Links 6/6/2020

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The Sea’s Weirdest Creatures, Now in ‘Staggering’ Detail New York Times (David L)

Killing of elephant with explosive-laden fruit causes outrage in India Guardian

Fruit fly study reveals link between the gut and death by sleep deprivation MedicalXpress (Chuck L)

Largest And Oldest Maya Monument Ever Found Discovered Under Mexico Science Alert (Chuck L)

Putin Declares State of Emergency After Massive Fuel Leak Pollutes River in the Arctic Circle CBS

People Try To Do Right By Each Other, No Matter the Motivation, Study Finds PhysOrg


Suddenly one Spring FTAlphaville (vlade). Anodyne title. About the famed March meltdown, from the Bank of England’s perspective. Underlying report: Seven Moments in Spring: Covid-19, financial markets and the Bank of England’s balance sheet operations


Hope dims for hydroxychloroquine even as medical study detailing the drug’s failure is retracted MarketWatch. I am at a loss as to what these stories are about. Hydroxychloroquine did not perform well with Covid-19 patients that had been hospitalized. Useful to know, but that’s not the main proposed use case. It’s as a prophylactic or very early in the disease course. And anecdotally, I hear of lots of front line medical workers taking hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic.

COVID-19 Pandemic Causes 42% Drop In ER Visits Nationwide, CDC Says UPI

The medical complexity of Covid-19 BBC


How Has the Coronavirus Crisis Affected Xi’s Power: A Preliminary Assessment China Leadership Monitor. PlutoniumKun: “Shorter version – Xi was mislead by local cadres about the seriousness of the outbreak, but he should have been more decisive.”

Korea rolls out face masks for summer heat Korea Herald. PlutoniumKun: “Koreans still ahead of the game.”


The Coronavirus Cloud Has a Potential Silver Lining for the Indian Crafts Sector The Wire (J-LS)


Americans misuse disinfectants in ‘high risk’ practice to prevent coronavirus infection: survey Reuters. Resilc: “In the Peace Corps and Foreign Service we washed veggies and fruit in Clorox all the time.

She’s patrolled Navajo Nation for nearly 20 years. Nothing prepared her for coronavirus LA Times (David L)


Shocking job numbers raise hopes for quicker recovery The Hill. Way too early to open the champagne. I had expected a W shaped recovery, an initial bounce followed by a reversal, independent of a second wave. Infection rates are still rising in a lot of states. Given the fits and starts with getting PPP funds to employers, most if not virtually all are in the period where they have to maintain payrolls. I’ve heard directly from business owners that they expect to have to cut heads, so that bleed will start shortly. Plus this: “….half of them reporting back to restaurants, bars and other businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry.” Unclear how many will make it under the new normal.

While welcome gains, job losses since February still total 19.6 million Economic Policy Institute

‘Biggest payroll surprise in history’ – stocks and yields rise after jobs number Seeking Alpha. Resilc: “Fake numbers.” He’s right. From the very end of the Department of Labor’s press release:

If the workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work due to “other reasons” (over and above the number absent for other reasons in a typical May) had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been about 3 percentage points higher than reported (on a not seasonally adjusted basis). However, according to usual practice, the data from the household survey are accepted as recorded. To maintain data integrity, no ad hoc actions are taken to reclassify survey responses.

Admittedly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics had a similar note last month. As always, focus on U-6, which shows unemployment over 20%.

A Better Jobs Report Belies America’s Breadlines Wired

Here’s why the real unemployment rate may be higher than reported CNBC

However….Dentists’ offices are responsible for 10 percent of jobs regained last month The Week

How coronavirus will change car design Car Magazine (resilc)


A tale of two speeches by Gove and Frost Beerg Brexit Blog (guurst). Criminy, I missed this aspect completely, when it was there all the time in full view, perhaps because it was delusional even by the nutters standards of the ERG.

New Cold War

‘Somebody cooked up the plot’: The hunt for the origins of the Russia collusion narrative Just The News (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Under Pressure, UK Government Releases NHS COVID Data Deals With Big Tech openDemocracy

Slack Removed a Blog Post Showing How Police Use its Tech Vice

New Research: “Privacy Threats in Intimate Relationships” Bruce Schneier

Imperial Collapse Watch

Fleeing The Collapsing Imperium American Conservative (Chuck L)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black deaths at the hands of law enforcement are linked to historical lynchings Economic Policy Institute

George Floyd protests: Number of US arrests tops 10,000 Independent

Defiant Washington DC mayor has ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on street near White House Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)

Democrats Think Officers Policing Protests Need to Identify Themselves. Bill Barr Disagrees. Mother Jones (resilc)

Shouldn’t Congressional Approval Be Required to Deploy Troops at Home Too? Nation

Revolting’: Trump condemned for saying George Floyd is praising US economy Guardian (resilc)

Like the tweet above, via Chuck L. Not surprisingly, comments were blistering:

Buffalo Police Team Resigns From Unit in Support of Suspended Officers Who Pushed 75-Year-Old Man Sputnik. Kevin W: “Fuck them. Send them back to Traffic.”

How Police Became Paramilitaries New York Review of Books

Police And Their Apologists Have Already Lost The Argument Caitlin Johnstone

Why America’s revolution won’t be televised Asia Times

Jeff Bezos says ‘Black Lives Matter’ in response to angry customer email The Verge. Resilc: “I’m the richest guy in the history of the world, so F-off, but check out our new Black Lives Matter collection at Amazon fashion.”

NYPD Is Taking Protesters’ Masks and Putting Them at Risk of Coronavirus in Custody: Protesters are being held as long as 50 hours with no protective gear or ability to socially distance from other protesters in custody — or cops. Vice

Germany: Thousands attend anti-racism protests DW

As George Floyd marches loom, do’s and don’ts for protesting in Japan Japan Times. PlutoniumKun: “I was talking to a friend in Tokyo about these protests – they really do them differently there.” Moi: Japan is also the land of dark military-looking trucks blaring right-wing propaganda in public places.

Trump Transition

The Memo: Trump’s troubles deepen as voters see country on wrong path The Hill

Democracy on the Defensive in Trump’s America Der Spiegel

How Protests Over George Floyd’s Killing Exposed Trump as a Lame-Duck Authoritarian Intercept

The Story Behind Bill Barr’s Unmarked Federal Agents Politico (Ron A)

Trump orders 9,500 US troops to leave Germany Guardian. Kevin W: “Alternate (outraged) New York Times link for this story.”

The president’s inhumanity is deeper than we knew Washington Post

Trump to open Atlantic marine national monument to commercial fishing National Geographic (David L)

The Trump campaign removed a ‘make space great again’ video ad after former NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg called it ‘political propaganda’ for using images of her family Business Insider. Kevin W: “This might be the new version of that ad:


Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination The Hill

Ukraine found no evidence against Hunter Biden in case audit: former top prosecutor Reuters (furzy)

This decommissioned 1993 Humvee still has guns and it is surprisingly road legal 71 DriveTribe

How Apple Decides Which Products Are ‘Vintage’ and ‘Obsolete’ OneZero

States Are Leaning Toward a Push To Break Up Google’s Ad Tech Business CNBC

Antidote du jour (MGL in Anchorage):

Canada geese. We live on the 4th floor of condo unit. These windows look out across rooftop of adjacent building. We were so surprised to see two Canada geese wandering the rooftop and eventually approaching our window.

One of them appeared drawn in by the lavender we have in pots outside our window. But showed no interest upon inspection, turned up its bill and walked away.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. John A

    Ukraine found no evidence against Hunter Biden in case audit: former top prosecutor

    Why would they? He was paid 50,000 or whatever a month for his name. He probably literally did nothing, either for or against the gas company. His legal training relates to US law and in English, different country, different language, different legal system. Simply handed over his bank details and watched his balance rise. Nice ‘work’ if you can get it, but to get it, you need a certain family name.

    1. barefoot charley

      And there’s nothing wrong with that, right? What the story shows is that Burisma wasted its money on boy Biden. Is no one accountable?

    2. John Beech

      And perhaps more accurately, Ukraine has cast its vote for the November judging Trump will be history and thus, better to be on the right side of good ol’ Joe.

      1. Guild Navigator

        +10 (in binary – sorry, using different numeric and counting system, just woke up)

    3. Polar Socialist

      It’s my understanding that Ukraine is, in the light of the recently published recordings, constructing a case of treason against the former president Poroshenko.

      From the tapes it is apparent that Ukrainians weren’t aware of any issues concerning the prosecutor in question, but Poroshenko sacked him anyway because a foreign agent (Biden) told him to.

      Then again, it may just be political persecution.

    4. Michael Fiorillo

      The scandal isn’t that laws are broken with impunity (though there’s plenty of that); the scandal is what’s legal.

      Many of my friends continue to suffer from severe Trump Derangement Syndrome, and as a result have spent the past four years engaged in preposterous and embarrassing magical thinking, convinced that the next big (but always soon-to-be-refuted) Russiagate bombshell would remove Trump and refurn us to that status quo ante we all remember so fondly. They didn’t protest Trump’s tax cuts, or reneging on the Iran nuclear deal, or his criminal sanctions against Venezueela, Cuba and Iran, but they made sure to urge me to protest the firing of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. They truly seemed to believe that the hand of Archibald Cox would rise from the grave and magically remove Trump.

      When Mueller failed to satisfy their fantasies (all too often based on their swollen moral vanity) of him being a combination of Holy Avenger of the Republic and Santa Claus, and dispose of the Orange Man, they convinced themselves that Trump’s business dealings, a by-product of bi-partisan legislation, would bring about his removal. How did that work out for us?

      Except when beating down their own Left wing, it seems liberals will do anything to avoid engaging in politics.

      1. Susan the other

        My understanding is that little Hunter is just an annoying accessory – the real story is about Joe’s strong-arming the former Ukranian prosecutor into dropping charges that were in Biden’s way in the set-up establishing the “oil” company in question – which it seems had no oil at all. And other bidenesque things.

        1. John A

          Exactly, that was the point I was trying to make. Hunter is the equivalent of the n’er do well son, bit of a drug problem, dad says to some company/country that wants to keep dad sweet, ‘my son needs a job’, and low and behold Hunter gets the gig. Saying Hunter did nothing wrong is looking down the wrong end of the telescope, he did not need to do anything. Did he even visit Kiev? If he did, he probably got the tour of Kiev by night to various clubs with what ever he asked for given him, good time girls, coke, you name it. It was all about ‘buying’ influence with the vice president. So to say in the headline ‘no evidence against Hunter’ is idiotic. There is no point in even looking for evidence.

        2. Darthbobber

          Being Americans we like to make it all about our politics, but what’s going on in Banderastan now is all about their politics. No sign really that Biden was playing any game here other than the one the whole administration was part of. Which involved dictating minute details of the internal governance of an ostensibly sovereign state.

          The Biden-Poroshenko tape got released to show the cringing subservience of the chocolatier at the sound of his Master’s voice.

          Back when we used to pretend to be about something other than an international protection racket, our diplomacy would never have stated the quid pro quo so directly and explicitly. But the empire has grown vastly coarser in its approach over the years. The Donald has greatly accelerated that trend, but the snowball had already been rolling downhill for awhile before his bulk got added to it.

  2. fresno dan

    In a podcast interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the showrunner of Law & Order: SVU, Warren Leight, told hosts Dan Fienberg and Lesley Goldberg that he understands the recent pushback against the mountain of police-centric programming on TV. In response to a question about whether Leight thinks cops are portrayed “too positively” on TV, Leight answered, “Collectively? Yes.” “Individually am I miscontributing to society?” he continued. “I don’t know. Collectively, are we? Yeah.”

