2:00PM Water Cooler 7/21/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, that horrid transcript about “free” COVID testing under “Health Care” took some doing, and so this Water Cooler is a bit thin. I’ll add more shortly. –lambert

#COVID19

At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Our five problem states, with New York for comparison:

I’ll just keep doing this one until I see a peak followed by a decline. California and Texas resume their rise, Florida goes down (!). Texas and California were tracking each other with eerie similarity untiil eight days ago (or, I suppose, 8 days + two weeks ago?).

A few weeks ago, we ran this chart showing Rt (“the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person. If Rt is above 1.0, the virus will spread quickly”). Here it is again, state by state. Red is bad:

And here is the same chart from back in June 8:

These are point estimates (the ovals) within a range (the shaded bar).

AZ vs. NM:

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270.


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

So, taking the consensus as a given, 270 (total) – 204 (Trump’s) = 66. Trump must win 66 from the states in play: AZ (11), FL (29), MI (16), NC (15), PA (20), and WI (10) plus 1 to win not tie = 102. 102 – 66 = 36. So if Trump wins FL, MI, NC, and PA (29 + 16 + 15 + 20 = 80), he wins. That’s a heavy lift. I think I’ve got the math right this time!

2020

Biden (D)(1): “Ex-Gov. John Kasich slated to speak at the Democratic National Convention for Joe Biden” [Cleveland.com]. “John Kasich, the Republican ex-governor of Ohio turned critic of President Donald Trump, is expected to speak at the Democratic National Convention next month in support of Joe Biden…. It’s a move that would be unthinkable just a few years ago, when, as governor, Kasich clashed with Democrats on a range of issues, from abortion to collective bargaining for public employees. Kasich is one of a number of high-profile Republicans who intend to work against Trump’s re-election in the closing days of the campaign… John Weaver, a senior strategist for Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign, co-founded the Lincoln Project, a group that is already airing anti-Trump TV ads. In addition, ex-Ohio GOP Chair Matt Borges, a Kasich ally, has formed a pro-Biden super PAC…. The news drew a swift backlash from Democratic candidates, staffers, and activists on social media.” • It’s too much even for Media Matters. But who cares? They have no place to go. And I have to say…. As readers know, I’ve been blogging since 2003, and got my real start at Eschaton; I can still remember playing whack-a-mole with series of WMD stories propagated (and later determined to be planted) by the Bush administration. And so the concept of Bush Republicans and liberal Democrats actually merging their campaigns is profoundly disoriented to me. It’s like being clubbed over the head with a bag of wet sand. .I know it’s a two-party system, and the system is a single system, but that we seem to be heading toward something like a one-party state, where leadership factions of both parties merge… That wasn’t on my Bingo card at all. (though I suppose, in retrospect, Obama voting to retroactively legalize Bush’s program of warrantless surveillance in July 2008, after promising to filibuster it in January, should have sent a strong signal). Like so much in politics following campaign 2016, I’ve never seen anything like it. I wonder what Kasich’s price was?

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “The Daily 202: Biden’s lead is tighter than it seems” [WaPo]. The body doesn’t really match the headline; tighter doesn’t mean tight. “There are two other caution flags for Biden, who failed in his first two bids for the presidency. Despite the myriad of deeply reported blunders in the president’s response to the cascade of crises enveloping the country, Trump and Biden are tied at 45 percent when respondents were asked who they think is the stronger leader. Trump still retains a narrow advantage on the economy, with 47 percent saying they trust him more and 45 percent saying they trust Biden more. That is down from an eight-point edge in March. Notably, Biden has a 20-point lead on who is more trusted to deal with the coronavirus, a 25-point advantage on race relations and a nine-point advantage on crime and public safety.”

UPDATE West (I)(1): “Kanye West fails to make ballot in South Carolina despite rally” [The Hill]. “Rapper Kanye West failed to make the presidential ballot in South Carolina by the Monday deadline, despite holding a campaign rally in the state the day before. West submitted none of the necessary 10,000 petition signatures due Monday at noon, commission spokesman Chris Whitmire told The Hill. South Carolina law prohibits write-in candidates, meaning the only option for a candidate at this point is to seek the nomination of one of the certified political parties. There will be no additional extensions to the deadline, Whitmire said. The deadline had already been extended five days from July 15 triggered by the emergency declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” • This is getting sad.

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UPDATE “Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder arrested in $60 million bribery case” [Columbus Dispatch]. “Republican Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four colleagues were arrested by federal officials Tuesday as part of a bribery investigation involving the state’s $1 billion nuclear plant bailout and Householder’s maneuverings to secure support to lead the legislative chamber. Householder, 61, of Glenford, is charged in the alleged racketeering conspiracy involving the funneling of energy company funds through Generation Now, a dark money group formed by a longtime associate, with some proceeds used to back the campaigns of legislative candidates supportive of Householder’s run for Speaker…. Investigators allege the nonprofit used energy company money to back the campaigns of 21 different state candidates in the 2018 primary and general elections, including Householder. More than $1 million was spent on negative ads against those candidates’ opponents, with additional funds paying for Householder’s campaign staff, according to documents. Most of the backed candidates won in 2018, and all supported Householder’s election as Speaker, investigators said.” • Holy cow. $60 million is real money at the State level.

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “Battle over Covid aid consumes Congress’ final sprint to recess” [Politico]. “The House and Senate return Monday to face a critical three-week stretch ahead of the August recess, with both chambers under immense pressure to deliver another trillion dollar-plus relief package amid an alarming rise in coronavirus cases. With the economy stinging from its worst recession in decades, congressional leaders also have just a handful of days to prevent tens of millions of people from losing jobless benefits that had been dramatically scaled up during the pandemic — one of the most contentious issues lawmakers must work through. Millions more are at risk of losing federal eviction protections by month’s end, which have already expired in some states.” And: “There are also growing concerns from lawmaker offices about when and how to bring back staff, particularly as the House takes up more amendment-heavy bills that some say are more difficult to manage remotely. For now, members have been advised to have no more than a handful of people in their personal offices.” • Absent staff doesn’t sound like a recipe for good legislatin’

“McConnell previews GOP coronavirus relief bill” [The Hill]. “McConnell, as he did during the recent two-week July 4 break, outlined the major pillars of the forthcoming Republican bill as jobs, health care, kids in school and liability protections. But he also provided new details including that Republicans would include $105 billion in help for schools, as well as provide more help for businesses, who have been hit hard as the spread of the coronavirus forced many to close or scale back…. McConnell also indicated that the bill would include another round of stimulus checks. McConnell did not provide details on who would qualify but has previously talked about Americans who make up to $40,000 per year, in particular, needing additional assistance.” • Means-testing, so good! More: “McConnell also indicated that the GOP proposal will include more funding for testing and vaccines, though he did not provide a dollar amount… The GOP bill is also expected to provide a five-year shield from lawsuits tied to coronavirus infections unless an entity — including businesses, schools, hospitals or government agencies — engaged in gross negligence or intentional misconduct…. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Mnuchin have indicated they want an agreement by the end of next week, which is the end of the month.”

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RussiaGate

UPDATE He’s not gonna make you Secretary of Defense, Pete. I don’t care what you were told:

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Leading Indicators: “21 July 2020 New York Fed Weekly Economic Index (WEI): Index Again Declined and Remains At Recession Levels” [Econintersect]. “The New York Fed’s Weekly Leading Index (WLI) declined and continues to show an economy that is significantly worse than seen during the Great Recession. However, this index remains on a recovery trend. This data set should be considered a high-frequency coincident indicator on a par with the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index produced by the Philly Fed – and both show conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic are already worse than the Great Recession. However, the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index is improving whilst the WLI is still declining. Logic would say with the partial reopening of the economy – the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index seems to be correct.”

Housing: “May 2020 CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index Significantly Declines” [Econintersect]. “The Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI), which analyzes single-family rent price changes nationally and among 20 metropolitan areas shows a national rent increase of 1.7% year over year, down from a 2.9% year-over-year increase in May 2019… Despite local economies beginning to open back up in May, rental demand continued to be impacted by unprecedented unemployment rates and stay-at-home directives, which contributed to the slowing in rent prices.”

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UPDATE Finance: “US regulator aims to cut the red tape with payments charters” [Financial Times]. “Enter Brian Brooks, the erstwhile chief legal officer at cryptocurrency firm Coinbase. Mr Brooks is now acting head of the US’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates the country’s banks at federal level. Mr Brooks has been at the regulator since April, when he joined as first deputy comptroller and chief operating officer. He ascended to the top job at the end of May after Joseph Otting quit halfway through his term. Extending the OCC’s reach to fintech regulation has been high on his agenda. He intends to unveil a national payments charter as soon as the autumn. ‘Payments is the one aspect of banking that is inherently borderless . . . so it’s sort of hard to understand why there’s not a federal charter for payments firms,’ Mr Brooks told #fintechFT. ‘The idea that these giant global payment companies are regulated with state licences, is to me very puzzling.'” • Hmm.

UPDATE The Bezzle: So, one of “America’s richest neighborhoods” doesn’t have infrastructure that will support robot delivery (dk).

I wonder if the robot would even have survived a “bad neighborhood.”

UPDATE Tech:

For, “Craig Murray” (with and without quotes) is the first result, as expected, and I’m running through a VPN that tends route through Ukraine or the Netherlands. Readers? Any weird experiences? I think Google is crapping around under the hood.

