.

      1. periol

        “It’s as if the “Elites” are asset stripping America in what amounts to a fire sale, further weakening the United States, in what will eventually become the near-total economic collapse of The United States. As opportunities present themselves? The “Elites” are quick to take advantage of them.”

        Ever since 9/11.

        Under Bush the Younger they pre-conditioned the 2008 crash by mandating the easing of mortgage requirements. The only thing keeping the economy above water then was HELOCs and refis. Pulled the rug out in 2008. Private equity doing it’s thing the whole time.

        The endless wars, the shale boom, the CARES Act, it’s all part of a slow drip resource drain. IMHO This whole “failed state” nonsense is cover for pillaging the USA on it’s way down the drain. The plug was pulled a while ago, they’re just getting while the getting is good.

        Those .01%ers who’ve been really making bank the last few decades have no intention of staying in the USA when TSHTF. There are plenty of safe havens for them. We are little better than a large farm or mining operation as far as they’re concerned.

        The USA has pillaged plenty other countries, but weren’t ready to have it happen to us.

        1. D. Fuller

          About Carpentino, he served as counsel to The SEC until 2005.

          The Housing Bubble began around 2003. Carpentino would have been in position to advise the SEC not to look to closely at bad actors in the real estate sector. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen.

          As for asset stripping of America? That’s been going on since NAFTA by Reagan-Bush-Clinton. Accelerating after 9/11.

          As for the .01%? Of course they are ready to flee. That’s been known for awhile. They take the money they make here and invest it in real wealth outside of The United States.

          As for failed state? Those very same .01% are one of the root causes.

          I’ve always argued that for a global financial system as envisioned by the .01%? That no superpowers could be allowed to exist. Such a superpower is a threat to their attempts to create their perfect, risk-free ($$$), global financial system that would perpetually sustain them at the top. And their families. Everyone wants to be King.

          The inside threats are almost always greater than the outside threats.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Are Swedes Shunned for High Covid Rates—or Is It Really ABBA?”

    Mamma Mia! What did they expect? Do they feel Under Attack? It’s the The Name of the Game and the numbers of the dead will just go On and On and On. When All Is Said and Done, they went for herd immunity because if successful it, it will be The Winner Takes It All. But it didn’t work out that way. Knowing Me, Knowing You, I can say that they needed to get to 60% of the population being infected, it worked out that only about 6% so it was all for nothing. And now as far as their borders are concerned, they are saying to their Nordic neighbours Take a Chance on Me but are being told by them Hasta Mañana. I think that going for herd immunity was all about Money, Money, Money but since they have become the pariah country of the north, they are reduced to saying Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! access to your borders. People Need Love but there is not much love for the Swedes now. The Swedes are saying Ring, Ring but they have only met their Waterloo.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It is striking that the Swedes seem determined not to recognise their mistake. Other countries (even the UK) reversed course as soon as it became apparent just how dangerous and irresponsible a ‘herd immunity’ approach would be. Something to do with the Swedish House Mafia perhaps.

        1. orlbucfan

          ABBA was a joke with educated Disco fans back in the 1970s. They were corporate Musak. Ugh!

    2. Milton

      Enjoyed your working in tha ABBA lyrics but what’s with the one Black Flag song in there?

    3. John A

      To be fair, people and employers in Sweden have taken things into their own hands, arranging to work from home, not travelling, theatres closed, avoiding crowded places etc. Plus Sweden has a high proportion of elderly care home residents. As of today, the state epedemiologist claims Sweden no longer has excess mortality rate with just 21 deaths reported. I was last there in early March and even then hand sanitiser was completely sold out in every pharmacy in Stockholm.

    4. Foy

      Excellent work Rev. As an 11yo boy in 1977 Agnetha was the most fantastic thing I had ever seen, with a voice like an angel.

  9. Mikel

    Re: Evictions

    They want to pack courts during a pandemic? NYC can’t expect this to be just a few cases.

    If it isn’t becoming clear to everyone why the response to the pandemic has been murderous, you aren’t being paranoid enough.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Probably a phrase that you will not hear in that court is: ‘The attorneys are asked to approach the bench.’ Maybe they can communicate with each other with two tin cans and a long piece of string instead.

      1. Romancing The Loan

        My last oral argument in the MA Appeals Court was by phone and the next one is by Zoom. They seem in no rush to get back to in-person hearings, thankfully.

