Links 7/14/2020

Trump Administration Plants 137,000 Corpses In Fauci’s Bed To Frame Him For Coronavirus Deaths The Onion

Airshow canceled over concerns of being too boring Duffelblog

‘It’s going to be really ugly.’ Here come the big bank earnings CNN (MH)

Inferno on San Diego Navy ship rages into second day San Diego Union Tribune

The Bonhomme Richard fire deals a blow to the Navy’s designs in the Indo-Pacific Defense News

The Tremendous but “Secret” Success of Socialist Vietnam Dissident Voice (jef ) Hoisted from comments.

The Threat to Civil Liberties Goes Way Beyond “Cancel Culture” Jacobin (Judith). Hoisted from comments.

Squirrel tests positive for plague in Colorado NY Post

How Long Can You Hide a Dead Body in a Prison Cell? Marshall Project


“No Return to the ‘Old Normal’ for Foreseeable Future,” Warns WHO Chief Common Dreams

Coronavirus: Hong Kong unveils most sweeping social-distancing rules yet as 52 new cases emerge SCMP

Covid-19 Reinvades U.S. States That Beat It Back Once (2) Bloomberg

California rolls back reopening plans as new outbreaks force major reversal Politico

Pediatricians walk back school-reopening stance as WHO gives dire warning Ars Technica

Coronavirus: Things US has got wrong – and right BBC

America Drank Away Its Children’s Future NYT. Paul Krugman.

17 States Sue Trump Over Deportation Threats to International Students TruthOut

The CDC has always been an apolitical island. That’s left it defenseless against Trump Stat


Why experts think the MMR jab may save adults from Covid: Childhood vaccine at heart of dramatic new trial Daily Mail

TB vaccine averts severe infections, deaths from Covid-19: Study Hindustan Times. And the underlying studies:  BCG vaccination policy and preventive chloroquine usage: do they have an impact on COVID-19 pandemic? Cell Death and Disease; and BCG vaccine protection from severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) PNAS

Compelling’ evidence air pollution worsens coronavirus – study Guardian

Communicating Science in the Time of a Pandemic JAMA

Potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria in low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study The Lancet

Class Warfare

Target’s Gig Workers Will Strike to Protest Switch to Algorithmic Pay Model Vice (noonespecial) Hoisted from comments.

After 8 Co-Workers Die of COVID, CO. Meatpackers Strike Again – Mass. Paratransit Driver Strike & More Payday Report

Elon Musk is now worth more than Warren Buffett as Tesla stock continues to break records CNBC

Google’s former CEO hosts an exclusive retreat in Yellowstone each July. You won’t hear much about it. Recode

How Trump Is Helping Tycoons Exploit the Pandemic New Yorker

Health Care

Millions Have Lost Health Insurance in Pandemic-Driven Recession NYT



Democrats are getting really confident, and that’s making Biden and Pelosi nervous The Week


The Renewed Dependency on Mercenary Fighters Der Spiegel


Russian space official Safronov charged in treason probe BBC


Coronavirus: Why are so many places in India locking down again? Scroll

Out of Work, Weavers of Famed Banarasi Silk Sarees Forced to Push Kids into Child Labour The Wire

Punjab, country’s grain bowl, facing rampant ‘de-peasantisation’ The Hindu


US rejects China’s claims in South China Sea drawing Beijing i e Al Jazeera

UK-China relations: from ‘golden era’ to the deep freeze FT


Queen Elizabeth not told before Australia’s historic PM sacking: archived letters Reuters

Forget about that overseas holiday: Qantas cancels all international flights until MARCH next year Daily Mail

Trump Transition

Commerce “Sharpiegate” report finally released without redaction Ars Technica

Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can’t withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities The Hill

Trump Financial Regulator Quietly Shelved Discrimination Probes Into Bank of America and Other Lenders AlterNet


Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Queen Elizabeth not told before Australia’s historic PM sacking: archived letters”

    I absolutely believe this (Grin Grin, Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge, Say No More!)-

    A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat, eh? And is today’s Antidote du Jour a Common Kingfisher?

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I usually don’t confirm until others have had a chance to struggle with the ID, but I’ll make an exception today. Yes! Especially as there’s no trick ID here and it’s very straightforward,

      And BTW, I had you in mind when I posted the QE Oz link.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Thanks for the link. Iif you click on the via, it also supplies the answer.

          1. KFritz

            If anyone’s still reading this, that kingfisher may be clinging to the top of some sort of metal fence/barrier.

        2. JEHR

          All those beautifully coloured birds makes me wonder if the dinosaurs from which they evolved were as colourful too. Gives me an entirely different take on Jurassic Park!

      1. Kurt Sperry

        The foreshortening had me wondering a bit. I love watching kingfishers at work, we’ve got a nice local population of them. They make interesting vocalizations too.

  2. timbers

    When I read the account of how the PM was gotten rid of, I remember thinking why didn’t that PM just the dude who “fired” him to “go family blog yourself” and then inform him the meeting was over.

    It’s been awhile since reading the account, maybe I’m mis-remembering some details.

    1. Basil Pesto

      He probably did tell him to go eff himself and much else besides but it doesn’t change anything: the power exercised by Kerr is vested in the Governor-General’s office by our constitution. The idiosyncrasies of a constitutional monarchy.

      See the subhead about Chapter II

      It’s not been used before or since, of course, because it’s a pretty politically fraught thing to do. The Governor-General (appointed to represent the head of state, who atm is Elizabeth II), in contrast to the (elected) head of the executive branch in the US (that is, the president), generally maintains a hands-off role.

      1. ewmayer

        “It’s not been used before or since, of course, because it’s a pretty politically fraught thing to do.” — What part of “it could be used at any time to overturn the choice of the Autrsalian public” are you not getting? And ‘fraught’? For whom? What adverse consequences did the UK suffer as result of the coup?

        Jeez, if you’re gonna pretend to have a democracy like we in the US do, at least do it right and put the bankers, corporate elites and unelected intelligence creeps in charge. :)

        1. ChrisPacific

          Regarding adverse consequences, probably the main risk was that Australians would take umbrage at this high-handed interference in their democratic process and give the monarchy the boot, leaving the Commonwealth and forming an independent republic. Just because it didn’t end up happening doesn’t mean it wasn’t a real and significant risk at the time.

          If Kerr really didn’t tell the Queen (or if that was the cover story and it held up) then she could possibly have averted such an outcome by dismissing him and apologizing. Regardless of whether she did that or not, or what the answer was, it would likely have been career ending for Kerr.

        2. Basil Pesto

          What part of “it could be used at any time to overturn the choice of the Autrsalian public” are you not getting?

          Well, I’m not sure? I rather thought my references to the constitution indicated that I was well aware of this.

          It’s worth bearing in mind as well that the political circumstances of the time (lack of supply, parliamentary stalemate etc.) provided political cover for the G-G to do what he did, whatever his motivation.

          And ‘fraught’? For whom? What adverse consequences did the UK suffer as result of the coup?

          For the monarchy with respect to Australia and the existing constitutional order/Australia’s position in the commonwealth (not so much for the UK per se). For example, there was a narrow republican referendum here in 1999 and I’m sure that the dismissal, being the massive controversy that it was, served as a catalyst for that and the republican movement in general.

          You may well argue that that’s small potatoes as far as consequences go, but I maintain that if the crown were doing this on a regular basis and willy nilly, the public here wouldn’t stand for it, and another referendum would be on the cards in no time.

          Hey, we’re by no means perfect, but there’s no need to lump us in with your naff kakistocracy ;)

      1. jefemt

        + 1 bazillion*

        *inflationary effects of QE + fractional reserve banking + ‘free market capitalism’ in the age of covid. Worry not, none of it’s real… just comes down to full faith and credit

  3. Krystyn Podgajski

    Regarding ‘Compelling’ evidence air pollution worsens coronavirus’;

    While what is in this article is probably a no brainier to most people here it just adds to an idea I have been having about resistance to COVID19.

    Air pollution produces superoxides in humans, and to get rid of them we need an enzyme called Superoxide Dismutase. We have three versions of this enzyme; SOD1 (Cytoplasim) and SOD3 (Extracellular) need Zinc and Copper to function, and SOD2 (Mitochondrial) needs Manganese.

    So one could assume that people who live with high air pollution will need these enzymes more and therefore become depleted in Copper, Zinc, and Manganese and these enzyme become less dysfunctional.

    But humans use these same SOD enzymes to fight all kinds of infections, including viral infections. SOD enzymes create H2O2 in the body which kills pathogens. So there you have the link to air pollution.

    But I want to go further and tie this into ABO blood types. Our ABO blood type is determined by an enzyme called ABO that uses Manganese as a cofactor. And gene changes in ABO that determine our blood type will determine the amount of Manganese we need.