UPDATE Manufacturing: “Boeing Faces Financial Drag From Dozens of Undelivered 787 Jets” [Bloomberg]. “Boeing Co. is running out of space to stash newly-built 787 Dreamliners, with jetliners seemingly tucked onto every available patch of pavement on airfields near its factories in Washington and South Carolina. Dozens of the planes are sitting on the company’s premises, according to people familiar with the situation. Uresh Sheth, a much-followed blogger who meticulously tracks the Dreamliners rolling through Boeing’s factories, puts the total somewhere above 50. That’s more than double the number of jets typically awaiting customers along Boeing’s flight lines.” • 787s, not 737s. Wowsers. And then there’s this: “For years after the 787 Dreamliner made its commercial debut in 2011, taped up aircraft awaiting retrofitted parts dotted Paine Field, adjacent to Boeing’s factory in Everett, Washington. For [Uresh Sheth], there’s a sense of déjà vu to the growing glut.” • I don’t think Edward Deming would be very happy with those “taped up aircraft” (!). Boeing has clearly been sick a long time.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 65 Greed (previous close: 65 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 61 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 21 at 12:54pm.

The Biosphere

“Global warming shrinks bird breeding windows, potentially threatening species” [Science]. “For breeding birds, timing is everything. Most species have just a narrow window to get the food they need to feed their brood—after spring’s bounty has sprung, but before other bird species swoop in to compete. Now, a new study suggests that as the climate warms, birds are not only breeding earlier, but their breeding windows are also shrinking—some by as many as 4 to 5 days. This could lead to increased competition for food that might threaten many bird populations. Birds typically time their breeding to cues signaling the start of spring, so that their chicks hatch when food like plants and insects is most abundant. But global warming has pushed many species to breed earlier in the year; that effect is especially prominent at higher latitudes, where temperatures are rising faster than near the equator.”

Water

“Fishermen without fish as Cambodia’s river reversal runs late” [Reuters]. “Crucial water flows to the Tonle Sap, Southeast Asia’s largest lake, have been delayed for a second consecutive year according to river experts, severely disrupting fishing and threatening the food supply of more than a million people…. ‘I went out fishing for two nights and couldn’t catch enough,’ said 37-year-old Khon Kheak, repairing a fishing net under his stilt house at Kampong Khleang, a floating village with little water to float in. That trip earned him 12,000 riels, or about $3, compared to $12-$25 a day last year, enough to support his family of six. His wife Reth Thary worries those days may be over. ‘If it continues like this we would be finished, we also owe people money,’ she said, referring to a $1,000 loan.” • Loans being a big, yet little covered aspect of village life in South and Southeast Asia. More: “Savuth may go to Siem Reap, a city 55km (34 miles) away, to find construction work.” • More at NC here.

“Himalayan rivers must be lynchpin of India’s new water policy” [Third Pole]. “In spite of the great socio-economic use of the flows in the IHR rivers, their hydro-meteorological picture is far from being precisely known. While the monsoon and the westerlies generate the overall climate of the IHR, the steep slopes and rugged undulating Himalayan landscape generate a mosaic of micro climates all over the region, which impacts the local economies. Understanding of the climate process in the IHR is handicapped by lack of dependable micro-level data, a characteristic problem of the whole Himalayan region. Bridging this knowledge gap is essential. Unfortunately, the assessment of the water flowing in the IHR river basins suffers from great uncertainty, as Richard Kattelmann pointed out in 1987 in Uncertainty in Assessing Himalayan Water Resources. The uncertainty is increased by the impacts of global warming and climate change, as Molden and others pointed out in 2014. Thus, a policy for water in the rivers from the IHR has to start with the generation of better knowledge of the climate process and assessment of the water precipitated and flowing in the streams and rivers. The policy for the reduction of uncertainty in the assessment of water flowing in the IHR rivers in the era of global warming and climate change is clearly a priority.”

Health Care

Timotheus throws the following thread over the transom. He writes: “I thought you might be amused/horrified by this thread I lifted from a Facebook page for Inwood (upper Manhattan) about one person’s experience getting a ‘free’ COVID test from the tent outside a housing project.” (Sorry for the crude reformatting, but I think the content is clear enough.)

Dimitri Mack

8h

Beware of covid 19 testing at Dyckman Clinica de Las Americas on 175 Nagle Ave st 200 New York N.Y zip 10034.
It’s not free. I was billed $509.33 for a free covid test by my insurance. Look at your insurance statement. I spoke to my insurance they said speak to the testing location. I spoke to the testing location where I had the test done. They told me to speak to my insurance. Then I spoke to someone else there. They gave me a number and 3 weeks later this is still an ongoing issue. Just Beware of that location and check you insurance statements. They had the nerve to tell me they have to bill the insurance even though its free.

Kim Racon Did you fill out the insurance portion of the form, Dimitri? I ask because I was tested there last week, and they said you didn’t have to fill it out. I didn’t–and I haven’t received a bill–and my balance on their MyChart app says $0.00.

Dimitri Mack Kim Racon I was told I have to fill that out. I was also told by the person that does the billing that my insurance has to be charged even if its free. I said why are you charging if this is free. She said they will have to take the hit.

Kim Racon Dimitri Mack Yes–in the fine print on the NYC+ website, it does say your insurance company will be billed for the cost of the test–here’s the language from their site, “The COVID-19 test is free at these locations and no appointment is necessary. Please remember to bring ID and your insurance card. If you have insurance, NYC Health + Hospitals will bill your insurance plans for the cost of the test. However, patients will not be billed for any co-pays.”

I think, once they bill your insurance, it’s down to your insurance company if they cover the cost of the test or not–and that’s when it all gets into the weeds, if they deem NYC+ Health out of network and therefore they won’t pay the bill. It’s worth calling your insurance company to see what their COVID 19 testing payment plans are. I know my insurance company has updated their payment policies for testing (and different payments for nasal swab versus antibody testing) at least twice since March.

Dimitri Mack Kim Racon I understand that but they billed it as a in office visit for a flu shot. I can understand if this was March and they didn’t know how to code it. This test was taken a month ago. I just want everyone on be alert.

Marieka Jackson Dimitri Mack, Id put that information in your original post. That they labeled it an office visit and flu shot.

Delfina Cortez Dimitri Mack they billed wrong cause the cpt codes are there

Kim Racon Dimitri Mack Yes! The other person who posted last week was also charged for an office visit, as opposed to a diagnostic test. I’m not sure her situation was resolved either, as she was passed around to a few people between NYC+ Health and her insurance company.

Dimitri Mack Delfina Cortez I figured they had codes for this we are 3 months into this nightmare called covid 19.

Annette Rivera CPT needs to be fixed and rebilled correctly.

Louise Reist Dimitri Mack Did you see a doctor, nurse practitioner (NP), or a Physician’s Assistant (PA) and, if so, did they ask questions about your past medical history, do an exam, etc? If not, they cannot legally bill for an office visit. If they did, that is …See More

Dimitri Mack Louise Reist thank you none of the above . No personal information asked just my name and she admitted the test. We are waiting to see what happens with the bill after my conversation with the clinics account supervisor.

Louise Reist Good luck!

Alexis Stern I’m sorry for what you are going through, but they have fixed this problem now. They don’t even ask for your insurance information to get the free tests in the tent. I went last week.

Andrea Teresa Barrios Thanks for sharing this. Sorry you are going through it. My mom just called me to say she wants to get tested but those tents are not actually Free because her friend was also billed. they need to get it together. Thats not okay

Dimitri Mack Andrea Teresa Barrios the people are great
that does the testing. They are professional and great at what they do. My only issue is the billing.

Monica Indira Fernandez Someone always pays. Even if it’s free for YOU, your insurance still pays. This is standard practice, I’m not sure why you’re upset.

Kim Racon I think it’s that his insurance passed the $500-some bill onto him, rather than the insurance company paying for it. Which is what some people have said happens–they provide their insurance information, then they get billed for an out-of-network office visit.

Monica Indira Fernandez It wasn’t clear in OP. It seemed it was free for him but they billed his insurance, which is why he’s upset.

Yeah if they are charging him $500 directly then that’s NOT ok. But if it was billed to his insurance, I don’t see the problem.

Ismael Mosquera No cool. 

Sarah Trull Highly recommend antibody testing with Bioreference through ny.gov – COMPLETELY FREE. Did not have to present an insurance card. https://appointments.bioreference.com/nyc

Mark Wallem When I called that location right after they opened for testing I was told all that was needed was an ID, that’s it. I ended up not going there, but that’s what I was told – ID only, no mention of insurance info.

Maggie Wiggin It sounds like a billing error – annoying to have to make the phone calls to get it corrected, but it will be corrected and you will not owe. My husband and I both went to the tent for our tests and billed it to our insurance. The out of pocket is supposed to be $0 for everyone. Sorry you got stuck with this hassle!

Amala Lane Here in Ithaca’s Mutual Aid Tompkins County FB group, someone brought up the same issue. It is a coding error. But all of this is a terrible thing you should not have to endure. Good luck! (Contact the Attorney General office if you have ongoing issues.)

Clarissa Grullon I never even gave them my insurance cards.

And we wonder why people don’t go get tested. Timotheus: “And New York is one of the “success” states.”

* * *

Quoting Taleb:

Replacing equivalent terms:

Understanding how the subparts of the brain immune system (say, neurons T-cells) work will never allow us to understand how the brain immune system works.

Police State Watch

“Trump’s Secret Police: A History Lesson” [Peter Daou, ThreadReaderApp]. “When Obama swept in on a message of hope & change, one thing didn’t change: Bush’s legacy of indefinite detention, extrajudicial murder, drone killings, etc. If anything, Bush’s policies were expanded.” • Our political class has the memory of a goldfish. Worth reading in full, especially for those who came in late.

