Links 7/21/2020

Hand axe made 1.4 million years ago shows unexpected Haaretz (Chuck L)

Are UFOs a threat? We need to investigate, says former head of secret US program Live Science

New Map of the Universe Fills in Some ‘Troublesome’ Gaps Gizmodo (Kevin W)

What Buddhism and science can teach each other – and us – about the universe The Conversation (Chuck L)

Tulane scientists build high-performing hybrid solar energy converter Eurekalert (Chuck L)

A Nixon Deepfake, a ‘Moon Disaster’ Speech and an Information Ecosystem at Risk Scientifc American (Kevin W)

Patients Aren’t Being Told About the AI Systems Advising Their Care STAT

New psychedelic research sheds light on why psilocybin-containing mushrooms have been consumed for centuries PsyPost (Chuck L)



Safety and immunogenicity of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine against SARS-CoV-2: a preliminary report of a phase 1/2, single-blind, randomised controlled trial Lancet. Lambert featured this in Water Cooler yesterday. Due to time constraints, I only read the abstract but am confused by the n. 1077 enrolled. 543 received the vaccine. So why are the efficacy %s based on 35?:

Neutralising antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 32 (91%) of 35 participants after a single dose when measured in MNA80 and in 35 (100%) participants when measured in PRNT

Regardless, undercut by: The people with hidden immunity against Covid-19 BBC. Focus on T-cells instead of antibodies. Confirms our sighting of the significance of reinfections in Israel after 3 months: Longitudinal evaluation and decline of antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2 infection MedRxiv. Preprint, but the decline in antibodies over time strikes the authors as awfully common-cold like.

Trump said Covid-19 testing ‘creates more cases.’ We did the math STAT

Uber offers COVID-19 contact tracing help amid chaotic U.S. response Reuters (resilc). Without user consent….

Coronavirus may cause 3,500 deaths in England from four main cancers Guardian

White House, Senate GOP clash over testing funds The Hill


To battle Covid-19, India needs to be transparent about its mortality data Scroll (J-LS)


Florida teachers union files lawsuit against state over school reopening order WINK. Includes link to filing.

Kentucky couple fit with ankle monitors, placed on house arrest for refusing to sign quarantine documents Fox5NY

Political Responses

Following, not leading. Quelle surprise:

GOP signals Trump’s payroll-tax cut in Republican coronavirus bill — for now The Hill. UserFriendly: “LOL. How did Trump go from defier of Gop orthodoxy to being mocked by prominent Senate Republicans for being its most stringent adherent?”


U.S. Airlines Face End of Business Travel as They Knew It Bloomberg (resilc). As Hubert Horan and we have been saying…

‘A very dark feeling’: Hundreds camp out in Oklahoma unemployment lines Washington Post (UserFriendly)


US Accuses Supplier for Amazon, Apple, Dell, GM, Microsoft of Human Rights Abuses CNET

China’s BRI makes entry in post-Covid-19 era Indian Punchline

EU leaders reach deal on recovery package DW

From Politico’s morning European newsletter:

FRUGALS OVER THE MOON: The Frugal Four became the Frugal Five over the course of the weekend, a senior diplomat said late on Monday, and that may have been because “we started off on this discussion already months ago together with some other member states.” This group, the diplomat said, “increased in size by 25 percent. And I think the group of countries, who had a similar interest in this combination of issues and decided in the meetings of the European Council to really stick together and not be allowed to be tackled individually by the presidency, really gave the results we can now see in the nego box.” The frugals’ rebates are also there to stay.

DUTCH EVEN HAPPIER: Michel’s proposal includes several key concessions to Dutch PM Mark Rutte. Chief among them: The Netherlands gets to keep a bigger portion of the customs revenue that comes through Europe’s largest seaport, Rotterdam, meaning a reduced amount will flow into the EU’s coffers. The rule of law? Not enough of a reason to disagree, in the end.

CRYING VICTORY? Grants are at €390 billion. That’s a fair bit lower than the €500 billion originally proposed, and … err … quite a bit higher than the €0.00 the frugals said they wanted in grants. Most potential recipients took it as a silent victory.


What is causing all the damage in Iran? Sic Semper Tyrannis

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google Promises Privacy With Virus App But Can Still Collection Location Data New York Times

New challenges to transfers of personal data from the EU to the United States Bruegel

An Ickier Outbreak: Trench Fever Spread by Lice Is Found in Denver KHN. Third world. Hep A in LA due to feces in public and now this.

Ex-New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver gets prison Syracuse (bob)

The Left is Now the Right Matt Taibbi (Chuck L)


Hillary Clinton’s Resistance Group Has Resisted Spending Big on Candidates Daily Beast (UserFriendly)

22% of Mail-In Votes Never Get Counted Greg Palast

Black Lives Matter

St Louis couple charged for pointing guns at protesters BBC

Majority of Voters Say U.S. Society Is Racist as Support Grows for Black Lives Matter Wall Street Journal

Police State Watch

Constitutional law experts see federal officers’ actions in Portland as a ‘red flag’ PBS (David L)

Portland: What does it mean for the rule of law? YouTube

Trump threatens to send officers to more US cities BBC

Trump’s ISIL Reelection Scheme: Send Federal Agents to Provoke Protesters in Dem Cities, Scare Suburbs Juan Cole (furzy)

Homeland Security Planning To Deploy 150 Agents To Chicago This Week Forbes (David L)

Supreme Court Learns That If You Give John Yoo An Inch, He’ll Take Unchecked Martial Law Above the Law

Albuquerque Police Use White Supremacist Militias Instead of Feds to Harass Protesters HCN. Glenn F:

This is an unusual situation as the statue being targeted by Native Americans is a Spanish Conquistador. And it appears some of the white supremacist militia were Latino, judging by the name of one mentioned. The main story is that the police let the militia do the police work while the police sat back until it got too violent. And there is much more in the article.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf tweeted unauthorized photographs of the federal courthouse in Oregon OregonLive (David L)

Portland protester and Navy veteran Christopher David was beaten and pepper-sprayed by federal troops in standoff at federal courthouse Washington Post

Our Famously Free Press

Facebook Overrides Fact-Checks When Climate Science Is ‘Opinion’ ars technica

Uber’s Algorithms Are Being Taken To Court Gizmodo (Kevin W)

America’s Innovation Engine Is Slowing Atlantic (Dr. Kevin)

Senator Josh Hawley’s Bill to End Slave Labor American Conservative (resilc)

Self-driving industry takes to the highway after robotaxi failure Financial Times

The Analogy Trap in Economic Policy Barry Eichengreen, The Economic Historian (johnny f)

Class Warfare

The Whiners Who Earn $200,000 and Complain They’re Broke Bruce Bartlett New Republic

SEIU Leads #StrikesforBlackLives in 25 Cities – Oregon Natural Gas Workers Strike – Kansas Sheetmetal Workers Mike Elk

Antidote du jour. Leroy R: “A real permabear; female grizzly in Banff, Alberta”:

And a bonus from Chuck L. Aces the mirror test!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. rob

      Greg palast does great work!
      I have been reading him for decades about the vote stealing….. With the black lives matter movement of today…. more people should be looking at what he is saying now, what he said before… how it has not changed… except to be carried further… from the days of pat buchanan and billy graham and the holy rollers selling their voting lists to the republican party in the eigthies and nineties;creating the mailing lists for white conservative voting power….of the republican regulars… contrasting with the movement to eject tens of millions of legal voters from the voter rolls,who mostly are black..which helps the republicans win elections,
      election after election… this is an actual mechanism.
      nevermind the russians…. this is election tampering.
      The republicans are always whining about election fraud… yet the only two people busted for it recently were a republican from north carolina and another one, Republican from somewhere else.
      Then we have the democratic party stealing the election from progressive voters. Cause when they stole the ticket from sanders, or any progressive .. they stole it from the people who would rather vote for the progressive and not the democratic status quo.

      1. rowlf

        In case my comment got et up in posting.

        I could not find where Palast mentions Georgia HB 889 that was used for purging voters while searching his articles.

        The removal of voters from the voter rolls is not a policy initiative of the Secretary of State’s office, but a state law codified in the official Georgia code.

        The law dates back decades but was last amended by House Bill 889 in 1997, a time when Democrats were in power and controlled the Governor’s office and both chambers of the legislature.

        The article linked below also lists more details of HB 889. I don’t agree with the news media leaving out details in their reporting.