        Will not work at all for housing court.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      1.48 million was the initial jobless claims number reported this morning, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 47 million. The labor force in the country is 150 million. The math is pretty easy.

      It’s not hard to imagine that we are still in the early stages of catastrophe. The other day a cnbc anchor commented that, ” ‘We’ are not prepared for the boarding up of america.” Macy’s announced today that the company is beginning “corporate” layoffs.

      You don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict that something’s gonna have to give.

      1. curlydan

        Yes, a few more months and another round of crappy “quarters” for the publicly reporting companies will start to bring a wave of corporate layoffs. 10% revenue losses can lead to 10% “reductions in force” and many with big salaries will start to suffer.

  10. Wukchumni

    How Covid-19 has reframed the war on cash FT (vlad)

    The most effective weapon in the war on cash is $50 bags of pennies and a trebuchet, you can really put the hurt on somebody, and get away with calling it a ‘low interest loan’.

    Benjamins are really only useful for wiping your rear echelon and/or starting signal fires. In war they are of the same rank as a lowly Washington.

      1. ewmayer

        Just put it in with your next washer load of clothes. SARS-type viruses are highly lipophilic, meaning they are easily lifted off and even killed by emulsifiers in most common soaps. A hot dryer cycle after washing more or less guarantees no more nasties.

  11. Jack Lifton

    I will bet that Pelosi will retire before the 2022 election to avoid losing a primary to a progressive radical. She and her fossil sister, Feinstein, once gone, also remove California’s excessive influence on national politics. The mob or time’s reaper will.also come for the pathetic Schiff and the senile Waters. Finis Californiae.

    1. nippersmom

      I haven’t completely given up hope that Pelosi will be out on her rear this election cycle.

  12. Wukchumni

    The COVID Shock to the Dollar Project Syndicate.
    The almighty buck has lost 98% of it’s value since 1971 when measured against something that counts.

    Garnering that last couple percent will be damned interesting, as the scramble by the nouveau poor puts everybody in the same league as a German in 1923, the difference being that hyperinflation took awhile to get going in earnest, I think we won’t have any grace period when the Dollar Domino Effect takes place, as you can’t have hyperinflation in a computer based financial system, they solved that thorny issue.

      1. Wukchumni

        It is a puzzling fact that over this period oil has lost most of its value against gold, too.

        Yes, it’s been quite a ride since the turn of the century, the Gas/Au ratio.

        2020: 850 gallons per troy ounce

        2010: 425 gallons per troy ounce

        2000: 170 gallons per troy ounce

        1. Bernalkid

          Perhaps it is just that gold is a scarce precious metal which had a traditional use as money, while petroleum has been an abundant (so far) commodity that provides a great deal of the energetic ride of industrial civilization. Maybe you should look at the mass of exchangeable goods IC produces annually to understand the level of $ circulation, along with concomitant growth of financial arbitrage.

        2. Samuel Conner

          This suggests an oddity in the NC comments system — I deleted this (mildly snarky) bit about the “two real commodities ratio” before the edits timeout had expired. It is not present in the final form of my comment (at least what appears on my screen).

          NC principals: is there a bug in the comments system?

        3. skippy

          Kelton’s new book is out, you might want to have a gander at it. Your views on scoring might be the first issue IMO, its a conceptual problem.

            1. skippy

              Sounds like ‘survival of the fittest’ Wuk, not something I expected from you.

              Personally I don’t ascribe validity to a book by its authors, albeit past intellectual rigor and ethical forbearance is taken into account. I thought facts with attribution was the bar by which a book is deemed relevant or not. Furthermore when reading a book one has to check their environmental biases at the door, previous beliefs and emotional attachments is not a good cognitive framework for evaluating such works.

              Not that I’ve forgotten your Rand quote awhile back or narrow histrionics on paper currencies and how that correlates to certain political philosophies.

              Hate to say it, but, on one of the top economic blogs, for a substantial period of time, considered commenters could do better than what your response was to my suggesting you read Kelton’s book – man its got the AET camp in a lather …

            2. skippy

              I’ll add that throw away comment is beneath you, its dialectal groundings and its reference to a person in its vernacular – is guttural at best.

              This is in complete conflict with the body of all your other comments and their betrayal of your projected persona on this blog.

