Links 7/13/2020

Wild bison to roam England’s woodlands for the first time in 6,000 years as ‘ecosystem engineers’ Business Insider

First signs of success in bid to reintroduce pine martens to England Guardian

In WTO’s Search for its Next Director-General, a Tale of Proxy Wars and Regional Rivalries The Wire

Redskins to retire team name Monday; new name to be revealed later WaPo

Duda wins Polish presidential election: preliminary result Politico

Morocco’s thirst revolution and the luxury of watermelons Qantara

He Made Stone Speak New York Review of Books

120,000-year-old necklace tells of the origin of string Ars Technica

2020

Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama Counterpunch

It’s Trump’s call on what the GOP convention will look like AP

The Case For Kanye American Conservative.NC usually eschews celebrity tosh, but in these bizarre times, I’m posting this as I never would have expected to see this article under this headline in this source.

#COVID-19

How serious is Hong Kong’s third wave of Covid-19 infections and what can be done to beat it? SCMP

WeWork on track for profits and positive cash flow in 2021, says chairman FT

Big firms are in no rush to return to their headquarters with 30 of the City’s biggest employers only planning to bring back up to 40% of staff to offices in coming months Daily Mail

Coronavirus: South Africa bans alcohol sales again to combat Covid-19 BBC

Military’s COVID-19 cases growing at twice the nationwide rate Military Times

What Do College Students Think of Their Schools’ Reopening Plans? New Yorker

From Houston to Miami, hospitals running short of remdesivir for Covid-19 patients Stat

New York City marks first day with no coronavirus deaths since March NY Post

As US grapples with virus, Florida hits record case increase AP

Houston leaders call for lockdown as county reports more than 27,600 active coronavirus cases CBS

Science/Medicine

Race Against Time Caravan. The deck: India’s place in the global COVID-19 vaccine wars.

Bill Gates, a Billionaire, Says Covid-19 Drugs and Vaccines Should Not Go to ‘Highest Bidder’ Gizmodo

An adult with Kawasaki-like multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 Lancet

Immunity to Covid-19 could be lost in months, UK study suggests Guardian Small study size, but if true, depressing; relying on the vaccine fairy alone is not going to beat this scourge. The underlying study, not yet peer-reviewed: Longitudinal evaluation and decline of antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2 infection medRxiv.

Class Warfare

Fracking Firms Fail, Rewarding Executives and Raising Climate Fears NYT

#StrikeForBlackLives in 25 Cities on July 20th – 16,000 Meatpackers Got COVID – Teachers Strikes Looking More Likely Payday Report

California teachers fight back against pressure to reopen schools Politico

Teachers face off against Trump on school reopenings The Hill

Viral Thread Busts The Myth About Famous Billionaires Starting Out “Poor” Bored Panda

Food Security

India has barely scratched the surface of its rich food heritage Scroll

Health Care

Colorado, Like Other States, Trims Health Programs Amid Health Crisis Kaiser Health News

Waste Watch

Global Electronic Waste Up 21 Percent in Five Years — Little of It Is Recycled TruthOut

Syraqistan

Q&A: UN’s Agnes Callamard on drone strike that killed Soleimani Al Jazeera

India

The struggle to keep India’s Covid-19 patients breathing BBC

Narendra Modi Is Not Creating the India That Returning Indians Will Want to Live in The Wire

India-China Joust

LAC standoff | Xi Jinping’s mobilisation order, months of planning preceded border move standoff The Hindu

China?

Iran-China pact turbocharges the New Silk Roads Vineyard of the Saker. Pepe Escobar.

Boris Johnson set to curb Huawei role in UK’s 5G networks FT

China hits back, sanctioning US officials and Congress members in response to Xinjiang ban SCMP

Puerto Rico

Adding Insult to the ‘Injury of Colonialism,’ Trump Suggested Selling Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria, Former Advisor Says Common Dreams

Australia

After the Bushfires and Amid the Pandemic, Australia’s Fossil Fuel Industry Is Gaining Steam Jacobin

Brexit

‘Let’s get going’: UK tells businesses to prepare for Brexit crunch Reuters

The 2020 Audubon Photography Awards: Winners Audobon. Each year Audobon selects some amazing photographs. I will undoubtedly feature some  as future antidotes. Here,  interested readers, is a peek some of what’s yet to come.

Antidote du Jour (via).

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

182 comments

  1. Mark

    Re: Immunity to Covid-19 could be lost in months, UK study suggests
    It’s important to recognize that antibodies are only one aspect of the incredibly complicated immune system. Antibodies are also the easiest aspect of the immune response to measure so the focus on antibodies is important but also a bit like the old joke about the guy who lost his keys over there but is looking for them over here because this is where the light is. Derek Lowe put together an attempt at a simplified explainer about how complicated the immune response is and why we aren’t hearing much about those other parts of it that are also very important but much harder to measure and understand:

    https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/07/07/more-on-t-cells-antibody-levels-and-our-ignorance

    Reply
    1. voislav

      Even on the antibody level response varies quite a bit. I’ve been working with a group that is looking at antibody profiles from recovered COVID patients and they find that the patient-to-patient response is quite different, there are seeing a lot of variability in antibody composition and their activity towards different coronavirus proteins.

      Out of their initial cohort of 52 patients, only 2 or 3 developed what can be classified as strongly neutralizing antibodies is significant amounts. These are the antibodies that would create long-term immunity as they are able to fight the virus even as their concentration in blood drops. It’s not clear right now why this is the case, that’s why they are looking to do a more detailed antibody profile.

      Reply
      1. Edward

        Does the fact that this is a new disease that humans have not been exposed to before significantly change matters? Does the body have a different kind of response to new diseases versus old diseases? If so, how long does it take a “new disease” to become an “old disease”? Are we in the position of Native Americans facing the chicken pox?

        Reply
        1. Dean

          Yes. The SARS-CoV2 spike protein is a completely new and unique structure. This is the critically new feature as the spike binds to cellular ACE2 receptors allowing it to infect new cells. Antibodies to spike are needed to prevent that and neutralize the virus. Given its new unique structure individuals may not even have cross-reactive antibodies (https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(20)30702-6) induced by other coronaviruses. Seroconversion (production of new anti-spike antibodies) could take 1 – 2 weeks.
          So for antibody production yes this is a new disease.

          On the other hand it may not be a new disease when looking at cellular responses. Both your CD4 (Thleper cell) and CD8 (Killer cells) cells recognize small linear fragments of of the viral proteins. Given that the proteins of all coronavirus have similar function they also have significant sequence homology. Thus T cells could respond to any form of the coronavirus family. What this might mean is if you have been exposed to a coronavirus that causes a cold, you may have anti-SARS CoV2 T cells, both CD4 and CD8. It may not be clear yet what relevance these may have in protection from Covid 19 or severity of infection.
          https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(20)30610-3

          Reply
          1. Aumua

            What this might mean is if you have been exposed to a coronavirus that causes a cold, you may have anti-SARS CoV2 T cells, both CD4 and CD8.

            This is something I have long suspected, since hearing about the first “San Diego group” antibody test results that frankly seemed impossible to me unless something like this were true, or unless COVID-19 had been in circulation much longer than we think.

            Reply
          2. GettingTheBannedBack

            Here is a discussion of the biochemistry of the SARS-COV-2 virus from a Norwegian virologist who has studied its operation and infectivity.
            Quite a bit above my head but one of the conclusions is a whopper. It’s a chimera.
            https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/DBBC0FA6E3763B0067CAAD8F3363E527/S2633289220000083a.pdf/biovacc19_a_candidate_vaccine_for_covid19_sarscov2_developed_from_analysis_of_its_general_method_of_action_for_infectivity.pdf

            Reply
      2. Samuel Conner

        Perhaps the virus, if it cannot be eradicated, will lead to “herd immunity” the “even harder” way, by differential survival and reproduction… of the humans.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Gaia hypothesis, Mother Nature finally stamping Her foot down. She tried the slow way (global sperm counts down 50% in 40 years), now maybe something quicker. With yersinia pestis the Remainers benefitted significantly.