    My own little bete noire – the baloney that Hollywood is liberal or left. Some stars may profess to be, but the industry is firmly a proponent of the worst aspects of the status quo. Somehow, the system may be bad or uncaring or corrupt, but somehow every TV cop is brave and true. The “bad” guy is caught by the self sacrificing efforts of the police and prosecutors. And the one episode per season about the bad cop is just the exception that proves the rule. The bad cop is removed, prosecuted, and convicted – and all is well in TV police land…until the next season, where there is that one bad apple…

    1. fresno dan

      AND as I don’t watch TV doctor shows, am I wrong that nobody dies because they don’t have health insurance ??? (or if the patient doesn’t have health insurance, there is a brilliant work around a la “West Wing” that gets the patient the needed treatment? And the cost of the maintenance prescription drugs is not ever brought up…)

      1. nycTerrierist

        re: unaffordable health care and desperate measures: I submit Breaking Bad

          1. Susan the other

            more like probability – the probability of finding the probability is virtually assured ;-D

            1. polecat

              The ‘Jesse Probability Factor’ .. ??

              Your betters .. subjecting us all to the nefarious effects of ‘Blue’ ice’*

              *concocted by the truckload, courtesy of the O&B gang!

              Hey! .. Anyone up for a Hellpin of ‘Taken-out’ chicken – shite??

      2. Kurtismayfield

        I did see an episode of a doctor show where the father wanted to die instead of going through an expensive treatment. He did not want to bankrupt his family because of lack of insurance. And they kinda made him out to be a bit insane.. but that is the choice our society makes us take.

        1. MLTPB

          Before that, whether to put dad in a nursing home could be another decision we might have to make.

        2. Dan

          The original Law and Order had a number of episodes showing individual acts of resistance to what are made out to be individual corporate acts ranging from negligence to sheer lunacy. I remember one episode where a man killed an insurance executive because the company refused to pay for an expensive lifesaving treatment for his son. But again, it’s always seen through the light of individual isolated instances, not a corrupt system. Or, when a corrupt system is alluded to, the message is simply that that’s always the way it’s been, nothing will ever substantially change, so just make do with whatever small victories may come your way. But people already navigate their lives that way anyway, so the message is redundant and not in any way conducive to wider societal change. And that is obviously by design.

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            Well, remember that the original chong-chong hit kind of gave the game away with its intro:

            In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.

            So anything the police investigate must be a crime — and the only people the district attorneys prosecute are offenders.

        3. ambrit

          Of all shows, “Little House on the Prairie” did a story arc about what the patriarch went through to raise money for a daughter’s eye surgery.
          “We are not a charity sir. You will have to raise the money.”
          Once viewed as an historical plot, the heartlessness of private corporations, it seems to have been mistaken (?) for a primer on neo-liberal social relations.
          (I always was suspicious of the philosophical underpinings of that show. The girls loved it.)

      3. Pat

        You might be surprised by a few episodes of that bastion of normality from the 90’s, Diagonosis Murder. I’m not kidding. I have a weakness for crime shows lite. I have had to pick up my chin from the floor on multiple occasions when the B plot of that show busily shows an almost prescient awareness of the dangers of insurance, private equity (although not called that) even drug marketing and point outs where it could lead for healthcare and providers interested in healthcare.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          Good example. Of what never gets produced anymore.

          Quasi-accurate depiction of systemic societal wrongs have long been rare in Hollywood productions. But now, they are beyond rare enough to be “the exceptions that prove the rule”. One characteristic many of the good ones have in common is…… they’re from the 90s. Or earlier.

          1. lordkoos

            Wasn’t this pretty much the case during the 1930s as well? Most films were escapist comedies, musicals, crime dramas etc, avoiding the issues of the day.

    2. griffen

      This is one of a few reasons why I enjoyed Justified so much. Olyphants character, Givens, at least pretended he couldn’t care if a few bad dudes were shot.

      He pulled first, it was justified. The Bennetts are dirty self dealing hicks. And so on.

      Perhaps off topic.

      1. urblintz

        Hey man, c’mon… 15% of people are bad!… especially black folk who ain’t really black.

        1. Susan the other

          I can’t even believe Biden is so obvious and stupid as to think he could make a 10 – 15% comment like that and not get seen through as if he were cellophane. He’s trying to help the DNC by smoothing over Hillary’s epic gaff re “the deplorables.” Biden is a godawful – but sneaky – twit. What is he doing running for president? Well…. the presidency is not important.

          1. Susan the other

            No, correct that: The President is not important. The presidency is very important.

      2. newcatty

        Griffin, yes ! Justified was an amazingly complex narrative for tv land. The show that comes to mind that also questions morality, a sense of place being at the heart of the series and great acting is Longmire. Instead of Appalachia you have Wyoming. If you missed it, might want to check it out.

      3. bob

        The bad guys carried that show with some of the best dialog saved for Boyd Crowder, aka Walton Goggins. “he never says in 2 words what he can say in 20” He was very underappreciated in that role.

    3. CuriosityConcern

      And Ellen’s union avoidance, and the industries race to the bottom tax avoidance.

    4. Carolinian

      Maybe not on TV, but bad cops are a staple of the movies going back not just to Serpico but also to the fifties with dramas like Kirk Douglas’ Detective Story. Television likes “police procedurals” because it’s easy to come up with story lines to feed the weekly grind of a long running series.

      Meanwhile anti-cop attitudes among the influencers may be more of a fad. It wasn’t that long ago that big liberal Tina Fey was saying she appreciated the reign of Giuliani as mayor because “he made us feel safe.”

      1. Stephen V.

        Speaking of Serpico, we enjoyed Pacino in Christopher Nolan’s INSOMNIA last night. Kind of a bad cop Shakesperean morality play.

      1. Susan the other

        Since LBJ’s great society – actually since the McCarthy hearings – but LBJ tried to put a democratic face on it. Hollywood is the CIA.

        1. lordkoos

          It’s basically the same thing… Hollywood portrays the US military as the good guys in exchange for letting them use the gear.

          1. The Rev Kev

            The film “Independence Day” had to be made without toys from the Pentagon because they refused to remove the mention of the term Area 51 in the film. You do see the influence of the Pentagon where you see American soldiers on guard in the end of films like “I, Robot” and “The Day After.”

      2. rob

        80 years before donald rumsfeld and dick cheney were pushing for total information awareness and interfaces with mass media disseminating “information”…propaganda….
        Groups like the council on foreign relations were examples of spheres of influence where the media moguls, bankers, marketeers,their stars,their politicians,their political class… begat the celebrity…. profiles to shape opinion. Before WWII, and the patriotic fervor films…. like casablanca and a thousand others… the establishment helped /created hollywood.
        Like the mobs and las vegas…
        times are strange… then we turn full circle

        It has never been real.

        1. Thomas Moar

          In 1915 president Woodrow Wilson screened a film for guests in the White House called The Klansmen. Three months later it was renamed The Birth of a Nation.

    5. carl

      The Shield. Main character murders a fellow detective in the first show. Then spends the next five years doing more bad stuff.

      1. occasional anonymous

        The Shield also ends with no redemption or excuses. The place the viewer ends up is with the final, ultimate revelation that this guy was just a bad dude the whole time. He left a trail of destruction in his wake and dragged other people down to his level.

  3. No Party

    Re: ICU bed occupancy rates.

    As a Maryland resident, this is baffling. How can Governor Hogan justify re-opening when 96% of ICU beds are occupied? He never seems to acknowledge the severity of the issue in his daily COVID-19 press conferences. And the press have been dutiful in their efforts to paint him as an ideal Republican alternative to Trump, applauding Hogan’s efforts to stymie the outbreak in the early months. Quite honestly, at this point I’d have to say that Maryland is on the verge of catastrophe if we don’t act quickly.

    I work on a military installation in Maryland, and leadership is deliberately lagging re-opening efforts to see how the situation unfolds outside the gates first. They are supposedly tracking the same/similar metrics as the governor to inform their decision (captured in a SecDef memo, can’t find at the moment). Baffling how two entities monitoring the same/similar metrics are seemingly arriving at different conclusions.

    I’ll be curious to see how long the military leadership at my installation hold out. The natives are getting restless, so to speak. Many I work with are ready to get back to normal, deferring all critical thought about the danger, preferring instead to follow the Governor’s lead. How the hell is this going to work out if the Governor’s decision to re-open results in even a minimal spike in hospitalizations?

    I just read an article in the Baltimore Sun that they still have the temporary hospital set up at the Baltimore Convention Center. It hasn’t been called to service yet – I guess the Governor thinks the rows of cots are an adequate replacement for ICU beds should the re-opening situation deteriorate. I for one would rather not test the limits of ICU capacity.

    1. MLTPB

      People don’t tolerate risks the same, and have different needs.

      Some were self distancing long before, and some will not reopen as soon, independent of others or public decisions.

      A visit to the doctor or a trip to the store can be a tough decision for them, while others rush to Vegas pool parties.

    2. GF

      Here in AZ our gov started reopening a couple of weeks ago and the number of new cases has doubled from around 700 to 1,500 per day. We are still in “phase 1” but it is basically back to normal. Worse, hordes of Phoenicians flock to Northern AZ every weekend to escape both the virus and the intensely hot weather, leaving mountains of trash, lighting unlawful campfires and not putting them out and generally reeking havoc in the forests and it is every weekend not just holidays:

      1. lordkoos

        Our rural county has moved to “phase 2” of the pandemic strategy. The problem is that a lot of people instantly relax and mentally move on to stage 5, which is reflected in their behavior…

  4. Zagonostra

    >The Sea’s Weirdest Creatures

    This was the only story in today’s link that didn’t depress me. The corrupt oligarchs are clearly in control of the political future of this country, whether it’s Trump or Biden neither promise the fundamental changes everyone feels is needed.

    Deceptive rhetoric, false reasoning, duplicitous dealings and outright lies emanate from those who control and disseminate the news. And what is news but information that is supposed to allow citizens to act in such a way that they are sovereign. But when there are riots in the street, joblessness in the land, and the fearful and hungry in their homes, it seems that darkness holds sway.

    Hopefully the sun will come out and at least we can go out for a walk and breath the air, unless it’s filled with tear gas that is…

    1. Fireship

      Blaming oligarchs is a cop out. The noted sociologist George Carlin had this to say on the matter:

      Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. F*** Hope.

      1. Susan the other

        Thank you Fireship. I feel forgiven already of my public-suckness. I honestly don’t think George Carlin was ever, ever, wrong. And I still miss him like it was yesterday.

        1. jr

          I saw Carlin in one of his last live shows at a small PA state college years ago. At one point he asked the audience who was in marketing/advertising. Hands shot up eagerly, it was a significant portion of the audience.

          He then tore them several new (family blog)s for a solid five minutes, essentially calling them professional liars and detriments to society. He was obviously very angry. They were obviously not prepared for this.

          The auditorium was dead silent when he finished….except for me screaming and clapping, literally the sole voice in the crowd. He picked up another thread and got a few more laughs but the audience had grown cold so he wrapped it up as quick as he could. At the end, as he left the stage to lukewarm applause, he turned, pointed directly at me and mouthed “Thank you!”

          1. newcatty

            My spouse and I have a George Carlin story. One of our fondest, and most appreciated memories. When just married many moons ago we lived in a bungalow house in downtown Phoenix. We were walking down to a little cafe, or something, on a lazy, hazy week-end afternoon. We noticed a large tent set-up in, I think, a parking lot. There was a sign outside that said something like George Carlin 2:00. Tickets: 1dollar. It was also a double bill with a film. “Watermellon Man”. We went and were most properly blow away. Susan the Other, I miss him, too.

          2. periol

            Carlin and Bill Hicks, two lone comedic voices speaking truth into the wilderness.

            I remember when a friend gave me a tape of Bill Hicks a while back, sadly after he had already passed. He gave voice to so much of what I knew inside already but couldn’t articulate yet.

            And his bit on marketing and advertising has stuck with me from the first time I watched it on early Youtube.


          3. ex-PFC Chuck

            When Simon Kuznets was setting up what became the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the 1930s he proposed that the revenues of the financial and advertising/PR sectors be excluded from the Gross National Product because they didn’t produce anything of true value – they only facilitated and influenced what would be produced and where. In other words they were rentiers. Needless to say the poobahs of those sectors were not amused and used their clout to get their revenues included.

        2. skippy

          I thought the Jane Elliot clip in links a good companion piece to the above, same group continuously externalizes all failures on others at home and abroad E.g. were obedient so whats the rub again?

