Links 6/27/2020

Dolphins Are So Smart They’re Learning Tool-Use From Their Friends ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

7 Things in Our Universe That Have Astronomers Scratching Their Heads Interesting Engineering

Mystery of Earth’s Vanishing Crust Solved by MagLab Geochemists – Prevailing Theories Contradicted SciTechDaily (Kevin W)


Hump!, the online porn fest that wouldn’t have happened without quarantine ars technica (Chuck L)

Kenya: 3 people killed in clash with police over face masks Associated Press

US Music Festival Billed as ‘COVID Herd Immunity Fest’ Changes Name After Backlash Sputnik


You may want to avoid reopened restaurants after reading this new JP Morgan report on coronavirus outbreaks Fortune (David L)

Coronavirus Traces Found in March 2019 Sewage Sample, Spanish Study Shows New York Times

The Soviet Vaccine Strategy That Could Be a Coronavirus Weapon Popular Mechanics (resilc)


Swedish exceptionalism has been ended by coronavirus Guardian (resilc)

Traffic light system for safest destinations will be introduced so families can book summer holidays – as ministers agree to open air corridors for dozens of countries Daily Mail

Covid-19 was in Spanish sewage as early as MARCH 2019, study claims RT. Kevin W: “Not yet peer-reviewed from what I understand.”

‘The atmosphere was ugly’: Bournemouth aghast at beach chaos Guardian


Coronavirus: US has ‘serious problem’, says Fauci BBC. A little late to conclude that.

Gov. Greg Abbott orders Texas bars to close again and restaurants to reduce to 50% occupancy as coronavirus spreads Texas Tribune. By contrast, and I am not making this up, the local Home Instead thinks it’s reasonable to send an aide who works 2 to 3 days a week as a bartender in a bar to care regularly for a 92 year old with COPD. Oh, and the official line is “We can’t tell them what other jobs they can take.” How about not keeping them on?!?!

Florida Governor Scoffs at Fresh Virus Tactics: ‘Like What?’ Bloomberg

The Coronavirus Surge in Florida, Arizona, Texas Isn’t the Same as New York’s Crisis Wall Street Journal

Tom Brady AGAIN defies coronavirus rules to work out with teammates… and posts FDR quote about not ‘fearing’ COVID Sun (resilc)

Newsom Announces New COVID-19 Modeling Website, Open-Source Tools For ‘Citizen Scientists’ CBS San Francisco (Chuck L)

Over 150 College Athletes Contracted Coronavirus After Being Pressured to Practice Vice (resilc)


U.S. Consumer Spending Rebounded in May, but Virus Surge Poses Economic Threat Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 Killed the Era of ‘Big’ Flying

Damien Klassen on What Will Burst the Bubble | ABC’s The Business MacroBusiness

China-India Row

Galwan Valley: Satellite images ‘show China structures’ on India border BBC

After deadly border clash, India faces uncomfortable truths about its reliance on China Washington Post

Gunmen injure Mexico City police chief; 3 dead Associated Press (Bill B)


Why Iran won’t be broken Pepe Escobar, Asia Times (heresy 101)

Trump will bless Israeli annexation of 2 ‘population centers’ on West Bank and cite Bush letter of ’04– Israeli diplomat Mondoweiss

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Snowden: Tech Workers Are Complicit in How Their Companies Hurt Society Vice (resilc)

California City Bans Predictive Policing In US First Reuters

Mobilewalla Used Cellphone Data To Estimate the Demographics of Protesters BuzzFeed

Facial Recognition Bill Would Ban Use By Federal Law Enforcement NBC

“Free Speech” In The US Empire Is As Illusory As “Free-Range” Eggs Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

As Advertisers Revolt, Facebook Commits To Flagging ‘Newsworthy’ Political Speech That Violates Policy TechCrunch

Imperial Collapse Watch

America Is Facing 5 Epic Crises All at Once New York Times

Trump Transition

Trump says he signed executive order to protect monuments CNN

Judge orders US to free migrant children from family detention, citing virus spread Guardian

The Case for Self-Enforcing Streets Transportation Alternatives

Trump’s use of Pentagon funds for US-Mexico border wall illegal, court rules The Hill

New York City will paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on street in front of Trump Tower The Hill


There Is No Plan. There Is No Second-Term Agenda. Esquire

Supreme Court Rejects Call for Universal Vote-by-Mail in Texas Bloomberg

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Struggle for No Police in the Los Angeles Schools: a Great Leap Forward and Victory is in Sight Counterpunch (Heresy101)

“Master bedroom” and “Master bath” won’t be used in Houston’s real estate listings anymore Boing Boing (resilc)

Police and Big Tech Are Partners in Crime. We Need to Abolish Them Both Vice

The Retreat from Globalization Project Syndicate (David L)

American Air to Book Full Planes, Shelve Social Distancing Bloomberg. I flew American last month. They were never social distancing. One flight was oversold, one had only a couple of free seats, and the other two legs were >80% full.

Blackstone skips payment on $274m hotel loan Financial Times

Lenders to Ailing Companies Circle Wagons to Fend Off Distressed-Debt Investors Wall Street Journal

Why venture capital doesn’t build the things we really need MIT Technology Review

Class Warfare

University of Michigan employees can form bargaining units without formal elections, regents decide Michigan Live (mark n)

Antidote du jour. ChetG sent several pix of pollinators in light of recent discussions in Links; this is honeybee:

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Jessica

    Daily death counts in the US are no longer tracking daily new case counts, even if you allow a 2-3 week lag. The daily death count continues to fall. The fall may be a little slower than it had been (can’t tell for sure from the graph).
    For California for example, the daily new case count has been rising fairly evenly since the start of the pandemic, but the daily death count has been flat for months.
    There are many possible reasons for this. My best guess is that during the lockdown, most people figured out if they were vulnerable or not and with reopening, those who consider themselves not vulnerable are out and about and getting the virus.
    The single most powerful piece of data suggesting that the rise in the daily case count is leading to increased deaths is the hospital and ICU usage rates in Texas and Arizona.
    I think that the case counts are being emphasized from a desire to keep people on their toes (or scared s__tless) and from a desire to tear down Trump. That does not automatically make drawing conclusions from the case counts inaccurate.
    (The US is being compared to Europe using totals rather than population adjusted figures for the same reason.)
    [I base this on the graphs on
    and on the state-by-state pages that can be linked to from this page.]

    1. Rex

      I would urge you to consider that case counts are being emphasized because the pandemic is not over by a long shot instead of attributing it to a desire to “tear down Trump” who amply hoists himself by his own petard without any help needed. Risks remain high, infrastructure remains crap, and mitigating practices remain spotty. I trust you’re familiar with Occam’s Razor?

    2. MLTPB

      Adjusting for population…

      I assume you mean comparing the US to individual European nations, and not Europe as a whole.

      Regarding the chart above, by Gongloff, where the US is about 30k, and the EU is about 5k, I think, even comparing the US and the whole EU does not reflect that we couldn’t quarantine the 3 states of NY, NJ and Connecticut a few months ago, and people have been able to travel from one state to another here, while European nations closed their borders to each other in March.

    3. ewmayer

      “For California for example, the daily new case count has been rising fairly evenly since the start of the pandemic, but the daily death count has been flat for months.”

      Well, you’re 1 for 2. Since late March I’ve been using the Weather Underground (yah, ack, MSFT-takeover, but that is not relevant to the present discussion) forecast pages to log the daily stats for 2 CA counties – my recent home of Santa Clara (silicon valley) and present one of Marin, north of the GG bridge. SCC is where Covid-19 first exploded around here, due to all those techies busily shuttling back and forth between there and tech hubs in E Asia. Note SCC issued a shelter-in-place n 9 Mar and the rest of the Bay Area counties followed a week later, but mask-wearing and disinfection of frequently-touched surfaces only began in the following month, and mandatory mask-wearing in inside spaces the month after that.

      At start of April Marin had ~100 confirmed cases, 1/10 that of SCC. On May 1st Marin had [cases|deaths] = 237|12 vs SCC’s 2163|111, i.e. case counts roughly doubled in a month. On Jun 1st we had Marin = 486|14, SCC = 2785|144, so Marin’s case count again doubled in a month, whereas SCC was clearly bending the curve. Now in early June Marin began wide-scale reopening of nonessential businesses – my city had wild mostly maskless reopening street party the first Friday of June, and has been closing the restaurant-heavy main drag to vehicle traffic on weekends ever since, with the festivities again clearly being treated as mask-wearing-optional for most participants, at least until the past few days, when CA’s statewide mask-wearing mandate went into effect. Here is the detailed reopening timeline for Marin, by way of reference. Now the daily numbers for June for Marin and SCC – note that I don’t always visit the WU pages at same time each day, so some days I get the previous day’s numbers and the next day might get 2 days’ worth of increases, but the multiday trends smooth those blips out and trends emerge pretty clearly.

      Marin County Santa Clara County
      Date Cases Deaths Cases Deaths
      6/01 486 14 2785 144
      6/02 495 15 2797 144
      6/03 509 17 2819 144
      6/04 527 17 2836 144
      6/05 533 17 2871 144
      6/06 546 17 2902 144
      6/07 556 17 2934 144
      6/08 584 17 2947 144
      6/09 596 17 2971 149
      6/10 616 17 3006 149
      6/11 633 17 3032 149
      6/12 637 17 3049 149
      6/13 649 17 3099 150
      6/14 677 17 3141 150
      6/15 689 17 3178 151
      6/16 708 17 3204 152
      6/17 725 18 3228 152
      6/18 771 18 3264 152
      6/19 819 18 3338 152
      6/20 829 18 3376 152
      6/21 879 18 3435 154
      6/22 901 18 3514 154
      6/23 029 18 3580 154
      6/24 029 18 3580 154
      6/25 261 18 3812 155
      6/26 261 18 3812 155
      6/27 321 18 3871 155

      Note the explosion in Marin cases in the past 2 weeks … SCC not quite as bad, but #cases there rose by 356 from 6/1-14 and by 733 from 6/14-27. Obviously the level-of-testing makes reading too much into the precise numbers fraught, but there’s been no major Covid-19 testing initiatives recently begun in the Bay Area of which I am aware, so the drastic upswing in case counts is likely real.

        1. Irrational

          Did you by chance cut off the leading 1 on the last 5 entries from 23 June onwards?

          1. ewmayer

            Thanks, Lambert – if you would be so kind as to send me the source ascii for your nice-ified table (you have my e-mail in your old-mails and/or mailer’s cache), that would be great, I can use that as a template for any future such tabulations.

            And @Irrational, yes, Lambert did accidentally lose the leading ‘1’s on the late-June Marin case counts.

  2. Fireship

    > America Is Facing 5 Epic Crises All at Once New York Times

    You should post a trigger-warning that the David Brooks is the author, so that people can prepare themselves for head-melting stupidity. Behold:

    I know a lot of people aren’t excited about him, but I thank God that Joe Biden is going to be nominated by the Democratic Party. He came to public life when it wasn’t about performing your zeal, it was about crafting coalitions and legislating. He exudes a spirit that is about empathy and friendship not animosity and canceling. The pragmatic spirit of the New Deal is a more apt guide for the years ahead than the spirit of critical theory symbology.

    I see a lot of similarities to Weimar Germany. Industrial base occupied/off-shored. Lost war(s). Paramilitary/police violence. Military fetishism. Economic depression. Political polarization. Demonization of Bolsheviks/SJWs.

    I would say the US is on a knife-edge. Interesting times.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Anyone touting “Biden” as some kind of welcome “answer” to our nation’s problems is simply demonstrating to you how little they actually understand about both the man himself, his actions over many many years, and about the root causes of the problems.

      8 years of blackface neo-lib neo-con Wall St. business as usual was (and is) presented as some kind of glory age. People see their own situations and say to themselves “must be me, then, the smiling (ex-CIA) man on the news says everything is excellent and the stock market is making lots of other people rich”.

      With the convenient Orange punching bag gone we will see the ramping of “War is Peace” and “Ignorance is Strength” up to Level 11 and beyond. We’ll hear all about how the previous administration left everything in such a mess that in four years President Harris was powerless to do anything about it.

      (Insert positive, uplifting closing paragraph providing glimmers of hope here)

        1. polecat

          Hell will freeze first before THAT happens …

          sniff sniff .. anyone smell gas – lit?