          Reply
      3. Pelham

        Related to this, I’ve heard that one of the vaccines being worked on generates a much stronger immune response than having the disease.

        Reply
    2. Dean

      I agree that the immune response is complicated and focusing only on antibody levels does not give the full picture. The headline that Immunity to covid may be lost is, at best, misleading.

      Antibody titers against many infectious diseases wane after the infection is cleared. This should not be too surprising as the immune responses are antigen driven. Once the virus is cleared the antibody-secreting plasma cells die off within days and are not replaced by new plasma cells. So the antibody levels may slowly lower over time.

      A more important issue than antibody titers should be addressed. Namely: has infection induced a robust repertoire of anti-coronavirus memory B cells and memory T cells? And will these memory cells ramp up antibody and cellular responses rapidly enough to prevent subsequent reinfection?

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > A more important issue than antibody titers should be addressed. Namely: has infection induced a robust repertoire of anti-coronavirus memory B cells and memory T cells? And will these memory cells ramp up antibody and cellular responses rapidly enough to prevent subsequent reinfection?

        Thanks for this clarification

        Reply
  2. Jim Wightman

    Saturday, documents from the new Postmaster General leaked about his coming austerity program for the USPS. Most significantly, his order to eliminate overtime means that the USPS will hold onto mail — a violation of its Congressional mandate. With the November vote coming, this sets the stage for a systems failure with any mail-in voting and political mail. It is a step toward vote suppression.
    See https://www.postaltimes.com/postalnews/meet-the-new-boss-better-than-the-old-boss/.

    I have had two safety reports rejected by my manager, under a new city PM, requires me to unnecessarily ignore social distancing to engage a less efficient way to work. I received an “investigative interview” — a threat for work action — the day after I submitted two safety concerns — one which involved the new city PM who showed up and refused to wear a mask while on my work floor and at the central desk. His first act was to violate the contract by engaging in craft work.

    Who would have thought that the USPS would become a site of a Constitutional crisis between the executive branch and Congress?

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      Thanks for this. Everything going according to plan.

      These are the things the MSM could care less about. Deliberate destruction of the USPS is so minor compared to “Russian Bounties” on Our Troops®.

      Reply
    2. Oh

      Let’s not forget that the Congress is the one that brought the USPS to where it is now. They imposed a severe burden by requiring an unrealistic time frame for pensions to be funded. This has resulted in doubling or tripling of prices, closure of post offices and reduction of personnel. The Administration is in cahoots with the Congress as far as the USPS is concerned.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        It also provided a very ripe target for private companies. It isn’t as if the pension fund is actually protected for the employees.

        It is almost dastardly. Overfunding weakens the Post Office AND provides a big bonus for the private “company” handed the reins by their willing Congressional minions. The USPS union workers get kneecapped, and the public has an essential service cheapened but made more expensive. Everyone loses but the minions and the private mail service owners and directors.

        Reply
        1. Andrew Thomas

          That was the plan from the beginning. And, instead of undoing it in 2009, St. Barack protected the banks from the folks with the pitchforks. And two more bailouts having been done by acclamation this spring, the Dems moot “CARES”. After all of their leverage is gone. And, then fundraise off of their expected defeat.

          Reply
      1. a different chris

        Sad? That thing was born of (my) tax dollars that could have usefully gone somewhere else, or just stayed in my pocket. It was made to oppress people who didn’t have the technology to fight back.*

        Good riddance.

        *But somehow managed to anyway, given our military record since 1997 when it was launched.

        Reply
          1. polecat

            Back in the day .. that would’ve been referred to as a ‘Hulk’ .. whilst the lucky ‘passengers’ awaited an entirely different form of transportation ..

            Just you wait! .. the Red Planet – it’ll be Elon’s favorite orb next for the riffraff.

            How’s THAT for an Antipode!

            Reply
        1. Milton

          As need to be repeated, often, fed tax dollars do not pay for anything. That smoking hull which was mostly useless from the getgo was bought and paid for the moment the Fed credited the account that was used to pay for the burning hulk.

          Reply
          1. a different chris

            Yeah I actually know that but it fit that particular rant so well :D

            It wasn’t quite so punchy to say “it re-ordered human and material resources into a non-productive area thus taking from overall welfare”.

            Reply
          2. Michael Mck

            But the resources (labor, energy, materials, creativity) that could have been used for other, socially productive, uses are gone forever (except some scrap metal).

            Reply
            1. Olga

              Yes, true… and there is a finer point that even if “tax dollars” did not pay for it, it nevertheless consumed a lot of “attention/focus/priorities” that could have been directed to more productive aspects of US society. Additionally, to the extent that most in the US believe that “tax dollars” were used, it may have stopped them from demanding those more productive investments. Instead, we face daily propaganda that we cannot have nice things because… security.

              Reply
              1. paul

                But rational expectations,ignoring partial expectations,could have avoided all this.
                Unfortunately, not many rationalists bother to explain how we are supposed to mirror their thinking.
                How we can be more like them.

                A fully informed and secure population would be repelled at this waste and theft.

                If only we had listened more closely to our ‘chocolate nobel’ laureates!

                Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Some hard questions will be asked about this – those vessels are designed to withstand multiple hits and fires. A single source fire shouldn’t do that level of damage.

      I wonder if there was something super flammable in the hold (harrier jump jets are full of magnesium, that makes a very hot fire). Or perhaps someone just forgot to close all the fire doors.

      Still, the Marines still have seven other of the same class of assault vessels, so thats still a few countries that can be invaded and still have one or two to spare.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Now that is a very interesting question that. Good catch. If all that damage was caused by one initial explosion, then how survivable would it be under battle conditions if it received multiple hits by an enemy? My understanding is that for the maintenance that it was going under, that all munitions would have been removed beforehand which is a good thing. I have a feeling that like those recent Navy ship collisions not that long ago, that here too will be a bigger background story.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I’m not entirely sure about today, but I always thought the goal of most of these armor hull type things is to get the explosive weapon to bounce and explode away. The oldest Kennedy brother died in a mission to get bombs to explode through radio signals when they hit the V2 underground factory instead of after they bounced off reducing the impact of the blast. An explosion on board isn’t an explosion in war time.

          Not that I would trust contractors.

          Reply
      2. Jason Boxman

        For a more about fire onboard a ship and the horrific consequences, I recommend Danger’s Hour, about the kamikaze attack on the USS Bunker Hill. (And the brutal training of the kamikaze pilots themselves.)

        The copy I found at a used bookstore in DC was signed by a (lesser known?) Kennedy, so it was $50. I found a copy online instead…

        Reply
      3. Michael

        Following our 90+ heat yesterday, the fog brought in a real nasty electrical fire type smell late last night. I’m about 12 miles inland from the scene. Gone this morning in my area.

        Reply
        1. Milton

          Ha, our house is exactly 9.61 mi (as the crow flies) NNW of the fire. This morning the plume was heavily concentrated over us. This will dissapate once the sea breezes kick in around 10am. You’re correct about the type of smell. Very nasty.

          Reply
      4. Procopius

        Military equipment has been crapified for decades. The F-35 and USN Gerald Ford are prime examples. We build hugely expensive, complicated, “ahead-of-state-of-the-art” stuff that takes decades to produce and then doesn’t work. Defense contractors and top-ranking military officers make a lot of money from them, though. There’s a .pdf ebook titled The Pentagon Labyrinth that describes the way it was prior to 2011. I think it’s free. There’s a site called POGO, Project On Government Oversight, that gives a lot of information.

