Links 7/20/2020

I suppose it’s possible to consider comet Neowise an omen, but I think it’s very beautiful:

Bacteria that eats metal accidentally discovered by scientists in the US CNN. What could go wrong?

US Covid-19 surge could trigger a double-dip recession FT. So much for the V-shaped recovery.

R Is for Recession Unless We Can Go Below 1 John Authers, Bloomberg

When the U.S. sneezes, the world catches a cold. What happens when it has severe COVID-19? Reuters

Tech’s Increasing Dependence on Foreign Students, in Six Charts OneZero

Landmark copyright infringement case against Qatar Airways to be heard in English courts PRS for Music (dk).


‘No mask, no entry. Is that clear enough? That seems pretty clear, right?’ WaPo. Very sad story; we seem to have outsourced mask enforcement to, well, essential workers. “No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.” Why is that so hard to understand?

‘Bizarre’ that face masks are a partisan issue, NIH chief says Los Angeles Times

* * *

Smartphones and COVID-19 transmission: What we know so far ABC

Coronavirus can live for four days on animal skin: US military study South China Morning Post

Australian researches detect SARS-CoV-2 virus in wastewater from planes and cruise ships News Medical Australia. A single pooled test for aircraft!

Quarantine hotel sex scandal linked to coronavirus outbreak in Australian city of Melbourne CNN (dk). From July 2, still germane. Sex between quarantined international arrivals and — let me guess, privatized… Yep! — guards.

* * *

Russian Elite Given Experimental Covid-19 Vaccine Since April Bloomberg

* * *

Moderna executives hiked their stock sales after announcing positive vaccine trial CBS

Tiny U.K. Company’s Stock Soars 373% as Drug Cuts Covid-19 Risk Bloomberg

* * *

Fauci: ‘The Virus Is a Formidable Foe’ MedScape

State Department releases cable that launched claims that coronavirus escaped from Chinese lab WaPo

Isabel Schnabel: Never waste a crisis – COVID-19, climate change and monetary policy Bank of International Settlements. Read all the way to the end.

The Bahamas to ban most international flights as coronavirus cases surge NBC. Dang.

Sustaining Rural Hospitals After COVID-19 The Case for Global Budgets JAMA

‘The pandemic is gaining momentum’: Africa prepares for surge in infections FT


China’s central bank has better stimulus options than the Fed FT

China Churned Out a Record 3 Million Tons of Steel a Day in June Yahoo Finance

Global warming and illegal land reclamation add to severe floods in China South China Morning Post

China Seizes Tycoon’s Assets The Wire China

Tinker Tailor Soldier Investor – the problem with Chinese stocks Hong Kong Free Press

Doubts raised over widespread use of rapid tests in virus-stricken Indonesia Straits Times

Malaysia and Goldman Sachs restart talks in last-ditch bid to reach 1MDB settlement Straits Times

Malaysia losing up to 25% of palm oil yield due to labour crunch: MPOA Reuters


Media Conceal—or Celebrate—Depriving Syrians of Food and Medicine FAIR

The Inexorable Collapse of Lebanon Der Spiegel

Could War With Iran Be an October Surprise? New York Magazine


Insults, slammed fists: EU virus summit goes into 4th day AP

Banana Republic Corruption Craig Murray

London real estate having a normal one:

Trump Transition

Scoop: Trump’s license to skirt the law Axios. Based on John Yoo’s How the Supreme Court’s DACA Decision Harms the Constitution, the Presidency, Congress, and the Country, which was apparently too much, even for Yoo.

Transcript: ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview with President Trump FOX

Trump demands payroll tax cut while GOP eyes benefit cuts for unemployed WaPo.

Gunman posing as delivery driver kills son of U.S. judge presiding over Jeffrey Epstein lawsuit, wounds her husband Globe and Mail. This is the suit brought against Deutsche Bank by investors “who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies and failed to monitor “high-risk” customers including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.” So “Deutsche Bank” would be better in the headline than “Jeffrey Epstein,” but less clickbait-y.

Police State Watch

Portland Police Union Burns, Officers Assault Crowds During July 18 Protests Portland Mercury

50 Days Of Protest In Portland. A Violent Police Response. This Is How We Got Here. Oregon Public Broadcasting

Partially blinded by police WaPo

We Reviewed Police Tactics Seen in Nearly 400 Protest Videos. Here’s What We Found. Pro Publica

Pelosi, Blumenaur condemn ‘egregious abuses of power’ by Trump against Oregon protestors The Hill. Maybe they’ll send a sternly worded letter:

The laws they wrote, the programs they funded… “GAHH! Kreplach!”

CBP does end run around warrants, simply buys license plate-reader data Ars Technica

Our Famously Free Press

Worker-Run News Outlets Are Good News for the Labor Movement Truthout

Sports Desk

Opinion: NFL had the most time to deal with COVID-19 and appears to have done the least USA Today

Guillotine Watch

A private island off the coast of Ireland just sold for $6 million. The buyer only saw it in a video tour CNN

Class Warfare

Labor Group Pushes For Nationwide ‘Strike For Black Lives’ On July 20 Forbes. That’s today!

July 20 Strike for Black Lives: This Historic Organizing Effort Is Demanding Economic Justice for Black Workers Teen Vogue. The Teamsters weigh in:

Google and Lyft Workers Tell Us Why They’re Striking for Black Lives Matter Vice

There are two COVID Americas. One hopes for an extension of federal unemployment and stimulus. The other is saving and spending. USA Today

Hallmark’s Christmas Movie Schedule for 2020 Is Here to Make Your Spirits Bright Good Housekeeping. Something to look forward to at last.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. PlutoniumKun

    The Inexorable Collapse of Lebanon Der Spiegel

    This paints a very different picture than the regular tweets from Nicolas Taleb, who insists that the ‘collapse’ in the currency is really a long needed devaluation which has led to a resurgence in the economy at ground level. The Lebanese government is of course extremely weak, with real power residing in various religious/political/regional groups and authorities, so its not necessarily a sign of collapse if it gets even weaker, as so much practical work is done on the ground by non-governmental organisations, most notably of course Hizbollah. Lebanon also of course has a huge opportunity on its doorstep if Syria starts to rebuild.

    1. David

      Like Taleb’s, this is a partial view (the only kind of view you get in Lebanon) because it’s from Tripoli, the Sunni capital in the North of the country, where there’s been a certain amount of violence over the last few years. Of itself, the further weakening of the government is not that much of a crisis, as you say, because what counts for stability is on the one hand deals between the various ethnic groups, and on the other hand pressure from abroad from countries to which the various groups look.
      But there’s a difference between a government which is useless or even absent (as has been the case for long periods of time) and a government that actually splits. So long as there is at least formally a government, and an administration that answers to it, then the situation can probably be contained. But if the government falls apart, then power will pass into the hand of the sectarian leaders, who are essentially those who fought the Civil War. The weapons are still there. The nightmare then is that the Army will split as well. Hizbollah isn’t actually helping here, because it’s become effectively part of the establishment which is the problem, and of course its social activities are in practice limited to the Shia community. Trying to be a political party with a military wing and beholden to Iran yet still Lebanese is a tricky position to maintain.