    So it is possible that people with Type O blood conserve maganese better than people with type A or B blood, leaving more manganese for the SOD2 enzyme which will help kill the virus.

    Note as well that SOD2 gene changes increase the risk of cardiovascular disease so that would explain why people with these disorders are at risk.

    As far SOD1 and SOD3 and Zinc are concerned, well, I have been through that before.

    1. cocomaan

      It’s pretty remarkable how this disease is so much worse for urbanized, indoor-dwelling people.

  4. Clive

    Yes, I always wondered about this whole account of Gough Whitlam‘s departure from office. The entire incident has now got a veil of urban myth / grassy knolls about it, not least for the reason you state.

    I mean, if, say, António Guterres, Gina Haspel or Nancy Pelosi told Donald Trump he has to resign (for some reason or other), do we expect he’d simply go “umm, yeah, okay, I guess…”

    Why did Whitlam just roll over and have his constitutional tummy tickled?

    1. Basil Pesto

      See my post above. It comes down to our constitution, basically.

      The analogy doesn’t quite work because, per our constitution, it actually would have been a case of Donald Trump (head of the executive branch) unilaterally dismissing Nancy Pelosi (head of the legislative branch).

      This is strictly a legal analysis mind you. As berit helpfully points out, there may well have been other historical considerations that I’m not aware of as I’m not particularly au fait with the history of that time (and it was well before I was born).

  5. Henry Moon Pie`

    I saw Dr. William Haseltine last night on CNN talking about the state of research on immunity. He seemed to regard it as settled that this virus would end up being like its other coronavirus cousins like the common cold, i.e. with very limited and short-lived immunity. Asked by Erin Burnett how this impacted hopes for a vaccine, Haseltine said that it depended on the mechanism this virus was using to undermine the body’s immune response. The virus must be doing something to reduce the reaction to it upon return, Haseltine said. If that “something” was at the end of the infection period, then a vaccine could work because it would not include this mechanism. If the virus, however, has a way of “tricking” the body upon initial infection, then vaccines will not work.

    If Haseltine is right about immunity, and if vaccines cannot work, then the endemic situation is our reality. And if that’s the case, it’s game-set-match for our current version of capitalism. It turns out this system can’t really function without the churn of bars, restaurants, gyms and hair salons. After all, those kinds of small businesses employ nearly half of all American workers, and a consumer economy cannot function with the kinds of double-digit unemployment that will surely and more or less permanently be our lot. That’s why the hedge fund guys talking to Trump and the usual suspects like Kudlow are so adamant that our doctors, nurses, teachers, children and elderly all be sacrificed to keep the bars and restaurants open. What thwarts their efforts is the fact that even Americans are reluctant to play Russian roulette with their health to enjoy some microwaved mystery meat at Applebee’s or ogle the young ladies at Hooter’s. Who knew there were some things Mad Ave can’t manipulate us into doing.

    This old world is dying. I don’t expect that hoary Republican Majority, with its commitments to racism, misogyny, homophobia and above all, the High and Holy Invisible Hand, to survive their kamikaze crash into the virus. Obama and the Technocrats are ready to do their Gattaca thing with the add-on of risking a war with Russia so our gutted and prostrate nation can pretend to still possess Full Spectrum Dominance. With the old right wing going down with the Mammon ship, that means that the only remaining enemy of the Left, at least for while, is the Democrats.

    1. DJG

      Henry Moon Pie: Disconcerting. Yet I also think that your insights are true. An economy based on cheap consumption, pandering politicians, and broken solidarity cannot continue. Everyone must now be sacrificed to the God of the Market and the Ever-Angry God of Monotheism.

      What matters is to start to descry a future somewhere out there at the edge of the horizon.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        It’s the virus that will shape that future or at least the transition to it. We’ll be forced to yield to the cosmos, and it will be quite the learning experience.

        But it couldn’t have come at a better time. In fact, any later might have been too late.

    2. Ignacio

      All that we know point to the famous “herd immunity” strategy as almost certainly erroneous as there is proof that immunity wanes relatively rapidly in all other human coronavirus. Why this occurs it is not known but seems to be the “mechanism” that allows for human coronavirus to keep their incidence more or less constant year by year: they do not elicit long-lasting immunity.

      To the question raised by Burnett, Haseltine resorted to a simple answer that is good enough for a large audience when there is not time for a large explanation. Shorter answer would be: this creates more uncertainty on vaccine efficacy/duration that could result in various outcomes, like repeated vaccination campaigns, selection of individuals at high risk etc. To battle this uncertainty there are many different strategies being developed among the different vaccine candidates. This highlights another misconception on vaccine development from the business point of view: quite possibly the first candidates to go through clinical trials mustn’t be those resulting in best results and though these have the advantage of being the first to be tried, there are strong reasons to support the development of other candidates that could be much more effective, simply because their strategies might circumvent the problem of immunity waning. This means that we should be prepared for bad or not-so-good news regarding the first candidates being assayed but still do not throw in the towel until more of the vaccine toolkit is tried.

      I think that Covid-19 might provide with a big jump in our knowledge on immunity and vaccine development.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        “I think that Covid-19 might provide with a big jump in our knowledge on immunity and vaccine development”

        Unfortunately, I remember hearing the same thing about HIV vaccine research back in the day. It’s probably true and we’ve got HBV, Varicella (Shingrix) and HPV vaccines now, but just can’t get HIV or HSV. I wonder why.

        1. JBird4049

          I know not much about the human immune system, but what I remember is that HIV effectively burns out the immune system between the virus specifically attacking parts of it and constantly changing what can be called its appearance. That also makes it difficult or impossible to create an effective vaccine.

          It’s not like the virus is undetected or not attacked. It’s that the immune system has to keep finding all the new variations of the viruses that have changed their surface or the part that can be seen and used identify it while fighting off the direct attacks on it. Months or years later the immune system is so weaken that other viruses, bacteria, and fungi can infect and kill you.

          So a vaccine must be something that the immune system can always recognize whatever new variations there are. But it is because of that variability that it might be impossible to find.

          Add that the damn virus likes to hide away that even after the antivirals and the immune system have apparently cleared out it out of the body, it will pop out of its hidey-hope and start the infection all over again.

        2. Ignacio

          You are right, HIV has been so far a pain in the neck but the scale of the effort, the interest and the spending in Covid-19 candidates is orders of magnitude above that of HIV. This could change if an effective treatment was developed which is yet not the case as it was for HIV. Apart from this HIV and SARS CoV 2 are different challenges. Though all attempts so far with HIV have failed there are still opportunities being tested and these failures have given insights on how to try to do it better.

      2. Basil Pesto

        Given the problem of waning immunity described, do you think it might be the case that, yes, while a vaccine is certainly worth pursuing, it might be worthwhile if research into a ‘cure’/highly effective treatment didn’t focus just on vaccines but on, say, antivirals, or something entirely new? Or does the nature of the virus preclude this? (I’m sure my question betrays my ignorance of medicine so I hope you’ll be patient!!)

        1. Ignacio

          Indeed it is necessary to study new treatments and there are many research programs that will probably give some results but this will also take time. For HIV this yielded better results than vaccines but HIV and SARS CoV 2 are different guys and we might have different outcomes.

    3. BinDenver

      Before we jump to “game, set, match” for capitalism, we should recognize the current state of the economy is not due to the virus, it was a political decision. And those can change. When it does, we may not go back to 2019, but the economy will be much better off. Because for the virus to damage the economy as much as our lockdown decision did would require it to spread and kill something on the order of the Black Death. And this virus is simply not that.

      Whether you agree with my prediction of the future economy or not, at least quit saying the virus did this and remove all agency from our political leaders. We cannot make a correct analysis of cause, effect, and solution if continue that thinking.

      1. Otto

        Actually, it is. If immunity only lasts 45 weeks and there always exist a super spreader then it becomes a math problem eventually over a long enough time period everyone dies of it.

        1. ewmayer

          No – everyone whose immune system cannot easily fend it off dies of it. A.k.a. “a culling of the herd”.

          1. Procopius

            Errr… “culling of the herd” may require killing 95% of the herd. It seems to be that way with anthrax and hoof and mouth disease.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        You and I seem to differ on just how much effective agency our leaders have right now. Let them all declare the bars and restaurants open now and forevermore and see how their sacred GNP does as more and more die or have their futures made much more difficult because of–I’m sorry–the virus.

      3. Mr. House

        Thank you for stating this. Way too many people here and at other places blame the virus for everything. If you were alive and fogging a mirror in 2008 and had an ounce of critical thinking you might have imagined that this bound to happen some day anyways. Not to mention that so much of this doesn’t pass the smell test

    4. Darius

      I propose several strategies. One is to inoculate everyone with the human coronaviruses that circulate. I suspect that many people carry resistance to the COVID-19 virus because they have had colds from human coronaviruses. The other is a series of vaccines over time in which people are exposed to proteins from COVID-19, then small amounts of killed virus, then large amounts. I have no expertise, but a lot of curiosity.