        Reply
      5. Leroy R

        “At least significant parts of the automated halon firefighting systems were offline at the time of the fire. Enhanced pier-side fire watch readiness posture was supposedly in place.”
        From a Navy press conference this morning in San Diego; from the follow-up to the excellent account provided in the original link posted by Gavin.
        https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/34801/two-decks-are-thought-to-separate-fire-on-uss-bonhomme-richard-from-1m-gallons-of-fuel

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          This, from the same article, is good too:

          The area where the fire started, which was the lower vehicle storage area, was filled with cardboard, rags, drywall, and other combustible material.

          Oh. Who’s the contractor? Boeing?

          Reply
    2. Keith

      I spent a little time on it during some local exercisesin the 90s. Interesting thing about this ship is the namesake keeps sinking. Might be time to retire the name.

      Reply
    1. km

      IIRC, Howie Hawkins was an especially vociferous Russiagate conspiracy theorist.

      Someone correct me if I am misremembering.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        This doesn’t sound like high Russiagate. Is he pivoting?

        “We’re fighting for our ballot line,” Hawkins said earlier this year. “The Democrats get on their high horses about the Russians, but in New York, who needs Russians when you’ve got the Democrats?”

        Reply
        1. km

          He may have. A quick-n-dirrty internet search indicates that Hawkins changed his tune.

          Assuming that was the case, I suspect without any real evidence that he wanted to prove himself useful to Team D. See, e.g., Sanders, B: Stein, J.

          Reply
      2. rob

        I don’t remember that at all…
        I didn’t hear that anyone thought he was a “russia gate” groupie. I thought those who pushed or believed that kind of a story(one where a person must assume that the russians were any more of an important horse on the carosel of political theatre,than any other), had a “dog in the fight”. The howie hawkins website talks about the “distraction” of russiagate as a thing. Which it was/is.
        What was the story you heard?

        Reply
      1. GF

        Howie looks like a fighter. Can speak truth to power. Good take downs of Biden, Trump, Dems and Repubs. Greens have the most progressive platform by far. I voted for Jill in 2016 and will vote for Howie in 2020.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’d definitely vote Green if we had a parliamentary system and the platform/person thus had a chance to affect policy. We don’t. Given that Team D has put up the architect of our financial insecurity policies, arch-enemy of Social Security, relentless cheerleader of foreign warmaking, grifter and apologist for China, and true believer in the evilness of Russia, I’ll be voting for the lesser evil. Again.

          Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “Wild bison to roam England’s woodlands for the first time in 6,000 years as ‘ecosystem engineers'”

    I had no idea that there were bison only as recently as 6,000 years ago. You wonder if when the UK was connected to the European mainland that herds would migrate back and forth. But the landscape is so radically different now you wonder how well they will thrive. They sound like an animal though that will shape the landscape to their own needs.

    Reply
    1. JWP

      Wishing the bison the best. Reintroduction of species is something California (and the Dakotas) should consider. Seeing as they leveled/drowned tens of millions of acres of marsh, swamp, and peat land for agriculture and irrigation, buying it back and getting the native species back and rolling would be a real plus.

      Reply
      1. Andrew Thomas

        Bison conversation:
        Where did you say we were again, my good man?
        England, old chap.
        And we were where?
        Poland, they tell me.
        So, the don’t want the bipeds from our neck of the wood, but they went through all this so that we can defecate in their neck of it?
        Righto.
        Odd blokes, these English.
        True that, old boy. Pass the clover, if you don’t mind.

        Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        jr – Thanks for that link. It would be great if they could bring back the Aurochs again as I can see them wondering a plain now. I seem to recall some guy in Russia attempting to do something similar back in the early 60s through trying to breed back to the original characteristics but don’t know if anything came of it.

        Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      I pre-ordered my copy a couple of months back and have been reliably informed that it’s winging its way to me.

      I have to say as well, he probably ranks up top in the ‘academic/commentator I’d most like to grab a beer with‘ stakes

      Reply
  4. ObjectiveFunction

    Ha, the most ‘upbeat’ piece on current affairs I’ve read in many weeks comes from, of all people, Nassim Taleb!

    Lebanon: from Ponzi to Antifragility

    The lira was artificially kept too strong for any industry to survive and the financial system (the Ponzi) was sucking up all the money and destroying the economic substructure. But… the (unavoidable) collapse would lead to an adaptation, the weaning from chronic foreign “loans” and, possibly, a huge bounce….

    The Phoenicians (coastal Canaanites) had practically nothing (except wood) and no copper when it was fashionable to have some. So they learned to sail largely to get the mineral from Cyprus (incidentally named after it), and the rest of the overcompensation is history. Once you learn to go to Cyprus you can figure out how to go elsewhere; once you learn to buy you figure out how to sell; and once you learn how to build a network, you exploit it to the hilt….

    So we are entering a phase in Lebanon when people are suddenly forced to remember there is such a thing as a soil and something called agriculture, so they have started focusing on home grown items…. people are now realizing that garbage collection, water and electricity matter more than global affairs…. Something in the Lebanese culture still favors antifragile responses.

    1. localism tends to reduce corruption [or perhaps more accurately, keeps its spoils local and within bounds, on the golden goose principle?]

    2. Banking, to summarize, is now a technology thingy…. The idea of “financial center” is obsolete.

    3. Universities are now a social media thingy.

    Wouldn’t be the first time the Levantines showed the way for the rest of us.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      It is very good news. Before the civil war and Israels repeated attempts to destroy the country the Lebanon was by some distance the wealthiest and most developed country in the Middle East. I cycled across and through it 18 years ago and you could see the decay – numerous very fine buildings dating from the mid-20 Century and back to the 19th Century decaying away – I love fading old hotels an the country was full of them, all very cheap to stay in, and the food is amazing everywhere. It was a very easy country to travel in with an Irish passport as the Irish UN contingent along the border had a reputation as pro-Arab (one reason why several died in ‘accidental’ Israeli attacks). Even the Hizbollah checkpoints just waved me through with a smile.

      Apart from all the external interference – Syria, Iran and Israel used it as a sort of proxy battlefield – I wondered if the natural business acumen of the Phoenicians would ever allow the country to recover, but it seemed to me that the UAE had captured its position as the Singapore of the Middle East and wouldn’t let it go. But the Lebanese people are irrepressible, it looks like they might just do it.

      Reply
      1. David

        Well, Taleb is Lebanese, and he should know what he’s talking about, but there are a couple of things that worry me.
        First, this is very much Taleb’s habitual argument, just applied to the country of his birth. In other words, it features his usual targets (government, large structures, universities), and his usual enthusiasms (federal style systems, the private sector, practical training). It amounts to saying, “if my anti-fragility theories are correct, Lebanon will be OK.” If.
        Second, The whole Phoenician/Cyprus thing is dependent on one particular view of Lebanese history which is, to put it mildly, controversial, and has sparked a big academic as well as political controversy. It’s identified with the Maronite (Christian) ethnicity from which Taleb comes, and de-emphasises the Arab heritage of the country, which other groups (Sunni, Shia) prize more highly.
        I hope Taleb is right, though I can’t really rejoice at the destruction of the banking sector, the only part of the economy that worked well. And just try growing food in the centre of Beirut. But the country has been on the slide since 2011, and some of the places (Sidon, Tripoli) that you used to be able to go were off limits even before last year’s mass disturbances. It’s certainly true that the government doesn’t function, and never has, and no Lebanese I’ve ever met would trust it. But the Lebanese response is not to go local, but to go ethnic, and to solve problems by going to the head of your ethnic group (18 recognised ones). If things break down, as it looks as though they will, some sort of a retreat into ethnic identity seems inevitable, and last time that happened, it wasn’t pretty. Taleb always assumes that commerce conquers all: I’m not sure he’s right this time.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          Some of what you say I can agree with, but this really stuck out: ‘… of the banking sector, the only part of the economy that worked well.” My several Leb. friends (both Shia and Chr.) would really disagree. The banking sector is near collapse and has been a major source of corruption in the country. No one I know would describe it as having worked well. One just needs to do a bit of internet research to confirm. (Some folks I know try to send $$ home – and it is a nightmare.)
          It also must be pointed out that the country is a pawn in the US hegemonic game. China/Iran/Iraq offered serious help – but the elite are split, many sabotaging their countrymen’s well-being to oblige the hegemon. Without following this part of L’s dilemma, there can hardly be a clear understanding of its predicament.

