Links 6/8/2020

This fantastical sea creature helps remove planet-warming gases from the atmosphere Los Angeles Times

Fidelity chief warns of global corporate solvency crisis FT

Gasoline Demand Recovery Seen in Saudi Arabia’s Price Strategy Bloomberg

Central banks’ response to Covid-19 in advanced economies Bank of International Settlements

The Great American Housing Bubble Credit Slips. Adam Levitin’s new book, The Great American Housing Bubble: What Went Wrong and How We Can Protect Ourselves in the Future. Yves: “Levitin was Special Counsel to the Congressional Oversight Panel, so he had an insider vantage, and also worked a great deal behind the scenes with anti-foreclosure activists.”

#COVID19

The science:

Olfactory transmucosal SARS-CoV-2 invasion as port of Central Nervous System entry in COVID-19 patients (preprint) bioRxiv. From the abstract: “SARS-CoV-2 enters the nervous system via trespassing the neuro-mucosal interface in the olfactory mucosa by exploiting the close vicinity of olfactory mucosal and nervous tissue including delicate olfactory and sensitive nerve endings.”

Pulmonary Vascular Endothelialitis, Thrombosis, and Angiogenesis in Covid-19 NEJM. From Harvard’s press release, an English translation: “Newly published research detailing the post-mortem features of seven patients who died of COVID-19 provides critical insights, including evidence of extensive damage to the lining of the blood vessels, abnormal blood vessel growth in the lungs and widespread blood clotting.” Not “just flu,” in other words.

* * *
The data:

Brazil expunges virus death toll as data befuddles experts AP

* * *
Vaccines:

Scientists are struggling to quickly find a vaccine that can vanquish coronavirus San Diego Tribune. Very good wrap-up.

Development of an inactivated vaccine candidate, BBIBP-CorV, with potent protection against SARS-CoV-2 Cell. From the abstract: “Here, we report the pilot-scale production of an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate (BBIBP-CorV) that induces high levels of neutralizing antibodies titers in mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits and nonhuman primates (cynomolgus monkeys and rhesus macaques) to provide protection against SARS-CoV-2…. These results support the further evaluation of BBIBP-CorV in a clinical trial.”

* * *
Treatment:

Why Do Some Recover From COVID-19 Quickly, While Others Seem Likely To Face Long-Term Disability? Health Affairs

Hydroxychloroquine is not dead yet NBC. A calm wrap-up, at long last.

* * *
Spread:

A coronavirus mystery: How many people in L.A. actually have COVID-19? LA Times

Marin epidemiologist Larry Brilliant: Virus crisis just beginning Mercury News

* * *
Testing and tracing:

False Negative Tests for SARS-CoV-2 Infection — Challenges and Implications NEJM. “Designing a reference standard for measuring the sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 tests in asymptomatic people is an unsolved problem that needs urgent attention to increase confidence in test results for contact-tracing or screening purposes.” Yikes.

Prevalence of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection Annals of Internal Medicine. From the abstract: “Because of the high risk for silent spread by asymptomatic persons, it is imperative that testing programs include those without symptoms. To supplement conventional diagnostic testing, which is constrained by capacity, cost, and its one-off nature, innovative tactics for public health surveillance, such as crowdsourcing digital wearable data and monitoring sewage sludge, might be helpful.”

The Town That Tested Itself The New Yorker. Rather like Ceredigion in Wales, to which we linked yesterday.

* * *
Masks:

COVID-19 and the Social Distancing Paradox: dangers and solutions (PDF) European Institute for Science, Media and Democracy. These researchers had masked people wear a “Social Distancing belt, a special belt augmented with hidden sensor boxes allowing to measure social distances” between the wearer and other pedestrians. From the body of the paper: “[A] visual stimulus signaling danger [like a mask] makes people more sensible to safety and increases social distancing protection.”

* * *
Social determinants of health:

The Social Determinants Of Death Health Affairs

* * *
Reopening:

Death and Texas Elizabeth Bruenig, New York Times. American roulette?

* * *
Remedies and ameliorations:

PSA – Do Not Leave Hand Sanitiser or Gloves in Your Car This Summer Drive Tribe

History Suggests the Handshake Will Survive the Pandemic Bloomberg

The pandemic mixed up what scientists study – and some won’t go back Nature

China?

In pictures: looking back at one year of protest in Hong Kong Lausan

‘Police will come for my son’: Hong Kong parents seek a way out for their children Hong Kong Free Press. Hence:

 

* * *
China targets land grabs, forced evictions in new law Agence France Presse

China Poised to Pull Plans for U.K. Nuclear Plants Bloomberg

America’s Big China Mistake Clyde Prestowitz, Washington Monthly

India

The Political Economy of Lockdown in India Multiplier Effect

UK/EU

Home Secretary Priti Patel calls violence at UK Black Lives Matter protests ‘utterly disgraceful’ as clean up starts after a demonstrator tried to BURN Cenotaph’s Union flag, a crowd toppled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and eight police are hurt Daily Mail. “Toppled”? Are we sure about that? Thread:

 

Who was Edward Colston and why was his Bristol statue toppled? Guardian

Toulouse’s troubles mirror those of France as a whole FT

Italy Might Shake Off Crisis Without Having to Confront Economic Failings Bloomberg

The killing of Jeremy Corbyn Middle East Eye

Brexit

Brexit SHOWDOWN: Boris vows to fix May’s ‘defective’ WA sparking huge outcry in Brussels The Express

Foster fears Brexit talks ‘not going particularly well’ RTE. I don’t know if the Irish do understatement like the Brits, but if so….

The UK and EU are facing the most extreme version of Brexit FT

Brexit: a deal is still possible EU Referendum

Government ready to open British markets to chlorinated chicken for US trade deal Independent

Trump Transition

President Donald Trump questions Roger Goodell’s statement to NFL players USA Today. One comment:

 

This Treasury Official Is Running the Bailout. It’s Been Great for His Family. Pro Publica

Democrats in Disarray

Democrats seek to tap into fury over George Floyd The Hill. Looks like their response to Ferguson just kicked the can down the road. Unsurprisingly.

Lol (1):

 

Lol (2):

 

Former Obama aide goes off on looters: ‘There are human beings that live in this goddamn neighborhood’ The Hill. Another West Wing rerun…

Imperial Collapse Watch

We Are Watching The Story Of America Crash Headlong Into The Reality Of America Caitlin Johnstone (Carla).

“America’s Moment of Reckoning”: Cornel West Says Nationwide Uprising Is Sign of “Empire Imploding” (interview) Cornel West, Democracy Now

Police State Watch

Trump orders National Guard to begin withdrawal from DC The Hill

Minneapolis City Council Members Announce Intent To Disband The Police Department, Invest In Proven Community-Led Public Safety The Appeal

From guns to neck restraint: How police tactics differ around the world MSN (KW).

What Is Qualified Immunity, and What Does it Have to Do With Police Reform? Just Security

EXCLUSIVE: Two Buffalo Police ERT members say resignation was not in solidarity with suspended officers WKRT (dk).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Enormous Scale of This Movement The Atlantic

Protests against police violence sweep across small-town America Reuters (Colonel Smithers).

The U.S. Needs To Complete Its Reconstruction Efforts. Here’s How. Forbes

UPDATE: Protesters pull down Confederate statue in Richmond’s Monroe Park Richmond Times-Dispatch and ‘A long time coming’: Iconic Lee statue to be removed Associated Press

You gotta know the territory:

 

Protests in a pandemic present dilemma for scientists FT. American roulette once more? Framing this as the trolley problem, a thread:

 

Tactical ingenuity and cross-fertilization (1):

 

Tactical ingenuity and cross-fertilization (2):

 

Our Famously Free Press

NYT Opinion Editor Resigns After Furor Over Op-Ed, NYT Reports Bloomberg. The Times should clean house. There might be one or two worth keeping (Bruenig), but otherwise defenestrate Friedman, Brooks, Dowd, Krugman, etc. — in no particular order. They are all over-paid, shopworn, and bad. Put the money into the newsroom.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

NY prosecutors request testimony from Prince Andrew as part of Jeffrey Epstein investigation ABC

Guillotine Watch

Lavish photos show what it’s like to go on a luxury safari that costs $125,000 per person and uses a private jet as its main mode of transportation Business Insider (KW).

Transformational Challenge Nuclear Reactor: Microreactor Built Using 3D Printing SciTechDaily

Hannah Arendt and the Twentieth Century Literaturwissenschaft in Berlin (DJG).

Antidote du jour (via):

Larry the Cat: “I don’t lounge, I glide statically.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

237 comments

  1. AbyNormal

    Estimated U.S. military spending is $934 billion. It covers the period October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021.1 Military spending is the second-largest item in the federal budget after Social Security. https://www.thebalance.com/u-s-military-budget-components-challenges-growth-3306320

    military weapons & servicers are experiencing an overhang…due to fewer hot-zones.
    As we follow the money, the multiple announcements for reducing police forces (due to less tax receipts/municipality gluts) states will deploy more military…less police.

    3/4s our entire budget is military (most unfortunately big pharma to home depot are mixed in there), Yeah.

    Remember this as we witness the military return home…THIS:
    Less than two weeks ago, the United States conducted a drone strike over central Yemen, killing one al-Qaeda operative. The strike was the last under Obama (that we know of). The 542 drone strikes that Obama authorized killed an estimated 3,797 people, including 324 civilians. As he reportedly told senior aides in 2011: “Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.”
    https://www.cfr.org/blog/obamas-final-drone-strike-data

    Reply
    1. jackiebass

      I don’t consider money going out as SS payments as spending.This money was paid in years ago by people and their employers. I remember when this money being taken out of you pay check was called Social Security insurance. It was looked at as an insurance policy to be collected at a later time. The only real difference between SS and life insurance was you collected while still alive. I don’t remember when it happened that the messaging about SS changed from insurance to an entitlement. It was the process of educating people to prepare them for accepting either cuts in SS benefits or privatizing it. It amount to propaganda to make SS look bad economically. Very similar to Ronald Reagans, government can’t do anything right, so government functions should be handed over to private for profit making businesses. Businesses would be more efficient than government. The beginning of shrinking the government. This is conservative thinking and it has hampered any real progress for most. It puts business favoring policy ahead of people serving policy. Military spending is real spending. Tax money collected is used to purchase what the military supposedly needs. This is real spending.

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        I try to explain this to people all the time. when people ask me what I do I do not tell most people I cannot work and I am on “disability”, I tell them I cannot work and I supported by an “insurance policy”. The difference in reactions is obvious. Some people ask who i have the policy with and I say the federal government, then they ask if I worked for the government, and I reply “Don’t we all?”

        I also explain this to some sick folks who are apprehensive about applying an insurance claim. Imagine getting in a car accident and being embarrassed to file a claim becasue you are “freeloading off of the insurance company”!

        Reply
        1. jr

          I’ve had similar conversations with co workers about claiming unemployment benefits. This mostly took place in kitchens I worked in. There is a deeply abusive work culture in cooking, in addition to the rampant exploitation you are often expected to willingly accept vicious verbal abuse, physical threats, abrupt schedule changes, and late paychecks. Along with that comes this sense of obligation to the chef and/or owners, they’re doing you such a huge favor by taking you on blah blah blah…

          So when you get laid off or unfairly fired, the pressure is to not claim UI cause it, you know, costs the “House” money. I’ve argued that it is in essence part of your pay package but this crap gets drilled into their heads starting day one of school or work. I’ve known guys who have quit for good reasons and walked away from hundreds of dollars in paychecks because they were too ashamed to collect them. It’s really sick and it’s why I’ll never go near a hot line kitchen again…

          Reply
        2. AbyNormal

          The curious condition of a republic based roughly on the original Roman model is that it cannot allow true political parties to share in government. What then is a true political party: one that is based firmly in the interest of a class be it workers or fox hunters. Officially we have two parties which are in fact wings of a common party of property with two right wings. Corporate wealth finances each. Since the property party controls every aspect of media they have had decades to create a false reality for a citizenry largely uneducated by public schools that teach conformity with an occasional advanced degree in consumerism.

          GORE VIDAL, The United States of Amnesia

          Reply
      2. AbyNormal

        THAT’S supposed to be an unknown known.

        Documents obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act reveal that a Pentagon war game, called the 2018 Joint Land, Air and Sea Strategic Special Program, or JLASS, offered a scenario in which members of Generation Z, driven by malaise and discontent, launch a “Zbellion” in America in the mid-2020s.
        https://theintercept.com/2020/06/05/pentagon-war-game-gen-z/

        Reply
      3. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, it annoys me when people confuse different types of spending.

        To put it another way, spending on welfare is not ‘expenditure’, its a distribution within a society. Its like a family divvying up the income earners money. The ‘cost’ of this is the administrative cost. Arguably, welfare spending increases national productivity by, for example, ensuring a better fit of employee to employer. Certainly, the northern European countries have very high productivity levels side by side with high welfare spending.

        Military spending, on the other hand, represents an opportunity cost – money on F-35’s that could be spent on high speed rail is a drain on a nations productivity. It represents real resources diverted to largely unproductive ends (I say largely unproductive as military spending does have some economic benefits and some utility, just not as much as investment in more productive capacity).

        Reply
        1. mle detroit

          @PK 9:02am

          spending on welfare is not ‘expenditure’, its a distribution within a society. Its like a family divvying up the income earners money.

          That approach worked quite well for the Gordy family in Detroit. Mama built a savings account from a portion of every kid’s earnings, then when son Berry Gordy needed money to open a music recording studio…Motown!

          Reply
          1. Left in Wisconsin

            That’s interesting. I happened to watch a fluff piece about Motown on AXS tv last night and it said he used money he had saved from songwriting royalties. It also said he worked on an auto production line for a time and was strongly influence by the division of labor he saw there, one reason why Motown was organized by function: songwriters, singing talent, backing band, traveling reviews, etc. In the early and glory days, only Smokey Robinson sang mostly his own material. Otherwise, the songwriters would write a song and Gordy would decide which artist/group would record it, though he often had the same song recorded by multiple artists. If a songwriter or team wanted to write for a particular artist/group, they had to get permission from Gordy first. Made sense to me.

            Reply
            1. lordkoos

              Smokey was married to Berry Gordy’s sister and was also a producer in his own right, unlike most of the singers there, so he was in a different category from the beginning. In the end though, Motown’s most creative artists, Marvin Gaye & Stevie Wonder, felt stifled by Gordy’s assembly line approach.

              Still, the company accomplished so much, mostly thanks to Gordy’s business acumen.

              Reply
      4. Oh

        That rear-end-of-a horse-going-north-Reagan and his buddies put this country back several years. Additional damage was done by his successors like Poppa Bush, I-feel-your-pain-Clinton, cocaine-snorter-Bush-the-inferior, Drone-king-and-murderer-of-the-hope-changy-variety-Bushbama have all piled on Social Security, Medicare and decent government programs. There is a special place in hell for them in company with Reagan and Poppa Bush who got advance accomodations there.

        Reply
        1. Dan

          You didn’t go back far enough. Carter’s NSC was psychopath Zbigniew Brzezinski of Grand Chessboard fame. His only saving grace was he wasn’t on board with the Zionist project. And Carter brought in Paul Volcker to head the Fed. Volcker made it his life’s mission to break the unions and reportedly went even further than the nutty Reagan administration officials, who were initially on board, wanted to go.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Carter’s NSC

            So after Nixon, when the Democrats got in, in 1976, they started “creating the conditions for Reagan.” When Clinton got in, in 1992, they started “creating the conditions for Bush.” And when Obama got in, in 2008, they started “creating the conditions for Trump.”

            Gawd knows what will happen when Biden gets in…

            Reply
            1. Dan

              Carrol Quigley’s dictum seems apropos:

              “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies… is a foolish idea. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.”

              Gawd knows, Lambert, gawd knows…

              Reply
      5. LifelongLib

        Not a single mention of MMT, which believes that federal taxes do not fund federal spending. As the issuer of the U.S. dollar, the U.S. government can create/spend any amount it chooses to on SS recipients, the military, etc. It can also tax anybody it chooses to, which takes money out of their pockets but does not actually fund anything. All the stuff about trust funds etc are just political accounting tricks…

        Reply
        1. nothing but the truth

          i am not a billionaire.

          the congress can ex-nihilo produce money and give it to me to make me a billionaire.

          therefore it is the congress’ fault that i am not a billionaire.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Not a single mention of MMT, which believes that federal taxes do not fund federal spending.

          I just mentioned it. It’s not a matter of belief, it’s a correct description of how Federal spending works. It’s amazing that MMT doesn’t “take,” even in the NC commentariat when NC was for many years one of the few online havens for it, and there are many posts. One despairs.

          Ever notice that nobody asks “How you gonna pay for it” for F-35s, but everybody asks it for, say, #MedicareForAll? Does that not suggest that the question is not in good faith?

          Reply
          1. Watt4Bob

            I read somewhere that “the despairing soul is a rebel“.

            MMT has ‘taken’, and the proof is the proliferation of anti-MMT trolls that have shown up.

            The issue is IMO, language.

            I know you’ll have trouble with this, but I believe for instance, that allowing FICA contributions to be characterized as “a tax by another name” is destructive of popular understanding of our country’s finances.

            And considering the size of the funds in question, I’d say that misunderstanding, is a pillar of the neo-liberal consensus;

            1. Greed makes markets work
            2. Markets are made up of rational people.
            3. Government regulation hurts Mr. Market.
            4. etc, etc…

            Somewhere in the list is #. SS is an unsustainable burden on the taxpayer.

            IMO, the SS ‘trust fund’ represents a fair, and eminently useful estimate of the minimum historical debt owed to We the People, at this moment, rooted, importantly in the people’s mind, due to their quantifiable contributions.

            I don’t believe it necessary to convince the masses that SS is imaginary in order to convince them that MMT is real.

            IMO, fighting for a wider awareness of the reality of MMT, does not preclude the necessity of fighting the constituent pillars of the neo-liberal consensus.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              I’m not sure what you are arguing. The trust fund isn’t enough to pay for Social Security obligations, nor frankly was it ever designed to work that way despite CBO and other hype. It’s a PAYG system.

              Reply
              1. Watt4Bob

                What I’m arguing, is that as long as the SS system can rely on cashing in treasuries purchased over the years, its short-fall is relatively easy to fix.

                The noises coming out of the cat-food commission, among others, sound like threats not to honor those treasuries because it would “bankrupt us”.

                Lambert told me;

                Please do not propagate noxious and tendentious mainstream economics propaganda.

                I see no reason for that accusation. (see above)

                I’m convinced of both ideas, MMT is simply the most accurate description of reality, AND congressional threats to the SS system are dishonest because the monies ‘borrowed’ by congress will cover a large portion of the SS short-fall.

                Considering the trust fund’s ownership of treasuries, and the reality of MMT, I fail to see why there is any way to argue the SS ‘problem’ is something unusually difficult to fix.

                I’m arguing that is not;

                “noxious and tendentious mainstream economics propaganda.”

                Reply
                1. Yves Smith

                  Please write more carefully. That isn’t what your previous remarks said. You might have the writing version of hand-eye coordination issues, that your text does not convey what you wanted it to say.

                  Reply
                  1. Watt4Bob

                    Thank you, I understand, and will endeavor to write more carefully.

                    This place, and its community are important to me, and I would never intentionally sow discord.

                    Reply
              2. Watt4Bob

                I’m arguing that I’m not promulgating;

                noxious and tendentious mainstream economics propaganda

                …as accused by LS. (see below)

                Between the trust funds owning treasuries, and MMT, it seems to me that SS’s ‘problems’ are an easy fix.

                Reply
                1. Yves Smith

                  I agree. Even if one (for the next while) has to capitulate to the ‘But you have to tax to pay for it” perspective. Dean Baker has pointed out it would take little to make the Fund “solvent” as presently defined. Just end the salary cap for payroll taxes.

                  Reply
    2. Watt4Bob

      Military spending is the second-largest item in the federal budget after Social Security.

      Social Security is self-funding, so not technically a Federal budget item.

      It is congressional ‘borrowing‘ of SS funds for ‘other’ purposes (and the necessity of repaying those borrowed funds) that has enabled greedy oligarchs, and their bought and paid for pols to perpetrate the myth that SS ‘spending‘ is an unsustainable budget item.

      Congressional ‘borrowing’ from Social Security is achieved by selling US treasuries into the SS Trust Fund.

      Why is it that the only US Treasuries that congress envisions defaulting on are those in the SS Trust Fund?

      Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          There’s a huge punt of lost motion, goldbricking, feather bedding and other “uneconomic” activity in the military. It’s not just the headline ripoffs like cost-plus F-35s and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. There’s a huge “commissary” expense to feed the Troops, and there’s the constant contractor-driven replacement of one uniform style after another as well as constant pursuit of “game-changing” sidearms and rifles looking for that monopoly opportunity of ‘winning the contract’ to produce some new shooter with an odd caliber. Crap like the XM-25 “Punisher,” touted as the Big Stick for Afghanistan and Iraq to “take out” local daring to shoot at invading US forces from behind walls and other cover, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XM25_CDTE. Procurement by corruption, informed by long-term participation in squad-shooter computer war games…

          And Generals living like kings, and there are more of them (losers in all the wars they have “managed the Battlespace of) than ever, living higher on the hog than ever, building their opportunities for more looting after passing through the magic door of military career: https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/world-report/2013/07/24/the-pentagon-has-too-many-troops

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            I agree there’s enormous waste and corruption in the military, but I think both the commissary and the Exchange Service are self-funding. They achieve low prices by not paying state or local taxes and not paying federal excise taxes, which might be considered a cost to the government. I imagine the military also pays for shipping costs for sending the stuff to overseas locations. If I’m wrong I’d like to find out. Does the government pay for contractors to run the McDonalds, Pizza Huts, and Dairy Queens at our forward fire bases?

            Reply
      1. jef

        Well we usually do grab all their gold when we “liberate” a country so there is some income off all that military spending.

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Social Security is self-funding

        No, it is not. Once again, Federal taxes do not fund Federal spending. Please do not propagate noxious and tendentious mainstream economics propaganda.

        Reply
        1. Watt4Bob

          I strongly agree with you, “Federal taxes do not fund Federal spending”.

          OTOH, I also believe it necessary to hold firm in the idea that widespread understanding of an honest accounting of collective contributions to SS, and the subsequent investment of those funds in treasuries, represent the best hope of preserving the people’s right to a place at the table when our economic future is debated.

          IMHO, it is possible to understand the obvious truth of MMT on the one hand, and the validity of the structure intended to segregate SS funds as distinct from other government spending.

          Structuring SS as an insurance system was intended, at least in part to protect it from being abolished by the political interests of the rich and powerful sure to hold the upper hand at some point, and that theoretical distinction is still as valuable today as it was then.

          It is certainly unnecessary to abandon the argument that the SS system is ‘owed’ the funds represented by its investments in treasuries in order to accept, and promulgate the existing reality that is MMT.

          As a matter of fact, I would say that successfully defending the one idea, reinforces the possibility of popular acceptance of the other.

          I would go so far as to say that if TPTB are successful in selling the myth that SS is an unsustainable drag on America’s future, that they will have no trouble selling the notion that MMT is, on its face, not worth discussing.

          Reply
      3. run75441

        Hi Watt4:

        In fiscal year 2019, the federal government spent $4.4 trillion, amounting to 21 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Of that $4.4 trillion, over $3.5 trillion was financed by federal revenues. The remaining amount ($984 billion) was financed by borrowing. As the chart below shows, three major areas of spending make up the majority of the budget:

        Policy Basics: Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go? Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. April 9, 2020

        Perhaps, I am wrong? I did talk with Coberly. I will answer more thoroughly later.

        Reply
    3. Procopius

      Your last paragraph thoroughly confuses me. “Remember this as we witness the military return home…” ??? What military returning home are you talking about? 2011? After the paragraph is a link to an article from January 20, 2017! For some reason the media stopped covering them, but I have seen at least two mentions that Trump is conducting far more drone strikes than Obama did. And when Trump did try to withdraw illegal troops from Syria, the Democrats stopped him. I feel thoroughly gaslighted.

      Reply
  2. Steve H.

    > False Negative Tests for SARS-CoV-2 Infection — Challenges and Implications
    > Prevalence of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection

    There are multiplicative issues with regard to testing failures. Perhaps a glimmer of pragmatic hope:

    : If so Masks could SOLVE the pandemic. I have been saying Masks are NECESSARY since Feb, didn’t realize they could be SUFFICIENT! [twitter.com/nntaleb/status/1269687435132354564]

    Reply
  3. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Re: gasoline demand

    I know China is a big chunk of demand, but here in the US I don’t see demand coming back anywhere near January-February levels for a long time. I monitor the Georgia navigator app which shows traffic patterns around Atlanta and it has been green (no traffic jams; clear sailing) during morning and evening rush hour for 3 months now. So many folks are working from home and this is a permanent shift. The pandemic simply accelerated the trend. It was going to happen anyways, just not this fast.

    My guess is Europe is similar.

    As far as the Saudis go, I am reminded of the classic Upton Sinclair quote:

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand a fact, when their salary depends on their not understanding it.”

    Reply
    1. jackiebass

      I like your Upton Sinclair comment. Gasoline demand is very fluid. It sometimes changes drastically over night. If a good vaccine is developed for this virus, you will see gasoline demand suddenly increase. It probably won’t happen this year. But could happen quickly after this year.Transportation policy will do the more to reduce demand.If more reliable affordable public transportation is developed , people will drive less. Another thing that can reduce gasoline demand is more electric cars being available. Most of the car companies are spending big bucks to develop cars that use less gas and even no gas. It will happen quicker than people think. In Germany they have experimental towns where people do everything in their town. Some ban owning a car. This will probably work better in geographically small countries. I’m 78 and scratch my head in amazement on how fast certain change happens. Especially where technology is the thing.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        The German government has infuriated their own car industry by offering post-Covid incentives for EV’s only. The problem for European industry is that they simply haven’t invested in enough capacity – VW say they’ve essentially pre-sold all next years EV demand. If the German (and other European governments) hold their nerve, that could be a game changer – if consumers think that liquid fuel cars are the past, they’ll be reluctant to buy new ones.

        It remains to be seen what the short to medium term impact is on gasoline. The latest information seems to success that the virus might already be surging back in some US States. This could mean another unexpected hit to demand. On the other side, in Europe I suspect lots of people who were going to fly for their summer break will now take driving holidays – I can see lots of Germans and Dutch opting to drive to Spain and Italy instead of flying.

        A key issue of course is how construction will do – its a major user of diesel.

        This is of course a huge problem for the petrol industry as they will find it extremely difficult to match up demand and supply for the various fractions. This could end up being as big a problem for them as springs demand hit.

        Reply
      1. Procopius

        If they know the people who did it are members of Black Lives Matter, they must know who they are. They should be required to share that information with the Metropolitan Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, and all the tabloid newspapers. Otherwise they are guilty of spreading propaganda.

        Reply
    1. John A

      That is a reference to the 75 year old who was pushed over by cops in Buffalo last week. The police first claimed he had tripped, before the video evidence emerged.

      Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      There was a little twitter tread among some Irish activists I know discussing if they should do something similar. Then it was pointed out to them that the IRA have over the years ‘removed’ every statue associated with imperialism, often with dynamite. So they’ll have to search a long way for one to do something similar. But I’m sure they’ll find something.

      Reply
      1. RabidGandhi

        I always have a running list, so:
        – Bernardo O’Higgins, Slaughterer of the Huiliche. Statues everywhere.
        – Ricardo O’Farril, Cuban plantation owner and slave trader (unconfirmed, I heard there’s a monument in Ulster)
        – Hugo O’Conor, Ethnic Cleanser of the Apache (might have to travel to Tucson to topple that one).

        Well that should at least tide the lads over for this week.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          RabidGandhi, nice catch about O’Connor. We lived in Tucson and the aura around the sainted Hugo from the city father’s narrative was a part of the Old Pueblo folklore. St. Patrick’s day parade and the “Irish pubs” in the college bars area had “Irish music” and specials on corned beef and cabbage and sausages. Probably should wait till fall before any field trips to that city. Unless, like the mad dogs and tourists from cold climates, who worship the sun, you combine a serious goal with a holiday. Don’t keep up much w former home city, but it used to be that due to “off season” the hotel price was a lot cheaper then in the winter or fall. Now … summer will come. It’s been relatively cool in most of AZ, so far… Then, as we are hearing…AZ is open for business. Yeah! Oh, there is the inconvenient fact that the medical higher-ups are saying: uh the hospital intensive care beds are at, or “near” capacity. And, a second wave of the virus infections are inevitable.

          Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Gentlemen.

        Further to Pritti Patel’s reaction, her world view is informed by https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/27/how-did-british-indians-become-so-prominent-in-the-conservative-party. Patel is MP for a garrison town and was a big tobacco lobbyist.

        My (immigrant) parents and I feared that the statue of Churchill and the Cenotaph would be targeted and, in time, this could provoke a reaction against immigrants in a way that pulling down the statue of Colston may not.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          If I recall correctly, Sociologists sometimes call it the ‘first generation effect’ – the crucial impact the socio-economic-cultural background of the first generation of immigrants have on the success or otherwise of succeeding generations. Immigrants are rarely a random selection from the host country – they came for a reason and often represent a small slice of the originating population. Or put another way, if they were all upper middle class right wingers who were thrown out of their own countries for being w**kers, their children and grandchildren will be the exact same way – they will not see themselves as having anything in common with immigrants from more modest backgrounds.

          Reply
          1. Michael Hudson

            Well, that’s certainly the case with Hong Kong’s population — fleeing the commies, with what they could take. Like Cubans in Miami.

            Reply
      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Kev.

        On history professor David Olusoga’s Twitter feed yesterday evening, it was suggested that Mandela’s statue would be targeted. Gandhi’s is not far away if protesters are so inclined.

        Reply
  4. bassmule

    Where does “qualified immunity” fit with Graham v. Connor?

    Majority Opinion

    In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Rehnquist, the court found that excessive use of force claims against police officers should be analyzed under the Fourth Amendment. They wrote that the analysis should take into account the “reasonableness” of the search and seizure. To determine if an officer used excessive force, the court must decide how an objectively reasonable another police officer in the same situation would have acted. The officer’s intent or motivation should be irrelevant in this analysis.

    Reply
  5. floyd

    re: Health Affairs-Covid 19 Recovery

    Thanks for the more up to date perspective on ME/CFS from scientists who actually study the condition. And it was nice to see it was co-written by David Tuller who has spent significant time trying to provide accurate reporting on ME/CFS. Dr. Hornig it should be noted also works with Dr. Ian Lipkin at Columbia, the well known “virus hunter”.

    Reply
    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Yes, thanks here as well. ME/CFS is another ignored epidemic. I find it fascinating that its prevalence has risen with Autism.

      I had a bad case of Mono when I was 18 and my mother had Polio. We both share the same health issues which could be seen to share some traits with ME.

      Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      I wonder if colorful umbrellas could assume the same meaning and importance in the US as the Yellow Vests do in France?

      And I’m hopeful that the protests here will both be lying running, like the Gilets Jaunes have been, and expand focus to cover the underlying premise that Dr. King likely got assassinated for pushing, the economic injustices that ought to tie all working people together. But it looks like this is going just in the direction of redress for people of color, which is a less powerful driver and one that corporate and party shills and manipulators are already finding ways to latch onto for their own gain.

      Reply
  6. Alex

    I’m sorry but the calculation of the cost-effectiveness of protest is utter BS (unless it was intended as a satire).

    Like the infamous British Covid analysis it has lots of coefficients which were chosen more or less arbitrarily and whose tweaking would dramatically change the result. The robustness of the result (how varying the inputs would impact the results) is nowhere discusses.

    Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “NY prosecutors request testimony from Prince Andrew as part of Jeffrey Epstein investigation” article at-

    https://abcnews.go.com/US/ny-prosecutors-request-testimony-prince-andrew-part-jeffrey/story?id=71125802

    Is the sob guilty? Absolutely. Will the Palace let him go to the US? Absolutely not. Like with that Huweii executive, the US Justice Department will not resist the opportunity of a having a royal prince photoed wearing handcuffs and being sent to jail. And having his arrest photo splashed across the newspapers as well. You think that the Palace will tolerate this being done so that some justice wonk can get some brownie points? Or having Randy Andy being used in trade negotiations as a bargaining tool like with that Huweii executive? Seriously doubt that that will happen.

    Reply
    1. John A

      At least it will clip his travel wings. From being Airmiles Andy to Airinches Andy perhaps. The inches being helicopter rides to golf courses around Britain.

      Reply
    2. MT_Bill

      I really want to know who has all the surveillance footage Epstein collected.

      I can only assume the orders surrounding any raid of his properties were written as “secure” not “destroy” evidence.

      Who knows were that rabbit hole might lead if it all was dumped on the internet.

      Reply
      1. RabidGandhi

        As they used to say of Evita’s brother, “everyone knows Epstein committed suicide, but no one knows who did it”.

        Reply
    3. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Kev.

      It won’t just be the Palace. Many people will suggest that in a trade for Andrew, the UK gets US spy Anne Sacoolas. That could get messy for the British government.

      For readers based in the UK, there’s a BBC documentary about Monaco and the lifestyles of the rich and famous at 21:00 today. One wonders if the European Epstein(s) will feature. BuzzFeed UK, based next to the Old Bailey as it happens, is sitting on some of that material, but dare not publish.

      Reply
    4. Portlander

      I would have been more encouraged that this investigation was serious if the headline said something like “Federal and NYC prosecutors find Ghislane Maxwell; she will testify under oath.”

      The real question is, what are the chances that this is a serious investigation? I see no evidence of this. The investigation seems to be plodding very slowly. Testimony could have been “requested” from any number of people long before now. How deliberate (i.e. slow), deferential and courteous this process is when it involves the crimes of the rich and famous.

      Reply
    5. The Rev Kev

      It is always the obvious things that you do not think about! If they really wanted testimony from someone close to Epstein, then they do not need to talk with Andy. They could talk to Bill Clinton instead as I know that he is available for interviews. And he was close. After all, it was not a painting of Prince Andrew in a blue dress that Epstein had hanging in his home, was it?

      Reply
  8. voislav

    Some good new on the vaccine front. It looks like coronavirus does produce a strong immune response in convalescent patients. Analysis of antibodies shows a number of strongly neutralizing antibodies up to 2 months after infection (the limit of the study). The amount of antibodies shows correlation to the severity of the symptoms, those with more pronounced symptoms showed higher amount of antibodies. Here is the BioRxiv paper.

    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.13.092619v2.full

    Reply
  9. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: The Great American Housing Bubble

    What good is a mortgage for a community if you can just move in a year if your house value skyrockets?

    Here is an idea, a law: If you buy a house you cannot sell it for 15 years. That would keep down prices and prevent flipping from driving up prices as well. And it would also stabilize and make people more invested in the community.

    Reply
    1. MT_Bill

      I think that a proposal like that would have exactly the opposite result of what I assume you intend.

      My guess is it would amplify economic disparity, with communities really tightening up the HOA guidelines. The higher the threshold for entry, the higher the cost of housing. Essentially what we have today, but on steroids.

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        If you only look at it economically, yes. But how will people behave differently if they cannot move at the drop of a hat? Will they support local business more, as an example? Will they get to know people better and as a result, be more tolerant? Will landlords also take care of their properties a bit better?

        And you would assume that prices would go up but if people cannot sell their house they cannot buy a house either. So it hits at both supply and demand.

        Oh, and also, only one house per family. :)

        Housing process only went up once mortgages became common so keep on doing what we are doing is not an answer.

        Reply
        1. MT_Bill

          I’d say that not being able to move at the drop off the hat is one of the first-order causes of intergenerational poverty for many Americans, whether they be rural whites or urban POC.
          Even without rules against moving, people are reluctant to abandon their friends and family.

          Maybe I’ve read to much dystopian fiction, but your proposal seems likely to lead to walled-off communities guarded by either mercenaries or gangs, with private schools, utilities, health care, etc., just at all economic levels instead of just for the rich based on what each community can afford.

          I assume the same restrictions would be applied to those who rent or don’t otherwise own homes?

          Reply
          1. Krystyn Podgajski

            If you cannot move then you cannot be moved! This would protect against gentrification as well I feel.

            I have several friends that stayed in the area but essentially flipped their houses just for the money.

            Maybe I’ve read to much dystopian fiction, but your proposal seems likely to lead to walled-off communities guarded by either mercenaries or gangs, with private schools, utilities, health care, etc., just at all economic levels instead of just for the rich based on what each community can afford.

            You are acting like this is not already true!

            and yes! renters cannot be moved or be forcibly moved, ie, no evictions!

            But whatever, nothing is going to change.

            Reply
        2. The Historian

          I wouldn’t buy a house if I knew that it was mandatory that I stay there for 15 years. I have never lived in one place for that long. Things come up that make it necessary to move. For example, what do people do when a major employer shuts down as has happened in one place I lived? What does the homeowner do then? And the one house per family? Who gets the house during a divorce?

          On purely philosophical grounds, I object to tying people to land for any set period of time – that just smacks of a new form of feudalism. People need to have the ability to move around as needs demand.

          Reply
          1. Krystyn Podgajski

            I wouldn’t buy a house if I knew that it was mandatory that I stay there for 15 years. I have never lived in one place for that long.

            That is the point! Don’t buy a house then!

            For example, what do people do when a major employer shuts down as has happened in one place I lived?

            Capitalists controlling your life!

            People need to have the ability to move around as needs demand.

            Who demands that? The capitalists do! All they want to do is dismantle any kind of stable community, and you fell for it!

            Reply
        3. Henry Moon Pie

          I know you’re very familiar with this, Krystyn, but for those thoroughly imbued with our culture’s love for being on the move, here’s an alternative way of looking at life:

          You don’t have to go out the door
          to know what goes on in the world.
          You don’t have to look out the window to see the way of heaven.
          The farther you go,
          the less you know.

          Tao te Ching #47 (Le Guin, trans.)

          And remember this was written by a guy with no access to electronic communication.

          Our love for mobility has made its contributions to our miseries.

          Reply
          1. Dan

            Hunter-gatherers moved around a lot. It’s in the DNA. Of course, they moved (I should say “move” since they’re still around) as a community.

            “The farther you go,
            the less you know.”

            I don’t know. Maybe. Depends on who’s going.

            Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      I have another idea. How about when somebody buys stocks or bonds, they have to hold onto them for at least a year? Because of computer-based trading, the average stock in the US is held for seconds. In 2012 it was about 22 seconds so who knows how long it is these days. It would give some stability to the stock market and make investors actually think about what they are going to invest in as it will be locked away for so long.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Many have advocated a trading tax (i.e a small tax on every transaction). There are good reasons to believe it would significantly stabilise markets.

        Reply
        1. Tom

          I like the term “sales tax” applied to stock sales as everyone is used to paying sales taxes. And 1% to 2% would be so reasonable compared to the usual sales tax rates.

          Reply
        2. Michael Fiorillo

          NY state had a stock transaction tax until 1980; it was effectively eliminated so that all those rugged individualist job creators could do Dog’s work.

          Reply
      2. MT_Bill

        Even just an hour. Leave some room for buyers remorse.

        Better yet, just go with all trading is to be done by humans, with appropriate written, signed, and notarized documentation regarding the details of the trade.

        Reply
        1. JWP

          And add a FOIA law for banks. After all, we need to know how our money is spent and traded in the absence of Glass-Steagal.

          Reply
        1. Procopius

          I agree we need to end the proliferation of types of corporations and limited liability entities. I don’t know how you could do that at the federal level, though. Aren’t corporations created at the state level? I remember seeing that Delaware is the world’s biggest tax haven, but it’s in competition with some other states because they have even stricter secrecy laws. I think North Dakota is one of them, but might be wrong.

          I am not a lawyer, but I understand the basis for the doctrine that corporations are people is in the headnote of the case Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, 1886. Would it be possible to create a statute to deny that doctrine?

          Reply
    3. jake

      Here’s another possibility that’s close to what you have suggested:
      https://medium.com/voices/a-new-solution-to-the-housing-affordability-crisis-d48b19e7f307

      Instead of placing a hard cap, we can create a graded tax that creates resistance the more units they own, plus some other incentives.

      The second part of that solution is a new agency that would combine the following organizations into one:
      Municipal Land Trust + Public Real Estate Developer + General Contractor + CityWide HOA

      Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    In a story that I call What Could Have Been Elsewhere, New Zealand has basically declared itself Coronavirus free. They have not had a new case reported in 17 days, they discharged the last Coronavirus patient weeks ago, and now the last person to have the virus has rid themselves of it. Jacinda Ardern admitted that when she heard the news, that she did a dance around her house. This means that in New Zealand nearly everything goes back to the new normal which includes restaurants, festivities and even football crowds once again. They went in early, they went in hard, and now they get the benefits-

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/06/coronavirus-a-timeline-of-how-new-zealand-flattened-the-curve-and-beat-covid-19.html

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Marin epidemiologist Larry Brilliant: Virus crisis just beginning Mercury News

      I think many thought that if there was a second surge, it would be in the Fall. But there are some figures circulating on twitter that a major surge seems to be already underway in Florida and Texas.

      I’m really shocked at how many people seem to reflectively believe that the worst is over. I’ve not seen any evidence to show that this disease behaves as a single curve – there is every chance I believe of a rapid series of new outbreaks regionally that could plague the world right through summer and the remainder of the year. Even South Korea and Japan are struggling with fresh outbreaks. I also fear that some European countries are a little too quick to declare victory as well – the tourism and airline industries are making a major push for a ‘normal’ summer. This seems to me to be playing a very dangerous game.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        I also see no reason for the virus to dissipate until the fall. Wishful thinking in a time when the virus is still expanding and social restrictions are easing.

        Reply
      2. Brian (another one they call)

        virus tracking, testing, prognostications and declarations from on high are all lofty goals, but they lack a common thread. They are for show, ego, conformity and herd mentality. The tests don’t work, still. check. The government continues to deny science and peddle fiction, check. The declarations of the figureheads stating daily that a new miracle has been visited upon us, to be deflated the next day. The false statements by medical professionals that have sold out and no longer provide truthful or helpful advice. The ridicule of existing medications that provide some prophylaxis for free and available nowbeing ignored for those with dreams of avarice hoping to be the one that provides the vaccine for an ever mutating virus. (and get paid long before hand so they never have to prove efficacy)
        In a world where the population is routinely told what to do or else by people the population recognizes as idiots, this entropy is to be expected. For those of us that deny this celebration of cretinism, just say no. If people understood science more generally, they would certainly realize their mouthpieces have no clothes, insight or ideas. Truth and facts have gone with the wind. This alone might prolong our survival when the belief system fades to nothing.
        People want to believe because they gave up trying to find out for themselves.

        Reply
      3. Ignacio

        Portugal is now seeing some escalation in Lisboa. So far their ICUs are at about 60% utilisation.

        No way to relax during the summer.

        Reply
        1. Winston Smith

          No way to relax until a vaccine is available and widely distributed…that could take a while. I am assuming there will be a second wave one way or another and trying to figure out a way to prepare as a consequence

          Reply
        2. PlutoniumKun

          There is a letter from academics in Ireland calling for Ireland to double down and try to eliminate the virus entirely from the island. I understand entirely the pressure to try to ‘normalise’ things in the economy, but I do fear that that the message of ‘flattening the curve’ has now become counterproductive – people think that the downside of the curve means we have won. I really fear that countries are relaxing too soon and we are losing the chance to completely eliminate it from most countries it over the summer.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I do fear that that the message of ‘flattening the curve’ has now become counterproductive – people think that the downside of the curve means we have won. I really fear that countries are relaxing too soon and we are losing the chance to completely eliminate it from most countries it over the summer.

            We haven’t controlled it at all. Wait ’til air travel opens up and all the coastal Blue Cities spike again. (I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but that’s domestic air travel. Sensible countries will not be including us in their “bubbles.” So long international travel!)