        “Voter Roll Purging”: It was a Democrat-Backed Initiative from 2 Decades Ago

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        When the Democrats put the spotlight on Russian election interfering in order to keep the cameras away from Palastian voter suppression, one suspects that the Democrats support Palastian voter suppression.

        1. drumwoodchuckles

          In this case, no. I was attempting to coin a new word. ” Palastian” . . . as in — the methods of broad and deep voter suppression and prevention which Greg Palast has been writing about.
          Palast . . . palastian.

    2. L

      Well how did Obama go from promising Card check and holding Wall St accountable to opposing it?

      But if you think about it Trump opposed the orthodoxy verbally but he still hasn’t called for privatizing social security or even cutting benefits. He is only calling for a payroll tax cut which helps employers like him who have a large and variable staff. In that sense he is inconsistent with the party orthodoxy but perfectly consistent with his business and class.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Cutting the payroll taxes is a direct frontal assault on SS and Medicare, part of the grand strategy propounded by AEI and the Heritage Foundation and now bought into by Deficit Democrats.

        1. antidlc


          Cut the funding and then claim benefits need to be cut because there’s not enough money to pay benefits.

          They are setting it up for cuts.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Exactly exactly. Cutting Payroll taxes is a step to “defunding” Social Security as part of the Grand Catfood Conspiracy plan to claim that Social Security cannot be afforded.

            Assuming the bill with the Payroll Tax Cuts reaches the Senate, this will be Sanders’ big opportunity to shine or stink. If he chooses to place a Senatorial Hold on that bill so that it can not be considered ever . . . EVER . . . as long as his hold remains placed upon it, then he will shine. If he allows that bill to go forward, then he will stink. And many people who felt Sanders did all he could about this, that and the other . . . . will begin to wonder whether he has now joined the Catfood Conspiracy.

            I hope that people with access to Sanders staffers and the Senator himself read these comments and can get the Senator to Hold that bill.

            Should millions of Citizens for Social Security begin writing and calling all of his offices to Hold that Bill?

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Nah, just wait until November, Jumpin’ Joe Biden, the absolute king of defunding Social Security efforts, will be in the WH after that. It’s all good, maybe CNN can run some stories for seniors on the many different ways you can serve cat food.

              From the Great Depression: “If I had some ham I’d make myself a nice ham sandwich. If I had some bread”.

        2. L

          Oh I’m not arguing with that. It is a frontal assault no question.

          My point is that Trump hasn’t been amenable to calls for privatization etc. or at least he hasn’t pushed for them. This particular assault however fits squarely into his perspective as an owner of hotels and a property developer so that may in part explain why he is so eager for it, it benefits him personally.

        3. Otto

          Yes but here @NC we know about MMT, and so does Biden & his staff. Stacey Kelton spent time making sure this at least they understand it. The Dems are not getting into any grand bargain. Their Masters don’t require it.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            What? The Masters hate Social Security. They hate the whole notion of a rising tide lifting all boats.

            1. Wukchumni

              Just 1,111 days, 14 hours, 27 minutes and 13 seconds until I can claim back some of money I was forced to invest in a dubious enterprise, but i’m not anxious or anything.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Fortunately there will not be a leap year in between to disrupt your calculations in the next 1,111 days.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            The Catfood Clintobama Dems are absoLUTEly for the Grand Catfood Conspiracy Bargain. Today’s Democrats hate Social Security with the heat of a thousand suns. Our only hope aside from Sanders putting a Hold on the Catfood Bill is that today’s Democrats want to BE the Party which destroys Social Security.

            Only Nixon could go to China and only a Democrat can achieve the destruction of Social Security. And the Catfood Clintobamacrats want Biden to BE that Democrat, the Grand Historical Democrat who goes to China on Social Security.

      2. furies

        That’s not true. His new director of SS has cuts in the works to people who receive SSI/SSDI.

        Because we need more homeless…

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s an error to assume Palast’s motives are pure just because he’s written a reasonably agreeable article. Such a piece proves nothing more than that he wishes, as a Lippmannite ‘guiding class’ neoliberal, to stay relevant. Shut ’em all down, I say.

      1. rob

        What do I care what he did for his kids?
        I would say if he wrote a fake story about what people did/didn’t for their kids… that would address his actions as an investigative reporter…. and could effect your view of his writing…
        but the story here is the election tampering baked into the system NOW… and the last few decades….
        That is what we are talking about…
        The messenger…doesn’t really matter. personally, I don’t know him.
        But he has been reporting under reported facts for a long time…that this country would be better off had the population known.

    3. Adam Eran

      Incidentally, the “liberals” are sending fundraising emails, horrified that a payroll tax cut would defund Social Security. I couldn’t make it up.

  1. Max in PHL

    Op Ed’s like “The Whiners who make $200,000” always strike me as disingenuous. Crap written to fool people who can’t comprehend how absurdly wealthy a family like Romney’s is in comparison to a high-earning (but wage earning!) family making in the low-to-mid 6 figures in a major city.

    I don’t think we should cry for those high earners, but I can also never shake the feeling that this type of “think” piece is a distraction meant to embitter people against those who they see in their daily lives rather than the mega rich who hoard more wealth than that $200,000 income family could imagine spending in three generations.

    1. tegnost

      according to this bi article, as of a year ago last january, in other words way way before covid juiced his obscene wealth further. bezos is paid 149,353 dollars per minute…to reiterate, in Jan. 2019, 18 months ago…that has to be over 200,000 a day by now. I’m sure his accountants are hard at work trying to hide that money, distribute it through his family, something, anything to hide this reality.
      One of the neatest tricks of the elite is having so much that a normal person can’t even conceive of it.
      Like the “greedy” nurse suing for a million dollars from lnks a while back…
      One single billion is a thousand million, our country is run by 100 billionaires who are getting massively richer as we speak.

    2. The Rev Kev

      My wife and I have a rule with whiners. If we hear someone say that they are so broke and have no money, then guaranteed that they have lots of money that they are not talking about and are in fact quite well off. It is amazing how often this rule holds true and this couple would be no exception.

      1. newcatty

        I agree with your whiners’ rule. That includes the ones who don’t online they have no money, but the ones who are grifters and work under their tables, so can purposefully qualify for social safety net monies and government programs. The worst types of hypocrites. Usually whine about “big government” and often support repug politics. Usually have some sense of entitlement. Often happy to have someone else pick up the check, for example, while boasting that they don’t believe in being in debt. They are taking resources from genuinely poor or lower class people.

        The fact that there are not enough social safety nets already is true. More and more people are working poor. Many do not have under table jobs, but make too much above the poverty line to qualify for Medicaid and pay big portion of their paychecks for crappified health insurance with big deductibles, co-pays and their portion of premiums. Add to the harsh upcoming wave of people who lost insurance when they lost jobs. Add the upcoming wave of homelessness.

        Also, the fact that the military is one of the biggest paid for subsidies in the federal government’s budget. Yes, some of the housing is awful. But, not homelessness. The members and their families get health care for no cost. They get opportunities for paid for education. They can retire at age of 40 something. They often are among the whiners when, shock, they are sent to the latest war or coup in another country. They are among the whiners when they are not treated as “heroes” or “liberators” in a foreign land. They complain and whine when ever frequent accounts of, mostly men, are exposed of their sexual harassment of women in those countries. Not to forget, that behavior of their own women among their ranks. The disgusting excuse that They are boys being boys is tired and inexcusable. The bullying behavior only exists because it is done by higher ups and/or is allowed and tolerated. Then, we have the great outcome of lots of the veterans or fellow travelers welcomed as police, border patrol, federal security, sheriff’s, etc. Think some Americans are sick and tired of the bullies among us.

    3. Pelham

      Generally agreed. But this whole subject could be laid to rest with a story that USA Today ran a few years ago. The reporter simply added up what it would take for a family of four to live a bare-minimum middle-class life (a movie once a week, cheap chain-restaurant dining on occasion, etc.) without going into unpayable debt. The figure was $130,000 a year. This would probably be closer to $150,000 now. And I believe that was with a single income. Having two income earners would add considerably to the total due to the necessity of child care, extra commuting and clothing expenses and the like.

      So add on the cost of living in a more costly city and it’s not unreasonable for a household with $200,000 in income to feel a bit strapped. Americans’ perception of what it take to survive hasn’t kept pace with inflation. In fact, inflation hasn’t kept pace with inflation — or the rise in the actual cost of living. But that’s another matter.

      1. hunkerdown

        That’s a lifestyle, which is a habit of consumption that has become politically important.

        Not a life, which is an experience of a relationship with the natural and physical world.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Ahem, I call bullshit.