  3. The Rev Kev

    “‘The atmosphere was ugly’: Bournemouth aghast at beach chaos”

    This sounds so Soviet this as in ‘They pretend that they are trying to fight the pandemic and we pretend that we are listening to their advice.’

    That does bring up an interesting point. If an institution is offering broken, late, fragmentary, contradictory advice, should anybody really be surprised that as a result that you get a Bournemouth?

    1. Wukchumni

      Ever consider that money as we know it is largely invisible just like the Coronavirus and just as widespread, and chock full of contradictions institutionally?

    2. Clive

      No indeed. My mother-in-law lives not in Bournemouth but a small town a couple of miles away which is near enough to be impacted by the usual influx of summertime trippers.

      Normally, it’s not a problem (or if it is, it’s a predictable and manageable problem). But the roads round her town were completely gridlocked all day. Keep in mind that not for nothing is Bournemouth referred to as “God’s waiting room” in view of the number of retirees who flock there for a little genteel seaside ambience and mild winter climate. So if emergency vehicles can’t get through, that’s one cardiac arrest which might take 30 minutes for paramedics to get to (or ten such similar in a typical day).

      And her local store (an M&S food outlet) which is in walking distance for her was, according to her neighbours who ventured out to it that day, another traffic disaster and, due to social distancing restrictions, had a queue several hundred deep at the entrance by lunchtime (cafes and restaurants being closed still of course and the KFC in her town had a drive through that caused a tailback a quarter of a mile down the road so trying to get something to eat was a challenge for those either en route to the beach or milling around the area in general) and an M&S sandwich seeming, I guess, to be the obvious answer.

      But while there’s a lot of finger-wagging about the cabin fever suffering hordes hitting the beach and being a bit common and déclassé as they are wont to be described as (typically by people who live in nice houses in half acre plus plots of beautiful landscaped gardens), the pearl clutchers-in-chiefs at the Guardian and BBC were quite happy for tens of thousands to stick two fingers up to authority at Black Lives Matter protests.

      People talk about concepts like “leadership”. But what is lacking pretty much everywhere is intellectual consistency and the authenticity that brings. I’ve been told so many contradictory things and downright falsehoods by so many people these past few years, I too tend, perhaps regrettably, to increasingly respond to whatever I’m being implored to do today with a resounding “yeah, sez you”.

      1. Carolinian

        So what you’re saying is it’s not just us (US). I blame the telly–barely watch mine any more.

        1. Clive

          Unfortunately so. This is a, from my observations, growing global phenomenon. While in the angloshpehere, we tend to think it’s just the US, the U.K. had a near-identical cultural trajectory.

          And even in the poster child of “go along to get along”, Japan, there’s a quiet undercurrent of “you’re scamming me, sir”. I spoke to my sister who is a long time Japan resident to try to glean a real understanding of the county’s history of mask adherence. She got unusually crabby about a topic with a “it’s 90F at 70% RH here, we’re hot and tired and fed up and we’re at the limit of what everyone will put up where no one can say anything because were all supposed to be this perfect well behaved wonder country in our own minds pretending there’s no problem with anything”. I think that was the gist of it. I didn’t pursue the matter! Of course, you can only find this in the Japanese language media e.g. (sorry, you’ll have to take my word for it as it, naturally, in Japanese although the online translation apps give the gist of it — basically, the older generation are saying a load of rubbish excuses as to why they don’t need to wear a mask such as that old hand-me-down “I’ve already had it” and sort-a getting away with it because they’re old people). Non-English language countries can and, as Japan does, hide a lot of this sort of thing away under the secrecy of an impenetrable language. We can’t do this of course in English speaking cultures. There’s no protests worthy of the name in Japan, people take their revenge on society by throwing themselves in front of a commuter train in the height of the rush hours to gum up the system for hours crippling a big chunk of, say, Tokyo’s attempts to get to work that day instead.

          As a cultural aside, in Japan, old people can say “I’ve had a lifetime of this ‘nails which stick up get hammered down’ malarkey so just sod off and do one and leave me alone”. The three frame funnies favourite Obatarian describes it (an Obatarian is a middle aged or retired “battle axe” character who takes no prisoners and she (it is usually a “she”) rides roughshod over prissy social norms that has tut-tut’ing from nice, well-behaved Japanese).

          1. Carolinian

            As of Monday my town will require masks in all groceries and pharmacies. Guess we will see how cooperative Southerners can be.

            1. Wukchumni

              I was somewhat amazed that 80% of the shoppers @ the WinCo supermarket in the CVBB here, had masks on yesterday.

              The number would’ve been closer to 33% a fortnight ago @ the same location…

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                i went to the post office, feed store, cig store and hardware store this morning. I was the only one that i saw in the whole town who wore a mask.
                many quizzical looks…only a few stink-eyes.
                for all my long study, i don’t understand humans.

            2. John Zelnicker

              June 27, 2020 at 10:40 am

              From my experience here in Mobile, the answer is going to be “not much at all”.

              Although, we don’t have any such mandate and our governor, Kay Ivey, has been mostly silent for the past 3 months (other than a shelter-in-place order on April 3), most of the people I see at the grocery and post office (I don’t go out much even in normal times, as I work from home), don’t wear masks, other than store workers. Even when they do, many of them don’t cover their noses, only the mouth, making the mask semi-effective at best.

              I believe we are in for a long, hard slog in the US. I’m starting to think there won’t be an obvious “second wave”, just a mostly consistent upward slope of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.

              With our incompetent government, federal and state, we are truly *family-blogged*.

              1. furies

                I just went to the local market for some items that can’t wait until my next monthly shopping.

                Newsome madated masks be worn inside buildings/businesses and yet NO ONE IS WEARING MASKS! Newsome has raised the bar now saying if counties don’t comply, they will lose a chunk of state funding.

                I am surrounded by idiots and there’s nothing I can do about it.

                1. Clive

                  Alas this is just the kind of attempt at public health policy by nagging that is unlikely to succeed, at least judging by Newsom’s attempt to Tweet the people of California into compliance.

                  Although I do confess to not having waded my way through the entirety of the 17.3k and 11.9k (at time of writing) replies, he doesn’t appear to have convinced any of the people he needs to convince (although he probably has reinforced the message to people who were already happy to follow it, but that isn’t what he needs to do here).

                  I came across these winsome Newsom Tweets from an academic I follow who’s work on historic cultural changes, sociology and societal influences is nothing short of profound. He really does write some incredibly thought-provoking and insightful works. But yet, he retweets Newsom’s “mask up” mantras in a hectoring way, bombards me with endless stuff about Elizabeth Warren’s marvelousness and how Biden is (cutting a long, tedious story short) a whole lot better than Trump because he’s not Trump.

                  That someone who is so knowledgeable, so skilled in understanding and so adept at explaining how thoughtforms are created, how views permeate cultures and how what we think we know about how perceptions are created is in many cases very poorly understood (and offers much better guides to understanding it than I’ve ever read elsewhere) to be so unaware, so missing his own involvement in and so, frankly, dopey, about his own positioning in our prevailing, actual culture is both astounding and also, for me troubling.

                  It’s like he — and Newsom — are blindsided somehow to the shared reality of our national psyches. Why is this, I wonder?

                  Could it be because the typical reasons which are reached for — that some people aren’t wearing masks because they don’t believe the arguments (and so are amenable to having more arguments put in their channels of communication) or need cajoling into doing it — are relatively easy to cope with and, so it is hoped, perhaps also easy to remedy?

                  But what if the real reason isn’t that the people who refuse to wear masks are not, in fact, saying anything about the wearing or not wearing of masks as a concept, but are, rather, making a statement to the people who are telling them to wear masks that they don’t like their attitudes towards them?

                  That is a much more painful — and difficult to resolve — notion to have to deal with. So no wonder there’s such a reluctance to look too deeply and to just keep hectoring and putting up reasons why people should wear masks. It’s useful displacement activity against the scary possibility that there’s something more profound going on here.

                  1. kareninca

                    Wow!! I am stunned by the responses to Newsom’s tweet. Where I am in Silicon Valley – the Palo Alto area – people do wear masks in Trader Joe’s and Safeway and Walgreens. They don’t wear them on the streets so much, but then that is not much of a hazard, since it is not hard to maintain distance.

                  2. ambrit

                    I have been having a small scale “back and forth” with a local PMC type, (hints dropped suggest an ex-military background and at present middle management position,) in the local mini-net about the utility of the enforcement of mask wearing and ‘social distancing.’
                    The basic argument I am receiving from this person is what I’ll characterize as ‘Ultra Liberterianism.’ Roughly, this person demands the absolute right to make the decisions as to how he interacts with society. His argument boils down to; any enforcement of social ‘rules’ is an imposition on one’s “natural rights.” When I counter with the argument that most “social rules” are to smooth the functioning of society and that without a functioning society, we descend into anarchy, his rejoinder is that such a course of events would be salutary to the removal of the “bloated and authoritarian parasites who run the society for their own benefit.”
                    In short, I sense that the Social Contract post the Great Depression is now fully broken. No amount of ‘managed consent’ is going to stem the tide of change. After us the deluge is coming true.

                    1. Clive

                      I’m of the view that it always takes two to break the social contract in this context.

                      Esoterically we are taught that we should welcome our most vehement foes as we would our wisest teachers because that, in some ways, is what they are.

                      But if that is the case, then school is definitely out and has been for the last generation. We’ve seemingly lost the ability to take views other than our own into account and work out an acceptable compromise. Far too much “my way or the highway”, threats, fearmongering to try to stack the deck in our favour and making everything a hill that someone has to die on.

                      I don’t think the internet is helping here. Way too many people getting to thinking that all they have to do is post something on Facebook and everyone else automatically falls at their feet in awe of their great idea — but then getting all uppity and thinking the police should be called because, shockingly, people won’t automatically do precisely what they think they should do, just because.

                      I’m hoping this is now in its endgame. If nothing else, COVID-19 is reminding us all that public health is always and everywhere a cooperative endeavour. Solutions, such as they were found, to HIV and drug awareness (for example) did not come from authoritarian agents like the religious right or preachy politicians issuing threats or warnings of eternal damnation. They came from people, in the real world, figuring it out over time as best they could.

                    2. ambrit

                      I’m getting a different “feel” from the response to the coronavirus crisis.
                      I detect a strong admixture of ‘magical thinking’ in arguments from people regarding the response to this Pandemic. Roughly, ‘social cohesion’ is being subsumed to ‘natural rights,’ and versions of “the Market fixes all problems.” This Market fixation has all the earmarks of a Cult. A belief without evidence.
                      I wish I could join you in your hope for cooperative solutions for our problems, but must note that the financialization of most formerly Public Goods has lead to a stranglehold on the actual experimentation being held by “interested parties.” I emphasize this because most scientific work today requires large groups of people with costly equipment and budgets. It is not your garage based “Gentleman Enthusiast” field any more.
                      We send good wishes for you and yours.
                      Be vigilant and stay safe.

                    3. Clive

                      You and family too, let’s hope things get a little easier for everyone, I’ve been waiting for the wheel to turn and a general improvement since, oh, about 2008. I can’t be wrong forever, can I?

                    4. LifelongLib

                      It’s not just libertarians though. Across the political spectrum, on issues from guns to abortion, the attitude is “This is something I have a right to, so any compromise is unacceptable”. And until we agree on what those rights are it will stay that way.

                    5. Watt4Bob

                      I think the “my way or the highway” thing Clive mentions is a corollary to the “Rugged individual” thing.

                      The problem as I see it is the fact that “my way or the highway”, and the “Rugged individual” thing boil down to “I don’t give a **Family** blog”.

                      And there are all flavors of “I don’t give a **Family** blog”, including some folks who are ostensibly of the ‘left’ persuasion.

                      It is a monumental achievement on the part of our masters to convince so many to care so little.

                    6. Duke of Prunes

                      Perhaps we’ve learned the “I don’t give a s—” attitude so well because our neoliberal society reinforces this almost every day.

                      If “society” doesn’t care, why should we?

                      Not the I agree or advocate for this position, but I can understand it.

                1. Lost in OR

                  Dang, Pat. This is a perfect example of why people don’t trust science. And beyond that, why we don’t trust ANYTHING.

                  I’m going back into my bubble. Without my mask!