          Reply
          1. David

            Yes the banking sector is near collapse, and that is what I was getting at. It was an enabler of corruption but not a cause – the causes are complex and structural and related to the clan structure of the country. Of course ‘well’ is a relative term (I have had actual experience of getting money out of Lebanon) and it’s become worse in recent years because of sanctions and financial crime measures, but compared to banks in other Arab countries it’s pretty good. Foreign influence in Lebanon is a huge problem but goes well beyond the US – the Syrians practically ran the place for fifteen years after the civil war, the Iranians, Saudis and Israelis, to name only the major players, are up to their elbows in it. But whilst that is a catastrophe politically for the country (though not necessarily for the various clients) it’s a secondary issue in the current economic crisis, which has been on the cards for a while now.

            Reply
    2. CuriosityConcern

      I think this is fiction, anyways agricultural land is mentioned in the context of Beirut: Waste Away. Spoiler/warning, lots of talk of effulence.

      Reply
  5. Wyoming

    Having grown up near where one of the few remaining herds of bison (buffalo to an American) still existed I can say it will be interesting to see the blowback from this decision.

    Bison are not funny looking cows. They are half blind and ill tempered to say the least. By the time they realize someone is near them their common reaction is to stomp them into the ground. They can out run a horse and will run you down. Almost every year some idiot tourist learned the hard way that the signs saying not to get out of your car were serious – not to say that worse stuff didn’t happen in Yellowstone every year as well. They cannot be kept in by any normal fence as they basically can walk right through a standard barb wire fence used to keep in cattle. They go where they want to mostly. They cannot be herded.

    A rancher near my place had a small herd of them which one day broke the fence down and were wandering off into the forest and freedom. The neighboring rancher who’s property they were on called him up and said you need to come get them. The response was, “That is not possible. Just shoot them.” So a large group of locals and law enforcement did just that and everyone went home with a few hundred pounds of tasty meat each. The law of unintended consequences is likely to rear its ugly head again.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      fences…and cattleguards…are merely psychological barriers to regular cows any way…we had one who totally ignored them…and taught the other cows the same tricks.
      as for buffalo, yep…friend of mine has a few, and has extra fancy and extra robust fencing…and they are pretty scary to be up close to. One of hers wandered into the barn when she was showing me her new milking machine, and she quietly admonished me “don’t move a muscle!”.
      had to stand there while it sniffed, and wandered right back out.
      great big animals, too.

      Reply
  6. John

    What is the point of the quadrennial nominating convention if the nomination is decided in the primaries and the presumptive presidential candidate chooses the vice presidential candidate? Yes, it is a “four day infomercial” ; so what? I watched the first televised conventions with intense interest. Since they became scripted from start to finish, I have not wasted my time with them.

    Reply
    1. mle detroit

      Ditto, John. They were a boondoggle for the paid and unpaid employees of the two big private businesses known as the Democratic and Republican parties, a source of income for contractors and the city, and a showcase for new and future “products” being sold to “consumers.” Politics? What’s that? It’s all marketing.

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s like debates and the SOTU. They are holdovers from when there were less avenues of communication. The pageantry and pomp people are dedicated, and most people don’t care so we still have them. If there was less homogeny between the states, the nature of the parties might make it relevant, but federal standards, mandates funded and unfunded, and internal population movement just makes it pointless.

      It’s a good way of keeping local committee people happy. They need a pat on the head and a tummy rub occasionally, and they will be loyal.

      Reply
    3. Butch In Waukegan

      The convention is a chance for the party elites to promote their up-and-coming fraudsters. Clinton gave a speech at the 1988 convention, Obama did the same in 2004.

      With the duds we were introduced to in this year’s primaries the pooh-bahs will find it hard to generate much excitement.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Huh? I thought they presented multiple persons with the stellar character and credentials to lead the most powerful nation on Earth. Like the mayor of a tiny Midwestern town, famous for his inability to speak in anything but a series of completely meaningless platitudes. Or the frumpy and smug Minnesota office manager who couldn’t find Mexico on a map. And the drama of the debates! Where they all got to say exactly the same thing in their own unique ways. One old grandpa even had some great new policy proposals about getting more kids to listen to record players at night, he really connected with the African-Americans in the audience because he told us his leg hair turns blond in the sun, in the sun. It’s the funniest thing, they vote for him year in and year out even though he’s probably worked harder than anybody against their economic interests. But as he said, if you don’t vote for him you’re not really black!

        Reply
    4. hunkerdown

      It’s an all-hands meeting. Announce promotions, excrete a vision statement, let the Kens and Karens have their turn “making their mark on the world” as bourgeois high school counselors liked to put it.

      And, since anyone not Ken or Karen is “the help”, our attendance is “strongly encouraged”.

      Reply
    1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      Cancel Culture only seems to be a thing if you’re about craving someone’s approval. If you don’t care, they can’t cancel you. Only in Academia is it actually pernicious. Hollywood/sports people have been inflicting their opinions on us as though it were some kind of wisdom since it was an ‘industry’.
      JK Rowling’s sphere was writing children’s lit. If she’d had any training in biology, we could feel sad for her being attacked by vicious lunatics pushing Big Pharma’s agenda (who do you think makes all those ‘hormone blockers’ they want to push?) But Rowling’s is just another voice on Twitter, so she can take her lumps like the rest of humanity.

      Reply
      1. occasional anonymous

        Rowling is (I would say ‘was’, but I suspect the woke are a lot more bark than bite and she will continue to be successful) beloved by an entire generation. There are now a bunch of liberals who grew up on her books that are feeling personally betrayed because she won’t pander to their neuroses.She’s also an example of how the goalposts keep shifting. A decade ago Rowling was being praised because she said Dumbledore was gay. Now she’s not woke enough because she had the gall to suggest biological sex exists.

        I keep hoping this nonsense will ultimately eat itself alive.

        Reply
      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Ending freedom of speech and freedom of thought is critical to this next phase of The Maintenance of Empire, the “Must…Find…Foreign…Enemies” schtick was wearing thin so they morphed it into “You…Are…All…Your…Own…Enemies”. Gives the aristocracy unlimited latitude to euthanize the plebes before they get too many thoughts about things like political representation and a better future for the planet and their kids.

        Reply
    2. Fred N

      The UK tabloids have been picking and choosing who to “cancel” (or not) for decades, usually based on who has favour with Rupert Murdoch. It’s just become a bit more democratic nowadays, and that’s always a cause for concern for those at the top.

      Reply
    3. notberlin

      These words and phrases that gain traction overnight (or percolate a bit longer)…. “cancel culture,” “woke,” “bespoke,” suddenly “kneecapping” is everywhere, etc., ad infinitum. Corporate/Propaganda phrase mongers, quite a factory they have. The Dems have always conceded the vocabulary war to the Pubelicans. “Entitlement Programs” anyone? But it’s not really a duopoly, is it, when it comes to the two parties? When I come across these “new” propaganda uses of language, I usually just drop the article/essay completely, unless it’s some intelligent, cogent author bemoaning their vile existence. Authors who merely pick up these words and use them as if they are legitimate…. well. No. Time. For. It.

