Links 6/28/2020

Sunday, June 28: This day in history AP. On this day in 1914, Gavrilo Princip assassinated the archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie. setting off WW 1. Also on this day in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed.

Human rights activists want to use AI to help prove war crimes in court MIT Technology Review

8 Slowest Animals in the World TreeHugger

This Group Is Dedicated To People Posting Really Expensive Accidents And Mistakes, And Here Are 45 Of The Worst Ones Bored Panda. Having just suffered a catastrophic compter-ending coffee spill – my first in decades – I can empathize.

I Quit James Heathers

CRISPR Gene Editing in Human Embryos Wreaks Chromosome Mayhem Nature (guurst)

The freedom of driving New Statesman

#COVID-19

How Spain Shamed Itself by Leaving the Elderly to Die Under Coronavirus Jacobin

US ‘likely’ to see shortage of pharmaceutical drugs if coronavirus outbreak continues, intelligence report finds ABC

Measures to protect Trump from coronavirus scale up even as he seeks to move on CNN

Airlines banning passengers who refuse to wear masks on flights NY Post

Coronavirus: Florida and Texas reverse reopening as US cases pass 2.5m BBC

A travesty’: North Carolina grapples with reopening as Covid-19 cases surge Guardian. My mother and many family members live in NC.

Texas cities say state is making pandemic worse The Hill

Inspector General May Not Stem Deadly COVID-19 Outbreaks at L.A. Nursing Homes Capital & Main

The High Price of Cheap Meat Der Spiegel

The Sickness in Our Food Supply New York Review of Books. Michael Pollan.

Why the American Consumer Has Fewer Choices—Maybe for Good WSJ

Science/Medicine

Seroprevalence of Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in Six Sites in the United States, March 23-May 3, 2020 MedRxiv (david l)

Can tocilizumab calm the cytokine storm of COVID-19? Lancet

Watch: It’s not just the lungs: The Covid-19 virus attacks like no other ‘respiratory’ infection Stat

UK

The blundering British political class has shown the same incompetence in both fighting wars and coronavirus Independent Patrick Cockburn

Black Injustice Tipping Point

We Can End Qualified Immunity Tomorrow Boston Review

What Are Cops Really Thinking When Routine Arrests Turn Violent? Marshall Project

Princeton Dumps Woodrow Wilson’s Name Over ‘Persistent’ Racism Bloomberg

Glamour, glitz and artificially light skin: Bollywood stars in their own racism row Guardian

Class Warfare

Will Bill Barr Screw Up the Google Monopolization Case? Matt Stoller

Justice Department expected to file antitrust suit against Google Politico (furzy)

Hedge funds eye new corporate structure in Singapore FT

No More Free-Lunch Bailouts Project Syndicate

Korea

The Korean War Atrocities No One Wants To Talk About American Conservatve

‘The Gauntlet’: America’s Korean War catastrophe Asia Times

Israel

Israel was at the centre of the most important news story this week – but you won’t have heard about it Independent Robert Fisk

Egypt

Egyptians create their own silver lining to coronavirus Qantara

Russia

US Ambassador posts a message to the Russian people The Saker (GF)

This Russia-Afghanistan Story Is Western Propaganda At Its Most Vile Caitlin Johnstone

Syraqistan

The War That Time Forgot Counterpunch

Imperial Collapse Watch

How Hegemony Ends Foreign Affairs

India

Modi government should embrace NREGA without trying to defend the indefensible Scroll

COVID Lockdown: How India’s Food Supply Chain First Tightened and then Recovered The Wire

India locusts: Swarm sweeps into Delhi suburb Gurgaon BBC

India’s coronavirus cases pass half a million Al Jazeera

Coronavirus: How Delhi ‘wasted’ lockdown to become India’s biggest hotspot BBC

China?

National security law for Hong Kong tops agenda of three-day meeting of China’s legislative body, with draft disclosure not expected before bill’s passage SCMP

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

TikTok and 53 other iOS apps still snoop your sensitive clipboard data Ars Technica

Julian Assange

737 MAX

Exclusive: Boeing 737 MAX certification flight tests to begin on Monday – sources Reuters

Trump  Transition

Rolling Stones Working With BMI to Stop Trump’s Use of ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ at Rallies Variety

Antidote du Jour. TH: “This one is a Western-wood Peewee. He was hanging out near the visitor center in Anza Borego, CA.”:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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173 comments

    1. Stephen V.

      The usual excellent piece by Pollan. A long overdue thorough takedown of Big Meat, especially Tysn Chkn up the road from us. I wasn’t aware that immigrants working in meatpacking was the norm everywhere. I knew about Hispanics in chicken plants since the 80’s here but my clients tell me now this is why the Marshallese are here as well. Sigh.
      Pollan also rightly touts local food systems. I am hoping this food resurgence will connect with a long forgotten thread in the warp and weft in American history: https://www.curbed.com/2020/6/23/21294321/mutual-aid-societies-nyc-pandemic

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        It’s so ironic that we can get people to pay exorbitantly for a vehicle of way more size and horsepower than they need but we can’t get them to pay more for quality local food.

        Reply
      2. Mucho

        Seems everywhere, really is everywhere. I live in the Netherlands. 90 percent of the workers working in meatpacking are temps, 90 percent of those are immigrants. They are housed close together and go to work at different meatpacking plants together. I remember seeing the Covid-19 outbreaks in the US and wondering when we would get ours. (We did, a couple of weeks ago).

        Reply
        1. Conrad

          Hard, unpleasant, repetitive and hazardous work at a relentless pace that isn’t paid particularly well will always be done by those most in need of a job I guess.

          Reply
    2. jr

      Pride and/or protests field report, West Village:

      I’ve received conflicting word from the 6th, one officer seemed to think it was not going to be a big deal the other said it’s going to be crazy. So far, it’s only the event folks on the streets. It’s definitely not set up like a regular Pride day where this area becomes a maze of barriers. I’ve spent two hours trying to get through the last three blocks to my place in the past. According to Officer Friendly, it’s NBD except for between 10th and Perry…

      Re: food chain collapse

      I’ve noticed odd things missing from the shelves around here. Boylans sodas are big in NYC but no one here has had the cola, black cherry, cream or root beer for weeks. The stuff is made in Brooklyn, IIRC, and I know they have to keep this market happy. The website notes they are experiencing shipping delays but this has been weeks and weeks. I see orange and ginger ale all the time.

      Also, apricot danish, cherry to some extent but the apricot disappeared for a month and a half. Then, they came back. It wasn’t some local thing, the owner told me his supplier couldn’t get the canned stuff.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        I’m brewing barkshack ginger meads, or rather, fruit melomels .. a ‘ginger ale’ of a whole different sort .. with a millennium, or three, of history ..

        ‘Ahh!’ ..
        Food of the Gods man, food of the Gods.
        There’s a fine tradition in the craft of such a nectar derived from the melding of man and insect. Unlike today’s corporate inspired ‘concoctions’.
        Bleh!

        Thing is, you too can enjoy such an imbibement .. at a fraction* of the cost of retail purchase.

        * one does need access to basic brewing equipment, howeve .. but hear this! Any future local
        warlord worth their salt, would happy to have such a skilled practitioner under their protection. ‘;]
        FYI, as things unravel ..

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Bloody H—! Mead! As the boys down at the corner store put it; “That stuff’ll knock your d— in the dirt!”
          I have had home made mead before. Smooth as sipping whiskey with a knockout punch.

          Reply
  1. Samuel Conner

    re: the Russia/Taliban bounty story, the thought occurs that if the story were that Russians had simply paid salaries, rather than piece-rate, for the work, it would be more acceptable. That was the CIA’s approach with the mujahideen during the 1980s “Charlie Wilson’s War.” And we’re probably still doing something like that in Syria and elsewhere.

    Of course, I’d be better pleased if the story is not true. But it seems that the umbrage is another example of how we don’t like it when other nations employ our methods.