              2. Carolinian

                Arguably these mask orders should have happened a couple of months ago when the Covid danger was newer and more vivid in the public’s mind. Indeed the logic of masking is that it–if universal–would allow normal economic activity to continue to some extent and therefore greatly lessen the disastrous effect of the lockdowns on the economy. I too get the impression that ordinary people are now bored and tired of the whole thing and ready to get back to “normal” regardless of the consequences. And for most of them the consequences indeed may not be that drastic.

                Anecdotally our SC death rate still seems to be down despite the increased positive cases and hospitalizations.

                1. John Zelnicker

                  June 27, 2020 at 1:17 pm

                  In Mobile County, the case rate is going up, but thankfully, the fatality rate is going down. At one point it was over 7% and now it’s just over 4%.

            3. Upstater

              In central NYS, mask use is near 100%. It is very unusual to see unmasked people in or around stores. We go out maybe once or twice a week. I was in the Adirondacks midweek and tourism is probably 50% of normal. But even there mask use was very high.

              My county (Onodaga) incorporates Syracuse and has a population of 450K has had about 2600 cases and 184 deaths.

              We got tested last week. Our son had a 102F fever and we immediately suspected COVID, but have been very careful. We were tested negative. Turned out he had Lyme disease.

          2. SomeGuyinAZ

            Just got back from my stateside grocery store run. Was stopped in my tracks and gobsmacked when I hopped out of my car with mask and gloves on and got lectured/yelled at by a mask less elderly couple headed into the store. I just hurried away with their parting salvo of they had “lived a long enough life and if God wanted them back he could take them” following me. Scary attitudes out there.

            Good luck and be safe out there folks…

      2. sam

        Loving Clive’s commentary as always, but I thought Eastbourne was God’s waiting room; I’ve also heard Bexhill so called. Clearly there’s competition for the title all along the south coast.

        1. rtah100

          Don’t forget Budleigh Salterton, whence retired colonels write to Points of View! 5.2% are over 85.

          I’m betting Clive’s mother-in-law lives in Christchurch, 5.6% over 85.

          Apparently West Somerset is in their mobility scooters’ rear view mirrors and will overtake them in the 2030’s to be the oldest population Britain. My guess is this is growth rate is because the north coast of Somerset is cheaper than the Atlantic coast of Devon and Dorset and East Exmoor is cheaper than Dartmoor and the New Forest.

          Handy online age distribution mapper here.

        2. Clive

          There’s also Frinton-on-Sea competing for the title! But Frinton is really going a class or two above its weight compared to the big boys of Eastbourne and Bournemouth.

          1. mary jensen

            Here in Suisse, the French refer to Geneva as “l’antichambre de la mort”…giggles.

            Concerning Beach Blanket Bournemouth: one can only dream of how James Gillray would have depicted all that seaside mayhem, er, fun in the sun. Gillray was the only satirist/caricaturist capable of doing justice to such an event.

            I have an image in my mind of Boris Johnson laughing out loud when he saw the photos of Bournemouth’s disgrace. Am I terribly wrong?

            James Gillray “Politeness”:

        3. Tim W

          Ha. Grew up in Eastbourne when it was ‘Geriatric Capital of England ‘ and went to school in Bexhill. Now old enough to be a resident in said Capital but can think of nothing worse, so to speak.

      3. Edward

        If Corbin were PM, would Britain be a Covid success story? Is the moral here that the government makes a huge difference? British citizens may be no different from citizens in countries that have successfully dealt with the epidemic. The differences may not reflect a difference in the people, but in the political system.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think that’s a complex and interesting question. Each countries response has been, for better or worse, the outcome of the interplay of the strengths and weaknesses of their institutional structures and individual leadership. For example, both Hong Kong and Germany both suffered from bad leadership from the top – HK’s government simply caved in to Beijings demands to pretend nothing was happening, and Berlin was incoherent at the start. But both performed well because the institutional level below (and the general public in the case of HK) acted quickly and efficiently without the need for leadership. Arguably the same applies to Japan, where Abe’s response was abject, but the Japanese people pretty much saved them (so far). In other countries, such as Greece, NZ and Ireland, strong and decisive leadership seems to have made a real difference. On the other side, you have countries like Sweden and the Netherlands which have excellent overall institutional systems, but suffered badly from a level of arrogance from their political and public health leaders. The Netherlands changed course, albeit crucially a few weeks late. The Swedes are still in denial.

          I think that politics doomed the US and UK. I think if Corbyn and Sanders were in charge of their respective countries they would have faced an immediate onslaught from the right wing media and establishment which would have sabotaged anything they attempted. Just imagine what the toxic UK media (in league with big business and sport) would have come out with had Corbyn gone for an early lockdown. This despite the fact that both countries ‘in theory’ still have good public health infrastructure – the UK in particular supposedly had one of the best in the world for dealing with infectious diseases.

          The blogger TAA from AAK at a very early stage predicted that the virus would expose the weak link in every country. He joked that he expected it to expose authoritarian rigidity in China, religious stupidity in South Korea, and a sclerotic bureaucracy in Japan. But he didn’t expect all three in the US. I think it’s fair to say that covid has been the perfect experiment in stress testing every country – it has successfully exposed the weak link in every single countries system of governance. Its been particularly cruel in exposing the crumbling structures of the UK and US.

          1. carl

            Thank you for writing, in a much more coherent way, what I’ve been thinking the last few weeks of this strange time.

          2. MLTPB

            1. Institutional structures
            2 individual leadership.

            You also mention the people of Japan saving their situation


            3. The people.

            Reading the comments here about orders being questioned or not followed, is it because Westerners are much different from the Japanese?

            Or more broadly, in the West, there is no Confucian legacy regarding social hierarchy, i.e. respecting those above you.

            I also wonder if, for S Korea and Taiwan, conscription and Confucian legacy combine to make orders easier to follow.

            1. JBird4049

              The American population used to be fairly trusting of the government when the federal, state, and local governments were all fairly competent; as the business conservatives successful, decades long efforts to dismantle and defund the various government aside from the police, military, and “intelligence,” with both parties and their supporters successfully demonizing the designated Satanic Opposition, and the news media has morphed into the infotainment industry, society has become less trusting as well as becoming unwise; it’s all done to create opportunities for pillaging.

            2. Edward

              “Or more broadly, in the West, there is no Confucian legacy regarding social hierarchy, i.e. respecting those above you.”

              Americans actually can be very authoritarian. Post 9-11 we have seen many of our rights go up in smoke. I think the situation is more complicated then being 100% one way or the other. Everyone has situations where they will or will not cooperate with authority. The question is what are those dividing lines and how are they formed. There is a certain social dynamic at work, based on propaganda and who has leverage against who.

              1. JBird4049

                Weird dynamic of a more authoritarian government and society with the people becoming less trusting of both the government and society in general as well. It is something that should be investigated.

                1. Edward

                  Viewers of FOX or MSNBC news, for example, seem to accept what they are told like robots. The viewers trust the organizations speaking to them. The rational for taking a position may invoke “freedom”, but there is something Orwellian about the entire business.

                  1. jr

                    Since my political awakening about twenty five years ago and the realization that I was living in a sort of Bananas!! virtual reality show as an American, I have been surprised again and again at how servile the brave and the free can be. Rarely in the Christian sense of serving ones fellow human, to be sure, for all the oxygen burned up in that regard. But the deference to wealth and power, the identification with wealth and power in the face of patent exploitation is sickening on occasion. As someone once said, probably here, we have such low expectations from ourselves and the world.

          3. The Rev Kev

            ‘stress testing every country’

            A perfect phrase that and just not for banks after all. Yes, the masks have come down and we have seen the true priorities and capabilities for the leadership of each country as well as their institutions & people. Agreed Corbyn would not have been allowed to succeed as PM as the institutions were against him. And Boris is stuffing up as the institutions cannot compensate for his abysmal leadership. It seems the countries that have the best results are those that have strong leadership, solid institutions and a cooperative people. You can get by with solid institutions and a cooperative people but if you have none of those, then you are seriously in the hurt locker.

          4. Edward

            ” I think if Corbyn and Sanders were in charge of their respective countries they would have faced an immediate onslaught from the right wing media and establishment ”

            I think it would have been similar to the response to Chavez in Venezuela; all out political war between the “old order” and the “new order”. In the U.S., Sanders would not have a chance on his own. Success would depend on the amount of support Sanders has from a broader movement, as happened in Venezuela. I don’t know how the Covid epidemic would play out. Would the “old order” be willing to burn down the country for the sake of its feud with the “new order”? Maybe. I guess I feel less pessimistic about the public’s capacity to mask and take other measures with the right encouragement from the government.

          5. fajensen

            The Swedes are still in denial.

            My experience from living in Sweden is that there is no practical way to stop the train-wreck flowing from a bad idea. The worse it goes, the more evidence emerges, the more they will just double down on whatever it was they got wrong from the beginning and work harder at it!

            Fitting “Reality” to “The Model” is a very Swedish trait and absolutely the weak link in Sweden.

          6. Redlife2017

            Yes, I agree with you PK.

            And I also feel confident that he would have done the earlier lockdown (probably a week earlier at least). There were several of us who managed to convince him to not have a fundraiser set for 13 March and it was at that point that many people started taking it very seriously in the party. A good friend of his has a daughter-in-law who is an epidemiologist who was freaked out about Covid-19 since late January. We would have nailed him to the ground and made him listen to the science.

            He would have paid a horrific price for the lockdown too. Everything that Sunak did they would have called him a Communist for doing. And the spotty mask wearing? It would have become even worse, as it would have become politicized like the US.

            So in the long-run, would it have meant more or less death? Not sure. Initially yes…

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I suppose we could discuss counterfactuals all day, but its interesting to speculate as to what Corbyn would have done.

              The pessimists in me says that the Off-Guardian style of leftist would have seen it all as an establishment plot and persuaded him to do little or nothing. I’m amazed how many people on the left have allowed themselves to be distracted by crazy conspiracy theories over it.

              Or alternatively he might have taken strong measures, and the establishment would have seen it as the opportunity to put in place a coup.

              The optimist in me says that he knows enough of history to have seen it as the perfect opportunity to cease complete control of the levers of government and put in place radical economic measures that would have been impossible, even with a big majority.

      4. Lambert Strether

        > But what is lacking pretty much everywhere is intellectual consistency and the authenticity that brings. I’ve been told so many contradictory things and downright falsehoods by so many people these past few years, I too tend, perhaps regrettably, to increasingly respond to whatever I’m being implored to do today with a resounding “yeah, sez you”.

        Deplorable though our proles are, they are not nearly as adept at doublethink as the Party, particularly the Inner Party. It looks like we had the same flip-flop on asymptomatic transmission that we already had on masks, and in each case we had public health officials acting like Philosopher Kings instead of scientists (i.e., the science was not shared, but filtered according to the policy results deemed desirable). So in addition to everything else, we have a PMC power surge to contend with.

        I don’t think the problems with the vaccine are going to be technical. The problems will be with compliance, and the people who will be demanding compliance don’t seem to believe that their credibility is a wasting asset.

        1. Redlife2017

          Well educated, thoughtful, pro-vaccine people in the US and UK that I know well are all like: “OK, boss, you go first” with regards to the Covid-19 vaccine. It’s being rushed and people KNOW that it is going to have a high possibility of being more deadly (or causing more morbidity) as the disease itself. We do not trust our institutions not to kill us at this point, especially if there is any money to be made.

    3. Maritimer

      I took a photo of Bournemouth from the Daily Mail and made it my desktop background to remind me I do not live in a s***hole country like England. What a way to generate Gratitude!

      It is about a mile photo shot from on high showing the “revellers” packed in, a**hole to bellybutton on the “beach”, more like a sardine can. Thus “a day at the beach” becomes “hell on Earth”.

      Get your Bournemouth photo today; be grateful.

      1. jr

        Why the heck would you want to put up with all that? Driving for hours, gridlock, then some intimate time with strangers on the beach. Then gridlock and more driving. How is that relaxing?

        1. JBird4049

          I would not call it relaxing, but maybe they just wanted a change, any change from their four walls?

          Reminds me of people driving from the California coastal areas to the sky resorts in the mountains. Usually on a three day holiday weekend or after half a day work/school on Friday.

