Links 7/1/2020

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Yves here. Lotta eldercare time sinks this week. Some get into regulatory issues so you may hear about them once I get things under control.

Russia’s famous corgi cop calls it a career Asia Times (J-LS)

SAN FRANCISCO POLICE INTERRUPTS SEX PARTY INVOLVING MIDGETS, EMUS AND A FOUNTAIN OF SPERM, 71 ARRESTS World Daily News Report. Looks inspired by the late great Weekly World News.

Incredible Amber Fossils Reveal the True Colours of Ancient Insects Gizmodo (Kevin W)

An oarfish in Hong Kong is a bad omen for Japan’s earthquake watchers South China Morning Post (J-LS)

Chuck L: “Where is FDR when you need him?”

A Decade of Sun YouTube. Dan K: “Holy crap — NASA compressed 10 years of solar observations into a one-hour long, buttery smooth time lapse.”

Declining Eyesight Can Be Improved By Looking At Red Light, Pilot Study Says CNN

#Covid-19

Guatemala caps U.S. deportations as coronavirus cases skyrocket Miami Herald

Science/Medicine

Potent antibodies found in people recovered from COVID-19 NIH (David L)

Did protests drive more Covid-19 cases? New research reveals a surprising answer Inverse. See the paper: BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS, SOCIAL DISTANCING, AND COVID-19 NBER (David L)

Explainer: Covid-19 vaccine development – and why India has to be a player in this Scroll (J-LS)

Dexamethasone, favipiravir, plasma therapy — how India’s Covid care has evolved in 5 months The Print (J-LS)

ShieldPod (resilc). I think I want one.

US

Goldman Sachs did the math and a national mask mandate to slow the spread of coronavirus would save this much in U.S. economic growth MarketWatch (resilc)

Dr. Anthony Fauci says U.S. coronavirus outbreak is ‘going to be very disturbing,’ could top 100,000 new cases a day CNBC

Coronavirus: What’s behind alarming new US outbreaks? BBC

US buys up world stock of key Covid-19 drug remdesivir Guardian (Kevin W)

Airlines defend moves to full-capacity flights The Hill

Houston Hospitals Deleted and Changed Charts That Track ICU Capacity Vice (J-LS)

GOP-Trump fractures on masks open up The Hill

China?

Per allan, important tweetstorm:

China draws condemnation for new Hong Kong security law Financial Times

Brexit

What happened to the RUC? London Review of Books (Olivier L)

Interview with ECB Vice President “Faced With This Big Drop in GDP and Inflation, We Had to Act” Der Spiegel

New Cold War

Why The US Empire Works So Hard To Control The International Narrative About Russia Caitlin Johnstone

Mexico’s demolition derby picks up speed Asia Times (Kevin W)

The State of Argentina’s Debt Restructuring… Council of Public Relations (chuck roast)

Legal battle over Venezuela’s looted billions heats up Univisionnews

Syraqistan

Bernie Sanders Signs AOC’s Anti-annexation Letter Threatening to Cut U.S. Military Aid to Israel Haaretz

Imperial Collapse Watch

DoD fields ‘Brown Star Cluster’ flare for when mission goes to shit Duffle Blog

Trump Transition

Trump approves plan to pull 9,500 troops from Germany DW

Thousands Stranded, Families Separated After Trump H-1B Decree Bloomberg

‘Space Force’: What could have been ‘Dr. Strangelove’ is instead ‘McHale’s Navy’ People’s World (Dennis B)

How Anti-Abortion Activists Are Reacting to the Supreme Court’s Latest Abortion Decision Slate

2020

Lauren Boebert beats Rep. Scott Tipton in Republican primary in Colorado Washington Post (furzy)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Governor signs historic bill to remove Confederate symbol from Mississippi flag Guardian (Kevin W)

YouTube TV Jacks Up Pricing To Become Most Expensive Cable TV Alternative USAToday

Someone Mysteriously Sent Almost $1 Billion In Bitcoin Vice

Cornell Says Bringing Students Back to Campus Reduces Virus Risk Bloomberg

Uber’s New Strategy: Buy Unprofitable Companies, ???, Profit Vice

Class Warfare

Artificial intelligence’s great impact on low and middle-skilled jobs Bruegel. Kill me now.

Antidote du jour. Jerri and Lambert normally get the bird pix, but Dave H sent a raft of particularly nice shots and I don’t believe that this one has yet been featured:

A bonus from PJ-H: This is a video (unfortunately only on Facebook), which has gathered many views in Finland: a train machinist saving swan chicks and talking to them about helping them etc.
https://www.facebook.com/jukka.tykkylainen.5/videos/10220756171841669/

The text with the video says: ”I got information from the traffic director that 10km ahead there is possibily a swan on the rails (thanks for the information!) I approached carefully and what did I find! At this spot, passenger trains go a at 170km/h, and in this phase I already called the traffic director to tell that not a single train can pass this spot and traffic has to be stopped until all chicks have been helped to safety.”

And another bonus. When I had two cats, their occasional dustups were big on sound but not on set-breaking.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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156 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    “Goldman Sachs did the math and a national mask mandate to slow the spread of coronavirus would save this much in U.S. economic growth”

    Trump has been very good to Wall Street over the past four years but even Masters of the Universe get sick and die of this virus. Perhaps Sachs and the rest of Wall Street could go to Trump and tell him that if he starts to wear a mask in public and on TV, then they will continue to send him campaign contributions. If not, then he gets nada between now and November. Yeah, I know – dream on McDuff.

    Reply
    1. Robert Hahl

      I think Trump’s big hope (and reckless gamble) was that covid-19 would disappear in summer like flu, so why do anything that costs money?

      Reply
      1. rob

        yeah , those german,russian, and chinese bankers floating those real estate transactions and debts of his. and the kushner’s…..none of THEM, are “globalists”
        ….. or was that a joke?

        Reply
        1. mike

          I must have misspoken. I thought the comment above was referring to the the CEO suite of the Goldman Sachs and other large “master’s of the universe” of the world… not the banker that handles his deals. As far as I can tell, the CEO’s on Wall Street are not supporters of Trump. I would assume his personal bankers are.

          Reply
          1. skippy

            His rolling back even the modest FinReg of Obama and attempting a lower standard that pre GFC levels tells another story.

            Don’t even look at workers rights.

            Reply
    2. Maritimer

      “Goldman Sachs did the math and a national mask mandate to slow the spread of coronavirus would save this much in U.S. economic growth”

      Thank the Stars that in these troubling times where there is so much confusion and pursuit of self interest that we have such a dedicated, esteemed, unblemished and upright institution such as Goldman Sachs. I think of them as sort of a financial bookend to that other great American Institution, Big Pharma, with their unrelenting pursuit of pure and uncontaminated Science in the interest of all the American people.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Well they’re not stars but Saturn and Jupiter are currently moving into a Great Conjunction.

        Jupiter is a generous leader who’s associated with health, wealth, and having a good time, while Saturn favors strict responsibility and setting limits. When they have to collaborate, you can expect power struggles over the best way to “rule.” On the macro level, it’s likely to bring about a cultural moment when things change irrevocably, whether we’re ready or not. Politics shift toward the progressive and away from calcified ideas that have outlived their usefulness. It’s a changing of the guard, so to speak.

        This conjunction is special because it’s in Aquarius, the sign of social change, humanitarian efforts, and justice for all. This Great Conjunction is also happening at 0 degrees, which signifies a completely new beginning. This means that as a society, we get to start from scratch and rethink our approach to freedom, equality, and what it means to care for the common good.

        Reply
  2. Krystyn Podgajski

    >Declining Eyesight Can Be Improved By Looking At Red Light, Pilot Study Says CNN

    I have a family friend whose kids have familial myopia. Knowing there was a genetic component I started looking at their genetics. They all showed genes changes that hinted that they needed more Riboflavin than most people. So I checked to see if Riboflavin had any effect on Myopia. It seems like there is.

    This clinical study ends in 2021:
    Evaluation of Progression of Myopia in Children Treated With Vitamin B2 and Outdoor Sunlight Exposure

    And other studies in animals have show the UV-A light and riboflavin strengthened the whites of the eyes so the eye stayed round instead of flattening and warping the lens causing the myopia.

    Now this on red light.

    So I wonder, how healthy is it to wear sunglasses that block a lot of these wavelengths?

    And is biological nutritional protection more important than this function protection? This goes for sunscreen as well.

    My thought on this is, if sun was unhealthy for human eyes we would have already evolved with tinted corneal lenses.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thats a very good point. As someone who finds it almost impossible to go out in bright sunlight without wearing tinted glasses, I’ve always wondered how people coped in the past.

      Reply
  3. jr

    “Countries with high degrees of labour flexibility, high quality science education and less pervasive product market regulations tend to have higher skill-oriented job structures and are therefore less exposed to labour transformation due to automation.”

    So, forgive some crude political economy musings, could the argument be made that there is a contradiction here? Don’t things like “labor flexibility” and “less pervasive…regulations” lead in time to concentrations of wealth? And then don’t those concentrations of wealth tend to undermine the necessary conditions, i.e. quality, affordable science education, needed to mitigate the turmoil caused by automation? In other words, how does a weak labor force and lax regulation lead to a better informed worker? Reliance on the beneficence of their bosses? Or does this guy think this is necessary or natural?

    Reply
    1. jsn

      I suspect there is a confusion of correlation and causality in the quoted text.

      Countries with high quality science education today are mostly high trust societies that value quality education. Because of that, businesses in them are less inclined to exploit degredation as a means to profit, but over time, unless regulation keeps up with development, they will learn to.

      The quoted text is the kind of circular reasoning used to keep exploitation potential through education in less regulated societies developing so that low cost, high education workforces can be developed, then stripped of wealth and abandoned. Whenever that workforce begins to see this impending political reality and organize, capital rolls off to the next underexploited domain of human resources.

      Reply
    2. Procopius

      I think it’s internally contradictory. “Labour flexibility” means more unemployed proletariat on the edge of starvation. “High quality science education” requires well-fed students who feel their situation is secure. “Less pervasive product market regulations” do mean lousier products, more risk of epidemics or pandemics, and more control fraud. Note Ernst & Young in Germany right now. Back in the ’60s The Big Four were The Big Eight. Even then Generally Accepted Accounting Standards were very squishy; they currently are non-existent.

      Reply
    3. Jesper

      In my opinion the report is a good example of a data-driven report…. Data-driven is supposed to ignore human bias (which it might do) and the cost of that benefit is that it also ignores human knowledge. I quickly went through their working paper, the calcuations and the assumptions were many. Graphs were plentiful.

      But in the end I found their conclusions to be about as useful as 42:
      https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1268064-forty-two-yelled-loonquawl-is-that-all-you-ve-got-to-show

      Reply
    1. CanChemist

      Myself and a lot of the scientists at work have really enjoyed the first season. The takes on science and scientists and how professional interaction sometimes goes with nonscientists are actually funny and occasionally insightful.

      I think the issue is that people were expecting a hard hitting satire and that’s not what the show is. It’s really a workplace comedy with a strong focus on character relationships that also skewers the Trumpverse, the military, science research, and big tech in passing, in a way that doesn’t leave you too upset to go to sleep afterwards. I was surprised how badly it’s being reviewed online.

      Reply
        1. newcatty

          We enjoyed it too. Just my opinion, can’t see it as comparable to “slapstick”. Spouse is a retired researcher and we find it much like CanChemist’take. No obvious satire…Just funny. Just funny and as characters developed the show got to be more well rounded. The skewing of “sacred cows” in America is “smart” comedy.

          Reply
      1. Tomonthebeach

        I guess that I am just too old to watch educated characters being incredibly stupid all of the time. The show should be Gump Force (except Forrest Gump was actually far smarter than the characters in Space force.

        This is probably the stupidest era in a century. 10s of thousands of people are running around daring fate to make them sick. I do not need TV to amplify the fact. Most my age peers also find the show stupid. So it might just be a generational thing.

        Reply
        1. BlakeFelix

          I haven’t seen the show but they would have to be going above and beyond to outdo how dumb the Senate Lunch System and the shuttle program actually are/were.

          Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Not like the Miyajima Island ones, total bastards. One ate my lunch while a cuter one was distracting me with its doe eyes.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Well, no free lunch unless you are smarter than the average doe. Squirrels, Jays, in National parks are fun to watch when unsuspecting tourists leave lunch on the table when they get up to peer in the cooler or to grab another bag of cheetos. They jump up or swoop down and that half eaten sandwich disappeared. The most observed is at our Grand Canyon. Also have actually seen little kids chasing after squirrels and offering bread or a chip. The parents giggled and it’s a photo op! This is with signs around the food vendors that say : Don’t feed the animals. It’s not healthy for them and they may bite. Heh, heh…haven’t seen a righteous bite, yet.

        Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      India has decided that the best way to hit back at China is to not only blow up the Chinese economy, but to blow up their own as well. Chinese goods are stacking up on Indian docks which is leading to disruptions in the supply chain. This may have an effect on countries like the US as India buys a lot of precursor materials for drug production from China. As countries like the US source their drugs from China and India, this may mean that they will be only to source drugs from China-

      https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/india-and-chinas-deadly-himalayan-stand-off-is-starting-to-cause-economic-damage-in-the-asian-powerhouses/ar-BB169CiD

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        And never OMG bring medication production back home to the Homeland — better to have the Department of Homeland Stupidity and the other manipulators convince us, in our best cognitively-dissonant minds, to excoriate the Chinese political economy (the new 2-Minute Hate, the “Chinese Communist Party”) that our rulers have moved the means of production into…

        Stupid effing humans.

        Reply
  4. lyman alpha blob

    RE: YouTube TV Jacks Up Pricing To Become Most Expensive Cable TV Alternative

    Why am I not surprised? I try to avoid as much big tech as I can and I was an extremely reluctant adopter of youtubeTV a coupe years ago, but when your choices are Time Warner (now Spectrum), one of the satellite behemoths owned by someone awful, Sony, or youtube, and you just want to watch a game, it’s really pick your poison, so I went with the least expensive. YoutuveTV and Netflix combined cost me half of what I was paying for cableTV. About a month after I signed up they raised the rate by $5/mo and I called in asking if they were using the same bait and switch cable business model with an initial low rate followed by multiple regular price increases, and threatened to go elsewhere if this was going to be the case. Of course I was told that was not what was happening and the rate increase was just a one time thing. I also don’t remember asking google for moar channels to justify a huge rate increase – all I really wanted was NESN so I could watch the Sox. With no sportsball at all, I haven’t even turned on youtubeTV in weeks.

    This is another ‘be careful what you wish for’ moment – the streaming services which were supposed to be a huge improvement over cable have turned out to be just as bad. The only redeeming quality is they are still a bit cheaper, but for how much longer? Why can’t we pay for just the channels we actually want at a set rate?!?!? Not a rhetorical question – is there an actual law that prohibits this business model for some reason, because otherwise I don’t understand why no one has done it yet.

    Reply
    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      By sheer coincidence I was looking ta getting YoutubeTV yesterday. Perfect timing. I was hoping for a lazier way to get my media since I am not well pending some lab tests I have to get. I was shocked at the new pice and I ended up going with Spectrum’s TV App, which is only $45 a month and I get to see the peeps on Morning Joe talk about Trump for two hours. (Honestly I love MeTV and Comet since they bring me back to my childhood.)

      When I am on the road in my van, and sans pandemic and the 90 degree 70% humidity here, I did not have this need.

      I also had high hopes fro free over the air digital but the squashed that like they killed the first electric cars.

      Reply
        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          Thanks, I am holding in. Just has the blood tests today so I can go back on my rather strict diet.

          And @hamstak, thanks for the PlutoTV tip! Although I love having the Weather Channel again. Love it as background watching.

          Reply
      1. hamstak

        Comet is available on PlutoTV (streaming), which is free. I have noticed a discrepancy in the schedule between Comet on PlutoTV and on YouTubeTV, though.

        Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “This new price reflects the rising cost of content and we also believe it reflects the complete value of YouTube TV, from our breadth of content to the features that are changing how we watch live TV,” YouTube said.

      So, I could be wrong here, but since you are getting so much more “value” with the addition of mtv and nickelodeon, the price hasn’t gone up as much as you think it has, in a hedonically adjusted sorta way. In fact, I think if you asked the people who figure out “inflation,” they’d tell you you’re actually paying less. Considering the “value” and all.

      I hope that makes you feel better. It’s only money after all.

      Reply
    3. MLTPB

      When I was growing up, we paid for a small TV, and we were nightly preoccupied, if not entertained.

      No monthly charges.

      Inflation on that front = whatever you pay now divided by zero, or infinity.

      Reply
  5. Carla

    I haven’t seen this Guardian series on the American water crisis linked on NC yet. If I just missed it, please forgive me.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/23/millions-of-americans-cant-afford-water-bills-rise

    “Jarome Montgomery, 48, a truck driver from Warrensville Heights in Cleveland, has borrowed from his partner, mother, grandmother and sisters to repay more than $30,000 to the water department since 2013, and avoid his home being auctioned off at a tax sale. Despite this, he still owes more than $5,000 in water and sewer charges including penalties and interest.

    “I’ve done two payment plans, but I’m still in foreclosure, it’s like they’re trying to make me homeless,” said Montgomery. “There is no way I’m using the amount of water they’re charging me for but I’m in a no-win situation, I don’t want to lose my home so I have to keep finding the money.””

    Reply
    1. newcatty

      Carla, thanks for pointing this to our attention. If there ever was an example of the fracturing of the common good and the rapacious policies of governments from the federal to the local levels it is that “millions of Americans can’t afford water bills. ” In this Ohio story it’s obvious fraud and corruption. All over the country if it’s not like Flint then it’s like poor, colored towns in Alabama where a town has no sewage system. Heard a woman testify during the digital presentation of the Poor Peoples’Campaign that when she turned on her kitchen faucet, fecal manner flowed out of her bathtub faucet. Waterways across the country are, or have been, polluted, degraded in infrastructure, poisoned with arsenic, lead, etc. Waterways are dumped with runoff from egregious release of animal waste or runoff fertilizer and herbicides. Just read that a local river is being ruined in some areas actually designated as wilderness by illegal cattle grazing on the river’s edges. One cattlewoman actually trying to protect the river. She is for fencing and other remedies. I am interested in the subject of water resources. Have a background in working with conservation in professional milieu.

      Reply
  6. John A

    Declining Eyesight Can Be Improved By Looking At Red Light, Pilot Study Says

    Back in the day, teenagers were often warned that masturbation would make them blind. Maybe going to seedier red light parts of a city could be good advice to cure them of such addition and associated affliction?

    Reply
    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      I have a feeling sunglasses are causing more harm that good. They are testing riboflavin and sunlight to cure Myopia. Now this.

      Reply
  7. Mikel

    RE: Uber’s Strategy, Buying Unprofitable Companies

    Makes a nice circle jerk of insider investors. What’s a few billions among friends?

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      I’d really like some names in these articles. Who exactly are these investors with so much money to flush down the toilet? I would have thought you’d have to be actually, you know, profitable, before banks or investors would give you billions more to play around with.

      I honestly really don’t understand how as a society we’ve allowed enterprises like this to happen. In a sane society, this kind of ‘business’ would be criminal. That these companies even exist just epitomizes the rot that is everywhere you look. Our entire economy is just grifting.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        That sane society that you were talking about? In that society, companies run at a profit or they go out of business. Smarter people then go in to salvage what they can from these bankrupted companies and put together more efficient companies. Debts that cannot be paid are written off. The people that ran those old companies into a ditch are actually on the hook for a lot of the debt that can be recovered. There is a name for such a system. It is called ‘Capitalism.’ Not to be confused with what we have nowadays.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Do I recall that “profit” only comes from GROWTH, and that GROWTH is one of those geometrically progressing things that are killing the planet? Seems to me a “sane society” would be one that incentivizes homeostatic political-economic acit ites. Though of course who is going to decide what activities are homeostatic, you may ask? But of course “somebody” is already deciding and forcing the rest of us to go along with commitments of resources (human and other) to activities that are killing us, other species and the habitability of the planet.

          But wait! Elon Musk and other private-public magnates will soon be whisking us off to loot the Moon, Mars, asteroid belt, moons of Jupiter and beyond, so “What, me worry?” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_E._Neuman

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            That’s OldThink comrade, haven’t you heard that money is now free? So if your investment hurdle rate is zero or below then just get yourself close to The Great Money Spigot and then Ride Captain Ride Upon Your Mystery Ship:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8lf7RLYIww

            We Can Laugh Our Lives Away And Be Free Once More

            Reply
          2. BlakeFelix

            Eh? I don’t think so, people can profit without growing. It makes sense to grow a profitable company, but it’s not a natural law. And if you stop the economy growing you had better stop the population growing too… And I would rather that they looted or trashed the moon and Mars than the earth, not that they can’t do both, unfortunately.

            Reply
      2. PlutonimKun

        Japan’s Softbank is I believe one of the biggest sources of cash for Uber (WeWork too). They got lucky with a few early VC investments and seem determined to blow it all away. Japanese banks seem to be taking the role of the German banks pre-2007, the stupid buyers of last resort.

        But there are plenty of other bit investment bodies out there who are either, depending on who you talk to, willing to bet big on unicorns for a potential big payout when they go public, or who don’t understand sunk cost fallacy.

        Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      At this point the word “investing” has been stretched so far beyond its limits, it really needs to be retired and replaced with the word “gambling.”

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        And given he way “investments” in Legitimizers (the legislators, courts and executive agencies) pay off, https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2019/05/14/how-the-fortune-100-turned-2-billion-in-lobbying-spend-into-400-billion-of-taxpayer-cash/#69e2fd2654ff, and what happens as those Legitimizers turn and direct the faux ‘legitimacy” of their rule at the top of the faux electoral system here, maybe “looting” is a far better word. Since it appears “risk” has been vanished by the wave of the Fed’s wand and the other artifices of PE and Wall Street and supranational corporations…

        Reply
  8. CanChemist

    Fast COVID-19 vaccine timelines are unrealistic and put the integrity of scientists at risk
    https://theconversation.com/fast-covid-19-vaccine-timelines-are-unrealistic-and-put-the-integrity-of-scientists-at-risk-139824

    “We contend that a safe and effective vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is the causative agent of coronavirus disease COVID-19, most likely cannot be made available to the public in time to make a substantial difference to the natural outcome of this pandemic. People often cling to hope even when prospects of success are low. However, this can have negative consequences if that hope is not realized.

    We are academic scientists who manage vaccine research programs. In fact, Dr. Bridle received COVID-19-focused funding to develop a novel vaccine platform. Although many of us are working hard towards developing vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, we worry that some in the scientific community have offered too much hope for this to be accomplished in a timely fashion. Sometimes these promises are used by politicians and governments to inform public policies. As a result, the integrity of the scientific community is now in the limelight and, arguably, at risk.”

    Reply
    1. Brian (another one they call)

      The quote is one of the most rational explanations of hope/hype that science has to deal with when non science people ask for a solution. Of course such an answer is ridiculed by the non sci folk acting as politicians or hustlers because they know the only way to get filthy rich is to promise that whis is not possible to deliver, and get paid in advance.
      I was aware that america was attempting to dumb off its rubes when I started looking for colleges. The media became assinine and lying about any uncomfortable truth became the norm.
      We are a failed state waiting for a new buyer.

      Reply
    2. SKM

      Thanks very much for the article from “The conversation” re vaccines at warp speed. The best explanation I`ve yet seen…… a must read for all!

      Reply
    3. Winston Smith

      This is a good interview with Dr Paul Offit, a Dr who is co-inventor of the rotavirus. It highlights the particular challenges pertaining to vaccine development for SARS-CoV-2. it very much helps that he is being interviewed by an MD specializing in vulgarisation of health issues.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbTNPsbAThk

      Reply
    4. marieann

      I have been doing some digging to try and figure out why we don’t have a vaccine since we already had an outbreak of SARS a few years ago. The last study I could find was around 2014 and was not successful, it sounded to me that the vaccine caused other health issues that could be deadly.
      So I am not planning on a vaccine to save us this time. I really hope I am proven wrong.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        You’re not wrong, probably. Coronaviruses are very, very difficult to make vaccines for. By very difficult, I mean *there is no coronavirus that has had a vaccine in humans*. The common cold is a coronavirus, and there has been no vaccine for that. None for SARS, none for MERS, why does anyone think Covid-19 will magically be different?

        Reply
  9. Carolinian

    That Asia Times piece on Mexico–by a Georgetown economics professor–appears to be part of a propaganda campaign against AMLO at least if this site is to be believed.

    thegrayzone.com/2020/06/25/frena-gilberto-lozano-mexico-coup-amlo/

    Grayzone says that there’s an active regime change oppo going on down south led by the same sort of rightwing religious oppostion that took over Bolivia. Meanwhile the AT article charge that all this is because of AMLO’s handling of Covid looks to be a stretch in that Mexico has had 28k deaths on a population roughly one third the size of the US–in other words a lower death rate than here. And certainly there are no cries for regime change in the USA (oh wait).

    In any case the Asia Times article doesn’t seem to be objective or newsy.

    Reply
    1. Alex Cox

      It was quite the article, wasn’t it? And the piece about Venezuela is similarly demented.

      The Grayzone has done some very good reporting about internal plots to overthrow AMLO. For that reason his upcoming dog-and-pony show with Trump is very important. The Americans ultimately decide who gets elected in Mexico and for many years the CIA helped steal the vote to stop him, and his predecessor, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, from reaching the presidency. AMLO needs to make nice with the US president if he is to survive.

      Reply
  10. TroyIA

    Did protests drive more Covid-19 cases? New research reveals a surprising answer

    Circumstantial evidence for the lab leak hypothesis. If covid-19 was developed in a lab then it might have evolutionary changes that deselect for outdoor transmission and instead is optimized for indoor conditions. If covid-19 is from bats or pangolins then it should be adapted for outdoor transmission.

    Instead the hotspots in the U.S. are in the south and southwest were it has warmed up causing people to seek air conditioning. Curious.

    Reply
    1. jsn

      If it is from bats it evolved for a cave environment that is cool and humid where bats sleep in high density.

      Reply
    2. MrQuotidian

      I’m not sure this makes much sense.. a virus doesn’t have to be exceptionally transmissible to survive and propagate, it just needs to live long enough to reproduce and infect a new host. And there’s a lot of variation in what we mean by “outdoors.” Does that include animal burrows or caves? Animal cages? Maybe it managed to scrape by in those settings, but once it jumped to people it happened to be exceptionally transmissible?

      Plenty of viruses from the natural world developed in “outdoor” environments and happen to be far more contagious indoors. No need to posit other elaborate explanations.

      Reply
    3. JP

      There are two lab leak stories. The realistic one is that a natural (bat) virus that was being researched infected a researcher and escaped. The other popular contrail type conspiracy narrative is the Wuhan bio-weapon was released to hasten the apocalypse or whatever your favorite personification of evil might be. Other then that, the virus was probably optimized for fecal transmission and in any case it ain’t that simple.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        Theres actually more than two, or at least, there are multiple variants of the two. As to a variant on the second one, there is a major scientific laboratory in Wuhan, confirmed to work with gain-of-function testing on viruses (I also want to note that gain-of-function testing is not illegal, its considered normal-ish biomedical research from what I understand), and some theorize Covid may have leaked by accident due to lax standards. Of course, this sort of thing is a Devils Proof that can be neither proven nor disproven, but at the same time I’m not sure its wise to completely rule it out as conspiracy theory.

        I do agree that none of the theories that state it was released purposefully make any sense. Why the hell would China release a virus *on itself*? There’s no Cui Bono there. Easier to assume incompetence here than malfeasance.

        Reply
        1. BlakeFelix

          To my understanding COVID doesn’t seem to have been tampered with. I’m not an expert, but experts that have looked at its genome say it looks natural, and gene editing is pretty hard to do without leaving any fingerprints, so they say. It could have escaped a lab, but if it did I would expect it to show some signs of manipulation.

          Reply
          1. drexciya

            The thing that makes the lab source a thing, is that this virus is very good at binding to human cells (ACE2 receptor). If it’s a virus which has just recently jumped to humans, it would typically be not as effective. Given the fact that it also pops up in certain other animals, which are used in gain-of-function research, makes it even more suspicious.

            Given the history of the Chinese bio-hazard labs, my impression is that it was incompetence.

            Reply
  11. PlutoniumKun

    What happened to the RUC? London Review of Books

    Useful article (although the Irish-American communities relationship to slavery is more complex than he sets out – the War Nerd has written good stuff on this). The complete revamp of the RUC into the PSNI – and before that, the transformation of the old Royal Irish Constabulary into the Irish police shows that it is possible to take a police force that is in effect an occupation army into a legitimate policing body without defunding or abolishing it. But it is certainly hard (the PSNI still holds on to a lot of its secrets, and even old RIC records are still sealed up in London 100 years after they were taken over). However, it invariably means a lot of early retirements for the old guard and turning a blind eye to many previous crimes. Its not easy.

    Reply
  12. Dalepues

    My world is shrinking. Everywhere I go to read I’m being asked for money. I understand that papers need money to survive and grow, but I’m already past my limit with the sixty dollars a month for an internet connection. Add another forty or so dollars a month for the few subscriptions I absolutely must have, and to afford them I have to give up other needs, like fresh fruit, beer, Voortman’s oatmeal cookies….other necessities too. I wish someone would start a subscription service for the internet reader, like cable tv sort of, which allows you to choose ten or twelve or more publications for a set rate each month. Maybe I could swing that cost. I cannot read the WAPO, the WSJ, the FT, the Miami Herald, the LRB, and many others. I don’t know what to do…..

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      You might want to check out some library subscription services – for example, the American Library in Paris has a fixed monthly subscription which allows access to a wide range of publications including the NYT, NYRB, New Yorker, The Economist, etc.

      Reply
    2. lovevt

      Dalepues use your public library. I read WAPO, WSJ, NYT and some magazines free with my library card number. Not that I’m a fan of reading MSM since we have NC>

      Reply
        1. Massinissa

          There are methods getting around at least some of them by googling for them. Others I find difficult to read as well.

          Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        And it’s a two-fer, if TP is in short supply locally then WAPO and NYT are highly suitable substitutes, though a bit crinkly. Maybe they can get a new jingle: Please Don’t Squeeze The WAPO When You Wipe-O

        Reply
    3. Glen

      Alas, the decline of the print edition which was so easily removed from the paper reclamation bin on the ferry on my way to work!

      Reply
    4. lyman alpha blob

      What you can do is download the firefox browser if you don’t already have it, and then download an addon that will allow you to ignore paywalls.

      Someone here recommended one a while back and I have used it without any incident that I’m able to detect at least. I’m not on the computer that has the addon right now so I can’t tell you which one it is exactly, but it might be the one described here: https://www.jucktion.com/bypass-paywalled-websites

      It doesn’t bypass every paywall, but it will bypass the paywall for many of the news sites you listed above.

      Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “Private donors are buying body armor, tech, and weapons for the police without public oversight. Check out our recent reports:”

    One thing about all this money is that it buys them a seat at the table. Sometimes literally so. It came out during the Occupy Wall Street protests back in 2011 that at the fusion center for the police, feds and all the other civil authorities in New York, that there were desks flagged with the big financial firm’s names there such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, etc. Now that is access that.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      It also came out at the Occupy Wall Street protests that it wasn’t going to take much “convincing” to get the cops to start swinging their batons and cracking the heads of their fellow citizens.

      Reply
    2. Anthony G Stegman

      That is because the individual Federal Reserve Banks have their own law enforcement arms which allow them to access the fusion centers. Since the Federal Reserve banks are owned by the private banks those same private banks gain access to the fusion centers as well.

      Reply
    1. skippy

      It almost seems that its not intended to make a profit in the classical sense, outside equity gaming, albeit one ponders if a social outcome as a driver is not out of the question – disruption thingy.

      P.S. never understood the application of morals in law to citizens, but not corporations considering citizens united.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        We all kind of tend to forget, in the reality of corporate dominance (especially the supranational corporations like MSFT and AMZN and WMRT, etc., that corporations are creations of law. Not so very long ago, corporations had to regularly prove their “public benefit” in order not to have their franchise existence terminated. https://reclaimdemocracy.org/corporate-accountability-history-corporations-us/ No reason (other than that corps now own the lawmakers) why that could not be the situation again.

        Reply
  14. Fredrick

    Artificial intelligence’s great impact on low and middle-skilled jobs

    As we slide into the Depression home plate, businesses are going to be desperate for customers and income. My friends and I have agreed to get militant to promote Human Intelligence, Personal Interactions and most importantly, to keep people working.

    The Customer Is King is coming back.

    We absolutely refuse to respond to, nor patronize any business that uses robocalls.
    If a live human calls us, or we call them, they better be in the U.S, and willing to talk about things like the business at hand, economics and the good fight.

    “Save a stamp-Go green-log into our website” F! that, I want bills in my post office box–or they don’t get paid, checks, sent and accepted. (Got a notice from our insurance company, to “go green,” they want to send us instead of a refund check, some kind of recycled paper credit card that we have to insert into a reader for credit–fees and percentages deducted from what we get.)

    Employees of businesses we spend money in better look like the people they serve, which means Americans, and a mixture of ages, some older–not inexpensive puerile peons.

    Ask yourself “How is my spending this money going to benefit our local community.”
    Choose carefully, there are going to be far fewer options, if and when the lockdowns end. Your choices can chart the commercial destiny of your community for a long time.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Not to mention the ‘data mining’ aspect of all electronic transactions.
      I have begun to refuse to shop at any ‘brick and mortar’ retail establishment that does not accept cash. That does not mean I do not use cards. Institutional Hypocrisy is an integral part of public life now. I try to make non basic purchases all cash now.
      Muddy the waters. Splash! Splash!

      Reply
  15. DJG

    remdesivir: Buying up all of the stocks.

    There are several commenters who know more than I do. But some observations:
    –I believe that remdesivir is mainly used for serious cases. So it is the equivalent, in a way, of designer chemo therapy.
    –Not the drug of choice for general or preventive use. So this is a propaganda maneuver.
    –I suspect that if remdesivir is truly that valuable, other countries will break patent law to allow manufacture. This has already happened with drugs that control HIV. I believe that Brazil’s health service instigated going around the patents. This was a benefit of President Lula’s administration, if I recall correctly.
    –This episode is the neoliberal parable of the day. Money is power. Money is all. When money doesn’t work, engage in bad faith.
    –So what separates Gilead from Martin Shkreli? Please remind me.
    –If the U S of A truly thinks that this tactic will work, it is just one more symptom of the delusions of our ruling class as it presides over the decline of the U.S. empire.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      My thinking was: keep it all, you are going to need it

      US policy: allow disease spread and then let a few get rich selling something that may or may not help.
      Wiser policy: avoid spread as much as you can until a vaccine is ready.

      Reply
    2. Bernalkid

      I don’t get the free market aspect of this government move. Shouldn’t the Republican loons be swearing up and down that this is communism? Shouldn’t the Democratic loons be writing stern letters describing how a means tested tax credit would enable smart targeting of the therapy? My neoliberal knickers are getting in a twist.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        Communism is when a government goes around the management (the upper-middle class) to deal with “the help” directly. For some reason, the ruling class would rather destroy life on earth than cope with the sad reality that they are, in fact, less than useless and that humanity is better off without them.

        Reply
    3. Mel

      I was waiting to see some report here that Remdesivir really works. Did it slip by me? Last I recall, a couple of weeks ago, was a tiny trial that reported a possibility of benefit.

      Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    What a difference half as century makes. Through the New Deal government investment in people, we have a wealth of work by a Carl Reiner to enjoy. By the late 1970s we have neoliberal governments stripping out public education because who needs an educated workforce? It is not like an educated workforce is key to a late 20th century/21st century economy now is it? And since the wealthy can affords education for their kids, that is all you really need, right?

    Here I wish to give Carl Reiner thanks for the enjoyment of watching the Dick Van Dyke Show as a kid. For his grown-up son the Meathead, not so many thanks.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      No fan of the son’s political views, but his one great Rock and Roll Creation has brought joy the the hearts of headbangers for decades, and we probably would never had had Spinal Tap if Carl wasn’t in the entertainment business.

      I really wonder what would happen if they tried to air All in the Family for the first time today. My guess is the IdPol harpies would completely miss the point and have it aborted before it ever made the airwaves.

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        Starring a great friend of this incredible blog.

        The owner of Shank Hall in Milwaukee named the nightspot after Shank Hall (in Milwaukee) in This is Spinal Tap. It’s been named that for so long now that probably no one knows it except us geezers.

        Reply
  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Airlines defend moves to full-capacity flights The Hill

    “You can’t social distance on an airplane. We believe there are safety measures in place on a multilevel basis that makes flying safe, in fact safer than many other activities,” A4A CEO Nicholas E. Calio told reporters on a press call following Redfield’s statement.

    Once again–“social distancing” is either necessary in getting this situation under control or it’s not. Continuing to make significant political or business exceptions while demanding compliance from other less influential parties exposes this entire effort as a tremendously cynical, politically motivated, half-assed scam.

    No one has the right to expect the population to take this crisis and the resulting deprivations seriously, when those in control continue to so blatantly and unapologetically undermine their own “recommendations.”

    If I didn’t “know better,” I’d be inclined to regard this whole sorry situation as an unfathomably diabolical attempt to roil this country into an epic frenzy of desperation and distrust in order to influence an election that can’t be “won” any other way.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      The latter definitely. The “whatever it takes” approach to getting rid of Trump makes MSM pronouncements on this or any other topic suspect.

      But at the same time people are genuinely flummoxed about the pandemic and what to do about it.So paranoia should be kept in check when it comes to steps like masking that don’t demand any great sacrifice.

      I went to two grocery stores this morning and everyone had on masks. This argument now decided?

      On the other hand I hear that gyms in Arizona are refusing to go back into shutdown–going to court over it.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Admittedly it varies, but as for gyms, people are seeing their livelihoods go belly up. I can understand them. For whatever else they might think, there is a reasonable chance their whole world is collapsing. Even with a quick recovery, they are dealing with the reality of people buying gym equipment. As was noted up above, Trump if he cared probably expected Summer to help (a big “if”), but bailouts aren’t even being discussed. Pelosi passed an “Obamacare expansion” largely to cover herself for the now over a decade promise of “fixing Obamacare later.” Rep. Neal tweeted about his plan to introduce legislation to expand tax credits. With the deaths of over 200k people on the horizon, the doofus comes up with tax credits. In the end, there isn’t even discussion among the DC class on how to move forward. I can’t blame little people.

        One of the Team Blue State state senators, once a rising star he lost years ago, in Virginia is suing the Team Blue Governor on behalf of clients who lost business from the shut down. The state senator is completely insane.

        Reply
        1. Oh

          Tax credits can only be taken against taxes (from income). This is the politician’s way to steer money to richer people under the guise of helping the population.

          Reply
    2. John k

      If the two candidates on offer remain the choices, it’s not possible to win, we can only lose. But it might matter how we lose…
      I think the best chance for a progressive to win in 2024 is for trump to win in 2020.

      Reply
  18. AllTogetherNowPeople

    “Did protests drive more Covid-19 cases? New research reveals a surprising answer”

    The reporting on this has been wildly misleading with every story claiming the protests did not lead to a “spike.”

    There WERE more COVID cases as a result of the protests – and the actions of police penning people together in confined spaces.

    The fact that additional cases were offset by greater distancing by others doesn’t negate this.

    I am 100% supportive of the protesters – even more because they risked sickness and death – but this is not a good thing for the pendemic response as the news would lead us to think.

    Reply
    1. marym

      In addition to today’s link, I’ve been reading media reports for several weeks, with public health officials generally indicating they’re not seeing a spike among protesters, or seeing rates comparable to those in the general population. This includes examples testing of self-identified protesters, not just people in the mix of others being tested.

      The argument that a protest-related spike would be statistically off-set by people avoiding the protests is confusing. People are also avoiding other crowded gathering places, which have turned out to be spreader events. I also don’t agree that cases caused by penning or jailing are attributable to protests, if we’re trying to establish the relative risks of different types of activities and gatherings.

      Protesters in NY Minneapolis DC Chicago SF LA and (if I’m reading correctly) National Guard in 18 states 06/19/2020
      https://news.yahoo.com/no-sign-coronavirus-spike-protests-officials-remain-cautious-205434027.html

      Minneapolis 06/22/2020
      https://abcnews.go.com/US/minnesota-sees-rise-covid-19-cases-tied-protests/story?id=71393938
      “As of late last week, 4,487 tests conducted across four testing sites specifically for protesters resulted in 62 positive cases of COVID-19, for a positivity rate of 1.4%, the department said.”

      Minneapolis NYC Seattle DC 06/24/2020
      https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/covid-spike-protest-testing-spread

      NYC 06/24/2020
      https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2020/06/24/new-york-city-reports-no-protest-related-upticks-in-covid-19-1294370
      “New York City has reported fewer than 350 new cases per day in the last week, compared to 6,377 new cases at its peak on April 6, according to data from the city health department.”

      NYC 07/01/2020
      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/01/nyregion/nyc-coronavirus-protests.html
      ““We’ve been looking very closely at the number of positive cases every day to see if there is an uptick in the context of the protests,” Ted Long, executive director of the city’s contact tracing program, said. “We have not seen that.””

      Chicago 06/30/2020 case numbers and positivity decreasing
      https://twitter.com/chicagosmayor/status/1277970349183733772

      Massachusetts 07/01/2020
      https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2020/07/01/massachusetts-reopening-no-coronavirus-spike
      “But despite the protests, the resumption of dining in restaurants, and the slow resurrection of shopping and other activities, fears of a fresh spike in coronavirus cases so far haven’t materialized. Now, in the state’s seventh week of reopening, new cases of COVID-19 continue to drop, and the rate of positive tests hovers around 2%.”

      Reply
      1. integer

        Well, the protests certainly didn’t result in less infections. The spectrum of possibilities spans from neutral (i.e. the protests having zero effect on case numbers), to the protests having significantly increased the transmission of the virus. It’s essentially the opposite end of the spectrum to social distancing and mask wearing, which can only result in a reduction of the number of cases. BLM is undoubtedly a just cause, however in its current form I’ll be surprised if anything positive comes out of it, and the fact that the liberal media establishment has been giving the protests such favorable coverage should give one pause.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You apparently didn’t read the study. That’s a requirement before commenting.

          The analysis gives a simple reason: the protests led even more people to stay home and not mingle.

          Plus from what I could tell, in addition to protests being outdoors, which has low contagion risk, many protestors wore masks and in some marches, spread out on top of that.

          The big contagion vector was cops putting protestors on busses for hours and in crowded jails. But that was small relative to the number of participants.

          Reply
  19. DorothyT

    About Russia’s police dog:

    In one photo the retiring corgi is accompanied by his partner Ziger, described as a Belgian Shepherd. Ziger is apparently a Malinois, one of the four variations of Belgian Shepherds with different coats. The Malinois coat is smooth, while the Belgian Tervuren’s is long. Same coloring, same very smart dogs. There is also the Laekenois with a wiry coat, and the Groendael with a long, black coat (also called a Belgian Sheepdog).

    I adopted a Belgian Tervuren years ago who had been abandoned in Los Angeles. She was scrawny and I believed her to be a ‘mutt.’ After feeding her well, she gained weight and her coat grew out luxuriously. Then she became, obviously, a gorgeous Tervuren. A brilliant and loving girl named Tulip. But the name is another story.

    Reply
      1. Clive

        A fire which is nevertheless unlikely to cart you off to a labour camp after a “trial” at a kangaroo court on a whim.

        I hear a lot of big talk from not a few virtue-signalling countries about standing up to tyranny, but see precious little by way of concrete action when there are risks or potential negative consequences (like upsetting China).

        Reply
        1. skippy

          One curious aspect is the laws against outside funding [wink] for protests in HK, hence any movement has to be organic grassroots.

          Reply
    1. anon

      After 17 years in Iraq and Afghanistan (wars which Joe Biden supported), haven’t we learned that getting aggressive with other nations based on incompletely vetted and possibly inaccurate intelligence is bad?

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Since not one of the major decision makers involved have had any personal negative repercussions from those decisions, then as far as they are concerned, its not a bad idea at all.

        Reply
        1. Late Introvert

          Russian Bounties, LOL. Even if true a pittance vs. the many thousands of dead/damaged soldiers and families at the bloody hands of US Generals who lose every war and get a raise for it.

          Reply
      1. John k

        That link led me to a story in weapons re COVID autopsies. Strange disease… maybe many low on o2 from beginning.

        Reply
    1. Massinissa

      I don’t want these kind of things to happen. I don’t, I absolutely don’t, absolutely not. But until the rich realize this isn’t only a thing that effects old and working class people, the government (federal AND local) will do *nothing*, or next to nothing. Until the wealthy are afraid of being infected nothing will be done to protect all of us as a whole.

      Reply
  20. NotTimothyGeithner

    Its really more of a problem if you are being brazen about the sharing or passing work off as your own. Dentists left magazines out in the open after all. If you are sending emails out to a few friends, its fine, but the email list you “borrowed” isn’t actually a list of friends.

    Reply
  21. deplorado

    I think this Brexit story is worthy of a comedy series. Warning: very likely fake. But genuinely funny!

    “Just had conversation with a British couple who have a holiday home near us. They voted for Brexit and have made no arrangements whatsoever for what happens on Jan 1. They have now discovered the reality of their situation.

    The blame apparently is with “Brussels”.”

    https://twitter.com/archer_rs/status/1277505330885386240

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Maybe exaggerated, but probably not fake – I’ve genuinely met Brits who live in various sunny parts of Europe who genuinely don’t see that they are living in a different country. There are lots of anecdotes of retirees in the Med who voted for Brexit, mostly because of their dislike of immigrants. Plenty have been panicking over their status (I met quite a few last year in a queue in the Irish embassy in Lisbon, urgent asking if their Irish passports were ready yet – the German lady who worked at the counter insisted on serving me first, laughing as she said I was the only ‘real’ Irish person she had seen that day.

      I should note by the way that its not just Brits with that attitude, I’ve met plenty of northern Europeans who happily live in southern countries while openly expressing their contempt for the locals in one way or another. The British are not the worst.

      But yes, a no deal could have all sorts of repercussions for those who haven’t made alternative arrangements. I suspect there will be a lot of fudging the rules to help them out, but a lot have never become ‘official’ residents in Spain/Portugal etc., for tax reasons – I’ve little sympathy for them.

      Reply
  22. hemeantwell

    Caitlin Johnstone referred a “Gish Gallop.” It definitely should be in the NC inventory.

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

    The Gish gallop is a technique used during debating that focuses on overwhelming an opponent with as many arguments as possible, without regard for accuracy or strength of the arguments. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott and named after the creationist Duane Gish, who used the technique frequently against proponents of evolution

    Reply
    1. Mel

      It was central to the Dubya administration’s tactics against “reality-based” opponents. The administration could make up shit faster than opponents could check up on it.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        Keeping the proles embedded in noise and useless bickering is actually key to neoliberal epistemology. Mirowski:

        That brings us back to the modern frenzy over fake news. They could not have anticipated it back in the 1960s, but the marketization of the Internet turned out to be the culmination of Stigler’s vision of an ecology of mass attention. Basically, the political project is not to directly convince anyone of the superiority of the market for society in any didactic sense; it is rather to use the market as an amplifier to recyclethe vulgarity, twaddle, gibberish and overall noise back into the public that generates it in the first place, in a cybernetic feedback loop,to such an extent that they have no clue what is actually going on in their own world. As the neoliberal journalist Jeffrey Lord was quoted in 2016: “I honestly don’t think this fact-checking business —as we’re all into this —is anything more than, you know, one more sort of out-of-touch, elitist, media-type thing. I don’t think people out here in America care. What they care about are what the candidates say.”

        IMO the correct response is always, “stfu neoliberal”, and to always treat them as if they’re narcissistic children with no concept of society (as they proudly are) who’ve already been told once.

        Reply
        1. flora

          One of the guiding philosophies of neoliberism, imo, is that people are not rational, are not capable of deliberative argument and decision making, lack agency, and are in fact dumb. By neoliberal philosophy there’s no need to give people true facts and expect them to make a rational decision. No need to give them true facts at all. Fact-checking is so pro-Enlightenment philosophy.

          Neoliberal philosophy is anti-Enlightment. It’s also anti-democratic.

          Reply
      1. Massinissa

        Nah, its his secondary technique: His primary technique is ‘ORANGE MAN BAD!’. He starts the Gallop when that fails.

        Reply
  23. JWP

    Re: Cornell classes in person

    It’s easy to spot a seemingly clever idea that reads like an economics textbook when you see one. Cornell and inevitably most universities will be relying on rebellious lemming minded college students to follow CDC guidelines and somehow not interact with the community as a whole. If their modeling produces the results they say, they assume 100% compliance from college students. Wishful thinking at best. The transmission they use as evidence to return to campus will merely be transplanted into college towns who have little authority over what the college does. For example, in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest has almost certainly bought off the police force considering I have witnessed multiple fires, robberies, and parties well beyond the realm of the law committed by students, with zero response from the PD. Good luck controlling the college admin and students to contain a virus.

    My school sent out their plan for the fall which did not require a test before returning, will keep the gym and other large enclosed spaces open, has no testing plan on campus, relies on a self initiated symptom reporting app, and does nothing to limit interaction or partying off campus. Needless to say I will be staying home and doing my classes online. Higher ed is really screwed in how they can respond but given their ultimate motives are financial, they will endanger millions come fall and winter.

    Reply
  24. MyFunnyIdeas

    Apropos of the general situation in the US of A may I say the following:

    The USA has recently witnessed with the CARE act the largest transfer of wealth to the rich in it’s history and nary a window was broken. Some ne’er-do-well was killed by a thug cop and the nation melts down. I’m sorry but am I missing something? The USA has large corporations supporting or at the least giving lip service to these “protests” which appear to have led to widespread looting, arson etc. as well as the vilification of any type of authority. Hardly anyone seems to wonder why would the media, the corporations & establishment politicians condone or remain silent about this lawless behavior? Could it be because it divides people into tribes and distracts from the consolidation of corporate power while at the same time destroying the corporation’s small business competitors. It appears to be a useful distraction from their ongoing looting of the republic.

    As we used to say in my ofttimes misguided radical youth: “Eat the Rich”. It’s literally staring Americans in the face what has just happened and what do they do? Point fingers at each other because of the color of their skin. Are you serious? The largest bank robbery in history has just been carried out in broad daylight and America’s response is “racism”? If it wasn’t so sad it would be hilarious.

    May I venture to say that Americans are being played by the TPTB as well as reaping the bitter fruit of identity politics. What I see happening from my vantage point in the Netherlands is the logical conclusion of the identity politics game. It’s not as if intelligent and passionate people such as Jonthan Haidt, James Lindsay, Peter Boghossian, Helen Pluckrose, Jordan Peterson, Brett & Eric Weinstein, Jimmy Dore among others have not been speaking about this for years. But no pay no heed to them, to various degrees they are either vilified or ignored.

    When a progressive such as Brett Weinstein is invited onto Fox News by Tucker Carlson it’s quite clear to me that the so-called political divisions in the USA are not only ossified but fake. Brett and Tucker have more in common than they don’t as I suspect is the case with the majority of Americans on both sides of the political divide. Instead of tearing down statues in a fruitless demonstration of their own powerlessness the protestors would do better to focus their rage on the true architects of their current situation: the bankers, the corporate CEOs, the hedge fund managers, the MSM, the feckless politicians etc. I’m sure you have enough lampposts.

    In any case I dearly hope that America comes to it’s senses sooner rather than later because it’s become an export product and you’re infecting the rest of the us with your madness. For instance, as far as I’m aware The Netherlands is one of the most egalitarian countries on the planet and we have people holding BLM demos in provincial towns whose population is 95% white. The Netherlands definitely has it’s problems but racism is not one of them.

    Reply
    1. Berto

      The game works, because too many white people like the status quo. Whites who aren’t the true architects should be natural allies with black people, but their racism precludes them from joining the fight. You can’t solve economic equality without racial equality.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Joining which fight? Try as I might I can’t figure out how to fight to change my skin color or change what my ancestors did and how they thought. I can however think of an entire program of *economic changes* we could implement today that would greatly and materially improve the actual lives of people of every color. So: should we concentrate on improving the lives of 13.4% of the people or should we push to improve the lives of 99% of the people who are systemically looted by 1% of the people? And would the 1% be quite happy that we are dividing ourselves on the 13.4% number rather than uniting ourselves on the 99% number? And maybe *that’s* why that paragon of virtue Jamie Dimon quickly decided to “take a knee”?

        So instead true to form we get Robespierre without the Revolution, alas.

        Reply
      2. Massinissa

        You ever heard of the Black Misleadership Class, as BAR calls them? They like the status quo too, because they benefit financially from it. They don’t really care what happens to the black people who aren’t them. So does that make them better or worse than white people who like the status quo?

        Reply
    2. Aumua

      Also, Tucker Carlson has some serious fascist leanings and let’s not forget that, whatever points he makes that we might otherwise agree with.

      Reply
    3. hunkerdown

      Lumping in Jimmy Dore with a bunch of neoliberal sociopaths like Peterson and Haidt isn’t a credibility enhancing move.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        He is writing from across “the Pond.” Is this an accurate description of how Europeans view American politics? If so; “Lemuria, we have a problem!”

        Reply
  25. Felix_47

    RE: The sob story about Indian H1Bs kind of is hard to understand. The ladies had kids who were US citizens as a result of their HIB jobs. They basically immigrated to the US. In a way they subverted the whole concept of an H1B being temporary. That is fine but in the face of massive unemployment, and masses of US college and graduate school graduates with little in terms of job prospects is it too much to ask to require companies to train American born people, even of Indian descent; to do these tech jobs? If the answer is that it is too expensive then the companies might want to move their operations to India and our government might want to hit them with significant tariffs for services offered in the US. I have had some contact with the UC Berkeley computer engineering department over the years and the notion that the US in not producing enough tech people is preposterous. The US is not producing enough tech jobs that pay enough and provide security to offer American born kids a decent quality of living. And many of my friends who were in the computer industry doing software have been laid off over the years and are sitting around the house unemployed….long term. Do any of the readers have some explanation as to why H1Bs make any sense if we would like some economic justice in this nation? Are, for example, black and white people mentally incapable to learning Python? Are they incapable of providing medical care? Are black and white people too lazy to learn anything? If so I want to know the physiological basis for that and what we are planning to do to remediate that situation. This sort of sob story makes the notion of black lives matter a joke. The notion that US lives matter is becoming a joke. If US students are so bad should industry be encouraged to pay more taxes so school improves and the parents have enough money coming in to raise their children properly? And once we can say that every kid born in the US has a future consistent with their abilities then we can do H1B but now?

    Reply
    1. deplorado

      Yes, you are asking the questions that need to be asked. Those are questions that when answered will reveal ugly raw truths about the US and the countries that are streaming H-1Bs into it.
      I work with 90% Indian H-1Bs and have been for a decade. I’ve commented on this here before. Indians dominate H-1Bs. Reasons I’ve heard first hand for their strong motivation (via scattered anecdotes):
      – anyone with a US work visa immediately improves their marriage prospects immensely, even regardless of pay
      – even if many of the H-1B engineers have servants at home, own land (eg mango plantations), some are heirs to inheritance (one I know is a grandson of a temple owner (!) – i.e. people’s gold custodian, said the grandfather could easily afford a silicon valley house for him but wants the grandson to toil) and have a distinctly privileged life in India they could very rarely achieve here – they still want to come to the US *specifically for their KIDS*. India, they said, is too crowded, too criminal at everyday level, too tiresome. (Another colleague had her father (“my father is in business”), throw a wedding for 3000 people (three thousand) that was streamed so her friends in America could watch it. She works as a lowly junior engineer but recently bought a house with her young husband, also engineer. )
      – they all value getting ahead – by pretty much any means available. Among those are education, culture of taking advantage of anything, using ethnic network (Cisco is known to be a stronghold for Indians from a particular region), sycophancy, etc etc. They are happy to check boxes and overcome hurdles and humiliations and unfair bureaucracies because what they are accusomed to in India is far worse.
      But not all Indian H-1Bs are well off. One close colleague said (late bloomer who got his eng degree in his mid 30ies) he left India because he could never get a loan there to start a business and he tried for a decade. He blames the socialist legacy of India and is willing to do whatever it takes in the US to succeed – like blowing his savings on an MBA. His next goal is to join Google and have Google pay for his 2nd MBA year.
      Such stories abound. Someone definitely should write a book about it.
      All of these people wait 10-15 years even more for a green card – a chance to be on the path to US citizenship. So they are captive works and for that, they are preferred to employers, even if in terms of pay savings and talent gain I think it’s a wash. But the presence of such captive labor coming from an unequal culture heavily skews the US work culture, in not a good way. That now is skewing the US business attitudes and lo and behold, national immigration policy.
      The other side of the coin is that very few US kids are motivated in this way. And US education is trapped in an awful segregationist system where low income kids are never acculturated (unlike Indians of all social levels it seems) to believing in getting ahead by education, conformism, and using human networks, and don’t even formally get the credentials (forget the skills, as Indians very often also lack them severely) they need. That’s why there are a million idle kids in Oakland who will never make a fraction of what an Indian kid from a village who thinks he is a programmer can make.
      So what happens is that after a few years, Indians start to saturate the ranks at all levels, and start pulling in more Indians. So this is as much as an Indian social phenomenon as a US economic one.
      On balance, my conviction is that 99% of H-1Bs are replaceable and are average, even at the biggest companies (of course bright exceptions exist always). But they are so ingrained at this point that it is definitely a disruption to business for many tech companies – but by no means are they vital to the long term prospects of said companies. It’s ultimately a game for controlling labor. I believe Trump is allowing scientists and medical H-1Bs to continue coming. So yeah, the sobbing over H-1Bs, even if definitely painful at the personal level, is a bit contrived.
      Apology if any H-1B and Indian readers may object to these hurried comments – it is not meant to be picking on or defining Indians — but the scope of this issue is in front of me every day so I took the liberty to share some impressions, in support of the honest questions Felix_47 raised.

      Reply
      1. VietnamVet

        The naivety and arrogance of the Western Elite is astonishing. To make a buck, they sold, gave away, western technology and knowledge to China and India. Nations that have been around thousands of years, invaded and rebounded. The cons got conned. The declining western middle class is paying the price.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          So what does happen to all those poor kids in Oakland now? Or those wondering the wastelands of the Rust Belt, and similar places in California or the Northeast? Or the over half a million people each night? Plenty of people who are smart, some of them with actual degrees, not to mention the 40-80 year olds with the knowledge and practical skills to almost anything? Just because the factories were shipped doesn’t mean that the workers are all gone. All those people with all their desires, talents, and skills thrown away because it’s profitable to do so. God, I hate this idea that profit, the almighty dollar along with the capitalism is the source of all the goodness in the world.

          I know that the American and British/European, and certainly the Chinese and Indian elites, expects us to go die because it’s profitable for those amoral sociopaths. They expect, or at least plan, on getting away with their actions.

          But something that I have realized for a while now; what really keeps me awake is what the collective American response is finally going to be? I don’t mean our supposed “leadership“ in the government.

          I am not talking about the state, but of American themselves. The nation. I’m sure that the Musks, Pelosis, McConnells, and Newsoms, along with all the mayors and supervisors expect the forces of law and order, perhaps with an army division or two will easily win.

          After all having the money means that they have the Mandate of Heaven. A little show of force. Then send in the operatives to co-opt into impotent irrelevance any organization or party that arises. Or that’s what they tell themselves. The Tennis Court at Versailles started reasonable…

          Reply
    2. Massinissa

      Among other things: Wouldn’t India be better off if all their most educated citizens stayed home to improve India? Hell, most of the jobs they do here they could probably do from over there, working online.

      Reply
  26. Fireship

    “The Netherlands definitely has it’s problems but racism is not one of them.”

    The Netherlands has a long and sordid history of slavery, colonialism and massacres. Not to mention the 25,000 Dutch who joined the SS. The survivors of the Rawagede massacre are still awaiting compensation and Dutch troops stood by to allow the slaughter of thousands of Bosnian Serbs at Srebrenica take place. Immigrants such as Polish and Turkish workers are still systematically exploited.

    What the Dutch do better than probably anyone else in the World is arrogance, as can be seen in their saying, “God made the World but the Dutch made the Netherlands.” If black people in the Netherlands are saying they have experienced racism then maybe listen to them instead of lecturing them about how amazing the Netherlands is and pretending it is only an American problem.

    Reply
    1. drexciya

      You are the prime example of what’s wrong with the current trend. You just come along and insult people, using a very specific and filtered representation of history, as well as some blatant lies (exploitation of immigrants, really?). Also using some actions by small groups as representative for the Dutch as a whole is bad, and putting a Godwin on top of it (people who “joined the SS”) makes you really obnoxious.

      Bringing up Srebrenica also shows that you don’t have a clue about what really happened there. It’s so easy to use the Dutch soldiers there as a scapegoat. It was politicians putting the soldiers in an untenable place, without proper NATO support. It was a big fail by the UN and NATO, and politicians in general.

      In my opinion, the Dutch did some really bad things in the East, and that is widely acknowledged. In current society, there’s nothing much going on, except for the professionally offended/oppressed people, like you.

      Reply
  27. ewmayer

    Re. World Daily News Report — LOL, make sure to check out the articles in the sidebar, too! E.g.

    Former Joe Biden staffer says ex-boss fondled cat inappropriately in ‘sexually explicit manner’

    Denmark government temporarily legalizes ‘sex with domestic animals’ during confinement

    Reply
  28. ewmayer

    “Potent antibodies found in people recovered from COVID-19 | NIH” — Well, duh! How do you think they recovered? Thinking pure thoughts? If their body didn’t generate an antibody response sufficiently potent to clear the virus, they wouldn’t have recovered! The real questions are, does the antibody response provide lasting protection against their particular viral subtype and ones similar to it, and are said antibodies are of any potential usefulness for the as-yet-uninfected, say in terms of vaccine development?

    The article itself addresses some of that and is pretty good albeit NIH-NIAID-self-promoting, but the headline is completely disproportionate to the “research-is-ongoing” reality described in the piece.

    Gah, I hate false-hope-raising PR-headlines like this, bad enough that the folks running every private company remotely doing anything related to Covid-19 vaccines are emitting such stuff in order to give a lift to the company share price.

    Reply

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