        That analysis depends almost totally upon location. The cost of living in a blue city with high taxes and RE costs is completely different than living in a low/no income tax state. The cost of living here in Birmingham is <60% of the cost of living in NYC. Kansas City is probably even cheaper, it has extremely affordable real estate. And NYC has higher pay levels precisely because it's a costly place to live. Even cleaning women benefit. Prevailing rates are over $35 an hour, in cash v. more like $25 in cheaper locations.

        Yes, $150K does not get you very far in theory, but parts of Queens, Harlem, and the Bronx haven't been bid up as much. So this analysis also depends on living in "respectable, proper" locations.

  2. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: The people with hidden immunity against Covid-19

    Well I hope you all remember me talking about T Cells three months ago. :) But let me introduce you to Tyrosine-protein kinase:

    Tyrosine kinase that plays an essential role in regulation of the adaptive immune response. Regulates the development, function and differentiation of conventional T-cells and nonconventional NKT-cells.

    What is the Cofactor for this enzyme?

    Note: Binds 1 zinc ion per subunit.

    There are many of these Tyrosine Kinases, Like LCK, also tied to T Cell function. But I will leave this here as well. Getting tired of rehashing this.

    The immune system and the impact of zinc during aging

    The most prominent effect of zinc deficiency is a decline in T cell function, which results from multiple causes.

    (Hmm, I wonder why old people, who become zinc deficient, are at more risk for COVID?)

    1. timbers

      Yes. Your posts have influenced me to be extra on guard…been down with a fever (but have no other Covid symptoms & and I get a fever once a great while and am improving). For example taking zinc with protein (promotes absorption), eat wild salmon, was going to get manganese supplement but learned my diet is rich in that, and eat lots of organic black beans with shredded cheese to replenish body salts/potassium/sodium/phosphorus/calcium lost in fever sweating. With lots of diced red onion (packed with querticin powerful anti inflamitory) and diced avocado. Anything to to sensibly avoid our blood sucking healthcare system.

    2. juno mas

      There is no doubt the micro nutrient Zinc is essential to a healthy immune system. However, the link provided discusses Zink deficiency in the elderly. While the discussion indicates that the human immune system begins to decline after age 60, the patients the link is discussing are those in their 70’s to 100.

      Zink is continually depleted (not stored) by the body. So it needs continual replenishment (8-11mg/day). This can readily occur with a reasonable diet of meat, or sea food, nuts, seeds, diary (milk and cheese) and eggs. The elderly 75+ become Zinc deficient and immuno-compromised because their diet is not balanced; oral health that doesn’t allow chewing eliminates some of the foods indicated above, or they have insufficient resources/income, or they’ve become lactose intolerant. And since they’re usually not active their food consumption is also diminished.

      I used to take Zinc (50mg/workout day) when doing intense weight training (it helps the muscle to recover), but that amount is well above the RMD. If you’re active and eat a balanced diet you likely don’t have a Zink deficiency or immuno-compromised; unless. of course, you have a chronic health issue.

      Zink is essential to your health, but the RMD is 8-11 mg per day.

      1. KLG


        ITK (at KP’s link) has a zinc finger domain. Discovered in the early 1990s IIRC, zinc fingers (a figure of biochemistry speech) are essential for certain protein-DNA interactions and protein-protein interactions (as in the case of ITK and other components of the immune response). I can find only one of the ~100 papers about ITK that mentions the zinc-finger domain (for the curious UniProt is a good place to start). Many proteases also have Zn2+ in their active sites. According to an admittedly rapid and cursory search of the legitimate relevant biochemical literature, the dissociation constant for Zn2+ is in the range of 1×10(-12) M for zinc fingers; this value (0.000000000001 M) is probably similar for other Zn2+ proteins. A more comprehensive review of the literature might reveal something different, and I would welcome that. As a comparison, the free calcium (Ca2+) concentration in extracellular bodily fluids in about 0.003 M, or > 300 hundred million-fold higher than the Kd for ITK-Zn2+, with a resting concentration of less than 0.000001 M inside cells. TMI but a 0.000001 M Kd (dissociation constant) for Ca2+ means, for example, that the interaction between Ca2+ and proteins involved in regulating muscle contraction is rapid and tight and reversible on a millisecond time scale, which it must be. Ditto for other Ca2+ regulated functions such as glycogen metabolism in liver and muscle.

        What this means, in effect, for Zn2+-containing proteins is that in the absence of an underlying problem with zinc uptake (uncommon but not unheard of), everyone who eats a moderately balanced diet will have every zinc finger in every zinc finger protein in her body loaded with the one Zn2+ per protein domain. Ditto for other zinc-containing proteins. In other words, with a Kd of less than about 10(-10) M, a physiological binding interaction is essentially permanent in any living cell or bodily fluid. Those factors of 10 add up in a hurry, as illustrated by a favorite question to a biochemist/graduate student who says that the answer is “correct within an order of magnitude”: Would you rather have $10,000 or $1,000,000? Each of those piles of money is $100,000. To an order of magnitude.

        So, buy your zinc supplement at GNC to your heart’s content. Most of it will come out in the wash, however, even if your zinc uptake apparatus is functioning well.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I can tell you that I have tried every sort of immune system booster to reduce the incidence of winter bugs. High glutathione whey, which worked for many colleagues who flew a ton and therefore were often sick, did nothing for me. Ditto ginseng, which helped with friends. What did work (and I’ve got no winter flus three years running and only one flu the fourth despite living in NYC and regularly working out in gyms and taking the subway) was ProGena Optizinc. And as you can see from the above, I am not a placebo responder.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              It wasn’t a celebrity endorsement. It was from an alternative health practitioner who strongly recommended that particular brand due to higher efficacy. I otherwise would not have mentioned a particular name.

              1. Janie

                I can’t speak for Juno Mas, but as the comment scrolled into view, I read it as referring to you. :-)

                Thanks for sharing the product name.

        2. Krystyn Podgajski

          I love all your numbers. But they are just a distraction. A distraction from the hundreds of studies that show many more people are zinc deficiency even with an “ordinary diet”. I ask my friends “have you ever had your serum zinc tested. The answer is always no. So how do thy know who is deficient? How do they know if these people who have bad COVID are deficient or not?

          You talk on the micro-molar but look at the big picture. Even in the U.S. they figure around 12% of people are zinc deficient.

          And what percent of people have bad outcomes when infected with SARS-CoV-2? Like 14%? Hmmm…..

          But you know serum zinc is not a reliable biomarker for zinc status, and someone may have a functional deficiency even with zinc in range.

          Do you think zinc uptake is the only issue? What about drinking alcohol? You know Zinc deficiency is defined as “insufficient zinc to meet the needs of the body”. So I think when the body has a virus, IT WOULD NEED MORE ZINC. And if people have diabetes and heart disease it has been shown that most need more zinc.

          You said “everyone who eats a moderately balanced diet will have every zinc finger in every zinc finger protein in her body loaded with the one Zn2+ per protein domain.” But all you did was math, you did not look at a human body.

          I mean I could show you study after study.

          Do you know how zinc fingers get their zinc? Through metallothionein. So it is in no way only about how much zinc you eat. Massive amounts of vitamins are called Pro-Drugs, so yeah, they do something more than what you just get from your diet. So what if zinc, as a pro-drug, can help with COVID?

          And like with Yves, it WORKED for me.

          You are obviously some kind of scientist. Do yourself a favor, do some art for a while, or some mushrooms. You need more creative thinking in your life. But if you have Asperger’s like me, I get it. If my mother was not an artist I would be like my Autistic Dad.

          And I eat Oysters mostly so no thanks for the GNC tip.

          1. Susan the other

            Thanks for this zinc thread. We’ve been zinc takers for 40 years. It works and it doesn’t kill you if you take a recommended dose every day. I got in trouble with zinc when we first started with it. I took double the amount and after about 2-3 weeks I started to puff up, ankles, eyelids, fingers. So I knew I’d overdone it. I didn’t go to the clinic, I just drank lotsa water and flushed it out. That’s the good thing about zinc. It was mildly toxic and water soluble – since then I’ve taken a combination zinc/calcium etc. about once a week and it seems to do the trick as I have never been very ill with anything. Knock on wood. So this is interesting now in view of the fact that zinc is being hoarded as much as toilet paper. Lots of people know how effective it is.