          What with traffic and everyone leaving early “to beat the rush” and installing the snow chains you usually reach the place around dusk. Then have just enough time to get the keys, unpack, eat, and crash. Finally, skiing! Then on Sunday or Monday reversing the everything going home. Sometimes people would drink and have too much fun. They looked a bit green back home.

          One, maybe two days of snow bookended by a day of travel each. If you are young and energetic, why not?

          I have to say that those pictures of all those people stuffed on to the beach is really unappealing. At least being in the mountains there was some opportunity for both quiet and gorgeous views. People tend to stick with the ski slopes and restaurant or in the summer on the main trails. Step off the slope or trail a little bit and it’s surprisingly empty.

          I’m making myself miss it all. And I’m still stuck with my four walls. Fudge.

          1. jr

            Hey, believe me I’m feeling it too, but I wouldn’t make my immediate destination upon leaving the city for the first time in three months a traffic jam!

  4. Phillip Allen

    Jack Holmes writes, “The fact is that the Republican Party hasn’t been much interested in governing the country for some time.” (There Is No Plan. There Is No Second-Term Agenda.) Then goes on to list the various things the Reps have done, i.e., deregulation, tax cuts, repress immigrants, etc., completely misunderstanding that this is in fact governing. His parenthetic “(The Democrats often govern incompetently, and with too much regard for the preferences of powerful interests over those of working people, but they do seek to govern the country.)” is nothing but a protestation of faith. PMC liberalism is such a festive thing.

    1. The Historian

      I respectfully disagree with you. What the Republican Party and the Democratic Party too, have done, is to refrain from governing, causing a power vacuum which has been filled by those who are willing to grab power, i.e., our 1%.

      Trump is an incredibly weak President, incapable of governing, in spite of all his ‘tough talk’. Name one thing that he has accomplished:
      1. The Wall? How much of it has actually been built?
      2. Is anything better with North Korea for all the drama he caused? Have they reduced their nuclear arsenal?
      3. Was the economy really any better for all Trump’s claims, even before Covid-19? No, he just got out of the way while the 1% grabbed all they could.
      4. What about all that foofarah about China? Is our trade deficit any better with China for all the fury about tariffs? If you believe that, then look at this:
      5. What about how he has handled Covid-19? He turned what was a medical issue into a political issue so that we cannot even come together as a nation to fight this disease. In fact, I don’t think Trump even understands that sometimes we must cooperate as a country to fight off things like pandemics.
      6. What about how he handled the protests? He immediately went to ranting about using the military to stop the protests without even considering any other means – that to me sounds more like what a coward would do. In any event, the military pretty much made it clear that they weren’t behind their Commander in Chief, didn’t they?

      I could go on and on about all the times what Trump actually did never matched his ‘tough talk’, but I think this is enough. The only thing weaker and less capable of governing in this country than Trump is our Congress.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        He got the tax bill passed. That’s a big deal for Republicans.

        And he also managed to distribute a lot of money to normal people with the $1200 per person and the $600 unemployment supplement. That’s why spending rebounded in April and May. Even though the corporate handouts were much (embarrassingly) bigger, this is more than the Dems did in the financial crisis.

        I agree he’s done a lot of stupid things, but it is not even remotely correct to say he’s done nothing. He shoots his mouth off all the time, so there is a ginormous gap between his posturing and what actually happens.

        1. Wukchumni

          He’s gotten everything the GOP wanted, which begs the question, why do they still need him and/or tolerate his actions, if there isn’t anything left to pillage on the to-do list?

          1. JWP

            They can do smaller things the broader public may not notice with him spouting off with erroneous distractions. See the feds actions lately, EPA/pollution rollbacks, ICE policies. The Grover Norquist demand list is miles long.

        2. Aumua

          Wait, so Trump and/or Republicans were responsible for the meager provisions in the CARES act that went to the people? The impression I got was that they went along with that part of it, grudgingly, because they pretty much had to. I could be wrong.

          1. flora

            Yes. As it turns out the GOP wasn’t wrong about the importance of a speedy payout to people instead of the much much slower state unemployment agencies that were unprepared to ramp up to the size of the problem. Some people are still waiting for their unemployment benefits to arrive. Not saying the Dems were wrong in theory, or that the GOP plan was generous enough. But, yes, it was T and the GOP that put money directly and relatively quickly out to people.


            1. Aumua

              That article has a lot of smoke and mirrors going on. It’s kind of hard to tell who supported exactly what from reading it. Apparently at the time, the Republican’s plan included ONLY the one time payment, and with lower payments for the poorest as well. So were the Democrats protesting the payment itself, or the conditions around it? I still don’t know the answer even today. I have a feeling that Democrats like that ambiguity around it.

              1. JBird4049

                Many Democrats wanted a monthly $2000 immediately with a back payment covering say April. The several proposals wanted 6-12 months, or when the pandemic was over, which ever was longer. Mitch McConnell said no, so Nancy Pelosi did no send one of those bills over.

                From what I can see, the Democratic Representatives have spines of jello and the leadership is happy making pro forma protests like with the kente cloth showing them Good, Republicans Evil. (Rolls eyes.). The national leadership of both parties and President Trump are not truly serious about the economic meltdown, quarantine, or COVID-19. If they were, much more money would have been given directly to the households and they would not be talking about ending the extra unemployment or tax credits.

                However, both McConnell and Pelosi did get a lot of that “stimulus” to their patrons. Pelosi also got some useful photo ops and political spin while McConnell got more judges appointed and appeared all libertarian and tough.

                They are likely to be spending more money for not being on top of the crises. Paying everyone during lockdown would have made an effective quarantine much more likely. Now we have an angry population, a spreading epidemic, and a collapsed economy. All because they were not willing to pay a few thousand to the proles instead of giving much of the money to FIRE.

                1. polecat

                  Oh C’mon!! EVERYONE with a non-grifter’s brain know’s that the High Dems have spines made up of multiple-twisted strands of Benjamin’s….. that bend with the windfalls ..

                2. neo-realist

                  In defense of the Democrats, which is not to say that they are great, they don’t have the numbers in the Senate or a democratic president to get $2000 monthly to the unemployed.

        3. The Historian

          You are right of course, I did overlook the tax bill, perhaps because I was one of the people who fell through the cracks and had my taxes go up. And I did overlook the recent money for normal people at the beginning of this pandemic. I should never have used an absolute – as in Trump has done nothing. I’ll just say he has accomplished very little, given all of his blustering – and perhaps that is a good thing. If he was a strong President, capable of pushing through his own agenda, I’m not sure this country would have been able to survive him.

          1. kareninca

            He has appointed a lot of federal judges. That is going to have a powerful effect for a very long time.

          2. ambrit

            The Nation will ‘survive’ him. The question uppermost on all Right Thinking Citizens minds is who would have ‘sacrificed’ the fewest citizens in assuring that survival.

        4. Susan the other

          I agree completely. I have a hard time criticizing him because the alternative(s) are and have been so much worse.

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        Based on what you write, the hair-on-fire melodramatics of the #McResistance TM telling us that Trump is Hitler/Putin/ Mussolini/ Berlusconi/suffering from Alzheimer’s, notwithstanding, perhaps we lucked out by getting someone so egocentric, weak, easily distracted and non-ideological.

        While it might be a good time to consider that things might have been worse, I don’t see a Biden/Harris administration wholesomely filling the political void you refer to, and Trump 2.0 (whomever that turns out to be) will likely be far scarier than the current one.

  5. Amfortas the hippie

    we truly have gone off the deep end:

    Dick Frelling Cheney as a paragon of Civic Virtue.

    meanwhile, out here in the Texas Hill Country, the Sahara has arrived, as of about 4 pm yesterday afternoon. I tasted it first, then smelled it, then…by the time the sun was slanted enough…saw it…everywhere.
    Sadly, no spectacular sunset….and no spectacular sunrise, either.
    More like what I imaging Arrakis is like at dawn.
    We get the occasional dust storm, here…usually in august.
    They always inflict me with a sort of diffuse foreboding…similar to our occasional windstorms(60 mph, for a day or two= nervewracking)

    and on the covid front, the county website suddenly has 1 more case, and 8 pending…but it won’t be updated til monday…but the relevant Faceborg feeds indicate that more self-induced suffering is on the way.
    Wife issued an epic rant on selfishness, before again abandoning the platform in disgust.
    I use one of my old Duck Blind(fake) accounts from my 7 year virtual field study of the Right to keep abreast of the jungle drums.
    It’s ugly, indeed…and causes me to ruminate on the pre-dawn jointwalk about how maybe this internet thing was rolled out a bit prematurely, given our societal level of competence and maturity.
    especially the social media parts…dopamine-loops, etc….it’s a lot like watching folks descend into feralness during the Crack Epidemic, 30 years ago…same mechanism, same hyperselfish behavioural patterns.

    My eldest, now 18 and a HS Graduate, has decided to move into the Library/Trailerhouse, instead of waiting for the cabin we’ve started(as with everything out here, that will take time)…so he’s bought paint, and has been cleaning and re-arranging and hunting the snakes(!—there’s a reason we don’t live there any more, lol)
    All this in lieu of going off to college.
    I sympathise…for all this craziness to be happening at this time in his life is terrible.

    but he’s accepting my Hunker Down Order, if grudgingly.
    I’ve got the chore list written for the next 2 weeks, so hopefully, I can tire everyone out sufficiently to keep their mind off the privation.

    stay safe out there.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wouldn’t worry about Dick Cheney as people have not forgotten him. One guy added the tweet ‘If you’re not wearing a mask in public you’re a worse person than Dick Cheney’ while another I read earlier suggested that as Cheney once shot a guy in the face, if you are near old Dick, you should be wearing a mask made out of Kevlar.

      I was reading up on your Gov. Greg Abbott and he is quite the mixed bag but his order for restaurants to reduce to 50% occupancy sounds like what it is – a half-measure. That quick bit if research led me to another page, one of the Coronavirus in Texas which makes awful reading –

      Good thing that you decided to batten down the hatches when you did. Stay safe – and keep a sharp eye!

      1. shinola

        Mr. Cheney could make the world a better place – if he would just hurry up & die.

        The rehabilitation of the war criminals, Bush & his puppet master Cheney, is truly disgusting.

        1. JohnnySacks

          Maybe a two-fer, him and Kissinger? I should feel ashamed for saying that, but the mountain of skulls between them is too huge. We’re the monsters we claim to need to kill.

    2. polecat

      ‘This is a Fremen Public Service Announcement (over shigawire reel ..) Wear • Your • Stillsuit! er, Mask ..
      … also, beware of those DNC Blue-in-blueteam-eyed Harkonnans bearing Gifs of toxic, watery rags.’

      Take care out there, you & your’s Amfortas

    3. Eureka Springs

      The dust has arrived here in northwest Arkansas. Quite a thick haze. Can’t imagine how much actual African dirt must have been moved to do this.

      1. Mel

        It’s a warmer climate, on the average, but more particularly it’s a high-energy climate. I got used to the big Mixmaster in the sky having the power to take weather from Baffin Island and dump it in the Carolinas. But moving Africa back across the Atlantic has me gobsmacked.

        1. carl

          Thanks for this. As I suspected, San Antonio is right in the middle of the red zone. Reminds me of 15 years ago or so when the whole month of June was cloudy because of smoke from fires in Mexico.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            yup, when i crossed over our “mountain”, heading south into town…from where you can usually see around 30 miles…it looked downright apocalyptic…just a stifling brown haze. can’t see that “mountain” from town.
            but even with this visible—as opposed to the chinese hoaxvirus,lol—sign of unclean air, no one wore a mask but little old me.
            i can hardly see the sun, despite a lack of clouds.
            the silver lining, I suppose, is that this will suppress cyclogenesis in the eastern central Atlantic for a time….although i do note several “tropical waves” in a line across the southern reach of the Caribbean and on across Mexico, etc.
            Given the current chaos and disorder, a couple of Harvey’s or Ikes would suck right about now.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Re your last sentence. Wasn’t there mention that all this dust is putting a damper on the formation of any hurricanes in the gulf at the moment? The only silver lining in the dust cloud I suppose.

      2. Wukchumni

        In the book Ten Lost Years by Barry Broadfoot, an oral history of the Great Depression in Canada written in the early 70’s, one of the vignettes is from a Canadian merchant seaman, who encountered tendrils of the Dust Bowl in Liverpool, it went that far.