    Perhaps CV is Gaia’s way of chastising us (as in “US”). We give so little d@mn about human life outside our borders that the attitude has leaked into our internal self-posture. US is perhaps a self-limiting phenomenon.

    Reply
    1. Phillip Allen

      Industrial civilization is itself a self-limiting phenomenon, absent a steady state economy (and accepting that resource depletion will require a much lower set point for that steady state were the world to begin immediately). I don’t count such wisdom and forethought in national and global policy as likely (my polite-speak for “not a chance in hell”).

      Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      It shows everything you need to know about how pathetic the media is that such a transparently stupid piece of propaganda is treated seriously.

      I don’t doubt at all that Russia would do what it can, or needs to do, to make the USA’s life in Afghanistan difficult, but the idea that somehow they would see any kind of need to bribe the Taliban is laughable.

      Reply
      1. jackiebass

        Propaganda from the CIA and published by the media isn’t a new thing. News sources have been printing government propaganda they are given for over 100 years. If you think about Afghanistan and its history you should conclude Russia didn’t have to do anything. By its nature Afghanistan is the Grave Yard of Empires.

        Reply
      2. Bandit

        Whats even more pathetic is how many people believe the bs from the MSM, the so-called intelligence agencies and the US government in general. It would be an understatement to just say they lie all the time about everything. If anything dooms the US it is the deliberate ignorance of the electorate and their lazy, uncritical acceptance.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          But let’s all tear down statues, no matter of whom .. rather than any questionable statutes, instead.

          Civil ‘I SAY’ shuns is doomed to coiledlapses.

          Reply
        2. Tom Denman

          Exactly. So many people lack any mind of their own and believe whatever they are told.

          It is truly amazing how the corporate media and much of the public keep buying the Brooklyn Bridge over and over and over again.

          Reply
        3. Aumua

          and yet most of those who do reject the narratives spun by all of the above are immediately taken in by one of the handily available alt-narratives, many of which are practically mainstream themselves these days, and some of which contain much more aggressive and destructive brainwashing.

          The memes really have acquired a life of their own. They’re out of control.

          Reply
      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        US foreign policy views are largely orientalist (I’m sure there is a less specific word), but the idea the brown/yellow/black/even poorer white peasants could act on their own is anathema. The more comical conspiracy theorists suffer from this same view.

        Obama’s huffing about Russia being a regional power. He was ticked they would dare to interfere despite Syria being a region they had influence in before the US existed. This stems from the orientalist view of everyone outside DC.

        Reply
      4. MLTPB

        If I read Samuel Connor’s 7:29 am comment correctly, fighters took money in the 80s, even though those guys, 40 or so years ago, fought for what they believed.

        Would it be so different today that they don’t take money, be it piece rate, salaries or bribes? Perhaps that money is to, or can, be used for a cause of theirs.

        Perhaps unlikely, or evenl laughable, but as with everything, practically speaking, each case deserves to, or can, alway be looked at on its own merits, no?

        Reply
    3. Maxwell Johnston

      When the Taliban was in charge in 2000-1, they pretty much shut down the opium trade. It restarted after the USA’s ‘liberation’, and much of this opium finds its way to international markets via central Asia and Russia….which fuels Russia’s heroin problem and by extension its HIV/AIDS problem. I suspect the Russians might very well prefer a Taliban regime over the present corrupt lot.

      Reply
      1. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

        A couple of years ago I was working with a guy who had been in the Army. Just before his unit shipped out to Afghanistan he tested positive for marijuana, so he had to stay behind. He told me that he later heard that his unit had be responsible for protecting poppy fields. I’ve got no way to confirm this, but also no reason to doubt it…

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          I have seen images online of US troops patrolling through poppy fields instead of destroying them. I suppose that the calculation is that the farmers are doing well growing poppies and so cause no trouble. But if those crops were destroyed, their is no other crop that could be grown profitably by the farmers so they would go join the Taliban or provide them intelligence against US troops instead.

          Reply
          1. J.k

            “I have seen images online of US troops patrolling through poppy fields instead of destroying them. I suppose that the calculation is that the farmers are doing well growing poppies and so cause no trouble. But if those crops were destroyed, their is no other crop that could be grown profitably by the farmers so they would go join the Taliban or provide them intelligence against US troops instead.”

            Thats the excuse given by the U.S and the Afghan government. The afghanis themselves have said they would be more than happy to grow any other crop. They just need assistance from the state and a market for the crops. They arent asking for much. Enough for a crop they can have some sort of subsistence farming. Really isnt hard to do in the 21st century.

            Reply
        2. lordkoos

          Since the US invasion and the re-starting of opium production I assumed that US troops were guarding Afghanistan’s opium production. Historically the CIA has been one of the biggest drug dealers on the planet. Afghani-sourced opium for heroin production supplies most of Europe and more.

          Reply
    4. km

      No, the moral of the “bounties” story is “when they do it, that is bad. Very very bad. When we do it, then that makes it okay!”

      Reply
    5. fresno dan

      Samuel Conner
      June 28, 2020 at 7:29 am

      Its hard for me to believe that the Russian boogeyman exists. It seems to only reappear when it is in the political interests of an American political party. Last century, it was apparently in the repubs interest. In this century, dems.
      And one other thing – as staunchly anti Russian as the repubs were, turns out under Trump, repubs don’t really give a rat’s a$$ about Russians. And how many dems NOT in the twitterverse actually believe Russia is a threat? Funny how the American SYSTEM has to have Russia as a boogeyman…but never ever can deal with healthcare. ODD.
      And I lied – one other, other thing. Is the source of this news the same as Russiagate?

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        It’s a great point. A concocted external threat distracts the attention of the masses and enriches the MIC at the same time, and makes it easier to delay or prevent reforms that might reduce the precarity of the population and increase the political power of the lower classes. Russia as threat is indeed indispensable.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          Yup, it is a gift that keeps on giving… I often say that if Russia did not exist, MIIC would have to invent it. A repository of all things bad – real and imagined (kinda like a “bad’ bank or Enron’s off-the-books “investment” vehicles).
          Serves lots of purposes… as an explanation of all things bad, a distraction from own failings, a unifier (us against them), a ready-made villain (should a war start), a screen on which the pure west gets to project its own pathology (so it never has to be owned), an actor who gets blamed for all ills… You get the picture. Wonder what Freud or Jung would make of this.

          Reply
          1. fresno dan

            Olga
            June 28, 2020 at 4:35 pm
            I often say that if Russia did not exist, MIIC would have to invent it.
            You know, I have never been to Russia. Have you ever been? Maybe the whole thing is Potemkin…

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              That last line is a great joke.
              “Bunny Slippers on the San Joaquin.” “All the news that is fit to invent.”

              Reply
        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          With the ascendant next president Biden VP being the lovely Susan @#$%^ Rice, Liberator of Libya and a key player in the FBI back-door coup attempt, who recently asserted that *The Russians* were behind the BLM protests.

          My default position is to be hopeful for our Republic, but with the complete untethering of the narrative from anything approaching objective reality back here on planet Earth…well let’s just say it’s getting very difficult to see those rays through the gathering storm clouds.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            it’s all plates spinning on sticks, all the way down.
            eventually, gravity(Nature) intervenes.

            in the mean time, here’s a little reality for ya:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxk5E0l0zsM

            I jammed with Carolyn Wonderland long before she was famous… at Dan Electro’s there, off North Shepherd in Houston.
            She’s definitely authentic.
            I can testify.
            she played our little ancient theater, a few years ago…actually remembered me,lol(I was pretty wild in my youth)
            Real deal, no doubt.

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Amfortas – I see that you are online. You were taking about a snake problem that you have with one of your buildings and so thought to mention a possible part solution. One of my favourite authors in Oz talked about what they did for them when he was a kid. They set a trap. They set up two porcelain eggs (I suppose that you could use say, plaster of Paris filled eggshells) with one on each side of a chicken wire fence. Snakes love eggs so a snake would swallow one egg, see the other on the other side of the fence, would go through and swallow that one. The eggs were larger than the mesh holes for the wire so now he was trapped. Then the kids would come along, cut the head off the snake, retrieve the eggs and reset the trap. Don’t know if you do the same in your part of the world but it might help.