    1. ewmayer

      Roach’s article is deeply disingenuous, as it mentions only the Congressional economic-relief bills, ignoring the elephant in the room of the Fed insta-printing close the $3 Trillion in magic fiat to firehose at the Wall Street casino gamblers when the Holy DJIA first threatened to go and stay below 20,000. Look, no debate on Capital Hill required, Mom! Roach’s only mention of the Fed is ZIRP:

      To the extent that the inflation response lags, and the Federal Reserve maintains its extraordinarily accommodative monetary-policy stance, the bulk of the concession should occur through the currency rather than interest rates. Hence, I foresee a 35% drop in the broad dollar index over the next 2-3 years.

      Paging Mr. Roach, the Fed’s reflation of the RE bubble over the past decade has caused housing prices to double and even triple in many major markets. For folks in those areas not wealthy enough to heavily invest in the stock markets and thus enjoy the Fed-sponsored bubble in those as an inflation hedge, the value of their dollars has already plunged much more than 35% over that timespan, relative to its purchasing power, in terms of the major items that eat up their paychecks: rent and mortgage. Ya think serial bubble-blowing by the world’s central banks might have anything to do with what ails us in terms of ever-worsening inequality, which caused the vast majority of the population to go into the pandemic crisis with no savings safety net?

      Unsurprisingly, at bottom of the article we see this:

      Stephen S. Roach, a faculty member at Yale University and former Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia…

      What was that famous Upton Sinclair quote again?

  13. farmboy

    Didn’t remember this at all, but the playbook resonates. From the Chomsky interview in Jacobin Mag “And the reaction right now is quite important. [It’s different from] when you go back to Ronald Reagan, opening his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the site of the murder of three civil rights workers — the message was pretty plain, but there was little reaction.” Praise for Sanders moving Biden and establishment D’s on climate, race, economy, finance, newcomers can be effective jumping up and down on the sideline, but an establishment pol like Sanders can be very potent on the inside.

  14. farmboy “Arguably the most robust model of public opinion change is the thermostatic model, which holds that survey responses are signals to political elites to adjust their positions in a particular direction, typically away from the dominant view of the party in power.” gives credence to public response re BLM and apathy toward climate change, but oh wait, “Trump was instrumental in solidifying climate concern as part of the core partisan identity of Democratic voters, showcasing the power of out-group elite cues in driving polarization.” 3rd level effects

  15. Billy

    Methanol hand sanitizer–excellent informative warning article. Thank you! Found a bottle of it in my mother’s house.

    In general, putting anything on or in your body that comes from third world countries, and that includes Mexico, is a gamble.

    The pharmaceuticals made in China have been well covered by N.C.
    Watch this video for the worst example of what I’m talking about:
    “Gutter oil used in China for street food”

    1. J.k

      Yep, thats how Europeans feel about the crap “third world” countries like the u.s that have tried to export to them. Thankfully they have strong regulations preventing U.S business from flooding their markets with poisonous products. Beauty products, toys, “food” product , etc.

    2. lordkoos

      It really depends on the country. China is not the same as Thailand, for example. We buy large bags of Thai rice and it’s good quality. We also ate street food in Thailand for 7 months without a single problem.

  16. Wukchumni

    Was at a protest movement against the Robert E. Lee Tree and things got ugly when the 11th largest living thing started letting loose with what looks like 2/3rds scale hand grenades in the guise of pine cones, which caused the crowd to scatter and contemplate action elsewhere against the Black Mountain Beauty Tree, because it sounds vaguely racist.

  17. The Rev Kev

    Is that a Robin in the Antidote du Jour ? I like the way that it is framed by the twigs and branches.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Nope. The American robin is bigger and has a red breast. Quite a distinctive bird, And not a titmouse either.

      1. Judith

        From the wing bars and the small bill and maybe an eye ring, I was thinking possibly a flycatcher or ruby-crowned kinglet.

  18. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: “The Despair Is Smoldering in Society” Der Spiegel.

    DER SPIEGEL: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, to take one example, has a fortune of more than $100 billion!

    Deaton: We have no objection to people who bring us enormous benefits getting very wealthy. We’re against people getting rich by burdening other people. The trouble with unfairness, though, is that everybody has different notions about what it is. The unfairness we identify is the rich getting rich by transferring money upwards. If you tax the rich, if you even take away all their money and give it to the poor, each of them would get only very little money.

    Setting aside the, IMNSHO, tremendously mistaken contention that what bezos has brought to society are “enormous benefits” justifying a personal fortune greater than the GDP of some countries, I have a particular problem with the last sentence, bolded by me, about taking away all “their money.”