        My mom was living just south of Calgary and she remembers dust storms from the Dust Bowl, and one really bad event in particular where a dozen Indians passing by asked her father if they could shelter in his barn until it blew over, and he allowed them to do so.

      3. polecat

        Gotta be good for any plankton and other sealife within reach of all that nutrious particulate cheddar, no?
        So that’s positive news anyway …Remember, Gaia .. she works in mysterious ( pick a system, any system! Geomorphilogical, Biophysical, Meteorological .. Fractal even ..) ways .. She can ddfinately giveth, and she can quite capably taketh back as well.

        “Please Gaia! .. Pity the ‘Smart’ naked apes that finger electronic keyboards, for they know not what they DON’T!

      4. Cripes

        I would say more than this:

        Each year, on average, a dizzying 182 million tons of dust departs from the western Sahara, enough to fill 689,290 semitrucks.

    4. zagonostra

      >”in lieu of going to college”

      If you can impart on him the concepts and meaning of Eudaimonia, Arete and Phronesis he will be getting all he needs from a college degree, i.e., how to be a virtuous citizen (as discussed in Plato’s Meno).

      The rest, and it’s a big one, is how to be financial self-sufficient and independent, which, like many of us, he will figure out; and as an upside he will be doing it without entering into debt peonage.

    5. Hepativore

      It could not be any more ridiculous than how we now have Obama heaping praise on W. Bush for “respecting rule of law” like he did a few days ago. In many ways, I think that W. Bush was still worse than Trump. Irony truly is dead in our political sphere.

      Thankfully I live in a very rural place. I also live by myself. Well, not really. I have my cat. For me, the worst part about this whole pandemic is the fact that a lot of the places that I wanted to go this year to have been canceled like the Minnesota State Fair and the Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan. Sadly, I think this will go on until we get a vaccine but even then I am sure that speculators will price it out of the reach of the underinsured or uninsured like myself.

      Anyway, the summers here in Minnesota are very hot and humid and since I live in a forested area, I can pretend I am vacationing in a tropical jungle since I cannot go anywhere.

      1. anon

        “In many ways, I think that W. Bush was still worse than Trump. Irony truly is dead in our political sphere.”

        The irony is that Joe Biden supported most of the Bush era worst policies.

        1. John Wright

          A further irony is that those who were correct in assessing/exposing Bush’s actions are marginalized/exiled/jailed (Chris Hedges, Phil Donohue, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, multiple whistle-blowers).

          And those that supported Bush (insert almost any NYTimes/Washington Post columnist and 77? US Senators) likely still have their jobs and are welcomed on the talking head shows or think tanks.

          The Joe Biden campaign reminds me a bit of the Republican offering of conservative black Clarence Thomas to Supreme Court and daring the Democrats NOT to confirm him.

          Now the DNC is putting forth Biden, someone with a terrible record, and daring the public not to vote for him because Trump is so bad.

          One can wonder if the Democratic version of “dare the voter” will work in the DNC’s favor.

      2. The Rev Kev

        It’s not only the Minnesota State Fair that has been cancelled. I saw a chart of the US and it showed all the State Fairs cancelled and it seemed to be nearly all of the States. I suppose that will also include hundreds if not thousands of smaller festivals as well. At the moment, rural sounds like a very safe place to be.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          my county just cancelled all Roundup festivities..which is our local version of a county fair.
          local faceborg is alive with acrimony and pseudorevolutionary jibberjabber.
          I’m to town in a minute, for cigs, and hardware store…masked as usual.
          I expect the spittle storm to be confined to social media, otherwise, I might recommend wearing a tarp, as well(remember Tarp Man?)
          I’m also gearing up for an HEB Run manana…50 miles away…and during church hours to lessen my exposure to the Stupid…but it’s the only real, comprehensive grocery store that ain’t walmart.

          we just laid down the Law to the boys…including the six degrees of separation feature(sure, yer buddy has been staying home, but what about his sister? or that other buddy that came over to his house? where have they been?…and on and on)
          one is reminded of the horrible “used chewing gum” argument that featured in Texas Sex Ed(sic) classes until recently.
          perusing the comments sections for various Texas news sites…as well as the aforementioned local FB…and my Humanism is at a nadir.

          1. montanamaven

            The large rodeos in Montana have been cancelled, but our little town of 1600 people decided to have the annual rodeo last night and tonight. Our county does not have one case of Covid-19. So some people are really concerned that our very tranquil and healthy place will get a big dose of virus today. The 3 bars had dancing and bands but all outside. Today is the goofy little rodeo parade and I will cautiously take a drive to see how everybody is social distancing and if there will be any masks. The route has been increased so people will have room to keep apart. I noticed 10 hand washing stations near our main street. Normally nobody wears masks except to go to the grocery store.
            When we go to the bar for happy hour (which isn’t quite as happy as it was), we know everybody and strangers are seated way in the back. So we have our pods. We know who has crossed county lines and who has been to the dentist in Bozeman whose millennial have the biggest surge in the virus. The bar has very high ceilings and the pods are easily 10 feet apart. I will report back and see if we have cases next week from this bit of craziness. But then, the people here are pretty desperate to make a little bit of money from this rodeo. It is a poor county with an inordinate number of 1% tycoons that arrive here in private jets. Thank goodness they bring their own staff and chefs and don’t come to town. I am lucky to be on a cattle ranch and have a lot of wide open spaces that I only need to share with the cows, antelope, deer, one bull snake wrapped in the baler yesterday, a baby skunk, and a woodchuck or two.

            1. lordkoos

              My town has the 7th largest rodeo in the country, they pay top prize money and so attract the top cowboys/competitors. The rodeo coincides with our county fair. The board members of both events are extremely conservative and still seem to be in denial of the fact that they will have to cancel everything. However I think it is inevitable… and the sooner they cancel the more money they will save. We live near the fairgrounds and so will be happy to have a quiet and peaceful labor day weekend for once, but it will be a major hit for local businesses who traditionally depend on that weekend, and many are already struggling with the recent lockdowns. To add to that , most local university students have left town, further depressing the economy. If this continues, our formerly thriving little community will look like a ghost town by winter.

              1. Wukchumni

                Our town has a ‘Team Roping’ rodeo that sounds a bit kinky, and truth be said it’s pretty damned boring, with a calf sent our ahead of a couple of horseriders who attempt to lasso the hind legs and yoke the neck of the poor beastie, one of them usually failing. Teams of 2 go one after another for 4 days. It had been held continuously since 1950, and then last year for some reason was cancelled.

                It didn’t happen this year either, and i’d guess it’s a goner the way these legacy rodeos go, once you miss a couple of them, the impetus goes away, and besides who really rides horses all that much anymore?

      3. Smedley DeFunko

        I’m walking distance from the MN State Fair. Usually good for 3 trips and occasionally a music gig. Gonna miss it.

      1. newcatty

        Our northern AZ town home of the “oldest rodeo in the world, or country ” ( disputed by a Wyoming rodeo, I think) is still a go! Since we avoid the whole scene and our historic plaza and downtown with its famous Whiskey Row and saloon restaurant at 4th of July time, it is not relevant , except the usual awful traffic around town. Now, we will be in montanamaven’s spot. I will report on our outcome, too. One thing. Our city mayor and whoever else has “authority ” ( county?) decided that the parade, and outdoor dances are out. The rodeo audiences are limited to ticket holders and maybe are asked to maskup. Since we are talking AZ, I would bet the ranch that once inside the gate, they will be gone. Maybe if some wag suggested they could all be like the Lone Ranger, or an outlaw, they could wear them and be cowboy cool. Here, it is also a big draw for the the town’s coffers to fill up. Alas, don’t live on a ranch, but fortunate to live in a small hillside chalet with trees and some space between neighbor’s. A nice deck with views of mountains, one a sacred one, help keep us from going cabin crazy. Spouse takes long walks in the neighborhood, too. We have had lots of wildlife to share our space, too. Bobcats, deer( before new neighbor moved in with dog), javelina ( same), bullsnake and squirrels in garage( if door open), Chip and Dale, spiders and lots of bees in our lavender now in bloom. And the birds! My favorites: ravens, hawks, doves and hummingbirds. Also, constant finches at the feeder and a few less common. It is uplifting for the spirit to be musing on what is still right with the world. Last , but first, our two cats. They keep an eye on us and the critters through the windows.

    6. pnewb

      “…maybe this internet thing was rolled out a bit prematurely, given our societal level of competence and maturity.”


    7. JacobiteInTraining

      “…My eldest, now 18 and a HS Graduate, has decided to move into the Library/Trailerhouse, instead of waiting for the cabin we’ve started(as with everything out here, that will take time)…so he’s bought paint, and has been cleaning and re-arranging and hunting the snakes(!—there’s a reason we don’t live there any more, lol) All this in lieu of going off to college. I sympathise…for all this craziness to be happening at this time in his life is terrible…”

      Man, exactly my thoughts. ‘My’ 18-year-old just got word that his last Physics credit (which *was* on a knife edge of ‘incomplete’) was ruled by the Superintendent in his favor, and thus he will officially graduate from the HS as planned. I think there is a drive-thru graduation at some point for diplomas.

      His previously-hoped-for initial year of either Community College – or possibly Trade School for auto mechanics, diesel engines, and/or some form of electrical car or Electrician type training is…well, on hold I guess. Dunno when or how that stuff is going to be opening up…or not.

      And to boot – because of this crazy 2020 timeline blocking past plans….he has talked about just getting a job in the town below my Mountain Compound and trying his hand at carpentry and masonry and stuff to build his own cabin across the forest from mine. No snakes there, though, just deer mice and angry squirrels.

      Heh….maybe we should look into an ’18-year-olds-Freshly-Screwed-By-Events Exchange Program’ between Texas and the Olympic Peninsula for ’em. I’ll provide smoked salmon and wet-weather cabin construction tips, you provide some beef jerky and dry-weather cabin construction tips, and maybe they’ll have some semblance of progress and good times in there some-wheres….

      Good luck man! Theres got to be something worthwhile about middle aged crusty dudes, once thought to be somewhat past their sell-by date, doing their damndest to make lemonade out of the lemons that they see their youngsters having to deal with!! :)

      1. newcatty

        Best to your 18 year olds. Echoing our feelings for our 17 year old granddaughter. When her high school in CA closed, as expected, her mom and I both lamented about how the timing of the pandemic was high school interuptis. She is a good academic student and is a genuine student athlete. What is important, imnsho, she loves to play. Been looking to play in college with a scholarship. Was starting to be looked at by coaches. Also, just a neat young woman. Finished junior year online. Now, works at a local store and hangs out with close circle of friends. Well, she is in same boat as her teammates…so there is that to consider. Her CA school still hasn’t come up with announced final plans for reopening, except for a projected date in August. She and girlfriends had a “pretend prom dress-up day”. No boys allowed, lol. We got pictures. She mostly, with her group, just hangs out at beach. She has use of a car, via dad; keeps up grades and so break on her part of insurance. I worry some about the virus, more so for her mom and older sister… Mom is good about wearing mask…all do as required at work. Try to be philosophical, sometimes metaphysical, about the girls being a teenager and 20 year old now. Their mom tells us that they seem to be basicly taking it in stride. Remember being in midst of Viet Nam, the first Earth Day awakening, civil rights, women’s rights and the amazing first daze of college after escaping a smothering small town( my perspective, of course). What dreams may come?

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i’ve managed to instill in him a pretty hard core work ethic…he ain’t afraid of it, at all.
        (still working on Youngest(14),lol—on mindfulness and situational awareness, mostly)
        so he’s been working all summer(and last 3 summers), and working for me on the weekends.
        and coaches the little guys during the school year.
        as for living in my Library…I’ve long kept the practice of walking by the router or modem or whatnot and turning it off…blaming our isolation and the company…as a method of getting both of them off their devices. Cousin hacked the Library into our router/modem/intertube pipe(with my help with cracker rigging, and 150 feet of ethernet cable, strung through the trees along the speaker wires,lol)…so it will be even easier to have an “outage”…so that, out of boredom, he might notice those thousands of books.
        my one failing is that neither of my boys likes to read the way I do.
        I blame the ubiquity and convenience of iphones, etc.
        …and i also cut them slack, and understand that I am pretty anomalous in this regard.