            1. Susan the other

              And off topic but just now on PBS – mushrooms sliced and put in the sun for 2 hours creates enough vitamin D to keep you healthy. I’m not sure how that works in the dead of winter – maybe mushrooms can make it easier than our skin can – even when they are sliced up. So that’s interesting and especially that they knew this so long ago.

  3. Toshiro_Mifune

    Are UFOs a threat?

    So strange to see Ufology return to mainstream discourse. I grew up in a 1970s household deeply steeped in the subject courtesy of my father. The subject was everywhere in the 70s. Aside from the resurgence in the early to mid 90s (Streiber/Mack/X-Files) it had been slowly fading except for the true believers… like my dad.

    And then the past 5-6 years happened and suddenly there’s articles in publications that I never would have expected to see take it seriously.

    If i had more free time I’d research a correlation between social and cultural stress and Ufology. I don’t though, so I’m just going to mention it here.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The emotional states of medieval demonic/angel visitations and modern alien abductions play out the same way.

      I wouldn’t be shocked if there was a high correlation. There is a tendency towards religious language in the discourse to ebb and flow. We are in a downward period of openly performative religion compared to the 80’s and 90’s going into the early 00’s. With everything, a more “science based” sense of meaning is going around.

      Given the parallels, I think you would need to keep track of religious fervor.

      1. DJG

        NotTimothyGeithner: Agreed. The religious aspect to what is going on in the US of A is not getting serious attention because it would require a critique of American Religion [tm], which is some kind of Methodist-Baptist mashup that Must Never Be Mentioned.

        And you forgot dragons, something the Venerable Bede wrote about fairly regularly.

        1. h2odragon

          Dragons would prefer y’all talk about aliens instead; PR hasn’t been great in the past.

          1. DJG

            Au contraire, H2O Dragon: Your name confirms what is so wonderful about dragons–they are the spirits of the water cycle, rising out of the earth into the clouds, descending in the rain.

            I recall, too, that the chariot of the goddess Ceres is drawn by dragons.

            So you keep some highly esteemed company.

            1. Wukchumni

              While there is god in the word space of a dragon, it’s just another figment of our imagination, no different than a supposed supreme being that watches over our every move.

            2. Eclair

              If we humans are somehow compelled to see intelligent spirits behind worldly happenings, I would prefer that they be natural ones: sun gods, water sprites, bee goddesses, tree trolls, cloud nymphs … as well as divine essences in bears, eagles, gazelles, elephants, moose, snakes. Seeds! I really don’t feel comfortable with the angry, White patriarchal Bearded One. Much too hierarchical! Let’s spread the Power!

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          And you forgot dragons, something the Venerable Bede wrote about fairly regularly.

          This doesn’t ring a bell. Are you sure you mean Bede? It doesn’t seem like his style. I think you mean Gregory of Monmouth. He’s responsible for Arthurian legend as history.

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      Are UFO’s a threat, we must investigate; Is this guy kidding? Lets see if we can help him catch up.
      1. UFO’s are often seen around our planet.
      2. This appears to have been going on for thousands of years
      3. UFO’s haven’t done anything overtly (except potentially genetically engineering our ancestors and family) caustic to humans that we know of.
      4. There have been no major attacks from visitors that we know of that look like the movies or tv shows
      Now we can’t just go to the archives to find out of any of the above are true or false because the idea of a UFO coming and doing a number on religion on our planet is scary enough for the control freaks to keep it all quiet and deny everything.
      We have to remember, Klatu was really working for us and against our war machine. And He is going to know who is naughty or nice and clean up the neighborhood if we get out of line.

      1. edmondo

        We already had military bases all over this planet. We ran out of room. It’s time America started losing to other species> We’re Number One!

        1. a different chris

          I don’t think there are extraterrestrials zooming around the planet.

          But if there were, the thought that we could “defend” against them is spit-the-coffee out hilarious.

          1. GettingTheBannedBack

            Agree. They always turn up when the plebs need a distraction from something that they really should be thinking about, like fake cold wars and real military skulduggery and oligarchs draining the coffers.

      2. Wukchumni

        Local UFO story from 1955:

        Moose Lake in Sequoia NP has a reputation for weird things happening, about 25 years ago a friend was there by himself and around midnight lights appeared in the low sky that he couldn’t reconcile and it so spooked him that he up and left in the middle of night. The lake itself looking from a distance in the Tablelands, appears tilted at an angle where it wouldn’t hold any water.

        About 20 years ago I saw strange red lights in the Kaweah range I couldn’t figure out and some days later when I was back in the frontcountry, a ranger friend showed me a 10 page pamphlet regarding an incident in 1955 incident involving an extraterrestrial near Moose Lake and here it is:

        We examine the still little-known case of the visitor from Venus along the Wolverton Trail, taking place in 1955.

        The contactee in question was one Oscar F. Knight. He was a very successful rancher living in Central California, just a little to the west of Porterville. He and his wife, Kitty, had owned and managed, since 1950, quite a comfortable ranch where they raised cotton, fruit and walnuts. Speaking for both of the Knights, however, Oscar informed the Arnolds that, “My wife and I are well-liked and responsible citizens. We are only coming out with our story now because the people have the right to know the facts and make their own interpretation.”

        “Well, no one was on the trail. Yet, Ken and I were now startled to see a finely dressed gentleman coming down trail and not over fifty feet above us. He noted from our surprised features that we were mystified at his sudden appearance and made some comment on it.

        “At once certain things became apparent to us. The stranger was not dressed for this wild woodland setting. From somewhere he had come from a dressing room. Low topped oxfords, brown in color, brown bands of a heavy drill, like whipcord, neatly pressed, light blue shirt; old fashioned wrap-around dress tie. His eyes were different from any I had ever seen. They were a clear transparent brown that one looked into, with depth- not opaque like ours. I was getting a little nervous. I thought this gentleman might be a ghost from the nineteenth century, dressed as he was and appearing out of nowhere.”

        “OK, so Ken and I were familiar with this mountainous area, generally. As our new friend sensed this, he started asking us various questions in a manner we had not known of anyone.”

        “What manner might that be?” asked Arnold.

        “His clipped and precise phrasing of words, for one… I mean, he was cutting each word separately. It was so noticeable. And as the questions came along, a feeling came over me that by thought transference from my mind he had the answers before it was given.” Oscar paused for a moment, and then became very animated. He continued, “There was courtesy in his well-modulated voice as he would ask, ‘Gentlemen- where- are- you- going?’ Gentlemen,- how- high- is- that- peak?’ It was as if he had recently learned our language. Following our meeting, we were to go on with our minds searching for answers as to whom our meeting had been with. How little did we know that the mystery was to deepen…”

        “Suddenly,” Oscar informed Arnold, “I called out in amazement, for five or six moving blobs of light rose up the sides of the large rock, and near these a long string of softly glowing lights. They were so close together that they almost seemed to blend into each other. They appeared as if they were coming from some sort of portholes! The smaller lights came to rest on the big rock surface; while the huge object, which I estimated to be about a quarter of a mile long, began to very slowly rose up to a point about one-third of the way up the shoulder of Milk Ridge Peak. And there it stopped!”

        “When I asked him what he was doing here, he said that he and his friends often visit this canyon as well as other wilderness spots on Earth. Wondering in my mind what was so special about this particular canyon to the Venusians, Arthur explained that, ‘The- seclusion- of- this- area- makes- it- an- ideal- place. But,- of- course,- it- is- California,- after- all. We- are- all- enamored- by- your- beautiful state.’ I suppose the California Tourist Bureau or Chamber of Commerce might like to know this.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          my dad worked in image analysis at the JSC/Nasa from Apollo 10 through Skylab.
          one night when i was staying with him after the divorce, and he had had a few scotches, he related that on one of those missions(i don’t remember which), the boss man came in with boxes of film, and before they were allowed to open them, and do their jobs, they were required to sign a document,…saying essentially, “here’s your findings”(“weather anomaly”, “camera artifact” etc) and only then allowed to rummage through.
          he said there were pics of spacecraft, shot from the window of the command module.
          he denies this, to this day….he’s not really a drinker, and has always been stubborn about not talking about his 2 government jobs(DIA before Nasa…sat pics of vietnam/laos/etc.”that’s a rice field…this is opium”).
          he waxed poetic when we watched Apollo 13 together, but is like a brick wall otherwise.
          Mom tells the ufo story more readily…about him coming home that day in shock, and prying the story out of him.
          That’s all the convincing i’ve ever needed about the reality of ufo’s.
          the bosses at nasa were scared of them.