UPDATE “‘No Tactics… Just Seemed Like a Gang’: Navy Veteran Speaks Out After Attack by Secret Police in Viral Video Viewed Nearly 10 Million Times” [Common Dreams]. “[Christopher David] told the [Independent] that as a former wrestler who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs about 280 pounds he did not feel intimidated by the officers. ‘The video makes me look even bigger than I am,’ he confessed. ‘Those officers were small. They seemed scared. They had no tactics, just seemed like a gang.'” • The Border Patrol, like ICE, are lumpen cops…

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“EXCLUSIVE: Ghislaine Maxwell paid $25K to fake news purveyor Jacob Wohl to ‘smear Epstein victims and to get prosecutor Geoffrey Berman fired in attempt to stall sex trafficking investigation against her'” [Daily Mail]. “Ghislaine Maxwell hired fake news purveyor Jacob Wohl to smear her and Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims, a former friend has told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview. As part of a $25,000 deal made in June, Wohl and his lobbyist colleague Jack Burkman also allegedly pushed to get New York US Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who had led Epstein’s case, fired in order to stall or stop the criminal investigation into Maxwell. Wohl and Burkman are far-right lobbyists who have become a laughing stock in DC after several failed attempts to smear top political figures including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Cruz, Robert Mueller and Dr. Anthony Fauci by paying women to make false claims of sordid affairs and drug-dealing.” • Yikes.

Guillotine Watch

UPDATE “The Rich Are Looking to Buy Access to Covid Safe Havens” [Bloomberg]. “The next time the world’s rich are forced into lockdown, they would like to have an escape ready to a remote and sunny beach. Or perhaps to New Zealand, one of the few countries that has eliminated Covid-19. They are willing to pay for the privilege, of course. They can turn to programs that guarantee citizenship or residency in exchange for investment in the host country, using specialty firms such as Henley & Partners, the world’s biggest citizenship and residency advisory firm. With the persistent threat of viral infections and sudden lockdowns, the company is helping those with deep pockets buy access to a safe haven. For instance, you can acquire the right to live, work and study in New Zealand if you part with NZ$3 million ($2 million) or NZ$10 million, depending on the type of investor resident visa you choose. About 1.2 million euros ($1.4 million), including a property purchase, will get a married couple citizenship in Malta. ‘They’re now realizing: Let’s actually get the contingency plan in place,’ said Dominic Volek, Henley’s head of sales, said of his potential customers.” • One or two million? That’s not very much. What on earth are New Zealand and Malta thinking? Do the rich want to be safe, or not?

Class Warfare

It’s good to see the pandemic is working out for someone:

UPDATE “Remote working is not working for the poor, the young and women, a new study finds” [World Economic Forum]. “[N]early 100 million workers in 35 advanced and emerging countries (out of 189 IMF members) could be at high risk because they are unable to do their jobs remotely. This is equivalent to 15 percent of their workforce, on average. But there are important differences across countries and workers…. We found significant differences across countries even for the same occupations. It is much easier to telework in Norway and Singapore than in Turkey, Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru, simply because more than half the households in most emerging and developing countries don’t even have a computer at home.” •¨So, no broadband in flyover is really working in favor of those “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward” cities….

“How Remote Work Divides America” [Reuters]. “Professional, management and technology jobs run the gamut from accountants and architects to lawyers, insurance underwriters and web developers. This group is much more likely to retain the privilege of collecting a paycheck while working remotely, and is based in major metropolitan areas, like New York and Los Angeles.” • With lots of charts.

“Race Is About More Than Discrimination” [Bill Fletcher, Monthly Review]. • Here’s the more interesting and historically grounded version of “the Irish were slaves, too”:

The construction of “race” and “racism” was the construction of a system of total subjugation that was integral to the development of capitalism. It was never a system of prejudice alone. Various forms of prejudice appear to have been with homo sapiens throughout recorded history. But the creation of “race” as ideology and oppression (and later pseudoscience) was necessary as a means of constructing capitalist nation-states and introducing what would later be identified as class collaboration in order to ensure the relative permanence of the system.

The invasion and subjugation of Ireland introduced a new element in the construction of race that had not taken form with the completion of the Reconquista in Spain. The English subjugation of Ireland turned out to be far more than the capture and absorption of a territory or kingdom, a practice with which humans were familiar since the commencement of class society. It was also different, in important respects, from the European invasion of the Western Hemisphere (which, until 1607, was largely about conquest, enslavement, and annihilation on the part of the Spanish and Portuguese). It was the development of the settler colony and, ultimately, the settler state.

The English totally subjugated the Irish, rendering unlawful their political system, language, and land control. They also began a process of moving in settlers from England, Wales, and Scotland who were given the best land, control of their own weapons, and an overall privileged status vis-à-vis the indigenous Irish. Central in the construction of this settler colony was the notion of “race” that the English used not in descriptive terms but as a way of designating allegedly superior populations (English) versus allegedly inferior populations (Irish). The settler state, then, was racially constructed from its inception, but was linked to the idea of displacement/expulsion of the indigenous population. This is what made settler colonialism different from other variants of colonialism where the Europeans (or later the United States) occupied territory, frequently ruling through local compradors and agents.

News of the Wired

“Sleeping Woke: Cancel Culture and Simulated Religion” [Alexander Beiner, Medium (DG)]. “If your deepest held beliefs can be comfortably absorbed into Starbucks’ PR strategy, it may be time to go on a vision quest.”

“Michael Brooks Dead: Popular Host of ‘The Michael Brooks Show’ Dies Suddenly” [Heavy]. “Brooks obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science at Bates College in Maine, where he studied from 2005 to 2009.” • Go Maine!

“Remembering Our Friend and Comrade Michael Brooks” [Jacobin]. “Victor Serge once said – in a line I recently discussed with Michael – that “the only meaning of life lies in conscious participation in the making of history.” Now that he’s gone, that sounds almost wooden. Michael sought to make the world rather than be made by it, that much is true, but I’ll remember more than his politics. I’ll remember someone who was deeply human; someone who made an impact in those parts of life which politics never quite solves. He was all these things, and he was also an ambitious winner, someone who wanted to take on our callous rulers, and help build a just world, one where accidents of birth don’t condemn millions to misery.” • Brooks’ Bill Clinton impression:

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No note from CL, but wow!

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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.

155 comments

  1. Carla

    “In addition, ex-Ohio GOP Chair Matt Borges, a Kasich ally, has formed a pro-Biden super PAC….”

    As of today, Matt Borges is federal custody, along with Speaker of the Ohio House, Larry Householder, and three others, on charges connected with a $60 million bribe:

    https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/breaking-news-fbi-agents-are-at-ohio-house-speaker-larry-householders-farm/JCKHFEK4ZFH5HJF5O4MCP3BY2M/

    There will be a press conference to elucidate at 2:30 p.m. EDT

    Reply
        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Yeah, this makes very aromatic reading. Glad I’m not an Ohio taxpayer any more.

          ….
          HB 6 was introduced by two freshman ‘Team Householder’ representatives. HB 6 created a new Ohio Clean Air program to subsidize power plants fueled by nuclear and solar power, which had the effect of saving Company A’s nuclear plants from closure with over $1 billion in subsidies for nuclear energy.
          ….
          52. Later that day, Clark explained that the $450,000 paid out of Generation Now went to pay off fifteen signature collection firms nationwide so they would be conflicted from working on behalf of the Ballot Campaign

          [So is door-to-door advocacy now being ‘rolled up’ by private equity? Paging Stoller….]

          Borges discussed the divide between the ballot initiative supporters… and the supporters of HB 6 and stated, “The only people on my side is this f****ng company”….

          “what’s interesting is that there’s a newer solution that didn’t occur in, 13 years ago, is that they can gives as much or more to the (c)(4) and nobody would ever know.”… Clark believed Householder should utilitize his 501(c)(4) to gain political support in his campaign for Speaker… because reportable hard dollars will cause industry groups to give to both sides….

          LH: Now switching gears. So we are looking at the payday lenders And we are
          expecting big things in (c)(4) money from payday lenders…. So far, I think we are what, fifty?

          Reply
  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    Ex-Gov. John Kasich slated to speak at the Democratic National Convention for Joe Biden
    Am I reading this correctly? Is Kasich specking in Biden’s place? Meaning Biden is not going to speak?

    Also; You have an unclosed Bold tag somewhere above.

    Reply
    1. L

      On this subject, this is my initial thoughts but I just don’t believe that the Never Trumpers will be as enduring a part of the Dem system as some think. This may be an attempt by the suburban-adjacent plutocrats of each party to unite but IMHO a better way to look at this is about branding. It is not a two-party system but a two channel system, and Trump is bad for the brand. If the channel’s brand gets bad enough it will fall to irrelevance. Thus the fact that this group is moving over is I think more about engaging in a lateral removal of their intra-company opponent than any real realignment of partisan politics.

      I could be wrong, but I just don’t expect the current collaborators to stick once they can move back and take over the profitable remains of the R party. They would much rather let the D’s clean up their mess (and take blame for the pain) so that they can return. This was clearly Paul Ryan’s strategy, I think he just saw the trend sooner than others.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I just don’t expect the current collaborators to stick

        That’s certainly a possibility. One thing that makes me think it might be more lasting is that Republicans are actually interested in getting stuff done; hence the adulation for the Lincoln Project (it’s not that simply that they’re anti-Trump). The effective exercise of power might be attractive to Democrats; once they experience it, the West Wing might lose its charms.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_Mommy_is_a_Democrat A golden oldie to be sure.

          I think this book’s existence is a great example of the psychosis infecting much of the Team Blue establishment and their MSNBC dead enders. They are thirsting for acceptance from their GOP masters. Trump is too mean, but Kasich and the Lincoln Project are kind of nice in person and might one day stop hitting their Democratic Party spouses.

          Reply
        2. L

          That might be true. I think it depends upon how the interests prop each other up, or don’t.

          There is no question to me that someone like David Frum or John Kasich is more amenable to Nancy Pelosi or Barbara Boxer than say Alexandria Occasio Cortes, or Jamaal Bowman. So if the DNC crowd can have control over the brand and the getting stuff done of the R’s then they will take it. (Biden of course will flap with the breeze since he thinks “Bipartisan == Good”).

          But, the actual voters who are needed to sustain the D channel are more interested in AOC and Bowman, and increasingly unwilling to follow the DNC approved line. So to the extent that the Lincoln project types turn them away or find that the actual representatives of the party push them away, then they will find the old channel more attractive.

          To use the historical analogy, the southern racists became part of the R’s when the R’s were weaker and needed a route to power. They were ushered in by a strong leader like Nixon who gave them cover. And they had no hope of returning to the D’s and being welcome because the actual D voters made them Persona non grata. Right now the R’s aren’t weak, but after this election they could be. Biden lacks the capacity of Nixon to reshape the party at will. As to the D electorate, some of them are gaga over “moderate” institutional PMCs no question, but a lot of others aren’t. So I still think that depending upon how this election goes the “national security” and “neoliberal-friendly” R’s that drive the Lincoln project might find the post-Trump GOP a better home in the long run.

          I could be wrong. This could also usher in the age of Democrats as pure techno-centrists but that would mean ejecting most of their voter base. While some DNC types have said that is their goal I think the jury is still out on whether it will actually happen.

          Reply
    2. Alternate Delegate

      On Kasich and “… we seem to be heading toward something like a one-party state, where leadership factions of both parties merge

      Beware the sad fate of the German SPD!

      The SPD is a social democratic worker’s party with a long history deep into the nineteenth century. SPD Chancellors Brandt and Schmidt ran West Germany in the 1970’s. The long-term persistence of this party is largely responsible for Germany’s strong social safety net and things like the fact that worker’s representatives sit on corporate boards.

      But then, with neoliberal rats gnawing at the guylines, and the very nature of work itself in transition, the SPD joined a Grand Coalition with Angela Merkel’s CDU party.

      There were elections … and they did it again. And then they did it again. Shrinking each time. By now, they are well on their way to becoming a minor party, or vanishing from the flow of history altogether. What reason would inspire anyone to vote for Merkel’s junior coalition partner? Why not vote for Merkel herself? What alternative is the voter given?

      Unless you actually believe TINA, Grand Coalitions should be banished with fire.

      Reply
    3. John Anthony La Pietra

      I took that to mean that the plan was for Kasich to speak in support of Biden, not instead of Biden.

      Reply
  3. diptherio

    I assume the “Yay!” after the Michael Brooks story is about where he went to school and not the fact of his untimely demise…but it took me a second to work that out.

    Reply
  4. JWP

    Thank you Lambert for the increasing coverage of water in SE Asia and the US. A vastly underreported field underpinning all of our lives. I’ve taken a keen interest in it in the past few years and am happy to see it come up more on NC.

    Re: the Third Pole article, I can easily see a similar situation unfolding in the US with the decreased runoff and snowpack in the Cascades and Rockies. Central OR and WA have already started making cuts to diversion and water usage earlier in the season and I imagine it’s more pronounced elsewhere. Water policy domestically assumes the flow of the river they have planned will remain the same and those who have claims will receive their allotment regardless. Where does the excess come from with lower flow? I have no idea and the impacts could dwarf any demand shock from COVID or a depression, not to mention the quality of water decreases and becomes more saline with less runoff. SE Asia seems to be following the Western US’s footsteps on a much larger scale.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I wouldn’t trade my property worth 1/20th as much as a compound on the beach in Malibu, all the water you could ever want and not a drop fit to drink.

        Water is my most important investment, and i’m not too worried about somebody stealing it, as millions of gallons race by me all the time, and i’m perhaps the 14th in line for the largess as it makes it way down the mountain.

        Reply
        1. BobW

          I remember seeing springs at my father’s boyhood home in the Ozarks, absolutely clear water, like it came out of a kitchen tap. Now we cannot be sure that even spring water is potable.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            There are a number of springs on Mineral King Road in Sequoia NP where the water comes right out of a side-hill just a few feet from the asphalt, and I usually fill up a Nalgene there.

            Takes about 20 seconds to fill a liter bottle with 40 degree water.

            This is ‘raw water’ the kind that goofballs in the Big Smokes pay stupid money for.

            Reply
    1. farmboy

      Climate change scenarios for the PNW detail less snowpack, but similar amounts of precipitation. This will necessitate more late winter, early spring runoff storage that can be released late summer to keep irrigators, fish runs, and municipalities in full supply. These are expensive projects that can only be done with federal money and the cooperation of BPA. Plans are in the works and scale up will ladder up.

      Reply
      1. JWP

        What about on the dry side of the mountains? I think the areas (both urban and farm) around Bend are growing too fast to keep up with such proposals in the long run. There’s no way they get approval for the amount of money needed to dam or store water from the John Day, Deschutes, or Columbia to fill a void if runoff storage is inadequate. Hopefully they work but i’m skeptical.

        Reply
        1. anon in so cal

          We spent a week in Bend last July–a return trip after 15 years. Sad to see such a beautiful high-desert location get so over-developed.

          Reply
  5. jsn

    “Like so much in politics following campaign 2016, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    “The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagence, they have two of them” Julius Nyerere, First President of Tanzania​.

    It was obvious from afar a long time ago. This is the end game of imperialism coming home.

    Reply
    1. sierra7

      JSN:
      Bravo!
      +1000
      The music is still playing and the well dressed elite continue to waltz along and the commons just endure until the end times. And, it’s coming. Nothing “religious” about this at all.
      Common sense…..oh? What’s that?

      Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      What the authors discovered makes shocking reading, even for a country that has repeatedly generated grim headlines since the pandemic began. Across all states, only 40% of the essential data points are being monitored and reported to the public.

      More than half of the critical information is still going entirely unreported – depriving political leaders of the weapons they need to fight the virus. In the case of 11 out of the 15 essential data points, not a single state was reporting them correctly; and in a further nine of the categories more than half of the states are failing to report any information on them at all.

      Most alarming is contact tracing, a technique for isolating infected individuals that most experts agree is central to any attempt to control the pandemic. The report found that the information shared on contact tracing was “abysmal”, with not a single state reporting the turnaround time for diagnostic test results and only two states recording how long it took contact tracers to interview people who tested positive to identify others they may have infected.

      The lack of a federal strategy to fight Covid-19 has been evident in the US from early on. The authors point out that many countries such as Germany, Senegal and South Korea have introduced national Covid-19 dashboards that standardize data and make it easy for health experts to track and combat the virus.

      Reply
      1. Jessica

        In Germany, at least some aspects of Covid-19 policy have been handled by the individual Lands (states). Germany deliberately puts a fair amount of power in the hand of the individual Lands rather than the federal government.
        The problem in the US is that to a fair degree, the fight against the virus has not been organized on any level.
        Anything that cannot be performed by a corporation, we are much less capable of than we were 50 years ago.

        Reply
      2. anon in so cal

        It is all very shocking. Just a disaster. Covid is so out of control in California that now it’s not clear contact tracing could work, at least not in Los Angeles County, the epicenter. We need another lock-down, but Newsom seems reluctant.

        “Too Much Coronavirus Spread For Full Contact Tracing; ‘Dimmer Switch’ Needs To Be Used, CA Health Secretary Says”

        “…”High levels of transmission have made traditional contact tracing impractical and difficult to do,” Ghaly said.

        But he added that the hope is that combining reducing transmission with continuing to scale up the program will make contact tracing more doable on a wider scale — he described it as a point of equilibrium.

        “At the level of transmission that we’re seeing across the state, even a very, very robust contact tracing program in every single county will have a hard time reaching out to every single case,” Ghaly said….”

        https://laist.com/latest/post/20200721/coronavirus-california-updates-covid-19-ghaly-mark

        Reply
  6. Billy

    “If your deepest held beliefs can be comfortably absorbed into Starbucks’ PR strategy, it may be time to go on a vision quest.”

    If your intellectual bedrock is
    “As So and So has pointed out…”
    or
    “According to the great So and So…”

    Your ideas are borrowed and suspect.

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        That must be gauling to contemplate. Unless it’s declaimed in an Asian Minor Key. Experts are divided….

        Reply
            1. ambrit

              Yep. We might be kidding ourselves that we are ‘living in’ a real world staging of “Julius Caesar,” but it’s really “Titus Andronicus.”

              Reply
    1. clarky90

      I just ask myself, “Where do our Hollywood celebrities stand on this issue or on the admissibility of this person?” This way I get a holistic consensus opinion. (sarc)

      Reply
  7. Krystyn Podgajski

    “Understanding how the subparts of the brain immune system (say, neurons T-cells) work will never allow us to understand how the brain immune system works.”

    True, one cannot look at T Cells alone to understand the immune system, but the T Cells are a part of the Immune System. If you kill all the trees, where is the forest? If you kill all the T Cells, where is the immune system?

    So when looking at a forest you cannot help not to see a tree or two. And maybe some water and some animals, etc.

    So I hope you can see how water (zinc) is a huge part of the health of a forest (Immunity) even though water (Zinc) does not make a forest (an Immune System).

    Reply
    1. Nameful

      “Understanding how the subparts of the brain (say, neurons) work will never allow us to understand how the brain works.”

      It’s worse than that. Sorry Lambert, but a more accurate analogy here is

      Finishing the first mile will never allow us to finish a thousand mile journey.

      which should make more evident the absurdity of that statement. A necessary step is not the same as a sufficient step. Sadly, Taleb has been lately more about rhetoric and less about actual knowledge. I suppose age and fame have some drawbacks after all, and soundbites are easier than actual thinking. Then again, if we’re exchanging quotes, there is this:

      If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong. — Arthur C. Clarke

      OTOH, apologies again Lambert, but your immune system analogy is … flawed. The brain is a rather tightly coupled system (and this is the part where Taleb is correct, understanding tightly coupled systems is effing hard) whereas the immune system is significantly less tightly coupled. Understanding the immune system is significantly easier, even if not easy.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Sorry Lambert, but a more accurate analogy here is

        > Finishing the first mile will never allow us to finish a thousand mile journey.

        You’re saying the brain and the immune system are linear. That makes no sense.

        Reply
    2. Otto

      Krystyn- Sorry but I just disagree. As with anyone that writes a paper, or advocates a point of view, a generally fair question to ask is, do you receive and or is there compensation or renumeration from any advocacy of zinc of any other supplements, nutritional supplements, fda approved drugs or therapies, by you to others? And are you so licensed in manner if required to do do? These are straight up ethics questions asked of anyone.

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        Ha, no, no conflicts of interest. Unless you count my interest in humanity, I am just a sick person and anarchist who learned biology and became somewhat better despite the Doctors.

        But this is the point I stop and leave. Everyone is too far from the Dao.

        Goodbye everyone.

        Reply
        1. Judith

          Hi Krystyn,

          I have been glad that you found a bit of a home on NC. I’ve appreciated the spiritual grounding that both you and Henry Moon Pie bring to your posts. So much so that I am now reading two different translations of the Tao: Ursula Le Guin’s and the Feng/English. And taking a bit of zinc. I hope you return.

          Best regards.

          Reply
        2. richard

          heh
          as i approach it, it recedes
          so not my fault?
          and anyway I take zinc regularly because of you, so there is that

          Reply
        3. Foy

          Thanks Krystan, I’ve enjoyed your comments on COVID, zinc and Dao etc. Hope you have success in managing your situation. Can understand your feelings regarding everyone being to far from the Dao. “Those who know don’t say and those who say don’t know”, remembering that line keeps me in line (but man it can be hard to keep to sometimes!)

          I mentioned this the other day but not sure if you saw it, you may be interested in the recent writings of Bernardo Kastrup on Consciousness and the Mind, he has interesting perspective and theory, it’s right up your alley.

          Go well and hope you drop in occasionally you are one of the people that make the NC commentariat a great place!

          Reply
        4. HotFlash

          My dear Krystyn, I, for another, am devastated. I hope your leave-taking is temporary and (please) of short duration. I am not the only one who values your knowledge and your generosity in sharing it. PS, I’m taking Zn now, too, on your advice, as are my DH and my resident BFF, who is particularly vulnerable b/c of her age and existing COPD. You are more valued here than you know. Namaste.

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth

            Krystyn, I am so sorry to hear that you’re leaving. I’ve always learned from your expansive knowledge and interesting comments about your life. The NC commentariat is fortunate to have you here, and I indeed hope you reconsider and come back. Your posts and links are always something I’ve looked forward to reading. Please be well and reconsider returning. Thanks to you I’ve become aware of how important zinc is to one’s health among other things – thank you so much. Peace

            Reply
        5. Krystyn Podgajski

          Gah. OK, You peeps are funny, and kind. Making me laugh can keep me around. That person making me out to be some salesman, worst insult to me.

          This is a Bamboo Grove of sorts. And a shot of Vodka helps.

          Foy, I saw your comment and that dude is on it. Well, close. :)

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I came this close to offing myself by ingesting a roll of 50x 97.5% zinc Lincoln Cents in drowning sorrows and/or saving myself potentially, if that was your last hurrah, but alas no.

            Reply
          2. Dan

            Some “masters” have posited that it’s impossible to deviate from tao, simply by virtue of the fact that tao encompasses everything. But I’m not here for that, rather simply to say thank you…for being you.

            Zarbees Elderberry syrup with zinc and vitamin C for me. Makes me feel like a kid again, especially given it’s added dose of sweetener and flavor. I’m looking for something different but have experienced information overload in attempting to find a brand, as pretty much happens with every endeavor I undertake these days (the information overload I mean).

            What do you use?

            Reply
          3. ObjectiveFunction

            Yes, prithee do remain in our Thelemic Abbey, Brother Herbalist!

            The monk then requested Gargantua to institute his religious order contrary to all others.

            First, then, said Gargantua, you must not build a wall about your convent, for all other abbeys are strongly walled and mured about. See, said the monk, and not without cause (seeing wall and mur signify but one and the same thing); where there is mur before and mur behind, there is store of murmur, envy, and mutual conspiracy….

            And because in all other monasteries and nunneries all is compassed, limited, and regulated by hours, it was decreed that in this new structure there should be neither clock nor dial, but that according to the opportunities and incident occasions all their hours should be disposed of; for, said Gargantua, the greatest loss of time that I know is to count the hours. What good comes of it? Nor can there be any greater dotage in the world than for one to guide and direct his courses by the sound of a bell, and not by his own judgment and discretion….

            Here enter not vile bigots, hypocrites,
            Externally devoted apes, base snites,
            Puffed-up, wry-necked beasts, worse than the Huns,
            Or Ostrogoths, forerunners of baboons:
            Cursed snakes, dissembled varlets, seeming sancts,
            Slipshod caffards, beggars pretending wants,
            Fat chuffcats, smell-feast knockers, doltish gulls,
            Out-strouting cluster-fists, contentious bulls,
            Fomenters of divisions and debates,
            Elsewhere, not here, make sale of your deceits.

            Your filthy trumperies
            Stuffed with pernicious lies
            (Not worth a bubble),
            Would do but trouble
            Our earthly paradise,
            Your filthy trumperies.

            Here enter not attorneys, barristers,
            Nor bridle-champing law-practitioners:
            [well worth reading on!]

            Reply
          4. drumlin woodchuckles

            All the people here are separate individuals and none of us can control what any one of us might say or do.

            So any one “that person” is only that one single “that person” and his/her giving of insult can not really be supposed to emanate from anyone else except that particular “that person”.

            No one “that person” need be taken by any other person as a reason for anyone to leave this blog.

            Reply
        6. ahimsa

          Thank you for you contributions to nakedcapitalism :)

          I have enjoyed and appreciated your takes especially on covid (to the extent that when an new interesting link is listed, I find myself wondering what is Krystyn’s take!)

          Reply
  8. Judith

    The plant is Buttonbush, which I see in one of the wetlands where I go birding, amongst the cattails and purple loosestrife and milkweed.

    Reply
      1. Judith

        I think you’re safe:

        “Ball-shaped, creamy white flowers. Butterflies and insects find the nectar irresistible. The nutlike seeds are eaten by many waterfowl and many types of birds use it as a nesting site.”

        Reply
  9. Arizona Slim

    The Coronavirus testing fiasco story reminded me of something I just saw on my bike ride around the neighborhood. Here’s what I saw:

    There’s a testing center near the Arizona Slim Ranch. And, once again, I hardly saw anyone there. It’s as if the place has cooties or something.

    This center is located at a defunct Walgreens and it’s only using the parking lot. Been there since, oh, sometime in June.

    I have no idea who’s running it, and neither do any of my neighbors. Let’s say that we’d rather stay away than go over there and find out.

    I don’t know why it is being so studiously avoided by the people of Tucson. And I don’t know who to ask.

    Reply
        1. ambrit

          Hmmm…. You are obviously not situated in Deploristan, even though it sounds as if your region is dryer than the Ulan Bator Bazaar.
          As for information gathering about the mystery institution, it might be worthwhile to make a campaign donation, aka ‘bribe,’ to a homeless person to go in and ask for a test. A directional microphone set up to listen in would add a layer of security to the veracity of your later information dump.
          Arizona’s ‘wiretapping’ law is a “one party consent” style statute. All you would need is the homeless persons consent to record the conversation for it to be legal.

          Reply
  10. TomDority

    Re; Free testing and billing
    I find it strange that someone would think testing is free if their insurance is billed and not themselves directly- as in – how do ya suppose insurance pays for it if not for your premiums and federal kick ins from your tax dollars which also goes to their profit margins and all the other little places that you don’t see on their bottom line
    Its like the Affordable care act – Just because you are paying less out of pocket does not mean that you are not paying for it – Which makes the question in my mind – why not healthcare for all without the insurance overhead?

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Good catch. We just got a balance bill for a doctors visit back in December of last year, supposedly covered by Medicare.

      Reply
      1. BoulderMike

        Ambrit, on Medicare, do you know if Medicare is now like ACA insurance? I just got on Medicare, but my medigap hadn’t kicked in yet. I went to get a minor lab test done thru my Primary Care Physician. They billed Medicare $285 and Medicare approved $285. Is this normal, for Medicare to not negotiate? Or, does the provider know in advance what the Medicare approved amount is? Either way, $285 for a short office visit and a minor lab test seems high. I thought Medicare would be better. Oh, and I hadn’t paid a penny towards my deductible, but Medicare paid the provider $11.

        Reply
        1. John Zelnicker

          @BoulderMike
          July 21, 2020 at 6:15 pm
          ——-

          The doctor already knows the Medicare reimbursement rate and for most items they are not allowed to collect any additional payment from the patient. If they try to, they can be kicked off the Medicare system entirely.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Mr. Zelnicker;
            I find it a bit confusing, but our quarterly Medicare statement shows, first, what amount the provider charged, then the amount that Medicare ‘approves’ for a procedure, then the amount Medicare actually pays, (always lower than the ‘approved’ amount,) and last, a column marked “Maximum you may be billed.”
            I wonder if an individual can claim a mental health ‘injury’ from having to navigate this Byzantine maze of regulations.(I know it definitely should be a business write off for you in your line of work.)
            My use of the term ‘Balance Billing’ might have been a mistake.
            Stay safe!

            Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      We need language to make this clear. All the premiums paid to insurance companies are a PrivaTax, which is just as much a Tax as if it were a GoverTax.

      Money paid from our income to Medicare is a GoverTax. It is paid by us to Government to be used to pay for our Medicare care . . . . if we are on Medicare.

      If we had CanadaCare, we would all be paying GoverTaxes to government to pay for our treatment under CanadaCare coverage. And we wouldn’t have to pay any more PrivaTaxes ( premiums) to the private insurance companies because these would no longer exist.

      Reply
  11. Pat

    I don’t think the question is really what Kasich had to agree to, but what the Biden campaign had to promise him. Having him speak is just part and parcel of the same game plan we saw with Clinton – moderate Republicans will FLOCK, flock I tell you, to the Democratic ticket because TRUMP!

    And no I don’t count toothless task force declarations and glowing press releases with little or no urgency as being lefty liberal, so allies and actions and past positions speak louder than words and Biden is the same conservative corporate war mongering toady he has ever been. Kasich will love working with his people to means test, and eliminate workers rights and….

    Reply
  12. Jessica

    Today’s plantidote is beautiful, but doesn’t counter-balance news grimness very well. Something about it reminds me of something….

    Reply
  13. NotTimothyGeithner

    One or two million? That’s not very much. What on earth are New Zealand and Malta thinking? Do the rich want to be safe, or not?

    Politicians are often cheap whores. If I was selling to the wealthy space on the moon, I would want them to think they were getting a great deal before I confiscate the wealth. At a billion dollars, they might show up to see how their bunker is doing and might recognize their bunker is the Hobbit hole set from Lord of the Rings.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      EnZed might not have the Coronavirus, but it also has zero tourists arriving, which represented 20% of their ‘export market’ in foreign exchange earnings. It’s an interesting take on allowing in barely millionaires, maybe the hope is they aren’t as damaged individuals as the illionaire bunker class?

      Reply
    2. JWP

      A basic test of empathy and compassion to vet those doomsday preppers might cause them to change their mind on those US illionaires. Wouldn’t want a repeat of Zuckerberg in Kaui.

      Reply
    3. Tom Doak

      Many countries around the world have similar programs for wealthy people who want to move there.

      When the debate about immigration was raging here in the U.S. a few years ago, I was surprised to be approached by a friend in China, wondering if I knew of any failing businesses in my field that Chinese investors could buy. Even if the business failed, they would get a green card for one of their kids to emigrate to the States. IIRC the price back then to get into America was a $2m investment, but I am sure President Trump has raised it so that we would be the highest priced sell out anywhere.

      Reply
    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      If you do promise the moon, then all you really need is an ‘airlock’ to the gantry platform and a convincing set around it.

      Reply
    5. ChrisPacific

      Neoliberalism may not have the grasp in New Zealand that it does in the US, for example, but it’s still influential. There’s a fairly strong belief among a lot of people that if you show up with more money than an average person could earn in a lifetime, and agree to spread it around a little, then you’re adding enough ‘value’ to be a positive addition to the country. As Tom points out, we are far from unique in this regard.

      We do require people to commit to actually living here, a condition I suspect the government will be less likely to waive after the Peter Thiel fiasco (turns out that if what you plan to do with your vast wealth is buy up the best land, develop it exclusively for your own use, and then not live there, you aren’t such a desirable candidate for citizenship after all).

      Reply
  14. ambrit

    In reference to “Creepy” Joe Biden’s ‘shot across the bows’ of the wily Persians and Russkies anet election tampering; I wonder if he realizes how bad this will backfire once all those AIPAC honchos start their prison sentences for gross meddling in, you guessed it, American elections.
    (I can dream, can’t I?)

    Reply
      1. Elizabeth

        I believe HRC mentioned that the Russians are coming for our election again – she was on MSNDC (I couldn’t listen to her – just closed captions) – the Dems are already setting things up again when Creepy Joe loses – you’d think by now they’d get a new script. I thought the Dems were the creative class!

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          The mere fact of her lately being front and centre of the talking heads makes me worry about the safety of poor old “Creepy” Joe.

          Reply
  15. dcblogger

    Biden’s biggest problem is that part of his base will be literally dead by November. Look at a breakdown of who is dying of coronavirus, mostly Latinos and blacks. Add the 28 million who are about to homeless and will be too traumatized to vote and you see how this threatens Biden more than Trump. Judging by appearances the Democratic establishment is oblivious to this.

    Really the whole situation is revolution bait. citizens will see the election as irrelevant to their concerns.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      I agree fully. I give the ‘election’ of “Creepy” Joe Biden, if it happens, till summer of 2021 for the manifest inadequacy of his Administration to shine through. Then the irrelevancy will become manifest.
      Trump could still pull this election out of the Jaws of Defeat. Just enact some Left of the DNC programs to visibly help ‘ordinary’ people, and the calculus changes. In a weird way, the Democrat Party is lucky that Bannon is out in the Wilderness now. He would have seen this opportunity and convinced Trump to “Do Something.”
      I’m beginning to wonder, if the Dreaded Pathogen really is like the “common cold” in it’s mechanisms of infectivity and spread, how many “waves” of coronavirus we can expect, and how far apart they will be spaced. Worst case scenario would be a continual rolling barrage of regional outbreaks.

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Unless you believe ( as I truly and sincerely really truly do) that the DemParty has de-nominated Sanders and presumpto-nominated Biden to deliberately and on purpose throw the election to Trump to make Trump win again, for whatever sinister little reason the Democrats have for doing that.

      If that is the real DemParty goal here ( throwing the election), then the processes you describe are part of what the DemParty is counting on.

      Reply
  16. Alex Cox

    I dialed up a google search and Craig Murray is still there.
    Perhaps they unpersoned him for a few hours just to mess with him.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Just tried the same in Oz a few minutes ago and he was at the top of the list. Maybe Google is practicing a technological version of the German “Nacht und Nebel” routine. A resister would go out one night and disappear into the fog. When the election rocks around, people will just disappear off Google searches who have controversial stances-

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

      Reply
      1. rfdawn

        Craig Murray has been on trial for (alleged!) contempt of court in the UK. This relates to info on his blog that was (allegedly!) subject to a UK court suppression order. Google might have a scanty legal pretext for wanting to omit his blog in their UK search results.

        Reply
        1. rfdawn

          Correction: charged, possibly not on trial yet. I’m having trouble finding info on this case. It might just be me or maybe we have Ptolemaic epicycles of secrecy in cyberspace.

          Reply
      2. Foy

        I noticed a similar thing with the Moon of Alabama and Sic Semper Tyrannis blogs yesterday. When I googled searched for them using going on my Android tablet neither displayed in my repeated search attempts at all – I tried a range of terms, thought I was going mad, but when I searched on my computer they both came up in the first few. Went back to my tablet and they still didn’t appear. I’ve got little doubt that Google is toying with stuff…

        Reply
  17. Wukchumni

    Three Rivers Brewing

    Three Rivers, California

    Nearby parks:Sequoia & Kings Canyon

    Ten minutes from the entrance to Sequoia and a scant hour from neighboring Kings Canyon, this funky little mountain-town brewery manages the feat of seeming like a pretty great rustic campsite unto itself. Warm your belly with the strong Gravy Baby stout or freshen the old palate with some honey wheat, then kick it on the deck as the sounds of the river — often paired with live music — and the sun peaking over the mountains almost makes you forget that you were en route to a stunning national park (or two) to begin with.

    https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/best-breweries-near-us-national-parks

    Reply
  18. hunkerdown

    Michigan is open and still exponentiating. The local Mexican restaurant that bravely stayed open with curbside service and foolhardily opened for table service is now closed for a while. I didn’t see the MRI studio’s usual smiling-mask banner “We are Open, Protecting Our Patients” on my way for alternate lunch, either. And the Secretary of State’s new online game, “Check for Same-Day Appointments”, is a most exciting real-time first-person scheduler I recommend to every gamer with an expired driver’s license. Wheeeeee!

    Reply
    1. Phacops

      I am having second thoughts about working as election chair in August’s primary. The word has come down from the governor and secretary of state that we cannot prevent an unmasked person from voting. If the unmasked show up I have given notice that I will not work the general. But there is nothing that states I must hand them the ballot/secrecy sleeve. I’ll probably set it on the floor, step away and give them the instructions.

      Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Amfortas the hippie
      July 21, 2020 at 5:05 pm

      About 10 minutes after she arrived, the officers left. The woman left soon after without any additional fanfare.
      =============================================
      Kinda like Basic Instinct except much, MUCH more….or less, or …
      I’m kinda surprised that authorities left after ten minutes.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        whomever she is, she’s got stones.
        walked right up to them…walked around the guy(apprently) trying to shield her.
        she said something to the thugs, and pointed at them.
        haven’t seen anything about what she said to them.
        what a strange time.

        Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        ““Under the media gaze, our naked breasts take them [the police] hostage and make them instruments of our political action and not the other way around.

        https://www.euronews.com/2019/01/22/meet-the-woman-who-brought-bare-breasted-mariannes-to-france-s-gilets-jaunes-protests

        pretty effective, apparently.

        and, to add, the picture in some of the coverage of her from behind, sitting with her legs spread, is the pose of the Sheela na Gig of Irish myth
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheela_na_gig

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and further,lol:
          “In some nations of Africa, a woman stripping naked and displaying herself is still considered a curse and a means to ward off evil.[9] As women give life, they can take it away. In some parts of Nigeria, among other places, women invoked the curse only under the most extreme circumstances, and men who are exposed are considered dead. No one will cook for them, marry them, enter into any kind of contract with them or buy anything from them. The curse extends to foreign men as well, who will go impotent or suffer some great harm.[10]”
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anasyrma#Apotropaic_effect_of_nakedness

          so maybe she cursed them.
          pretty powerful stuff.

          Reply
  19. Iowan X

    @DC Blogger–You need an address to vote, correct? We’ll we’re disenfranchising/evicting X many millions in the next few months, so throw that into the election fvckery stuff as well.

    Re the coming Lincoln Project Re-alignment: I thought in 2016 both parties were ruined, and we’ll see. There’s a left/young/Bernie/nonvoter group with no home–which is on purpose, as short term expediency. There’s the D’s+R’s getting married, now that they finally got the Pre-nup worked out–which might win one term, maybe a 2-year majority. Then there is what I can only call Trump voters; which I honestly think is a new faction on the American scene. To be honest, the real question going forward will be whether the D’s and R’s elected this time are Trumpists, D’+R’ists, and what the dirtball left will do? I honestly don’t know, but I think what the left/young/Berni/nonvoter group does this time and next time matters quite a lot.

    Reply
    1. rowlf

      As a labor union member from 1983 to 2004 I want to see the Democratic party banished from the land. Then destroy the Republican party.

      In my darker moments I’d like to see the tax policies that existed during the Eisenhower administration brought back, but, maybe we have to do things in phases.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps with a simple name which encourages people to ask answerable questions.

        Like . . . the New Deal Revival Party.
        or . . . . . the New Deal Restoration Party.
        or something like that.

        Reply
    2. HotFlash

      You need an address to vote, correct?

      Absolutely right, and you know, I never thought of that before.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Can it be a Post Office Box?

        Can it be . . Whomever
        ( in care of)
        Someone known to Whomever who has an actual address

        Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    The idea that the confirmed Covid-19 chart looks a bit like the Loch Ness Monster shouldn’t be disconcerting, no?

    Reply
  21. pricklyone

    Googled Craig Murray. First link craigmurray.org.uk straight to his blog…
    I always wonder, when these things occur, if they are from cellphones, or while signed in to some social sites, or whatnot.
    I seem to get fairly straightforward results, but I am always in private mode, and have browser set to delete history on exit.
    Not practical for everyone, I know.

    Reply
  22. PlutoniumKun

    Re: 787. If true, that really is a sign that Boeing is going rapidly down the toilet. The 787 is the one aircraft that could save it – its the type of direct point to point long range aircraft that airlines are looking at to cut out hub and spoke journeys.

    The article says that most of the cancellations have been from China. Pre-Covid, several discount Chinese airlines (and Cathay Pacific of HK) trialed direct flights from Dublin to China and Hong Kong. They were not successful, they were withdrawn or reduced in 2019. I suspect that they were under political pressure to increase direct flights to European capitals, but just couldn’t make them pay. So it may have been that worries over the viability of 787’s predates Covid – possibly only the cheaper A320NEO and the 737MAX made sense for that type of route. Its also possible of course that airlines are disenchanted with Boeing and are falling back on Airbus’s as the safe alternative.

    Given that leasing companies have a lot of planes on their hands it probably makes no sense at all for airlines to keep up ordering new aircraft, they can fall back on short term leases if demand does surge back (which of course seems increasingly unlikely).

    Reply
    1. rowlf

      I don’t think Edward Deming would be very happy with those “taped up aircraft”

      As in aircraft in storage? Taping up doors and windows is a common procedure when you put an aircraft in storage. Airlines will do this when trying to stage heavy maintenance visits and park an airplane until space is available. Boeing, Bombardier and Airbus have also done this when aircraft are delayed in delivery, like when the powerplants are not available or financing hasn’t worked out. I think Lockheed has the record for time in storage with an Iranian C-130 order.

      As a humorous note, as told by the former Braniff workers I got to work with in the 1980s, when the original Braniff parked its fleet in the desert they sealed up their aircraft but didn’t dump all of the lavatories on some of the aircraft. The lavatories were individual tanks above cabin floor (modern practice is vacuum toilets) and the fluid evaporated and condensed on the cabin surfaces.

      Reply
    2. JWP

      Boeing already was beat to the punch when Airbus bought Bombardier’s c series to make the a220. Smaller bodied plane capable of making the trans-atlantic crossing quicker and more efficient than the 737. The gap between the MDs and 737 was bridged by the 220 and Boeing has no answer. Especially since the a350 is doing well compared to the 787. Might be looking at consolidation of the commercial industry at Boeing and shifting focus to the military part.

      Reply
  23. edmondo

    New Mexico & Arizona: Neighboring states; similar demographics — Different approaches to COVID

    Ummm, the population density of NM is 17 people per square mile. AZ is 67 people per square mile with a metropolis of 4.4 million people drinking out of the dwindling Colorado River.

    The two states are about as similar as North Carolina and North Dakota. They both have “North” in them, anyway.

    A good rule of thumb is to never believe anything printed in the Washington Post.

    Reply
    1. DF

      People in NM do compare the state to AZ. The demographics do differ somewhat — NM is less non-Hispanic White, more Latino, and more Native than AZ. Also, NM is poorer — lower median household income and higher poverty rate.

      Reply
    2. Late Introvert

      I met a girl once who told me that there was no way North Carolina was in the south. It has North right in the name she insisted.

      Reply
  24. Amfortas the hippie

    FT: 2 giant labs say they can’t ramp up testing for flu season.

    https://www.ft.com/content/4c9b4ae0-0559-4fe2-8806-53c6a8e3ab3a

    it’s been an article of faith of certain people, that the private sector can do it better, period…being all nimble and agile like a cat, and all.

    anyone have a rundown on a comparison in go-to, sop treatments of covid vs flu?
    thinking about our doctor(wife had a facetime visit with him this am), and what it will be like for him if testing actually gets worse.(i asked him about it, and he rolled his eyes…said “put it this way…it could be better”. always diplomatic,lol)
    except for losing one’s taste and smell, it seems like the two pathogens present in a similar way initially.
    from our experience, if we appeared to have the flu…even without the rapid test…they gave us tamiflu.
    and I remember reading some months ago about prednisone turning out to be contraindicated for covid…and that’s another thing they reach for reflexively with other respiratory illness.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      it’s the “reagents”, again.
      https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-comments-about-reagents-needed-for-covid-19-swab-pcr-testing/ (from may).
      shortages of these chems…due to production being all in china?
      because some economist though that was an elegant solution?
      or just in time supply lines?…they’re apparently hard to produce…and in my short meander, i saw nothing about shelf-life.
      still.
      were none of these healthtech ceos boy scouts?
      “be prepared” is just about the only thing i took away from my brief experiment in scouting.

      Reply
  25. JCC

    Some good stuff at the Water Cooler today. Thanks.

    I just heard about Michael Brooks today. Sad. Krystal Ball did a nice piece on him today at The Rising and The Majority Report is a little bit of a tear jerker. Too young, too soon.

    Boeing and Edward Deming – as someone who went through countless TQ seminars both in the US Military and a major machine tool mfg company here in the US (one that actually still exists!) it’s pretty clear that Boeing followed the negative TQ version, focusing on costs, per the very accurate Japanese synopsis – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming#Deming_philosophy_synopsis

    And the reference to Craig Murray’s problems led me to his latest blog post which I thought was very good. I have to take a yearly seminar as part of work that goes over security requirements and sources. It is always followed by a short quiz. Invariable, every year, one of the questions asks how much Intel is open source based. And the answer is always 90%. I’ve mentioned in the past that it seems that most of what we read is either diametrically opposed opinions, or propaganda, so how much could possibly have any value whatsoever? I have always gotten serious pushback from the instructor… so I no longer bother. Even the class time on security is nothing but propaganda.

    The Peter Daou summary was good, too.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I read one story of how Deming’s work played out in practice in Japan. One time, an American company ordered a consignment of equipment from Japan and the contract specified a 5% failure rate. What that meant was that the company wanted no more than 5% of the components to be faulty as they were used to dealing with such issues when ordering.

      When the consignment arrived and opened, the American team found a letter inside (this was pre-email days). It stated that the Japanese company thanked them for their order but were uncertain why they would specified faulty items. As such, they packed the components (all of high quality) inside but for the company’s convenience, they packed the 5% faulty components separately. No wonder the Japanese were killing the west back then.

      Reply
      1. Phacops

        But, America, or at least one company, took quality manufacturing seriously. Deming learned his craft from Walter A. Shewhart at Western Electric’s Hawthorn works. I still have the Western Electric (now AT&T) handbook of statistical process control. As valuable now as in the 1930s. That, and Box, Hunter, Hunter, Statistical Design of Experiments, was my alpha and omega.

        Reply
    2. Procopius

      … how much could possibly have any value whatsoever?

      Well, for fifty years the basic research tool for hydrogen fusion is a thing called the Tokamak. About forty years ago I read that the Western nations learned how to build them from an article in an openly published magazine in [drum roll] The Soviet Union. Apparently a magazine similar to our Popular Mechanics. That was when I ceased to believe most of the criticisms of the U.S.S.R., like how they were stealing our secrets, that I read in Western publications. Eventually I did decide that a lot of what was published there was propaganda — “There is no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia.” Certainly the same is true now about U.S. publications. Anyway, my point is that there is at least some value to be gotten from open source publications.

      Reply
  26. Tom Stone

    This year i have seen one Biden bumpersticker, one Trump Bumpersticker and two Bernie Bumperstickers.
    This is in Sonoma County.
    No lawn signs at all.
    In 2016 there were hundreds of HRC and Bernie Bumperstickers and not a few for Trump.
    Support for Biden here in deep blue territory is a mile wide and a millimeter deep.

    Reply
  27. Wukchumni

    Devil’s Advocate Dept:

    Lets say the President goes down on account of Ghislaine, who do the GOPhova Witlesses turn to in terms of nominating somebody?

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        We in the Palinstinian Movement would approve of the doyenne divorcee holding the reins, you betcha.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          AIPAC would just try and mow her grass, and then where would we be? Maybe Biden would send a sternly worded letter to someone in Davos.

          Reply
  28. The Rev Kev

    Pete Buttigieg
    This is what a president protecting American democracy sounds like. Thank you, @JoeBiden

    Mayor Pete sure gets around. Just a few days ago he was getting together with Hillary Clinton at a fundraiser. Talk about judging people by the company that they keep.

    Reply
  29. IMOR

    “…Kasich’s price…”
    Ag if Durbin doesn’t want it, OMB if he can get it- but being Kasich, he’ll probably take vice-chair of the social security demolition commission (under Obama or Hilary as chair. You read it here first! :-/

    Reply
  30. Wukchumni

    We blew off an 8 day backpack to our absolute favorite backcountry hot springs, Iva Bell in the eastern Sierra.

    It’s been a game of 10 little indians (is that phrase allowable under the current rules of word engagement?) as we all send e-mails to each other apologizing for not going as the risk on this trip is too great, as each hot spring holds 4 to 6 people within a few feet of one another, and who knows who will be soaking in our midst.

    Here’s a video of last year’s trip by our friend Wunderhussy, who chronicled it on her youtube site with 172k views, not too shabby.

    Ultra-remote Backcountry Hot Springs in the Eastern Sierra

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nb3daEYU6M&t=355s

    Reply
  31. The Rev Kev

    Jesus wept. So I was just listening to the news which said that the State of Victoria had a record 484 new cases overnight, a record amount. This massive influx of cases can all be traced back to the quarantine hotels where dodgy companies were given the contracts to run them instead of the Victorian Police and Australian Defence Forces like was done elsewhere.

    But then a few minutes ago I came across the following article about why it was such a shambles at those hotels. It was all contractors using WhatsApp but then there were subcontractors brought in and people were told to bring their own masks and show up the next day at a particular hotel. It was a real s*** show. It’s going to be a job and a half just to find out who these ‘security’ people were-

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-21/coronavirus-quarantine-hotel-security-guards-recruited-whatsapp/12476574

    Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      Why weren’t the biotech companies hired to make the enzymes and reagents before this? Instead of Quest and Labcorp on the White house lawn,the should have gotten Sigma and Bio-Rad to commit to making the stuff for RT-PCR.

      Reply
  32. JTMcPhee

    That selection Lambert picked out from the article by Bill Fletcher In the Monthly Review on the nuanced understanding of “race” did a very good job of laying out the same operational framework for what the Israel-ites have done and are doing and intend to do to the “Phillistines” they are displacing and rendering non-persons.

    But in all the other sh!t that’s flying about, just in the bits highlighted in this installment of links, who among us has the residual energy of attention to even consider, let alone significantly or effectively care, about this one among the manifold “injustices” (where there are no enforceable remedies, there are no ‘rights’) we, the mostly aware, perceive and hold up for each other to tsk about? And how many of us are now so thoroughly conditioned by the hasbara to have our little internal voices shout out “antisemitism!” At a remark like this?

    Reply
  33. converger

    Regarding L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein: Berman got fired on June 22nd. I don’t believe there’s a one-to-one cause and effect, given the players that Maxwell hired to do the deed. That said, the timing is fascinating. It may not be completely coincidental.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Since the Lolita Express is an aircraft that crossed international borders, this case should be sent to the Hague.
      Epstein and his associates were committing crimes against humanity.

      Reply
      1. albrt

        I’ll start paying attention to the Hague as soon as they issue warrants for George Bush and Barack Obama. Until that happens it’s just third world suppression theatre.

        Reply
  34. jr

    I found some issues with the essay on the religious origins of “Wokeism”, a term I don’t like to use because it actually is an appropriated term. It’s bandied about too freely.

    “Incubated in the critical theory of the far left, it was birthed by an ideology that views reality as socially constructed and defined by power, oppression and group identity. Now, it has metastasised into its own entity. It has been given many names, but I will call it Wokeism.”

    Yes, as in totally changed into something antithetical to what it had been. So far, so good.

    “A rift has formed; on one side, the more traditional left arguing for liberal values”

    No the Centrists argue for liberal values. Leftists argue for Leftist values.

    ” On the other, social justice activists who are concerned primarily with deconstructing systems of oppression”

    If thats their primary concern, they’re not social justice activists. They’re grad students.

    “appealing to reason and liberal values around the free exchange of ideas”

    Reason and liberal values don’t necessarily go hand in hand….oh, wait sorry, I meant their real, in the world values. Not the ones on the statues and coins. And a lot of the liberals I’ve seen in action despise the free exchange of ideas. Unless they aren’t really liberals, an idea I’m open to.

    “Weiss.. a rare political centrist on the New York Times editorial staff”

    Bonkers.

    “Researching this essay I spoke to a number of far-left activists about cancel culture, and was told several times it didn’t exist”

    Wait, is this the “metastasised” “far left”? Cause they aren’t Left, remember, they “metastasised.”

    “If your deepest held beliefs can be comfortably absorbed into Starbucks’ PR strategy, it may be time to go on a vision quest.”

    I like this.

    “I believe Wokeism is driven by the same longing as true religion; a desire to be truly free”

    Or a desire for power. Yeah, that seems more likely.

    “we are all a product of a world in the grip of a crisis of meaning”

    This statement is like getting hit in the eye with a Nerf dart, annoyingly true but soft and foamy anyway, no big deal. I recall reading about Kissinger saying almost the same thing, weird intersectionality there.

    “Most people are not true believers of Wokeist creed”

    Agreed. It’s a much smaller group who hold various kinds of power and seek more at the expense of others.

    “Left unchecked, Wokeism will bring us further into tribal division and the sense of disconnection that drives the meaning crisis…From there, one can stand firm while being unfairly called a racist, transphobe, Nazi or TERF and respond with compassion instead of anger.”

    I agree, we do need some kind of firmer ground, or grounds, to stand on when confronting blue fascism, but screw the compassion.

    “As mediator Diane Musho Hamilton has pointed out in Compassionate Conversations..”

    The fact that the Amazon link for this book also suggested a children’s book, a fantasy bodice ripper, and a book titled “Who is in your Personal Boardroom?” doesn’t inspire…

    “This is why it’s important to understand Wokeism through as many lenses as possible, because somewhere in there is a sameness that we can use to connect to one another. From there, we can have a different type of conversation that challenges, while remaining compassionate. ”

    Hey, this sounds like he’s deconstructing “Wokeism”, deconstructing is a “core belief in Wokeism” so is he a fellow traveler? Is this Post Modernism? Is he turning their tin foil sword back on them?

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      He’s being too clever is what he’s doing. I will agree that modern Democratic Party style “liberalism,” too much of academia, the Wokesters as well as the Republican Party and the supporting ecosystem is a post-modernist campaign to make the meaning of anything unknowable.

      If the Democratic Party can be labeled socialist, or Bernie Sanders a communist, or for that matter, the Republican Party as conservative, which they really ain’t. Certainly not small c conservative. Reactionary, maybe. Deluded, probably.

      Communism, socialism, leftism, centrist, liberal, conservative, free market capitalism, racism, freedom, security, justice, the very meanings of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, have all had their meanings broadened, distorted, and made undefinable.

      If you cannot agree on definitions, how can you say what you say, when what you say has no meaning? It becomes all word jello then. The debate is then won by the loudest, most emotive voices, not by ideas or beliefs, and certainly not reason.

      Reply
  35. Chauncey Gardiner

    Shocking dollar amounts in stock gains of a few “Big Tech” U.S. billionaires cited in the tweet by Warren Gunnels. And to think, Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise six years ago for only $2 billion, roughly two-thirds of the amount of his stock gains on this one single day. Somehow, I suspect this will not end well with 28 million Americans facing eviction.

    Reply

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