        1. ambrit

          Re to reading; did either of your parents read to you when you were tiny? My Dad read to me every night from when I was three up until seven or so. Then I took over the task. I had been ‘programmed’ by then. We tried to do this to our own kids later. In a somewhat subversive manner, I began to send our latest granddaughter old hard cover Nancy Drew books and later on, light ‘classics’ like ‘Little Women’ and ‘Wind in the Willows,’ etc. Sundi drew the line at me sending a twelve year old girl a copy of “Fear and Loathing” by Hunter S Thompson. (Philistine!) So, I guess that “Last Exit to Brooklyn” is out. Perhaps “The Sheltering Sky.”

          1. newcatty

            Dear Ambrit…yes .Both for mom and granddaughters. Glad to have it mentioned for all of us.

            1. ambrit

              Felicitations newcatty;
              I am perhaps in the terminal generation of the Patriarchal ethos in the West.
              My Mother in Law and her sisters were hopefully the last of the Downtrodden Femmes. They endured ‘arranged marriages,’ or, at the least suffered their parents having veto powers over their nuptial prospects.
              The effects of the social revolution bought about by the birth control pill are still working themselves out. It created a profound change in the relationship of women to their own fertility.
              Paul Bowles’ book is a revelation.
              Be strong. Stay safe.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            my earliest memory is from when i was almost 3, and i could already read…so maybe my folks didn’t feel the need,lol…I don’t remember either of them reading to me.
            I read to both my boys, beginning in the womb:Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, Leaves of Grass, etc.
            I was also against getting a TV…and against getting satellite…or I-Phones,lol…but was overruled by wife, boys and the overarching culture.
            Eldest sometimes reads…Youngest, not near as much.
            I leave books on their beds, and surreptitiously monitor the location of the provided bookmarks.
            Eldest: Herodatus, Tacitus, Julius Caesar / Youngest: Jack London, Hemmingway,Steinbeck.

            1. Robert Gray

              > I was also against getting a TV…and against getting satellite…or I-Phones,
              > lol…but was overruled by wife, boys and the overarching culture.

              A friend of my parents had a great story. He was an English teacher at a rural high school. He resisted getting a television for as long as he could but somewhere around 1965 he was finally overwhelmed by his wife and three kids and gave in. He bought a second-hand set, brought it home and set it up. That very night they had a huge thunderstorm, complete with lightning strikes and power surges. One of the pulses came into his house … and fried the television.

              ‘See!’ he told his family. ‘See! We were not meant to have one of these things!’

      3. Lambert Strether

        > Trade School

        Do it. My view is that the trades will have far more value during What Is To Come than symbol manipulation. Though I would suggest they look into plumbing or, more broadly, water.

    8. John Wright

      Didn’t Dick Cheney get a heart transplant?

      That should imply that he is on immune suppressant drugs and any infection should be guarded against.

      It is as if Dick is applying his 1% doctrine, in which a 1% chance of some terrorist action must be treated as a certainty, to his health care.

      He may have been wearing a mask before Covid-19 but it wasn’t newsworthy

        1. polecat

          Combining ‘Dick Cheney’.. and ‘heart’… just doesn’t do it for me. I have a hard time comprehending that particular binary arrangement.

          I can think of many others that fit that bill though.

    9. Daryl

      It would be pretty wild to be starting your adult life at this time.

      On the other hand, I had only just started to make a few bucks when 2008 hit, and for better or worse it has informed every decision I made since then. Learned it was unwise to get tangled up with bankers and financiers, and I didn’t have to do it first hand.

      The dust clouds are here too. I was out and about yesterday and it was really surprisingly noticeable. The (unmasked!) management lady complained to me about it. Figure the masks would be helpful for that as well, but now it’s a point of pride not to wear one.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “California city bans predictive policing in U.S. first”

    Historically, police have needed probable cause to stop someone, hold them, search them and do the full nine yards. And what is probable case?

    “Probable Cause”
    noun North American•Law

    Reasonable grounds to believe that a particular person has committed a crime, especially to justify making a search or preferring a charge.
    “warrants allow police to detain people, but not handcuff and search them without probable cause”

    And then Silicon Valley said ‘Wait! Wait! We have an algorithm that can get around that!”

    1. Mel

      Silicon Valley’s algorithm can supply a precise number for the probability. That’s its charm. Maybe accurate, maybe not, but great for the purposes of rationalized rule.

      A line from Pogo that hasn’t been kicked around much yet:
      “He allus has a ready answer.”
      “Wrong, but ready.”

      1. barefoot charley

        A Silicon Valley rule of thumb has become as good as law: when you do illegal things using a computer, it’s legal. Because, you know, it’s unprecedented and stuff.

      2. Dirk77

        There are two issues here: is this number precise, and even if it were is this proper? When people go to jail, it is assumed when they leave that they have paid for their crimes. They are tabula rasa again. Past data then should not be applied to individuals or subgroups in a society. That is the limit of policing. If you aren’t going to recognize that limit, then any tool such as PredPol that discovers patterns in future behavior based on race or whatnot is perfectly valid – because past data lead them to it. They can tweak their algorithms to remove explicit categorization by race. But if their algorithms are any good, that explicit categorization will just be replaced by qualities that do essentially the same thing.

        1. Chris

          …is this number precise?

          I think you mean ‘is this number accurate’.

          Think archery. Precision is having all your arrows close together; accuracy is having them evenly spread around the bullseye.

          Agree with the rest, though. The algorithms can give the same answer every time, and still be wildly wrong.

    2. Dirk77

      Rev Kev, I missed your mention of probable cause in my comment above. A common logical fallacy is to apply a statistical property of a group to an individual or subgroup of that group when that property has not been shown to be universal. Since one can’t ever predict with certainty the actions of an individual, predictive policing suffers from this fallacy. This might be fine, except that the 4th amendment gives citizens rights to be secure in their persons. In other words, I agree with your implicit statement that predictive policing is wrong no matter how much it reduces the amount of crime.

  7. timbers

    Supreme Court Rejects Call for Universal Vote-by-Mail in Texas Bloomberg………..So the Supremes didn’t feel a need to use the ole’ “No Standing” thingy in this instance. But with the growing collection of jaw droppingly bad Supreme rulings, it’s tempting to wonder what is even the point of doing elections? Various Supreme rulings have told us in effect that elections can be fraudulated, ignored, and public officials can be bought & bribed and it’s all legal and constitutional to do such. Couldn’t the state’s Secretary of State in consultation with each state party official leader hold the election in his/her office, decide who can vote and what the count is and who wins and save us a lot of time, money, and pretense? Sounds 100% legal and constitutional to me.

    1. hunkerdown

      The point of doing elections is to create excitement around being ruled by oligarchs, and to create a false sense of responsibility for the acts of those we can’t fire.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “COVID-19 killed the era of ‘big’ flying”

    I could very easily see the end of massive aircraft hauling hundreds of tourists all over the world and being replaced with smaller aircraft that are more flexible and probably easier for airports to deal with. But there is another factor not mentioned. With all this talk of air-bridges and coloured zones of where is safe and where is not like the UK is adopting, it may be that a lot more people will decide to fly not overseas but inside their own country instead. At least flying within your own country the risks are known and if things go wrong, you are still basically home and not stranded overseas. Your money stays within your country and language is not a problem (usually).

    1. chuck roast

      Yesterday afternoon the skies over Block Island Sound were pretty blue, blue. No international, high flying contrails from euroland. Thursday, the skies looked like the splashings of a lousey gouache painter on a blue canvas. I don’t know what to make of it.
      International flights seem to be mostly Monday thru Friday, so skies should be back to being a nice April, blue-blue today. Of course my sky palette is entirely anecdotal. If anybody has seen data on numbers of international flights please post.

      1. Gc54

        Winds at flight altitudes shift the vectors. Was quite noticeable near Raleigh NC as transatlantic flights set forth from Charlotte day to day. Flightradar24 is a good phone app for tracking non military activity including 1% Gulfstreams. Heavensabove for exoatmospheric sojourns.

        1. rowlf

          I like playing with the filters on Flightradar24 on my computer and see high altitude balloons and U-2s flying around. A very fun program. Sometimes I use it for work and sometimes just to look for weird stuff.

    2. Carla

      It’s my hunch the 1 percent will all use private jet travel (many of them were eschewing public carriage well before covid-19 hit — and surely most of the others have caught up since). The 99 percent will just drive around, bike or walk. I really think international travel could be over — except for the private jet market.

      Very grateful I traveled a lot for pleasure, when I could. I guess we should renew our passports in case we’re ever allowed to drive up to Canada again.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Long distance travel certainly isn’t over, given the eagerness of many people to book their summer break – in Europe at least. Certainly in northern European countries, the notion that an annual sunshine holiday with cheap wine is a fundamental human right is a hard notion to shake. But I think that as with so many things we’ll see quite a split in society between the ‘you must be joking’ types and the ‘hey, it’s only a bad flu’ people.

        People are certainly nervous about it, but I don’t think the desire to travel has gone. I think we’ll see a real split in this in societies. Ironically, I think its the better off and educated classes who will be looking at staycations and camping holidays locally, while working class people grit their teeth and go for their big annual break – at least thats the impression I get from casual conversations and anecdote.

        There is also the bigger picture of long haul flights. I’m surprised the amount of people I know who are still planning long haul trips, albeit postponed to 2021. But I do think that most will avoid big hubs and go for direct flights if at all possible. Certainly, not many people will be doing a Thai or Bali winter break this year.

        The big question though is if the drop in demand can be managed by the airline industry, or whether it is so badly damaged that multiple routes will simply be abandoned as uneconomic.

      2. allan

        “the 1 percent will all use private jet travel”

        Just a reminder that “the 1 percent”, while useful for some discussions, can be way off for others.

        The cutoff for the top 1% in household income in 2019 was $475,000. For individuals, $329,000.
        The cost to charter a small private jet is about $4,000/hour.
        So, round trip Chicago to San Francisco for Mom, Dad, Garth, Madison and the dogs
        will set them back roughly 4x4x2=$32,000.
        Someone merely at the 1% threshold is not going to spend 8-10% of their annual pretax income on that.
        But someone in the .01% (household income of roughly $7,000,000 or more) would.

        Income information about the .1%, .01% and .001% is much harder to find in conventional news
        outlets than data about the top 20% (the “Dream Hoarders” in the book of that name), 10% and 1%.
        For some strange reason.

        More about the .01%: Never mind the 1 percent: Let’s talk about the 0.01 percent

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You don’t understand how this works. Private jet users overwhelmingly do not pay for the out of personal income.

          The 1% is the CEO and executive classes, and the very top professionals (top consultants and law firm partners) that serve them. CEOs and executives often do fly private class on the company dime.

          Everyone in PE flies private. That is not just the partners at bigger firms (0.1%), but also any professional and also often portfolio company execs. The latter two would often be 1% rather than 0.1%.

          And the PE group makes lots of personal flights on investors’ dime. You can see it by tracking jet tail numbers around the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and the Christmas-New Year period.

        2. Bugs Bunny

          Upper Middle Class (10%) are flying private unless the PA finds a JetBlue flight half full. They either get a comp from the boss or a client or split the fare with the other passengers. This, btw, is how Branson started Virgin. Splitting a fare for a private plane with fellow middle class Brits when stranded in the Caribbean. Light bulb went off.

        3. Carla

          In my extended family, there’s a retired CEO. He regularly flies his children and grandchildren around the country by private jet. Says it costs him less in the end than commercial airfare. Maybe he pays a subscription for the privilege — kinda like belonging to a country club, where you pay your annual dues, and then you also pay when you take your family there for dinner.

          All I know is, if I ever travel again, it’s likely to be in my car.

        4. c_heale

          Imo if there’s a depression (something which looks probable at the moment) a lot of the 1% won’t be rich anymore.

          1. Wukchumni

            We went from around 50 mph a century ago, to maybe a smidge faster today, and I agree with you, air travel will be greatly lessened as you can’t make money on a half full plane, and governments will not be so quick bailing them out, as opposed to post 9/11 when the money flowed like water from an Artesian well putting out 200 gallons per minute.

    3. Glen

      Air travel will certainly change, and I’m not sure where it will end up. Airlines relied on business travelers filling expensive seats which gave them the ability to offer and fill the cheap seats. Business travel is effectively gone for the duration of CV, and potentially gone forever, as companies find that they can get by without it. I suspect we may look back on the ten years before CV as the peak “travel everywhere relatively cheap” peak since we had inexpensive air travel aligned with AirBnB. My daughter certainly used that to her advantage, She did more traveling to Europe, Japan, and all points in between, way more travel than I have ever done.

      Personally, I never felt comfortable traveling by air after the TSA was dropped into the airports to keep us safe.

    4. Bugs Bunny

      I was forced to come back to France from New Delhi by the fear that I’d be caught there in a lockdown (though in retrospect…). I want to go back asap. I love Air India’s direct Paris-Delhi Dreamliners. The high pressure cabin and level of oxygen make it a very pleasant flight. I have no problem with jetlag. If anyone here knows how to move to India, I’m curious. The information is scant on the web and the Indian government information is vague. I understand the best way is to form a holding company for your house. Land prices are out of sight in the South, where I want to retire.

  9. Pelham

    Re court ruling barring use of defense funds to defend border: From 30,000 feet, the ruling is absurd, isn’t it?

    1. ewmayer

      It makes perfects sense once you account for the fact that the DoD is in fact a deliberately-anodyne-misbranded Department of War. The best defense is a good offense, right?

  10. jef

    Climate Change

    “Government climate advisers running scared of change, says leading scientist”

    “He said: “Many senior academics, senior policymakers, basically the great and good of the climate world have decided that it is unhelpful to rock the status quo boat and therefore choose to work within that political paradigm – they’ll push it as hard as they think it can go, but they repeatedly step back from questioning the paradigm itself.””

    Again this is the message that Planet Of The Humans makes and all the critique boils down to; “give it time, wait and see, capitalism will kick in any minute now and save the world”.

  11. polecat

    Thanks to photographer ChetG, and to Yves, for posting such a splendid Antidote!

    I recently checked on a previously empty hive, to which I had added two full bar frames of brood-comb .. complete with house bees & a partially constructed queen cell on one of the combs. Had noticed recent activity at the entrance, fanner/ventilators .. as well as a few foragers bearing pollen (always a good sign) returning home. Well low and behold .. when I pulled up the second comb, there, moving around quite vigorously .. like she owned the place, was a beautiful queen – abdomen in full distension .. doing her best royal reproductive duty!
    I think that the original colony (can I still use that word – ‘colony’?? .. Will beekeepers be maligned with all the rest, for not bending the knee in deference to the God of IdPol!) is going to cast off a swarm soon ..the signs are there. They will lead, I will follow .. with a capture box, whispering sweet somethings of a new and comfortable home.

  12. Kurtismayfield

    Caitlin Johnstone article:

    Sinclair said it best 86 years ago:

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

    Which is the truth that rules the roost in the media. You were selected for jobs and promotions because of your ability to toe the company line. Assange us going to die in prison not because of what he did, but because he embarrassed the Empire.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “After deadly border clash, India faces uncomfortable truths about its reliance on China”

    If China was half-smart, what they should be doing is getting together cargo-planes of medical supplies and teams of doctors with field hospitals to send to India as their medical system collapses under the weight of numbers of sick people. Call it the carrot part of the carrot-and-stick approach. And we all know that plenty of sticks were used by the Chinese against Indians in those high passes already.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I suspect such help would not be welcome. For all its faults, the Indian medical system is vastly better than China’s – Pre-Covid many Chinese used Indian hospitals for non-emergency care (much cheaper than China, better trained doctors, and fewer fake drugs). India also has a huge domestic pharm industry. I doubt they are short of anything but money and the willingness to spend it on the poor.

      1. Olga

        Yes, such aid would not be welcomed (or, allowed), since it’d confirm India’s shortcomings in this area. Having experienced India’s hospitals, I’d disagree about the “vastly better” bit. What you’re referring to are boutique hospitals, catering to foreigners, and certainly not accessible to your regular Indian. But yes, drugs in India are very cheap.
        One could reverse RK’s suggestion to say that if India were less … whatever (substitute proud, opportunistic, obstructionist, short-sighted, etc.), it’d have long ago made a pact with China for mutual cooperation. India could hugely benefit from the Chinese infrastructure investment, but the elites are too insecure to allow this. Instead, it is easier to subject the country to neoliberal policies/actors.

        1. MLTPB

          China seems to invest in many places.

          Perhaps more investment opportunities for Beijing in the future in Siberia or closer to the Arctic, notwithstanding the current wildfires.

  14. Burns

    The article on the end of “big flying”, while focused on the scaling back of production models of large capacity airliners, reminds me of another covid casualty: foreign language study.

    My theory is in a deglobalizing world there will be little reason for students to invest significant amounts of time studying a foreign language. There simply won’t be enough travel and opportunity to master the particular subject.

    America is already woefully deficient at foreign language proficiency, but I’m guessing other countries may follow suit. This will contribute to increasing societal instability as speakers of different languages become “otherized.” Reference the ignorant attitude of many Americans towards speaking Spanish in public. It will be a boon for the far right.

  15. Stephanie

    So, that macque is not only not having any stringy bits on her banana, she’s not having them on her baby, OR her tree stump. That baby’s going to spend every Saturday of it’s childhood vacuuming under the couch cushions before it’s allowed to go play.

    1. savebyirony

      “They don’t like the stringy bits….” My “people”! I wonder if they, by a history of their genes, somehow miss the way bananas use to taste as much ad I do?

      1. Massinissa

        “miss the way bananas used to taste” You talking about the Gros Michel from half a century ago, or are you referring to some change in the modern Cavendish banana? I don’t remember Cavendish bananas tasting any different.

        1. savebyirony

          The bananas of my youth. Vintage bananas of the 70’s, as I recall, tasted much better than today’s.

    2. fresno dan

      June 27, 2020 at 10:42 am
      I noticed the tree stump too. That is one OCD monkey.
      AND, if there is an afterlife, and my mother can look down on earthly videos, than if a monkey takes the stringy bits off a banana, that proves, PROVES, that is the right way to eat a banana…

  16. Wukchumni

    Funny, the mayor of St Louis reading off names and addresses of those unhappy with the coppers, did she not think about the repercussions?

    I mentioned i’d read Ernie Pyle’s book Brave Men and one thing he does constantly in the book is not only give names of GI’s he meets, but also their town and street addresses where they lived. Never seen that done heretofore.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Absolutely contemptible behavior from the mayor of St. Louis. Reading out the home *addresses* of citizens exercising their First Amendment rights? If even one of them is targeted by the police, the mayor will bear responsibility. Her actions amount to nothing less than an incitement to violence.

      Lyda Krewson’s apology is phony, and the harm she did to those citizens and to the rule of law cannot be fixed. I hope demonstrators give her some of her own medicine, show up at her house every night and give her no peace; she deserves to be hounded out of office.

      Fortunately, the bonus antidote featured a more advanced life form than Krewson.

      1. JBird4049

        I do believe that she supports the police over the citizens and her constituents at least.

      2. The Rev Kev

        This was a Democrat that did this and not a Republican. Did she think that the police would not take note of those names? Was this an attempt to make people not send her any more complaints with their names and addresses? Maybe her pro-police stance comes from the fact that her first husband was murdered in front of their house in an attempted carjacking. She has a record of being pro-police and security for some time now.

        1. JBird4049

          Did she think that the police would not take note of those names?

          Yes? A fair number of protesters and cellphone/camera users over the decades have had massive police “interest” with them suddenly found taken up crime for some inexplicable reason or in cases like the Ferguson protesters being found dead in unusual situations.

          It is not that common. It is common enough to be worrisome.

  17. chris wardell

    I consider this a legit and important question with all the new infections to ask:
    What does it mean to test positive for covid? I know the potential illness/damage to ones body it can do but what about disclosure? Do you tell your friends/neighbors/co-workers/ employer? And how will they treat you? If you are covid positive are you the new pariah (e.g. HIV/HepC persons)?

    Spouse’s partner whose family most likely had this, he won’t test because he fears it will be used against him, both for pre existing condition and work requirements.

    1. CanChemist

      I don’t think there is a universal answer because a lot of this will depend on your country, your health insurance system, and the privacy laws around testing.

      In terms of the US, I just posted a link below that raises some scary questions about removing Obamacare and thus protections on preexisting conditions such as this.

      I will imagine though that enough people will still be affected that it won’t be politically desirable or feasible to turn them into a discriminated class… eventually. The battle to get there may be a difficult one.

      Unlike HIV/Hep/etc however, once the disease has run it’s course (which can be longer than people think) there is no evidence I’m aware of, of it still being transmissible.

      1. chris wardell

        Unlike HIV/Hep/etc however, once the disease has run it’s course (which can be longer than people think) there is no evidence I’m aware of, of it still being transmissible.

        Dont know that yet… way to early to declare that as a declarative statement

  18. anon in so cal

    Social media meltdown since yesterday: Traitor Trump’s Dec 2019 announced withdrawal of 4,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan is slated to occur. So, the intel community is doubling down on its latest allegation that Russia paid jihadis to have U.S. troops killed. Projection. Almost as if Russia were copying the CIA’s Operation Timber Sycamore or Brzezinski’s Operation Cyclone.

    CIA Director Mike Morell to Charlie Rose:

    “”I ran the CIA now I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton and I want Hillary to kill lots of Russians and Iranians in Syria””

    1. Glen

      So I suppose this is pretty obvious, but if we were not in that country, then there would be no Americans to kill. Just sayn’.

      Could it be any more obvious that spending trillions on the military and being over in the Middle East does NOTHING to make Americans safer at this point? I would feel much safer with Medicare For All, and spending trillions on a vaccine, and rebuilding the industries we need to make CV testing and vaccines in America.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      I’ve saw this boil over among the hard Dems / never Trumpers. It’s a testament to the ravages of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Aren’t any of these “peace lovers” aware of the points made above (we did it too, it wouldn’t happen if we weren’t there – something Trump claims to be working on, tit-for-tat could easily end in thermonuclear war).

      Nope it’s all self-congradulatory “burns” about Trump being Putin’s b—h.

  19. sam

    Re Master Bedroom/Master Bath: Did anyone else think this was a link to the Onion? But it’s good to know our thought leaders are focused on the big issues.

    1. hunkerdown

      Every PMC is entitled to their own manor house. They have just chosen to brand it differently.

    2. Keith

      Sadly no, we have become idiot nation. I am hoping it all gets burned down so we can start anew.

    3. Wukchumni

      “Slave Quarters” would be apt on a listing in L.A. for a tired 1964 3/2 SFH in an iffy area of the city a mile from gangbanger territory that set you back $4427 a month for the next 30 years.

    4. newcatty

      Though an obvious thought that came to mind: master and slave connotation. Then I thought about the old saying: A man’s house is his castle. Much has changed in the relationships between men and women. Also, with children being seen as possessions of their parents. But, some people in this country really have not progressed or evolved to equality and respect for others in their own households. Master bedroom in the castle. I am old enough to see the connotation of that for the “man” of the house. Whereas we cuddled and laughed with our kid on a weekend morning. Most of our Parent’s bedroom was off-limits. This was fine with us. This, of course, was if the castle actually had more than one bedroom. After WW11…suburbia sprouted in many cities and smaller towns had new homes built or “remodeled”. The vets, for instance, could buy a house with those GI loans. In some cases just reinforced the castle mentality. Now, a home in the current time is a refuge, or tragically as reported , a trap for an uptick in domestic abuse or a virus hot spot. This, with the fact that evictions for many renters are said to be on the rise, soon. Can’t imagine more homeless “folks”.

    5. MLTPB

      Perhaps a new name for the District of Columbia (D.C.) now, or when it becomes a state.

      The word, Columbia, came from Columbus, I think.

        1. hunkerdown

          Commonwealth, forsooth. They wouldn’t know common wealth if they were dragged off of it by the commoners.

    6. The Rev Kev

      I hate this sort of stuff. It’s like when they got rid of segregated bathrooms and the like in the old South and then said right, the racism is all gone now. It is just feel-good window dressing that does not go to the heart of the matter. Just today the Simpsons put a ban on white actors voicing non-white characters. It means nothing. Does this mean that at Legoland, they will have to rename one of their jobs because currently is is called LEGO Master Model Builder? When I was a kid, male kids could bear the title of Master. Good thing that went away. Who will tell Stevie Wonder that he will have to re-title his song “Master Blaster”? My late father was a Master Builder. Should I not tell people that? The whole thing is just woke idiocy.

      1. newcatty

        Kev, like any word, master has to be taken in context. Of course, a master builder is quite different from a master of slaves or “servants”. Words are symbols of their references. Just like whatever “woke idiocy” means… FWIW…I like to think of myself as a master of continuing search for peace.

        1. The Rev Kev

          To tell you the truth, that word always has jarred me. I do a fair bit of research about earlier times and you see it time again coming up in all sorts of places. So in the early 19th century, if you were an apprentice, the guy that you worked for you would call Master.

          I guess that this concept was taken from the bible but there is a whole lot of relational baggage that comes with that word which I dislike. Too much forelock-tugging implied. You get the same concept in the far east and at least one modern airliner crashed because the novice pilot refused to call out the ‘master’ pilot’s mistakes as he was not allowed to.

  20. Wukchumni

    Its interesting that National Parks in Red states really don’t seem to care if visitors get infected with the Corionavirus, versus here in the Sierra Nevada, where both Yosemite & Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP’s are much more careful. It’s hot @ Zion NP in the summer, and i’d imagine all the buses have a/c running at all times, yikes!

    The shuttle buses here in Sequoia NP are closed for the summer, for instance.

    Though Utah’s Covid-19 caseload continues to rise, and the state epidemiologist is warning the state might have to shut down completely if the disease’s spread doesn’t decline significantly, Zion National Park officials plan to resume shuttle service into Zion Canyon on July 1.

    According to a park release Thursday evening, the shuttle buses have been modified to meet COVID-19 guidelines. “The modified buses carry a smaller number of passengers per trip, and Zion is working with to provide tickets for the shuttle to reduce lines, crowding, and congestion, while providing visitors with more certainty about access to the Scenic Drive,” it said.

    1. Carolinian

      I know some people who were trying to get into Zion this past week–haven’t heard whether they succeeded. Apparently NPS stopped the shuttle and decided to limit the visitors per day at this crowded park because cars would once again be allowed to use the main drive.

      Last time I was there I had to park outside in Springdale and walk back in. By noon there was no parking left inside the park. Presumably proximity to Vegas is one reason it is so popular.

      1. Wukchumni

        Zion has the most eye candy of any NP, including Yosemite.

        Walked the Narrows a couple decades ago, spectacular!

        1. Ignacio

          Indeed. And the walks around the upper parts have also some of the bests landscapes of the West. It is the second most impressive thing I saw after the Grand Canyon followed in 3rd place by Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon. (I very much like Sierra Nevada, where I feel like at home).

  21. GF

    Regarding Trump’s blessing of the Israeli occupation of Palestine territory in the West Bank. The article states that Trump will justify 2 token annexations by using the “Bush Letter” from 2004 as precedent. It states that ““major population centers” of Israeli settlers would one day become part of officially-recognized Israeli territory.” Not being an expert on occupied territory settlements, I was wondering if the 2 token settlements (Ma’ale Adumim and Gush Etzion) were in fact “major population centers” in 2004?

  22. Jason Boxman

    And there’s a reason I never read David Brooks:

    I know a lot of people aren’t excited about him, but I thank God that Joe Biden is going to be nominated by the Democratic Party. He came to public life when it wasn’t about performing your zeal, it was about crafting coalitions and legislating. He exudes a spirit that is about empathy and friendship not animosity and canceling. The pragmatic spirit of the New Deal is a more apt guide for the years ahead than the spirit of critical theory symbology.

    But he is correct that the elite dodged a bullet on all of this so far in that the “Social Justice activists” he identifies aren’t going to change the status quo in any threatening way. Meanwhile, these crises are an opportunity for more elite looting, and they *are* quite effective at that!

    1. jr

      No doubt “Don’t Know” Joe exudes many things but empathy and friendship seem in short supply.

    2. RMO

      “The pragmatic spirit of the New Deal is a more apt guide for the years ahead than the spirit of critical theory symbology”

      So… instead of supporting the candidacy of Sanders, the closest thing to a New Deal politician the US has nowadays in the presidential stakes he is thanking god for opportunity to send Biden to the polls, a man whose entire political career seems to have been dedicated to dismantling all of the New Deal reforms? That’s a concussion level facepalm right there.

      “He exudes a spirit that is about empathy and friendship not animosity and canceling”

      And we’ve sure seen that loving empathy and friendship on display whenever anyone has asked him an even moderately incisive question or called him out on one of his lies haven’t we? /s

    1. mle detroit

      And the “5 Crises” clickbait headline is today’s most skippable. It’s one long David Brooks whine about #4, the “quasi-religion of Social Justice.” In Brooks’s opinion, that leads to the horror of Cancel Culture (what we used to call a boycott). I suspect he fears for his own swamp-critter income.

      I’ve thought for some time that the NYT and WaPo could usefully cut their “opinion” budgets by two thirds.

      Our planet’s climate is NOT one of the “5 Crises.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      He was great. He built up a reputation as a miser and in one skit, he was asked his Social Security Number. He answered ‘One.’

  23. CanChemist

    From the Guardian:

    “Covid-19 survivors could lose health insurance if Trump wins bid to repeal Obamacare ”

    “The abolition of pre-existing condition coverage is especially difficult for those who have has Covid-19, because so little is known about the long-term health impact of the disease. There is evidence that the respiratory illness causes permanent damage in some patients. Those who have had the disease and recovered would have to disclose their status to apply for insurance, and could be turned down for coverage.
    “We could see tens of millions of people thrown out of coverage,” said Pollitz. “There would be an onslaught of un-insurance.””

    1. hunkerdown

      At least half of statements in the press are pleas to save one’s current job and socioeconomic stature. Rarely do people make statements in the press to save their previous jobs.

      Of course, it is absolutely within the power of law to craft a CoVID exception entirely independent of the ACA. It’s Karen Pollitz’s job to keep the thought from entering the public mind.

  24. Dalepues

    I think one of the best things about the internet is that it allows for real time response to opinion articles that before would have gone mostly unanswered and unchallenged. Opinion articles and even “factual” articles in the paper and ink press weren’t challenged for at least a day, usually in the Letters to the Editor section. It was pretty weak stuff too. Usually only one or two rebuttals made it in, and even those were responses chosen by the editors of the paper. Not any more. Answers are now posted as quickly as the column is published. This is a very good thing.

    David Brooks’ piece in the NYT, 5 Epic Crises is a tricky piece of writing. He’s pretty good at that too. I wouldn’t say he lies exactly, but he surely knows what to exclude from his argument. Maybe you could call it “lies by omission.” The comments, mostly reader’s picks but NYT picks too, are reminders for Mr. Brooks that a lot of readers aren’t fooled by his slick style. I’ll quote just a piece of one:

    Verona, N.J.June 26
    “America’s most serious problem is a major political party that invested in billionaires and disinformation instead of in its citizens and a representative democracy for forty years and then proceeded to drive the country over multiple cliffs of theocracy, kakistocracy and bankrupt ideology.

    Mindless tax cuts, record income and wealth inequality, weak public education, the greatest healthcare rip-off in the world, weak regulation, a national shooting gallery, women as 3rd-class citizens, collapsed infrastructure, no mass transit, failing airports, massive voter suppression — these are a few of Republicans’ favorite things.”

    1. hunkerdown

      Nah, Socrates is just getting high on his own Party’s marketing materials and trying to defend his class privileges. You can tell because they defend their own for the very same activities.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      Nice comment, but I think it pretty much applies to the Dems as well… not that a typical NYT reader would recognize this.

  25. ewmayer

    “New York City will paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on street in front of Trump Tower | The Hill” — I don’t see any similar plan to paint BLM on the streets out front of every police station in NYC. Shameless virtue signaling by De Blasio, in effect saying “Our city’s thug-police are Trump’s fault”. What an effing hypocrite.

    In the same shamless-PR-stunt vein is Boing Boing’s ““Master bedroom” and “Master bath” won’t be used in Houston’s real estate listings anymore.”

    1. Carolinian

      Right. It’s just more evidence that BLM is a Democratic party operation. Whatever one thinks about police treatment of black people, blaming it all on Trump is silly except as an election ploy.

      Here in my little town they have also painted one of these BLM murals on the street (with permission) and in front of City Hall, not Republican party headquarters. It’s not bad.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Well that depends: are the soldiers memorialized here actual Red Army, or Bulgarians who fought with the Red Army after Bulgaria was occupied and changed sides in late 1944.

          If the former, this monument is merely a Soviet era propaganda piece and blunt reminder of Who’s In Charge, akin to the mass-produced Confederate statues in Southern towns.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Interesting point. Then again, who exactly was the Mardasson Memorial next to the Battle of the Bulge museum set up for? I have been on top of it and it is huge being in the shape of an American star with all the then 48 State’s names engraved along the top. Is it there as a sign of friendship or a message of hey, you Europeans owe us-


            1. ObjectiveFunction

              Also, the repaint includes American ‘superheroes’ Ronald MacDonald and Santa Claus. So not just winding up the Russians here, but also a sly dig at the new globalist occupiers?

              Consumption siegt an allen fronten!

            2. Basil Pesto

              According to the ‘external links’ on the wiki, it was a Belgian gov’t initiative.

  26. fresno dan

    So the Fresno zoo wants to maintain social distancing. Its 39 acres….
    anyway, you have to buy your tickets in advance…on the web. ANOTHER password.
    So I only get passwords when I feel there is some actual utility – I try to refrain from doing things on the web.
    Still, the demands of modern society.
    With the zoo password (I HAD to register) I now have 51 passwords.
    I need a password to go to the zoo – this is what it has come to…

    1. JohnnySacks

      Got sick of that shit years ago. Get a scheme. e.g. Divide them up into levels:
      Your shit site password. Who really gives a damn about your zoo account. Do you?
      Not so shit site password for ‘better’ shopping sites. No credit cards ever saved.
      And your top secret site password

      Save login/password and sites in a shared spreadsheet, each a handy word suffixed with a secret series of characters represented as (). All you need is to remember the 3 numbers or sequences.
      Have to change it? Double up on the secret:

  27. Wukchumni

    Pavlovegas had never reported more than 500 new cases per day of Coronavirus heretofore, that is until today when almost 1,100 new cases came a cropper.

    I’d guess the over/under on casinos closing again would be a week.

  28. The Rev Kev

    ‘‘Coal has a bright future’: U.S. Secretary of Energy tours underground mine complex in Washington Co.’

    Unfortunately, no ex-miners can be found to work in those mines as they had all learned to code and now all work in Silicon Valley.

  29. Kfish

    Carers with second jobs: instead of trying to control what other jobs they take, how about giving each one enough work hours that they can afford to only work one job? I swear, it takes an American to look at a person working multiple jobs and decide that the worker is the problem.

  30. YetAnotherChris

    Has anyone studied a correlation between steroid use and police brutality? I’m not suggesting that most cops are ‘roided up, but I’ve discerned a certain trend over the past thirty years in Minneapolis. It doesn’t help that 90+% of them live outside the city they patrol, and that they undergo “warrior training,” as if they’re taking Omaha Beach. I steer clear of the cops because nearly every encounter I’ve had in three decades has been needlessly abrasive and belligerent. These guys look like Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds and and are every bit as charming. Maybe it’s a third rail of sorts but no one seems to talk about steroid culture vis-a-vis the police force.

  31. Cripes

    I would say more than this:

    Each year, on average, a dizzying 182 million tons of dust departs from the western Sahara, enough to fill 689,290 semitrucks.

    This in reply to:

    Eureka Springs
    June 27, 2020 at 9:46 am
    The dust has arrived here in northwest Arkansas. Quite a thick haze. Can’t imagine how much actual African dirt must have been moved to do this.

  32. Susan the other

    The 7 puzzles of the universe. What a treat. Thanks. Especially @ mini black holes, so infinitely tiny they are destroyed the moment they form; but they are everywhere. Unlike big black holes, the minis do not have any effect on space-time. (They sound like lone electrons which when observed as particles no longer have a wave function.) Then this: these mini black holes are thought to have an effect on the 5th Dimension. Looking up the 5th Dimension I get: the unseen forces of gravity and electromagnetism become unified and tightly wrapped around every 4-dimensional point, and: the 5th dimension is beyond the universe in non-space.

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