          1. polecat

            Last night, as I watched the bats flit around at twilight .. dining on insects, I noticed something in the sky moving at a steady pace, from the southwest, heading northeast. Whatever ‘it’ was, was bright .. I mean BRIGHT, Man! .. as in Jupiter Bright!! .. consistently so, until it passed behind tree cover. Satellite..? Meteor..? Military (pick one, or more) space war/spycraft..? A ‘Present’ via LV426 .. courtesy of ‘Mom’, with some help from those fine folk at the Wayland Yutani Corp.. ?
            It sure had my hackles deployed.

            Science Officer Ash, of space-refinery Nostromo fame : “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything like it”

        2. Jeff W

          I’ve rather enjoyed that story (or various pieces of it) each time you’ve recounted it.

          The part about the oddly inappropriate dress always reminds me of the apocryphal stories of German spies parachuting into England during WWII dressed in Edwardian attire, arising from, perhaps, a too-attentive reading of PG Wodehouse:

          In After Hours With P G Wodehouse Richard Usborne recalls the strange story of the German spy who in 1942 was reputedly dropped near Dartmoor and was denounced as a suspicious character because he was wearing spats, having been kitted out by German intelligence in what was thought to be the correct attire for an upper-class Englishman.

          [internal link added]

          Somehow I’d hope that our presumably advanced extraterrestrial visitors would have better intelligence than the Abwehr.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Moving it into the category of “threat analysis” is the signal step in opening the floodgates of the federal pocketbook, as well as adding another “fear, uncertainty, doubt” weapon to the arsenal of the manipulators of public perceptions.

      We mopes face a lot worse actual threats from the operations of “our” government: Here’s what the govt has, “off the shelf,” to “put down civil unrest and insurrection:” Operation Garden Plot,, and Fusion Centers,, used to attack the Occupy movement.

    4. hunkerdown

      Not strange at all. JM Greer’s observed that the characteristics of UFOs in any particular time correspond strongly to those of top-secret weapons and aviation systems then under development. Not only does the performative concern provide a ready misdirection to conceal open weapons system testing (related: Pat Lang’s recent tall tale about directed energy weapons causing all those fires in Iran) but it also provides a “reason” to sacrifice our sweat, our meager means, and our very selves to their cushy jobs and to servility and authoritarianism as the very core of humanity.

      1. jr

        Gotta disagree here guys, there are literally hundreds of reports from around the world annually, if not thousands. If this is a distraction operation, it’s global in it’s reach and takes in airline and combat jet pilots, police officers, civilians, scientists, journalists, military personal etc. Ruined careers and reputations. Not saying it’s impossible, just unlikely.

        As to the notion that this tech is “experimental” human machines being “tested”, well I’d say crafts that display the abilities reported time and time again have passed any test in relation to what any world government can field. Think about it, if our morality-free leadership had a craft that flew so quickly that no one’s weapons could touch it they wouldn’t hesitate to use it to conquer and kill.

        JMG’s arguments are a bit specious, in my opinion, at least in regards to UFO’s. When people are stressed, scared, their perceptions are obviously warped. This is a problem both in identifying what has been seen and what has not. People see something they’ve never seen before and they turn to concepts they understand to capture it. When indigenous Americans first saw armored and mounted conquistadors, they thought they were one creature with two heads. They defined the thing with definitions they understood. Something similar could be happening here, I think, in either direction.

        Here are some videos from the UAP channel on Utube:

        Can anyone out there speak to the ease with such footage could be faked? I know nothing of such things…

        1. newcatty

          To call all existence of extraterrestrial beings or any concept of God or Goddess as just figments of our imagination is the essence of hubris and closed mindedness. Amusing at how hard some people put so much energy in their apparent need to be “scientific ” or “logical thinkers “. I think that there is likely that we are not alone in this cosmos. Earthly religions, especially Western, have been co-oped by greedy and amoral hustlers. That is no rationale for negating any reality except for what can only be dogma of the hard scientists and atheist believers. Does love exist? Or is really just biological procreation drive? Is it selfish justification for ownership of women and children? I believe ( yes that word) in love.

          1. jr


            The scientism-ists also seem to think they have all the answers, like everything is wrapped up and there’s only a few polishing touches left and the Universe is wrapped up in a big bow. UFO’s can’t exist because we can’t think of a way they could….the essence of hubris.

            Or they try ad hominen attacks. One moron physicist I watched on Utube claimed that the pilots who spotted the “Tic Tac” had to be mistaken and that they probably weren’t very good observers. Try to grasp the smug ignorance it takes to say that two of the >most highly trained observers in the world<, guys who have to think in three dimensions in a constantly changing environment flying machines in the 10's of millions of dollars, were babbling none sense but the guy who was never there and who saw nothing has the scoop because he's good at math.

            Another important point: scientists are not the people to be investigating UFO's, at least the witnesses. As Leslie Kean, an award winning journalist who has written the definitive book in the topic says, it's a job for professional interviewers and interrogators:


            1. ShamanicFallout

              Yes to this, but I think one can also remember that we see the world in a very ‘flat’ way. Terence McKenna has some very interested talks about psychedelics and ‘UFOs’. We never think about the possibilities of other “realms” or “levels” which might just be a slight shift in consciousness away. Consider Tibetan Buddhist Thangkas and renderings of Buddha worlds. Do you think these are simply the products of artistic musings? Or as McKenna says, with DMT, you usually get the ‘self replicating machine elves’. Shakespeare’s “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” is probably about right.

              1. jr

                Yes and yes. If we momentarily accept for arguments sake that consciousness is fundamental, then all manner of interesting ideas present themselves. Imagine physics as a branch of psychology!

                *ducks behind an armchair

        2. hunkerdown

          To be fair, JMG was speaking primarily for the mainstream American experience, as he does. Personally, I’m agnostic as to whether there are life forms of extraterrestrial origin (and JMG for his own part certainly would not assume the negative!). But it is a very long logical stretch from there to assume interstellar travel and a willingess to make contact with other life forms.

          And no, the ranchers of men (to paraphrase Jesus) created a captive stream of resources that flow to them. They’re going to want to enjoy it and preserve it, to align it with themselves, to win the meta-game and watch the game play itself to their benefit, like the board game Monopoly in the end stage. Who among the ruling class breaks their horses by shooting them? I do not believe they would use a potentially game-ending staff-of-Zeus weapon before having the entire rest of the board sewn up. If the game doesn’t end, then it changes, perhaps not necessarily to their advantage in the meta-game, where they are playing a conservative defensive position to keep the livestock alive.

          Nuclear-option fantasies of prevailing in every contest by their own (improbably powerful) single next move are quintessentially American middle-class and almost never strategically relevant. For all we know, the greys could have given the neoliberal ruling class a selective doomsday weapon and they haven’t used it yet because they have continence, the same quality that has gotten most of them through the ages.

          1. jr

            I have to differ, I would imagine such tech would immediately be utilized. The ruling classes are united against us but internally riven. If not for advantage over us, then how about one another? And no, they don’t shoot horses as a matter of course, but they do shoot humans all the time. They do not appear to be exercising continence vis a vis the survival of our species, either, it strikes me as a pell-mell race off of a cliff instead.

            And this technology appears a long way ahead of what we think of as cutting edge. This isn’t a space cannon or a faster jet or hyper sonic cruise missile. These things regularly break the laws of physics as we understand them. And then some.

            There are other theories to the origins of these things, one is that they are our children from the future, I’m sure there are others. And how do we know what is possible? Sure, the distances between stars are beyond immense but that’s only by our lights. Maybe you don’t have to cross the whole distance, wormholes, yada yada.

            I am not an uncritical believer in the notion that these things are non human but neither am I going to shut the door in it. What they most definitely are is extraordinary.

        3. Paradan

          The first video offers an explanation via example. The UAP is just a different type of laser hitting a layer of atmosphere higher up, the motion is remarkably similar to the green laser held by the witness. Its probably something that excites an ionic state is ozone or something.

    5. Pelham

      I’d broadly agree that UFO sightings tend not to be real sightings.

      But what Elizondo is talking about is considerably different. These are objects in our atmosphere witnessed by multiple pilots and simultaneously tracked by radar. So they had to be solid. And they were moving in ways far beyond anything that our knowledge of physics tells us is even remotely possible. Such incidents are rare but undeniable and date back to at least 1952. And there is no earthly explanation so far.

      1. rowlf

        I contend we are seeing a form of intergalactic cow-tipping. Something is visiting monkey planet for giggles. Why would anything that can travel like that want to interact with us? And if they can travel like that, why would they crash? If monkeys can put don’t-crash-into-mountains boxes in aircraft why would a UFO crash?