    5. Pelham

      Great observations! Add nail salons and food trucks to the list of “service economy” employments so vital to our advanced economy.

      But one question: Given the country’s severe overhang of excess labor and the Democrats’ commitment to open borders, what position should the left stake on immigration? Bernie Sanders’ position of 2016 or 2020?

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Do you think many will want to come to the U. S. in–let’s say–6 months? It’s already very difficult to get out of the country if you’re not rich and connected.

  6. zagonostra


    It’s a small/exclusive club and you ain’t in it. It’s not the “…picture that emerges is Schmidt using the celebrity-studded retreat as a form of soft power” that’s is my reading. Rather, it’s the 0.001% arranging who is to live and who is to die while we watch the shadows dancing on the cave’s wall keeping everyone in thrall.

    The event seems to have adopted a veil of secrecy. More than a dozen attendees identified by the Tech Transparency Project — which itself doesn’t fully disclose its backers but says it has no corporate donors — didn’t return requests for comment. Part of the reason the event has effectively remained undercover may be that it’s held at a heavy-security club among the most exclusive locations in the country — “the world’s only private ski, golf and adventure community” that is limited to just about 860 memberships to preserve its exclusivity. Mentions of the Schmidt event are almost entirely nonexistent in the press, save a few in mostly foreign media.

    1. John

      Of course the activities of the Corporate Commissariat’s Central Planning Committee should not be public as they forge their next Five Year Plan for the glorious glibertarian neoliberal republic.

    2. IMOR

      It’s both that and a self congratulatory circle (and other) jerk, like the old Bohemian Club in NorCal or the early years of the Aspen meeting.

    3. juno mas

      Schmidt discovered the utility of these elite confabs from the Allen + Company summer retreats begun in Sun Valley, Idaho (ski resort) in 1983. (I lived there.) Initially the moguls met there in “hush-hush” but the numerous Lear jets parked at the small, local regional airport attracted public attention over the years.

      Schmidt was invited to the gathering when he was Chairman of Google in the early 2000’s.

      1. DJG

        Winston Smith: You are not bloody-minded enough this morning. And then:

        Marchons, marchons! Qu’un sang impur abreuve nos sillons!

        We’ll march, we’ll march. Let impure blood flow in the furrows. [Traduction DJG]

        1. Winston Smith

          Quite right. I never fully realized how bloodthirsty La Marseillaise is until I heard the crowd passionately sing it before the France-Brazil world cup final in Paris in 1998.

          1. wilroncanada

            Better than the Star Spangled Banner–whining about some ripped cloth.
            Waaahhh, they tore my shirt!!

            Most national anthems are ridiculous, including Canada’s. The words have been changed several times, and they still can’t get it right.

        1. Winston Smith

          Did not bother to google but I thought the second line was “les aristocrates on les pendra”

    1. Susan the other

      BBC reported that this was the first Bastille Day parade that wasn’t a military parade. Instead they are honoring health care workers.

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      I will never forget bastille day. I was lucky enough to be on Moorea @ the 2nd Club Med in 1967. There was always something going on but the storming of the Bastille was the best. We chose sides and some attacked the dock and others defended. Everyone got sunk the older ones got drunk and a good time was had by all. No beings were harmed except via self indulgence.

    3. Wukchumni

      Would the storming of our Bastille, be Boogaloo Bois avec AR-15’s assaulting a near empty armory?

    4. Alex Cox

      Jacobin is offering a reduced price subscription – $7.95 for a year of the print edition – today to celebrate.

  7. Watt4Bob

    It’s true that strong social distancing requirements led to high unemployment and hurt many businesses. But even America, with its ramshackle social safety net, was able to provide enough disaster relief — don’t call it stimulus! — to protect most of its citizens from severe hardship.

    Krugman attempts some dark comedy?

    1. Mr. House

      Yeah like all those people who still haven’t received unemployment yet. Not to mention that locking people away from other people would be considered torture in some circumstances. Perhaps Paul Krugman should hang it up.

      1. montanamaven

        All of this bar shaming seems a bit Puritanical for my taste. And Krugman like many love-me-I’m-a-liberal types always struck me as prudish. “Tsk Tskers” or Holier than thou types from my Calvinist youth. That said, I am trying to be as responsible as I can without totally giving up human contact.

        1. Old Badger

          Nobody nowadays seems to like to talk about it much but if you look back 100+ years at the legendary Progressive Movement, a lot of those people were big-time in favor of prohibition. :-(

          1. Montanamaven

            Yes, a look back on the early 20th C Progressive movement is revealing and should be remembered. I was very influenced studying that period. I was so much more onboard with the Wobblies rather than the “Progressives”. Wobblies fought for more leisure time rather than just more pay. They were the working class.. Progressives were church going do gooders who also wanted to herd the poor into schools for indoctrination and control. “Progress” is not all it’s cracked up to be. I am not a progressive.

            1. Old Badger

              Always liked what I learned about the IWW. One of their slogans resonated so much I took it as one of my own: ‘We never forget.’

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Krugthullu always struck me as a day late and a dollar short on his good days, so I tend to ignore him. My gut is he hasn’t been panicking about the state of the economy and is trying to create a narrative that he was paying attention as opposed to sitting idly by. State and local governments are reopening because they can see the economic carnage unfolding. Outside the Squad types, what are Team Blue elites and their affiliates calling for?

      Republicans are Republicans. If you don’t offer an alternative, they are never going to even pretend to be reasonable. Betsy DeVos is bad? No s*@t Sherlock. I’m glad Liz Warren has figured that out now, but what was the oppositions alternative to rally around? In the end, he’s trying to excuse his class’s own behavior.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I suspect the neoliberal solution of “getting all the smart guys in a room” then ignoring the problem because it doesn’t bother elites is showing it’s lack of utility as simply producing a vaccine or a cure isn’t happening the way neoliberals expected. Given neoliberals aren’t particularly deep thinkers, putting together there is no cure for the common cold and Covid is sort of a deadly version of the common cold isn’t going to register right away.

      1. Mr. House

        Why would they care? Who has access to unlimited money? Higher ups of Neoliberalism or average schmoe? They only people suffering from this are the regular people as always.

        1. Massinissa

          They won’t care if regular people die in droves, BUT, they WILL notice when regular people stop coming to work. And that will make them very unhappy.

        2. Sutter Cane

          I would think that even those with unlimited money will want to leave the house at some point. Sure, their mansion is better than the average schmoe’s house, but once they’ve finally visited even all the rooms that they never went into before, they’re going to want to get back outside where somebody lesser can serve them. Can’t do that if there’s a deadly virus about. So even the neoliberal elite might eventually see a need to deal with the virus.

          1. Mr. House

            you don’t think they aren’t already? Its nice to have a 200 acre compound. I’m not talking about the 10% here. They’re too busy shrieking about other stuff.

    4. jr

      I was paywalled, here is someones repost of the article:

      I don’t understand how Krugman is allowed near a keyboard. His writing is classic, smarmy NYT-ese attitude; filled with stumbling logic and bogus “factual” claims; and a level of disassociation from the real world to rival that of the Japanese Emperor during the time of the Hideyoshi Shogunate.* Oh wait, that’s why he is allowed near a keyboard…

      *Movie recommendation: Rikyu

      It’s the story of the greatest tea master of all time and how his principals damned him. A beautiful film. There is a scene where he and his wife are doing laundry together, I can never forget the shades of blue that dominated the images.

      1. jr

        Here is a scene of Shogun Hideyoshi nervously serving the Emperor tea, doubtless the once rare white tea reserved for the Imperial house. Note the delicious contrast between the golden light of the tearoom and the much colder and subdued scenes outside. This is seriously one of the best films ever made, IMHO.

      2. KFritz

        With Chrome/Chromium, if you use the the ‘3-dot’ drop-down menu in the upper-right toolbar, hover over “More tools,” and right-click on “Clear browsing data,” you can read one new NYT article with each repetition of the procedure.

  8. zagonostra

    >Millions Have Lost Health Insurance in Pandemic-Driven Recession NYT

    Helping people keep their insurance through a public health crisis surprisingly has not gotten much attention..

    Really, NYT? This surprises you? Is it not obvious that to waste trillions on wars and use more than half the discretionary budget on the military while people suffer the most basic of needs, needs like healthcare that the rest of the civilized world provides to their citizens, is part and parcel of what it means to be an American in the 21st century. This surprises you? Come on man, you know the deal…haven’t you been paying attention?