              Reply
              1. polecat

                Rattlesnakes are delicious! Especially when slathered with an ACME blend of herbs & spices, the cooked over a box of dynamite.

                “Bleep Bleep!”

                Reply
    6. John k

      Contagious diseases are promoted as population rises and population densities and mobility increase.
      Our various responses quite precisely follow Darwin rules… like evolution, the virus doesn’t care whether you follow good practices or you don’t. you either adopt practices that control and diminish the virus or you don’t.

      The vaccine, like Godot, might never arrive. We might eventually achieve herd immunity, assuming minimal mutation, granted we get a new flu every season. If so, and if 20 million so far infected, we are 10% there. At today’s rate maybe six months and nearly 2 million deaths.
      Note herd immunity doesn’t mean seniors can relax.

      Reply
      1. marym

        Not enough is known yet about whether people who have recovered are immune, or for how long, for it to be reasonable to expect “herd immunity” ever to occur without a vaccine.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          From what I read, there’s a lot of problematical sequelae even for people who are “asymptomatic.” Those who “recover” apparently mostly do not, you know, recover. And I had a bad bout of shingles a couple of years ago, from “reactivation” of the herpes zoster virus that I “recovered” from after “getting over” chicken pox as a kid. That virus hides out in nerve cells in your body and can reappear, often in completely debilitating fashion. It can blind you too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shingles

          One wonders what little tricks COVID-19 will show us as it works its way through the globalized population, and people age with it maybe still hiding out in their bodies.

          This virus has really got our number.

          Reply
      2. Larry Y

        How did herd immunity work out for the various indigenous peoples?

        Even today, common flus and colds wreck havoc on uncontacted tribes.

        Reply
      3. The Historian

        How is herd immunity working out for Sweden?

        There is absolutely no evidence that herd immunity will ever work with this virus. But there is overwhelming evidence that social distancing and wearing masks do work.

        So should we just ignore all available evidence and go with wishing for unicorns like herd immunity instead?

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          “Must… protect… the economy… must… get back… to consumption… everything depends… on re-opening…”

          Reply
    7. MLTPB

      I believe there are others like you who objected or didn’t like it when we employed ‘our methods.’

      They will be consistent in objecting to other nations employing them, as one country is being reported to be doing here.

      No one can say they are being inconsistent.

      To them, the question is whether the report is in any way reflective of the events there.

      Reply
    8. Barbara

      When I first saw the headline in the Guardian, the evil genii, the Church Lady, popped into my head and said:

      Well, isn’t that conv-ee-nient.

      Reply
  2. zagonostra

    >To Restore the Soul of the Nation

    So says Joe Biden. But the truth is that the class he belongs to doesn’t believe in the soul. No, I would say that they, as a class, have adopted the philosophy of John Searle or Richard Rorty.

    There is only substance swirling around, Aristotelian forms, Platonic ideas, or that truth and reality itself as knowable has been tossed out. Their appeal, at least to my Christian understanding of what a soul is, rings hollow and false. When 35% of your fellow citizens missed their mortgage payments there is no soul, there is no compassion or the notion of the good to found in empty rhetoric. There is only the whirlwind of power, money and political jostling among the Olympian elite while the peasants came and went…is it too early on Sunday morning for some Dylan?

    All along the watchtower
    Princes kept the view
    While all the women came and went
    Barefoot servants too
    Outside, in the distance
    A wildcat did growl
    Two riders were approaching
    The wind began to howl

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      Watched the Jon Stewart movie “Irresistible” that all the critics are bashing (except in Ha’aretz, go figure). It’s good. Its main theme excoriates the DNC consultant much more thoroughly than the opposition and gets deep into the party’s absolute hypocrisy.

      You see exactly why they need an empty shell like Biden as a candidate. And also why the usual critics don’t like it. Too close to home, as it were.

      Check it out once it’s cheaper to watch.

      I guess I’m doing movie reviews now.

      Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      I think you’re misapplying Rorty, there.
      Reckon he’d be aghast at the current state of the Demparty
      Read him again…he might be the Clinton’s Nietzsche….along with Rawls, and Crenshaw, for that matter…everything is twisted into service.
      (as Nietzsche, himself, was abused and twisted , by the Nazis)

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        All philosophers’ works can be misappropriated, as Nietzsche’s surely was (his sister sure as heck didn’t help much)…but I’m deep into Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Natureand I think I’ve got him right with reference to the soul. Whether he would be “aghast at the current state” is not germane. You know Nietzsche would have loathed Hitler. Leo Strauss has a good series of lectures on him…

        Reply
    3. Peter Wolf

      Never too early in AM for Dylan! I wouldn’t take Biden’s word on ‘soul’ either, but there simply is no way to make generalizations about individual’s belief in souls by class or any other demographic. This can only be determined one on one, in analogue present, and ethical dialogue. So, you see this disqualifies almost all of what is considered ‘poltical’ I cannot definitively state anything concerning truth save in the actual individual presence of a person.

      Reply
      1. Zagonostra

        Another Dylan aficionado.

        “… there simply is no way to make generalizations about individual’s belief in souls” or is it rather there is no simple generalizations you can make concerning the subject. Two vastly different propositions. Is a work like Augustinian’s Confessions not able to say something about the the soul? If yes, then in a sense, you would consider him “analogue,” do the Psalms and Proverbs and the old and new biblical Testaments say something about the soul?

        Whereas you see “disqualifications” I see the sine qua non upon which the “political” needs to rest upon, the essential foundation. And I think Paul Tillich’s aptly named book, The Shaking of the Foundation ,points to a way where an ethical dialogue that both includes the individual and the social aspect of what it means to be human can be discussed.

        Reply
  3. PlutoniumKun

    The Korean War Atrocities No One Wants To Talk About American Conservatve

    ‘The Gauntlet’: America’s Korean War catastrophe Asia Times

    Timely – its just past the 70th Anniversary of the ceasefire that more or less ended the war. It’s amazing how such a huge and important war managed somehow to get written out of history, even while that region still lives with the fallout, for better or worse. A friend of mine told me her Turkish father had been in the war (for some reason, Turkey send a particularly large contingent), but could never bring himself to talk about it. By some measurements, the bombing of Korean cities was more destructive of the WWII bombing of Japan, and there is copious evidence of repeated war crimes committed by the *ahem* United Nations forces.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Knowing about, and understanding, the scale of destruction is a big clue toward understanding today’s North Korea.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Let’s remember that “NATO” bombed the shit out of SOUTH Korea too. And then the CIA worked its magic there to be sure that “our guys” would rule and keep the commies at bay… Replayed in the destruction of North and South Vietnam, with the added “color effects” of Agent Orange and Green and Yellow. And Kosovo, and Libya and Syria and Notagain?istan and lots of others.

        Endless proofs of how stupid we humans are, especially the US Imperial versions.

        Reply
  4. fresno dan

    We Can End Qualified Immunity Tomorrow Boston Review

    Incrementally, since the doctrine of qualified immunity was first introduced in 1967, the Supreme Court has made the defense more and more powerful by making it easier for officers to show that they behaved reasonably or that the relevant law was not clear enough for them to know that they were violating the Constitution. In the words of the Supreme Court, it now protects all but “plainly incompetent” officials. Indeed, over the past twenty years, in nearly every case heard by the Court, including many involving the use of deadly force by police officers, a majority of justices has found that officers should have been granted qualified immunity.