    The issue is not that a lot of “little” people would only get a few measly dollars if bezos didn’t get the whole hundred billion. The issue is that that kind of money enables bezos and his ilk to buy the political influence that grasping, degenerate legislators so willingly sell, that creates and maintains his financial mega-superiority in the first place.

    When a “yes” vote on socially destructive legislation can be had for a piddling seven or eight thousand dollar “campaign contribution” and entitled psychopaths like bezos dole them out unapologetically, the word “unfairness” doesn’t begin to describe the situation.

    The word that should be used by anyone with any level of expertise trying to quantify or qualify the situation is “corruption.” Pervasive, abject, sociopathic, dehumanizing corruption. Why can’t they just say it? Maybe then something can be done about it.

    1. montanamaven

      Yes! So true about the whole Bezos argument. “Unfair!?” It’s looting. I didn’t see your comment before posting mine about their odd and superficial depiction of Montanans. But the whole article seemed puzzlingly naive. I

    2. curlydan

      I thought Case’s and Deaton’s identification of problems was excellent, but their solutions certainly seemed weak.

      They rail against the tribute we pay for healthcare in the U.S., so shouldn’t an easy solution be improved Medicare for All?

      They mention the 60s as a period of tremendous production, but they can’t recommend re-establishing tax rates from that time?

      No mention of anti-trust either, just an interview-ending frustration with getting billed $0.99 each month from an tech company.

      1. montanamaven

        I also found it odd too that there was no mention of anti-trust, be it Amazon, or Big Pharm or Google or the media companies. Right now because ranchers can see the collusion happening in the meat packing industry, we have an opportunity to go after all the big monopolies. We finally can have conservative allies in this as now they see how they are getting screwed.

      2. Carla

        This interview AGAIN illustrates the folly of relying on members of an elite class to get us out of problems created by that every same elite class in the first place. As one-percenters, or at least five-percenters, themselves, Case & Deaton like all their ilk identify with the top 1/10th of the one percenters, NOT with those dying deaths of despair.

        Case & Deaton are not naive. They are in willful denial that money is power. Too much money (vested in an individual, a corporate entity, a religion, an industry or a country– as just about anyone except an American will tell you) equals too much power, and makes any pretense of democracy laughable.

    3. Berto

      The rich are nothing but the poor with more money. They aren’t smarter, they aren’t more moral, and they should have no more say in how the world is run than someone with only two dimes to rub together.

      1. Pookah Harvey

        Sorry to disagree but I think the rich are different. Time magazine did a series of articles on personality studies of the rich. The titles included:

        Wealthy Selfies: How Being Rich Increases Narcissism
        Why the Rich Are Less Ethical: They See Greed as Good
        Study: The Rich Really Are More Selfish
        Why the Rich Shoplift More Than The Poor
        The Rich Are Different: More Money, Less Empathy

        See a pattern? The “cream” of a capitalistic society is nothing more than scum (definition: extraneous matter or impurities risen to or formed on the surface of a liquid often as a foul filmy covering )

      1. JBird4049

        I have taught that the single best indicator of a country’s health is it GINI co-efficient or measure of inequality. Generally, the greater the inequality, the worse off, the more corrupt and more violent the country. With .0 being perfect equality and 1.0 meaning one person has it all.

        The top ten for inequality as measured by the GINI are:

        Lesotho (0.632)
        South Africa (0.625)
        Haiti (0.608)
        Botswana (0.605)
        Namibia (0.597)
        Zambia (0.575)
        Comoros (0.559)
        Hong Kong (0.539)
        Guatemala (0.530)
        Paraguay (0.517)

        IIRC, South Africa is just about the most violent country on Earth except for Guatemala and El Salvador. Please note Hong Kong as being on the list. The United States and China appear to be running a race with both of them being in the low 30s in the early 70s and now around around 45 for American and 46.5 for China, which might explain both countries ramping up their security regime to an insane, near Stasi like level; this as an alternative to actually lower their co-efficients to what they were fifty, forty, or even thirty years ago is stupid IMHO, but greed and power does make people stupid

        Actually their numbers are probably higher now as an accurate GINI takes several years to get and often depends partly on the country’s own statistics. The CIA and the World Bank as well as others. The CIA seems to be a little harsh in favor of the United States although lying is not done (as far as I can tell) and the World Bank is too trusting almost like WHO and China. There are others sites that might be better as well with the differences in numbers being on exactly how the numbers are crunched and also some countries are such disasters that it becomes a best guesstimate. It is not always easy to give an honest answer so not all, or even most, economic statistical differences are nefarious.