  4. arte

    “Due to time constraints, I only read the abstract but am confused by the n. 1077 enrolled. 543 received the vaccine. So why are the efficacy %s based on 35?:”

    I’d guess not every participant was tested for neutralising antibodies – the rest were in the trial just to get information about adverse reactions?

    “Regardless, undercut by: The people with hidden immunity against Covid-19 BBC. Focus on T-cells instead of antibodies.”

    From the study:

    Adenovirus-vectored vaccines are known to induce strong cellular immunity and ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccination resulted in marked increases in SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific effector T-cell responses as early as day 7, peaking at day 14 and maintained up to day 56 as expected with adenoviral vectors. However, a boost in cellular responses was not observed following the second ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 dose.

    Which I guess would be good news.

    I did notice at least one apparent typo:
    “Before vaccination, only one (1%) of 98 participants who were tested had high titre (>200) neutralising antibodies against ChAdOx1. Antibodies were detectable at a lower level in a further 18 (1%) participants, and in 79 (81%) participants there were no detectable anti-ChAdOx1 antibodies.”

    Well, you can’t expect perfection from a Lancet-published study these days ;)

    1. TroyIA

      Adenovirus-vectored vaccines are known to induce strong cellular immunity and ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccination resulted in marked increases in SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific effector T-cell responses as early as day 7, peaking at day 14 and maintained up to day 56 as expected with adenoviral vectors. However, a boost in cellular responses was not observed following the second ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 dose.

      Which I guess would be good news.

      If what Ignacio wrote yesterday is true then lack of a boost is actually bad news. It may mean that the immune system recognizes the AAV from the first vaccination and attacks the AAV without attacking the included spike protein. The question then becomes will the immune system recognize the spike protein when exposed to SARS-Cov-2.

      July 20, 2020 at 3:00 pm

      If you read the article you will notice a caveat for adenovirus-based vaccines as well as other vaccines based on viral vectors: if additional boosts are needed, we might develop anti-vector immunity and the very same vaccine will probably not work after 6 months or a year for additional boosts. (The Oxford vaccine boosts humoral response if the second boost is done 28 days after the first but susequently?

      Additionally it has yet to be shown that a vaccine focused solely on the spike protein will be adequate to prevent infection. By studying the T-cell response of SARS-Cov-2 patients doctors have discovered that attacking the spike protein is only part of the immune response.

      Targets of T Cell Responses to SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus in Humans with COVID-19 Disease and Unexposed Individuals

      1. Ignacio

        The spike protein is the best candidate for neutralizing antibodies which can give antibody-mediated immunity. Adenovirus vectors with SARS CoV2 spike protein elicit both humoral response and a strong cellular (T-Cell) response though the T-Cells being activated will only recognize spike protein epitopes upon SARS CoV 2 infection. This is good enough.

        Moreover after analyzing sera from convalescent individuals, most of them produce antibodies that bind with very high affinity to the receptor binding domain of the spike protein and this suggests there reside the best epitopes for humoral immunity. Titres are not high and tend to decay. Even if these decay, below levels that would provide immunity, such antibodies would provide a boost to the immune system and could help to avoid the most severe outcomes of Covid. We just have to pray there is no antibody dependent enhancement of the disease as seen with Dengue.

        T-cell response and T-cell memory is protective but doesn’t give the type of immunity that neutralizing antibodies provide. Then we have the BCG vaccine that works in a different way: It strengthens the innate response through long-lived epigenetic changes and after vaccination the innate immune system becomes ‘trained’ and more protected against new infections by different pathogens. Coronavirus have developed ways to reduce the efficiency of the all-important innate response but it might be more difficult for them when infecting innate immune systems that have been ‘trained’ by the BCG vaccine. It has yet to be tested the overall efficacy of the BCG vaccine which may not be as high as that provided by adaptive immune resistance (T-cells and antibodies) but it could be significant.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      OK, that makes sense, but if correct, all the Twitter and press reactions treating the efficacy as if it were based on 1077 participants is bollocks. 35 isn’t enough to have a lot of confidence even with that 91% result. That is small enough for the results to reflect sample bias. They already constrained the population by including only 30 to 50 year olds.

  5. JohnH

    Seems to me that under Hawley’s proposal, if the firm has the money to pay the fines for using slave labor, they can continue to do so. And like unfair labor practice, there is only that downside if corp gets caught and ruled against. Good chance they will skate.

    It’s all corporate fines, no jail time. How is this not permitting slavery, but only for the wealthy, with government getting a slice?

    An example of rightwingers deploying left language for right-wing ends?

    1. hunkerdown

      Why not, the Democrats have been doing it for decades, and it’s proven to sell.

      Also, Hawley has been trying to make his name as a man of the people lately. Now, anyone who’s paying attention knows that it’s the ruling class in its entirety that is the Problem.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Trump threatens to send officers to more US cities”

    Trump can say what he wants and it is true that there are dozens of different tactical police units scattered throughout the Federal government to use. The truth is though that if he tries to send these units to Portland, Chicago, New York, etc. all he will end up doing is playing Whac-A-Mole with these uprisings. Did he really think that throwing score of millions of people on the scrap heap without any meaningful support would have no consequences?

    1. Mike

      Do you really think “he” is the one to throw scores of millions of people on the scrap heap? No responsibility on the career politicians? The rioters in cities like Portland or Seattle are a very small minority of people. These mayors need to stop the violence and property destruction but they are hoping to bait Trump into over-reacting. I find it amazing that local politicians will punish and sacrifice their own constituents in order to attack the President. On another note, perhaps the “peaceful protestors” should stop giving cover to the rioters for a few days too.

      1. dcblogger

        yes, Trump most certainly has thrown the 99% on to the scrap heap. He is President and could do a lot in such a situation. He could pass Medicare for All. He could pass a people’s bail out. He does not want to. He is completely selfish. Even on the standards of the very rich , he is selfish.

        Black Lives Matter wants the police to stop murdering people and wants murdering cops to be brought to justice. Can we set the bar any lower?

        1. MT_Bill

          Let’s be real. If Trump decided to do something to help his suburban Republican Karen vote, like cancel all student loans and get rid of the limit on daycare tax deductions, the dems would oppose it. They’d also oppose medicare for all if Trump proposed it in an election year. Maybe if he brings back Bannon we’ll get to see some heads explode.

          It’s all about power, and using that power to enrich themselves. It’s almost never been about providing real material benefits to anyone but themselves.

          As per your original statement, it’s no different then this, pointed out endlessly here at NC.

          Yes, Obama most certainly threw the 95% on the scrap heap. He was President and could have done a lot to prevent this situation. He could have passed medicare for all. He could have passed a people bailout instead of a bankers bailout. He didn’t want to, he was completely selfish and only cared about getting that house on the Vineyard.

          1. marym

            Let’s be real. During the Obama years his followers would tell his critics on the left how bad Bush was, how bad McCain would have been, and how Gore would have been better. It’s important to understand the complicity and common interests on “both sides” of establishment politics. It’s also important to understand the specific situation of the times, not turn every topic into but-the-other-side.

            1. dcblogger

              . It’s also important to understand the specific situation of the times, not turn every topic into but-the-other-side.

              so good, it had to be repeated

              1. chris wardell

                “Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.”
                ― Franz Kafka

              2. Eureka Springs

                Even better when the “other sides” include the super plurality of eligible voters who will not vote for either minority party. And the largest block of registered voters are neither D or R.

                A massive vote of no confidence.

                I think it’s very important to acknowledge our problems (certainly all mentioned above) are systemic.

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  The only way such a massive vote of no confidence would be counted or even seen would be if the no-confidence voters actually cast presidential-line-blank ballots SHOWING their no confidence.

                  If they merely stay home and not vote, the system will spin them out of meaningful existence as much as it can.

            2. MT_Bill

              This only works when people are consistent, and hold their “team” accountable. If it is bad when Trump does it, it should have been bad when Obama (Bush, Clinton) did it.

              And this needs to be pointed out at every opportunity. The only thing different about Trump is crass vulgarity and an extra helping of incompetence.

              1. marym

                Sure, and if it was bad when Obama did it, it should be bad when Trump does it.

                In the interests of pointing it out at every opportunity: The “team” that favors of states’ rights and local control; defines spreading disease as liberty; shows up at government buildings with guns; opposes federal overreach; and condemned any exercise of executive authority by Obama, including nominating judges or appointing staff, as socialism or worse is now cheering for a federal unidentified paramilitary force in the streets pre-kidnapping, gassing, and beating unarmed people who aren’t looting.

                But the evil isn’t the hypocrisy, or the marginally lesser of it on one side or the other at any given moment. The evil is the evil.

                1. hunkerdown

                  If y’all didn’t ONLY say that when you’re trying to win an election with a nicer, more polite hard-right neoliberal, you’d be more believable.

          2. mpalomar

            “He could have passed medicare for all. He could have passed a people bailout instead of a bankers bailout.”
            That in his first two years he presided over a session of congress with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and capitulated to the Republicans on Bush years criminality and tax cuts and allowed Summers, Geithner, Rubin and company to foam the runway for the banks and Wall Street and set up the mechanism as auto pilot for the next crisis (covid-19) is I think undeniable. That he was weak, feckless and not prepared for the job and shoe horned in by the Democratic establishment as a liberal conceit and sop seems incontrovertible.

            That he could have passed medicare for all and a main street bailout assumes congress led by the likes of Democrats Pelosi, Schummer and Baucus were going to serve up the legislation, a rather tenuous assumption given the performance of these politicians right up to the current moment.

            A savvy veteran legislator like LBJ might have pulled it off, Obama as it turned out was a cream puff without convictions other than some spurious aggrandizement of his own rather pathetic legacy.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Obama campaigned as a center-leftist but is actually center-right. Look at his selection of Geithner as Secretary Treasury, his renomination of Bernanke despite record opposition in the Senate, and his appointment of the Catfood Commission to cut Social Security, which fortunately didn’t get much of anywhere.

          3. Icecube12

            You are very possibly right about the Dems’ reaction to any proposal by Trump. But a president could still propose something like dcblogger proposes–even one of those things–and try to whip up support among the people. And support would be there in large amounts. Maybe not among those who see Trump as the all-purpose boogeyman, but among regular people. If Trump had been smart enough to realize this, he could have developed a real populist base. But he is not and never was. I spent the last few years reflexively resenting Democrats and feeling rather ambivalent about Trump, but the realization that he really is an empty shell turned my ambivalent dislike of Trump into actual contempt, if only for the squandered opportunity.

            I don’t think your remarks are wrong, but they remind me a lot of the Democrats who kept crying about Republican opposition as Obama screwed the people back in 2010. But I guess it’s hard to know which direction to turn once you realize they are all actively screwing you, just with slightly different turns of rhetoric.

          4. Darthbobber

            There are both similarities and differences. And when we reach the point that it’s semi-obligatory to include an Obama critique any time you offer criticism of Trump it begins to get ridiculous.

          5. Copeland

            >Obama most certainly threw the 95% on the scrap heap*

            Who said anything about Obama? Why always mention that creep as a counter to someone pointing out how bad Trump is? Can they not both be awful at the same time?

            *Of course he did, but that doesn’t absolve Trump of anything.

      2. a different chris

        I find it amazing that local politicians will punish and sacrifice their own constituents in order to attack the President.

        I find it amazing that you can write this. Please propose even the slightest motivation these mayors have to attack Trump? I do believe they have enough on their hands. He gets attacked when he makes it worse, which he does with everything that comes to his attention.

        1. mike

          the slightest motivation….. hmm ..I got it. How about glowing press? or support from national political organizations? SuperPac money? Think tank job after office?

          Are you serious?

          1. a different chris

            Yes I am.

            Are you serious that “glowing press” requires dropping all your local needs and bashing Trump? There is a House full of Democrats that already do that and already get all the press. Ain’t gonna get you very far.

            Support from National Political Orgs… they are already supporting you if you are a Dem.

            SuperPac money/think tank — ok you have really lost the handle on the difference between, again national Democrats and mayors.

            You said it yourself “sacrifice their own constituents” – most people have trouble figuring out which Congressman is theirs. Mayors do not have that luxury. They cannot drop local needs, everybody knows where the buck stops.

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          Yes. This is a bogus attack comment about the mayor of Portland. Who can certainly be criticized for many things…… but the nightly protests in Portland had been dwindling prior to this militarized fedcop stunt. The graffiti and damage to those federal building they were purportedly ‘protecting’ was old, and, tellingly, could have been repaired with a fraction of the money it takes to field these camo clad tough guys for a few nights.

          The decision to kidnap and assault protestors in Portland just now, finally, appears to have been made in order to feed some timely red meat to Trump’s nationwide ‘base’, without regard for the needs of Portland. The equally timely flood of pearl-clutching law-and-order comments here (and in Taibbi’s Substack) asserting that Portland was at the point of breaking under the weight of rioters….. well. Coordination can be a beautiful thing in a new outfit, as long as it’s not overdone. The same principle holds for propaganda.

      3. allan

        “but they are hoping to bait Trump into over-reacting.”

        I love the smell of projection in the morning.

        In case you missed it, this coming weekend’s DHS invasion of Chicago has been invited in
        by the white power-adjacent president of the corrupt police union.

        1. mike

          How many nights in a row should we allow federal buildings to be vandalized? Is there a limit to the damage that “protestors” can do before police stop it? Should federal workers be allowed to go to and from work without threat of violence? Why aren’t local authorities stopping this?

            1. mike

              you failed to answer my questions. Kidnapping… ha. the rioters are surrounding the agents making arrests and un-arresting the criminals. When making arrests, would you prefer they send in many times the number of agents to secure the area or should they just let everyone go because it is “only” graffiti?

              1. Otto

                Cite a report where workers can’t get into a building. And yes it is graffiti. Which is misdemeanour. People do have a right to protest their government. You outa try it.

                1. Aumua

                  Well someone’s got to lick those stormtrooper’s boots now. I mean how are they going to get clean unless someone gets down on their hands and knees and just goes to work on those things? It’s a dirty job, but it’s gotta get done. So thank you, Mike and others, for your unwavering support of authoritarian crackdowns in these troubled times.

            2. workingclasshero

              Honestly after my downtown neighborhood got trashed and is still shuttered after only two nights of riots in the midwest,i would would wznt allot more than a drive around and warning from the feds.i can’t believe portland puts up with this b.s.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Agree with you here. The DHS “invasion” of Chicago should be cancelled. Chicago’s tearing itself apart all on it’s own, and Trump doesn’t need the grief or the blame.

      4. JacobiteInTraining

        Hi Mike,

        My Mom (80-odd years old, stage 4 bone-cancer survivor…so far!) absolutely attended a protest at a federal building in Eugene Oregon. She (by her own admission, and I have it in email form for evidence) used paint – possibly even permanent paint – to scrawl an expletive, the name ‘Trump’ and some other words on federal property there.

        Just curious whether you think full-facial reconstructive surgery after being hit by a rubber bullet for her is warranted, or should she just get some key bones broken with a baton? Or, given her age, would it be better for her to be whisked away in an unmarked rental vehicle to be ‘sweated down’ in the bowels of a black site for awhile until she changes her violent antifa ways?

        Asking for a friend.


        1. Mr. House

          Why? Why would your 80 year old cancer surviving mother attend a protest during a pandemic?

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            What makes you think it was during a pandemic?

            You see, my Mom has displayed the traits of an unhinged violent antifa terrorist for years. YEARS! Decades, even.

            I dunno, given her avowed desire to smash the state, at least since that episode of post-partum depression back in ’67, I’m wondering if maybe there’s some RICO involved here.

            1. DJG

              JacobiteInTraining: It sounds more like what an Italian friend of mine calls the Joy of Disobedience.

              Which can be a joy.

          2. mike

            If true, she was there to spread hate and destroy property. I have no sympathy for her. Perhaps she should think twice next time she decides to riot.

            On the other hand, I firmly support the right to peaceful protest.

            1. Dan

              On the other hand, I firmly support the right to peaceful protest.

              So do a lot of people in power…provided nothing substantially changes.

              “Let them march all they want, as long as they continue to pay their taxes.” – Haig

              “Let the eighty year olds stand there peacefully with their signs. If they act in any way uppity though,,,” -NC poster

            2. JacobiteInTraining

              Tough crowd today, tough crowd. :)

              Please grab a truncheon and some hot dogs on your way out, next show is at 9pm, and we’ll include some kittens to pepper spray for the finale!

              1. ambrit

                I want my money back! I was told the kittens were for the “Turkey Shoot” part of the festivities! (I already got my ‘wildcat’ 22/250 ready. [You can guess what ‘Plus ‘P” stands for.])
                How many people have we all encountered who did not suspect that “breaking the rules” was the entire rationale for demonstrating?
                Economics has the concept of “Demand Destruction.”
                Political Economics should have the equivalent concept of “Command Destruction.”