          Per some of the AZ commenters below observations, in the late 60s and 70s growing up in AZ, my grandfather was a German Jewish MD/Surgeon and grandmother a German Lutheran MD. Both were pillars in the state community. Completely different world back then – then came the hordes from the East seeking opportunity and traded heat for cold, thank you air-con.

          Left in the mid 70s and came back in the mid 80s, where RE was its own pandemic and some thought it a good idea to build a concrete parking lot in a depression in the middle of the desert with people sprinkled on top of it …

          Can’t even look at AZ family Fborg posts anymore … like watching group dementia set in …

        3. Cuibono

          But he is wrong here in one way:our system seems to be perfectly designed to select the biggestbunch of psychopaths on the planet

          1. skippy

            Dead set had a conversation with a high ranking AET freemarket libertarian some years ago, said all – WE – need was to better manage psychopaths for their creative powers.

            Always reminds me of Hayek’s missive about purging humanity of altruism so market could function properly in price discovery.

      2. jsn

        The policy continuum from Buckley vs Valeo to Citizens United has transformed politics into a policy auction wherer Republicrats solicit bribes to enact legilation for bribers who then reward the soon to be ex-politicians with lobbying sinecures when they’re turffed out by betrayed voters.

        It is a system that self selects for venality and has restructured the entire process to reward the venal. The Powell Memorandum isn’t a conspiracy, it is a mission statement for dismemberment of The New Deal/Great Society by self serving, self rightious venal elite business class.

        Investments in propaganda and counternarrative prepared the ground for Buckley vs Valeo which was followed by increasingly direct investment in politicians as proxies for legislation which has been delivered. Voters don’t matter within the system anymore and haven’t for a while.

      3. Laughingsong

        Apparently when he said this, he was not aware or thinking of the fixers in the smoke filled back rooms and their fellow travelers in the media.

        1. LifelongLib

          The fixers in the smoke filled backrooms gave us Lincoln, FDR, LBJ. I don’t see our current system producing politicians of remotely similar stature. And it seems like many of the changes to open up the process have just given special interests additional ways to put their oars in, without really getting the general public more involved. Not saying a genuine democracy wouldn’t be better than smoke filled rooms, but what we have now may be worse.

          1. Darthbobber

            Attributing candidate selection in those eras purely to backroom fixers isn’t really an historical reconstruction of how the process worked.

            And the backroom fixers never went away. Their methods and the power groups they represented changed.

            (Lincoln, but also Buchanan, Polk, Grant, Hayes, Cleveland, McKinley, Hoover, Al Smith, et al)

      4. cripes


        Yeah, well, stupid Americans or not, if we held a plebiscite on social security increases, M4A, living wage, paid child leave and demilatarization instead of electing pre-selected “candidates”, we would have enacted it all 60 years ago.

        1. albrt

          We have plebiscites in Arizona. We call them ballot initiatives. They are uniformly moronic and unworkable, having been written either by stoned activists with no legal training or people acting in bad faith trying to make bad laws.

          Unfortunately there is no easy way to get around the fact that the American public sucks and keeps nominating and electing the likes of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

      5. Darthbobber

        Yes, as long as we assume that our political process really is one in which each citizen’s voice has equal weight, and that the ability to get a wide audience for one’s views is pretty evenly distributed, Carlin makes good sense there.

        But in the real world, matters are otherwise. Not one of his stronger routines even then.

    1. Fireship

      To be honest, I found the Dreher article to be verging on hysteria. “OMG, the antifa super soldiers have started beheading middle-class people in town squares across America and taking their children away to forced gender-reassignment camps!” I exaggerate, but just a little. Some of the article comments are interesting with lots of outright racism. This is one of my favorite:

      “The only bright spot I see is that the regime they are building is inherently unstable. The systematic promotion of incompetents, apologetics for barbarism, and denial of truths about human population differences can only go so far. This parasitic ideology is going to hollow out and render dysfunctional the woke power centers. When our military is run by women and the NSA becomes a DC metro-style black jobs program, America will be a joke and unable to sustain its power. Either there will be a resurgence of sanity or we will be conquered by the Chinese. I actually think I would rather live under Chinese authoritarianism than woke authoritarianism.”

      The guy who wrote that claims to be “a PhD student in the hard sciences at an elite university.” God help us.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Some people are seriously losing the plot about Antifa. So a mixed family – a husband, wife, 16-year-old daughter, and the husband’s mother – took their bus to rural Washington to where the “Twilight” films were made fora camping trip. Meanwhile a nearby gun shop owner was posting videos about how there was an Antifa invasion headed their way. Hilarity ensues-

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’ve not met many US Antifa types (apart from a few Austin radicals I once knew slightly), but I’ve known plenty of dreadlocked anarchists in Ireland/UK. Some were pretty cool people who did lots of, shall we say, creative forms of destruction on a part time basis. But most of them were far too busy getting wasted and growing skunk to be a threat to anyone.

          Truly effective radicals are far more focused and organised. There is a story going around Twitter about a South Korean student radical who, before things kicked off in the 1980’s, phoned around every manufacturer of tear gas to find out how much stock they had and how much they could produce on a daily basis. He used this to work out how much the police could use before they ran out. So he organised hit and run demonstrations for 2 weeks, specifically designed to use up all police stocks. Then, and only then, did they go for more direct sit-ins and action aimed at key government buildings. Thats how you do it.

        2. Darthbobber

          Antifa are just Bolsheviks hiding under your bed for a new generation.

          It’s a contest between their foes and their romanticist poser fanboys as to who overhypes them more.

        1. Bill Carson

          Dreher is a nut job. Incredible that he can’t see how xenophobic his views are.

          1. hunkerdown

            In a world where cultural incompatibility has been used to control the working class for centuries if not millennia, why promote bourgeois norms like cosmopolitanism?

            1. Massinissa

              Wait, what?

              Because the elites divide and conquer on racial grounds, the working class should… Become more xenophobic? Something here doesn’t add up. If you want to stop dividing and conquering of the working class, wouldn’t racial solidarity be the obvious solution?

              1. JBird4049

                What? Racial solidarity can be used to divide and conquer as well. I listened to a speech by Frederick Johnson on the members only section (unfortunately) of the 6/1 Dead Pundits Society podcast.

                In it he talked about the sheer size of the Black population, which he said was about forty-one million people. My home state of California, the most population state of the union is only thirty-nine or forty million people. Saying that this population all have the same interests, even in regards to race, is silly.

                It would be like like claiming the the seventy-five percent (inclusive of Hispanics) that is the White population or two hundred forty-seven million people. A working class New Englander, some poor person in Appalachia, or the descent families of the Spanish colonists in the Southwest, who still live there after four centuries, have almost nothing in common with Bill Gates or the rest of the 1%. Yet the alt-right jerks would use our skin color as the overriding connection. Not our American nationality, or even just our common humanity. I don’t think so.

                It should be possible to use race as an additional means of connection and therefore solidarity, but under the IdPol ideology it is use as a means of disconnection and therefore fragmentation. That is what the term “white privilege” is so insidious. It uses the commonality of race to discount the commonality of humanity, class, and even suffering. It is also used to discount or hide the criminality of much of the common leadership of our society, especially the Black Misleadership Class.

                At its surface, it is obviously correct, as being white does give one the greater chance of being treated as a human being; however, it is used to discount the increasing dis-empowerment, immiseration, and brutalization of over half the population because of its existence; a working class, or homeless, White family has far more in common with a working class, or homeless, Black family than it has with almost anyone in even the 10% and certainly of the 1%.

      2. Dirk77

        Unfortunately, that Dreher article was all over the place. He does make some points about the consequences of Idpol, but the indirect making of them really defeats his purpose. Perhaps he was preaching to the choir as many op-eds do. If so, he hasn’t gained many converts. Someone needs to logically reorganize the article. Or perhaps he is a nut job as Bill Carson above states.

        1. Redlife2017

          I veer between thinking he’s a thoughtful, but very traditional person with high ideals to thinking he’s wackadoodle, depending on the subject.

          His background is that he was a lefty in university (originally from a small town in Louisiana), became a conservative then what he calls a traditionalist (converted to Eastern Orthodoxy). He wrote a book called the Benedict Option, which says that conservatives have lost the culture war and they should retreat into a culture of their own against the rest of the broken world. He has a huge (as large as the solar system) blind-spot for right-wing traditionalist nationalists from Europe (Orban, etc.). I have a sneaking suspicion that he would like Franco and possibly Pinochet. So, not at all a eugenicist (like our current UK government is infested with), but certainly comfortable with lots of “law and order” of the Francoist / Pinochet type.

          But that’s just my take, your mileage my vary…

          1. Massinissa

            One of the things he mentioned in the article was white people in DC wanting to move en masse to… HUNGARY AND POLAND?! Bullshit. Anecdote at best. “America is too dangerous, I need to move to an east european dictatorial state” said noone rational ever.

            Also had a section on how Somalis are taking over the UK so moving there is apparently a bad idea…

            1. jsn

              The distorting lens effect of the bubble is amazing.

              Once you’re in it, it makes everything look like your priors, which makes new information and experiences really shocking.

              If it weren’t for 58 years of economic anxiety, spending my life tangent to it, I’d be grateful for having never been absorbed.

              1. Massinissa

                True, I overstated things with Poland, but not by much. Among other things, they’re literally the one nation preventing the EU from condemning Hungary for indefinitely cancelling all elections. They’re not as bad as Hungary, yet, but they’re getting there, and the fact that they’re allies with Hungary says alot.

                So yes, they’re not quite there yet, I did overstate things to some extent, but they’re becoming progressively illiberal in very concerning ways.

            2. c_heale

              That bit about the UK was nonsense. I lived in some of those areas and it was fine.

              1. Redlife2017

                I live near Finsbury Park, have lots of friends who live around there, have walked around there late at night and totally agree. Rubbish. Never had an issue because I don’t have a problem with the very awesome melting pot there.

            1. ambrit

              You ever been to a protestant Pentacostal snake handling service? I’ll see your bats–t and raise you one snakebit.

              1. diptherio

                I’m a Subgenius and trust me, we got ’em all beat. We really put the “mental” into “fundamentalism”…we also put the “fun” into “fundamentalism”…not to mention the “fundament”. I’ll see your snakebite and raise you a pleasure saucer of the sex goddesses! All the other religions are just pikers when it comes to the cray-cray, plus we’re the only religion that offers triple your money back if you don’t receive eternal salvation upon your death. Praise Bob and pass the frop.

                1. ambrit

                  Oh dude! I’ve read Graves books about the Goddess phenomena and such esoterica as Jessie Weston and company about the Witch Cults.
                  Those Sex Goddesses are joined at the hip with Athena and Cybele and all the other manifestations of the Lifeforce.
                  Those three sisters sitting at the base of Yggdrasill not only spin and weave, but they also cut short.
                  It reminds me of the ending of Grave’s book, “Hercules, My Shipmate.”

            2. James Fox

              As a socialist Eastern Orthodox Christian. I just gotta say -WTF are you talking about? Is this dialog?

              1. LifelongLib

                Not saying anything about particular commenters, but there’s a lot of reflex anti-religion (especially anti-Christianity) on the left, which I suspect alienates many potential supporters and allies. I know next to nothing about most religions, but from what little I’ve read just about every possible spiritual and political position under the sun has been held by somebody calling themselves Christian. How anyone can say that being of any particular religion (or none) tells us anything about a person’s politics is beyond me.

                1. occasional anonymous

                  A reflex richly deserved. Before Christianity came along, hijacking and amplifying Hebrew monotheistic narcissism, it wasn’t normal practice to kill people who had the ‘wrong’ ideas.

                  Seldom has an ideology so thoroughly made the world a worse place.

                  1. JBird4049

                    I think to think it is the subversive of Christianity by the worshippers of Mammon. Just where in the Bible with its Sermon on the Mount, Jesus and the money changers, and the Eye of the Needle do we get the perversion of the Prosperity Gospel?