      For no reason whatsoever, an old and very stupid joke with simple language. Nothing is woke or cancelled.

      A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, What’s with the long face?

      Reply
  7. McWatt

    My mailman comes in exhausted everyday. He is working six days a week 12-15 hours a day, tons of OT.

    He says they have been asking people to work 7 days.

    Reply
    1. lordkoos

      The USPS is trying to organize a mass call-in this Thursday. Call your senator!

      https://actionnetwork.org/forms/usmnfs-sign-up-for-the-senate-call-in?source=usmnfs-email-1-corrected&utm_source=usmnfs-email-1-corrected&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=j23-senate-call-day&link_id=1&can_id=18fb91b13dbdecb397aa91660c645c88&email_referrer=email_859545&email_subject=correction-firstname-commonize-default-friend-will-you-sign-up-for-our-july-23rd-call-in-day-of-action-to-save-the-us-postal-service-we-are-planning-to-make-10000-calls-in-one-day

      Reply
    2. KFritz

      This fact is a harbinger of things to come/canary in a coal mine. Regarding the economic impact of Covid 19, most of us are sleepwalking to the edge of a cliff. The USPS pattern will be repeated ad nauseum in many different contexts. Michael Hudson’s interview yesterday presented a clear macro-illustration. It made for chilling reading.

      Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    He Made Stone Speak New York Review of Books
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Michelangelo not only made stone speak, but (with apologies to Thomas Kinkade) was also the painter of light.

    I saw the Sistine Chapel before and after restoration, and heretofore it was quite dark from 4 centuries of smoke, exhalation and the like giving it almost a sinister look. so darkened was it.

    After restoration it shone like Michelangelo’s other works on canvas. I was in the Ufizzi Gallery and truth be said, you really get sick of religious themed paintings, of which around 90% of them are, but Mike’s masterpieces almost needed no ambient light, they seemed to instead radiate on their own.

    Reply
    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Personally I prefer Bernini particularly when it comes to females & he did amazing portrait sculpture which Michelangelo as far as I can recall never got into. IMO the females in the Medici Chapel are more male in appearance than female & if you were to remove their terrible breasts, & swap the heads for male ones it would become pretty obvious that their anatomy owes more to testosterone than Estrogen.

      The rape of Proserpina in the Galleria Borghese by a man who was perhaps capable of indulging in the act, is for me the most incredible example of turning marble into flesh. Whatever you might think of the sculpture itself, it is to me simply incredible that it could have been created out of a block of marble.

      Still, I am not an Art expert & only work at it.

      https://www.wga.hu/html_m/b/bernini/gianlore/sculptur/1620/proserpz.html

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. the hands on the thigh are remarkable.
        one of my few regrets is that i never got to go look at such stuff in person.
        Bernini is prolly my favorite sculptor.(my Mom was an art teacher)

        Reply
        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          IMO Bernini is technically unsurpassable with marble & I am not knocking Michelangelo’s brilliance, it is just that I have read many of these eulogies over the years which for the most part make him out to be so brilliant that nobody else comes anywhere near. There have been very many brilliant sculptors & artists in other disciplines out there who are largely forgotten, as they don’t fit the bill for the very small number of largely establishment figures who have always decided what should be in the top 10.

          What particularly annoys me about many of them is that they judge figurative sculpture without any true knowledge of anatomy, which can only be learnt by actually working it in 3 dimensional form – you can stare at it either in the round or on the page till the cows go home but it will never sink in. The anatomy on the Rondanini Pieta is simply appalling in comparison to everything else the great man did & personally I believe it was a student piece.

          I am obsessed with portrait sculpture & am very fond of French sculptors, such as Dalou & Houdon, the latter responsible for the George Washington statue in Virginia & brilliant busts of Jefferson & Franklin. I guess what I am saying is that there is room for many more, especially when those who tell us what is worthy in figurative sculpture, don’t have a clue in relation to what makes it work & have consequently been fooled ( dealers also ) many times & not just in 3-D.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i dally in abstract, figurative fire wood sculpture.
            as i’m cutting for the stoves, things jump out and say ‘put me aside.”
            hollow logs get made into (very successful) birdhouses.
            others get set aside for rather esoteric, if not spooky, reasons….
            mesquite tells me to do faces, often yelling.
            but just when i was getting into it, wife’s cancer happened…and now this,lol…I’ve been on the run ever since.
            I’ve got a few pieces that i’m quite proud of, but i wonder if i could ever find that mindspace again.

            Reply
          2. ilpalazzo

            This seems to me a struggle between “classicist” understanding of Art (mimesis) vs modernist (piece of art as self – contained object). If you really want to see Michelangelo’s brilliance, look up his “slaves”.

            Reply
          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            I get lost in it especially portraits & if I am away from it for not too long I miss it terribly – kinda addicted or obsessed I guess. The human face is an amazing thing & incredibly complex which is I suppose obvious due to the range of possible variations – Nothing in this world anyway is more expressive in a corporeal sense.

            I just get lost in trying to reproduce the terrain & I am not on any mission in an artistic sense, I just want to explore, get to know the surroundings & let it take me to who knows where. The bone structure & the muscles are the key to the form & therefore the level of beauty, but if we peeled away the skin we would only see ugliness – I wonder if there is a metphor hiding there.

            Early lockdown, no work, started a lifesize portrait of Shakespeare based on photos of the now proven deathmask in Germany – figured I would attempt to make him younger, give him some wild hair & get away from that great dome look from the 1st folio. Had fun for a few weeks – nice change from commission work when you have a time frame that needs sticking to & have to please the paymasters, but he’s in a box now as I had to care for a loved one & then get packing & for the finances sake I hope he stays there for awhile.

            Hope you get that feeling again, I don’t think my sanity could stand not being able to get lost in that both in & outer space – it would all be too so called real.

            Reply
    2. KLG

      Yes. After 74 versions of “Madonna and Child” they do tend to run together…Saw the Sistine Chapel only after the restoration, and the only response is that human beings are capable of the divine.

      Reply
  9. flora

    re: James Kennedy – Chomsky letter reply

    Thanks for that. Here’s a relevent link to a long (2+ hr) Joe Rogan show interviewing Prof. Bret Weinstein about his experience of getting bullied by a cancel culture mob at The Evergreen State College. (Used by the new admin against Weinstein and others to retaliate against Weinstein for opposing the new admin’s proposed campus changes. ) The interview is from 2017. One of the most interesting observations comes at the 7-10 minutes mark, where Weinstein points out that toxic terms have been redefined, but only partially redefined, and that partiality acts as a trap. (Readers of the new book White Fragility need to keep that in mind. )

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq4Y87idawk

    Reply
    1. flora

      adding: important to note that Weinstein points out in several places that the POC coalition protesting Weinstein at Evergreen didn’t include all or most POC Evergreen students . Most of his Black students thought what the cancel culture mob was doing was wrong.

      Reply
    2. flora

      The longer Kennedy thread is about his own experience and what happened when he used the term ‘working class’ to discuss class and someone decided he meant (which he did not) ‘white working class’ and took offense. (Which also changing a point about economic class into a flash point about idpol.)

      (The admin sounds like they were fine with that, imo. Don’t talk about economic class, only talk about idpol class.)

      Reply
    3. Martine

      Just wanting to point to the fact that White Fragility was published in 2018. One wonders why it’s getting all the sudden attention two years out.