    1. tegnost

      NYT pimping for a bailout of corps and insurance companies
      what about the poor workers, so far from god, so close to the c suite…
      the hype…

      The reality…
      “Lanny A. Breuer, named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America, is Covington’s Vice Chair and one of the leading trial and white collar defense attorneys in the United States. He specializes in helping clients navigate financial fraud, anti-corruption, money laundering, securities enforcement, congressional, environmental, and other criminal and civil investigations presenting complex regulatory, political, and public relations risks. “

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Not one mention of single payer or medicare for all in the article.. which would solve all these problems for cheaper.

      Just keep pimping for the insurance companies NYT!

  9. flora

    re: The Threat to Civil Liberties Goes Way Beyond “Cancel Culture” – Jacobin (Judith).

    This is a must read. Thanks for the link.

    1. a different chris

      Sorry, it is a mess.

      You can tell when somebody can’t find the simple point they started out thinking they could make when the word count goes to near infinity. They want to have it both ways:

      1) “Freedom of Speech”
      2) But not all speech!

      The argument is that you should be allowed to say what you want (true) but if somebody criticizes it in a way that you lose your job then that is wrong.

      So now the burden is on the people who don’t like what you say is to apparently, again as I said before, to manage to get published a thoughtful counter argument in some obscure but Important journal.

      Either we have free speech or we don’t. I mean this:

      >Despite his cancellation, Salaita does not support the Harper’s letter.

      Because he got “cancelled” due to his higher-ups cowardice. How do we address this? Not even mentioned in the Jacobin piece, it’s this force of nature, like a tornado, that nobody can do anything about.

      It’s unfortunate that our higher educational system is so screwed that Salaita can’t get a job at some other better university. But muzzling Cancel Culture – wtf. You know what Cancel Culture does? It brings these things out in the open because people are allowed to say stupid stuff. People like Salaita have failed to get jobs for bad reasons since “employment” became a concept, at least now we see the ugly reasons why.

      If they could even come up with a solution for the diametrically opposed 1) and 2) I listed above, it would just push this stuff underground again and we would never hear about the next Salaita.

      Just like we never heard about the minorities and women treated this way in the 50’s. Actually, treated worse because they never got the job interview to begin with.

      1. flora

        From Mirowski:

        “as Friedman once claimed, “the two groups that threaten the free market the most are businessmen and intellectuals” [….] 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.”
        -The Political Movement that Dared not Speak its own Name:… (2014, working paper #23)

        There’s a reason our higher ed system is so screwed now in a way that it wasn’t 20-30 years ago.

        See yesterday’s links twitter thread by James Kennedy and note carefully Chomsky’s reply to his question. It’s academics on the left who are most afraid of what’s happening, to the point many are afraid to publicly respond to the letter for fear of campus/admin retaliation.

        1. flora

          Shorter: this isn’t “a force of nature”, it’s a calculated political project.

          Everyone can say whatever on twit or where ever, but what out when it becomes weaponized for political or economic ends.

          1. a different chris

            I agree with everything you say. But how does the Jacobin article tell you how to fix it?

            It doesn’t. “They are afraid” – why? Not saying there is no “why”, I’m saying just the opposite: You won’t solve a free speech problem by prohibiting free speech.

            Simply, the Right isn’t going to stop Cancel Culturing just because the Left does. You are just unilaterally disarming.

        2. periol

          The higher ed system was plenty screwed up 20-30 years ago. It was just screwed up completely differently than it is today. The damage happened behind closed doors, where the power was concentrated with the usual suspects (the same place it is still concentrated today).

          1. flora

            You make it sound like nothing has changed. Or only changed in a tit-for-tat way. Very much has changed, and not in a trivial tit-for-tat way. The unis are by this time have seen public funding cut so much they’re cannibalizing themselves to keep the doors open.

            per Mirowski:

            “One of the best short definitions of neoliberalism I have encountered is the one by Will Davies, namely, the dependence upon the strong state to pursue the disenchantment of politics by economics. If that sounds like an oxymoron, well, maybe that’s the nub of the project. As Margaret Thatcher is reported to have said, “Economics is the method, but the object is to change the soul.”

            1. periol

              You make it sound like things weren’t bad 20-30 years ago. What you are describing is the end-game of processes set in motion long ago. Symptoms of a much larger issue.

              1. flora

                Things weren’t *this* bad 20-30 years ago. And yes, the neoliberal project was set in motion in the US 40 years ago with the election of Reagan (or even earlier if you count think tanks). The damage it’s now doing can’t be hidden from Main Street.

                1. periol

                  I take a longer view of history than that. This rot is endemic. Hundreds of years old, but now the infection is oozing to the surface for all to see. Neoliberalism is just a fancy name for new expressions of old ideas – how to keep the wealthy and powerful wealthy and powerful and running the world.

      2. Carolinian

        Wha? Salaita was denied a job because Dershowitz used his considerable clout to to threaten the University’s sources of funding. This isn’t just about Salaita’s freedom of speech versus Dershowitz’ freedom of speech. In SC they have passed a law that forbids professors at state colleges from advocating BDS. You are quite naive if you think this is just about differing opinions.

        1. a different chris

          I didn’t say it was simply about “differing opinions”, weak case of “opinions”.

          I’m saying you can’t fix it by adding more crap. There is no solution in the Jacobin article that isn’t “hey we can call out the things that Cancel Culture is calling out but do them right” — and then they don’t say how.

          And I say it’s because there is no way to fix this. It has to work it’s way out. New voices are coming into the system. Too bad, engage with them.

          >You are quite naive if you think this is just about differing opinions.

 literally *is* about “differing opinions”, strong case. A law is an opinion of what should be OK and what should not. Some Mormons think that polygamy is OK. We have a law that it is not. Well that’s a difference of opinion, sorry.

          You want your own law passed about Cancel Culture, don’t you? I don’t. See: opinions.

          1. flora

            The law is far more than a ‘difference of opinion’. One has the coercive force of govt behind it, and one does not. More straw?

            So, bending who can and cannot keep an academic post, through donor threats to defund the uni, is about more than “differing opinions”; it’s about financial force applied as a threat to uni finances. Chancellors and boards responding to the threat in a way to keep the doors open is not “cowardice”. I’d call the defunding threats extortion, but that’s just me.

            In academic cases what would help is increased govt funding of unis, back to what it was in the 70s and 80s. That would mean tax rates raised back to what they were in the 70s and 80s. (The billionaires/donors *hate* that idea.) That would make unis less dependent on the charity very rich men and corporations. That’s one answer.

            If you say “but tax changes and increased uni funding will take too long so forget it” then you aren’t serious. In the meantime, bringing all these evils to light is important.

            1. periol

              Academics losing a position is not a threat to free speech. It means someone is losing a particularly nice (for the academics) platform for their speech, not that they have lost the right to free speech.

              1. flora

                Why they lost the seat is the important question. Academics may not get tenure for failure to publish enough, failure to engage with enough campus/faculty/student organization, budgets cuts leading to position cuts across the board, being found guilty of falsifying data or plagiarizing other’s work: there are several sound reasons academics can lose their position.

                Losing a position because some wealthy donor/corporations dislike the academics comments or left-ish political outlook is not a sound reason. Losing a position because an academic is painted as ‘controversial’, and this ‘controversy’ scares the admin about the unis potential future budget hit due to conroversy, is not a sound reason. Its extortion against the university to silence speech for political and economic reasons.

                1. periol

                  This is not a new thing. It’s been going on for as long as colleges have had donors. The only difference now is that fingers are being pointed in public, rather than in dark smoky rooms by old white men.

                  1. flora

                    That’s like saying about a giant tsunami wave: it’s nothing new, we’ve always had waves.

                    It’s the increased scale, the force, the destructive power of the neoliberal financial assault on the university that’s new.

                    1. periol

                      That’s exactly right. It’s nothing new, we’ve always had waves. It’s just much more out in the open now: brazen corruption and stealing from the elites, and more public involvement and scrutiny added into the already bizarre academic scene.

                    2. Laputan

                      It’s just much more out in the open now: brazen corruption and stealing from the elites, and more public involvement and scrutiny added into the already bizarre academic scene.

                      And still none of those corporate or academic elites are subject to any accountability, but thank god David Shor is out of a job.

                    3. periol

                      Sure, I care why people lose their job.

                      I’m just not bothered by “cancel culture”. It’s been going on for a long time to people on the wrong side of power, and now it is also openly hitting the hallowed halls of academia, which were formerly ‘safe spaces’ from this stuff.

                      In general, I think it’s a good thing the power dynamic is being turned on it’s head. There are a few occasions where the axe has fallen on people who didn’t deserve it, and that will continue to happen, but there is lots of good in this shift along with the murk.

              2. martell

                No, I don’t think so. Freedom of speech can be greatly diminished when a majority of the population or a very active minority is able to prevent the expression of views with which they (the majority or the “activists”) disagree by making and making good on threats of various kinds: ostracism, denial of employment, etc. This is sometimes called social tyranny or the tyranny of the majority, and it is discussed at length by the authors of one of the more important books on the subject of freedom of speech and association: On Liberty, by the Mills, John Stuart and Harriet (better known as Harriet Taylor). It’s worth a read. In fact, I’d never thought I’d say this but I might have to read it again, just to get reacquainted with the many good arguments contained within which, it seems, now have to be made all over again.