      1. Olga

        Let’s remember that Hezbollah rose up as a direct result of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon by its southern neighbour (‘for every action there is a reaction’). The country was weakened by a civil war that started in 1975. While allied with Iran (terms like “beholden to Iran” obscure the complexity of Lebanon and sound too much like an msm talking point), it fulfills vital services. It is likely the main reason why – in the last 14 years – the country has not been attacked.
        Any position in Lebanon is a tricky one – for H. or anyone else. Singling out H makes little sense, if one is familiar with the situation in the country. But of course, we must seem them as ‘bad,’ since they oppose western hegemony.
        Additionally, let’s not forget the larger context of ‘west vs east’ struggle that is now going on, and within which Lebanon is just a tiny chess piece.
        And relate – nice parable on the current state of affairs from a former MI6 person:

        1. David

          Much of what you say is true, and Hizbollah had (it has less now) a high profile and much respect among the non-Shia population. Even Maronites talk about “the people, the Army and the resistance.” I was commenting on PK’s point about Hizbollah as a non-government force for stability and social work. That’s true, but it is limited to one community, and it’s clear that Hizbollah has lost some of its lustre in recent years, precisely because it has tried to remain at arms length from Iran while being trained and equipped by the Iranians and also sending troops to Syria. (The Iranians are not universally popular in Lebanon.) Its practical positive effect is therefore going to be less than would have been the case a decade ago. In my experience it’s almost impossible to persuade Lebanese that the world isn’t out to get them and that they aren’t as you say, a tiny chess piece in a huge struggle. But it’s important not to let this paranoia go unchallenged, because it prevents a recognition of the extent to which the Lebanese (or some of them anyway) are responsible for their own problems. All serious Lebanese commentators accept that the clan structure of the country, effectively unchanged since the end of the Civil War and manipulated for political and financial gain by the very leaders responsible for the war, is at the heart of the current problems. Likewise, rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a much more important destabilising factor than any great power involvement, whatever a Lebanese might try to persuade you of after a couple of Araks.
          In the end, it’s not about who’s good and who’s bad, or which football team you support, but the future of the country. I’m holding my breath at the moment.

          1. Olga

            Yes, i mostly agree with you. Lebanon is a very complicated place, with lots of interests colliding. The clan structure (in addition to other divisions) is a problem … (one wishes people could see past their noses)… and a big reason is that elites let themselves be used for outside-the-country purposes (if they think it’d give them advantage internally). But the Lebanese I know do not blame country’s problems on the outside… they are keenly aware of the tendentious attitudes of their countrymen (and women). In this context, Hezbollah is still largely perceived as principled and not easy to corrupt.
            But let’s give the beleaguered country a bit of a break – after all, it is a tiny place, devoid of important resources, carved out of the Greater Syria for one – and only one purpose (i.e., to give the Frenchies a foothold in the ME and as a consolation prize after the Brits snagged the Palestine and got to shape what became Iraq (ok, that is two)), with several groups, divided by religion, ethnicity, historical allegiances, access to wealth, and goals. Being stuck between Syria and Israel does not help, not to mention the US meddling (who can forget 1983?). And add to all this corrupt elites. Not many nations could prosper in such a difficult neighbourhood.
            Also, arak – or not – it is very difficult not to see the Iran-Saudi struggle as a subset of the west-east conflict. Saudis (who can forget their kidnapping of the Lebanese PM not that long ago?) would likely be much less adventurous if they could not rely on the big uncle’s backing. I’d venture to say that in its absence, Saudis might be just a tad more amenable toward some sort of a rapprochement in what is a centuries old squabble with Iran (ok, it’s more like long-term, mutual loathing).
            Left to their own devices, Lebanese may be able to come to some sort of an understanding, provided the elites begin to see themselves as a part of the country and not above it. Oh, and let’s not forget the neoliberal economic policies that are also in the mix – and not for the benefit of an ordinary Lebanese.

  2. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Tiny U.K. Company’s Stock Soars 373% as Drug Cuts Covid-19 Risk

    Another sign that Zinc is important. The “drug” is actually something we make in our bodies, Interferon Beta. When people are given Interferon Beta it increases another protein in the epithelial cells, Metallothionein.

    What does metallothionein do? It increases Zinc circulation in the body.

    So what they are doing in increasing metallothionein in the lung epithelial tissues which circulates more zinc in the pulmonary arteries.

    But we need enough zinc in the first place for this “drug” to be 100% effective.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        Thanks for that Carla, and no problem. Solidarity! :)

        I have been looking more at what increases metallothionin expression and fasting does as well. And note the linkage of diabetes and metallothionine:

        My family has a history of diabetes and early heart disease. I actually started what will be a 7 day fast today with supplemental Optizinc, good coincidence!

        1. Irrational

          I also learn a lot.
          Any thoughts on which zinc compounds? My doctor think orotic acid (if that is correct English) ones are the best for zinc and magnesium, best absorbed by the body.

    1. Dean

      Like many regulatory compounds type I interferon can have complex actions on cells. Interferon upregulates many interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs). Some of the ISGs can have direct anti-viral activity. These include pattern recognition receptors, chemokines, chemokines receptors, signal transduction intermediates, and several components that may directly inhibit viral replication. and

        1. KLG

          Metallothionein is an evolutionarily conserved metal ion-binding protein that is widely expressed in animals, Fungi, ciliates, and plants. Metallothionein expression is induced by “high” physiological concentrations of micronutrients such as Zn2+ (zinc II) and Cu2+ (copper II) and poisonous xenobiotics such as cadmium, mercury, and arsenic. While the protein can be considered a “carrier,” much like ACE2 is considered the “receptor” for COVID-19 and CD4 is the “receptor” for HIV, its primary role is as a sponge whose cargo will be excreted. This does not mean that metallothionein does not have other important roles yet to be discovered, or that zinc may protect some against the novel coronavirus.