                    1. occasional anonymous

                      I’m not talking about modern things like Prosperity Gospel. I’m talking about all the ‘pagans’ and ‘Lost Christianities’ that were purged by fire and sword for being ‘heathens’ and ‘heretics’. There’s a reason you seldom hear about, for instance, Montanism, Marcionism, or Gnosticism outside of academia.

              2. occasional anonymous

                Vineyard of the Saker is the epitome of what I’m talking about. They seem to be in a race with Evangelicals to be the most insane.

    2. Alex

      Very surprising to see this article posted on NC. Voluntarily relocating to a country that is a a dictatorship (Hungary)? Are there any non-white people in the bucolic Wyoming hometown cited by the commenter? I’m curious what the kid with potential gender dysphoria thinks about his family’s new life and home (seeing as the kid was the catalyst for the move, one would think their opinion matters more than the father’s). Perhaps consider that the protestors anger comes from having zero choice about where they live and what services, jobs and even food are available to them (see Der Spiegel article). The editors who included this link should address the authoritarianism, privilege, and overt racism in this article (if they read it). The excesses of identify politics do not in any way supersede the disgusting and pervasive racism and homophobia in this country. The article seems to fly in the face of the vast majority of valuable content referenced in the links, which are usually superlative. A very disappointing miss.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Concern trolling earns you troll points. And posting a link does not constitute an endorsement. See our cross post on billionaires giving today.

        1. Geo

          I’m very disappointed you would expose us to thoughts we don’t agree with. It’s like you expect us to have developed critical thinking skills and expose us to diverse view points in an effort to broaden our perspective and develop a mature understanding of the world we inhabit. Why would you do that to us?

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Shocking job numbers raise hopes for quicker recovery”

    I know that The Hill was reporting about the economy but I feel that they were also being economical with their reporting here. In that Rose Garden (which Trump promised?), Trump also brought in the ghost of George Floyd when he said-

    ‘He continued, looking up from his notes: “We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen. Hopefully, George is looking down right now, and saying ‘This is a great thing that’s happening for our country.’ This is a great day for him, it’s a great day for everybody. … This is a great, great day in terms of equality.” ‘

    I know that Trump does not do empathy so I guess that he put that bit in his speech himself-

    1. vlade

      But the press managed to f-k this up, as they took it out of the context and the most shared quote missed the last bit – “in terms of equality”.

      Wha DT said is still dumb, tone deaf etc. etc., but the press tried to make even dumber. Except they (the press) did it in super-dumb way, which makes it easy for Trump and his fans to attack the press as fake news and an example on how the press is lying on Trump.

      Dumb and dumber, just can’t decide who’s who.

    2. griffen

      I found his comment to be in poor taste, to put it mildly. On the above topic, the article at Wired gives a pretty compelling, stark tone to any “suddenly good again” vibes about the jobs report.

      I fear many of those jobs already lost will take more than a few quarters to return. While companies continue to shed expenses.

      1. fresno dan

        June 6, 2020 at 9:44 am
        I always remember this one thing from the BLS and their job numbers – so having a job in BLS world doesn’t mean you have enough money to live…indoors, or enough money for food
        In the Current Population Survey (CPS), people are classified as employed if, during the survey reference week, they meet any of the following criteria:

        worked at least 1 hour as a paid employee (see wage and salary workers)

    3. Darius

      Unless these numbers are totally fake, this presages Trump’s re-election, according to historical precedent. If the second quarter trend is better than the first, the incumbent usually wins.

      1. Massinissa

        22 million jobs lost, then 2 million jobs gained back, that’s a ‘success’? No way. Its still twice as much unemployment as before the crisis. This is plummeting down into a hole, raising your hand out of the hole and claiming that means you’re out of the hole… If things continue going back down Trump could be in the clear, but this isn’t it so far.

        1. albrt

          Keep in mind, Trump is running against Joe Biden. So Democrats want to lose, apparently.

  6. Polar Donkey

    Memphis protests update – The police/mayor protest leader mole, with whom the mayor had a big press conference 2 days ago announcing peace in our time, seems to be being ignored. Multiple protests around city at same time. Protesters have decided to run the cops into the ground. Police resources are stretched thin. Police haven’t been able to jam Facebook feeds and social media. Last night, in two separate incidents, cars hit protesters. One protester was hurt and went to hospital. Driver arrested. In other incident, cops let the driver go. Protesters took picture of driver and posted license plate number. All over social media are posts about Hong Kong protest tactics. Protesting has gone mainstream. Multiple protests in North Mississippi too. Almost all organized by teenagers and young people. Hernando, Olive Branch, and Corinth.

    1. workingclasshero

      Glad you’re having so much fun.i think the whole thing has gone on way to long considering the perps are in custody.
      exactly what are your demands,univrrsal unreserved niceness to “people of color”,legal pot and a ubi and statues of home invasion george
      You people are tiresome.i”ll comment here no more.

      1. lordkoos

        “i”ll comment here no more”

        It’s nice to read something positive this morning.

        1. JBird4049

          “and statues of home invasion george”

          I got all the other references, but I’m I missing something here. Is this a new meme that I missed?

          1. Massinissa

            About 20 years ago George Floyd served 5 years in prison for committing some kind of home invasion, apparently.

            1. JBird4049

              Thanks. That’s still a crazy. The protests are over his being murdered while unresisting and in handcuffs, which I suspect even many racists don’t approve of, not of making him a hero.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Even our tiny twee suburb had protestors! Four, all in masks (the medical kind), with signs. Couldn’t get a good look because it was close to curfew and street was busy, but one was a white guy wearing a suit. Would have been very hot to be in one.

  7. rob

    re: 57 “tactical unit” cops resign from “the tactical unit”….. but are still cops…. in buffalo.
    So… BIG DEAL.
    So why don’t they just get rid of “the unit”… they can keep the toys bought by the peoples taxes and items stolen/confiscated by the police… in the garage.. for their next “dress-up”.
    I would bet the community would find it never NEEDED a “special tactical unit”… in the first place.
    And If I was a citizen of that town, I would demand those cops be fired. They obviously believe in “the thin blue line”…. they are a gang. They have a gang mentality. They are not there to stand up for the law, they are there to “be a part of something special”…. an emotional booster for their egos.
    They have proven their un-worthiness to be a public servant. They failed the basic psychological test… right there by “protesting” that NONE of them ought to be held accountable for anything.
    They have proven they don’t know right from wrong.

    1. John Zelnicker

      June 6, 2020 at 8:40 am

      Excellent comment.

      Maybe they could replace those guys with a social service unit that would be the first responders to the high percentage of calls that involve someone having mental health issues, including “welfare checks” and such, instead of sending in the SWAT team. Far too many folks having trouble coping with life and acting out end up dead because most cops only know how to put people on the ground and cuff them instead of helping them calm down and get the help they need.

      1. RMO

        From that link:

        “What are Buffalo prosecutors saying?

        In a statement, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said: “The two defendants, who are Buffalo Police officers, pushed a protestor outside of City Hall, causing him to fall and hit his head on the sidewalk.”

        He stressed that he was not taking sides in the high-profile case.

        “We’re on the same team here. We’re all working each and every day to do justice, to keep our streets safe, to keep our communities safe.

        “I’m partnered with law enforcement every day to do that. And when I have to prosecute one of my teammates it doesn’t help the situation,” Mr Flynn said.”

        Pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? I am surprised he said it that bluntly though.

        In the end I suspect that neither of the cops will suffer any punishment for assaulting and seriously injuring this man but the city will probably have to pay out a substantial amount of compensation.

  8. Howard Beale IV

    As for the aticle “Fruit fly study reveals link between the gut and death by sleep deprivation”, doing a test of an invertebrate is nothing compared to doing it against a mammal – like a cat, for instance.

    1. KLG

      No, actually. Biology nerd message follows. We all know (except Sarah Palin) the importance of fruit flies in genetics. At least since the work of Chrisitane Nusslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus and Ed Lewis on segmentation/homeobox genes in Drosophila, it has been perfectly clear that fundamental mechanisms of development in metazoans (multicellular animals including us) are evolutionarily conserved. This also includes mechanisms of brain function, learning, and memory, in both fruit flies and the sea hare Aplysia (a large sea slug). Yes, in flies and marine snails without shells…I had a colleague once who called himself a human embryologist who said that “yeah, but all those genes are only fly genes.” Uh huh, and every other member of the Bilateria, animals with a left and a right as an embryo, and maybe even jellyfish. He had no response when I asked him how is it that you propose to do embryology in humans? Or any placental mammal, for that matter, ethics notwithstanding? Yes, I am mad as hell at the devastation of biological research by such misconceptions, taken as gospel by neoliberal slugs, and will not take it anymore ;-) Cheers on this beautiful Saturday morning!

      Anyway, if you want to use a mammal for this gut/sleep deprivation research, pick an omnivore like a rat instead of a carnivore like a house cat (I don’t think chewing on grass and house plants counts as being an omnivore).

    2. caucus99percenter

      May I point out that there would be serious ethical problems with an experiment where cats are tortured to death by sleep deprivation? The one with mice is already kind of pushing it…

      1. Susan the other

        Take another tack. Analyze sleep and sleep deprivation from the basis that sleep is critical; to get sleep is an unequivocal need. This research, crude sleep deprivation, has been tried directly on people as almost a form of torture and is most likely sponsored by those who would love to have an abundance of workers/soldiers who need no sleep at all. Just the specific drug; or maybe robots – which aren’t workin’ out so good lately. Has any nutcase ever considered doing oxygen deprivation or food deprivation – no… of course not. We are currently witnessing how social deprivation, complete with all sorts of subliminal messaging, creates misery. Does anybody have a clue what we all want to be when we grow up? Has any extensive research been done of the benefits of leisure and sleep and the universal security to provide them. Hell no.

        1. jr


          I lived with bad insomnia for the first 40 years of my life. No one takes sleeping disorders seriously. Its always a blame the victim routine: “Go to bed earlier!” or “Listen to something -relaxing-.”, meanwhile you seethe and rage and watch the despised sunlight slowly ooze through the blinds…

          1. Thomas Moar

            I think when Henry David Thoreau wrote of men living lives of quiet desperation, it was night and he couldnn’t sleep.

            1. newcatty

              Sleep deprivation is suffered by many people in this country. It is like one of those basic needs like food and water for the human being. It is good that it’s being brought up in conversation. It was a big topic when in the context of torture techniques done in GWB administration. Water boarding and all that. Remember, the consultants’ recommendation for how to get information from the enemy was to use sleep deprivation as a key to breaking a person’s mind. Those consultants were professional psychologists and psychiatrists. Shameful for that profession. So, “research” has been done.

              The underemployed and low wage earners are suffering sleep deprivation now. In the ironic outcome of the pandemic and the resulting unemployment skyrocketing…It was somewhat lost in conversation, that in pre virus world the “folks” were often working more than 40 hours a week at one or more jobs. Often grave yard shits or “split” shifts. These same people often had the accompanying stress of awful living conditions. A real phenomenon was, and still is, that the working members of the families lived in crowded conditions with other people. Anyone relish trying to sleep in a room with your kids? Homelessness is awful. The fact the mothers, mostly, who live in the “shared housing” conditions is scewed to state that they are therefore in housing. It’s like if you work an hour or so a week…you are gainfully employed. I bet the farm that if you asked almost any of the single moms in shared housing: would you like like your own apartment or house, with more than one bedroom for you and your kids? An answer might be…f**k yeah. Oh, do you know of any affordable place to live where I am now?

              1. JBird4049

                What is worse than shared housing is constantly changing housing. People can adapt to most crazy s*** if there is some predictability somewhere. Even sleeping with five other people on a bed, but if you constantly have to change rooms, beds and sofas… hello crazyland.

                The damage from extreme sleep deprivation can be long lasting or even permanent mental illness. So our country is giving millions of people mental illness. Nice.

      2. polecat

        Hey, c’mon now .. Fly Lives Matter too!
        My compost pile will definitely vouch for that sentiment ..

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Police Officer tells Proud Boys to hide inside building”

    Sounds right. Jimmy Dore says that you see plenty of videos of police beating up protestors but asks how many videos do you see of police beating up looters and the like? I have been trying to work out how that cop knew that those guys were Proud Boys. Either he know them by face or he knew them by what they were wearing. So either they were wearing Fred Perry polos or else, considering their views on masturbation, they were wearing boxing gloves.