      Reply
      1. occasional anonymous

        I wonder how many people have actually read any of it? I’ll admit I myself haven’t, but from numerous excerpts I’ve seen I get the distinct impression that Robin DiAngelo is herself genuinely racist on some deep level, and the book itself is basically a long-form treatise on how she struggles to keep her personal failings under control.

        https://i.imgur.com/C4wr9t1.png

        Reply
    4. occasional anonymous

      The way neoliberals have repurposed the ‘neoliberalism doesn’t exist’ claim for cancel culture without skipping a beat is impressive.

      Because that’s where we are right now, as people like Taibbi act as lone voices in the wilderness criticizing something all the cancel pushers themselves cynically insist doesn’t actually exist.

      Reply
      1. florra

        Yes. Right now in the US, cancel culture is brushed off as trivial, intramural fights in the arts or journalism or academia, not a serious matter. However, cancel culture is a tool used to silence; in the right (or wrong) hands it is a powerful tool of political speech repression. What is happening now on campuses is not normal egghead office politics. It feels more like testing the tool in the centers of learning and research.

        Philip Mirowski’s essay The Political Movement that dared not Speak its own Name: about neoliberalism has this para (pg 12):

        Far from trying to preserve society against the unintended consequences of the operations of markets, as democratic liberalism sought to do, neoliberal doctrine instead set out actively to dismantle those aspects of society which might resist the purported inexorable logic of the catallaxy, and to reshape it in the market’s image. For neoliberals, freedom and the market would be treated as identical. Their rallying cry was to remove the foundation of liberty from natural rights or tradition, and reposition it upon an entirely novel theory concerning what a market was, or should be. They could not acknowledge individual natural rights, because they sought to tutor the masses to become the agent the market would be most likely to deem to succeed. The market no longer gave you what you wanted; you had to capitulate to what the Market wanted.

        Silencing speech with cancel culture, a method the public dismisses as trivial, could be useful there. I recommend the whole essay for its explanation of the neoliberal thought collective’s aims.

        Reply
      2. flora

        Yep. Silencing speech fits the program.

        From Philip Mirowski’s essay The Political Movement that dared not Speak its own Name:

        …, neoliberal doctrine instead set out actively to dismantle those aspects of society which might resist the purported inexorable logic of the catallaxy, and to reshape it in the market’s image. For neoliberals, freedom and the market would be treated as identical. Their rallying cry was to remove the foundation of liberty from natural rights or tradition, and reposition it upon an entirely novel theory concerning what a market was, or should be. They could not acknowledge individual natural rights, because they sought to tutor the masses to become the agent the market would be most likely to deem to succeed.

        Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    Most of the Washington Redskin players are African-American, so why not rename the team ‘the Blackskins’?

    Reply
    1. flora

      Be glad you’re not an academic. The campus cancel culture mob, being entirely literal in outlook, humorless, lacking any sense of irony, and determined to see what they want to see instead of what’s there, would come after you for an ‘offensively r-ist comment that proves you’re a r-ist”; even though the meaning of your comment proves just the opposite. Thanks for this great example.

      Reply
      1. Berto

        Thankfully, Wukchumni’s statement is protected by his/ her freedom of speech rights.
        Thankfully or unfortunately (depending on how you feel about it), so is the cancel culture mob’s.

        Reply
        1. flora

          I’m fine with anybody’s speech, even people I disagree with. I’m not fine with lies or with bully tactics to silence people or get people unjustly fired.

          Reply
          1. a different chris

            Again, ÿou are using “get” pretty loosely there.

            People with no power other than words don’t fire people. The people with power fire them. Did they fire them because “Cancel Culture” promoted a real problem or because the fire’ers (I admit I don’t know if that’s a word) are just useless cowards?

            Those are issues of individual cases. Using “Cancel Culture” as some ravaging force like a forest fire is just letting off people that need to be called out. Sometimes that is the people that should get fired, sometimes it is the people that cowardly fire them.

            I am sorry to keep banging on this, but we keep turning on each other and letting TPTB off the hook.

            Reply
            1. flora

              Well, you’re right about who does the firing. And in academia it’s clear the admin uses cancel culture as a tool to fire/demote/sanction faculty and staff they don’t like using the excuse of supposed bad character, and more or less ignore similar charges against faculty and staff the admin approves of.

              Cancel culture has been weaponized for reasons having nothing to do with r-ism, and everything to do with campus economics/ politics, imo.
              —-
              As far a free speech , I think Chomsky’s right that everyone, even mistaken or evil people should not be silenced because if they’re silenced their ideas will go underground where they can’t be responded to and fought with better ideas.

              Reply
              1. flora

                See for example: the Dem estab treatment of left-center Sen. Al Franken, credibly accused a sexist action, vs. the Dem estab treatment of right-center Joe Biden, credibly accused of rape.

                (That was the same weaponizing of public outcry only when it serves management’s other purposes.)

                Reply
          2. WJ

            “get people unjustly fired.”

            It is very interesting how so much of the real power of cancel culture depends upon, and reinforces, the extremely anti-worker labor laws of the United States.

            Reply
            1. flora

              Which is sort of ironic.

              The neoliberal economic elites, politicians, and ‘trust us, the market knows best’ gang has failed spectacularly. Now, when new populist forces ought to be challenging weak labor laws, bad pay, bad or no benefits, predatory finance, no economic mobility for the bottom 70%, rising poverty, no healthcare, abuse of both black and white poor people, all sorts of things, this current up-welling anger – which is organic in nature and justified, I believe – is being misdirected to targets – colleges, artists, writers, performers, minor elected officials – that can’t change any of those things. It’s the energy of populism directed at targets that can’t change the economic setup and things like predatory finance or bad pay. In fact, cancel culture insists on not talking about it.

              Thomas Frank has a new book out about the history of anti-populism in the US.

              Reply
              1. periol

                Do you think there’s a chance at changing labor laws, pay scales, worker benefits, predatory finance, economic mobility, rising poverty, no healthcare, abuse of the poor without completely changing the system? Do you think the system can be changed from the inside? Is it possible to turn the soul-sucking-destroying machine into a system that works for the good of the many over the few?

                Reply
                1. flora

                  Yes. It’s important to see what political philosophy justified creating all these bad things and how strong it currently is. These inexplicable things aren’t coming out of nowhere. You can’t hit a target you can’t see, and all that. To change these things, we need to see what gives them force. I see cancel culture in the academy, for example, as part of the neoliberal political project, which is far along now.

                  From the Mirowski essay I listed above is this quote about the neoliberal political project:

                  The neoliberals often had to disguise their true allegiances from the masses: as [Milton] Friedman once claimed, “the two groups that threaten the free market the most are businessmen and intellectuals” (Burgin, 2012, p.194). Yet Friedman promoted the destruction of state education and the privatization of universities to put the intellectuals out of business; he never attacked the businessmen to any equivalent degree.

                  I recommend the essay. It reads like a map of where we are, how we got here, and the real political philosophy pushing it. It also lists several contradictions within that philosophy that are its weak links, imo.

                  click the ‘download paper’ button for the full pdf.
                  https://www.ineteconomics.org/research/research-papers/the-political-movement-that-dared-not-speak-its-own-name-the-neoliberal-thought-collective-under-erasure

                  There’s also an essay by the same name but different on American Affairs Journal website written 4 years after this linked essay.

                  Reply
                  1. periol

                    You lost me at yes.

                    I think we are long past the point where the current system can manage the problems it has created. It will have to go for us to survive as human beings. I’m not claiming I’ve figured out how it should go or how it will go or the best way for it to happen, but if it doesn’t go the environmental problems will get us if the social problems don’t get us first.

                    The “neoliberals”, like Trump, are merely symptoms of the larger problems with the system. As is this “cancel culture” you’re worried about, as is “the academy” and all the problems that lie therein.