            3. hunkerdown

              Not only do they start thinking property is real, they start thinking it’s a life form that deserves rights.

              Neoliberals proving once again that they need free forced mental health care on a back alley.

                1. jr

                  Really? Then you must not be able to leave your home after reading about what your masters are doing to us all and the world. Those parasites engage in bloody, ravaging violence with the stroke of a pen. Why would anyone who isn’t them give a rolling donut about them?

            4. Otto

              Mike – why are you so angry. Something happen to you? Someone do something directly to you? I’m try to understand, why you don’t seem to care?

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          In what acronym universe does the word “Trump” represent “End Systemic Racism and Police Violence Against the Lower and Working Classes?”

          Maybe your mom, like so many others, just saw an opportunity to act out without consequences and took it. She got lucky.

        3. Carolinian

          It would indeed be a bad thing if your 80 year old mother had been injured after painting Trump on a building. I think if it had been me I would have discouraged her from doing it.

      5. Geo

        Others have already offered thorough responses to most of your comment but I just want to add: Peaceful BLM protests didn’t work in the past. Nothing changed. A few riots in wealthier neighborhoods and suddenly cities and states are starting to offer some real changes.

        Power doesn’t care about our feelings. They care about money. I don’t like it as I’d prefer a world where we could solve issues through diplomatic means but the powerful showed their cards. They only respond to property damage, not the needs of the citizenry. The citizenry has taken notice.

          1. Otto

            Hr. House. Change – getting rid of neoliberalism as a driver of public policy. Restoring to the government the actual need to act on behalf of the people, in taking complete control of health care, banking, housing, & eduction. Eliminate Hedge funds, P&E, & M&A. Declare a Debt holiday. Pull all overseas troops home. Get rid of factory farming. Start now reduce carbon fuels by 7.6% a year every year till they re gone. Oh, Stuff like that.

            1. Mr. House

              I like everything you wrote, i just don’t see the current movements demanding that. They’ve got a few of what you mentioned, but not all. Also you should add the repeal of the patriot act to your list.

        1. furies

          Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

          John F. Kennedy

          1. JCC


            And it seems that’s the way things are headed right now, although I sincerely hope not.

            But it does seem weird to me that people think broken bones and pepper gas in the eyes are fair retributions to painting bad words on government buildings in protest of authoritarianism… or what the mainstream press seems to enjoy calling this civil unrest -> “race riots”. Not to mention their assistance in keeping a hyper “political correctness” in the forefront, thus keeping the public thoroughly divided on every possible civil front.

            And the fact that many of these people support things like COINTELPRO-type of pushbacks like the article referenced today on Albuquerque, NM seems extremely anti-American when it comes to the praised American streak of anti-authoritarianism (like the American Revolution, for example). They have fallen for the authoritarian streak of property being more important than life in general, the same types that probably supported slavery in the early history of this country.

            Of course, on the other side we get the Russia! Russia! Russia! version of COINTELPRO.

            Our Authoritarian Masters (or as George Carlin would insist, our Owners) are quite happy with all this, of course. They get to pontificate on American Exceptionalism from their protected Ivory Towers while breaking heads of anyone who protests all this authoritarian mess on the streets.

            What will be really interesting is the upcoming ending of extra cash for the working class, renters and homeowners getting thrown out of their homes, the permanent closing of too many small businesses, and worse, I’m sure, combined with record gun and ammunition sales across the country. Then we’ll really get to watch SHTF. compared to what we’re seeing today.

            I really hope JFK is wrong this time, but based on some of the comments here by generally rational people, I’m a little worried.

      6. Katniss Everdeen

        I find it amazing that local politicians will punish and sacrifice their own constituents in order to attack the President.

        Agreed. 54 days is a long time to go without any discernible attempt at resolution of “protester” demands. It’s getting easier and easier to believe that prolonging the mayhem is the actual goal. Even the ostensible ground zero, Minneapolis, has managed to settle down.

        I suspect that the governor of oregon and mayor of portland have reckoned that “defunding” the police would be political suicide, while blaming and suing Trump gets them out of a serious “governing” jam, and raises their previously nonexistent national profiles to slightly above zero.

        As for the throwing “scores of milions of people on the scrap heap,” that’s just the obligatory, automatic, throwaway hyperbole that needs no scrutiny because Trump. Everybody knows it’s true. Nobody else ever did anything bad.

        1. Carolinian

          I read an article that said that if there is an anarchist block injecting itself into the protests–call it what you will–they are using HK tactics such as green lasers, letting the peaceful marchers serve as a screen while a “ballistics” group tries to provoke escalation etc. The Hong Kong protesters in turn were influenced by what happened in Ukraine and I’d say we should cast a skeptical eye toward any “American Maidan” given how legitimate the original Maidan turned out to be.

          In Portland they are using green lasers, have been throwing objects at the police and, as reported in yesterday’s protester friendly Oregonlive link, tried to tear down the protective fence around the Federal courthouse. There seems to be mutual provocation going on and that this has been true ever since 2016 given that many refused to accept a Trump presidency from day one. Russiagate was its own form of anarchy.

          Perhaps Trump will be gone in a few months and TPTB can get back to the business of shafting the country in an atmosphere of greater calm. Cynics can suggest that with this goal accomplished they will forget all about police reform.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            You’d really think that, having gotten the nation’s attention and, by all accounts, overwhelming support, legitimate protesters would take immediate advantage of that position to compel the concessions they claim to be fighting for. You don’t have to be an expert negotiator to know that when you’re holding all the cards, you play them.

            That that’s not happening is starting to make this whole thing smell like chaos for chaos’ sake.

            PS. Russiagate was its own form of anarchy. Bingo.

            1. Aumua

              What cards do they hold? Overwhelming support? From people who have little power (like you and me), sure. Reducing police department budgets, shifting that $$$ away from them to alternatives… is that happening? How are the protesters supposed to compel that to happen? Without further disrupting anything?

        2. Darthbobber

          Or perhaps local politicians (as here in Philly) find that their voters aren’t as wrought up over these horrors as some feel they should be.

      7. marym

        Trump doesn’t care if there’s violence and property destruction in “blue” cities any more than he cares if the people there get murdered by cops or get sick during the pandemic. He’s doing this to intimidate them and stir up his followers. His administration is the embodiment of “first they came for…”

        1. mike

          so, blue cities with diverse police forces have out of control crime and murder… and trump is the one that doesn’t care about it. right. lets not put any blame on the politicians that have been running these cities for generations.

          1. dcblogger

            police a murdering citizens, don’t think it is asking to much that police stop murdering citizens and that murdering cops be brought to justice.

            1. mike

              of course that isn’t too much to ask. who disagrees with that? I also don’t think it is too much to ask for police to stop rioters from burning or spray painting some else’s property. do yo think that is too much to ask?

              1. ambrit

                You are equating property with human lives. This is not a valid argument. If the coppers were only keeping protesters from maximum destruction without killing anyone, I’d be more accepting of your argument. However….

                1. Spats

                  When it’s your property they destroy, maybe you will take it personally, like most of us when our property is destroyed by others.

                  1. HotFlash

                    There is no property on earth that is worth a human life. Probably not an animal’s life, either.

                  2. witters

                    But then you guys wore Obama letting finance take your houses. Was that personal? Or you just punching down?

                  3. CarlH

                    When your property got destroyed did you immediately kill the person you thought was responsible? Do you think you would have been justified had you? The boot licking adjacent comments today are disappointing to find on this site, though one of the reasons I love it is for the diversity of opinions.

          2. marym

            Whatever may be the mixed motivations and governing history of big city mayors, that doesn’t mean Trump suddenly cares about the people in those cities. He’s been vilifying practically every demographic in this country his whole life.

            1. mike

              why do you not hold the local politicians who have controlled these places for generations culpable? Instead, lets blame the one who isn’t a career politician in power for 3 years. and yes his language is not helpful… but the underlying problems were created and amplified for many years before him and most forcefully buy the local politicians

              1. Mr. House

                Marym is like clockwork “all Trump all bad all the time, my side good”

                No use in arguing with her/him.

              2. ambrit

                Following your argument further, we can say that Trump and the local politicos are different manifestations of the same problem; the Status Quo has become ‘toxic’ to the general public.
                The obvious solution is to change the political system in America. Doing this will require an actual, on the ground revolution.
                America is not ‘there’ yet. “Things” have not gotten very much ