Links 6/9/2020

Astronomers have found a planet like Earth orbiting a star like the sun MIT Technology Review

Archaeologists find a way to look for ancient beer Ars Technica

Dune Road Is Falling Into the Sea—Unless the Billionaires Can Save It Bloomberg (David L)

Prince Andrew: Lawyers lash out at US justice department in new Jeffrey Epstein statement Independent

Now Prince Andrew is fighting fire with fire… but at what price to the monarchy? Amid an unprecedented war of words between the Duke of York and prosecutors in the US, RICHARD KAY gives his discomfiting verdict Daily Mail

Woman Sets Up A Feeder Cam In Her Yard And The Photos Are Extraordinary (30 New Pics) Bored Panda Some fantastic photos.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Tear Gas Is Way More Dangerous Than Police Let On — Especially During the Coronavirus Pandemic ProPublica

Decrying ‘Unacceptable’ Brutality, UK Lawmakers Join Half a Million Britons in Calling to Halt Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets Exports to US Common Dreams

There’s No Way Around It: Spending on Police in the US Is out of Control Jacobin. David Sirota.

Why This Started in Minneapolis City Lab (Chuck L)

“Stay in the Streets. It’s Working”: Two Weeks Into Racial Justice Protests, New York State Classifies Use of Chokeholds as Felony Common Dreams

Top 16 Euphemisms US Headline Writers Used for Police Beating the Shit Out of People FAIR

Defacement of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue a ‘disgrace’, says Trump The Hindu

Philadelphia Inquirer Reporters Strike over Racial Inequity Payday Report

Portland police chief resigns amid George Floyd protests San Francisco Chronicle

As George Floyd Died, Officer Wondered About “Excited Delirium” Marshall Project

In Washington, D.C., a Weekend of Growing and Evolving Protests New Yorker

Democrats Seek Policing Overhaul Amid Widespread Protests WSJ

Democrats unveil sweeping legislation in response to protests of police brutality The Hill

Biden Rejects Calls to Defund Police Departments, Plans Increased Investment in ‘Community Policing’ National Review

Sports Desk

The N.F.L.’s Change of Tone, and the Limits of Merely Listening New Yorker


Former WHO Head Criticizes Slow Coronavirus Response Der Spiegel

Coronavirus numbers — what we have learnt from the pandemic FT

As nursing home residents died, new covid-19 protections shielded companies from lawsuits. Families say that hides the truth. WaPo

Exclusive: Nearly 600 — And Counting — US Health Workers Have Died Of COVID-19 Kaiser Health News

Should we be testing all frontline healthcare workers regularly for coronavirus?/ Conversation

Could the coronavirus crisis finally finish off coal? BBC

What are the UK’s new quarantine rules? Guardian

Moment oblivious Swiss tourist says he is ILL and needs to go to hospital as he lands at Heathrow and prepares to get on the Tube – as hundreds of travellers arrive in UK unaware of quarantine and police admit it’ll be hard to enforce £1,000 fines Daily Mail


After retractions of two Covid-19 papers, scientists ask what went wrong Stat

Technology in the COVID-19 era: pushing the boundaries The Lancet Diabetes and Endochrinology

WHO: Asymptomatic spread of coronavirus appears to be ‘very rare’ NY Post

Exclusive: In Navy study, 60 percent of carrier volunteers have coronavirus antibodies Reuters

Singapore to issue portable Covid contact tracing devices in June The Print

The Democratic Party Exists To Co-Opt And Kill Authentic Change Movements Caitlin Johnstone

Class Warfare

How One Innovative Restauranteur Gets Around Aggressive Food Delivery Apps American Conservative

New Cold War

A Pipelineistan fable for our times Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.


China’s “Peaceful Rise” Vanishes in Thin Air Project Syndicate (David L). Shashi Tharoor, formerly India’s man at the UN, candidate for Secretary General blackballed by the US, and now leading Congress politician and member of the Lok Sabha, as well as a prolific novelist and writer of non-fiction, whose work has given me much pleasure and taught me about India).

Hong Kong government to bail out Cathay Pacific with HK$30 billion in loan and direct stake SCMP

Hong Kong hedge funds eye exit as national security law looms FT


Kejriwal decision to reserve hospital beds for residents is legally unsound – and morally repugnant Scroll

Major virus surge in 24 states and UTs, cases growing faster than national avg Indian Express

Malls display summer collection: PPEs & masks Economic Times

An Unknowable Tragedy: Sundarbans After Cyclone Amphan​ Counterpunch

Millions at risk as melting Pakistan glaciers raise flood fears Al Jazeera


US wins second place in Afghan War DuffelBlog

A decent guy from Aden Agence France-Presse

Antidote du Jour. Arizona Slim:

“Well, it had to happen. The determined White-winged Dove that was using my mesquite tree as a calling perch found his special someone.

I was fortunate enough to observe the newlyweds’ division of labor. While Mrs. Dove constructed their nest, Mr. Dove acted like a guy shopping the lumber department at Home Depot.

He was picking up twigs, dropping them, choosing different twigs, and, man, this is exhausting. Time for a rest in my front yard.

I couldn’t help thinking that this guy married the birdie equivalent of Martha Steward. Because he couldn’t fly up to the nest with just any twig. It had to be the perfect twig.

Here’s the result …”:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Bird feeder photos:

    Look into the eyes of those birds and even that tree rat and tell me this isn’t true:

    The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.

    Thomas Berry

    1. DJG

      Henry Moon Pie: This morning on my walk through the neighborhood community garden, an American robin flew in low, perched on top of a post, watched me, and then walked with me. I suspect that the birds are wondering what the masks are all about: Hey, what happened to his beak?

      Any time that I am around birds, and Chicago has many birds, because it is along the flyway that follows the coast of Lake Michigan, I detect a wonderful intelligence. It is easy to see why so many cultures consider birds to be prophetic. Would that we returned to that kind of wisdom.

      Tree rat? I see a couple of chipmunks. They are better described as rodent comics.

      And that handsome gray squirrel? Come on. In Chicago, gray squirrels are the gourmands of the dumpster. I see them all the time with their slices of pizza or a cookie carefully retrieved from the trash. One time, I must have spooked one of these rodent gourmands, because a sizable slice of pizza suddenly sailed out of tree to land on the sidewalk in front of me. Someone up on the branch was annoyed.

      1. Olga

        Beyond even glorifying relentless greed, it seems to me that the biggest sin of capitalism has been the sharp delineation between humans and the nature that surrounds us. As if we were not of this natural world, but somehow above it. This has impoverished us all.

        1. Lost in OR

          Does this not have it’s roots in christianity? God, and the devine, are other-worldly. Outside of ourselves and all creatures, great and small.

            1. Lost in OR

              How did religion move from the polytheism of the greeks and romans to the monotheistic?

              1. Dan

                I’d like to know too. The investigation inevitably leads to arguments among those much more knowledgeable than me.

              2. vlade

                arguably, zoroastrian can be argued to monotheist (at “worst” it’s dualistic, as it may assign the good and evil equal powers) and is at least as old as Judaism (it’s really hard to work out who’s older.. )

              3. vlade

                and both Judaism and Zoroastrian are way older than Roman (which is sort of a melting pot of religions), and arguably older than Greek too.

              4. Telly

                I’m reading Vine Deloria Jr’s God Is Red . The book explores the differences between Western and Indigenous religious traditions. The prime difference in Western and Indigenous belief in Deloria’s view is the location of the sacred: time in Western belief and space in the Indigenous belief. The Wests focus on history and progression separates it from the world around them. The Westerner, instead of seeing the natural world as a partner in life see nature as a set of tools to further their own historic progression with. The intangible nature of Western belief also makes its followers prone to orthodoxy as it has no material connection to the natural world to ground practices in.

                I don’t think this idea of place as being sacred was a unique view of the Native peoples of North America, but one that is, and was shared by many cultures around the world.

                The Greek and Roman paganism you refer to fits that mold of sacred place well with it’s spirits of place and mythic ages. Something changed though, I don’t know if it came directly came from the prophetic monotheist religions or from within the Greco-Roman world itself to shift thought away from a life rooted in place to a world rooted in history.

          1. Olga

            Delineation, followed by a full embrace of unfettered exploitation – a much simpler point. Not really about religion.

            1. witters


              Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, says of Humbaba, the God of the Forest/Wilderness: “’Now there is a task worthy of heroes’, said Gilgamesh. ‘Humbaba I shall slay, and Humbaba I shall destroy. I shall cut down the evergreens of the forest’.”

              1. vlade

                Indeed. I despair at the simplistic “Judaism and all derivatives bad, ‘indigenous’ (whatever that means) good”.

  2. Marlin

    RE: There’s No Way Around It: Spending on Police in the US Is out of Control Jacobin. David Sirota.

    The article is extremely disingenuous. It compares increases in population with increases in dollar terms for police budgets. But policing is a service and you have to assume Baumol’s disease kicks in. So he shouldn’t have compared funding for the police with population growth, but with GDP growth in the same time, which obviously is much higher than population growth. The numbers he cites mean, that between 1977 and 2017 there was a yearly real growth of 2.5% in police budgets. Given the 50% increase in population over that time + increase in the cost of labour, which is not the same as real wage growth, as both the cost for health care and pensions have gone up over that time, there is no strong argument, that police budgets have been increased unduly. Comparing with the other city budgets is a bit more fair, but potentially cities are revenue starved overall.
    Or he should have compared population growth with the growth in the number of policemen.

    1. Hank Linderman

      I distrust articles without a comments section. If there had been one in the Jacobin piece, I would have argued that “defund”, while great for a crowd to chant at a protest, is imperfect and leads to misunderstanding and misappropriation by Republicans. This is no time to give Trump an effective cudgel.

      (I’m the Democratic nominee for Congress in KY2, a *safe* R District. I need any help I can get – this is our 2018 website, 2020 website will have the same address:

        1. Woodchuck

          This is just a subpart of what defunding the police movement means however. I mean, it’s fine if you prefer only that aspect of it, but it cannot be used as a term to replace defunding.

          Defunding the police has a large social aspect to it, which demilitarize doesn’t.

          I’m seriously on the fence about the mentality of saying “we can’t use that term because it will be used by Republicans against us”. Currently Biden has a major lead. It can certainly turn around fast (he is an aweful candidate in many regards), but at the same time if you can’t push for big ideas now, when can you? When the race is really tight?

          Are Republicans scared of talking about environmental deregulations even though it will turn off a lot of liberals against them? I don’t think so. If it’s something you believe in, call it like it is, and then relentlessly repeat what it really means over and over again and educate. People aren’t as stupid as we tend to overstate. The people who will not listen to your arguments and will only watch Fox News or whatever to get told how terrible this is would never have voted for you anyway. You can only convince people with critical thinking who aren’t already completely sealed off in their thought-silo. There’s no point worrying about those.

          I think being scared of embracing meaningful change because it can be “weaponized” against you is also conceding your own weapons. Then you look like you don’t stand up for much more than being “slightly less bad than the other guy”, which is a really poor motivator for voter turn-out. And if you keep toning down how you talk about things, you will also end up toning down any legislation that comes out of it. If you win with a campaign of “defund the police”, you will have a strong mandate to do so. Not if you win with “let’s make a commitee to evaluate how we can work on reducing police violence”. You will have to fight for every inch to pass something with that.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            I think “defund the police” is a brilliant approach to addressing the fact that our country has consistently moved money out of education, mental health, youth activities, etc. into policing. Rather than caring for its people, our government institutions seem to prefer building up a massive, violent force capable of suppressing all us uncared for people if and when we ever get tired of being neglected.

            My only suggestion is that “defund the military” might be the next step after the problem of racist policing is confronted.

            1. Olga

              Yes, but it’s not just money for the police. Too often, the results of their labour end up in prisons. And how many educational budgets have been cut to fund prisons?

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                But aren’t we forever addressing symptoms and not diseases?

                I’m just thinking about the comparison with Australia, where we do not have 1/4 of the world’s incarcerated population. What we do have is a reasonably high minimum wage, mandatory employer-paid retirement on top of government retirement, mostly free healthcare, employee workplace rights (hiring/firing), and fewer mechanisms to limit unions. The thin blue line is very thin indeed here, and no, beat cops do not have ex-Iraq and ex-Afghanistan military hardware. If I have an encounter with a cop I have absolutely no fear that I will be killed; by contrast, if he’s out of bounds with attitude or action I can push back, give him some lip, tell him to lighten up, tell him he has his facts wrong, and generally they will listen and respond. The emphasis on their training is to de-escalate wherever possible, and there’s a cultural sense that accountability, justice, personal freedoms, and “a fair go” must be balanced against “law and order”. But these are artifacts of the above: there is much less absolute economic desperation and stress at the bottom and lower middle of the society. Which is what I absolutely do not get about the R/D neo-lib credo of stealing everything possible from the poor: do they not get that the opposite of that would absolutely see the economy soar and violence subside? What a bunch of charlatans, carpetbaggers, poseurs (Hi “Kente Nancy”), lickspittles, and midgets we have in charge.

                And please, can we try and limit the “serious debate” to solutions that are actually workable here on planet Earth? “Abolish the police” makes about as much sense as “Reparations”.

                1. Edward

                  I think “abolish the police” is the right idea. It might not be literally possible, but a watered down “reduce the police” should be possible. Minneapolis wants to give some of the police duties to social workers. Another proposal is to remove the police from schools. It seems to me police duties could be broken into smaller pieces such as traffic law enforcement and the freedom to beat up citizens eliminated from traffic duties, for example. Such cops could be unarmed. The NYC police had a limited ticket strike a while ago which did not cause civilization to collapse.

                2. Turing Test

                  Every second society must contend with the question of how to balance the interests of haves and have nots. Failing to manage the balance leads so socio-political instability and polarization, and eventually to crisis.

                  Most Western countries do this primarily by using progressive taxation to fund transfers from those at the top of the income distribution to those lower down. At some level of is accepted that this is the “price” of political peace.

                  The US on the other hand tolerates a relatively large gap between haves and have nots and tries to manage the resulting tensions by criminalizing poverty and incarcerating as many poor people as possible as a means of social control.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            There is no reason to be on the fence. The usual suspects are the ones who are worried about the “message.” All the same people who “reformed” the police after every problem are now worried about the message being confused.

            “No taxation without representation.” There never was any demand for representation in the Parliament, but yet, this phrase was really popular.

            Ultimately, the next step is trillions for planes that don’t fly and teachers buying class room supplies. Maybe if the schools were funded our aeronautical engineers would know how airplanes work.

            This is also about Biden. He isn’t disciplined enough to not say something off the wall. There is a reason he is in isolation. They don’t want Biden bragging how many people he incarcerated while Trump pretends to be tough because this is what Biden would do on his own.

          3. juno mas

            Yes, “defund” the police has more elements to it than a crowd chant. The militarized police that most cities have today, provides small service for a very big cost. My town recognizes the cost of POST trained police officers versus it’s Harbor Patrol officers. The HP personnel do not have arrest capability and do not carry lethal weapons. Their purpose is to monitor the tourist dominated shoreline and tactfully maintain order. If serious conflict seems imminent they call for arrest-capable officers. It’s cost effective.

            Many national protests are calling for a similar concept in their chant for defunding: use a more diverse community policing practice that reduces the cost of expensive/abrasive, gun-toting, poorly trained bully’s and resolve community conflict with less expensive social workers and community oriented programs. It’s time to minimize/defund the number of gun-toting “warriors” and increase the number of community oriented guardians.

            (Let me say that the “cost-effective”s separation of community policing in my town is far from perfect: many harbor patrol officers see themselves as “gun-toters” to be and often harrass the homeless and others rather than serve the community.)

            1. chuck roast

              Many years ago I was arrested for the crime of having long hair. The courts interpreted that as disturbing the peace. After a night in the can, a civilian finger-printed me the next morning prior to my court appearance. I asked the civilian if they gave the cops psychological tests prior to permitting them on the force. He told me that they didn’t in our town, but in the city across the river they were giving shrink-tests to the cops…they had to stop because they were all “failing” the tests.

              Who would want to be cop? A aggressive guy who has anger management issues? A border-line sociopath who has difficulty functioning in a work group with shared goals? A guy with no professional skills or trade? Please don’t tell me it’s a guy who wants to serve and protect.

              Cops spend a great deal of time dealing with anti-social people who have many of the same issues they do. People who are normatively socialized don’t want to be cops. Do you or any of your friends care to get up-close and personal with drug-dealers, spousal abusers, bar-fighters, street psychos and the list goes on. It’s a lousy job, but somebody’s got to do it.

              In the medium sized, low-crime city in which I used to live, the police-chief described the cop job market. He said that a couple of decades ago there were scores of potential police cadets when the call went out for cop-candidates. Now, he said, they had to go out and recruit people and he was lucky to find a half-dozen acceptable recruits.

              I have answers to the cop thing except, don’t make eye-contact with them and say little or nothing to them beyond “Am I under arrest?”

              All best described by Junior Murvin:

      1. Marlin

        I think in a somewhat less polarized atmosphere “Defund the police” could have been a useful slogan. Not because actually defunding the police is the best thing to do, but because defenders of police funding would have to argue why we need the police, what the police is supposed to be doing, and what level of funding is actually needed to do that.

        I think it would turn out, that in the end the debate wouldn’t even focus on funding level, but more on how the police should really work. Maybe a bit long to watch, but this interview of Jimmy Dore with former policeman and now social scientist Michael Wood has some food for thought. He changed his mind on some stuff over the years, but an approach to focus on reducing crime instead of a focus on punishing people in way that is almost certain to commit further crimes in the future is certainly useful. Wood has his own small youtube channel and it certainly is possible to contact him and discuss with him. Btw. he is very critical of the riots… for reasons related to the issues in the Stoller post above.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Did you read some of the comments to the article containing the audio that Stoller pointed to? WTTW [PBS]: “What Are We Going To Have Left In Our Community? …”

      2. Oh

        It’s always IDPol isn’t it? How come the Democrats have been doing nothing about Police brutality, corruption and arrogance all these years? You guys are no different than the Republicans you point the finger at. Go away. Don’t plug your campaign here. Go ask your revered leader Pelosi and your corporate friends.

      3. JohnnySacks

        Trump is going to distill ‘Abolish the Police’ into a campaign ‘us vs. them’ sound bite, and Biden is going to be (as he is with everything) staggering and on the ropes trying to counter it. It’s a complicated nuanced issue being dumbed down to target a level of ignorance that makes the Tea Party look like rocket surgeons and it’s going to backfire, badly.

        1. Pelham

          True. And it doesn’t help that the epicenter of this crisis, Minneapolis, actually is considering abolishing its police.

          Also, I wonder what the great mass of protesters chanting this actually expect. On first blush, it actually does sound like getting rid of all the cops — although, of course, it could mean something less than that.

          1. Woodchuck

            Honestly, it doesn’t matter what “exactly” the protesters expect, because it very likely varies a lot from one to another anyway. Protesters are not a uniform block in any way.

            So as a politician if you propose meaningful change that takes elements from the “defund the police” movement, books, etc. and put them into policies, you will get the majority of their support on it. You just need to be able to frame your changes as fitting in the general philosophy.

            If you don’t believe “abolishing” is a solution (and honestly, most do not, even those that aim for that usually see it as a far away goal probably not in their lifetime, so who cares about it really in politics), then just articulate something that isn’t abolishing.

            As for Trump and his fan networks (Fox News, OANN, etc) of course they will turn it into a campaign of “us vs them”. But they will do that with ANY issue. You cannot provide them with “no issue” to do that on, they will grasp on anything or make up something otherwise. So you might as well own your convictions and run on them and EXPLAIN them. The people that can be moved will read/listen. The people that do not, I honestly believe you were not getting them anyway.

            Too much in US politics seems to be about “not giving ammunition to motivate the other side’s base” instead of motivating your own. Obama, as bad as he was as a president, won dominantly his elections by motivating his side, he didn’t talk as not to scare Republicans. Trump actually did the same, he won by motivating his base, without giving a damn what the people who would never vote for him anyway would make of it.

    2. a different chris

      I don’t like posts that say “this is disingenuous” and then put their own spin on it like it’s The Unvarnished Truth.

      I would think Sirota would give you plenty of pushback, you are cherry-picking as much as anybody. The crime rate has dropped dramatically, can you work that into your “calculations” please? Because it’s a funny thing to leave out.

      1. Marlin

        Sirota’s argument is disingenuous because he compares apples with oranges and certainly most readers of his article will leave with a wrong impression, e.g. if they would be asked if the policemen to population ratio increased in the last 40 years, would probably answer “Yes, a lot”, which is not true. He deceives his readers, that are not machines but humans. That should in my opinion be the true standard of an article, not is it literally true, but do readers have a more true understanding of reality.
        And I consider it fair to make the default assumption for a public service, that is mostly done by people rather than by machines, to take a constant share of GDP and employ a more or less constant ratio of the population for it. Better outcomes over time happened as well in health care (life expectancy) and education (people are more intelligent than 40 years ago). Still increasing class size to reduce money spend on teachers would be seen as a cut even if the educational outcome would still match the one from 40 years ago. My assumptions for baseline are widely shared in other contexts by many people. Sirota’s baseline of constant money spend is very unusual.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          The Corona shutdown of the US economy has local governments in a revenue squeeze.
          Questioning the funding line for police relative to that of other city services is not disingenuous. You claim in this comment that the policemen to population ratio has not increased by a lot. I’m not sure I believe that, but in any case, the police presence has grown more evident to me, and I have sensed the police animosity toward little people like me grow for the last sixty years. The laws have expanded, punishments have grown, and enforcement has become ever more aggressive and sometimes brutal for even minor offenses or no offense. I don’t share your assumptions for baseline and I don’t agree that Sirota’s baseline in the link is “constant money spend”.

    3. timbers

      Interesting point, but I wonder if local govt expenditure on school has risen at the same rate as with police? That might be a better way to assess if police are consuming too much tax dollars, or not. Did a quick search on my phone but haven’t found info helpful, yet.

      1. Marlin

        Overall spending on schools per pupil in the US is much higher than in Europe. Texas spends about 9k$ / year pupil, New York, the leading state, about 22k$ / year pupil. Germany spends about 8k€ / year pupil. Acutally, I’m German, but one of my school buddies had a one year exchange in the 90s with a US school. When he came back, he compared and it was clear, that the US school he went to (public, but in a better off region) had much more money than our school in Germany. However, I think (not 100% sure) the US school system has various problems:

        – funding levels are much too much dependent on local tax receipts. Schools in wealthy areas have money for things that have very little effect on learning, while in poor areas schools lack essentials;

        – there are too many people in the US educational system, that don’t actually do any teaching – and well paid “school administrators”; in Germany schools are a pretty bare bone operation with most tasks distributed among the teachers. I think its similar as in the health care system, where the US has too many lawyers, accountants and MBAs for the number of people actually caring for patients, while in Germany more tasks are done by people, that have as well contact to with patients and therefore have a better understanding what is needed.

        1. timbers

          Thanks, and of course spending on education probably ought to be higher that on police.

          The question however is the comparable rates of increase for each, specifically the roughly last 30 years the article talks about for police.

          The real question IMO is: How has education spending these last 30 years compared to police spending? Has it risen as much as police spending, or not?

          1. tegnost

            There is a decent interactive under histogram here


            I have to think that recent platform expenditures (think mymathlab) would have the effect of raising costs to pay for the platforms which as in every other industry (grubhub?) just makes crappy service more expensive

            Another relevant I stumbled on while searching for non special interest numbers
            (trying to find .gov sources which may not be perfect either) which has some numbers but didn’t explicitly answer the question
            it’s complicated, that said…

        2. Olga

          To your second point: the $-spent-per-pupil measure is a bit deceptive. It all depends on what and how the money is spent. Where I grew up, it was schools and the Ministry of Education; no middle layers. The US invented (?) the clever idea of independent schools districts (because …local control!). Imagine the amounts of money that go toward maintaining those (almost entirely) administrative structures. Just Texas had about a thousand of those.

        3. Pelham

          I’ll add my thanks to timbers’. As for Sirota, as much as I like most of his work, you can bet he approached this subject determined to reach only a select conclusion. Which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s invalid, but it leans that way.

          Separately, I’ll be looking for more of Marlin’s comments in future.

    4. Edward

      A comparison could be made between funding vs. productivity. Also, a comparison could be made between police funding and other government bureaucracy funding.

    5. WJ

      What if it turns out to be the case that police departments are not unique because they are overfunded, but unique because they are now the only adequately funded public service in the nation? No idea if this is true, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was.

      1. Marlin

        I would be happy, if Sirota would properly argue that. Btw. I have no opinion if police in the US is overfunded or not. But the argument made in the beginning of Sirota’s piece is deceptive, because policing is a personal intensive service and using inflation adjusted constant money for such a thing isn’t a reasonable baseline for how the cost of such a service should evolve – buying all the other assumptions like that the 1977 level of funding was exactly the right one.

    6. Knifecatcher

      I prefer “slash police budgets” as a slogan vs “defund the police”.

      “Defund the police” is too easy to mischaracterize as “abolish the police”, guaranteeing that normies who don’t pay much attention will oppose the policy.

    7. The Historian

      Defunding the police is a non-starter from the number of 911 calls. People still want the police to come when they need them.

      From the link, there are on average about 240 Million 911 calls every year.

      Instead of defunding, that money should be used for different purposes, such as changing the way police are trained. Instead of the reliance on military tactics, police should be trained more as sociologists – after all, they are often the front line in dealing with social problems.

      In addition, instead of hiring police from the military, more effort should be spent on hiring police from colleges and hiring more police that look more like everyday citizens instead of GI Joes. It is much easier to relate to a person who looks like you than a person who looks like a caricature from the US Military.

      The problem isn’t the number of police, after all a small police force can be just as brutal as a large police force, the problem is who is hired and how they are trained.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        “Defunding the police is a non-starter from the number of 911 calls. People still want the police to come when they need them.”
        Do people want the police to come or do they want ‘help’ to come when they need it. The calls to defund the police cry out the seeming impossibility of reforming the existing police institutions. This is not the first time people have demanded reforms in the training and selection of police officers, changes to the police core values and beliefs. Reformation from within has proven hopeless. Instead of police we need a new public service with new leadership, new personnel, and a new mission to truly serve and protect the public concordant with the service and protection the public needs. We don’t need the kind of services ‘our’ police, ‘our’ prosecutors, and ‘our’ laws now provide.

        1. The Historian

          I agree with you – we need changes. I did say that. But if you defund the police, what are you going to do in the mean time? Do you think that you can just hire somebody and put them out on the street as a cop immediately – without training? Right now police training takes 14 – 24 weeks at a minimum. So what are you going to do? Hire private security forces? Depend on vigilantes?

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Some police might be suited to serve and protect — though sifting them from the chaff may be exceedingly difficult.

            And that says nothing about the numbers of ‘police’ who might find themselves on the streets. They are not far different from many of the criminal elements they supposedly protect us from.

    8. J.k

      nypd budget….over 6 billion

      -North korea military budget……3.5 billion
      -Venezuela armed forces., peaked around 6 billion around 2012, plummet to 500,000,000 in 2017.
      -Mexico ………….around 7 billion

      This is madness. So yeah, they can afford to take some cuts. Other p.d around the country are similarly obscenely bloated.

  3. Acacia

    Re: The Democratic Party Exists To Co-Opt And Kill Authentic Change Movements

    Once again, Caitlin Johnstone hits the nail on the head!

    1. Drake

      In their defense, they are very, very good at it. I didn’t think they were good at anything besides shameless preening, raising money, and corrupting the election process, but now I have to admit that they are top-notch at something outside of pure politics also.

      1. jsn

        They’re the essential air bags that keep repeated economic crashes from killing capitalism.

        They’ve been in this role since FDR who used this role to make everyone’s life better. With each successive bust, the Ds have abandoned more and more of the population. Now the only voters they’re interested in are Republicans and it’s a safe bet they’ll do everything they can for suburban Rs in whatever they send to the Senate.

        It will be an interesting summer watching them try to contain the protests even as the pandemic ramps up and the economy rots. The so called “opening up“ is just the end of the beginning of the pandemic and the wheels are all wobbly!

    2. Carolinian


      it’s blue states with Democratic governors and cities with Democratic mayors where the bulk of the police brutality people are objecting to is occurring.

      While the recent protests also took place in the South and also produced some violence, it is interesting that so much racial conflict in recent years has been occurring outside the region. One might almost suggest that the North is finally having that Civil Rights movement that happened here in the ’60s–a period that allowed smug Northerners for decades to pretend race was a Southern issue. A lot of it may be propinquity. I live in a town that is fifty percent black whereas Garrison Keillor recently wrote that he never even knew black people in Minnesota until he went to college. He suggests that prejudice is the fruit of ignorance and I think Southerners–the thinking ones at least–have always known this.

      Which is to say it’s not about good versus evil but about accepting differences and learning to get along. There will always be plenty of covert prejudice, including here, and those woke knee takers merely apply it in different directions. But the country in general could use a lot more self awareness instead of an endless series of rationalizations–the latter being a Dem party specialty.

      1. jsn

        I agree completely.

        A product of court ordered desegregation myself, I landed in Brooklyn in time for the Crown Heights and Bensonhurst riots thirty years ago or so.

        It was obvious at the time New York would have benefited greatly from what I’d gone through in Austin.

    3. Paul P

      I wish the cries for justice would include universal, automatic voter registration. If everyone in the street and supporters at home, could vote, even if they haven’t voted before, the political class would sit up straighter in their chairs and pay more attention.

    4. Aumua

      Once again, Caitlin Johnstone hits the nail on the head!

      Well it’s not like it is a very hard target to hit.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Perhaps not. OTOH, there are more than a few folks around whose livelihood depends on not hitting it.

  4. CanCyn

    Re Aggressive food delivery apps …
    “GrubHub and DoorDash have taken these shady moves because they, and their competitors, are relentlessly focused on customer acquisition. The reason: all of these businesses are privately held and raise funds from venture capital investors, who are more concerned with the prospect of long-term market dominance (which is measured in the short term by customer-acquisition numbers) than immediate profitability (these investors hope that, while not profitable now, these companies will be one day as they increase efficiencies and corner the market). Ironically, though, this focus on customer acquisition incentivizes precisely the sort of behavior that sabotages long-term success: it encourages companies to take underhanded actions that causes both restaurants and customers to lose trust—trust that is essential any delivery company’s long-term success.”
    Customer acquisition numbers?!! Really!!?? If the idea of deeming the number of customers as the most important thing to investors isn’t proof that the market is totally whack-a-doodle, then I don’t know what is.
    Also love the story about the guy who ordered his own discounted pizzas and made money off of the platform – brilliant!

    1. cnchal

      Restaurants are the customers the platforms are trying to aquire by hook or crook.

      This is particularly bad. Collusion between Yelp and Grubhub to deceive their customer’s customers.

      . . . that GrubHub has replaced restaurant’s phone numbers on Yelp with their call-center numbers, which ensures that a customer’s orders are placed through GrubHub’s platform—thereby forcing the restaurant to pay GrubHub fees on each order.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Third party delivery services—which include DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats—have recently come under scrutiny for the power they have over restaurant owners. Buzzfeed has reported that GrubHub has replaced restaurant’s phone numbers on Yelp with their call-center numbers, which ensures that a customer’s orders are placed through GrubHub’s platform—thereby forcing the restaurant to pay GrubHub fees on each order.

      And DoorDash is known to occasionally put a restaurant’s menus on its platform without the restaurant owner’s consent. In one circumstance, the owner of a pizza place incurred bad Yelp reviews and angry customer phone calls complaining that their pizza arrived cold—which was strange, since he didn’t offer delivery. When the owner went to DoorDash’s website, he saw a pizza that he charged $24 for was on offer for $16 via DoorDash. He then placed numerous orders for his own pizza through DoorDash and actually made money.

      Replacing a business phone number with a different business number or changing prices on another business’s product without even notifying the owner???

      At the risk of being hopelessly naive, how is this even remotely “legal?” Wouldn’t a menu be copyrighted, and any publishing of it without permission some sort of violation? Isn’t a phone number / web address a business asset or property?

      Somebody Better Call Saul.

      1. timbers

        The restaurant should be enabled to charge and collect fees from use of it’s menu and phone number from these creatures. I’m sure Biden and Nancy are working on that right now. Oh…and no fines on the Google or internets for allowing this? Hmmmm….

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Shades of amazon not being required to charge sales tax for, what, 10 years while brick and mortar was required to collect them as well as to pay property taxes on their buildings; or the “remarkable” tolerance of “investors” towards amazon’s 15 years of profitless operation.

          Or the fake dithering over whether uber and lyft are violating independent contractor statutes or not.

          It would seem that, at least where the algorithmic crowd is concerned, the “police” have already been “defunded.”

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Excellent as always Katniss, may the odds be ever in your favour.

            I wonder to what extent we’re just seeing “political consciousness” creep it’s inexorably slow hill climb upward from political ignorance.

            We had a black president signal that banks could commit every crime under the sun and instead of orange jumpsuits they got bonuses and bailouts (see Matt Taibbi on Bill Moyers for chapter and verse). Maybe awareness of this has escaped like a virus into the genpop. Then we saw looting on an unimaginable scale, with the letter “T” on the amounts, with the CARES Act, the booty from which, in the form of the S&P 500, rises up in everyone’s face every single day.

            Riddle me this: If you don’t hold the top of the scheme to the rule of law and stop them in their tracks as they loot the store then how precisely do you propose that “moral suasion” keeps the whole show from toppling over?

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I wish I’d thought of the name for that new delivery service – Clustertruck.

        From what I can see in my area, local restaurants with a good customer base are avoiding the delivery services. They are mostly only delivering from established cheap take-out venues. Those locally owned restaurants in my area that have stayed partially open are usually doing their own thing – usually ‘click and collect’ type operations, but insisting on ordering well in advance. Some have experimented with doing local deliveries using their own staff (just within easy cycling distance).

      3. jsn

        In the post Judicial Coup (Bush v Gore, 2000) US, the renovated Constitution clearly states, “a contract is only as good as the intentions of the richer party to it.”

        If you can outspend Door Dash and Grub Hub in court, what are you doing making pizza?

        And if you can and are, they know better than to mess with you!

    3. WJ

      Am I right in thinking that the implicit goal in all of these industries, following the Amazon model, is just to become a monopoly?

  5. Krystyn Podgajski

    Well, it’s over. You found my home planet KOI-456.04. Damn, I knew this would happen, just not so soon.

    So now I have to return, but with the good news that you all will probably destroy yourselves before you can manage to make a ship that can get out there.

    Anyway, it’s been fun, Nano-Nano, Bleep blop, do de do de da!

    P.S. Sorry about Elon Musk. He is one of us but we banished him here years ago. SpaceX is his attempt to get back home, but he’s a dummy back on KOI-456.04 so good luck with him!

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      +1 for a Rocky Horror ending for Dr. Elon Frankenfurter, preferably during the next quarterly call.

      (Hey, ya forgot to turn off the world!)

  6. -jswift

    >WHO: Asymptomatic spread of coronavirus appears to be ‘very rare’ NY Post

    …statement had been misinterpreted, but also criticised the WHO for its public messaging and said the data used to justify the claim was ‘thin’.

    ‘The WHO statement pertains to “truly asymptomatic” people who never show classic symptoms, not to pre-symptomatic people who we know can transmit days before showing symptoms,’ he said.

    ‘Even if truly asymptomatic spread is very rare, pre-symptomatic transmission is likely to be important.

    ‘What we’ve ended up with here is public health by press release … coupled with poor communications.’

    A misleading @CNBC story about a rather unclear @WHO statement is making the rounds today.

    1. voteforno6

      That’s what I thought…already heard someone in the office this morning touting this as proof that we don’t need to worry so much. Ugh.

    2. anon in so cal

      Brown University physician expresses skepticism due to lack of WHO data.

      “Nevertheless, several scientists took issue with the way Van Kerkhove communicated that information at the press conference—in a way that was both confusing and seemingly not tied to any actual new publicly available data. Forman said she seemingly “went out over her skis on this.” Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and professor at Brown University, agreed.

      “I read it and I went, ‘Where is the data?’” Ranney said. “I would be thrilled if what the WHO has said is true, but I personally have not seen any data or studies to back up that assertion. … And I worry, because the WHO made statements on ibuprofen early on based on one hypothesis that was never backed up by data. And so until I see why they’re making a statement, I have to withhold judgment as to whether it’s true or not.”

      She went on: “I would just urge the WHO that before they make any statement like that, which is going to drastically change the way that all of us approach prevention of spread of this virus, and which—I don’t want to say that it contradicts published data—but it’s just such a dramatic assertion to make, to make sure that should be backed up by peer-reviewed, published data.”

      For Ranney, the whole kerfuffle was evidence of the unusual squeeze the current crisis has placed on the public health community: With people dying every day, there’s an extraordinary need to move quickly in research and reconnaissance against the virus.

      “Traditionally in science, we wait to share our opinions publicly until we feel confident about our expertise and competent about the quality of the knowledge that we have,” she said. “But particularly right now, when so many people are still being infected and dying across the world, there’s enormous urgency to speak quickly. And if we waited for definitive knowledge, we would still be doing nothing, right?”

    1. Milton

      Coinciding with the release of her new book (the Deficit Myth) which was freshly put into my Kindle library this morning.

    2. JWP

      After the Cotton op-ed uprising, I’m surprised they published something from Kelton with her close ties to Sanders and the progressive movement. Do Michael Hudson and debt forgiveness next!

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Oblivious Swiss tourist says he is ILL and needs to go to hospital as he lands at Heathrow and prepares to get on the busy Tube completely unaware that Britain has begun quarantine”

    Let’s see. So an arrival turns up not knowing the new rules. And most new arrivals had not filled out the required forms. Those who did bother to fill in the form cannot have that information accessed by those officials on the border itself. New arrivals are not being given instructions as to what to do. And just to make it better, there are whole categories of people who do not have to bother with these rules such as anyone on government or defence business, foreign diplomats, regular international commuters, lorry drivers, medical workers and fruit pickers.

    With all this in mind, can you imagine what Day One will be like after Brexit comes into force?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      That reminds me of the first time I flew into Singapore. On preparing the descent the pilot gave the usual announcement and added ‘I’m compelled to remind passengers that Singapore has the death penalty for drug smugglers’. Behind me someone very loudly stage whispered ‘Jesus! Why the f**k didn’t he tell us this before we took off?’.

    2. Maritimer

      This is Two Tier pandemic fighting. In my jurisdiction, they have done nothing at the airport other than to, maybe, tell passengers to self isolate fourteen days. (No reports by media on what actually goes on at the airport.) But, rural yokels like myself a long distance from any Coronaboogeybug, must sixfootit, mask up, stay in and be very afraid. So, at the point of attack, the airport, little defense.

      The head honcho of our jurisdiction has even admitted the show must go on at the airport to get the $$$$$$$$$ in the till. Suck it up, peasants.

      Would love to see a report on how all those private, executive jets are handled. That would probably make it a Three Tier System.

  8. farmboy

    Pro sports are a battleground, NFL owners are accused of plantation mentality, broadcast media will have a gut wrenching time ignoring the controversy on the field when players kneel and speak out. Football is an indicator, a microcosm of trump’s base and he won’t be silent. Fans will be enraged by the players actions and words from all sides. Keeping the lid on, the TV product consumable will be the challenge. Media at game time will work like hell to deflect all opinions to other productions, call in shows, talk radio, social media, charity drives, everything but the players speaking out.
    1968 Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists on the medal stand among other gestures and signs at the Summer Olympics. Their medals were taken from them immediately. Similar to what happened to Kaepernik. Muhammad Ali won the boxing Gold in 1960, converted to Islam in 61, won the heavyweight title in 64, refused induction into the Army, stripped of his title, his anti-Vietnam War stance galvanized America. What was old is new again.

    1. Oh

      The sports team owners in the NFL, NBA and such need to stop playing the National Anthem at the game venues.

      1. TXMama

        I predict they will play the National Anthem BEFORE the players come out of the locker rooms and onto the field. But will they continue to have the military escort the flag and have military flyovers?

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      The games on the first Sunday of the regular season will be very interesting, as every black player and many (most?) white ones, including marquee quarterbacks and such, take the knee. And as you note the media coverage will be revealing. I hope the players have the wit to coordinate among the teams and keep this powder dry until that first Sunday in September.

      This past Saturday Howard Bryant of ESPN scathingly posted on Goddell’s statement.

  9. Tom Stone

    Here in Sonoma County the support for Joe Biden is almost palpable.
    It reminds me of that Limerick about “A young lady named Post”.

  10. Pat

    For your consideration, I have been notified by my insurance provider that they are requesting a 20+% premium increase. Corona Virus is cited extensively in the explanation. And they probably did get hit by it here in NYC and will face future expenditures from it, so they will probably see most of it approved.

    You should understand that this is the cheapest policy available on the marketplace for someone my age in my area, and it is for all intents and purposes a catastrophic policy with a few, for me, useless free coverage items required by the ACA. I have no evidence, but I cannot imagine that this makes them particularly vulnerable, still actuarial rates could prove otherwise. That said I would bet that similar notices are going out to businesses and individuals and not just in NY.

    One more ding in the economy.

    1. a different chris

      Well you don’t expect insurance to cover unexpected events like COVID-19, do you? /s

    2. fresno dan

      June 9, 2020 at 9:27 am

      A cynical, conspiratorial person (Heaven to Betsys, not MOI) would posit that corona virus was loosed upon the population so that health insurers, dissatisfied with their meager 5-7% annual premium increases, could justify a much, much larger annual increase in premiums…
      But I’m not cynical – I believe there will be health reform. What with genetic engineering, flying pigs will be here before a corona virus…

      1. tegnost

        Bunny slippers as a rule are not cynical, but pink bunny slippers?
        Just don’t tell me you wrapped the ears in tinfoil, because that might be worrisome…

    3. tegnost

      They’re parasites and as a result are incapable of stopping until they (h/t prof Hudson) Kill(ing) the Host.
      So sadly I think we’ll have to get more feverish before we can rid ourselves of the pathogen…

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Biden Rejects Calls to Defund Police Departments, Plans Increased Investment in ‘Community Policing”

    An additional $300 million to community policing efforts? Is he talking about paying for vigilantes? Somebody should ask Ahmaud Arbery how well that works out in practice. But I love the quoted bit from that article-

    “Biden supports the urgent need for reform–including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing–so that officers can focus on the job of policing.”

    Get it? That would mean that the police get totally out of the soft-power part of their jobs and just go for the hard-power which means militarized police armed with military weaponry and total surveillance powers.

    1. scarn

      Yep, this is neo-liberal hell world solution speak. Defund the police? No, give them more money, and use some of it to hire private parties to increase policing. Tie it all up with a rainbow ribbon and call it “community policing” I can’t wait to get gassed and beaten by community police.

  12. zagonostra

    >Caitlin Johnstone

    Watch Democrats and their allied media and corporate institutions try to sell the public a bunch of words and a smattering of feeble, impotent legislation to mollify the masses, without ever giving the people the real changes that they actually need. It remains to be seen if they will succeed in doing this…

    Why wouldn’t it succeed? It has in the past.

    The redirect from class to race is working perfectly as the coronoavirus decimates small business while the corporate hogs feed off of the CAREs act and the fearful and confused folks huddle against the big bad orange goblin into the hands of the Dems.

    1. Aumua

      It might not succeed because more people are paying attention to these tactics than ever before. It’s just getting harder for them to hide their hole cards these days.

    2. jsn

      Small business was a bad constituency to abandon.

      As a small business person I argued a lot with my peers about their dominant conservative leanings because you need customers and abandoning the growing population of poor won’t make many.

      Now that small businesses have been thrown to the wolves, they’ll go directly from being momentarily inconvenienced rich to undeserving poor. The only thing that won’t change will be their contempt for Democrats. Anger and competence can be dangerous.

      1. flora

        There’s a quote along those lines.

        “Beware the fury of a patient man.”
        – John Dryden

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        “I distinguish four types. There are clever, hardworking, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and hardworking; their place is the General Staff. The next ones are stupid and lazy; they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the mental clarity and strength of nerve necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is both stupid and hardworking; he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always only cause damage.”
        – Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, Commander-in-Chief of the Reichswehr/German Army

  13. Jason Boxman

    I always wonder who can afford to pay a 50% markup to have a meal delivered? That’s insane. It’s expensive enough to eat out, I rarely did it before, maybe once every few months; I’ve never used a delivery ‘service’.

    Unlike ride hailing drivers, restaurants understand their cost structure. Interesting to see how that plays out.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Dune Road Is Falling Into the Sea—Unless the Billionaires Can Save It”

    I think that that headline needs re-working. How about the following?

    ‘Dune Road Is Falling Into the Sea—Unless the Billionaires Can Get the Taxpayer to Pay For It Yet Again.’

    Hello, calling the Canute Construction Company.

    1. JohnnySacks

      Taxpayers rebuild the seaside infrastructure continuously, and at every rebuild, lose even more public access. Eastern MA residents north of Boston are pretty much shut out from beach access, the only state beach I know of is Salisbury up by NH and it fills quickly. The NIMBYs near any public access points will have your car ticketed and towed within 10 minutes if a tire is 2″ over the line even if you’re able to park nearby. But when the storms whip through and destroy, who’s first in line clamoring for public aid?

    2. juno mas

      Dune Road is only a small potion of the US East Coast that receives Billion$ in federal money to “restore” shoreline. It is only temporary, even before rising sea levels. The natural action of littoral drift is constantly (daily)changing the shoreline. Big ocean storms only make the incrementally unnoticed more obvious.

  15. Otis B Driftwood

    As a native of Chicago, I’m not too surprised by that raw conversation among Mayor Lightfoot and the aldermen and alderwomen of the South and West sides of Chicago. These are the poorest areas of the city and I’m sure the Mayor prioritized protecting them over other areas of the city.

    Same thing happened when these same West side wards burned in 1968. The only difference is the Mayor and aldermen then were white men. Richard Daley was from the southside Bridgeport neighborhood, a white enclave that was notoriously racist and intolerant. Cicero, another southside neighborhood, is famous for its reception of MLK where he commented (I paraphrase), “The hatred I encountered in Cicero is far worse than anything I have seen in the Jim Crow south.”

    The police department was brutal then, and it’s brutal now and I’m sure they don’t give a damn about the predominantly black and brown neighborhoods of the city.

    And how sad and pathetic is it that the pillars of a community are a Walmart and a CVS?

    The complexity of this situation is underscored by the fact that the city’s political leadership is now black and brown, and yet the communities still erupt in a rage fueled by years of economic depression and neglect. And those same leaders endorsed and got out the vote for Joe Biden. Pathetic, cowardly leadership is color blind.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      And how sad and pathetic is it that the pillars of a community are a Walmart and a CVS?

      All due respect–

      Several days ago Tucker Carlson, in a segment decrying the looting, played an interview with an older black woman whose Philadelphia (I think) neighborhood had been ravaged and burned by looters. She was crying and visibly shaken. Paraphrasing what she said:

      The noise from the destruction was so scary. It was right outside my window. They burned the Dollar Store and the Office Max–the places where I used to shop. Now they’re gone and the buses aren’t running because of the protests. How am I going to buy what I need? Where can I go now and how can I get there?

      Which is to say that, in some neighborhoods, Walmart and CVS should be considered basic, essential infrastructure, and, though I almost hate to say it, should be defended as such. And anyone, regardless of skin color, who defends the destruction as a justifiable expression of righteous anger seriously needs to “check their privilege.”

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I’ve never found the “collateral damage is just the cost of doing important business” argument particularly persuasive.

          When kareem pulls his Bentley up in front of that woman’s house and offers to take her wherever she needs to go whenever she needs to go there I might change my mind.

          1. chuck roast

            Maybe you should comment on Kareem after you spend a year on the Navajo Reservation teaching school and coaching basketball the way he did.

          2. juno mas

            Well, with a prolific college and professional career, supremely educated (BA History, UCLA), decades supporting Black issues in the US, author of many books (autobiographical and historical) and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been providing the Black community with vital service daily. He’s now 73 and rarely drives for himself.

      1. jsn

        If you assume that basic susbistance should only be provided to those who can pay for it, then yes, national retail chains are essential.

        This is the core belief of neoliberalism, that only those who can pay deserve to live. This all avoids the issue of vast neighborhoods full of people who can only afford the overpriced crap at a CVS or the cheap crap at a Wallmart. No one else serves these neighborhoods because there’s so little money there.

        The reality is all those people abandoned in the sacrifice zones deserve meaningful work and a living wage, or if not capable of work or raising children, dignified public services and access to quality food and real health care. We cold do this in a heart beat if we chose to, but instead we argue about other peoples right to their rage and the secondary harms of their running amok when all hope has fled. Provide that woman food, shelter, healthcare and education, and provide it with dignity. That is what should be demanded of government, not Walmart.

    2. LawnDart

      It seems to me that the Chicago streets kind of “chilled-out” in the early 2000s, especially in contrast to the 80s-90s. Crack burning itself out probably had something to do with this, but there was also much more of a strong hierarchy on the street: shootings meant cops, cops meant no drug sales, and no drug sales cut into the bottom-line. The boundaries were much more defined, and rules enforced.

      I am not saying that gang discipline is something that we want to see on our streets again, but it sure beat today’s chaos and unpredictability. I think when people see tangible, legitimate opportunities in life rather than being fed a diet of happy-talk and b.s… …give them something to protect, other than their “freedom” (from? to?) and their lives. Folks and people, on the South and West Sides, they know that they’ve been living “The American Dream,” George Carlin’s version of it, anyway.

      1. J.k

        Its not just gangs that are responsible for shootings and murders in Chicago. There has been a growing trend of violence between deeply alienated young people, who are constantly on edge and angry about the massive disparity between the American dream they are peddled and the actual lives they have inherited with the recognition there is no way out. Add to that the easy availability of weapons and you have young people shooting at each other over facebook beef. Or other petty slights. Thats part of the reason there are so many injuries from shooting and not higher death counts. These arent gang executions. Sadly lots of angry kids taking out their righteous rage on each other.

  16. JacobiteInTraining

    “…Well Seattle, what have we got – an Anarcho-syndicalist collective, or a Revolutionary Commune?…”

    “…A Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone…if you can keep it!…” &

    The older kid, 26 years old and mostly non political in her life up til now wants to go join in and protest. I have misgivings….a very small subset of protesters now have long guns (presumably in defense against supposed Proud Boys ambushes) and despite intentions to keep things peaceful, I am not wanting to hear news reports and fear for her safety.

    If she truly wants to go and understands the risks and rewards, I’ll buy her all the HK-frontliner protective gear she needs, and support her wish.

    Down to a knifes edge here in Seattle, will cooler heads prevail, and will the messy business of protest translate into concrete change, will it fizzle out, will it be attacked, false-flagged, and/or burn up in the space it takes one knuckledragging Proud Boy with an AR-15 to go ballistic?

    May you live in interesting times…..

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      This new Seattle autonomous zone reminds me of how CNT members in some rural Spanish village would declare “Viva el comunismo libertario!” and cut off their town until the army arrived. Will Seattle become another Paris Commune? Pretty exciting thought, though clearly dangerous, but the times appear to make avoiding danger impossible.

      I see that Sawant was there, and that there was some verbal conflict, but that’s to be expected. It’s not a top-down assembly where the bosses decide what everybody’s going to believe. There are things to talk and argue about, and when it’s done in the open, that’s for the best in the long run.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Yup, exactly what I was thinking: CNT, POUM, debates…arguments…messy, but as you say that is the point – when the opinions bubble up from ‘below’ vs imposed from the bosses up top.

        1. chuck roast

          Yeah the CNT and the POUM…interesting case there. You have to go to Homage to Catalonia get that the Commies ran a Potemkin campaign against the fascisti, but were ruthless and relentless against the anarchos. We, of course, have the Democrats.

      2. Eclair

        ” … some verbal conflict, …” Sawant can be a real pain in the a**. And I agree with her. She is a passionate and effective speaker, but … man oh man … in interpersonal discussions she does not do conciliatory. But, she is a brilliant and tenacious strategist and she can run a campaign.

        1. polecat

          So was the fictitious President Coin .. until She became what she dispised. Will our impending, glorious New Panem meld back into nothing but the former .. exchanging one set of boogiepersons for another?

    2. False Solace

      A Jacobite helicopter parent, that’s a first for me. Just find it somewhat jarring that a 26-year-old adult consulted Mom & Dad before going off to protest police brutality, and Mom & Dad are going to buy the protective gear. By that age I’d been on my own for years.

      At any rate make sure she picks up some $2 impact-proof glasses from the hardware store before she heads out. Bruises heal, eyes not so much.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Heh….amusing eh? :)

        we are a non-traditional social collective, an aging 50-something lily white former Punk…with adopted kidlings from a Tlingit/Native & Hispanic background doing the best we can to cross-pollinate the best ideas of the ancient old and the bleeding-edge new. I am not ‘Dad’,technically speaking just that Crazy Uncle who semi-sorta adopted them after their real Dad (my best friend of 37 years) committed suicide after being churned into the whirling gears of the Federal JustUs System.

        She has definitely lived a sheltered life, as has the Boy, but oddly…despite some friction from time to time between generations, it works out pretty well.

        As long as she remembers to wear her galoshes!! …and her impact-proof safety goggles, full on respirator gas mask, and motocross plastic armor.

        ahhhh….just like that old show ‘Leave It To Beaver!

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Prince Andrew: Lawyers lash out at US justice department in new Jeffrey Epstein statement”

    Looks like Randy Andy’s days of international travel are now over. With the US Justice Department gunning for him, he will have to make sure that any country that he goes to does not have an extradition treaty with the US – and that includes Canada. Meng Wanzhou can give him a heads up on what to expect. Even if he went to New York under guarantees, would he seriously trust the US authorities to uphold those guarantees? Is the USJD capable of negotiating a solid guarantee? As soon as he hit the airport he would be put in cuffs and by evening his mugshot would be in all the papers due to a ‘leak.’ Anybody here willing to trust a Trump regime promise?

    In any case, the Justice Department was never serious about chasing after Epstein’s network. If they were, they could get the Washington DC Office to send agents to pick up Bill Clinton for an intense question/answer session. He is not hard to find. He lives on Whitehaven Street near Embassy Row. But they won’t. Remember Epstein’s home on ped Island? They took a whole month to send agents to check out the place. By the time they stepped ashore, not only had the entire place been sanitized but there was a massive slab of concrete that had just been laid that covered – what? So all this is just games but am not sure why. Trade concessions from the UK in exchange for not jailing a senior member of the Royal Family perhaps?

      1. wilroncanada

        Maybe there’s another bargain in the works. We’ll (the US) pass on the prince if you give us Julian Assange NOW. Just make sure the prince, or his family, has no copies of the “Little Black Book” or of any videos, audios, paper records, that may have important people as their subject. Say, a Clinton, a supreme court justice, any governors, or maybe even a Trump or a Trump-ette.
        Give us a guarantee, or we may even out some other “Peers of the Realm.”

  18. fresno dan

    After Castile’s death, I wrote a piece for MIT Technology Review about “sousveillance,” the idea posited by the inventor Steve Mann, the “father of wearable computing,” that connected cameras controlled by citizens could be used to hold power accountable. Even though bystander video of Eric Garner being choked to death by New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo in 2014 had led not to Pantaleo’s indictment but to the arrest of Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the murder, I offered my hope that “the ubiquity of cell-phone cameras combined with video streaming services like Periscope, YouTube, and Facebook Live has set the stage for citizens to hold the police responsible for excessive use of force.”

    I was wrong.
    The hope that pervasive cameras by themselves would counterbalance the systemic racism that leads to the overpolicing of communities of color and the disproportionate use of force against black men was simply a techno-utopian fantasy. It was a hope that police violence could be an information problem like Uber rides or Amazon recommendations, solvable by increasing the flows of data. But after years of increasingly widespread bodycam use and ever more pervasive social media, it’s clear that information can work only when it’s harnessed to power. If there’s one thing that Americans—particularly people of color in America—have learned from George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Eric Garner, it’s that individuals armed with images are largely powerless to make systemic change.
    Is the point of our legal system justice, or control? The guards are behaving exactly as the owners want them to…

    1. Eclair

      Thank you, fresno dan, for your observation: ‘The guards are behaving exactly as the owners want them to …’

      That makes protesting so much more difficult. Which, I guess, is the point of having the shock troops, the Praetorian Guards, with their military-grade equipment. And with their attitude of ‘our won people are the enemy.’ We attack the police, while ‘the owners’ continue on, uninterrupted and unseen, with their looting. One understands the logic of the Chicago protestors, who burn down commercial establishments. Such protestors have probably lived most of their lives with ‘gentrification.’ With seeing the small neighborhood businesses owned by family and friends, decline and give way to corporate biggies, Walmart and CVS.

      1. workingclasshero

        Eclair,they”ll burn down any entetprise in their area if they see others doing it somewhere else.if people in that area might be need those services,well they”re out of luck.good luck getting any investment public or private in the future.

  19. Paul P

    Jeffrey Epstein. I’ve read, maybe in one on NC’s posts, that cell phone data can be purchased to show the location of the cell phone. So investigatory agencies can track Epstein’s cell phone and the phones of all of his friends. In the same place at the same time at his parties?
    Google sends me my timeline of where I’ve been and updates it periodically. If I bought a book at a Barnes and Nobel, it even sends me a picture of the store. It says if don’t want the timeline and can click I don’t want it. Google doesn’t give me the option of not being tracked.

  20. PlutoniumKun

    China’s “Peaceful Rise” Vanishes in Thin Air Project Syndicate

    For a detailed discussion of the logistical issues involved in any war up in Ladakh or Sikkim, there is a good overview in this article. Shorter version – maintaining any type of large scale military operation in those areas is exceptionally difficult, which means either side would find it hard to ever establish a strategic advantage. Not least because it would take weeks to get significant enough soldiers acclimatised to that altitude. Although the article doesn’t mention the possibility that China may have discreetly acclimatised a few divisions if this was genuinely a planned escalation.

    Either way, its hard to see what China hopes to gain by upping the temperature along the border – it can’t be ruled out that this is just local commanders getting bored and overstepping their instructions. Most likely its purpose is to keep on reminding India and other neighbours such as Bhutan and Nepal just how vulnerable they are. There may also be an element of probing for weaknesses (military or political).

  21. PlutoniumKun

    Could the coronavirus crisis finally finish off coal? BBC

    Unusually clear explanation for why big thermal plants are struggling in a world of dropping energy demand (even if it is temporary).

    The key issue is what economists call the “marginal cost” of different sources of energy.
    The idea is simple: once you’ve built your power stations, it is more expensive to run those that require fuel than ones that rely on wind, rain or sunshine.
    Think about it. You need to keep buying coal to burn. But once you have installed your wind turbine, solar panel or hydropower plant, the electricity it produces comes pretty much free of charge.

    Of course, very low gas prices have helped dissuade power companies from coal sources.

    In Ireland, the main coal plant has been offline due to an accident since last October. Normally it supplies about 40% of the countries baseline power so this should have been a huge blow coming into winter. In fact, it made little difference as it was a particularly windy winter, so there was plenty of renewable energy, and there was sufficient gas generation capacity power to take up the slack on non-windy days. In fact, Ireland was a net exporter to the UK grid over this time. There was an element of luck in that the Covid shutdown coincided with a high pressure weather front parking over the country which killed off wind generation (it would have been great for solar if there had been sufficient capacity in place). But there were no suggestions of brownouts. Its entirely possible that it won’t reopen, which would mean the end of large scale coal use in Ireland.

    1. caucus99percenter

      Coal is still barreling full speed ahead in some jurisdictions. The CounterPunch article about Cyclone Amphan and the Sundarbans contains this aside re government priorities:

      The worst of all such industrial projects being pursued by the government of Bangladesh, with support from the Indian government, is a major 1320-megawatt cross-border coal-fired power plant in Rampal, 14 kilometres from the boundary of the Sundarbans Reserve Forest, or within “kissing distance” of the forest, as Mongabay puts it. Work on the project is underway and the plant is expected to start operation in March 2021.

  22. Jessica

    Has India supported the call for an investigation into the origins of Covid-19?
    If so, China’s military moves might be payback.

    1. tegnost

      reminds me of the country song “family tradition” which garners the obvious refrain to Why do you drink? from any good honky tonk crowd

  23. Thames

    Search for mention of Antifa in Sirota or Johnstone?
    Those articles miss a component that people in New York, Washington, Chicago or Portland would hear about routinely.
    Error of omission or commission?

    1. periol

      Well since antifa isn’t an actual organization that exists outside of the fevered dreams of people like you and the MSM, why should they bother talking about it?

  24. Geo

    “US wins second place in Afghan War”

    And a participation ribbon in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq.

  25. Carolinian

    Re OANN–since you asked.

    Here’s Wikipedia’s version of fact checking

    In April 2018, while on an al-Assad regime-led tour of the area of the Douma chemical attack, an OAN correspondent claimed there was no evidence that a chemical attack had occurred.[51] The correspondent said, “Not one of the people that I spoke to in that neighborhood said that they had seen anything or heard anything about a chemical attack on that day” and that residents “loved Bashar al-Assad.”[51]

    In May 2019, OAN published a report claiming the White Helmets had admitted to staging fake chemical weapons attacks, which were intended to put blame on the Assad regime. OAN referred to the humanitarian organization, which is partly funded by the US State Department, as “terrorist-linked”. The Daily Beast characterized this story as a “smear” that could be traced directly as Russian disinformation.[27]

    Which is to say yes the channel has a totally pro Trump bias but given the dubious version of truth coming out of the other cable newsers that’s not necessarily unusual. Since I don’t have cable I’ve only seen it briefly while visiting friends and making the plea “anything but CNN!”

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