          Note that this paper:

          was published in 2007 and has been cited 8 times since then. That is not nothing in 13 years, but it is not much. I’ll leave it to the perspicacious readership of NC to determine if those citations are any better than the original paper. I’ll also leave it to the NC readership to consider the publisher of this paper, Bentham Science Publishers, in the current scientific publishing landscape. If you click on the Bentham link at PubMed, you are directed here:

          You, too, can join the Editorial Board or become a Reviewer! Such invitations are the hallmark of predatory publishers, which have become a “thing” with the migration of scientific publishing to the Internet. I have gotten dozens (hundreds?) of email solicitations asking me to “Become an Editor!” of or “Contribute!” to these journals. The first scientist for whom I worked gets these invitations at the age of 94, 28 years after he retired. Since he published his final scientific paper before the Internet developed as it has, he can be fooled by these solicitations. But only to a certain extent. He usually forwards the emails to me, thinking he is doing me a favor. Google is ready when you are on so-called predatory publishers, many of which have pasted a veneer of seriousness onto their facades. But it is mostly veneer on a thin facade. Predatory publishers are not to be confused with legitimate online journals!

          This paper:

          was published in 1996. As far as I can tell, it has been cited 3 times in 24 years. The most recent paper of these three (May 2020) states in the Abstract: “Our data reveal an as yet unrecognized role for zinc intoxication in antifungal immunity and suggest that interfering with host zinc homeostasis may offer therapeutic options to treat invasive fungal infections.” The title of the paper is “Type I Interferons Ameliorate Zinc Intoxication of Candida glabrata by Macrophages and Promote Fungal Immune Evasion,” which has nothing to do with the current discussion but perhaps much to do with new strategies to fight systemic fungal infections, which can be devastating.

          Regarding the “Nah, it’s the zinc” comment, this paper:

          says no such thing.
          But it does point out that “Normal serum levels of zinc are around 12 μM, and the AREDS formula, which provides 80 mg of zinc daily, was able to increase serum zinc by 17% within 1 year. It should be studied to determine if this increase in zinc can prevent or limit disease duration for those particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.” Yes, it should be studied. But only a 17% increase after a year of zinc supplementation? Could such a modest increase due to the concomitant increase in metallothionein levels in response to the extra zinc, which may be toxic? Now that would be an interesting and easy question to answer, in virtually any biochemistry laboratory in the world in about a month if the tissue samples are available.

          Finally, that a scientific paper has seldom been cited does not mean it is not “true” or that it might have been unjustly overlooked. More likely, it may be simply inconsequential, and every scientist has published the occasional inconsequential paper; sometimes a good idea is really only an idea. And sometimes pressures to publish or perish result in a series of LPUs (Least Publishable Unit) that are only separate beads on the tenure necklace (administrators can usually count but they very often do not read). But picking and choosing papers to support a point of view based on a keyword search of PubMed, which is the authoritative repository of biomedical science, or excerpting without context a scientific diagram from a Google search page is, well, not particularly good practice.

          1. Krystyn Podgajski

            Just on this part “Regarding the “Nah, it’s the zinc” comment, this paper:”

            They know VERY high does of zinc (150mg) will rapidly increase Metallothionein, THAT is what is important. Not serum zinc.

            You know what they call doses of zinc that high? A pro-drug. Yeah, a vitamin that acts like a drug. Stupid isn’t it.


            The present results demonstrate that ZnMT is not only nontoxic to the kidney at a dose as high as 5 μmol MT/kg, but can also protect against the nephrotoxic effect of CdMT without decreasing renal Cd concentration.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    London real estate having a normal one:

    Oh dear. I can remember as a student in the 1980’s watching in amazement at a news report on an apartment sold in London for (if I recall) around £150,000. The catch was that the apartment was originally, in fact, a broom cupboard for the apartment building. This was just before the late 1980’s crash.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I wasn’t surprised to find the shabby cell being listed was in Notting Hill. The posh Westside London rowhouses that sell for millions of pounds and have Aston-Martins and Porsches parked in front remind me of nothing in the US more than US urban row houses often found in neighborhoods that are anything but posh. I’m sure the interiors are better decorated, but compared to a leafy US rich neighborhood like Shaker Heights OH, or Highland Park TX—two places with which I’m familiar—posh West London looks to me more like a US urban ghetto with better paint and litter pick-up. Plus every block of these houses in West London has at least one house undergoing some enormous remodeling project turning the block into a construction zone with noise and all the parking allotted to contractors’ trucks.

      1. JBird4049

        And suddenly, California housing prices are not quite as bad as I thought. Over a quarter million dollars for 79 square feet is a tad much along with the nearly $400 monthly for storage and service fees. Maybe the wall picture shown over the kitchen area should be replaced with Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

      2. Toni M

        This is roughly a 10 minute walk from Grenfell, closer to Westbourne Grove and Ladbroke Grove than the more expensive/exclusive streets in Notting Hill proper. It’s got some expensive real estate and nice cars next to a few low-rise estates (a mixture of private rent and social).

        I wonder if this was previously used as temporary housing for single occupants? My friend has bounced around quite a few of these while on the waiting list for a permanent flat (one that he got just two roads down from here!), and they all had this air of cramped desperation.

        A 1 bed 320sq ft flat nearby in Cornwall Crescent is going for £380,000, which considering some of the prices I’ve seen in zone 4, 5 & 6 of London seems like a bargain. How depressing!

  4. PlutoniumKun

    A private island off the coast of Ireland just sold for $6 million. The buyer only saw it in a video tour CNN

    I hope the buyers were told that Horse Island is part of an EU designated SAC habitat. This makes building anything bigger than a doghouse a potential legal and administrative nightmare.

    Its actually an incredibly beautiful place – its in a sheltered bay with its own microclimate, so its distinctly warmer and more moist than nearly anywhere else in Ireland – sheltered spots hold almost tropical ensembles of plantlike. The general area is very popular with English and Dutch and German and French expats thanks to the proximity of an international airport at Cork and the famously laissez faire attitude of the locals to anything odd, weird, or famous. The adjoining Sherkin Island even famously has its own very high class quarterly news journal, with many famous names in science contributing.

  5. John A

    Re A private island off the coast of Ireland just sold for $6 million. The buyer only saw it in a video tour.

    A Father Ted fan, perhaps?

    1. Gregorio

      Maybe they were from the SF Bay area where $6 million gets you a soulless mcmansion in the burbs?

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Transcript: ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview with President Trump”

    There was an odd moment there. Trump and the Fox interviewer were disagreeing with the mortality rates so Trump asks for a copy of them which is brought to him. He then says that the paper shows that the US has the lowest like he said. So the question is this. Did he see that he was wrong and just bluffed his way past it or is the information being given to Trump itself dodgy leading him to have beliefs so off from the reality of the situation. This incident is about 2 minutes into the film clip.

    On an unrelated matter, today’s Antidote du jour – I am betting that it is a Akhal-Teke horse-

    Goldfinger – eat your heart out!

    1. marym

      Maybe more stunned at having his imaginary self-serving worldview challenged than actually seeing he was wrong in the sense that it would have any practical implications. Time will tell. Maybe the US will ramp up testing today!