                JS Mill, incidentally, would have laughed at the idea suggested in the Jacobin article that he was a man of the left. Harriet Taylor had socialist leanings, it seems, but JS Mill was an avowed liberal for most of his life and a well-known critic of the socialists (albeit a relatively sympathetic one). I bring this up because, unlike the Jacobin contributor, I’m not convinced that leftists, including the paleo variety, have generally placed a whole lot of value on freedom of speech. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was regularly dismissed as a bourgeois value in certain circles. And it is certainly possible to quote the later Marx to the effect that it is exactly that, and nothing more.

                As for the good question of what is to be done to counter social (as opposed to political) tyranny, I’ve certainly not given the matter enough thought to have a very good answer, except to say that additional laws are probably inappropriate. Rather, declarations such as the Harpers letter help stem the tide. Relentlessly criticizing these cancelation efforts would be good too. And ridicule would, I suspect, work wonders as well. I think Taibbi is right in his contention that these people (the idpol crowd, the woke, the progressive neoliberals, or whatever you want to call them) are a humorless bunch by and large. A battle of wit would be a fight with a defenseless opponent.

              3. Olga

                This reminds me of “how many angels dance at the top of a pin” kind of argument. An academician has a platform – a very important one, as he/she gets to mold the future decision-makers. Once de-platformed from a university, maybe they do not lose the “right” to free speech, but spouting their views on a corner or in the shower does not quite have the same ring.

                1. periol

                  “spouting their views on a corner or in the shower does not quite have the same ring”

                  So? The prof in Olympia figured out a way.

                  I admit to not placing much value in or on the academy or academicians in general. The academy has never truly been about “free speech”, and those academicians held their positions because they were good servants of the power that be. I’m not a fan of the job the academy has done “to mold the future decision-makers” in the past, and I don’t see the academy doing a good job now.

                  1. Olga

                    So, do you have a better way/proposal than universities to educate people? Plus, it seems to me you shifted the focus of the argument. (It was not about whether one approves of the academia or being a servant to TPTB. In my almost seven years at a univ., I had quite a few profs, whose views today would be considered uncomfortable. But back 40 yrs ago, there was still space for them. The whole point is that today, that space has evaporated – free speech or not.)

                    1. periol

                      Do I need a better idea? It seems to me that we’re shifting to a better model, with online learning readily available for those who want it. I suspect after the coronavirus there will be a few changes to the academy.

                      The academy used to be a place where it was OK to tolerate some “out there” thinkers. As long as they didn’t say anything too dangerous to the system, they were tolerated, and useful in their way. I don’t think the change we’re seeing originated in the academy, I think the wealthy and powerful feel rather invulnerable, and have decided to start silencing voices they might have tolerated in the past.

                      The academy has always been a “safe place” for the system – no true challenge to authority or the dominant paradigm issues from hallowed halls. Some students, sure. And I think, at least in universities, we are seeing dissatisfaction from students with the compromise inherent in what they’re learning.

                      My point is, there was never actually “free speech” in the academy or elsewhere. The complaints about the current situation arise because authority is being challenged in a unique and frightening way.

            2. flora

              per Mirowski:

              (10) The market, engineered and promoted by neoliberal experts, can always provide solutions [the neoliberals claim] to problems seemingly caused by the market in the first place: there’s always “an app for that.”

              Except, there isn’t always “an app for that”.

              The market can’t or won’t’ find a solution that requires public purpose, or non-market friendly solutions like higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, or subordinating itself to democratic govt underpinnings, like the ideas in the Bill of Rights.

          2. Carolinian

            You want your own law passed about Cancel Culture

            No of course not. We already have the U.S. Constitution. It’s doubtful, for example, whether that SC law is constitutional. Some of the new BDS laws have been struck down.

      3. John Anthony La Pietra

        One part of the problem is that no rights are absolute — because the suckers keep conflicting with each other . . . not least ours versus yours.

      4. Laputan

        There seem to be a few of us who are repeat offenders in beating this particular dead horse, but I think the key point you keep missing is that those of us who are alarmed by this movement are not concerned with bullying tweets directed at public figures like the signatories of the Harper’s letter. It’s doxxing random people, flooding their employers inboxes or feeds, posting private information – essentially harassing someone to the fullest extent on social media. And this generally doesn’t work with people who have real power; it’s only the admins or line workers that get the axe.

        I’m not sure what can be done policy-wise save for banning doxxers, which I would say is far more egregious than the already bannable offense of dead-naming. But it’s a thing, a thing that should alarm all of us, and pointing out that blacklisting has happened in the past isn’t a valid argument.

            1. periol

              Yes? Certainly the big social media platforms ban people for doxing. I’m just saying, America already shares your concern, it’s illegal. I suppose that means you are arguing for better enforcement and larger fines? TBH I’m not really sure what your point is.

              1. Laputan

                I did say there wasn’t much to be done with policy – much less with the law, which is obviously pretty ineffective.

                If you think Twitter is very active in banning this type of activity, you’re not on Twitter. Someone I used to work with just got harassed out of a job by flooding her, her boss’s, and HR’s inbox which, technically, wouldn’t be illegal, though tweeting her place of employment could be. Ever heard of the expression, “Twittter, do your thing?”

                  1. Laputan

                    I would characterize it as enforcement – “better” assumes it’s already happening.

                    1. periol

                      ZeroHedge got banned from Twitter for doxing, not that I care that much.

                      It definitely happens, though perhaps not as much as you want. Reddit is probably stricter than Twitter. Facebook is pretty strict about it too, once they find out.

      5. ShamanicFallout

        I don’t see it this way at all. I actually like the definition that Lambert linked to in the Water Cooler yesterday from Ben Burgis. It’s nice and concise:

        ‘”Cancel culture” refers to an interrelated cluster of trends toward mutual surveillance and hair trigger denunciation and public shaming that has different levels of impact in different political (and other) subcultures and in the larger culture.’

        1. Olga

          Not to mention that it resembles mccarthyism (or neo-) – I don’t like your views, so I am going to deprive you of your livelihood. No progress whatsoever in 70 years.

    2. DJG

      flora: Agreed. Besides showing that the mainstream of the Republican Party as well as the liberal wing of the Democratic Party are all too happy with censorship, the article makes the important point that the Left is the cradle of civil rights and civil liberties. (For those who are constantly posting that the category “Left” has no meaning.)

      In his book, Right and Left, Norberto Bobbio, some twenty-five years ago, maybe more, pointed out that the Left is animated by the values of the French Revolution: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

      Which I will English as Liberty, Equality, Solidarity.

      This is the program of the Left. Liberalism and the nihilist right-wing that dominates the Republican Party repudiated these ideals long ago.

      1. Carolinian

        Unfortunately I think you are referring to the paleo-left of which many of us here (often older) consider ourselves to be members. For example the left that once marched against genocide in Southeast Asia tends to be appalled by complacent attitudes toward current murderous US polices overseas. And yet these are barely a blip in most debates over who would make the best president. The Republicans killed off the “Vietnam Syndrome” with a vengeance and brought the Dems on board.

        And the media have played big role in this. Back in the ’60s many thought it was television that undermined the US intervention in Vietnam by showing what the war was really like. More than likely many of the poobahs back at headquarters thought that too. The movie The Post pretends that the WaPo was some kind of antiwar force when they had in fact been rah rah for the war all the way. It was the reporters on the ground who were the subversives and TPTB had to make sure that wouldn’t happen again. As Chomsky says, only right-thinkers get media jobs these days.

        1. Mr. House

          Here’s a thought experiment for everyone, why has this push on censorship gone into overdrive in the past five or so years? What are they afraid of?

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Political “outsiders” like Donald Trump who crash the party and the people who vote for them.

              1. Mr. House

                I think Bernie and Trump were feelers. Like a corporate survey your company sends out asking questions about what you’d miss the most if certain perks were gone and then a few months to a year later they are. They tested the waters with them. Wanted to see how we reacted, now that they know a large percentage of the country is unhappy. They’re trying to spin it as populism bad. That’s why Bernie couldn’t win. Trump is a bafoon and easy to hate, Bernie not so much. Also i’m implying that Trump and Bernie were in on it

          2. Mr. House

            Bari Weiss just quit at the NYT. She of such fame as defending why we need to be involved in syria and Tulsi Gabbard was an assad apologist on the Joe Rogan show. She made an A&$ of herself on his show by the way. Sadly she hails from my hometown and attended only the finest most expensive private schools in the area.

            1. cocomaan

              I heard that on JRE too.

              What’s interesting is that she’s ostensibly exactly the person the Times wants around. But clearly she’s having cognitive dissonance. Now she’s unemployed because of it. Hopefully she can begin being a more reasonable person.

              1. Mr. House

                “Now she’s unemployed”

                Ha don’t cry for her. She went to Shadyside academy and if her parents can afford that then they can afford a few years of her being unemployed. Maybe she’ll get a PHD in something.

          3. Olga

            I don’t think it is fear – it seems more to be the case that in spite of so much wrong in the society, there is a close to zero way to effect change (meaningful, that is). The original instinct may be (a good one) to right the wrongs – but real power is lacking. Cancel culture seems almost like a path of least resistance. But it can sweep in anyone…

            1. flora

              A lot of “cancel culture” outrage in the past 5 years seems to flare up first on twitter and Facebook. I remember Cornell and Facebook ran mood experiments in 2012.


              and the DoD seemed involved with funding


              Just some tech history. Not that any of this has anything to do with the rise of virulent “cancel culture” , the way it divides more than it unites, and its failure to change anything fundamental like predatory finance or anything like that.

    3. Detroit Dan

      Yes, I agree. I’m with Matt Taibbi over Nathan Robinson in this debate. The Marxist conclusion to the Jacobin article was weird, but this was right on:

      Robinson decries such comparisons to Maoism or what Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi has critiqued as “Twitter Robespierres,” saying that it requires guns and concentration camps for something to count as totalitarianism. Yet if you read the heartrending personal accounts of those such as Victor Serge who experienced the purges and the show trials, or Gao Yuan who participated in the struggle sessions of the Red Guards, or Dith Pran who experienced the collective indoctrination of the Khmer Rouge, you notice a pattern of pathological interpersonal relations that repeats itself over and over: a fear of speaking out, peer pressure, status-seeking through denunciation, a rush to denounce before one can be denounced oneself, self-criticism, public humiliation, a hunt for heretics, ostentatious displays of piety, and assertions that certain identities (petty bourgeois, kulaks, those who wear glasses, etc.) are inherently epistemically untrustworthy. These terrors of the past of course required material, economic conditions for them to emerge, but they were also built upon a foundation of morbid intragroup psychological dynamics.

      1. hunkerdown

        But neoliberals are inherently epistemically untrustworthy, never mind around children.

        1. Mr. House

          Ah now you’re getting at what i’ve been saying for a while now. If Neoliberals run about all of our institutions, and they lie about everything, when do you stop believing anything they say?

    4. Susan the other

      I wasn’t gonna read Jacobin, I thought Oh more blablablah. But thanks to you I did. Actually I began to distrust Trump a month or so ago, when he referred to Antifa as fascist. Not that powerful people aren’t extremely skilled at using idealism against idealists – that is an historical fact – but that powerful people are protecting and rationalizing their own positions long past a time for change. That in itself prevents peaceful evolution. Among Trump’s talents is one for twisting information – not just getting it wrong. It is also one of Biden’s talents. Politics is now a question of doing the least damage. I can certainly understand backlash, blowback and whatever goes around comes around. We are all reactionaries at some level. But I’m convinced that much more risk and bottled up frustration is created by politically manipulated “correct” sanctions. There should be a civil way to defuse frustration… not just smear it around until it doesn’t make sense. That just creates lost time when time has become precious. By addressing the shortcomings, the neglected obligations, of civil society we go a long way toward eliminating the seeds of hatred. It is always the job of legislatures to address civil progress. When they fail to do so, civil society fails. State and Federal Legislatures are to blame and sometimes it takes violent riots in the streets to get politicians to understand what their job is. After all, they are the same twits that gladly ushered in the apotheosis of The Market.

    5. cocomaan

      Cancel culture seems to only be effective because being “cancelled” means blackballing.

      Blackballing is easy to do because the economy is precarious and has been for my entire working life (roughly 9/11 to today).

      Ideas are more tolerable when folks aren’t one paycheck away from destitution and can say, “Screw you.”

  10. vlade

    Re the cancel culture letter – the same people saying now it’s the opressed who twitter shame (yeah, right, because the opressed have nothing better to do than spend days and days on twitter producing gazzilions of tweets) were the one complaining most loudly when it was the right shutting down some “righteous cause”.

    The good ole “one rule for me and another for thee”. My causes should never be allowed to be shouted down, but we can shout down anyone we want to. Right.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      I recently got into it over Freedom of Speech with a couple of people who seem clueless that FOS only protects one from prior restraint of speech; not the consequences of having spoken. Most of us learned on the playground in grammar school that comments can lead to hair pulling, nose-punching, and/or social isolation. Somehow we subsequently decided that the 1st Amendment indemnifies our speech. MAGAs especially.

      They overlook that their president, Trump, is suing or threatening suits for defamation weekly as a ploy to discourage criticism of his failed leadership. These same people pearl-clutch at police brutality protests as lawlessness (almost any FoxNews propagandist), yet it is free speech for people in military combat gear armed with assault rifles to invade statehouses, and now and then off an elected official.

      This cancel culture is our culture. We boycott the products of companies who are anti LGBT, or support white supremacists, or whose football players kneel during the anthem. Chompsky, et al., seem to have lost perspective about how the world outside their ivory towers actually works and has worked for centuries.

      1. vlade

        Yeah, I heard the argument of “you take the consequences”. Except the anonymity of internet makes it veeery easy to avoid consequences, just to fire off a tweet and ruin people’s lives, in a safe knowledge that it’s very unlikely anything can happen to me. So again, “conequences for thee, not for me”.

        The consequences of free speach still have to be legal. Yep, you can boycott. No, you can’t firebomb. DoS attack is web firebombing, so it spamming twitter with false allegations.

        Running a twitter campaign full of lies is a very easy way to destroy them – especially if they rely on the public image to any extent. The lie these days will not just round the world before the truth gets the boots on, it steals the boots. It’s close to impossible to fight lies, because there’s almost always a non-trivial part of public who wants to believe them.

        Yes, the spreading of lies and deceits was always with us. But only the last ten years made it not just industrial strenght (that’s the last half a century at least), but available to virtually anyone at no cost and no consequences. If you believe it’s a good thing, well, then I hope you’ll never find yourself on the other side of anything like that (I have known people who were subject to revenge porn. Do you really believe it’s “our cancel culture”?).

        1. juliania

          Excellent discussion, everyone. This may seem stupid but should not the ACLU, , American Civil Liberties Union, (if it still exists,) be in on this for the examples you give here? NC just recently linked to a surprising ruling of the Supreme Court that went against Oklahoma practices against Native American nations that have been happening for centuries – where the majority gave a decision that Chief Justice Roberts was not a part of. I haven’t been able to find much commentary that I could access on that but in perhaps the same way we could hope for legal ramifications to finally catch up with technological smears that take this form of punitive action against free speech. It would be a worthy case for the Supremes, I would think.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Inferno on San Diego Navy ship rages into second day”

    This article mentioned other disastrous carrier fires like the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal in 1967 and the USS George Washington, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, in 2008. But they forgot a spectacular fire aboard the carrier USS Enterprise back in 1969 which I still remember reading about as a kid in the newspapers-

    1. johnherbiehancock

      At first, I assumed it was the same USS Bonhomme Richard that served in Vietnam (and was commanded by Admiral Stephen Morrison, Jim Morrison’s dad), and was a retired ship… but a family member in the area just told me that, no, this USS Bonhomme Richard was launched in 1997, and was very much on the active duty roll.

      Yikes. Losing an entire assault carrier to a fire in peacetime is another black eye for the Navy…

      1. The Rev Kev

        The USS Bonhomme Richard that served in ‘Nam was an old WW2 era Essex-class carrier and was actually launched by John McCain’s grandmother would you believe. The present one you may have seen used in the 2012 film “Battleship.” Can’t wait for the stories to come out at how this ship became toast. At least nobody was killed in the explosions or fires which is good news.

        1. Johnonomus

          And didn’t John McCain (senator and grandson) bear some sort of responsibility for the Forrestal accident?

      2. occasional anonymous

        I of course hope no one dies or is seriously injured (five are still in hospital as of right now), but I’m taking a distinct pleasure in watching this pointless weapon burn to ash.

    2. Dr. Roberts

      Some think it may not be a coincidence that a very similar Chinese vessel caught fire back in March. If that incident was some sort of sabotage, there’s the possibility of this being a proportionate response.

      1. ambrit

        If that theory has “sea legs,” it is very worrying. The fire happened at the San Diego Navy Base. Probably one of the most “secure” places around. For the ChiComs or anyone to infiltrate there is a major feat.
        From what information I have gleaned, my money is on pure stupidity and carelessness as to the cause of the fire. Industrial level work was being done onboard the vessel. Most of the crew were elsewhere. If the ‘lowest bidder’ got the contract, look to find that ‘cost cutting’ is at the root of it all.

        1. tegnost

          It’s a sign of the times that we don’t need any help burning it all down, we just need to go on with business as usual.

        2. Watt4Bob

          If the ‘lowest bidder’ got the contract, look to find that ‘cost cutting’ is at the root of it all.

          IIRC, there was something like a $15 million fire caused on a nuclear submarine a few years ago, by a love-sick contract employee who wanted to visit his girlfriend, and so started a fire in a wastebasket onboard the boat in order to get off work early.

          1. hunkerdown

            I’m awestruck by the clarity and rightness of that man’s orientations in the greater context. #NotAllHeroesWearCapes

  12. ObjectiveFunction

    Re the Vietnam piece:

    A massive attempt by the United States and Europe to derail the socialist system, using Western-sponsored NGO’s and individuals inside the country, was identified and decisively defeated. Pro-Communist and pro-Chinese factions inside the government and the Party have overpowered those who were trying to derail Vietnam, pushing it towards the West.

    I’ve been doing business in Vietnam regularly (with entrepreneurs and officials, both North and South, city and rural) since 2013. And I am as big an admirer as the writer, but WTH? he seems to have been time traveling back to c.1985 or something.

    It is quite entirely true the Vietnamese people have heroically ejected one foreign hegemon after another, and they very much like everyone to know that! It is quite an admirable record. But today, the state and people are hardly shaking their fists and AK47s defiantly at demon foreigners.

    That is, with one notable exception: their overbearing Chinese neighbors (who had better hope the Vietnamese don’t acquire some advanced naval striking power; oh wait, they are!) And, lol, any ‘pro-Chinese’ elements might be taking their money but that’s about as far as their loyalty is going to be allowed to go. And they know it.

    …. Au contraire, foreigners, including Americans (and French, and Chinese), are quite entirely welcome, along with their money. It is also quite obvious that we are guests, with strictly limited rights of ownership and zero extraterritoriality, and that the Vietnamese authorities (there are many, and that can be complicated!) expect to enforce the spirit as well as the letter of their agreements. Short form: you simply don’t get to tell them what to do on their soil. Full stop.

    And while they’re imitating aspects of the Chinese development model, they also know better than to try to become an alternate Middle Kingdom, with bloated SOEs. In general, the Vietnamese I’ve gotten to know well view Germany and Nordic societies as superior DW models for them: world beating tech skills, strong social cohesion and order, but never going to be the biggest kid in the sandbox and surrounded by rivals.

    Anyway, that’s my own experience, for what it’s worth, and I’ve never lived there. But I just found this guy’s viewpoint to be… way out in left field, quite literally, as a brief for understanding Vietnam and the Vietnamese today.

    1. Winston Smith

      I forwarded the piece to my son who worked there (on his own) for a summer and is going back for a Fulbright. He thought the article was seeing the country with rose colored glasses

    2. jef

      There is no question that Vltchek has developed a very different viewpoint, unique even, as he has lived a life very different from most but he also quotes from several world class studies done placing Vietnam very high or at the top of the list of 151 countries for quality of life. He is also talking about 20 years ago when he was there. My friends who have been there say that it is not so much the high quality as the distinct lack of squalor and suffering that stands out.

      “A massive attempt by the United States and Europe to derail the socialist system…” Unfortunately we here in the west are suffering greatly from this same dynamic used on us by the very same people.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        There are a lot of variables that make up ‘quality of life’ of course; Vietnam has boomed since 2000, so it’s logical people feel good about life and opportunity. I honestly don’t know how much to ascribe to ‘Socialist’ command, control and redistribution, and how much to Vietnam being a fundamentally ‘rich’ land with strong social harmony, in spite of a simply awful 50 years, plus the alien landlord/debt peonage system the French imposed.

        Postwar Vietnam prioritized polytechnic STEM education (as Commies do very well!), and then put the graduates to work industrializing, largely on autarkic principles, including related infra (they inherited a solid base in spite of war damage). But most of this plant is being replaced in the current boom, as its quality was very poor — believe me, I’ve seen a whole bunch of it. (French era roads, rails and buildings are more durable, as is the ancient hand built/dug rural infra – dikes, banks, etc.).

        As I understand it, driving out the Chinese trading classes (boat people) postwar created severe disruptions in towns and cities. But Vietnam’s rural villages have always organized communally to ensure self-sufficiency (even more so than other Asian rice cultures, which is what makes them so formidable).

        So the people didn’t suffer ‘Great Leap Forward’ type disruptions or famine under VCP rule. The State also carefully gated migration from paddy to city. Ergo, no teeming slums: mind you, there aren’t too many left in Thailand and Indo either (what now must we do?)

        Since 2013 though, I don’t honestly see a huge difference in material life between rural/small town Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Burma, Cambodia and the Philippines, otoh, are definitely well behind (squalor remains widespread). I do see a lot of underemployment; a lot of guys sitting around (napping in hammocks is very Vietnamese), especially older men. But they aren’t indigent. Vietnam of course has far fewer houses of worship than Indo or Thailand, although they’re coming back.

        Broadly, the provincial and district officials and ‘ex’-officials who are the entrepreneur class run things, and live in big houses with servants. Much the same in Indo; each major town is built around blocks and blocks of low rise buildings housing a multiplicity of departments and agencies. So, ‘socialism’? Thailand too has a maze of byzantine state entities, but their capitalist class is more separate (and also heavily Chinese).

        Anyway, I’m over my (voluntary) single NC thread word limit, so enough. I hope this is interesting.

        1. Olga

          From my experience, there is a huuuge difference between rural life in Indonesia and Myanmar – and Thailand and Vietnam. Never seen slums like in Indonesia, even favelas seemed better by comparison (marginally).

  13. Tom Stone

    According to my local fishwrap 23 Million Americans are facing eviction over the next few months.
    Millions have lost their health insurance.
    it looks like the Post Office will be going out of business as a result of a bi partisan effort ( Lots of nice Real Estate and lots of pension money to loot).
    In an election year, during a pandemic.
    This might have an effect on those plans to have people vote by mail…
    Why do I suspect that our betters will try to deal with this by enacting a tax credit?

  14. Patrick Donnelly

    The Tremendous but “Secret” Success of Socialist Vietnam Dissident Voice (jef )

    Tried posting this in Facebook.

    Got a red margin all around it and also when posted as a comment in an existing post….. Verrrry interesting?

    1. hunkerdown

      US social media has been censoring links from dissident publications for some time now, in cooperation with neocon think tanks. If you wish to complain, call the Atlantic Council.

    2. Olga

      VVVeeerrryyy, indeed – after all, we cannot have – under any circumstances – “success” and “ocialism” in one sentence. No, sireee, no way… just would not do!

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Forget about that overseas holiday: Qantas cancels all international flights until MARCH next year”

    Put this under the category heading of the best laid plans of mice and men. Scotty from Marketing in Oz was going to have opened all the State borders in Oz on one day this month. It was going to be glorious. You would have planes flying internal tourists all over the country and there would be no restrictions worth worrying about. And of course he was going to step forward and take credit for it all and big note himself.

    But wait, there’s more. He was trying to put together a group of countries that were going to be clear of the virus and who would be allowed to open up the borders to each other. It was going to include Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Israel and a few other countries. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry was all gung-ho for it because markets. Qantas would of course be flying tourists to and from these countries and it would be great for the economy.

    Well, all that is gone now. Scotty and the States of Victoria and New South Wales opened up way too early because they prioritized firing up their economies again. They said everybody had to get back to work and if that meant that little Johnny and little Mary also had to go back to school before the pandemic was over, well, sacrifices do have to be made. Serves the little b******s right.

    So now we have Victoria under lockdown again and it looks like New South Wales may have to go the same way. The other States are putting restrictions on people from Victoria and parts of NSW. Just the other day, six young Victorians tried to sneak into Queensland looking for work and so each copped a $4,000 fine for their troubles. So all those Qantas aircraft will stay exactly where they are. Parked along the runways and rotting in the sun.

    1. bwilli123

      First round was always a leaky shutdown. Overseas travelers were not required to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine until 28 March. Arrive from an overseas hotspot and they would just wave you through.
      And even then you could refuse testing (as 5,000 did in Victoria) because why would you want to find out you were asymptomatic and not be able to work ( there being no paid pandemic leave) That situation only changed in the last 2 weeks as a result of Public outrage.
      The Federal Government openly admitted to herd immunity as an option at the beginning. Our Prime Minister enthusiastically repeating that he’d been advised this course by Boris Johnson. After an outcry they subsequently publicly disavowed this supposedly aiming instead for ‘suppression’.
      Suppression rather than elimination provides a multitude of choices that you can enact to make it look like you are doing something. Subsequent Government public statements and policies (backed by Big Business) have always tended towards the easiest, cheapest and shortest term fixes, as against taking a big hit and fixing the problem once and for all like NZ.
      Ironically this failure to act will end up costing more in the long run.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I had forgotten those first contacts between Scotty and Boris about how great herd immunity was. Thanks. Maybe someone should tap Scotty on the shoulder and tell him that by going for suppression, that all those hundreds of billions of dollars spent doing so? He may as well have used them for a bonfire as he has to start off from square one again but with more local transmission cases than before. Six months effort all down the toilet and we may be going into nation-wide lockdown again. And just this morning on TV I saw a bunch of media bobble-heads talk about how they wonder if masks do any good at all. And more people are dying. And all those businesses that said open up early are now going to have to shut down again because all they could see was that quarter’s financial statement. A total clusterf***.