            Reply
    2. MT_Bill

      There’s a reason the evolution of flightless birds went further in NZ than anywhere else in the world.

      The factors that influenced that evolution are probably as much a factor in the trajectory of the ‘rona there as anything else.

      Reply
      1. ChrisPacific

        It certainly made it easier not to import new cases, but we did have a significant number (1500+) of cases in total along with local transmission, so I’m not sure that it was a big help in the response effort otherwise. That was mostly good leadership, clear messaging, and a shared sense of civic duty (“You must stay home. This will save lives. Stay calm, be kind. He waka eke noa – we’re all in this together.”)

        It could all, theoretically, be replicated elsewhere, even without the geographical advantages. The barriers are mostly political and societal – we did have to accept a very high degree of restriction and government control for a while (during the 4 weeks of highest lockdown we had police checkpoints to turn back anybody trying to move between regions, for example). That’s only possible if there is widespread trust in the government and a general assumption of good faith, something that is emphatically not the case in the USA for example (and it’s not clear how you get there from here). You also need a shared sense of crisis and willingness to compromise on things like personal freedoms for the cause, which the messaging did a very good job of establishing.

        Reply
    3. ewmayer

      Good for the Kiwis, but it should be noted that being an island nation helps: “All borders and entry ports of New Zealand were closed to all non-residents at 11:59 pm on 19 March 2020, with returning citizens and residents being required to self-isolate. Since 10 April, all New Zealanders returning from overseas must go into two weeks of supervised quarantine … [Prime Minister Jacinda] Ardern described these as being among the “widest ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world …
      On 8 June, Prime Minister Ardern announced that New Zealand would be entering into Alert level 1 at midnight on 9 June after it was reported that the country’s last remaining active case had recovered. Under Alert level 1, there will be no restrictions on daily life, business activities, mass gatherings, and public transportation. However, the country’s borders would remained closed to most international travel.”

      Reply
  11. PlutoniumKun

    With regard to the Twitter link above from AAK of Ask a Korean, I’d recommend anyone to follow his threads on the similarity of the BLM protests and the successful South Korean movements of June 1987 (the ‘June Struggle‘ and more recently in 2006-7. As he points out, both were building on years of unsuccessful protest. But they succeeded when the urban middle classes decided that enough was enough, and joined in.

    He is convinced that this is a ‘Burkean’ moment (i.e. a change in the political paradigm, where what was once considered radical, becomes mainstream). The number of conservatives (including, incredibly, Mitt Romney) who are openly supporting the BLM movement is key – this is what must worry Trump more than anything. But its also dangerous, as there is an obvious motive for Trump types to provoke violence to scare the mainstream away from those protests. And maybe its not just Trump types who favour that either.

    Whichever way you look at it, the next week or so is the key as to whether this is another Occupy, or whether it actually leads to a lasting political realignment and change.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      It’s not another Occupy because Occupy was derided and often ignored by the media. Guess I’m a lot more cynical than you are but the fact that Mitt Romney and Eric Holder and Nikki Haley are supporting the protests–not to mention most of the press–doesn’t suggest much of a change. They are fine if people want to go after Trump–Wall Street not so much.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        The point is that people like that frequently join protests not because they don’t think it will lead to change, but because they sense which way the tide is turning, and want to be ahead of (or at least part of), the parade.

        The significance is not particularly about the protests themselves, but about how the authorities can deal with it. As AAK outlines, there are people who can be beaten and shot by police with impunity in any society, and people who cannot. Once the latter group joins protests, that makes it vastly harder for the authorities to crack down in the manner they would like. In South Korea, years of protests only succeeded when the urban middle classes started to join in. There are plenty of similar precedents, so I find his arguments quite compelling.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          Indeed, that thread was in Links a few days ago. How do you get the Karen classes whose entire identity is anchored in having inferiors render service unto them, into a movement that ultimately seeks to eradicate the servile relationship from public society?

          Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        mitt romney, eric holder and nikki haley–pure resume building.

        joe biden had to make up stories about Nelson Mandela and Soweto. These three, and plenty more where they came from, will have the video to prove their “commitment” when it comes up again in 2024. And it will.

        Rodney King was beaten in uber-democrat land nearly 30 years ago. One year later democrat savior william jefferson clinton was elected. During 16 of the next 24 years, the country was ruled by democrats, including a black man who protected the bankers who stole black wealth, and sent billions of dollars worth of extra military equipment to local police departments.

        Anyone who thinks George Floyd is THE spark that rights perceived wrongs has drunk far too much Koolaid. “Systemic racism,” to the extent it even exists, is way too valuable as an ongoing issue and profit center to ever be resolved. The best you’re going to get is a new generation of symbolism signifying the intent to continue milking it for all the political power it’s worth.

        Reply
        1. Winston Smith

          Would not trust any of them but Romney was out with protesters and one would assume his presidential ambitions have ended-unlike Nikki Haley.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Maybe. But don’t underestimate the narcissism of people who run for President. If Mittens believes Trump’s style is an aberration and that GOP voters follow the leader regardless of who the leader is, he probably thinks he could challenge Biden effectively. Obama needed record turnout which I think was driven by how brazen the GOP was by trying to stamp out black turnout more than anything.

            Against Biden, Mittens will have:

            -having actually marched in protest against something bad.
            -myths about having run things well
            -a vote for impeachment (if the GOP bends to the leader); actual resistance before Biden inevitably tries to build his own wall.
            -with the anti-Chinese sentiment pushed by both parties, Mittens will have both a track record that stands in sharp contrast to Biden’s record on trade.
            -Biden is a lazy idiot. He won’t be willing to do much work to avert the economic calamity.
            -Mittens can make mythic claims about healthcare in Taxachussetts while Biden inevitably does nothing to “fix Obamacare later”, the Democratic promise since ACA was passed.
            -again, Mittens has a better claim to say it wasn’t his fault.
            -despite being Mitt Romney, the msm loves him the way they loved Shrub.

            I could see Mittens talking himself into it. I don’t think a Mormon can do well enough with evangelicals, especially in a second try. Haley seems like a potential candidate and more ready to rumble than previous GOP women like Fiorino and is much smarter than Bachman. So there is Hawley, Cotton. (I don’t watch cable news and haven’t seen Fox live in so long that I don’t know who the GOP darlins’ are). They are statewide office holders and relatively young so they fancy themselves as President. What kind of organization do they have? How far does a GOP sugar daddy go versus the support of Republicans who golf a little bit and don’t idolize one of those Hillbilly reality shows.

            What is the GOP field really like? There is no royalty figure out there besides Mittens as the son of George Romney. A straight evangelical won’t. McConnell is the GOP congressional leadership. The minority leader is who? I know, but even during the Shrub years, the GOP leadership had a certain amount of personality. They were noticeable. Hogan? I don’t know much about him, but is there a GOP governor who will have a Covid success story? I’m not sure what kind of Biden pressure there will be. We talk about the weakness of Team Blue’s bench, but the GOP has a whole bunch of interchangeable and loathsome individuals who have no authority or charm that stands out. The Cville fracas revealed many Republicans for what they are, so I think plenty are out of the game beyond incumbency. I have a number of thoughts about Trump in the 2016 primary, and I don’t think a Trump type agitator can bring enough to win in 2024 against a well funded GOP machine. Mittens won’t have Rufio undermining him. Mittens is better on the trail than Jeb! at least in smaller venues. I don’t take Pence seriously as a contender. Cruz is a weenie propped up by a GOP sugar daddy. So the field is Haley, Hawley, Cotton, DeSantis and…there is room for Mittens. I think he can make a argument about winning the general and can show a path to victory. If the number of #neverTrump Republicans is what wins it for Biden, we can expect them to look for a different Republican when Biden is unable to “bring order” without new protests. I don’t follow Conservative readings, so I wouldn’t have a clue about who might be the next Ben Carson. But unless they were really good, I don’t see them succeeding where Trump and where Fiorino, Carson, even Herman Cain could have in that particular environment.

            By the lords of Kobol, Mittens is going to beat Biden or Klob in 2024. I need a drink.

            Reply
        2. PlutoniumKun

          The point is not whether or not they are genuine or, or if they are liars. We know they can’t be trusted, thats not a matter of dispute.

          The point is that movements win when the ‘centre’ joins them. When people who the police cannot shoot or beat up are on the street, then the protests are on the way to victory.

          There is a huge danger that some people are so tied up in the day to day protests, that they can’t see a genuine shift in history – a Burkian moment, as AAK describes it. To clinch a victory you have to identify those moments. It would be a tragedy if the left loses because the right sees the societal shift first, and jumps ahead of the parade. This has happened many time with liberation movements. It happened in Ireland in 1921. In South Korea in 1987. Activists in the US should beware that mistake.

          Reply
          1. Left in Wisconsin

            But surely there are differences of opinion regarding what constitutes winning and losing. I think the Mpls mayor represents that center – they don’t want to disband the police, they just don’t want to have to confront videos like the George Floyd or Buffalo ones that disrupt their worldview. To them, more dollars for police anti-violence training would constitute winning.

            Reply
        3. Massinissa

          What could Romney possibly be building his resume for? Hes 73, has run for president before, and is an incumbent senator.

          Reply
          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Biden is 77, has dementia, and is being hailed as the second coming. Bernie is 78, had a heart attack, and didn’t miss a beat.

            Romney will be 77 in 2024 and, by the looks of him, is in better shape than either one. I don’t think that, even in a fugue state, biden would challenge him to a push-up contest. At least as of today, Romney’s running.

            Reply
      3. Michael Fiorillo

        Al Sharpton’s prominent appearance the other day was an ungood marker for the direction of the protests/rebellion: expect a direct correlation between his continued appearance on mass media and a dissipation of focus, energy and credibility of the movement. That’s always been a lucrative hustle for him.

        He was rightly thrown out of Ferguson by BLM; take it as a bad indicator if the media continues to give him face time now.

        Reply
    2. Jessica

      AAK of Ask a Korean also said that the reason the urban middle classes joining the protests was so important is that there were people that the South Korean state was allowed to hurt and kill and those that it was not. When the folks that the state was not allowed to kill joined the protests, the protests won.
      Worth mentioning also that the South Korean state’s track record pre-1987 for political murders was worse than anything in US history even against African-Americans, with the possible exception of the reign of white supremacist terror during Reconstruction. So the state that the protesters forced to stand down in 1987 was no pussycat.

      Reply
  12. DJG

    Ahh, “Italy’s Canceled Crisis Risks Moral Hazard.” Can you get people in the media who are more clueless and amoral? We’re back at “PIGS”?

    Here’s one of the proposed “reforms”:

    Among the high-profile recommendations to cut spending, the OECD said the government should reverse changes in early retirement rules that allow Italians who have worked at least 38 years to become pensioners if they’ve reached 62 years of age.

    38 years, and no pension. Glorious. “Fiscally responsible.”

    I realize that we as Americans are distracted, but it is important to call out the neoliberal maniacs for what they are.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      I applaud your contribution. We need to get rid of these guys. Moral harzard is when someone bails out the banksters.

      Reply
  13. anon

    Serious question. If you get rid of the police, what replaces it? Will it be police with a different name. Murder, rape, burglary and other crimes will not just go away. If this is really necessary, perhaps we also should get rid of the capital police and security details for politicians.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      There are plenty of precedents worldwide for post-colonial countries disbanding their old police forces and re-establishing them (a recent example being the conversation of the old RUC in Northern Ireland to the PSNI). The results are mixed – its hard to break old cultural habits, even with an influx of fresh blood – but it has been done without provoking some sort of Somalian anarchy.

      Reply
      1. flora

        Camden, New Jersey disbanded then re-created its police force under new rules.

        https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/01/what-happened-to-crime-in-camden/549542/

        Last year Camden instituted strict new use-of-force rules.

        https://www.nj.com/camden/2019/08/camden-police-launch-strict-last-resort-use-of-force-policy-chief-wants-it-to-be-national-model.html

        The Floyd protests in Camden have not turned into riots.

        https://abcnews.go.com/US/police-officers-stood-protesters-outraged-george-floyds-death/story?id=70984369

        Reply
    2. a different chris

      I think it’s finally smarter (or less unenthusiastic about actually doing anything) people moving past the Obama “concede ground before even coming to the table” paradigm.

      They will limn out a world with “no police”. It will have issues, such as the world with “police have no accountability” has shown. But the defenders of the status quo will have to move for a change. The “middle” might actually be a middle…

      Note: security details for politicians are actually a rather new concept, and many parts of the world don’t really have them.

      Reply
    3. Big River Bandido

      Violent crime rates, and the homicide rate, have been at historic lows for well over a decade.

      Policing is statistically far less dangerous than many other professions. Special education teachers have to restrain full-size aggressive young men all the time, without guns or tasers or tear gas.

      Why cops are paid twice what teachers are paid — for far less time on the job, and with far less stress — is just one more sign of malignancy in American society.

      Reply
      1. magnolia cul-de-sac

        Domestic violence rates are rising, however. While “stranger” violent crime rates might be going down, the violence women and children face in the home is increasing.

        One of the unique burdens that pile up on Black women is their fear of calling the police on their batterers for fear of murder-by-cop, but when they defend themselves they face prison time at much higher rate than white women. One of the most odious things to me about police violence is how so many of them, who are armed, trained, usually male and very strong claim they have “no other choice” because they were “in fear” for their lives (against a someone who’s just putting their hands in their pockets), and yet battered women have to rely on themselves against a live-in abuser who has strength, social support, capacity to extort/manipulate through children, weapons, and few limits by law enforcement. Then, when she finally kills him to save her own life, she goes to prison. There are several rotting in California prisons right now, begging the governor to give them early release due to COVID 19.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Magnolia cul-de-sac, appreciate your commenting. Indeed, domestic violence rates are rising. Like many other things that are wrong in this country, the virus pandemic, is revealing the awful conditions of women and children in their homes. It is right to point out the unique burdens of black women in this situation. And Like those conditions for them, there are many women and children abused or neglected of all races and ethnicities. A common thread is that the women are poor or near poverty. Or, they could be trading one awful situation for another if no soft place to land, if they do try to escape. Women, children are abused because it is allowed by society and governments. If we were really serious, a no tolerance attitude would exist. It is interesting to note…a culture of silence exists for abusive, mostly, men who abuse physically weaker women and children. It also includes the horrible and evil pedophilia in this country and world. Perhaps many viels are being lifted or torn.

          Reply
        1. JBird4049

          Why, yes, Chicago has had among the highest murder rates, as well as among the most violent and corrupt police, as well as corrupt judiciary and city government. This has been true since Al Capone effectively seized control in the 1920s. He gave everyone an offer of silver or lead.

          IIRC, the list of police, judges, and city officials who have gone to prison is extensive. Isn’t that a shame?

          Reply
    4. Krystyn Podgajski

      In Anarchist thought, you cannot get rid of the police without getting rid of the state:

      “the revolution must set out from the first to radically and totally destroy the State . . .The natural and necessary consequence of this destruction will be . . . [among others,the] dissolution of army, magistracy, bureaucracy, police and priesthood…confiscation of all productive capital and means of production on behalf of workers’ associations, who are to put them to use . . . the federative Alliance of all working men’s associations . . .will constitute the Commune.” [Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings]

      and it would like…

      “… this [police force] would not exist either as a public or private specialised body or company. If a local community did consider that public safety required a body of people who could be called upon for help, we imagine that a new system would be created. Such a system would “not be entrusted to, as it is today, to a special, official body: all able-bodied inhabitants[of a commune] will be called upon to take turns in the security measures instituted by the commune.” [James Guillaume, Bakunin on Anarchism, p. 371]

      Reply
    5. Lou Anton

      We could actually do the Neighborhood Watch thing instead of just putting the sign up and hoping it’s a good-enough deterrent.

      Reply
    6. Jen

      John Oliver lays out a pretty cogent response to your question in this week’s episode of last week tonight. Don’t want to spend 30 minutes?
      -It’s not about “getting rid of the police,” it’s about defining the appropriate role and function of policing in our society.
      -Cities have been expanding police roles to cover everything from mental health issues to drug addiction to catching loose dogs. Direct funding to the services best equipped to handle these instead of the police.
      -NYC had a natural experiment in reduced police activity after the police union decided to slow down on making arrests and issuing tickets in retaliation for Eric Garner’s murderer being fired. The world did not come to an end. In fact, if I recall correctly, the police ended their slowdown in fairly short order because it was having the opposite of the intended effect.

      Do watch if you have the time:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wf4cea5oObY

      Reply
      1. Winston Smith

        Amen. Oliver always seems to be worth listening to on substantive issues. I actually don’t watch him for comedy but reporting….and a Liverpool fan to boot. Wonder if he will go crazy on air when they win the league in a few weeks: Jurgen Klopp as special guest?

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Except for the part where he trained people to think the Russians had control of The White House, to ignore every real problem in the country for 3 years while shrieking about imaginary peeing prostitutes, that the heads of the CIA and FBI, trying to reverse the results of a national election, were actually patriots and heroes of the resistance, and that if only we could get back to the wonderful reign of Bush The Third 0bama then all would be well.

          Other than that, yeah, he’s a real plus.

          Reply
      2. Aumua

        I think some are definitely saying to abolish the police, and they mean getting rid of police. So there are some different ideas flying around.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          There is a spectrum of opinion that runs from reform to abolition, yes. The reformists are trying to co-opt the concept of “defund,” invented and propagated by the abolitionists.

          Reply
    7. Katniss Everdeen

      If you get rid of the police, what replaces it? Will it be police with a different name.

      Who knows, but something will. When the american occupiers fail to protect the public in Afghanistan, the warlords take over, and the people are “grateful.” It’s one of the reasons given for the inability of the american military to ever leave.

      Of course, people are different–better and more “civilized”–here in the u. s.of a so nothing like that could ever happen.

      I think Minneapolis should try it, and the rest of us can just steer clear and watch what happens. Those young ladies speaking on behalf of the city council and the mayor look very competent to me and I think joe biden supports the idea.

      Reply
    8. False Solace

      The majority of murders go unsolved. The overwhelming majority of rapes are never investigated. Detectives spend most of their time writing up reports for insurance companies. You don’t need a gun to do that.

      All the cops we’ve seen lately are hopped up on their “warrior” mentality, a psychological need to be instantly obeyed, a looming sense of immunity to punishment, and military weapons. That seems like a bad combination to send to any 911 call, much less ones that involve mental disturbances, suicide attempts, complaints about homeless people, or drug overdoses. I could easily see “community policing” taking over everything except maybe an active bank robbery. We can keep 1 SWAT team around for that.

      In most cities, the police department sucks half the budget or more, not including multi-million dollar legal settlements. We’ve been trying to reform these people for decades. It hasn’t worked. Just get rid of them.

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        So … create a decoy to engage the 1 SWAT team, then rob another bank with impunity.

        I feel like society wide shifts that address some of the fundamental questions like: why is there crime? Why is there addiction? Why is there poverty? are going to be necessary to truly begin to envision a society without police. I mean even these guys, who I have championed from the beginning of this, are saying this is a long term goal.

        https://www.mpd150.com/faq/

        It really seems to me like a premature lurch to dismantling the police is a setup for failure.

        Reply
        1. 10leggedshadow

          You know that actually happened in my town. Someone called 911 and said there was a gang fight behind a mall. All 6 officers on duty showed up to an empty scene while a drug store on the other side of town got robbed for drugs.

          Reply
  14. PlutoniumKun

    ‘Police will come for my son’: Hong Kong parents seek a way out for their children Hong Kong Free Press.

    Its hard not to think that this is the end for Hong Kong. Once you get a major outflow of younger educated people, there will be no going back – China will strengthen its grip and its major financial functions will move to Singapore and Shanghai and anywhere else that can grab a share.

    An interesting issue is whether the US and EU will decide that HKers are exactly the type of immigrants everyone wants, and it might be be seen to be a useful poke in the eye for China to relax immigration and passport requirements.

    Reply
    1. newcatty

      Well, PK, IIRC, Trump asked, regarding who should America welcome with open arms, as immigrants: Why dont we “get” nice people like from Norway? Would Hong Kongers be “nice” enough to be the type to contribute to making America greater?

      Reply
  15. Samuel Conner

    Some names are perfect for the person’s job, as in today’s “Larry Brilliant”.

    But my all-time favorite is “Jack Wisdom”, a dynamicist who 40-ish years ago devised ingenious closed-form integrable highly accurate approximations for orbital and rotational mechanics problems. This improved on the speed of brute-force numerical integrations by orders of magnitude and permitted long-term numerical study of the chaotic dynamics of solar system bodies, including the asteroid belt and the Saturnian moon Hyperion. The computers of the day were not fast enough to evolve orbits by direct numerical integration over time spans a significant fraction of the age of the planetary system. Jack Wisdom proved that Hyperion tumbles chaotically and that the “Kirkwood gap” at asteroid belt 3:1 orbital resonance with Jupiter is caused by dynamical chaos. The orbits in that part of phase space evolve chaotically toward very high ellipticity, to the point that they cross the orbit of Mars and eventually are ejected from the solar system by a near encounter with that planet.

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      I’ve always thought that “Learned Hand” was a fantastic name for a US Supreme Court justice.

      I know a landscaper whose last name is “Fleurie”.

      I think someone mentioned here recently how common nominative determinism is.

      Reply
      1. Rory

        Learned Hand is a great name for a judge, although he was never on the Supreme Court, just got as high as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

        Another great judicial name, John Minor Wisdom, was also a U.S. Circuit Court judge, for the Fifth Circuit.

        Reply
      2. hey

        in Congress during the Clinton/Bush years:

        Rep. Tom Delay (R Texas)
        Rep. Bob Ney (R Ohio)
        Rep. John Doolittle (R California)

        Off topic:
        @ Bugs Bunny, did you know you were animated by union artists? Chuck Jones insisted on a union shop. Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck . . . everybody. We know what side your on.

        Reply
    2. howard in nyc

      Off the top of my head I know two physicians named Payne who specialize in anesthesia/chronic pain management.

      Reply
  16. Dr. John Carpenter

    Did the Democrats have a response to Ferguson aside from thoughts and prayers and virtue signaling? I honestly don’t remember anything.

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      The Congressional Black Caucus wants a national commission to study this issue.

      Come on, man, what do you want? Give me a break.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe Joe can help them form a task force. And once again the Congressional Black Caucus proves that just because you’re black and have lived in the States for their entire lives, does not mean that they have been able to form any ideas on what to do about black injustice.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Irony and hypocrisy. Still alive, along with hubris and greed. Reminds me of Albright, AFAIK a woman ,announcing with a smirk that there was a special place in hell for women who don’t vote for Hillary. Now, we have Joe telling black people that if they don’t vote for me,then they aint black. To come full circle: I read a comment by a black woman who said, Oh, thank God, now I am a white woman!

          Reply
      2. JWP

        Same principle for the dems big donors..
        https://thehill.com/changing-america/respect/equality/501396-walmart-ceo-pledges-100-million-to-address-systemic-racism

        Same game and instead of “investigations” they throw money at bridges to nowhere. Walmart setting up commissions and organizations as the largest black employer, yet refuses to pay more than starvation wages and destroying any sort of professional confidence their workers may have. And they wonder why the issue persists.

        Reply
    2. marym

      The Obama administration did a few things, subsequently dismantled in the Trump era. How effective they ever were is another question. The second link inidcates the measure to limit the transfer military gear to cops didn’t do much.

      Slate:

      There are three key ways that Trump’s Department of Justice has eroded or outright dismantled checks on abusive police departments in the past 3½ years: First, it has all but ended the Barack Obama–era practice of placing police departments that violate constitutional rights under court-supervised consent decrees. These court-monitored settlements have, according to experts, offered some deterrent to police chiefs who do not want to see their departments placed under federal supervision. Second, it ended a voluntary federal-state collaborative reform program, over the opposition of police chiefs—including Republicans—who embraced the initiative. Finally, it reversed limits on a program that has provided billions of dollars of military-grade vehicles and weapons—such as grenade launchers and bayonets—to local police departments.

      https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/06/trump-doj-obama-policing-reform.html
      http://inthesetimes.com/features/obama_police_miltary_equipment_ban.html

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I was unaware that the nyc pd was placed under a “court-supervised consent decree” after the murder of Eric Garner in 2014. In fact, I am unaware of any obama / biden action taken in response.

        Reply
      2. rd

        Democrats are always afraid of being painted as “soft on crime” so they don’t put major reforms in.

        Reply
  17. Tom Stone

    I enjoyed the article about the Hannah Arendt exhibition a great deal.
    I read her book “The origins of Totalitarianism” in 1969 while in High School in Oakland CA and it, along with her essay “On Violence” shaped my political attitude to a large extent.

    Reply
  18. CuriosityConcern

    I had two ideas that I don’t remember reading about anywhere else, so I think they are original but I invite both criticism and shootdowns if they are bad or unoriginal.
    1. In the northern hemisphere, for the duration of COVID, should we time shift the school year to meet over summer and break over winter so classes can be held outdoors?
    2. Ultra right association of protests with antifa and false conflation with terrorism allows a twofer, dismissal of demands and further implementation of authoritarian governance.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      I think it requires two groups of malefactors, rednecks vs. antifa will suitably divide the hoi polloi

      Reply
  19. The Historian

    Brilliant article by Jonathon Catlin on Hanna Arendt. He does try to capture what is essential about her but I do have a couple of quibbles:

    For instance, he calls Margarethe Von Trotta’s biopic superficial as though that was its greatest fault. Of course, the biopic was superficial! It was meant as an introduction to a great thinker, not as a comprehensive view of her life and her analysis of her world. I don’t know about most people, but if I was introduced to someone and the first thing I heard about that person was their in depth analysis of the world condition in philosophy-speak, I think I’d run. Margarethe Von Trotta’s biopic was just to get people interested-get them to want to know more. I think it succeeded on that account.

    Catlin also seems to object to the hagiography he sees in this exhibit but I’m not sure what he would have rather have seen. Perhaps an exhibit dedicated to her weaknesses? This exhibit was for public view – not for philosophy students – did he forget that?

    Arendt, like Kant, is one of those complex philosophers that has to be crept up on. You can’t jump in and read “The Human Condition” or “The Origins of Totalitarianism” without reading some of her easier works first – you will miss the nuances and the complexities. It would be like trying to read Kant’s “The Critique of Pure Reason” without knowing anything more about his thinking – you just won’t understand what “The Critique” is all about.

    I think I am going to follow Jonathon Catlin. I would like to see what he writes when he starts doing original thinking on his own world view.

    Reply
    1. BlueCollarAl

      I was one of Hannah Arendt’s last group graduate students and was just beginning my PhD. thesis under her direction at the time of her death. I participated in her final (amazing!) seminars, one of about 12 grad students, that resulted in her posthumously published trilogy, “Thinking,” “Willing,” and “Judging,” her last philosophical work before her death. And I attended some wonderful cocktail parties she had for her graduate students at her Riverside Drive apartment near Columbia University (she taught at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research).

      Dr. Arendt was a person of such personal and philosophical depth, integrity, honesty, and simple human decency, that it is hard for me to convey even now what a shining star she was to everyone who knew her and worked or studied with her. I have never encountered anyone like her again, and I am 70 years old. Knowing her was one of the most glorious times in my life. She challenged and changed how I understand the world. Grateful is too shallow a word.

      So yes, she deserves the hagiography.

      Reply
      1. stefan

        Along with Jacques Barzun’s “Darwin, Marx, and Wagner”, the first chapter of Levi-Strauss’s “The Savage Mind” (he writes the greatest first chapters; try reading the beginning of “Tristes Tropiques” sometime), and “Silence” by John Cage, Hannah Arendt’s “The Human Condition” made the biggest impression on me when I was in high school. (So I think she can be read in high school fruitfully.)

        The only later book I admire as much is Marshall Berman’s “Everything That Is Solid Melts into Air.”

        While Gershom Scholem was perhaps fair when he criticized the cold-heartedness of Arendt’s objectivity, I would happily defend her in any dispute: while she may not have gotten everything right, she got many, many big things right.

        Reply
  20. The Rev Kev

    “America’s Big China Mistake”

    I think that America’s big China mistake was underestimating the resilience of the Chinese themselves. I can imagine what the general outline of the plan would be. Encourage demonstrations in the style of Tiananmen Square to weaken and perhaps collapse the government’s control. Select Chinese businessmen to be billionaires with contracts from the west. This also serves to crush the working class and their unions in places like the US. Encourage these billionaires to network together to gradually take over the real power structure in China and coordinate with western billionaires. Have these billionaires sell assets like ports, water-heads, factories, etc. to overseas interests and funnel bribe money through off-shore accounts to those billionaires.

    Open up the Chinese economy to Wall Street so that majority interests can be purchased for major Chinese companies. Cause to have starved funds for the Chinese military. In the end they would have done for China what was done to Russia in the 90s when tens, if not hundreds, of billions were siphoned out of the country to London and New York. The end result would have been a neoliberal China where the billionaire class would be selling out the Chinese and China itself neutralized as a power for a few generations more. I guess that all this anguish about China is because the Chinese refused to cooperate with this plan. Rather unsporting that, chappy.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      I believe you are quite right – the main western-power lament about China is that it did not allow to be taken over by the western capital and exploited. The plan did not work out, hence all the furour about “authoritarianism.” If China were more like Indonesia, we’d never hear about any lack of democracy.

      Reply
    2. bwilli123

      The playbook was Russia in the 90’s. Unfortunately, the success of that model was thereafter uppermost in the minds of the Chinese leadership.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The playbook was Russia in the 90’s. Unfortunately, the success of that model was thereafter uppermost in the minds of the Chinese leadership.

        First, the timing is wrong. China’s manufacturing started to take off in the 1980s, before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

        Second, I want evidence. The Blob is not very bright, but surely even The Blob knows that the internal workings of the U.S.S.R. and the P.R.C. are very, very different. It would be like taking a football playbook to a cricket game.

        Reply
  21. Matthew G. Saroff

    The call by members of the Minneapolis City Council to disband the MPD means VERY little.

    The devil is in the details, and I guarantee you that the there is no consensus on the details.

    Any solution that keeps brutal cops like Derek Chauvan and white supremacists like police union president Bob Kroll will be difficult and contentious.

    Reply
    1. rd

      One of the things that can be done is to turn policing of the city over to the County Sherriff’s office or State Troopers. The City police department disappears and only carefully selected city polcie officers transfer and then they go through training.

      The County Sherrif department is hopefully better than the City police. In general, it seems like police get more professional the higher up the department is (not always, but generally). Eliminating administration costs of a department can go into training budget.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The call by members of the Minneapolis City Council to disband the MPD means VERY little.

      Ironically, defunding the police may be the easiest course, since it’s something the city can do on its own — bypassing the union contracts.

      Reply
  22. mle detroit

    What am I not getting about “L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein”?
    What’s ballet got to do with it (aside from Balanchine’s marriages to teens)?

    Reply
  23. tegnost

    My selection for depressing reality of the day is the treasury official running the bailout story. I had two possible “most damning lines” that describe clearly how truly weak and socialist the “sophisticated” investor is… The one I ended up choosing, from way down at the bottom where most readers have left the field…
    “This risker[sic] category of bonds has expanded dramatically in recent years as companies took on higher debt burdens to do things like acquire competitors and buy back stock. ”
    Acquiring competitors and buying back stock is something we need to pay for?
    But the one earlier in the article says, similarly…
    “That effort has many skeptics. The Fed has never bought corporate debt in its more than 100 years of existence, much less that of the indebted and fragile companies that raise money through the sale of junk bonds. Private equity firms, hedge funds and specialty investment firms like Muzinich & Co. dominate the market for junk-rated debt. In effect, the Fed has swooped in to protect the most sophisticated investors from losses on some of their riskiest bets.”
    Sophisticated.
    Risky bets covered. These f@(ker$ never lose. Socialists, and too weak to stand on their own. Also they’re very happy to see the populace ground down as nothing makes a grifter happier than cheap labor.
    I prefer 4 tines.

    Reply
  24. The Rev Kev

    “Oh my God this is the United States of America. Protesters with colorful umbrellas forcing riot cops to retreat in Seattle tonight.”

    This seems a long way from when protesters were expected to report to “zones” surrounded by chain-link fences to have their protests like they did when George Bush was President. I have been waiting for developments like this as the present model consists of protesters turn up, cops fire tear gas & rubber bullets at them and then beat the hell out of them with truncheons. But it seems that some protestors are getting tactical and have absorbed the lessons of places like Hong Kong. If they start donning yellow vests, then it will get real serious.

    The police will have to be reformed in the end as they are more like warriors than police now. Take away their military gear, tell the Israelis what they can do with their “police” training, set up do-not-hire lists of police that have been fired for corruption and brutality. Plenty more that could be done but a start has to be made somewhere. I do wonder though if when those police were beating up protestors in their towns, that they realized that they were also beating up local voters as well.

    Reply
    1. Rod

      One of NC’s hosts provided a nice graphic last week on one tactic and strategy for the HK protests. It was in Water Cooler.

      I would repost it, except I have not been able to find THE link to it despite some effort. Heck, I can’t even seem to Copy it.

      And I am pretty sure that was not the only Engagement Planning Analysis graphic produced–the HK protesters were too agile to be ‘spontaneous’.

      Little help on this would be timely.—for research purposes

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the HK protesters were too agile to be ‘spontaneous’.

        I disagree. We have never dealt with a population of protesters who are such a large percentage of the population before, or with such a lengthy history of it. Of course, when you work hard together that’s no longer “spontaneous,” but if the implication is that we’re looking at the top-down organization of the tankie’s dreams, I disagree.

        Reply
    2. flora

      The AFL-CIO is finding ir harder to sit on the fence over unionized PD’s that are virtually unaccountable.

      https://truthout.org/articles/breaking-with-afl-cio-affiliated-labor-council-may-vote-to-expel-police-union/

      Here’s a good thread about how unusual PD union contracts are and how hard it is to hold ‘bad apples’ accountable, why ‘bad apples’ keep getting re-instated. Click ‘show this thread’ to read the entire thread. (Is there a version of Gresham’s law at work here?)

      https://twitter.com/lgertnr/status/1267084958415364097

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        flora
        June 8, 2020 at 11:58 am

        When I lived in Montgomery county, Maryland (this is 30 some years ago) which is a supposed bastion of liberalism, it came out that the police “chatboard” was a cesspool of racist invective. Pretty hard to intellectually argue that the police who posted on the site stating that all latinos and blacks are criminals and much, much worse have the temperament and demeanor to enforce the laws with equanimity, which was a requirement of being a police officer. Yet the chatboard, which in fact was on county equipment and under the control of the county could not be assessed by Montgomery management ostensibly because of police union contract rules.
        Whether management really tried to find the offending officers is something I will always believe was something that the county never truly made an effort to succeed at.

        Reply
        1. flora

          Thanks for this comment. It’s almost unbelievable what PD union contracts include, what the cities let the contracts include.

          Reply
    3. Ranger Rick

      At some point the concept of riot control is going to have to be revised, and we’re not going to like the technological solutions TPTB come up with to avoid confrontations between protesters and police. LRADs and microwave beams are only just the start. Information warfare is coming to the streets: disrupting communications is going to become the first response to any crisis.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It may be that abolishing the police is perfectly fine with the tippy top of the elite, because of other methods of social control coming down the pike. But removing the ability to crack heads would impact a lot of local elites….

        Reply
  25. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Brexit:

    Brexit: a deal is still possible EU Referendum

    It’s clear there is a plan in motion here. Not a very good one it seems, but it looks like we are going with a pivot toward the USA with a view to extensive deregulation, with the emphasis on a US deal to bind any successor from re-aligning with the EU. A big gamble given America’s present political instability and its present hostility to opening its own services markets. We’re not likely to be offered anything close to what’s obtainable from the EU.

    The UK (and Peter North) seem to have forgotten that Nancy Pelosi made it entirely clear that no trade deal would get through Congress without guarantees on the Irish border. So thats not much of a strategy if it is one.

    The other alternative for the UK, deals with China, look increasingly unlikely – it would be a very one sided deal indeed, China holds all the cards. One can only wonder what sort of concessions they’d have to make.

    Foster fears Brexit talks ‘not going particularly well’ RTE. I don’t know if the Irish do understatement like the Brits, but if so….

    Yup, I can confirm that this is very dry understatement indeed. I think its fair to say that a consensus is rapidly developing that London simply isn’t interested in a deal, and there is little to know desire in Europe to make concessions. In those circumstances, even a badly patched up extension or bodged deal looks unlikely.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous 2

      Yes, a bad deal with the US looks very much to be the plan. Why would British politicians plan something so clearly damaging to their own country? It couldn’t be that they hope for backhanders?

      Reply
  26. PlutoniumKun

    NYT Opinion Editor Resigns After Furor Over Op-Ed, NYT Reports Bloomberg. The Times should clean house. There might be one or two worth keeping (Bruenig), but otherwise defenestrate Friedman, Brooks, Dowd, Krugman, etc. — in no particular order. They are all over-paid, shopworn, and bad. Put the money into the newsroom.

    I’d always wondered why they have permanent opinion writers. I can only think of a tiny handful of opinion writers who stayed consistently interesting over a very long period. Surely it would be better to just accept that even the most intelligent opinion writers just have a few dozen really good essays in them, and allow the many interesting writers and bloggers out there who are barely making a living at getting a chance.

    Although in terms of saving money, I was under the impression that the popularity of opinion writers among newspaper owners is precisely that they are far cheaper to have than ‘real’ journalists.

    Reply
    1. flora

      More than 800 Times employees signed a letter protesting the publication of the op-ed.

      This comes after the top editor of the Philedelphia Inquirer resigned over an offensive headline to a front page story.

      Stan Wischnowski, the top editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, resigned Saturday, days after an article with the headline “Buildings Matter, Too,” on the effects of civil unrest on the city’s buildings, led to a walkout by dozens of staff members.

      https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/top-editor-of-philadelphia-inquirer-resigns-after-buildings-matter-headline/ar-BB159DUG

      Reply
    2. Michael Fiorillo

      Don’t be so mean!

      How else are you going to allow fawning and glib White House correspondents – a la Dowd and Bruni – to be rewarded?

      The Times’ overgrazed pasture of empty snark (Dowd), insipidness (Bruni and Brooks), banality and herd behavior (just about everyone else) does an excellent job of fencing in thought among affluent liberals. Don’t underestimate its importance.

      Reply
      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Apologies to Michelle Alexander on the Times Op-Ed page, who is the excellent exception that proves the rule.

        Reply
      2. Bugs Bunny

        I’d keep MoDowd on just because I want to see her crankiness escalate into the absurd as she gets older. It could be as funny as the late period Ernie Bushmiller “Nancy” strips.

        Reply
        1. flora

          +1. When MoDo is on she is very on. She can skewer the vanities of the current elites in both parties better than almost anyone, done from her small-c conservative perspective. I do enjoy her take-downs of the reigning bs certitudes in both parties. There are few that rise to the heights of crocodillia. (Pax, Molly Ivins.) :)

          Reply
  27. anonymous

    On vaccines: The subject of the June 4 Mass General Medicine Covid-19 grand rounds was vaccine development. It began with proof of concept animal research for a vaccine based on DNA encoding the spike protein, then discussed in some detail viral vectors as the delivery method, contrasting the Can-Sino adenovirus Ad5 viral vector, to which about half the population had antibodies and to which the neutralizing antibody response was not as robust as hoped for (although it did meet the standard 4-fold neutralizing antibody response threshold for moving on to the next phase), with the Mass Eye and Ear and University of Pennsylvania vaccine that uses an adeno-associated viral vector, to which only about 2% of the population had pre-existing immunity. The AAV vector had been originally developed for gene therapy over a decade ago, but was shelved because it produced too much immunity for gene therapy (gene therapies should persist for the duration of the condition). The hope is that the MGH/MEE/PENN vaccine would be easily scalable for mass production, using the existing infrastructure for gene therapies. It was noted that more than one type of vaccine might need to be developed if a viral vector vaccine succeeds and boosters are needed, as there would be immunity to the viral vector after the first shot, and the same type of vaccine would therefore produce limited immunity as a booster. In the Q and A, it was mentioned that in animal and viral Zika vaccines, immunity was more durable with an adenovirus platform than with inactivated virus; durability of immunity from Covid vaccines will need to be followed. As of this writing, the link on the MGH grand rounds webpage still doesn’t work, but this is a working link from Mass General Medicine Twitter:
    https://externalmediasite.partners.org/Mediasite/Play/7884b05ffe8144c9ba8d9be57606775f1d  

    Reply
      1. anonymous

        Sorry! I get a broken link using what I posted, which I copied from my browser with the conference on, but get a working link directly from the Mass Gen Medicine Twitter page – it’s the same without the “https://”.
        https://twitter.com/MGHMedicine/status/1268995067127066624
        Try using that, or strip out the beginning “https://”.
        Grand rounds are educational conferences. Often grand rounds analyze one patient case in detail, but Mass General has been having weekly conferences on topics in Covid-19. I think all the older links for the Covid rounds work, and this one will probably get fixed eventually.
        https://www.massgeneral.org/news/coronavirus/grand-rounds
        The vaccine conference was the last of the weekly special conferences. The Covid grand rounds webpage has added a time directory for the some of older conferences, if you want to choose just one section, or you can jump around by the slides that run at the bottom of the videos. Unlike some videos that I can play more for listening than for watching, such as Greenwald’s System Update, Useful Idiots, and Rising (all great for grooming the dogs and cooking), these grand rounds have required my full audiovisual attention. I have seen the ones on the respiratory, cardiac and renal systems; clotting; therapies; vaccines; and testing. Some (esp. respiratory, therapies, and testing) would be old news to you by now.

        Reply
  28. RZ

    Please don’t post articles from The Express,” Brexit Showdown” unless the point you are making is that a British newspapers is poling Americans on the desirability and benefits of Brexit. It’s a European matter not a US matter. I think Wikipedia has removed The Express from it’s list of reliable sources.

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      Remember that including an article in links does NOT mean that NC endorses it. Often articles are put here by Yves and Lambert for other reasons, such as for discussion, or to show a sense of how the media is playing things.

      Reply
    2. Olga

      OMG – since when do we rely on wikipedia for a list of approved sources? Or anyone, for that matter.

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Wikipedia has removed The Express from its list of reliable sources.

      A hasty look at Wikipedia shows that Wikipedia’s “Reliable Sources” page is a lot of types of sources, not actual publications. Can you give a link to the page you had in mind?

      Reply
  29. KevinD

    What am I not getting about “L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein”?
    What’s ballet got to do with it (aside from Balanchine’s marriages to teens)?

    If you look at Renoir’s paintings of baller dancers, in several you will see dark figures lurking offstage. The patrons were always looking for ballet dancers to “dance with”.
    Apparently a tactic used by Epstein.

    Reply
  30. rd

    Roger Goodell’s statement this week is very big. Colin Kaepernick starting the kneeling protest during the anthem at the beginning of NFL games. Kaepernick was drummed out of the NFL for doing this. For Goodell to acknowledge that the NFL didn’t resepct what was going on is a big deal.

    The story behind Goodell’s statement is here: https://www.si.com/nfl/2020/06/08/monday-morning-quarterback-roger-good-video-nate-boyer

    It was a discussion between Colin Kaepernick and Nate Boyer in 2016 that got Kaepernick to kneel in protest instead of just sitting on the bench during the anthem. The reason why Nate Boyer’s (a long snapper for punts and field goals who got cut during pre-season without getting on a regular season roster, so somebody who would usually just vanish without a trace instead of being at the core of major national events) opinion mattered to Kaepernick and others, and continues to matter today is revealed in this ESPN story about him from the summer of 2016 before the anthem protests began: https://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/page/enterprise-boyer160615/why-former-texas-longhorn-seattle-seahawk-green-beret-stop-searching

    Basically, Roger Goodell and the NFL are moving towards being on the right side of history after spending 4 years on the wrong side.

    Reply

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