      There’s well documented tracking of his repeated false statements on particular topics, on many issues, not just this subject. Some of it seems mostly from his own head, and some from what was just presented on Fox. As far as people providing him with information, he has WH staff and department/agency appointees who don’t have the subject matter background or political inclinations to do good research either; and who also get their news from dubious on-lie sites.

      @ddale8 has done a good job documenting repetitive false statements without veering off into the political or inflammatory stuff like Russiagate. He originally had Toronto Star database. Now he’s at CNN and continues live-fact-checking almost any time Trump speaks, and posting summary articles. @MattGertz does the FOX/Twitter mapping. He’s at Media Matters, so an anti-Trump perspective, but he includes timestamps and screen shots.

      1. L

        To judge from the recent NYTimes article Inside Trump’s Failure: The Rush to Abandon Leadership Role on the Virus I think that the it is a combination of willful blindness and bad management. The article is a procedural that is remarkably fair to trump and harsh on Blix. It is also clear how much their ethos of “limited government” really translates to “no responsibility.”

        IHMO on some level he is a born salesman who has spent most of his career bluffing his way in and out of deals. After all on some level you have to in real estate since you are primarily selling visions of things that have yet to be built, or even designed. In that respect he falls into that mode of selling a vision and letting the details be done by others. That coupled with his apparent belief that the Federal government shouldn’t do anything means that he is not focused on the details like actual facts.

        It is also clear that he has crowds surrounding him that have their own priorities and perspectives and in for some of them “economic restart” ranks higher than stopping mass death. And that since he prioritizes “loyalty” among other things and so that creates an environment where people are more apt to massage his instincts rather than challenge them and where the focus is on building up a good image rather than on the long slow process of policy.

        I think that he alone cannot be blamed for thinks like the incorrect numbers. Someone is clearly feeding him crap. But, as the boss it is his responsibility to face the truth and to force good policy and he absolutely owns his

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Fascinatingly, Birx (not Blix) has a long history under administrations of both parties, including at the NIH and the CDC. She “led the HIV vaccine clinical trial of RV 144, the first supporting evidence of any vaccine being effective in lowering the risk of contracting HIV.” She’s not simply an Administration creature. So I’m not sure what went wrong for her.

    2. Geo

      A narcissist is never wrong. Remember the sharpie on the hurricane map? He thinks we’re all dumber than he is. Sadly, too many are.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Ashley Feinberg has pushed for a while that Trump needs glasses, can’t see anymore, and won’t wear glasses. So it’s possible, he can’t read and only repeats what he’s told.

    4. JeffC

      The graphs brought out to Trump showed case fatality rates, which are not what Trump implied: a primary measure of how well different countries are handling the virus overall. Wallace should have called him on it but did not.

    5. Glen

      Resisting urge to link to meme using Steiner’s attack….

      OH, I just watched some of them on this. They are horrible…

  7. jackiebass

    The recovery track seems to change frequently. I’m not an economist but have a lot of years of life experience with recessions. The implications are that a recovery will happen quickly, especially if the virus is under control. I personally believe any recovery will take a long time. A decade or more isn’t unreasonable. The pandemic has done so much harm that can’t be easy fixed. Many businesses closed for good. Peoples income was reduced. To have new businesses replace those that closed will take a long time. Especially since people will need time to make up for their lost income. Government policy favoring the wealthy and big business instead of ordinary citizens will make the recovery long for most. People don’t realize how many small businesses there are. I was amazed when I put my zip into a loan tracker how many small businesses there are. Many of these will fold making a recovery drag out.

    1. a different chris

      The pandemic has done so much harm that can’t be easy fixed…Government policy favoring the wealthy and big business instead of ordinary citizens will make the recovery long for most.

      Emphasizing that this was gonna happen anyway due to the (family-blog)’d up policies as directed by our neolib masters. There won’t even be a “recovery” if that doesn’t change. And the (economic) problem with the pandemic is it will give them something to blame.

      For all their money they seem to not actually own any mirrors.

    2. John Beech

      jackiebass, I tend to agree with you but not all business took it in the shorts. For example, we sent four home with pay through the end of July and didn’t take a nickle of PPP-loans – and we not only didn’t ask for the help, wouldn’t have taken if offered because we felt it would be better for those in real need to reap the bounty. As an American business owner, I was saddened to see the church collecting money, businesses with hundreds of employees who laid them off regardless, and other ‘abuses’ of the system. More, I am ashamed of them.

      NC’s lone Republican voter

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > any recovery will take a long time

      In the last recession, we had hysteresis for individuals in particular job categories. In this recession, we will have hysteresis for entire lines of business, especially small business. Of course, the Jeff Bezos’s of the world do very well in that situation, as does every digital middleperson.

  8. Mr. Magoo

    Re: July 20 Strike for Black Lives: This Historic Organizing Effort Is Demanding Economic Justice for Black Workers

    Interesting where nothing is happening. Absolutely nothing in the heart of Silicon Valley. So much for all that virtue signaling….

  9. allan

    From exactly 1 Friedman unit ago, this has aged well:

    Risk to UK of new coronavirus is currently ‘very low’: infection service

    LONDON (Reuters) – The current risk to the United Kingdom from an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China is very low, the national infection service said on Monday [January 20].

    “Based on the available evidence, the current risk to the UK is very low,” Dr Nick Phin, the deputy director of the National Infection Service, said. “We are working with the WHO and other international partners, have issued advice to the NHS and are keeping the situation under constant review.” …

    Even the commentariat on some family blog knew better.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes indeed, well called. And that reminds me, we haven’t seen xkeyscored here for a while, I hope he/she is ok.

      1. Ignacio

        That was the 20th January and we still didn’t know officially that Covid could spread person to person, the following day we knew. And xkeyscored comment underscored precisely the reasons why it was not known.

        1. Jeff W

          20 January—the day both the US and South Korea each had their first confirmed COVID-19 case. (And one headline in the Links referred to the disease as “ novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)”—it would be just over three weeks later, on 11 February, that the WHO would announce its official name as COVID-19.)

      2. Rod

        we haven’t seen xkeyscored here for a while, I hope he/she is ok.
        ditto–robust contributions for sure

  10. Matthew G. Saroff

    My gawd, that is the most beautiful horse that I have ever seen in my life, and I am not into horses.

      1. orlbucfan

        ABsolutely FABulous beauty of a horse! I am a lifelong horse fan. I had to study that picture for a few minutes to see that it was a genuine image, and not some cleverly done computer graphic. Bravo!

    1. crittermom

      I met a woman who owned several of those horses, in various colors, when I saw them in her pasture & stopped to inquire about them. She was happy to introduce me to them. I’d never seen such a breed!
      All have that metallic sheen to them & leave you awestruck.
      I’ve no doubt that’s an actual photograph.