    Qualified immunity not only shields constitutional wrongdoers from accountability and prevents injured people from recovering compensation; it also stunts the development of constitutional law because a court can decide that a right is not “clearly established” first, without deciding whether an officer violated the Constitution. If a court finds a lack of clear precedent, it never decides whether the actual conduct violates the Constitution, which means that no new clearly established law is created.
    —————————————————
    https://reason.com/2019/09/25/a-license-for-outrageous-police-conduct/

    In the case of the purloined property, suspects in an illegal gambling investigation alleged that Fresno, California, police officers seized $151,380 in cash and $125,000 in rare coins but reported only $50,000 of it, pocketing the rest. “Although the City Officers ought to have recognized that the alleged theft of Appellants’ money and rare coins was morally wrong,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled, “they did not have clear notice that it violated the Fourth Amendment.”
    Courts in other cases have approved qualified immunity for cops who allegedly shot people without cause, sicced a dog on a man who was surrendering, tased a driver who was stopped for failing to buckle his seat belt, and ordered a 17-year-old boy to disrobe and masturbate so they could take pictures of his erect penis. Fifth Circuit Judge Don Willett, who was part of the panel that ruled against Officer Branch, observes that “qualified immunity smacks of unqualified impunity, letting public officials duck consequences for bad behavior—no matter how palpably unreasonable—as long as they were the first to behave badly.”
    ===============================================
    ...was not clear enough for them to know that they were violating the Constitution.
    This is the intellectual power of American courts – somehow absconding with about 250 grand is just to unclear and confusing for our men in blue because there is no precedent. You know, should there ever be a law passed that the police can’t steal 250 grand, but stole 249, the law wouldn’t apply due to “precedent”

    Reply
    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      “[A]ll but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law” (emphasis added).

      The link I found to the case quoted (Malley v Briggs) may have delayed that comment

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        to my knowledge, it’s “against the law” to beat a defenseless person.
        Didn’t stop them in my case.
        but that was the late 80’s, in rural Texas…and I apparently “deserved it”.
        I have ptsd to this day when confronted with uniformed people.
        that’s a pretty weak defense.

        …and fuck the police, while we’re at it.
        bunch of trigger happy morons,as far as i’m concerned, by definition…and not to be trusted with a hammer… until definitively proved otherwise in a fair and open court.

        Reply
        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          It IS weak — and wrong. My condolences to you for your assault under color of law. (And blue is the color, and way too high is the number. . . .)

          So what is to be done?

          The article mentioning getting mayors, prosecutors, et al. to talk their staff attorneys into foregoing that defense sounds decent. But the LEOs may have extra rights under state laws, LO Bills of Rights, work contracts (union or not) . . . and might hire private attorneys to raise the defense for them — maybe even stick the government with the bill. Dunno about you, but I shudder a little when the words “private” and “police” get near each other.)

          Prosecutors might hesitate to challenge the doctrine because, if it fell, prosecutorial immunity/discretion might be the next domino in line. Not to mention they depend on police (and other LEOs down to health- and building-code inspectors, and more) for their ham-sandwich-like “efficiency”.

          If I get into the Legislature (and FWIW I’m on the ballot), I’d gladly draft some bills trying to address this issue. Here are some typing-out-loud run-it-up-the-fire-pole-and-see-if-anyone-salutes ideas:

          * My old Constitutional Law professor used to say reporters don’t have more First Amendment rights than the rest of us — they just use them more often. (Well, some still do.) So should police have more rights in criminal investigations than the rest of us? Or should we get some — or all — of the extra ones? (That’d be a way they could really serve and protect us.)

          * If there’s not enough support to win an outright end to qualified immunity, maybe we can at least require that the unconstitutionality test of the behavior complained about be always done — and done first — so courts will once again have to hold police to a stronger standard of responsibility or responsibility as time passes. Or we could say you can’t claim qualified immunity unless you’re — well — qualified to judge constitutional behavior . . . with honor-roll performance in the field plus thorough training updated both periodically and whenever legal standards change.

          * Defunding militarization, training in tactics grounded in oppression, and treatment of “civilians” as adversaries; funding de-escalation, restorative justice, and citizen control including the power to decide on hiring, firing, prosecution, etc. (And along with citizen control, maybe return to community participation. If we aren’t going to require LEOs to live in their jurisdictions to have/get a job, then perhaps at least insist on residence and/or service in a neighborhood before taking on supervisory authority over that area.)

          * Holding police to at least as rigorous standards as ordinary citizens face regarding the use of weapons, techniques, violence, etc. Theoretically, they use these things on behalf of the people, and have their authority in our name; if anything, we should expect and require them to do better.

          * Require as much transparency as possible in public reporting of use of force, complaints, performance at current agency and elsewhere, etc.

          * End civil-asset forfeiture. Or perhaps if we don’t abolish it outright, limit its use to minimal essential situations, and compel hearings or other appropriate due process including restoration of assets plus interest and penalties when appropriate.

          * End cash bail, imprisonment for profit, and other forms of privatized enforcement.

          This is getting ridiculously long, and yet I’m sure I’m missing any number of issues that should be in here. Please feel free to share your ideas of what to propose. (So as not to clutter up this estimable site more than I’m afraid I just have.)

          Reply
  5. Ignacio

    How Spain Shamed Itself by Leaving the Elderly to Die Under Coronavirus Jacobin

    I was hesitant to write or comment about this more than sad outcome in Spain, very much concentrated in a few regions because I had to go at lenght on the badly de-centralized semi-privatized HC system and even worse on the situation of nursing homes one of the business eyed by wealthy investors as milk cows to benefit from the pension system while providing and awful MBA-style cost cutting, service-cutting… service. Many of their understaffing and cost-cutting strategies had already surfaced before Covid-19 but I think Spanish population at large is still in the darkness on how badly managed has become elder care in Spain.

    But this is indeed a poster child example on how ruthless privatization works against the society as a whole and how far can it go while we were not paying needed attention. This is probably going to be tested in the judicial system but I still don’t know if the judges, many of them particularly in the upper instances are old guys close to retirement will show empathy or just go on with the neoliberal playbook as they have been trained to do.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I remember hearing about one or two nursing homes that Spanish soldiers found had been abandoned by staff leaving the residents to fend for themselves but I am sure that the police will follow up on this. Thing is, I do not understand why Spain is being singled out here as other countries had their own problems with nursing homes. Countries such as the UK, Sweden, the US and I am sure that many more will come to light over time.

      But as you say, the liberal playbook is being used here to suck out as much wealth as possible from the accumulated savings of retired people while cutting back on any costs where possible. It’s just that the pandemic has thrown the curtain aside and made us see these aged care homes for what they really are – storage depots for oldies.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        There are reasons to single out Spain because is, by far, the European country with the highest rate of casualties amongst the elder.

        Reply
      2. JEHR

        Rev Kev: of course other countries that rely on privately-run long-term care homes had the same ghastly experience regarding these badly managed institutions, including Canada. We are ashamed of our own terrible care of the elderly which happened to be known before the pandemic occurred and even then things did not improve. So many weaknesses have been revealed regarding our “democratic ideals” that a massive amount of change has to happen throughout our whole society!

        Reply
      3. MLTPB

        I think it is not always easy to criticize one’s own country…for example, Egyptians on Egypt, Russians on Russia, Vietnamese on Vietnam, etc.

        And when we see that, it seems more credible.

        That also makes this place special, as we can read our own countrymen write about our country…good or bad.

        And I don’t feel Iganacio is particularly singling out Soain in any negative ways, but with more first hand knowledge, caring more, etc, perhaps.

        Reply
  6. David J.

    The Gauntlet’: America’s Korean War catastrophe

    Back in the late 80s I worked with a fellow who fought his way back from the Chosin Reservoir. Not a great worker, nor very friendly, but once I learned this about him I couldn’t help but have a measure of respect for him.

    People interested in this should read SLA Marshall’s “The River and the Gauntlet.”

    Reply
    1. Wyoming

      Following the last of the troop withdrawal detailed in the article about Rangel it actually got worse. They mention in the article the British troops who were there to hold the pass after Rangel’s unit moved through. The British unit was accompanied by a US unit about 2 times its size. The total of about 1000 men were ordered to hold the pass at all costs in order to save the retreating UN forces from almost certain defeat.

      My father in law was one of the US soldiers sent into the pass to hold the line – a suicide mission. Three days later the survivors were allowed to withdraw (actually they ran for their lives). This was following 3 days of constant human wave attacks involving extensive amounts of hand to hand fighting using shovels, knives, empty rifles (there was no time to reload) as clubs and your bare hands. He told me that you would fight until you collapsed from exhaustion and more than once he came out of his stupor when a Chinese soldier jumped on him lying on the ground. He said they stacked the Chinese bodies to use as sand bags when they had lulls between attacks. Most of them died and almost 100% were wounded (my father in law twice). For years after the war if his wife bumped him in his sleep he would instantly jump on her and start strangling her. No one in the family ever knew about any of this until he and I were talking one day at the kitchen table not long before he died in his 80’s. There were lots of tears. It was humbling to know what he made of himself after such an experience.

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    Dick Cheney saying people should wear masks? If he told me the sky was blue and the grass green I would feel the need to check first before believing him. Of course he is wearing a mask to protect himself. It is who he is. When he became eligible for the draft during the Vietnam he got himself a series of deferments because “I had other priorities in the ’60s than military service.” Well he was young then and did not want to risk his valuable neck.

    But decades later when he became Vice-President in 2000, he made sure that all Google satellite images of the Vice-President’s home at Number One Observatory Circle were blurred so that terrorists could not use those images to plan an attack on him and there were rumours that an underground bunker was built by him which Joe Biden accidentally confirmed. Now with Coronavirus of course he is masking up.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      He probably figures Biden will win but on the strength of Republicans voting for Biden but no where else, leaving 2024 open as Biden is Biden. A democratic congressman tweeted out how he has introduced bills for expanded tax credits amid the greatest crisis in the US since the Great Depression, though we might cross into the 1860’s pretty soon. Fiorino probably thinks she is going to run.

      Nikki Hailey has gone off my radar, but I don’t watch televised “news”.

      Reply
    2. Tom Doak

      On the bright side, we no longer even need Photoshop to start printing the Wanted posters on which Cheney so richly deserves to be featured.

      Reply
    3. Ping

      Cheney’s heart implant/sarc make him especially vulnerable and can’t afford denial on necessity of masks.

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        > implant

        Good one. But they left the conscience module out.

        Reminds one a little of a Red Dwarf episode. Perhaps DC was actually a bit peckish when he shot his hunting partner.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          The guy Cheney shot in the face did apologize to Cheney for being shot by him. Yes, that actually happened.

          Reply
    4. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that this might be some not-so-subtle payback on Cheney’s part for Trump’s 2016 dissing of the Cheney-Bush led Iraq intervention.

      Dick “I would do it again” Cheney, the (IMO) sociopath, makes himself look humane, compassionate and other-concerned compared with the Narcissist in Chief.

      And maybe it’s a signal to anxious Rs that he thinks there needs to be a new helmsman for the ship of state. I’m sure that if he is appointed to a committee to identify such a person, he’ll have no difficulty finding a fine candidate.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Kremlinologists can teach us alot about reading the signal when certain formerly repudiated and airbrushed Politoboro members re-appear. The signal for me with Ellen and Michele loving on Geo Bush, and Dick @#$%^ Cheney being re-humanized is loud and clear. Alert citizens should be pinballing around: wait, I thought Bush Was Bad, that’s what the Blackface Hero Neo-Lib Wall Streeter Obama told us. And the Cheney ectoplasm has been re-assembled into an actual human? So now he’s, um, good? Paging PT Barnum…

        Reply
    5. Alex Cox

      Not seeking to say anything nice about Cheney, but…

      Tony Blair’s ambassador to Washington wrote a tell-all book in which he reported that the Limey Embassy was right next door to the VP’s house. When Clinton was president, the ambassador reported that Al Gore’s helicopter was constantly on the VP’s helipad, with its engine running. Requests from the Embassy to shut the thing down were consistently ignored.

      When Bush and Cheney came in, the Embassy repeated the request. Surprisingly, Cheney agreed to turn the helicopter’s engine off.

      Little things make a difference, and tell us a lot – in this case about Gore’s environmental “credentials”.

      Reply
    6. Bill Smith

      Was this more than a rumour?

      “all Google satellite images of the Vice-President’s home at Number One Observatory Circle”

      Going back in the Google Earth history they don’t look any worse than places in the area for each era of photos. Terraserver and DigitalGlobe photos also show detail. I think only the USGS did that in their photos.

      As to the bunker that was built, stories about that appeared in the Washington Post and the LA Times as the neighbors complained about the noise when they had to blast.

      At that time, 2004ish, several such ‘bunker’ projects happened in DC.

      Reply
  8. zagonostra

    >COVID, Bicycles and Christian Radio

    I have to conclude that many folks out there have rediscovered the pleasures unique to bicycle riding. Both bike shops in the town I live are completely sold out of better bicycles and none are available anytime soon from their supply chains.

    Since my smart phone had no memory left to play podcast back to me, I used, for the first time, the built-in FM Radio. Apparently it works only if you have headphones plugged in. What I discovered is a rich patchwork of local pastors and preachers delivering high quality content and some pretty darn good music. Who would have known, WSJM broadcasting from dry Martinsburg, PA has a heck of a good radio station. Sunday’s sermons were excellent, drawing on Isaiah and the other book of Prophets, their preaching was better than anything I’ve heard on NPR, though I’m only going on memory since I haven’t actually listened to NPR on approaching a decade.

    There is a lot of tension resulting from COVID’s intrusion in the ability of the faithful to congregate and give worship and receive grace. It’s also evident in the older, more established denominations like my own, Roman Catholic. Bishop Barron’s blocking Taylor Marshall from twitter due to the latter’s criticism of the lack of Bishopric leadership in defending statues of saints is just one recent example. The intimations in Carlos Maria Vigano’s letter to Trump on the 6th of June is another.

    I’m too sanguine to think that on the aggregate that much good will come out of COVID 19, but at least in my small neck of the woods, there are small signs sprouting.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Tips and the markup on pizza which is cheap to make were the only reason pizza delivery works. I can’t imagine how the others are supposed to work other than the threat of losing to the restaurants and stupid money funding the apps.

      I think it was winter break of my first year of undergrad, and I remember an effort to order pizza. It was after 830 on a Wednesday, and we learned the nearby pizza places only delivered to the immediate area of a local college that late despite how close we were, closer than the local college.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        I delivered pizzas for several months after graduating college – I’m sure my parents were thrilled at that development – and I actually look back fondly at that job, which was long before the days of ‘apps’. The two aging cokeheads I worked for were pioneers of the ‘gig’ economy without realizing it – I wasn’t on the payroll and worked as an ‘independent contractor’ and got paid $2 for deliveries within a certain radius and $4 for ones further away, plus tips. Since I didn’t actually work for them, I took this to mean I could do whatever I wanted as long as the pies got delivered, and I developed a pretty good little hustle with no apps to track my every move, and which the owners, not being the most law abiding people themselves, didn’t seem to mind.

        Lots of people wanted booze with their pizza and there was a liquor store nearby. I might give the liquor store cashier a pizza coupon or two and the case of beer I was picking up would get a few dollars cheaper. I had customers who needed food for their poker game and an extra player, so I’d sit in and play a few hands, maybe have a cocktail, if there were no other orders on the immediate horizon. And you’d be amazed at how many people thought the pizza guy was a little too stressed and would routinely proffer the means for an “illegal smile”.

        I didn’t get rich and didn’t do the job for long, but I generally made a lot more than $5-$10/hour (plus perks!), and that was 30 years ago. I bet I had a lot more fun than today’s gig workers too.

        Reply
        1. shtove

          Damn! I was waiting for the bit where you grew your delivery run into a money-under-the-table empire, and went on to found a gambling paradise in the middle of the desert. Your untimely demise could wait for part II.

          Reply
        2. Maritimer

          Do you want to bada bing your pizza? Here’s a quote from the link below regarding Mob involvement in pizza bizza in Canadizza:

          “At the cheese-licensing hearings in New York, Ehmann and his colleagues presented evidence that Saputo colluded in funnelling $51,000 US to Bonanno (worth around $210,000 US today).

          The money was withdrawn from an account belonging to a business owned by Borsellino’s brother and was meant to pay an outstanding bill to one of Saputo’s cheese companies.

          But a disused money wrapper found in Bonanno’s trash, along with several recovered notes, was evidence the cash wound up instead at Bonanno’s home.”

          https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-dairy-mogul-lino-saputo-had-secret-past-dealings-with-u-s-mobster-joe-bonanno-then-lied-about-it-1.5428629

          “Montreal pizza” comes with standard double cheese topping since pizza parlor owner is “encouraged” to double up on cheese purchases.

          And “cheese-licensing hearings in New York” must be a real hoot.

          Reply
    2. diptherio

      Well, I sure the executives at said companies are making out pretty well. As they are “working” for the money, I suppose it can’t be classified as profit, but still…

      Reply
    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Loads of good comments on that article, particularly the ones by “The Actual RootWyrm.” I’d have cut and pasted them but they’re too long for that. Still well worth a read.

      Here’s a shorter one that pretty much encapsulates the situation from a commenter named “send_in_the_drones”:

      I think that’s mostly right. The quasi-cab companies have the best chance as they have an existing market to re-purpose, but the food people? As revolutionary as the Segway was to be.

      Look at the Chinese bicycle scam, which has left literally hundreds of thousands of bicycles piled in impound yards all over China after their rental companies went bust – the primary profit is from selling shares.

      “Profits” are so ten minutes ago when you can hype the “news;” pump, dump and pump the shares again and again; buy and sell options and other “financial instruments” to cash in on the “spread;” beat “analyst’s estimates” by a penny thanks to conflicted “analysts,” shady accounting and “non-recurring expenses;” and always depend on the fed to pull your chestnuts out of the fire if the “need” arises.

      As far as the actual restaurants go, who needs ’em. I hear amazon is getting into the business so it’s all good.

      Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    A friend was in the main part of Sequoia NP when he came across a couple of women from LA peeing in the woods and kind of startled them. They mentioned how afraid they were to use public bathrooms.

    I’ve always thought relieving yourself in such a manner was the biggest hurdle to getting people to backpack, particularly women.

    The trailhead parking lots in Mineral King are chock full of cars with many parked illegally all over the place in desperation, there’s a boom going on, as walking wins by default-compared to sweaty gyms and other indoor torture centers.

    Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “US Ambassador posts a message to the Russian people”

    I think that I like the Russian sense of humour and it certainly is not woke or pc. I am surprised though that that Ambassador could do the second half of his little speech without grimacing, especially in light of what happened to Americans that spoke out in protest this month.

    I will mention one other thing. That Saker article shows an image of four European defense ministers all of whom were women. I have seen this before and usually it was shown side by side with an image of Sergey Shoygu who looked pretty hard core. But it was more subtle than that. Take a read of Sergey Shoygu’s Wikipedia entry and you will see that he is a man with a lot of depth-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergey_Shoygu

    The other three defenses ministers I cannot speak about but I know the German one at the time who was Ursula von der Leyen and who had a bad run when she was in charge of the Defense Ministry. Read her background in comparison-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursula_von_der_Leyen#Education_and_professional_career

    There is a lot to be said for a system that raises qualified people to leadership.

    Reply
    1. Fireship

      Another of her nicknames is von der Lyin’. She’s a complete lightweight. Censored a Rammstein album because of references to spanking (tHat’S sExIsT) but has no problem selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

      Speaking of her years doing drugs and sleeping around London she fondly reminisced that she “lived more than she studied,” and that London was “the epitome of modernity: freedom, the joy of life, trying everything” which “gave me an inner freedom that I have kept until today.”

      Freedom for me but not for you.

      Reply
    2. deplorado

      I didn’t know this:

      “She was born and raised in Brussels, where her father Ernst Albrecht was one of the first European civil servants. She was brought up bilingually in German and French, and is of German and British American descent. She moved to Hanover in 1971, when her father entered politics to become Minister President of the state of Lower Saxony in 1976. As an economics student at the London School of Economics in the late 1970s, she lived under the name Rose Ladson, the family name of her American great-grandmother from Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating as a physician from the Hannover Medical School in 1987, she specialized in women’s health. In 1986 she married fellow physician Heiko von der Leyen of the noble von der Leyen family of silk merchants. As a mother of seven children, she was a housewife during parts of the 1990s and lived for four years in Stanford, California, while her husband was on faculty at Stanford University,[…]”

      As close to aristocracy as you can get away with today.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        She even as ties with southern American aristocracy too-

        ‘Von der Leyen’s father’s grandparents were the cotton merchant Carl Albrecht (1875–1952) and Mary Ladson Robertson (1883–1960), an American who belonged to a plantation owning family of the southern aristocracy from Charleston, South Carolina. Her American ancestors played a significant role in the British colonization of the Americas, and she descends from many of the first English settlers of Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Barbados, and from numerous colonial-era governors. Among her ancestors were Carolina governors John Yeamans, James Moore, Robert Gibbes, Thomas Smith and Joseph Blake, Pennsylvania deputy governor Samuel Carpenter, and the American revolutionary and lieutenant governor of South Carolina James Ladson. The Ladson family were large plantation owners and her ancestor James H. Ladson owned over 200 slaves by the time slavery in the United States was abolished; her relatives and ancestors were among the wealthiest in British North America in the 18th century, and she descends from one of the largest British slave traders of the era, Joseph Wragg. Carl and Mary were the parents of Ursula von der Leyen’s grandfather, the psychologist Carl Albrecht, who was known for developing a new method of meditation and for his research on mystical consciousness. She is the niece of the conductor George Alexander Albrecht and a first cousin of the chief conductor of the Dutch National Opera Marc Albrecht.’

        Reply
        1. Bugs Bunny

          The West is ruled by idiots, still.

          Maybe the Bolcheviks did accomplish something? Lenin was no nice guy, bien entendu.

          Reply
  11. divadab

    Re: Gavrilo Princeps and the spark that started WWI –

    The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife was the pretext for Austria’s invasion of Serbia. Not the cause of the war. I just shake my head at how the imperial propaganda has entered our discourse. Let me put this in modern terms – if Angela Merkel were to be assassinated by a random Syrian anarchist, does this mean that Germany’s subsequent invasion of Syria (I mean, in its unlikely event) was caused by the assassination? Of course not – it’s just sloppy thinking to use that construction, as it is for WWI. The real reason was AUstria’s fear that Serbian nationalism would spread to its imperial possessions in Slavic lands – and they would lose them. As they did, ultimately, as well as their empire.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Or ‘Sympathy for the Devil’

      That would be kind of like when the Patriots accepted their 4th(?) or maybe 5th(?) Superbowl trophy a few years ago – there are so many it’s hard to keep track – with Carl Orff’s O Fortuna blaring over the PA as Brady and Belichick went to pick up the hardware.

      If you’re going to be the bad guy, you might as well own it..

      Reply
      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Ha, or the Microsoft TV spot that popped up the cheery platitude: “Where do you want to go today?”

        … while in the background Mozart’s Requiem thundered (in Latin): the wicked, confounded, shall be consigned to unending flames of hell

        Reply
      2. wilroncanada

        lyman alpha blob
        For the musical theorists:
        You say Kodaly,
        and I say Suzuki.
        You say Suzuki,
        and I say Kodaly
        Suzuki, Kodaly,
        Kodaly, Suzuki,
        Let’s call the whole thing Orff.

        Reply
        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          I’m inclined to doubt that the Common Orange-Crested Dotard would consider even hinting that HE can’t get no — uh, no, no, *NO*!

          Reply
  12. TroyIA

    Watch: It’s not just the lungs: The Covid-19 virus attacks like no other ‘respiratory’ infection

    I mentioned in today’s thread about asymptomatic patients having lung damage how 54% of asymptomatic Diamond Princess patients have lung damage. If covid-19 damages the lungs does it have a similar effect throughout the body? Has anyone seen any studies that tested asymptomatic patients for heart, kidney or organ damage?

    Reply
      1. TroyIA

        We simply don’t know. All we have are unanswered questions. Is covid-19 a respiratory illness or is it a blood disease? What percentage of patients have organ, nerve and tissue damage? Is this damage permanent? Does a person clear the virus or is it similar to HIV and it attacks and destroys organs over time?

        I have adopted a mindset like Nassim Nicholas Taleb and will assume the worst until proven otherwise.

        Reply
    1. sam

      Not to minimize these outcomes which are certainly tragic for those affected, but this article and the studies it cites appear to relate to a limited number of patients hospitalized with severe illness. It would be useful to have some perspective on the frequency of these conditions as a percentage of total cases.

      Reply
  13. anon in so cal

    >Covid-19

    The NYT is finally acknowledging missteps by “health officials”:

    “2. Covid-19 can spread without symptoms, but for months health officials minimized that risk and pushed misleading messages despite mounting evidence.

    Interviews with doctors and public health officials in more than a dozen countries show that a two-month delay was a product of faulty scientific assumptions, academic rivalries and, perhaps most important, a reluctance to accept that containing the virus would take drastic measures.

    Models suggest that earlier, aggressive action might have saved tens of thousands of lives. Dr. Camilla Rothe’s team in Munich, above, was among the first to warn about asymptomatic transmission.”

    —The Morning

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/27/world/europe/coronavirus-spread-asymptomatic.html

    Reply
  14. Pookah Harvey

    re Dick Cheney says WEAR A MASK. #realmenwearmasks
    Best line I’ve seen yet is the title of a Moon of Alabama article:
    “A Mask Is Not A Political Statement. It’s An IQ Test.”

    Reply
    1. shinola

      “A Mask Is Not A Political Statement. It’s An IQ Test.”

      Good one! I think I’ll spread it around.

      Reply
    2. Angie Neer

      That’s a good zinger, but I think it’s a little off. Since masks primarily protect people other than the wearer, it’s really a social responsibility test. And we rugged self-reliant USAans are not into social responsibility if it involves the tiniest sacrifice on our part.

      Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “Princeton Dumps Woodrow Wilson’s Name Over ‘Racist Thinking’”

    Have already said that I am not a fan of just pulling down statues. Taking the names of people off buildings, however, I can get aboard with. Woodrow Wilson’s name should be dropped for a variety of reasons and his blatant racism is just one of them. But he has been dead a century now. How about we have a look at other buildings who have names of people still living who have done terrible things to people in our own time. Does Jeff Bezos, for example, have his moniker on the side of a building somewhere?

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Gore Vidal covers Wilson in detail, chronicling how he got America into the war despite the entire press, the Congress, and the great majority of the people being vehemently against. Vidal says Wilson started something big by recruiting a very early Hollywood to the task. Fast forward to when torture propaganda and very sub-par film Zero Dark Thirty was awarded Best Picture, with those luminaries Tom Hanks and Spielberg applauding from the crowd. Oh, and #MeToo! with the director being a woman. So it’s a two-fer: 1. Let’s Go Torture and Kill Innocent Brown People (Yay!) and 2. Let’s Virtue Signal About Gender (Double Yay!)

      Reply
    2. polecat

      One, or more .. could go ever further, and turn the Eccles Building, that mausoleum to neoliberalism, to rubble ..

      A twofer!

      Reply
  16. a different chris

    Re: “I Quit”

    finding problems within science as a process, and on mitigating them……and how much money….we collectively waste.

    But, he is older than the people around him but not old enough to really, really understand: the money that is “wasted” goes to someone. And that someone usually could give a (family blog) about advancing science and helping the world, they just want to step on what they regard as little people on their way to the top.

    And they do get to the top. And they see and appreciate (as long as they can keep them a rung or two below) people like them, so the whole top of the corporate/academic ladder now looks like that. They don’t want anybody to know what they’ve done is basically cow poop without the fertilizing qualities, their hires have exactly the same issue in their backgrounds so all is merry as long as everybody shuts up and collects their exorbitant salaries.

    So not only ain’t he ever going to get funded but he will be actively blocked from that sort of work whenever it is important enough to interfere with somebody’s Vampire Squid sucker.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Those are his frustrations. What pushed him out was the pandemic and fear of returning to a college pandemic petri dish. He’s frank about that. Faculty at my uni are starting to defy the admin about demands for in-person classroom teaching this fall for even subjects that can be taught online.

      About college towns facing an existential situation with the pandemic, this from the NYTimes.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/28/us/coronavirus-college-towns.html

      Reply
    2. ObjectiveFunction

      I nearly missed the I Quit piece due to no context being given, but am now glad I didn’t. Buried in his rant are a lot of solid insights into our civilizational crisis that go well beyond academia here:

      There have been big grants, big opportunities, big spaces, that have opened up over the last few years. They would have changed this narrative, a lot. However, they have failed to materialise…. It is simply impossible to make long term decisions, to really catch a hold of something fruitful and useful, when we are continually fighting for short-to-medium term money on patchworks of assembled projects with the right money….

      The worst case scenario, which is entirely possible, is a historical bloodletting in academic research unlike which you have never seen. This shoe will take a few years to drop. A virus is fast, a budget is slow. Right now everyone is still spending the money they have. It’s the ‘getting more of it’ that will become curly, and that’s still yet to fully materialize….

      This is EXACTLY the wrong time in modern history to try to become a professor. We have colossal oversupply of educated labor, trying desperately to differentiate themselves into a system which rewards uniformity, lack of risk, box-ticking, and over-publication….

      And I don’t personally endorse this last bit, since like many here I’m skeptical of the Tech Fairy and the Cult of Progress, but it’s worthy for the pure snark!

      Clutch your pearls elsewhere, but before you go, please know the world that science will eventually have to build — maybe not soon, but hopefully in our lifetimes — will run over your empty values. You are a confused faun on the busy motorway of empirical progress, and you’re going to be badly organised pâté soon enough. Sleep well.

      Reply
  17. Susan the other

    CRISPR Gene Editing in Human Embryos. In the chromosomes of human embryos. It’s risky because the application techniques are inaccurate and can miss the site of the gene altogether, or hit it but also demolish genes on either side. Another problem being that this is genetic material and these changes can be inherited. Very interesting; I’ve been wondering how the Chinese twins are doing and is that doctor still in prison?

    Reply
  18. JacobiteInTraining

    Heehee… Sacha Baron Cohen up to his old tricks impersonating and punking some 3%’ers in Olympia WA:

    https://old.reddit.com/r/Seattle/comments/hh885f/sacha_baron_cohen_borat_alig_trolls_right_wing/

    Rumor has it a ‘big donor’ put in some last minute cash, paid for security, and those security peeps prevented the knuckledraggers from disconnecting the sound system so Sacha could keep singing.

    I mean, not necessarily the most comprehensive ‘victory’ over the opposition but to the extent that ‘punking’ the alt-right helps humiliate them, great. Of course, I’m also pretty ashamed that WA State has so many of those people, but every little bit of humiliation counts.

    Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          @ Massinissa. There is a link to a tweet embedded in that article which I should have highlighted showing it-

          https://twitter.com/Charles_Eakins/status/1277004536507326464

          This sort of stunt annoys me. It is like having a guy singing songs about keeping women barefoot & pregnant at a Bernie Sanders rally while having bodyguards keeping people away and making sure that power is not cut to his mike. Then on Fox News that night you have those talking heads show this as proof of the existence of “Bernie Bros” at work.

          Reply
          1. Massinissa

            That clip is like 3 seconds long. And in the 8 minute video, noone was trying to stop him. They apparently sang along with him for a full 8 minutes before that short clip you linked. Sure took them awhile to figure out what was going on. And I didn’t see any guards keeping people away from him either in the 8 minute video OR in the few second clip you posted.

            Now as for the stunt being in poor taste, to be honest, you may have a point there.

            Reply
      1. JacobiteInTraining

        In the ‘better late then never’ department, I see in a general way what Rev Kev is trying to point out, and I know it is never good to paint an individual with the groups sins….or vice-versa…so i may be somewhat guilty in that regard in my blanket hatred for the Wa State 3%ers

        BUT…I would postulate that Rev Kev aint from ’round here, and may not be up on the dynamics of that group.

        …if I can justify that in any way (even if somewhat hypocritically, I shouldn’t ‘hate’ anyone, really) it is that I lived for quite a few years in the Enumclaw WA area – Its a hotbed of 3%ers membership, and I had some pretty mean run-ins with some of the specific personalities that populate that group.

        Not to name names, but since I grew up in a working-class family, and am lily-white, I tend to blend. The ‘bubba’ types seem comfortable with me, initially, and over time their attitudes become apparent over beers and pool. Lets just say that the incidents involved the Native American wife of my best friend and leave it at that….any stereotypical racist white comment you can think of was said, and not in a joking ‘just kidding bro’ kind of way.

        I have kept up on that group since, and despite attempts to paint themselves in the best possible light – they are also supporters of WA State Rep Matt Shea. (look him up) and I am afraid anyone that does not vehemently condemn Matt Shea….is my enemy. Shea is *not* a good person. In fact, he wants me dead, apparently:

        “…In late October 2018, Shea acknowledged that he had distributed a document described as a “four-page manifesto” titled Biblical Basis for War that listed strategies that a “Holy Army” could employ. The document, consisting of 14 sections divided into bullet points, had a section on “rules of war” that stated “make an offer of peace before declaring war”, which within stated that the enemy must “surrender on terms” of no abortions, no same-sex marriage, no communism and “must obey Biblical law”, then continued: “If they do not yield — kill all males”….

        Sorry, maybe its ‘just my opinion, man’ but Shea is a religious-theocratic-NAZI, and anyone who fails to condemn him (and/or says ‘well, he got a raw deal’ is an enabler of that sort of thing.

        And I dont like enablers. So, juvenile Cohen antics/virtue-signaling or not…..i want to see them humiliated.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          @ JacobiteInTraining. Just caught up with your comment. I was reading about that Matt Shea and he certifiably insane. But who is giving him political cover that he could get so far? How did he get to be an army captain much less a lawyer? Did people know what he was all about when they voted for him? The only consistent thing that I can see threading through his history is a constant resort to violence-

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Shea

          Reply
          1. JacobiteInTraining

            How does he get elected? I never followed campaigns on the dry side of the Cascades but….Draw a circle around Hayden Lake, Idaho extend it out for about 50-100 miles, (which includes Spokane where Shea is from) throw in a few decades of popularity as a region in which few minorities live…where government is as lassaiz faire as it comes, and leaven it with the loose-nuts of a variety of different far-right organizations moving there over those decades, and pretty soon you get some pretty far-right behavior – and voting – that is considered ‘normal’.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_Nations

            Ever since I was just a little kid growing up in Oregon’s Willamette Valley we knew the odds of kicking over a rock and finding a card-carrying Christian Identity Nazi in that area were….much MUCH higher then anywhere else. Been self-selecting and concentrating in that area for years.

            Reply
  19. allan

    Bill Barr, if you’re reading this, here is some vandalism and desecration of a monument
    and impingement of religious freedom
    that you could prosecute:

    .@DHSgov continues to topple ancient saguaro cactuses for #BorderWall construction
    at Organ Pipe [National Monument].
    An arm on this giant had just started to fruit before it was bulldozed over.

    Saguaros are deeply sacred to the Tohono O’odham,
    who have fought the wall strenuously from day one.
    [embedded video]
    4:06 PM · Jun 27, 2020

    Reply
  20. Frank

    “The Indian Hindu caste system is part of the problem of colourism in India exploited under colonialism.”

    The Indian Hindu caste system is part of the problem of capitalalism in the U.S. and is exploited by the Democratic Party under colorism to promote upper class Indian women: For example, Kamala Harris, Neera Tanden and the Silicon Valley billionaires like Neerja Sethi and Jayshree Ullal.

    Reply
    1. VietnamVet

      I remember a long time ago of a young Chinese woman teaching in the boonies to pay off her education, next to the Equator, doing everything within her power to remain pale. An East Indian headmaster who said American education was worthless since it was nowhere near English/Indian standards.

      The problem is that global prejudices, castes and abhorrence have moved with the professional managers into the Empire’s capital to mix in with the existing divides. The sad part is that it is pointless. The Empire is no more. All in Washington DC are banned from travel to virus free European, Asian, and South Pacific nations.

      Reply
  21. Tomonthebeach

    The post about the Earn It bill begs a rather stupid question. Can we imagine the government reading our emails and posts? Mr. Rogers might have asked; “Can you spell Stasi? Sure, I know that you can.”

    Lindsey Graham appears to have authored the bill. All I could think of when I began reading it was the silly FB post of some joker wearing his underpants over his face as a PC mock of COVID-19 mask rules. First, it was obscene on the face of it (literally). Second, the justification is to protect little children from sexual exploitation when it is clear that the end goal is far more insidious, prurient, and Hooveristic in its malintent. Third, it is pure gaslight, as NSA already spies on everybody’s digital communications 24/7 – ask Edward Snowden.

    Reply
  22. flora

    So Princeton is going to do a little renaming of its own that won’t change anything material now. Good symbolism, though. It costs nothing more than stationary changes and new nameplates. Meanwhile, blacks and latinos suffer worse health outcomes from Covid than whites. Silence from the Dem estab on Medicare-for-all or universal healthcare. The following is a reminder from Wendell Potter:

    https://twitter.com/wendellpotter/status/1276541733115965443

    Reply
    1. flora

      adding: on the plus side for the WWS alumni, they may stop getting begging letters from the Princeton WWS alumni association since that school designation will no longer exist. ;)

      Reply
  23. Daryl

    > Texas cities say state is making pandemic worse The Hill

    Saying that the state “limited” the response does not go far enough. The state has aided and abetted the spread of the virus, it would not be a stretch to say that Abbott and the state gov’t are some of the viruses greatest allies at present, enabling it to tear through an immunologically naive population like a wildfire.

    Reply
  24. Samuel Conner

    A Google search on (with quotes)

    “chronic coronavirus disease sequelae”

    produces no results. I have an uneasy intuition that that may not be the case in the future.

    If acquired immunity is not long-lasting and reinfection is a significant risk, these could become widespread and result in a material increase in mortality rates for the foreseeable future

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I tried covid-19 sequelae using DuckDuckGo and got a few hits from places like Bloomberg, a pubmed journal article: “Are We Facing a Crashing Wave of Neuropsychiatric Sequelae of COVID-19? Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Potential Immunologic Mechanisms” and medpage. I do get a feeling it’s not a popular topic.

      Reply
  25. kareninca

    About three weeks ago I wrote that the covid testing tents near where I live in the Palo Alto CA area were always empty, even though there were a huge number of empty slots on their online sign-on sheet. But starting last week, a line has appeared. Every time I drive past there are about eight cars in line with people to be tested. So they are ramping up the testing here.

    The monthly charity book sale that I volunteer at is supposed to resume in August. I have doubts. The nearby shopping mall was mobbed yesterday. Not as mobbed as in ordinary times, when it was very hard to find a parking space, but mobbed nonetheless. It is hard to see how this won’t lead to more outbreaks and shutdowns. People were wearing masks as they walked around, but the restaurants were very busy and of course people had to take off their masks to eat.

    Reply
  26. Gc54

    Mr. Barr better get off his @$$ and indict the Russigaters or the “wheel of justice”™ will turn too slowly to disrupt the biden/RICE coronation.

    Once they are in power, all their purported seditious acts over the last few yrs will vanish down the memory hole.

    Reply

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