                    We can’t keep going with a somewhat better version of the system we have now. And even if we could, there’s too much corruption to fix it from the inside. It’s all corruption, all the way down at this point.

                    Reply
                    1. flora

                      The system we have now has taken 30-40 years to change from what we had to what we have. It wasn’t accidental. It didn’t ‘just happen’.

                      Fighting back is a long term project, too.

                    2. periol

                      The system we have now has been in place for hundreds of years. Just because it has largely benefited you doesn’t mean it isn’t destroying the planet and humans as well.

                      America was a messed up place 30-40 years ago. Since then, things have gotten WORSE, not better.

        2. Judith

          There’s a thoughtful article in Jacobin about free speech and civil liberties from a global/historical/class perspective that goes beyond the current narrow focus on canceling behavior (and briefly argues with Nathan Robinson’s glib analysis of CC):

          “In recent years, there has been a marked and disquieting increase in the willingness of a raft of actors left, center, and right, both in government and in civil society, to engage in a practice and attitude of censorship and to abandon due process, presumption of innocence, and other core civil liberties.”

          https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/07/cancel-culture-harpers-letter-free-speech

          Reply
    2. fresno dan

      Wukchumni
      July 13, 2020 at 10:32 am
      Well, if we REALLY want truth in team names, I would suggest that:
      All of the football team owners are insufferable, as$hats, so why not name the team, “Horrific Greedy Evil Inhuman As$hats 1” – As there are ?32? teams, each owned by a different evil owner, each team name would be consecutively numbered. We could add White, but I am not sure if every owner is white….
      AND
      https://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2015/02/01

      Reply
        1. newcatty

          There is a community college, in AZ believe it or not, that chose as a school, without a football team, “Artichokes” as their mascot. Lol.

          Reply
          1. LifelongLib

            Wonder if this is related to a story I heard back in the 70s about a liberal arts college where the students decided they wanted to get rid of the sports program. They couldn’t do so directly but somebody found a clause in the rules that allowed the students to choose the team name and colors. The team became “The Fighting Artichokes” and IIRC the colors pink and yellow. The sports program collapsed. Haven’t verified the truth of any of this but it’s what I heard.

            Reply
    3. Maritimer

      Washington Skin’ems, over and over again. Logo the classic naked taxpayer in a barrel.

      Extremely ironic that in the home and cradle of Capitalism all professional and most college sports are Monopolies feasting at the public trough via subsidies, tax manipulation and labor restrictions. This is little commented upon by the capitalist financial press.

      Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “After the Bushfires and Amid the Pandemic, Australia’s Fossil Fuel Industry Is Gaining Steam”

    ‘Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is from the left of the ALP and is sometimes hailed as Australia’s most progressive state leader.’

    I am beginning to suspect that he is a progressive in the same way that Obama was. But when this article said ‘He is also one of the most popular premiers in the country, his already impressive lead bolstered by his government’s decisive response to the pandemic.’ I think that that is an outright lie. Certainly the people of Victoria and southern New South Wales would beg to differ. The author, Zacharias Szumer, is a Melbourne-based writer so right now he is probably under lockdown along with 5 million other people through the incompetence of Daniel Andrews. I mistrust writers that try to gaslight their readers and I tend to knock off a big discount to what they write in the rest of their article.

    Reply
    1. Kfish

      Victoria really is the most left-leaning state in Australia. It’s currently setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the past treatment of Australia’s original inhabitants, something fairly unthinkable for half the country. Comparing Andrews to Obama is insulting to Andrews.

      Re: the coronavirus, Melbourne and Sydney together have one-quarter of Australia’s population and, unsurprisingly, are experiencing the most coronavirus cases. Andrews is still a lot more popular than Gladys Berejiklan, the premier of New South Wales, for his handling of the virus.

      Reply
      1. witters

        Andrews is still a lot more popular than Gladys Berejiklan, the premier of New South Wales, for his handling of the virus.

        Just nowhere near as effective.

        Reply
  12. Exile

    See: Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America, for an explanation of the origins of “redskin.”It has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with painting ones skin.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Well, the origins of something doesn’t necessarily map that well into the evolution of it. You aren’t going to convince me, having grown up in this country, that it isn’t a slur towards Native Americans.

      To use an example that actually seriously disturbs me, just look at Sleepy Joe and his acolytes definition of the word “socialism” to dismiss it. Somehow “socialism”, and they should at least use upper case but they don’t even bother, means “centralized hierarchical control”.

      Which is exactly what it doesn’t mean. Pretty much par for the course in this late stages of empire.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        Yes, neoliberals prefer distributed hierarchical control so that more PMC get “their turn” to play Simon Says and abuse the poors “make their mark on the world”.

        Reply
      2. ShamanicFallout

        As usual, things are more complicated in the real world. The Redskins logo was designed and approved by Walter Blackie Wetzel, a Chariman of the Blackfeet Nation and a President of the National Congress of American Indians. He was proud of it :

        https://sportslogohistory.com/washington-redskins-primary-logo

        And here is an article from a Montana sports site with some updates with the family and the history of the logo as well as some other back story:

        https://406mtsports.com/football/washington-redskins-logo-has-deep-connection-to-blackfeet-reservation-wetzel-family/article_7e919d9b-8e06-5218-8d86-d5c713ee3997.html

        Reply
        1. Aumua

          Yeah it’s not so much the logo that is really the issue though. It’s the name, Redskins, which predates the creation of the logo by Wetzel.

          Reply
          1. ShamanicFallout

            I saw a tweet by the /sarc MSDNC account: “Breaking News: Washington Redskins change their name to D.C Redskins”. You could almost see it…

            Reply
  13. Ignacio

    RE: China hits back, sanctioning US officials and Congress members in response to Xinjiang ban SCMP

    A classical reaction when you are really guilty of the accusations…

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      China’s behavior is looking really bad.

      But as a general thing, I don’t understand your comment, If you get accused of something actually false, you respond differently somehow? How?

      Again on the actual subject – it would be hilarious that our mad bombers, sanctioners, and otherwise starve-the-Other jerks in DC are criticizing for things they would (and do) do without hesitation or a loss of a second of sleep if they were in that position – if it wasn’t real people on the business end of Empire.

      Reply
    2. Olga

      To me, the comment makes no sense. Unless, of course, we accept the new narrative that, no matter what, “China big and bad.” Thanks, but no thanks… I’ve spent 45 years trying to make my way out of – and keep the head above – the idiotic maze of “USSR – and now Russia – bad” narrative… To see now China added to this pathetic way of conducting foreign affairs is profoundly disturbing. Yet, clearly, some people continue to fall for it.
      (P.S. And how can anyone speak of guilt? Did you personally verify the accusations? That would be the only way, since we should know by now how much the media lie.)

      Reply
      1. JWP

        The “big and bad” labels are present for both the US and China for the rest of the world, so any bickering about rule breaking by either country just ends up in a drain of hypocrisy and lesser of evils arguments.

        Reply
      2. JBird4049

        It’s so easy to say them baaaad people. Blame them for everything. Capitalist, socialists, whitey, blacks, Americans, Russians, whatever or whoever you are some will insist on it being all you fault. Saves from having to think.

        To be honest, what with the general insanity and increasingly unhinged propaganda, I find it hard to get really mad at such people even the IdPol twits. Some form of insanity just seems like the way to remain sane to many. Heck, I want to curl up with the cat and tell the world to go away.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          I don’t disagree with you. At all…
          On the other hand, I made some very serious life decisions, based on the information I thought was true – when in fact it was nothing but exaggerated propaganda. That is why I consider trying to ferret out the truth as much as possible such a priority.
          Plus, the anti-USSR/anti-eastern unwashed hordes propaganda was a major factor that led nazi soldiers to fight so ferociously against the Soviets. The consequences of that war are still with us.