      Their bodies are a bit different in some ways from other horses. They actually have very narrow chests & rather skimpy manes & forelocks, with high-set eyes.

      She told me they’re bred for endurance & are quite rare. My research confirmed what she said.

      1. furies

        I have experience with desert bred arabians: you know, from Arabia. Bred by Bedouins for long distances with sparse input environments. Great endurance horses.

        They are hardy, surefooted and not very big (also average 14 hands). Temperament-wise, they are calm and steady. These are your dish-y faced high anxiety arabians at all.

        “Drinkers of the Wind” by Carl Raswan is a wonderful adventure story about these marvelous animals. One of my favorite books~

        I miss being around horses.

        1. juliania

          I have a book about the Akhal-teke, “Sacred Horses” by Jonathan Maslow. The horses come from Turkmenistan, have an amazing history of endurance, famed for an iridescent coat. Lovely photo!

  11. Bruno

    “Bacteria that eats metal accidentally discovered by scientists in the US”

    “And he picked from the insect’s jaw
    the bright grain of steel”. (Steven Vincent Benet, last line of “Metropolitan Nightmare”

      1. Wukchumni

        Isn’t it pretty obvious the metal eating bacteria is behind the rash of raptured coinage?

      2. Massinissa

        I think they call those Bolsheviks? They’re a little hard to find right now. Who knows, they might come back into supply soon enough. Might be an improvement over the current situation.

      3. JeffC

        If we can just get the banksters to eat the right bacteria, that’ll do the trick also.

        BTW: The actual piece was about discovering (in nature), not inventing. These bacteria are not rare. I have some in my sink drain gobbling manganese from the water and depositing waste on the pipes in the form of a black oxide. It’s a pain to clean.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Another reference to an old favorite! It’s my literary day today here at nc!

  12. The Rev Kev

    “EXCLUSIVE: Melbourne contracted security guard at quarantine hotel claims he was given just five minutes of COVID-19 training”

    Today was the first day of Victoria’s inquiry into the debacle at the different quarantine hotels and is headed by a retired judge. We will know if it will be a real inquiry if they actually call the Victorian Premier and Government ministers to give evidence under oath but Jennifer Coate, the appointed judge, seems to be a no nonsense sort. Have already found out that they used at least eight different private companies to provide ‘security’ but which has proved a disaster. The names sound like they were plucked out of a telephone book.

    It is almost certain that the several hundred new cases daily in Victoria all trace back to one of these quarantine hotels. It has spilled into neighbouring New South Wales and the Federal Governments plans to get the economy going again and everything opened up are now all in the trash bin. So the recovery will be delayed months, tens of billions of dollars will have to be spent, international students returning to the country will go on the back burner, the travel bubble with countries like New Zealand is now toast and all because one State government pushed the Victorian Police & the Australian Defence Forces aside to give the quarantine hotel job to private contractors-

  13. Carolinian

    Bizarre that hydroxychloroquine is face masks are a partisan issue

    It is bizarre but of course this brand of bizarre has been going on for quite awhile. You could probably argue that the Repubs did it first with Newt Gingrich calling the Dems “evil” but then the Dems too decided they’d rather talk about “evil” than policy and it’s hard to be moved by complaints that boil down to “it’s ok when we do it.”

    In a rational world one could hope that people wouldn’t mind wearing a face mask to the grocery as a gesture of solidarity if nothing else but then we don’t live in that world. Maybe someday things will get so bad that the country will drop the silly bickering.

    1. L

      I was thinking about that but in order for that to happen we would also have to agree on what to blame for it being bad. If you think about it, it is like the election. A large majority say that COVID is their issue of concern. But how they will vote depends on whether they choose to blame Trump, their state governor, their mayor, or the Chinese.

      Until we have agreement on who to blame, and by extension what to do, the bickering will go on.

      1. Carolinian

        Or we could just attack the problem and not blame anybody.

        I do think Trump made a mistake by injecting himself into this disease fight and thereby making it about him. That doesn’t mean that the supposedly wiser Dems had to take the bait.

        1. hunkerdown

          They had to take the bait, assuming they didn’t plan it just like they planned Trump’s candidacy in the first place, because their jobs are, in order, to keep the left down, and to develop and promote a lifestylism of exotic genteel aristocracy. They know what their job is.

    2. Maritimer

      I could not access that article due to a paywall.

      But what I find bizarre is that the head of this institution, NIH, finds it bizarre that any citizen would doubt what they are told by a Government agency. Why is the NIH any different, for example, than Congress, the Pentagon, CIA, DEA, etc. Why do medical agencies like CDC, NIH, etc. expect a free pass? Is it because they are Medicine? Is Medicine somehow insulated from the onslaught of America’s Looters and Profiteers? All the Big Pharma folk are just wonderful American Medical citizens? All those warm and fuzzy Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, Marcus Welby shows have surely taken their toll.

      As far as health, I have never heard the AMA, NIH, CDC decry the looting of the American economy, in progress now and previously, and its deleterious effect on both the physical and mental health of Americans.

      As to the topic of facemasks themselves, the Ontario (Canada) Civil Liberties Association recommends civil disobedience against mandatory masking. Inconveniently for the Maskers, the OCLA can hardly be considered a stronghold of MAGA nuts, gun hoarders, rednecks, yahoos, etc. which are the pejoratives hurled against anyone who questions masking and its erosion of civil rights among other deleterious side effects.

      Personally, having lived through the madness following 9/11, I really don’t want to see a repeat. So, good on you, OCLA!

      So maybe someone will explain why Medicine gets a free pass. Why it has Super Credibility.

      1. furies

        Maybe you could explain why you are above being a community member by not wearing a simple mask when out?

        Why is that so hard to do? Because even up there in Canada you’ve been inculcated with this horrible and divisive ‘individuality’? Where we’re all suppose to *as individuals* whoop this thing? No man is an island and all…

        Why can’t these anti-maskers look at the success of other countries getting coronavirus under control? The common denominator? Masks.

        The divide and conquer is so obvious–the enemy is not your neighbor.

        1. Maritimer

          “So maybe someone will explain why Medicine gets a free pass. Why it has Super Credibility.”

          No, they will not.

      2. Basil Pesto

        Maybe you could explain why taking a rudimentary, minimally invasive and likely highly effective precaution against a contagious and virulent disease is in any way analogous to the post-9/11, Patriot Act shitshow, beyond the most basic and trivial commonality (which in this case would seem to be ‘government does a thing’)?

        Grow up and wear a damn mask.

  14. Geo

    “So much for the V-shaped recovery“

    Feels like this one is gonna be shaped like Trump’s signature…. while having a heart attack. One sharp drop followed by panicked banker bailouts followed by drop followed by bailout… as the pen slowly starts to drag down the page until it trails off the bottom of it onto the floor.

  15. allan

    Hillary Clinton’s Resistance Group Has Resisted Spending Big on Candidates [Daily Beast]

    Having launched a group designed to back Democratic politicians who would lead the resistance to President Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton’s support for those candidates has largely dried up. Over the first 18 months of the 2020 election cycle, her political outfit paid more in donation processing fees than it doled out in political contributions, campaign finance records show.

    The Onward Together Committee, which Clinton founded in the months after her 2016 election defeat, donated just $21,700 to six political candidates and political committees in 2019 and the first half of 2020, according to a Federal Election Commission filing this week. …

    In four short years, from I’m With Her to I’m Withering.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If she has money coming in, its probably for a stage production.

        Hillary! The Muscial!

        Starring Lin Manuel Miranda as Hillary’s number one social media fan as the cast of Hamilton by and large wouldn’t be allowed near her unless they were in jump suits.

        Featuring such songs as:

        Smile from Annie
        Tim Kaine in the Membrane.
        Its all (insert villain)’s fault. Repeated 42 times with 42 different villains.

        People all over will pretend to have seen it.

    1. no one

      I am not a fan of either the Republicans or Democrats, but I may vote for Biden for the sole reason that Hillary will be so put out if he wins.

    2. RMO

      So the same person who ran a campaign that told tall tales of all the money they were sending to other Dem candidates (and accused the Sanders campaign of not supporting other Dem candidates) while in fact they were getting all the money right back is now just keeping almost all the “resistance” money for themselves? I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you!

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > her political outfit paid more in donation processing fees than it doled out in political contributions,

      I wonder who gets the donation processing fees.

  16. Winston Smith

    Thanks for the local news link on the Portland situation. I am seeing a lot on twitter and other sources what is happening but not much on how this federal presence can be controlled/curtailed through legal means. is there any info anyone is aware of?

    1. allan

      Some background:

      Portland’s Pretext: Barr’s Long History Manipulating Law to Put Federal Forces on U.S. Streets

      Attorney General Barr has been building his playbook for using federal forces against an unwilling state for decades. In an interview with the Miller Center in 2001, Barr explained his strategy for deploying federal troops to address unrest in the Virgin Islands after a major hurricane in 1989. At the time of the incident, Barr was an assistant attorney general and head of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. He boasted that during this time he found a way to deploy federal forces based on a legal justification that appears to now being played out in Portland: …

      This will surely furrow Susan Collins’ brow.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Wyden said today that he and Merkley would introduce a bill that would attack the problem through prohibiting funding for such adventures. It will be interesting to see how the more libertarian-flavored Repubs in the Senate react.

    3. JWP

      Biked by the scene today. I cannot impress how small an area this is that’s getting all the attention. 2 200×200 blocks is all. One block is the base for protestors with tents, water, cloths, etc and the other is the courthouse where federal troops are located. A local policeman declined to comment when I asked him his thoughts which makes sense. I wish we weren’t being weaponized here because across the city there’s so many larger peaceful protests.

      A fun aside: the largest graffiti reads “fuck the fed”

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Russian Elite Given Experimental Covid-19 Vaccine Since April”

    This story just does not pass the sniff test. The Russians have just finished an initial trial with forty volunteers – soldiers and civilians – and they had to go into their own lockdown at a military hospital-

    So a bunch of the elite Russians and billionaires just upped and had this drug pumped into their own system on the chance that it might work without waiting to see if there were any long-term side effects? Yeah, right.

    If a vaccine was being tested at Walter Reed, would you have the likes of the Clintons, the Pelosis, Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg all line up outside there and say “Oh yeah, I have got to get me some of that!”

    1. Olga

      Who knows, but it does sound strange.
      Then there is this
      “Russia on Friday unveiled a deal with AstraZeneca to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the pharmaceuticals giant and Oxford University, a move its wealth fund head said showed Moscow had no need to steal vaccine data.”

  18. Tinky

    So “Deutsche Bank” would be better in the headline than “Jeffrey Epstein,” but less clickbait-y.

    I’m not so sure. Is it not much more likely that the catalyst for the shooting was the latter, rather than the former?

      1. Tinky

        Well, given the news published in the interim, it appears that you were correct. But absent any information about the shooter, it seemed to me that an attempt on behalf of a potentially compromised, powerful person, to discourage deep discovery into l’affaire Epstein, would have been the most likely catalyst.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > to discourage deep discovery

          There are many, many people who would be most unhappy with deep discovery at Deutsche, and very willing to share their unhappiness with others.


    From an objective point of view I find it difficult to imagine a Biden win given his turn to the extreme left—and the sanctioning of riots, mayhem and property destruction in the cities where police are ordered to stand down. The vast majority of US citizens do not want anarchy. Then there is his cognitive dissonance or at worse cognitive dysfunction. I would agree with all that Trump leaves much to be desired, but Biden’s radical platform would destroy what is left of this country. Of course the looming deficit reset and total economic crash makes any discussion of the 2020 election a moot issue. Soon, many of the 1% will be paupers just like the rest of us, at least those of us who are still living. The prediction of of a 2025 US population of less than 70 million people may be quite prescient.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      If Biden has turned to the left at all, it’s either

      * 270 degrees to wind up facing right again; or

      * a brief detour to allow for a middle-finger salute.

    2. Glen

      Biden will govern almost exactly like Trump, who governed almost exactly like Obama, who governed almost exactly like Bush.

      You pretty much got screwed by all of them.

      Fear not, Biden will screw you too.

      1. Olga

        Except that DT (no fan) has not started a war. A few extrajudicial killings, yes, but not a war. At least not yet. (Well, I guess sanctions are a war, but …)
        As for Biden a radical… what a novel idea!

      2. jonboinAR

        That’s just about what I’ve noticed the past 20 years, or so. 3rd party protest vote’s getting to be old hat pour moi.

  20. edmondo

    Google and Lyft Workers Tell Us Why They’re Striking for Black Lives Matter Vice

    I thought these guys were all collecting $600 a week in unemployment benefits. I am shocked, shocked, to learn that there may be cheating going on.

    Every person for yourself. Grab what you can and run.

  21. L

    On the subject of this article: Tech’s Increasing Dependence on Foreign Students, in Six Charts: not to knock the author too much but this is a great example of what is wrong with data science, particularly as it intersects public policy.

    The data and the charts are correct. I have seen this process play out and yes Tech is wholly dependant on non-us students as, unfortunately, are schools. This is not, of course, new information. That analysis should raise a number of questions about why tech is approaching those students, but also why US students are not obtaining, or even applying for, advance degrees (debt perhaps?).

    But, the author presents all that then makes no effort to actually address why it is happening, or to consider whether it should instead her conclusion such as it is, is a general call to “reduce barriers” to non-us students and companies. So in that respect she says, here is a tectonic shift in employment that has been happening in the US, a shift that signals that either the tech companies are growing faster than US students can fill them or that US students are not seeking out STEM degrees at the level of their non-US peers, so lets do more, perhaps.

    I raise this because there is a tremendous interest now in data science for policy, and many politicians like to tout data driven solutions but inasmuch as data science is treated like a blank record, the contribution starts to look like economics which provides nice numbers and graphs, but omits the actual messiness of norms, goals, or the effect on people.

  22. ambrit

    Zeitgeist watch:
    Unusually even for here, we have had two separate pairs of destitute people knock on our front door this morning and ask for money or, in one case, food. We live in an inner ring suburb, the neighborhood being about ninety years old. These pairs were asking at multiple dwellings, not just us, (who are probably ‘known’ as a ‘soft touch’ in the homeless community.) I foresee having to put strict limits on the amounts and frequency of our “charitable giving.” An ironic aspect to this is that the “gleaners” would be barred from begging in the gated communities that surround the urban area, just those places where the ‘real’ money is. Our personal experience with begging and monied interests is that most people with wealth do not want to part with it. I distinctly remembering one well off man I went to as part of a campaign to raise money for Phyl’s first pregnancy telling me flat out that I should go to the bank and take out a loan. If I couldn’t swing that he said, than maybe I shouldn’t have gotten my wife pregnant in the first place.
    If conditions are deteriorating this badly this early on in the Pandemic, I really fear what is to come by next spring.
    As someone elsewhere remarked, prepping is gaining a new respectability. I can see an intermittent prepping becoming the new normal, similar to old farmer practices. Always store up surpluses in the good days so as to get by the bad days.
    Another thought that popped into my head is; what is going to happen to the personal credit industry now that ‘regular’ and predictable employment is no longer the norm? All those bank cards defaulting will be strain enough on the institutions, but having no stream of replacement “suckers” to keep the grift going will be a game changer.
    The Jackpot is turning out to be much more complicated than anyone expected.

    1. Wukchumni

      It was a fairly common thing for hobos to hit up homes for handouts in particular along railroad lines, in the Great Depression.

      GD #2 is revisiting old ground albeit no choo choos this go round.

      1. ambrit

        I can see this Depression’s chronicle being called, “The Grand Cru of Wrath.”
        We’ve come a long way baby.

    2. lordkoos

      Yep, shades of the 30s great depression, when men would hop off of freight trains to beg at houses in the town, or offer to do work for money or food.

      This is just getting started – wait til the COVID bonus runs out and the mortgage and rent moratoriums come to an end.

    3. mary jensen

      Ambrit used the word “gleaners” as a synonym for beggars. Gleaning is not begging for anything, not money nor food nor clothing. Glean, gleaner, has disappeared from use for all but those who peruse the G entries in an English dictionary.

      So we go straight to the late great Agnes Varda (1928-2019) and her marvellous film “Les Glaneurs at la Glaneuse” (2000) English title: “The Gleaner and I”. Here are two previews:

      Having grown up in very small town USA with a freight train line running through the middle of town (loved the loud ding-dong of the warning bell), I was told ‘hobo’ stories by my grandparents and my parents. The stories were most certainly not ‘romantic’ fiction. It was alright for us young’uns to wave at the man in the caboose as the train passed but that was the limit.

  23. Wukchumni

    Saw my second bruin of the year, another ‘Billy Idol Bear’, a dirty blonde that looked to have gotten into some hydrogen peroxide.

  24. Billy

    “Researchers tested stability of pathogen on various surfaces, including paper currency and pig skin”

    We routinely microwave U.S. currency and our mail until it is steaming hot and begins to curl. That destroys the fragile bonds on the virus, the same way simple detergeant does.

    We do the same with our hand towels, kitchen sponges and other portable non-metallic things that might spread the virus, or other pathogens.

    1. Wukchumni

      As we approach the end of fiat money as we knew it, should be somewhat like taking away the lane dividers on the 405 freeway when traffic is moving smoothly @ 77 mph, gonna be really messy-the aftermath.

      Add on top of that the fact that Americans have really no idea how to do barter, as about the only thing they dicker on is typically autos & houses.

  25. NotTimothyGeithner

    And Bill O’Reilly’s substitute host and former weekend fox news host John Kasich will be speaking at the DNC. I imagine right wingers at Kos will be overjoyed.

  26. Jason Boxman

    Back in the 1960s, mining manganese nodules from the ocean floor was thought to be a huge deal. I’d never heard of it, so it isn’t much talked about today as a final frontier of resource extraction.

    And a mining expedition fronted by Howard Hughes was used by the CIA as a cover to recover the Soviet submarine K-129 from the deepest depths of the ocean. It’s an interestingly story. Then as now, the CIA has had its fingers in all sorts of places.

  27. Redlife2017

    Uh oh: Homeland Security making plans to deploy some 150 agents in Chicago this week, with scope of duty unknown

    That does not seem like a good thing. And then this from an interview on Fox 30 minutes ago (from the Guardian’s live feed):
    “These are anarchists; these are not protesters [in Portland],” Trump said. “These are people that hate our country, and we’re not going to let it go forward.”

    He went on to paint a picture of a country “going to hell” because of the recent protests against racism and police brutality.

    “This is worse than Afghanistan, by far,” Trump said. “This is worse than anything anyone has ever seen. All run by the same liberal Democrats. And you know what? If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell.”

    Trump was also asked what action he intends to take against other Democratic-led cities, as one report indicates the department of homeland security intends to send 150 federal agents to Chicago.

    “I’m going to do something, that I can tell you,” Trump said. “Because we’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore, and all of these – Oakland is a mess – we’re not going to let this happen in our country.”

    1. Ghostrain

      There will be a lot of the public who quietly agree with this. Shootings and murders are drastically increasing amid calls to defund the police and in the scope of politically-motivated charges (the Atlanta situation appropriately followed use-of-force policies and should not have resulted in charges against the two involved police officers). I do not think any of the surveys asking who agrees with defund the police asked whether those agreeing live in safe, low-crime neighborhoods — but I suspect most do. My perspective as someone who lives in a high-crime city is we need police reform to prevent their abuses but not to defund the police or to make it such that they are incentivized to not take any police actions that require force (which politically-motivated charges do). You are free to disagree.

      1. JWP

        I imagine half the country not working, a full depression already setting in for the lower class, mass evictions looming, and the threat and impact of the virus, plus racial and political tensions, contribute far more to the increased shooting numbers than the defunding of police or less trust in them. While it may contribute some, collapse and despair are the big drivers here.

  28. Wukchumni

    A friend is an ICU nurse here and he told me the situation is getting grim in the CVBB, with many floors in the hospital devoted to housing Covid-19 patients, and looking at the list of those affected, it skews heavily Hispanic, which makes sense as a Mexican frozen food company and a meat packing plant were hit by the virus a few months ago.

      1. flora

        In the media context, diversity consultants recently invited Intercept employees to a “Safe Space Conversation” that would feature “two breakout groups – one for those who identify as people of color and one for those who identify as white.”

        Heaven forbid Black and white should come together on common ground to work for better conditions for all. The rise of monopoly in so many industries, including media, means there’s little real competition threatening to reduce corporate profits; the big threat to profits is people coming together to demand better wages and benefits. Can’t have that. The shocking thing is the left is promoting this division that works in the monopolists’ favor. My 2 cents.

        A bit of MLK’s speech after the Selma to Montgomery march:

        Jay Gould said something about hiring one half of the working class to destroy the other half.

          1. flora


            DiAngelo’s training seminars sound like distopian versions of Erhard SeminarsTraining (EST) gone horribly wrong.

            They’re part of the new ‘human no potential movement’. ;)

    1. Sutter Cane

      I have been a longtime Taibbi reader, but I do wish that he would move on from writing constantly and only about the “woke left,” especially since he can’t seem to differentiate between actual leftists and neoliberal centrists. It seems like his last few pieces have been beating this same horse. There are other, more important matters going on at the moment, Matt.

      1. flora

        The ‘woke left’ are a tool, imo, of the fusion of corporate power and political power, and deserve critical attention.

        See Chris Hedges’ 2015 essay about the analysis of current political theorist Sheldon Wolin. (d.2015)

        “Instead of participating in power,” [Wolin] writes, “the virtual citizen is invited to have ‘opinions’: measurable responses to questions predesigned to elicit them.”

        “Cultural wars might seem an indication of strong political involvements,” [Wolin] writes. “Actually they are a substitute. The notoriety they receive from the media and from politicians eager to take firm stands on nonsubstantive issues serves to distract attention and contribute to a cant politics of the inconsequential.”

        There is more power behind woke left extremes than bad faith or idiocy, imo. Taibbi pushing back against it welcome, and there’s more going on than simply one or two stories’ worth of reporting.

        1. flora

          adding: As far as Taibbi using humor and comedy to ridicule woke pretensions, I think that’s great and just what’s needed.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  Good catch that and I liked that book. Those Radical Chics are older and are the establishment now. Barbara Walters was at that party and now you see her on The View. And now there is a new generation of Radical Chic.

                  But “Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers”? Yeah, you are seeing a lot of that now. Instead of working wages, justice and medicare for all being the main aims, a lot of the protest movement has been hijacked by dubious characters which will result in nothing really changing-


                2. PlutoniumKun

                  Tom Sharpes’ ‘Wilt‘ books are also hilarious satires on the woke college politics of the day, although I confess that when reading them as a teenager I didn’t understand the nature of much of the satire. I always remember poor Wilt’s HR problems with how to address ‘Porgs’ (persons of restricted growth).

          1. Rhondda

            Also, since I comment so seldom — and have not since the weekend postings by an ill-tempered person with a screen name so like mine — I would just like to say to the commentariat that was not me. Two Ds. Merci.

      2. occasional anonymous

        If you’re peddling in this woke nonsense, you’re not on the left, no matter how much you may think you are.

        1. Acacia

          Indeed. It’s been said before but I do wish Taibbi would sort liberal from left. Otherwise, given the number of PhDs who don’t seem to grok the issues he’s raising (or are too fearful to speak out, lest the woke mobs come after their scalps?), his efforts are much needed.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > There are other, more important matters going on at the moment, Matt.

        I disagree. I don’t think there’s any political issue more important than a functional left. When the Biden Administration turns out to be the Trump Administration but with better PR, like the Obama Administration v. the Bush administration, where does the, er, resistance come from? All the liberals will be at brunch!

  29. TomDority

    Re: ‘No mask, no entry. Is that clear enough? That seems pretty clear, right?’ WaPo Story.
    I thought most state constitutions enable the police powers – which are also part of Zoning laws – in that they (the police) are to ensure life safety, peace and enforcement of criminal laws.
    I also thought that it is a crime to endanger someone else – Endangerment is a type of crime involving conduct that is wrongful and reckless or wanton , and likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm to another person . There are several kinds of endangerment, each of which is a criminal act that can be prosecuted in a court.
    As a gross misdemeanor, reckless endangerment is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines, up to one year in jail, or both. Other penalties may include probation, driver’s license suspensions and restrictions, and the numerous repercussions that come with having a criminal conviction on one’s record.
    So why are police not enforcing the law in their state
    Yes, people do have a right to not wear a mask – they also have a right to break the law – but they do not have a right to avoid criminal and civil consequences for their criminal and negligent actions –
    The person at the store was – in effect – endangered by (obnoxious, ignorant ) individuals who have not a clue about the constitution and it’s rights (they can not obviously think for themselves) and prefer to show their best in public. That dude and people should be arrested and you may need to file a mandamus to a judge to get the Police to do their constitutionally mandated, tax payer funded F’ing jobs.

    1. lordkoos

      That’s not how cops are doing it around here. I don’t like being “a rat” but I’m a regular customer at a local copy shop which doubles as the only FedEx drop point in town. The guys in the shop never wear masks. Rather than confront them about it, which I figured would be useless and aggravating, I called the local cops and and asked if they were enforcing the mask policy. They said their focus has been on “education” rather than arrests. So I reported the shop and asked if they could talk to them. However I doubt it will do much good. If they aren’t willing to write up misdemeanor tickets, what’s the point?

  30. mike

    Police aren’t stopping rioting or burning of buildings. Despite that fact, you expect police to charge people with reckless endangerment for not wearing masks? Are protestors exempt? Are there limits to the power that an executive (Governor, Mayor) can grab in the name of public safety?

    1. lordkoos

      It’s a tiny minority of people at protests that are burning and damaging property, and many of them are provocateurs with a different agenda. People who refuse to wear masks are a far greater danger to public health IMO.

    2. TomDority

      Police do not prevent rioting or burning of buildings – very rarely do they prevent many crimes at all – they are after the fact = so I would say the chicken little campaign advertising by GOP Trump, depicting mayhem in the streets just plays into fear mongering- it’s like Trump is saying ‘all you fearfull cowards, vote for me.
      Also, it was the police who triggered the rioting and burning of buildings and – IMO are the ones who instigate the majority of violence.
      The record shows the more you spend on a police budget and police (like Philadelphia) the more crime goes up and the solve rates go down.

  31. ewmayer

    “China Churned Out a Record 3 Million Tons of Steel a Day in June | Yahoo Finance” — And did what with it, exactly? Typical MSFM – there is no such thing as “useless GDP” if it can be turned into upbeat-sounding headlines for the consumption of the momo algos, apparently.

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