        Also note that a GINI of 0.50 seems to be the spot where the whole country is basically a gigantic bottle of nitroglycerin just waiting for that bump. Also the higher the number the faster it usually goes up. Yes, I think we Americans are in a wild ride.

  19. Samuel Conner

    The news about “duration of protection from acquired immunity” is sobering, and suggests that older people, myself included, are going to be living on edge for the rest of their lives.

    In objective terms, our lives are likely to be shortened. There is a weird subjective thing I have noticed, however. Time passes differently for me now. Things I did 2 days ago feel like they are weeks in the past. 2019 may as well be a different century. Subjectively, it feels like time is passing more slowly.

  20. Ignacio

    Chinese study: Antibodies in COVID-19 patients fade quickly Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.Very small scale but if results hold, this is consistent with our worst fears re a vaccine.

    To my knowledge this is quite normal you are not going to keep Anti-SARS CoV 2 IgGs (Anti-flu or Anti-anything) at high levels once the infection has passed. This is Immunology101. If you get reinfected the production will spike again but obviously much faster because you already have the specific B-cells ready for stimulation.

  21. Montanamaven

    Boy Howdy, I had a hard time with “What’s Wrong With America” article. There wasn’t much new or original in either their observations or their solutions involving pointing out the evils of lobbying and bemoaning the billing of 99¢ for something or other on your phone or credit card bill i.e. what they call “upward distribution”.
    They also thought that “Obamacare was a good proposal” and then made excuses for why it didn’t work.
    Also, being married to a Montana rancher, I really need to push back on Deaton and Case’s observations on Montanans.

    Deaton: We spend a lot of time in Montana when we were writing our book and we talked to a fair number of people there. They are very Republican. The Montanans feel that a lot of the regulations they have to obey, a lot of the environmental regulations, the wildlife regulations, are being set not in their interests, but in the interests of the educated elites in California and New York. Issues like bringing the wolves back are divisive that way. Donald Trump is certainly doing something for those kinds of concerns by dismantling regulations. I’m sure he would kill all the wolves in Montana if he could.

    I find the emphasis on the wolf situation and the perfunctory Trump bashing “I’m sure he would kill all the wolves” is a superficial view of what motivates Montanans. And hence, what motivates Republicans and conservatives.
    Montana is a purple state. It has had two Democratic governors in a row, Schweitzer and Bullock. We have had two Democratic Senators (Baucus and Tester) and now we have one Dem (Tester) and one Republican (Daines). It has felt to me in living here for 28 years that it was more libertarian than conservative. And people want to just be left alone and not regulated to death. The wolf controversy is just more visible than their annoyance at having to buy three licenses if you are a manicurist. But with all the latest conservative bashing after Trump’s election, the populace are starting to become more alarmed and more vocal. My usual mild mannered apolitical husband is speaking out more and more about the chaos in the street. And because of the pandemic, he clearly sees the faults in the healthcare system. The virus gave us the possibility of making allies with our urban working brothers and sisters. But looks like TPTB prefer chaos than solidarity.
    Sorry to go on and on…. But this article reeks of conventional wisdom that I am the sworn enemy of.

    1. edmondo

      LOL. Look at Joe Biden roll! Good Old Joe won a staggering 60% of the vote in KY on Tuesday, while running unopposed. How the hell do you lose 40% of the vote to people who aren’t running? Joe’s support is a mile wide and a half inch deep. I have no idea what the odds are on the Predict It market but anyone who loses 40% of the votes won’t be winning an elections anytime soon. I wouldn’t believe too many polls if I were you.

      1. lordkoos

        Bernie Sanders is still on the ballot in many places, which likely accounts for the 40%.

        1. Massinissa

          The article breaks it down. Only 13 for Bernie unfortunately. Around 15 for undecided, the rest split across like a dozen other candidates. I guess theres a sizeable group people don’t want to vote Biden but don’t really want to vote Bernie either.

  22. deplorado

    Stephen Roach:
    “No country can afford to squander its saving potential – ultimately, the seed-corn of long-term economic growth.”

    And there is more like this that follows.

    What is this bunk?? Forgive me but isn’t his entire article utter, dangerous, garbage?

    Stephanie Kelton just had a bestseller out that seems to have very good mainstream reception, and this charlatan continues to put out stuff like this…

  23. sam

    Re War over face masks: Imagine that a dangerous disease threatens to infect millions of citizens and a prophylactic exists but it is only manufactured abroad and not available for purchase in the US. Would there not be a huge political outcry, demanding access to protection? Now the present day: Asian countries are often compared favorably to the US in regard to mask wearing, but in Asia real protective (N95 equivalent) masks are readily available. At first we were told there was a “shortage” of N95s but now it appears they are gone for good other than for medical and official use. If we had N95s we could directly protect the most vulnerable by age or occupation. Instead we shame people for their failure to wear masks that do not offer significant protection, a scheme that can only be effective with close to 100% compliance which a quick look outside will confirm is not close to happening. Why no public outcry – or at least media discussion – about the continued unavailability of real protective masks, now many months into the crisis?

    1. marym

      Non-N95-grade masks can decrease transmission from an infected person. The argument against wearing even a modest cotton face covering to do this for each other comes from those who either don’t believe the disease is real, don’t believe it’s serious, don’t care if they transmit it to others, or don’t think it’s politically advantageous to them to have people think it’s real. They’re the cause of not having close to 100% compliance. They should step up to our shared responsibility.

    2. Carolinian

      The case for surgical masks is perfectly logical but it does hinge on the belief that the masks will block almost all of the virus particles exiting the mouth and nose and that they will see near universal use. Of course there’s no such thing as perfect safety other than avoiding people altogether and that also goes for the N95 which has failed if not worn properly.

      In SC one upstate town with high positives has enacted a universal mask order and my town is considering the same. Clearly you will not get near universal use unless it is in fact a law. And while I’m not a lawyer I believe governments do have the power to make such a rule for licensed businesses. Whether they have that right in other situations is a lot more controversial. There is established precedent for quarantining sick people by force, but I believe the Supreme Court has said that putting restrictions on healthy people requires a provable justification that they are endangering others and given the flaky state of Covid knowledge that may make them open to challenge in court.

      Wearing a cloth mask or bandana is not a burden and is a courtesy to others even if one doubts that it will actually help. I hope my town does pass such a rule until the epidemic passes. IMO those who resist such a limited rule for businesses are not being libertarian crusaders but are just being obstinate and obnoxious.

      1. Massinissa

        “The case for surgical masks is perfectly logical but it does hinge on the belief that the masks will block almost all of the virus particles exiting the mouth and nose and that they will see near universal use”

        Remember though, even if it doesnt prevent you from catching the virus, even if you simply reduce the viral load, it will take the virus more time to grow and harm you, giving you more time. Having a larger dose of the virus particles is much more dangerous than having exposure to just a few viral particles. Part of the reason the virus is so dangerous to healthcare workers who are routinely exposed to large viral loads of the stuff.

      2. Pookah Harvey

        Interestingly local and state governments have clothing laws.
        “In the United States there are variety of different offenses, such as “indecent exposure”, “public lewdness”, “public indecency”, “disorderly conduct” and so on, which may involve exposure of a specific body part (genitals, buttocks, anus, nipples on women)”.
        So local governments can protect me from being exposed to the sight of “genitals, buttocks, anus, nipples on women” but are reticent in keeping me from being exposed to Covid. Glad to see we have our priorities straight.

      3. lordkoos

        WA state has mandated masks in public beginning tomorrow, failure to do so is a misdemeanor. As you can imagine, it is not going over well with the Trump crowd, and at least one Sheriff in a rural county has said he will not enforce it.

  24. deplorado

    Well this has to be shared. It’s good when a lie is called a lie.

    Wendell Potter @wendellpotter
    “Amid America’s #COVID19 disaster, I must come clean about a lie I spread as a health insurance exec: We spent big $$ to push the idea that Canada’s single-payer system was awful & the U.S. system much better. It was a lie & the nations’ COVID responses prove it. The truth: (1/6)”

    1. HotFlash

      Hmm, the comments. Many Cdns supporting him, many thanks from all sorts, a fair number of “Give back all the money you made!”, a few, “Testify before Congress!” (seems to me you have to wait until asked?), but so far, didn’t see any, “Make insurance companies pay us back!” Interesting.

  25. RMO

    “Showing strength with white voters, Biden…”

    Can you imagine how the same story would have been spun if it had been Sanders showing popularity with white voters?

  26. ChristopherJ

    Dear Yves, some personal news and a perspective from Queensland. So sorry you are all muddling through while incompetence reigns everywhere. We get the impression that, despite all those leaders, no one is in charge over there. In turn, some of us get a bit anxious knowing just what a crap and unforgiving world we live in. Perhaps signs that the planet is getting a breather might change the way we live within it. Yeah, nah.
    We haven’t had a new case for a couple of weeks in my part of the world and have only 2 active cases in the State (about 5m I think). The borders are closed internally and to all overseas. Businesses continue to lobby our government hard to open (for internal tourism), but Victoria in particular continues to have new cases, so we are not keen for any cashed up Vic bogans to be coming up our way.
    All of my mates have found some level of support or employment over this period. We’re all suffering to some degree, but I don’t have to think about a mask or what I touch out there. Something that was quite different perhaps three months ago.
    To that end, I went and had a haircut at Razorbacks – a local business staffed by women. As they hadn’t seen me since my uncle passed (they used to cut his hair and cut his whiskers) and I’d been growing it since November when I had not a hair on my head following chemotherapy.
    My partner and friends have been nagging me for ever as it was getting very unruly. Much better now and I came away from my salon visit about 4 inches taller, especially when they all agreed I deserved a ‘donated haircut’ and my visit was free.
    In about 4 hours from now, I have a crew of mates (all trades) arriving to put up timber battens and a new roof and insulation over a 45m2 timber deck I have been dreaming about for 5 years. Probably why I’m awake and up at 3am doing this when I could be sleeping.
    Pubs and restaurants are back open, but no one is allowed to touch the poker machines (not that I am worried) and we still have to ‘sign in’ for contact tracing purposes. Sport is back on, mostly, to no or reduced crowds. Hotels still working on no or skeleton crews, with many former staff picking up the govt’s $1500 pf JobKeeper payment, which ends in September.
    Rents have falled a fair bit as many local properties were being airbnbd, so there are some good deals out there as their owners put them back on the LT market, with many fully furnished too. Glad I don’t own one. Property prices are feeling a bit of a pinch, but I get impression it is area dependent as some parts are just going as per before.
    COVID has exposed many things about our bs ‘economy’ in a way that may never have happened otherwise. Just the fact that people are talking about the government being able to spend indefinitely as deficits can now be written off, apparently. Out govt has increased the unemployment benefit from around $500 pf to $1100 pf. It’s supposed to revert back at the end of September, we will see. For many that had been going hungry and living way below the poverty line, the increase has literally transformed their lives. I hope Aussies can be compassionate for a change…
    Just about everyone who can has deferred mortgage payments. For us, this equates to a sizeable cash injection each fortnight and is very welcome at the moment. People have also been able to access $10k of their super funds early (at the mo, most people have to wait till they are 67 to access, so one would be mad not too, particularly as we’ve been able to sell not too far from top and we seem to have yet another opportunity to move it to cash before the inevitable super crash – it’s coming).
    Some smart dicks have taken their money out and put it back as ‘voluntary super’, which has tax and govt matching benefits, but will find themselves fined by the ATO as a result. No one likes a cheat.
    Eldest son has been accepted by Royal Aust Navy into their pilot program (rotary wing); he is 28, with baggage, a dependent son and a stranded girlfriend in Glasgow. Leaving a 125k job with Rolls Royce to be a trainee pilot on $55k. Still, he has some savings and am sure that he will acquit himself well. $8m to train them. 11 years he has to commit.
    His Dad served in the Regular Army and the Reserves and is very proud. And, as he doesn’t want to sell his M3 (1996, last of the inline sixes), I guess I’ll have to find room for it.
    Stay safe everyone. It’s not a little flu

  27. ewmayer

    o “Tanzanite: Tanzanian miner becomes overnight millionaire | BBC” — From the article:

    “There will be a big party tomorrow,” Mr Laizer, a father of more than 30 children [by his 4 wives], told the BBC.

    Tanzanite is only found in northern Tanzania and is used to make ornaments.

    It is one of the rarest gemstones on Earth, and one local geologist estimates its supply may be entirely depleted within the next 20 years.

    A happy-sounding piece thus has a quite stark “it is unsustainable practices like these with which humankind is destroying the earth” subtext. Fittingly, the above article is bookended by the following ones:

    “Mining Company Obliterates Sacred Land in Australia Foreshadows Distressing Events in the American Southwest | Counterpunch”

    “Siberian heat wave is a ‘warning cry’ from the Arctic, climate scientists say | Reuters”

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