    1. Billy

      The police do not have a responsibility to protect the public.
      In Castle Rock v. Gonzales, the U.S. Supreme Court again ruled that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm. In the eyes of the law, the police are really “crime accountants.” Their job is to observe the aftermath of crimes and record what happened. If they arrive in time and if they feel so inclined, they can lend a hand. But that’s up to them. Citizens have neither the right to police help nor recourse when it is refused.

      Nor do the police have a responsibility to protect private property. Assume they are charged to protect public property.
      That is what the Second Amendment is for, self-defense, to hell with the missing comma in the tortured interpretation of what a militia is.

        1. Sy Krass

          Not sure if this is well known or not, everyone in the State of Illinois according to the 1970 Illinois Constitution over the age of 18 is considered part of the militia, which theoretically makes sense. If you have a true emergency that occurs, then it’s considered “all hands on deck!”

      1. Jen

        If all they are is “crime accountants,” it seems to me that we should arm them only with pencils and notebooks, and have far fewer of them.

      2. JBird4049

        The police are supposed to serve and protect, but like with free speech and all the other rights and even responsibilities that are supposed to exist in our society, they have been distorted into irrelevancy because of the courts and the legislatures.

    2. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      June 6, 2020 at 8:45 am
      Remember the Bundy’s?
      Now, I have always been a big believer in gun control…kinda like Reagan.
      The eighth-grade students gathering on the west lawn of the state capitol in Sacramento were planning to lunch on fried chicken with California’s new governor, Ronald Reagan, and then tour the granite building constructed a century earlier to resemble the nation’s Capitol. But the festivities were interrupted by the arrival of 30 young black men and women carrying .357 Magnums, 12-gauge shotguns, and .45-caliber pistols.
      Republicans in California eagerly supported increased gun control. Governor Reagan told reporters that afternoon that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” He called guns a “ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.” In a later press conference, Reagan said he didn’t “know of any sportsman who leaves his home with a gun to go out into the field to hunt or for target shooting who carries that gun loaded.” The Mulford Act, he said, “would work no hardship on the honest citizen.
      But getting back to the Bundy’s, kind of funny how everything got worked out without a shot being fired…
      To quote the NRA, an armed society is a polite society/Sarc. (if arming everybody is so great, why don’t they allow it at the Republican convention? why is every government facility operated with x-rays to scan for weapons?)
      Now, being infamous for NOT being cynical, I would never suggest that the people who carry (or allowed to carry) guns face less oppression than the ones who do…it just looks that way…

        1. JBird4049

          Having gone to the Marin County Courthouse over the decades, I can personally attest to the formally unfortified, and metal detector free, reality of the building until after 9/11. The whole place went from easy to access to complete nightmare more than thirty years later. Same with the buildings in San Francisco. This is an example of the terrorizing into a police state the entire nation.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Just think of the courthouse officials & police as Israelis set up in the middle of Palestinian territories and things become much clearer. The Israelis training American police in their ‘policing’ techniques just serves to put an underline under it.

  10. a different chris

    “Fleeing the Collapsing Imperium” — well losing people like that author is one bright side of all this mess. I mean WTF:

    They all hated me and looked at me with distrust and disgust. The women walked past in their veils, clothing that sends the message of “f-ck off, don’t dare look at me or talk to me.”

    No. You (and I speak from experience, this used to be me when I was young and shy) put off a vibe that says “you are different, you don’t belong here but whitey male me does, so stay away”. It wasn’t actually that internally, which was more “who am I, who are these people, what are they seeing?” but I’m sure that’s how it came off.

    When I got a little older and tried smiling slightly at The Other, I was gobsmacked at how wonderfully and warmly they reacted. Most of them didn’t actually want to be here. Homesick really, the type of “you can never go back” homesickness I wouldn’t understand. At worst their country was a disaster, at best the head of the household was quite aggressive and focused on “making money”, and a few decades ago the US was the place to be for that.

    A lot of great articles, but every once and a while The American Conservative reveals it’s not my friend.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, that was ridiculous. I lived for many years in the UK, including in areas almost mostly East Asian, and I don’t recognise that at all. Yes, there were difficulties – deep ones – but this notion that somehow England was this wonderful place full of friendly, polite people who are being undermined by these rude and aggressive Africans and East Asians is just bizarre. Has the writer never seen any old clips of English football hooligans? Or Brits on holiday in the Mediterranean? Sheesh. And as for the notion that Hungary and Poland are the new refuges for nice people trying to raise their families…. thats just bizarre.

      1. MLTPB

        United, not divided.

        From the perspective, it seems universal income (for all) is better than JG (where some are in the program, while others are not, though potentially, and most likely only potentially, all are in it, which is different from all being eligible).

      2. Redlife2017

        “And as for the notion that Hungary and Poland are the new refuges for nice people trying to raise their families…. thats just bizarre.”

        As I noted above Dreher and a lot of the American traditionalist conservatives have a weird hard-on Eastern European nationalist conservatives. It’s like they are looking for purity in the world and think they have found it in Hungary or Poland…it also tells me how much people like Dreher really don’t like or believe that democracy is an appropriate form of government (I get the feeling that Franco / Pinochet are not disliked in that circle).

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I must admit its the first time I’ve come across this notion. I assumed that the anti-Semitic undertone of most East European right wing politics would have put off their US counterparts. I can see the attraction of Poland for traditionalist catholics but Hungary? I can’t help wondering though why, if they are so keen on traditionalist far right politics they don’t all want to move to Brazil or Honduras.

          It does confirm my view that talking about ‘right’ and ‘left’ has become increasingly meaningless. There are so many strange alliances and fractures opening up everywhere. I guess this love affair between traditionalist isolationist conservatives in the US and ethno-nationalists in eastern Europe is just one example.

          1. DJG

            PlutoniumKun: Nice white people move to places like Brazil or Honduras with all of those black people? Come on.

            Given the paranoid style (and overweening pride) that characterizes Hungarian and Polish politics, it may be that these U.S. refugees will fit in well, given the steady diet of paranoia and overweeing pride that characterizes the failed U S of A.

            I wouldn’t go so far as say that the categories of right and left are meaningless.

            Instead, what are meaningful are nihilism and vulgarity–rather old-fashioned terms.

            The Drehers of this world are lovelorn for plain old vulgar nationalism, generals with decorations, various officers with hats with big plumes, their consorts on their arms. They never realize that they won’t be attending the fancy dinners with piles of caviar.

            As the Prince of Butera supposedly said when he saw Mussolini in 1923, “Too many spats, too many spats.”

            And Mussolini was the very epitome of nihilism and vulgarity. What is remarkable is that he left behind a career is a not-so-bad journalist to seek power and, I’d argue, thanatos.

      3. occasional anonymous

        I like how he transitions from ‘the UK has been ruined by disgusting foreigners moving in’ to ‘Americans should move to Hungary’ without batting an eye. Does he not get that anyone making such a move would themselves be ‘disgusting, culturally incompatible’ interlopers?

        He’s also chosen a country with a ludicrously difficult language, one that is completely unrelated to any other in Europe. He’s picked possibly the worst possible example he could have picked in an article whining about multiculturalism.

  11. GramSci

    Re: What every white person needs to hear.

    Paraphrasing: “If you want to be treated like black people, please stand.” Nobody stands, but at a Trump rally, they would all stand.

    Nothing can educate willful ignorance.

    1. verifyfirst

      I’m going to guess no one in that crowd would have stood either if the question had been:

      “If you want to be treated like a Walmart worker in our society, please stand. You did not stand, so why are you okay with other people being treated like Walmart workers are treated, in the entirety of their lives?”

    2. Billy

      If I were looking for a guaranteed public sector job, no civil service exam, admittance to and a university scholarship, a housing project unit, or a special loan to buy a house, I would definitely stand.

      1. periol

        Still gotta run those long, long odds of ending up in juve or dead before you ever get to applying to university, let alone everything that follows after.

  12. timbers

    Trump Transition
    The Memo: Trump’s troubles deepen as voters see country on wrong path The Hill

    And, the alternative…It’s like a bad dream. Six months ago Biden seemed doomed. Now? He could win. Happy days are here again. Maybe Obama can be invited to election night to share the podium. If Biden wins, the media will tell us we have a change in direction and democracy worked.

    Then we’ll get a re-run of the Obama years, 4 years of Trump lite just like we got GWB’s 3rd and 4th term in 2008. There will be no explanation from the media that we are getting almost the same thing we got the previous 4 years. Those who pay attention to warn much the same is happening under Biden will be told to stop watching FOX News or it will simply be denied what is actually going on, that all is well. Over time, a new legion of voters will slowly get some vague, undefinable sense that no matter who they vote for, nothing changes much…setting up the next election for a Pence or Rubio type in the White House.

    Meanwhile, sometime in the next 4 years, Obama will write a book and make big $$$. He’ll say how awesome he was and that Trump is a meanie.

    1. John

      And more likely Obama will write a book about looking forward with vague and beautiful platitudes. He will also be seen hanging with Donnie and Melania and maybe Ellen and Jeff and Mark because they are all presidential. Rehabbed, just like W. As George Carlin said, there’s a club and you ain’t in it.

      1. edmondo

        Maybe he can get a Nobel Prize in Literature to go along with his Peace Prize. When he looks in the mirror does he see an empty suit?

    2. Dan

      So all the people who don’t have jobs and won’t be getting jobs and don’t pay attention to the lame-stream media anyway are suddenly going to plant themselves in front of CNN and take the NY Times word at face value?

      I don’t think so. There’s no more juice in the lemon.

      1. polecat

        Yes. We’re straight down to the bitter rind now.

        … it don’t seem very zesty, does it.

  13. Mark Gisleson

    Biden has clinched the nomination? I read the news constantly. This article doesn’t say what the votes were in any state, and I have yet to see any primary votes other than the ridiculous DC numbers.

    The riots should be exposing the DNC, instead they’re providing cover for the usual suspects.

    1. The Historian

      What is happening in this country is important and I think it will lead to a few social changes. But it won’t change the power and control structure in this country – they will just jump on the bandwagon and take control. Only when the same amount of energy is devoted to economic problem as is devoted to social problems will you see any real changes.

      1. barefoot charley

        Yes, and that would require reporting on economics. An economic platform could unite most people divided by the parties’ competing social platforms, the idpols and tribal whistles. And the two parties prove that this will never happen. I wish Bernie had better defended himself against the Democrat dog-whistlers in his campaign. Every shout-out to urban identities alienates rurals who don’t know such people. (Ignoring for the nonce that cities fill with such oddballs precisely because they can’t be themselves in more homogenous, conformist rural areas. Cities have always been sanctuaries.)

        1. flora

          Saagar Enjeti, the conservative reporter on Rising, had a good ‘Radar’ segment the other day where he said he thought the tbtf banks and Amazon etc are all in on BLM and idpol because that keeps the conversation AWAY from economics, keeps everyone thinking the answers are something other than economics.

          I think he made a good point.

    2. DJG

      Mark Gisleson and The Historian:

      The great prophet of modern politics was Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. I’d translate the passage from The Leopard as “If we want everything to remain as it is, it is necessary that everything change.”

      The Monoparty is already thinking way past the current intifada. They are already determined to outmaneuver the Black Lives Matters protesters in the streets. Maybe the elites will sacrifice a few cops (but don’t count on it).

      Obama was the perfect gattopardesco politician. He wasn’t worldly, traditional, scientific, witty, and sensual like Prince Fabrizio. He was ambitious and without firm principles, like young Tancredi, who ends up marrying the daughter of the richest local family because an ambitious young noble who wants to maintain the status quo needs money and lots of it.

      I am also seeing “compassion fatigue” from some upper-middle-class friends of mine.

      The Trump administration will simply wait this out, the same way that the people in the Trump administration plan to wait out Covid19.

      From Treccani encyclopedia:
      nel romanzo Il Gattopardo si legge testualmente in questa forma «Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga come è, bisogna che tutto cambi» (chi pronuncia la frase non è però il principe di Salina ma suo nipote Tancredi).

      1. Keith Newman

        Thanks for this DJG. I’ve decided to get the movie. Yes, yes, I’m too lazy to read the book. But the movie is in Italian. which I love, so I can listen to that.

        1. Redlife2017

          It’s quite an easy read! I loved it. Truly my favourite book of all time. I have yet to watch the film – I hope its as good as the book…

          1. DJG

            Keith and Redlife: The book is a classic in Italian. The main English translation is a tad creaky, which is why I translated on my own above.

            The film, by Visconti, who was also from the high nobility, as was Tomasi di Lampedusa, is a masterpiece. And who plays Prince Fabrizio? Burt Lancaster–who in the U S of A is somewhat undervalued. He brings out the wit, charm, intelligence, and sensuality of Prince Fabrizio–who is defeated by his own virtues, in a sense.

            Alain Delon as Tancredi. Claudia Cardinale is a revelation as Angelica.

            Recommended (as you may have gathered).

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks for this, its on my long list of ‘books I really need to read’.

        I think you are right about how the elites see current problems. They are willing to sit this out and sacrifice a few minions. If things get worse on the streets (by ‘worse’, I mean violence and looting), then they will wait until there is a critical mass and then the Republicans and Democrats will be as one in moving in to crush it by force. They are also well educated in disaster capitalism and will see the post-Covid world as one in which they can profit, they just need to work out how exactly to do it.

        1. DJG

          Plutonium Kun: Excellent point. Some friends of mine were dutifully passing around lists of videos and books, mainly by African-American authors, to read. This list-passing is going on a great deal among the U.S. upper-middles.

          I responded that they had to do synthesis and that Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine will explain what has happened and will happen.

          We cannot start too early here in the U S of A talking about disaster capitalism and how it is inevitably going to be used to “resolve” the current crises.

    1. The Historian

      According to Trump, everybody loves him. I guess he probably needs a wall to protect him from all that love./s

      1. Tom Stone

        Historian, when the Donald sees those “Tuck Frump” bumperstickers he takes it for an invitation.

      2. wilroncanada

        The wall/fence is something else he can boast about. It’s designed to keep the riff-raff in.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    Putin Declares State of Emergency After Massive Fuel Leak Pollutes River in the Arctic Circle CBS

    The reports I’ve read indicate that this was caused by a structure failing as the permafrost layer beneath it melted unexpectedly. I think we are going to see a terrifying number of this type of structural failure in the years to come. One can only wonder what will happen in the many military installations all across the arctic circle.

  15. Tom Stone

    The murder of George Floyd was business as usual in America, watch the video and observe the depraved indifference of Chauvin’s fellow officers if you need any confirmation of that statement.
    And the many videos of “Lawn Forcement ” officers brutalizing peaceful protestors or otherwise misbehaving ( I love the video of NYPD officers trashing their own vehicle) shouldn’t surprise anyone who hasn’t suffered brain damage after falling off a turnip truck.
    This has been going on longer than I have been alive and I’m OLD.
    What is new is the prevalence of cell phone cameras, the behaviour can’t be glossed over or lied away.
    This is how the police have traditionally treated minorities and the poor in the USA and I will be very happily surprised if that changes.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      The way that the powers that be are just outright lying about it, it is very 1984.

      White House press secretary says police had right to defend themselves from Australian camera man

      You know, the one that was standing there holding a camera and was then hit with a shield and then batoned out of there

      Oh and that cop telling proud boys to go inside before year has is a response from the police chief.

      Sorry that there is even a thought that this department would treat some different than others.

      It’s not a thought.. it’s happening.

      Everything is just lies and weasel words. Imagine if the fire department , education, and other local government workers were trying to pull this crap.

      1. ShamanicFallout

        Where is the point where the official stories/lies are so far from what we are actually seeing, over and over again, that enough people will finally ‘No- 2+2 does NOT equal 5!”? There was some study about this a while back called the 3.5% rule (that no government can withstand the challenge of 3.5% of its population without accommodating the movement or actually disintegrating). I suppose a way to say that is that if enough people wake up and call BS, there are two ways for the situation to resolve.
        Are we close yet?

        1. No it was not, apparently

          Huh? The Syrian Shia-muslim minority gov is still adamantly winning against the Sunni-muslim 60%-ers, they haven’t just withstood the (US-sponsored) attack, they ARE victorious.

          If the “3.5% rule” was real then they should have folded immediately, it should have never come to a civil war.

          1. J.k

            I think you are mistaken with your Syria example. All you have to do is look at the make up of the Syrian armed forces. Its not as sectarian as you imagine. In fact sunnis make up a significant part of the military. Without whose support the the military would have crumbled. Please note Im not defending the “3.5% rule”.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, that attack on the Aussie camera crew was going out live and flummoxed the talking heads in Sydney as to what sort of spin to put on it. But everybody watching it here drew their own conclusions.

        And when it became obvious a few minutes later that it was all about Trump wanting a photo op in front of St. Johns, well, more sour thoughts followed. When walking there, I commented to the wife that he walked as if he had tight underwear on.

        If he thought that this stunt was going to make him look good for the Christian right, I do not think that it worked. Pat Robertson blew him up on this and said that “it was not cool”. Which means that Donald Trump is now to the right of Pat Robertson.

    2. Frank

      Militarization and police violence: The case of the 1033 program


      Does increased militarization of law enforcement agencies (LEAs) lead to an increase in violent behavior among officers? We theorize that the receipt of military equipment increases multiple dimensions of LEA militarization (material, cultural, organizational, and operational) and that such increases lead to more violent behavior. The US Department of Defense 1033 program makes excess military equipment, including weapons and vehicles, available to local LEAs. The variation in the amount of transferred equipment allows us to probe the relationship between military transfers and police violence. We estimate a series of regressions that test the effect of 1033 transfers on three dependent variables meant to capture police violence: the number of civilian casualties; the change in the number of civilian casualties; and the number of dogs killed by police. We find a positive and statistically significant relationship between 1033 transfers and fatalities from officer-involved shootings across all models.
      And to the article:

      1. fresno dan

        June 6, 2020 at 10:53 am

        as they say, if your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail…
        OR use it or lose it.

        1. J.k

          Yeah , and where did they learn it from? American dollars and training, coming back to the U.S. Just a full circle.

          1. Dan

            The Jewish colonizers of Palestine had to learn terrorism from the Americans? That’s inane. Are you even aware of the Nakba? I suggest reading up on the history of Palestine. If Americans Knew is a good place to start, as is the website Palestine Remembered.

        2. Frank

          This began with an email exchange between me and one of my brothers. He’s solid trump and I’m at the other end of the spectrum.
          My initial thought was to ask the question of how many police officers have military police or Nat’l guard military police training and does that correlate to who does the rough stuff.
          My thought was that it is easy and cheaper for a town to hire an experienced police officer. The person has been “vetted” and they know how to talk tough and much of the hesitancy about using physical force has been sanded off these guys.
          Understand, I don’t know that or assert that it is true – it just seems like a correlation that can be looked at because it may mean that personnel selection is the problem.

    3. wilroncanada

      The next set of rules for police, written by that single private security company which writes most of them, will include: “Confiscate Cell Phones/Tablets/ Computers.” To keep peace and order.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Two or three times I have seen police slap mobiles out of the hands of protestors. But I saw a clip of one cop that did this to this big white dude. This guy then cold-cocked the cop who went down like a sack of potatoes against the side of a car. The white dude took off like a rocket as he knew what would happen next if he stuck around but the other cops – and a “protestor” or two – helped carry that unconscious cop away.

  16. PlutoniumKun

    Suddenly one Spring FTAlphaville (vlade). Anodyne title. About the famed March meltdown, from the Bank of England’s perspective. Underlying report: Seven Moments in Spring: Covid-19, financial markets and the Bank of England’s balance sheet operations

    What I find inexplicable is just how quickly many markets have recovered – even key commodity prices are on the rise. There are even reports of a resumption in fracking due to rising oil prices. Some commodity rises can be explained by an expectation of Chinese demand as they (yet again) prime the pump of construction activity. But others seem entirely divorced from the reality of the economy at present.

    My guess is that this is something of a false Indian Summer in the markets – more a reflection of relief that Covid wasn’t as bad as was feared. But – in Asia in particular – there does seem to be a feeling that everything will go back to normality very rapidly, despite all the clear evidence of deep damage. If nothing else, the amount of stock built up over the past few months will need to be cleared, and this is likely to depress output for quite a while to come.

    If I was to make a guess, I think the real Covid chickens won’t come to roost until later in the year, when everyone realises that demand will take years to return to the market, and there are fundamental changes (not least in international trade), which will take years to sort out.

    I’d love to hear everyone elses thoughts on this….

    1. farmboy

      At this stage demand is crucial, buildup of inventory is happening briskly, but consumer driven consumption is curtailed in most markets. Difficult to see how pre covid19 collapse in spending recovers in the same populations it existed in just last year. Chinese issue debit cards to pump consumer spending, will US 1200$ boost happen again or anything like it, when unemployment benefits with extra 600$ and PPP run out, when rent forbearance clock chimes “pay”, when food prices find permanent higher price levels due to virus related supply restrictions, when a 2nd wave of virus infections start when the 1st isn’t over, when u-6 unemployment is sticky at 16%, when demonstrations continue, when?
      Policy response is crucial in the near future and rising to the occasion looks insurmountable with rancor and bitterness intensifying. George Bush “just go shopping” will not come close today or tomorrow.

    2. MLTPB

      I’d like to know how much dine in business in family oriented restaurants has returned in areas that have reopened.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It will be interesting to see if small family businesses do better or worse than bigger corporate chains. I suspect the ‘winners’ will be owner occupiers of premises (of whatever size), while those on hefty rents will not take the risk of re-opening, at least without major discounts from landlords.

      2. sd

        There are 2 small local restaurants we frequent in our area. They had steady take out business and were doing ok. By the looks of things, if a business wasn’t surviving during the shut down, re-opening won’t help them. (Spouse works in the restaurant industry.)

    3. lordkoos

      I believe that the markets are being gamed. Isn’t the federal reserve actively propping them up?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The domestic US market certainly is, but although I don’t follow them closely, I believe that equity and commodity markets in Asia have been doing surprisingly well the past few days. Commodity markets in particular seem to have defied all expectations. Although its possible that prices are being driven up by an expectation that for political reasons, China will shift its commodity buying to countries like Brazil, and this will create shortages.

        1. Susan the other

          deck chairs on the titanic…. Wolfgang Streeck’s question How will Capitalism End? is upon us. Imo it will end softly – because capitalism is basically an egalitarian concept. And more importantly, probably because we finally acknowledged sovereign fiat. (Streeck might not want to discuss that one.) It will morph into lotsa state owned enterprises; subsidized industries; a few small private businesses, many very small operations (restaurants; local farmers; artisans; a long list) and, hopefully, far less military industry; far more scientific/environmental industry. Where else?

            1. flora

              Yes, compared to hereditary aristocracy, which is what capitalism started in opposition to or adjacent to in the 1500’s in Europe. It was more egalitarian than feudalism.

              One of the arguments neoliberals misuse is “money is color blind”. And so it is, but the society is not; the neoliberals ignore the social to promote the idea that money and markets means you can do away with a competent government that works to stop/regulate financial abuses and promote good public policy. My 2 cents.

              1. flora

                adding: currently, in the US there is almost no social mobility – the chances that someone born into a particular economic strata can rise to a higher economic strata through education and/or hard work alone. There’s less social mobility in the US now than there is in the UK or most the EU.

                Neoliberalism has destroyed the American Dream.

                1. flora

                  It’s interesting that von Mises – one of neoliberalisms founding fathers – was a royalist or monarchist at heart. He thought democracy was both corrupt/corruptable and therefore an irresponsible form of govt. See: Hans Hermann Hoppe.

                  The neoliberals, including neoliberal pols in govt., are uninterested in democracy and democratic controls on market behavior, imo. I think the terms ‘neo-feudalism’ and ‘market-Stalinism’ refer to this markets-are-king neoliberal ideology.

    4. Janie

      PK at 10.05

      Even if the market fairy works its magic, the memory of this time will linger for decades. It did for my parents and their contemporaries who were old enough to remember WWI, Spanish flu, the depression and bank holiday and the rationing of WWII. Their spending levels never returned to those of the twenties, as they cautioned us about being prepared for hard times.

      That generation stayed in the same houses, drove cars until they wore out and were careful about over-spending. I think this same mentality will apply to those in their twenties and thirties now.

    5. eg

      I don’t believe that current equity prices reflect any serious examination of the fundamentals at all.

      I expect that the massive demand destruction already emerging will turn out to be deeper and persist longer than is widely understood. It will only be compounded once the usual suspects start shilling for the bankrupt (and bankrupting) austerity narratives.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “A tale of two speeches by Gove and Frost”

    Michael Gove has a belief (hope) that Brexit would trigger a domino effect leading to the collapse of the European Union. So I was just thinking about fantasies. No, not that sort. The sort that Brexiteers may have. Could it be that they have a hope that after Brexit is done, that other countries might follow them out of the European Union like Michael Gove nee Logan believes? And that these countries would then form their own trading union to protect themselves against the European Union? And that this Union would recruit more of the European Union members. And that due to the size of the UK’s economy, that it would only be natural that the UK becomes the leader of such a new union? And that the long term effect would be to have a new European Union with the UK as top dog and running things? Just a thought.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      This has always been the plan. Brexiteers (or to be precise, the funders behind the Brexit movement) didn’t just hate being in the European Union. They hate the European Union. They are true believer old style buccaneer liberals (in the old sense of the world), or libertarianism in more modern parlance. You cannot have a libertarian neo liberal world order while there are multi-national institutions with great power which include social democrat or state led capitalist countries, they will simply not allow for it.

      Of course, as always, Yes Prime Minister is a source of truth on this. British foreign policy has always been based on divide and conquer in Europe. They even invented an entire country (Belgium), just to piss off the French. The notion of Franco German cooperation in particular was always likely to raise alarm bells in London.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I thought that the British formed Belgium in order to deny the Germans direct access to the sea vie the Scheldt river. The same way that they fought to keep Portugal independent in order to deny Spain so much Atlantic ocean frontage.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I was being a bit facetious (if I recall correctly, the joke about Belgium came from Yes Prime Minister originally). Although I didn’t know there was a German connection to Belgiums formation. From my thin memory of reading early 19th Century European history, the French did want Belgium to break free from the Netherlands, but only because they thought they could eventually annex it for themselves, but the British quickly made Belgium an ally. It was later that the Germans realised that a weak Belgium was an ideal scenic route into northern France.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Huh? Belgium was created out of the negotiations of the Council of Vienna in 1815, before German unification. And the biggest force for the creation of Belgium was Talleyrand.

      2. MLTPB

        At one time, around the beginning of the 16th C, the English thought the way to go was the non aggression pct that was the Treaty of London (1518l).

  18. John Beech

    Regarding the website, Just The News

    Perhaps it’s because I’m in my sixth decade and don’t suffer fools gladly, much less do I like being treated like a child, but after following the link to their site and an article, I was both surprised and ticked off. Why? It’s because as I scrolled to read, when a video, which had been playing (and I was ignoring) subsequently popped up on the lower right side of the screen, when I went to close it, I couldn’t. They had enabled a count-down timer of 10-seconds before I’d be allowed to close it. Thing is; had I been interested, doesn’t it seem I would have continued watching it instead of scrolling to read?

    Moreover, despite this gauche behavior, the site developers are also so clueless (incompetent?) the video also obscures part of the content (meaning I couldn’t continue reading because the text is partially obscured by the video window (I guess they don’t read their own content).

    I guess they forgot two things; 1st, there’s an entire internet seeking to gain my attention and 2nd; they can’t prevent my clicking to exit their website, altogether. Maybe other people’s time has such little value they accept this abuse, but not mine.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      The Independent does the same thing. I will only stay with an article if I absolutely want the info. So annoying.

      1. Duck1

        Some “engineer” obviously made their bones with the video in the lower right corner gambit, seems to be common to all the “better” sort of websites that are trying to waste your time. It seems like mainstream web design just keeps delivering a more and more horrible experience, regardless of our RAM and massive drives and fast, fast, fast connections. Its almost like Bill Gates, the mastermind behind the Windows experience runs the world. Of course the Google masterminds also have pro crapification chops as well. I mean when I enter a search, I really want to get 50% or more of the returns be ads.

      2. Billy

        Use the Firefox browser.
        There’s a button next to the URL bar that renders the site in plain text. When frozen out of paywalled sites, or “your last free article was yesterday” Copy and past what little you can see then click view page source, and among all the ad clutter and gibberish will be a very long horizontal line with all the text of the article. Highlight that and drop it into LibreOffice, free software, almost as good as MS Office, and you have the article.

        1. Acacia

          Yeah, this is a great trick. Paywalled sites often chop the article down to a preview using JavaScript in your browser (“subscribe to see the whole article”), but simply by switching the “Reader View” you can see the entire text. Works in Safari, too.

    2. temporal

      Mac only solution the works with unsophisticated Javascript interference from sites like JustTheNews.

      Navigate using Safari. Switch to Reader View. Most of the Javascript stuff is culled from the view and you can save the pretty version to PDF if you want.

      Downsides includes not being able to eliminate the massive number of Javascript web trackers and the chance that a WASM attack might get you. (Safari won’t allow WASM to be disabled.)

      More and more of the big sites are making this non-viable but it still works a lot of the time. Really weird Javascript based sites like SCMP are, of course, out of reach.

      Probably not useful to buy an older Mac just for this but a virtual machine turned into a Hackentosh might be worth it to a small number of folks.

  19. PlutoniumKun

    Hope dims for hydroxychloroquine even as medical study detailing the drug’s failure is retracted MarketWatch. I am at a loss as to what these stories are about.

    I hope that there will be a serious reckoning in medical and public health science when the dust settles over Covid. I’ve been scratching my head over repeated examples of failures in science and policy. Politicians are getting lots of flack – mostly deserved – but so far the official sources of science and ‘objective’ knowledge have essentially gotten away with repeated errors – only the WHO has so far had any level of criticism.

    But whether its over masks, transport shut downs, public advice on health and nutrition, and now the development of new drugs, there have been repeated failures by… well… credentialed scientists. This isn’t hindsight, plenty of people on this site, from the very beginning, have been pointing out problems with official advice, and the very obvious problems with so much published research. This fiasco over hydroxychloroquine might just be the worst yet.

    1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      The entirety of medicine has been turned into a cash cow. hydroxychloroquine might well have helped a lot of people. But big players had other ideas. If there’s a magic bullet you better believe there will be a patent on it. Which means free billions from the government.
      Credentialled scientists are credentialled for their willingness and ability to play by Mr. Market’s rules. That’s called ‘meritocracy’.

    2. MLTPB

      With so many, likely the most, living Nobel winners in physics, chemistry and medicine combined, one would expect something better than that.

    3. edo

      The Daily Show normalized smugness and sarcasm as a method of political discourse. I believe much of the reactions of the credentialed classes is them hoping for failure of Trump’s approaches, and them often being tempted to rush in the absence of scientific evidence so that they can make smug or sarcastic proclamations against Trump.

      I believe the end result is very damaging. Many on the right have been discussing the 180-turn that public health experts have made regarding shelter-in-place and social distancing: People who were worried about their small business or livelihood (in the absence of serious policy to make extended shelter-in-place financially feasible) were mocked or called selfish for wanting to open back up, and now mass protests are occurring without social distancing and those same experts and media are coming up with excuses to justify it.

      This is very damaging. What will happen if there is a second-wave? No one is going to obey any shelter-in-place orders now. What will happen if there is a pandemic of a new virus that is much worse in mortality. As bad as covid-19 is, its mortality is around 1%, there have been infectious diseases with mortality rates in the 20-50% range. And all this damage is being done with shortsightedness to score smug or sarcastic points or try to damage Trump.

      1. marym

        Protests against cops killing black people, trashing peaceful protesters, and ignoring looters, pre-date the Trump era. The current protests didn’t really have much to do with him at the start. If they’re damaging to Trump now it’s because he endorses cop violence, ordered a military occupation of DC, and wants the same in other cities.

        In terms of pandemic risk, I’m not sure I have a coherent take of my own, since I’m supportive of the issues of the protests against cop violence but hope the protesters can go home, get tested and be safe. However, if we’re going to call out hypocrisy it would do well to remember the anti-stay-home protesters were armed, carried flags of treason and nazism, didn’t have any demands for safety measures for workers, were unmasked, and weren’t arrested/injured by cops and sent to jails, or in need of ER/hospital care where the pandemic risks were greater.

        1. Billy

          Your first sentence describes the Clinton, Bush and Obama presidencies.

          Your last sentence is why the Second Amendment is so important to guard civil liberties. If you think the American Flag is a “flag of treason” why not emmigrate to say, Israel, or Africa perhaps? Mexico might be an easier alternative.

          1. marym

            You may want to read some history on violent policing in the US well before Clinton; the treachery of those who tried to destroy the US in defense of slavery and the flags they carried; and a whole bunch of other amendments which (despite who you may think belongs where) should protect us all.

      2. Aumua

        I think the protests are simply out of their control. I mean trying to apply a stay-at-home order to this kind of civil unrest is somewhat ludicrous on its face. Even the much smaller scale astroturfed stay-at-home protests happened in spite of widespread concerns about COVID-19.

      3. Aumua

        I don’t really see the “180-turn” of public health experts that you say those on the right are discussing. But I suppose people who get their information from Hannity and Rush might not have the clearest picture of things.

      4. Grebo

        I was exposed to about an hour of MSNBC today. What I noted about the protests was that most everyone was wearing a mask and people were largely staying spread out. Low angles and long lenses will tend to make things look more bunched up than they are but a helicopter shot of a long column of marchers in LA was particularly sparse. So I don’t buy the narrative that protesters are not social distancing.

    4. Susan the other

      Interesting thing PK – I’ve always been a vitamin/mineral nut. And for a good year now, well in advance of last Novembers escape of Covid19, there has been NO zinc on any shelf within a 30 mile radius. I used to buy zinc regularly. I once poisoned myself on high doses of zinc – it crept up on me over about a month and my kidneys began to fail – but not a big problem as I was young and was told by another free-lancer that I should just drink more water and flush it all out. Which I did – that was 50+ years ago and there was never a warning on the label then nor since. So now the obvious absence of all zinc tablets is kinda curious. As well as the appropriate research on HCQ in combination with zinc as a prophylactic in advance of getting sick with Covid. Just the observation of an old woman.

    5. Aumua

      I personally have thought these stories are about Trump. Trump championed the hydroxychlorquinine, so therefore it can’t be a good solution?

      1. c_heale

        Think it’s also because it’s cheap unlike the other pharmaceuticals that are being touted. Look at the UK and US wanting to profit off a vaccine.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Democrats Think Officers Policing Protests Need to Identify Themselves. Bill Barr Disagrees.”

    Actually, these sort of police do need to identify themselves. Otherwise, how would people know if mercenaries are being contracted in as reinforcements or not? Mercenaries being used in the American mainland were not popular back in the 1770s and I doubt there is much love to be found for them being used in America itself nowadays. Yes, mercenaries were used after Katrina in New Orleans but they were hired by rich people to protect their property. Mercenaries being contracted to bust protestor’s heads is not something to be considered as that would backfire spectacularly. But you just know that some in DC are thinking about it (Hello, paging Tom Cotton).

  21. QuarterBack

    The ugliness we are witnessing is not new, it’s just closer. The weapons and tactics that are all too close for comfort today have been crafted and perfected in overseas conflicts and occupations by us, our allies, and our surrogates for more than a generation. The rethink that we need to execute must extend beyond the domestic, to redefine what levels of respect, consent, and autonomy are appropriate for the world stage. It’s hard for me to get fully wrapped up in debates over local policing policy, inclusiveness, and racism, while we promote or enable true biblical horrors far outside our borders. We are looking into the mirror now and we must untangle our own “way of life” if we want any hope of bringing about the world we are beginning to desperately pray for.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “‘Somebody cooked up the plot’: The hunt for the origins of the Russia collusion narrative”

    I happened to see mention of one of the conspirators of the Russian collusion narrative today. That ex-FBI agent Lisa Page has just nabbed a job with MSNBC and people are already suggesting that she be not issued a phone-

    1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      I read a piece in the Duran or Yasha Levine or something where they did trace back who first broached the idea of making it all about Russia because it fit into a neocon narrative around anger at Russia for keeping the US from destabilizing Syria because Russia had a small naval station leased there. The neocon faction has been persistent in ridding Russia of any ability to project military power of any kind anywhere.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      If you are a democratic socialist you should be pushing for Biden over Trump in our Two party system. That way when they are in control, and very little changes besides the lipstick, you can show people how much the new boss is the same as the old boss.

      1. John k

        Another view…
        If trump wins there may be an opportunity for a progressive in 2024.
        The story does not, or should not, end with sanders. Remember it’s us.
        But if Biden wins his right wing veep will be the nominee the next time.

        1. albrt

          Or perhaps if Trump wins the United States will simply fall apart before 2024, and 95% of humans will be much better off due to not getting droned or having their governments involuntarily changed.

      2. Pelham

        I’d agree. What makes me hesitate, though, is the fact that the media are so firmly in the Dems’ back pocket. They will burnish whatever a Biden administration does, or at least not demonize it.

        Whether the public buys into such nonsense is another question, but in any event it won’t matter much unless enough of us are displeased enough to come up with viable alternatives to the two parties.

      3. polecat

        Thing about that blueshade lipstick is .. is that they’ll kiss you and smile .. Cerci style.

        whilst you lose all hope, ensconced in chains.

    2. Dan

      I was wondering if there is a way those of us who supported Sanders emotionally and financially can bring a class action lawsuit or some such measure against his campaign apparatus. Not to get the money back per se (though that would be nice!) but more as a way to pressure the political class and bring as much of the nefariousness as possible to light. There were lots of people who gave their last dollar to Sanders as well as those who literally devoted their lives to support him.

      The Sanders campaign essentially raped its supporters.

      1. Aumua

        I highly doubt anyone gave their last dollar to Sanders. Much less “lots of people”. Keep your pants on…

        That said, it’s very disappointing. I almost get the impression that these kind of Politico articles are meant to spread maximum discouragement about Sanders and about anything that he said he stood for. Funny that’s always the same few actors bringing up these things again and again, out of the blue even.

    1. MLTPB

      Pangolins are animals.

      Did they transmit to humans?

      Do humans transmit to them?

      More curious about cats.

    2. Massinissa

      Minks and ferrets getting Corona and being able to spread it isn’t new news, I had heard similar things over a month ago, though I suppose this is official confirmation of that, which is good.

  23. bassmule

    A report from an old friend who grew up in Manhattan and now lives outside of Atlanta. He’s pretty hard-headed and not prone to fantasy, but, as always, YMMV:

    “I wanted to take a picture, but too many eyes were looking my way. The local gun store had over thirty (mostly) pickups in their lot, on the road-all over. They are constantly full.

    Why? Initially the pandemic (nobody’s going to steal my toilet paper). Now? Black Lives Matter.

    No joke: southerners are getting ready for armed confrontation. Stocking up to protect their cows and women. Please be mindful that we aren’t far from an incident that will wreak serious destruction.”

    1. Carolinian

      Sounds like it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to loot that particular store. I do wonder if NYC gun store parking lots would be full right now–if they had gun stores.

      Which is not to say that NYC should have gun stores or the South either but if you want to encourage the opposite then unrestrained looting is probably the way to go. Where is ML:K (a Southerner btw) when we need him?

  24. polecat

    Today’s Antidote dy Jour

    Perhaps the lavender was just a ruse ..

    That goose, close enough to gaze at what counts as a ‘nest’ in the window sill, surely must have been thinking ‘those humans .. they’re doing it all Wrong!’

  25. Sam M

    I hope the DC mayor’s writing of “Black Lives Matter” on the street continues the larger trend of large scale art in public spaces. An entire infrastructure system of concrete and and asphalt along with thousands of brutalist buildings are ripe for murals, installations, and professional graffiti.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can you imagine how Trump would flip if 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue got renamed 1600 George Floyd Avenue?

  26. John k

    So a single incident in a northern city causes the country to explode in anger. The sitting president energizes his base with law and order speeches… and maybe finds reluctant support among the seniors that picked Biden in the primaries.
    But meanwhile he who would replace the sitting president promises no fundamental change, the same platform as that of the presidents former challenger. This will motivate those marching for change in the streets? Or those locked up in dem states bc they marched? Maybe not.
    And Biden leads in the swings by 1% as most pollsters talk about the big 10% lead overall. Feeling deja vu here…
    one things for sure; if trump does win again the dems will be back to whining about Russia and the EC.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It’s not a single incident. It’s yet another in a very long series….and disturbingly similar to the killing of Eric Garner. It’s the “nothing has changed” that caused the protests.

    2. J.k

      An article posted here in the links the last couples days explained it well enough. Its never a single incident that kicks off such a process. A social order growing ever more unstable with each passing year, and all the recent police murders captured on tape over the last decade created a massive pile of tinder. The murder of Floyd was the spark that set the place ablaze. Conditions were just right. And instead of quickly putting out the fire the authorities added more fuel, first by their inaction and then by the indiscriminate violence against the protestors. All on tape for the world to see.

  27. flora

    re: How Police Became Paramilitaries -NYRB

    Thanks for that link. So the 1033 program was started in the Clinton administration.

    “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.”
    – Thomas Paine

    1. Pookah Harvey

      For a slightly different take on the “warrior cop” here is a discussion from Beau of the Fifth Column from 2 years ago. Beau is a an anarchist, journalist and former military contractor with some interesting insights.

    2. fresno dan

      June 6, 2020 at 2:02 pm
      One of America’s top police trainers is teaching officers to be “emotionally, spiritually, psychologically” prepared to kill people on the job.
      If you’re prepared to kill, Dave Grossman, says, it’s “just not that big of a deal.”
      His overly aggressive style prepares law enforcement officers for a job under siege, where they’re front line troops who are “at war” with the streets. Officers need to be prepared to battle the communities they’re told to protect, Grossman has said. And ideally in Grossman’s eyes, officers need to learn to kill less hesitantly.
      If officers look at the people that they interact with as enemy combatants, as potential threats instead of community members whom officers are supposed to be serving and protecting, it’s really not a surprise when they disregard the value of someone’s life,” Stoughton.
      In Minneapolis, under the police department’s use-of-force policy, officers are still allowed to de-escalate a situation by putting a knee on a suspect’s neck, but only those who have been trained on how to do so without putting direct pressure on the person’s airway are allowed to use the move.

      After a family received a $3 million payout from Minneapolis in 2013 following the death of a David Smith — a young black man who the police shot with a stun gun and held on the ground with a knee on his back for four minutes — all Minneapolis police officers were supposed to be retrained on how to restrain suspects, according to a 2013 Minneapolis Star Tribune article. Both Chauvin and Thao were on the force when retraining classes were said to be carried out, and use-of-force experts have criticized his actions leading up to Floyd’s death.

      1. Massinissa

        So much for Chauvin’s death being because of ‘bad apples’. Theres institutional rot across the whole policing system…

  28. fresno dan

    This decommissioned 1993 Humvee still has guns and it is surprisingly road legal 71 DriveTribe

    Hmm – it has that sign on the back, “DANGER STAY BACK” and as I hate, hate, HATE being tailgated, it would be perfect for me. And if there are no parking spaces, you just MAKE one….

    1. jr

      Ever seen the mileage on one of those G.I. dinosaurs? It’s, um, a lot of dinosaurs…


      1. rowlf

        Ever try to drive something that wide on a public road with loose steering without wiping out oncoming car mirrors or mailboxes? Someone down the street from me had one for sale (minus the replica machine gun) and it wouldn’t fit between the lines painted on the roads around here.

      2. fresno dan

        June 6, 2020 at 5:46 pm

        I didn’t say I could drive it very FAR….
        And its really the cost of the mortars that concern me.

  29. c_heale

    Many Koreans wear masks or face coverings in the summer anyway (especially women) to avoid the skin aging and because traditionally pale skin is preferred here.

    1. Eureka Springs

      It’s their purpose for being. They always do it. Hopefully many a younger peeps learned from OWS.

    1. Daryl

      Thanks for sharing. I have seen some protests in Houston in places that I would not have expected, at all.

    2. The Historian

      Thank you for that link. That’s the most heartening thing I’ve read all day.
      Boise had 6000 people show up for the vigil last week.

  30. stefan

    I think real change can begin to happen if people mobilizing today see a way clear to enacting a General Strike– tax stake, rent strike, work strike, payment strike, et cetera strike. Yes, it would be difficult and a hardship to remove ourselves from an economy that is owned by and operated for elites. But let them suffer on without us. The masses are numerous enough, resourceful enough, energetic enough, courageous enough and fun enough to construct an alternative. Your cash ain’t nuthin’ but trash…

    1. Billy

      Debt Strike would be the overall catch phrase. Simply refuse to pay any bill to a corporation. Personal debts, perhaps rent to a kind landlord, exempted.
      Oh, and unless you expect a refund, no more tax filings of any kind.

      1. Chris

        I read and listen to what Professor Hudson posts here and other places. I just can’t see how we will ever get to debt relief in this country. I can’t even see how we’ll get to a point where minority owned businesses will get access to the resources they need to start up or grow. And I really can’t imagine how the reaction to a mass of people who refused to pay their bills wouldn’t be so terrifyingly violent that it would yank everyone back into line.

        But I hope my kids will see the day where the concept of a jubilee becomes reality.

  31. Chris

    You know, it’s an interesting time to have the roots and the need for leadership because the main drive of people speaking about these difficult issues appears to education. And schools are closed or on life support via lackluster online classes. If the rioters and people pushing for change really wanted to make their philosophies take root and get the support of the middle class, they’d figure out how to open schools and get their stuff into the curriculum. The people where I live are foaming at the mouth about the lack of school and are terrified their kids will be home in the fall too. That’s a lot of power and support lying in the street for someone to pick up.

  32. JBird4049

    I might have missed it, but I have not seen anyone comment on the Philadelphia Inquirer’s “Buildings Matter, too” headline. The protests are over the systematic abuse and murder of Americans especially Black Americans, with much of the physical damage being done by the police themselves. Just what was the editors and the publishers of the paper thinking? Even if I was going to compare human life to buildings, it is not like the Lincoln Memorial or some other places like it are being destroyed, either.

  33. VietnamVet

    Donald Trump’s “Walk in the Sun” to St. John’s Episcopal after clearing out the protestors to hold high the Bible has pretty much set the future course of American history. The President and White House staffers purposefully didn’t wear face masks to mark the divide between those who wear them based on science and to protect society verses the others who know nothing. The division is now clear; them or us.

    Joint Chief Milley marched along in combat fatigues. The Pentagon has suddenly realized the mistake. The military is not anti-engineering, anti-empire or pro-racism. It does not want a fight with any of the 20% different American identities. The Democrats may just win in November even with no alternative candidate because of the pandemic, depression, and the unrest. Active duty troops returned to base. National Guard troops in DC lost their weapons. The White House be damned.

    Nobody wants to acknowledge that what is actually driving the protests is the 10%’s exploitation of everyone else. There will be no voluntary end to oppression, homelessness or illness. There is no profit in that.

  34. jed

    I know it’s very late for a conversation, but have to say that in response to the ICU article…

    my wife was admitted to the emergency room for distinctly non-covid reasons.

    Kept her in emergency room with no visitors for two days. Admitted on Sunday for surgery Monday. Surgery went well, recovering in every way you could hope.

    Just got the bill. $12,000 for “ICU”. We are in a reasonably good healthcare plan, so a couple thousand for us. however, never icu.

    I question the official count of ICU visits.

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