    2. Foy

      NSW Premier Ms Berejiklian just said they wont be locking down again. “…we have to live with it. We cannot shut down every time we have a cluster of cases. We cannot keep shutting down, reopening, shutting down and reopening.”

      I can’t believe it, is she not seeing what is happening in various states in the US? How much evidence does one need. Hope she has her resignation letter in the top draw ready to go in two months time.

      So we will be toast as well. So goes NSW so goes Australia, or at least the East Coast anyway, that big desert might be a barrier for the West.

      And just heard that four Victorian guys got caught trying to stow away on a freight train to South Australia. They are getting inventive.

      1. The Rev Kev

        What is wrong with that woman? Seriously? The infection from that hotel is spreading left, right and center and now there are at least two hot spots in Sydney. I think that it will end up with the State borders locking down again and this time nobody will listen to Scotty from Marketing, Gladys Berejiklian or Daniel Andrews have a whinge about how it is not fair to businesses. Gaacchh! Hundreds of billions of dollars all flushed down the toilets just to try to make the Chamber of Commerce and Industry happy and now we are back in March again. No, worse. Back in March we did not have much local transmission.

        1. Foy

          Yep Rev it’s way worse than March now. The big lesson has been to be really really proactive and squash it as soon as there is a hint of an increase in spread and live with the restrictions for a while and eradicate it if you have the opportunity, not be reactive after the fact, by then its waaay too late, and now NSW is not reacting at all. Toast.

          1. The Rev Kev

            F***! Scotty from Marketing on TV now saying that he will not move to an eradication of the virus but what he is doing is working right now and it would not be good for the economy or unemployment to do otherwise. The NSW Health Minister saying that we just have to get use to it. People are still dying but that is OK because he reckons that most of infections is just returning travelers. They also say that sequencing proves that the virus in NSW came from Victoria. No s*** Sherlock. I would say more but I think that I would be using much un-Christian like language-


            1. Foy

              I would love to know the discussions going on in those elevated echelons. What do they think the situation on the ground is going to look like in 3 months, 6 months time? Do they really think it will still look like it is now, magically different from everywhere else in the world who is opened up and let it run?

              Has everything got so short term they can’t see past this week? Has business been chirping in their ears so much that they can’t hear anything else? Or perhaps it’s “Ok guys in 3 months time we are going to look like Florida or worse, we can live with that”? Are the Chief Medical Officers and department of health ok with this?

              And I wonder how much the drive to keep govt spending/support down is behind these decisions as well, given their ‘surplus’ mentality.

              I’m flabbered which is short for flabbergasted or flabberblasted as one of our sports journalists when he has been on the turps likes to say. In fact hand me a bottle…

            2. Foy

              “Mr Morrison says the strategy relies on the strength of state and territory health systems, and their ability to track and trace coronavirus cases, along with adherence to social distancing rules.”

              Victoria track and tracing is now already starting to get overwhelmed with the daily volume of 200+ new cases, which means that idea breaks down very soon…

              I need more turps…

              1. The Rev Kev

                You don’t think that Scotty has decided to go with herd immunity, do you? It is the only thing that explains what he is saying. By having the virus run rampant here in Oz, he can then say that we might as well bring in all those cruise liners and overseas tourists and won’t that be good for the economy.

                I still can’t believe it. Victoria is being turned into Florida and State & federal health leaders are saying that like inevitable rape, you may as well lay back and enjoy it. I really hope that WA, SA, NT, Tasmania & Queensland shut their border pretty damn quick before it overwhelms the medical resources for the entire country. And I am saying this as an ex-New South Welshman.

    3. Basil Pesto

      Qantas missives have been coming thick and fast. I enjoyed this one yesterday which seemed rather desperate:

      World-class destinations are waiting for you right here at home and as travel restrictions ease, we’ll be ready to take you there.

      For the rest of 2020, Classic Flight Reward seat availability will be increased by up to 50% to the most popular destinations in Australia and New Zealand (when flights recommence). And you can continue to enjoy more flexibility^ and the same great value as ever.

      Your points will now go even further with Qantas Hotels. With a 20% reduction in the number of points needed for Points Plus Pay hotel bookings until the end of the year, you can enjoy even better value.±

      When the time is right, we’re here to make your travel dreams a reality. All you have to do is decide where to go.

      Mind you, I will absolutely be getting a reward flight to new zealand when NZ deems us healthy enough to come visit

  16. ShamanicFallout

    When did a vaccination become known as a “jab”? Did I miss this one? For some reason I bristle at that. But then again I bristle at a lot of these modern locutions. Like when you see someone re-tweeting or forwarding something that supports, or sums up their position, they just write “This”. Or when they scold someone online and write “Be better”. Or what about “just sayin”?

    Off topic, as a thought experiment, I was thinking that if Trump really wanted schools opened in the fall, instead of threatening withholding funds, he would say something like “all schools must be closed completely. No in-person attendance at all.” How many groups and media would be pushing to open?

    1. Foy

      Jab is standard slang terminology here in Oz as well. Footy players often get a ‘jab’ at half time to kill some pain.

  17. Wukchumni

    “No Return to the ‘Old Normal’ for Foreseeable Future,” Warns WHO Chief Common Dreams

    Here we are about a month and a half into Sequoia NP being open and i’ve walked many of the trails in Mineral King and if I didn’t know there was a pandemic going on, it would be just like any other summer.

    The trailhead parking lots here are full and then some, although empty of people who all went off to social distance in the higher climbs.

  18. Susan the other

    Thanks for the link on the MMR vaccination. My doc just last month was adamant about my pneumonia vaccine and my tetanus vaccine. Both of which I got. (I got the tetanus because I’m the queen of spider bites, and always wondering what they are vaccinating me against!) I’m fearful of the “shingles vaccine” because I’ve heard chicken pox is an artful dodger so it’s tricky doing a vaccine. But I’m certainly not anti-vax. Just selective vax. MMR sounds like a good idea. Much like (it looks like a consensus) BCG is. These tried and true vaccines should not be in short supply. That’s nonsense. They should be producing them 24/7. Until Corona is behind us – since it looks like Corona is far more artful than chicken pox.

    1. Oh

      Doctors nowadays want you to have as many shots as possible because they get paid for each one separately. That’s what the cynic in me tells me.

  19. tegnost
    “The manufacturing proposal, the first plank of four initiatives Biden is planning to roll out in the coming weeks, includes spending $300 billion on research and development projects in clean energy, telecommunications, artificial intelligence and other fields. He would also commit to $400 billion in his first term for federal procurement of American-made products ranging from clean vehicles to construction materials. The promise of government purchases, the campaign said, will give businesses confidence to hire additional workers.”

    Because nothing says I’m going to help workers by funding silly con valley telecoms, tesla (clean vehicles/energy?) and AI. One of his minions must have proof read the piece and insisted on adding “and other fields”
    Business needs confidence but not people. That’s a republican talking point.
    Doesn’t look like he’s read today’s post at nc, financialization: tackling the other virus because I see nothing in his platform that even rhymes with it…

    1. hunkerdown

      The goal of bourgeois liberalism is to make sure everyone has a boss at all times. Giving money directly to the people, well, you see what kind of problems that causes in a system based on withholding others’ life essentials to enforce compliance and submission.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      And I love how the Bernie/Biden “task force”, where the demands of tens of millions of Bernie supporters would finally be realized, came out without even a passing mention of M4A. Despite the co-chair being a Bernie person “that subject was not tabled”.

      Not tabled.

      Let alone not examined, not debated, not analyzed, not proposed: Not tabled.

      So the winning approach proven and used by virtually every other developed country, that could provide enormous benefit and relief in the midst of a major health catastrophe…was…not…tabled.

  20. PressGaneyMustDie

    In regard to the current naval shipyard fire in San Diego, there was also a recent dry dock failure that severely damaged a new US ship under construction. Meanwhile in Russia within the last few years, a couple of shipyard fires severely damaged Russia’s largest floating dry dock and their only rickety aircraft carrier.

  21. occasional anonymous

    Elon Musk is now worth more than Warren Buffett as Tesla stock continues to break records CNBC

    He really is an impressive scam artist.

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