          Reply
    3. Anthony G Stegman

      No matter what China has done in Xinjiang it pales in comparison to what the United States did to the peoples of North America – murder, genocide, theft, broken treaties, the list is long.

      Reply
    1. Drake

      I found these insights in the article interesting, as distinct from the usual blithering idiocy coverage of Trump usually entails:

      “But a seamless transition from Trump to a renewed GOP is no longer plausible. This is in part because Trump has not been the disruptor we expected. Despite some intense rhetoric and a few outlying policies, this has been a fairly standard Republican administration. We cannot reasonably expect any seismic shifts in the party platform, and we certainly can’t expect any mass migrations into its electoral base.”

      Now if we can only get to the realization that the Obama administration was also a fairly standard Republican administration, just like the Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan administrations, we’ll finally be getting somewhere.

      Reply
  14. jef

    This article is hopeful and depressing at the same time. I have had friends tell me how great VIetnam is but I never really understood why. It is so encouraging to see how they have developed. Depressing to contemplate how different the world would be if so called “capitalism” was not forcefully imposed on it.

    The Tremendous but “Secret” Success of Socialist Vietnam
    by Andre Vltchek / July 10th, 2020

    https://dissidentvoice.org/2020/07/the-tremendous-but-secret-success-of-socialist-vietnam/

    Reply
  15. Susan the other

    Al Jazeera. The condemnation for using a drone to kill Soleimani. What happened to the Apache helicopter strike story?

    Reply
  16. Stanley Dundee

    Redskins to retire team name Monday; new name to be revealed later

    I suggest Washington Redhands, in recognition of all the resident war (and other) criminals.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I still suspect The Onion will predict the future yet again when Snyder announces he’s changing the name from Washington to DC.

      Reply
        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Well, in the first half of the 2000s — it was an extended, nay contorted, process — the high school in the small town in Michigan where I was not born but have now lived for almost 30 years off and on) changed its team nickname from Redskins to Redhawks.

          And won the state football championship the next season.

          Not promising anything, you understand — their MMS — but. . . .

          Reply
  17. jr

    Hi all, can anyone recommend a free Dropbox like app for an older iPad? I have some pictures of BLM posters from Japan a friend sent me. I’d like to post em. Thanks!

    Reply
  18. jr

    Bird news: My coffee shop owner feeds bread to the pigeons in the morning. Sparrows try to get in on the action but the much larger pigeons bump and shove them away. Bullys.

    Then, this morning, a blue jay dropped right into the middle of the pigeons, sending them scrambling. It opened it’s mouth and jumped at them. It then went to see what they were eating, when it saw bagels it just flew away. I forgot my phone but I bet it’ll be back…

    Reply
  19. Romancing The Loan

    This blog post about the Harper’s letter from Jonathan Cook was linked in an Ian Welsh thread and does a nice job of nailing down the vague unease its generalized bromides provoked. Apologies if it’s been linked before.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      The array of signatories is actually more troubling than reassuring. If we lived in a more just world, some of those signing – like Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W Bush, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former US State Department official – would be facing a reckoning before a Hague war crimes tribunal for their roles in promoting “interventions” in Iraq and Libya respectively, not being held up as champions of free speech.

      Hard to disagree but I don’t think hypocrisy is why most of the critics are attacking it. They just don’t like the message. When Trump came along the establishment leapt to embrace the notion that this president is different and the norms no longer apply. They had already been testing boundaries with the SC decided election of 2000 and before that the gratuitous Clinton impeachment. So going after free speech is just another step in the destruction of popular sovereignty. Trump, by this way of thinking, simply proves that the public can’t be trusted with free flowing debate and perhaps with elections themselves. The real question is not what will happen if Trump loses and won’t go away but rather what will happen if Trump wins. There seems to be an attitude among many that this can’t be allowed.

      But more than likely he won’t win and we won’t have to put such speculation to the test.

      Reply
      1. periol

        Whether or not hypocrisy is why most critics are attacking the Harper’s letter, the article you quoted presented much more substantive issues with the letter than hypocrisy. It’s a very good post, a good read, and pretty much perfectly expressed my personal issues with the letter. My thanks to RTL for posting.

        Reply
    2. furies

      Thank you for posting that.

      I forgot how hated anyone who brings up Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians have been *for years* now.

      And Julian Assange’s treatment by his gaolers never is spoken of.

      Reply
  20. noonespecial

    Re: Strike/Classwarfare
    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v7gzd8/targets-gig-workers-will-strike-to-protest-switch-to-algorithmic-pay-model

    From Vice, Target store gig workers go on strike this week calling attention to a platform-based/AI pay-your-salary format:

    “Gig workers on Target’s delivery app Shipt will strike on July 15 to protest the rollout of an algorithmic pay model that they claim has reduced wages by 30 percent in cities where it has been tested…[Shipt’s response in the article:] ‘Each metro area has unique characteristics that can affect the shopping experience,’ the post continued…Shipt aims to provide compensation in each metro that is market competitive, which means similar orders in size and estimated drive time may pay out differently in various areas of the country.”

    Shipt’s spokesperson could have been cast as one of the efficiency experts in Office Space.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnJzct7h3Dk

    Reply
  21. Alex Cox

    The author of the New Yorker piece about college students writes, “Young people attend college to learn how to think, and thinking is rarely accomplished in solitude.”

    Do they really believe this? Pretty much all my thinking is done in solitude.

    Reply
  22. JWP

    New Yorker piece on college students not only is misleading in its headline but reads like a children’s fairytale of hope for the young people. Where is this “ingenuity” they talk about when most of us are throwing huge parties and going out without masks. Where is the “creativity” in buying up cheap airline tickets to travel across the country for fun and spread more disease? Why can’t educated adults wake up an accept college kids are the absolute worst group of people to handle and help a pandemic. I would trust maybe one or two of my friends to remain truly safe during all of this. Even ones I find smart and creative are completely blind to the disease and what it does to you and your loved ones and how it spreads. This article for some reason suggests otherwise and is completely wrong.

    Not until we have graduated or started working (if there’s jobs) and face the world beyond our parents support will there be a reckoning and wakeup for Gen-Z. It’s relatively easy to protest and hold those opinions. It’s not easy to see beyond the curtain of news put up my the MSM (including the likes of Vox, Vice,etc) and see the economic factors gutting everyone’s lives. I seldom see this recognized by my peers because its not popular or simple to dig deep and become informed. Until that changes, nothing suggesting Gen-Z is the “hope” for America has any validity.

    Being a realist about this has not lent itself to much support, but with each friend that loses a job, can’t pay rent, has to drop out, more start to see the bigger picture.

    Reply
  23. Maritimer

    Coronavirus: South Africa bans alcohol sales again to combat Covid-19 BBC

    A perfect example of Epidemiologist Exhaustion. SA says no booze, while the British government acts as if getting the population boozing will help with Covid. In my jurisdiction, the government has taken advantage of Covid to now offer Takeout Booze, MADD where are you?

    Hard to expect people to even look at so-called “science” when these glaring contradictions are trotted out daily.

    (Why did the Economists and Epidemiologists have a convention together?
    To compare how wrong their recommendations were.)

    Reply
  24. ewmayer

    Duda wins Polish presidential election: preliminary result | Politico — Ahem, that’s El Dudarino to his friends. Now where’s that White Russian I just mixed?

    [See, no coincidence that both Duda and Lebowski are Polish names.]

    Reply
  25. KFritz

    The antidote is gorgeous. The ?ochre? plumage around its face is the brightest color I’ve ever seen on an owl! Thanks!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *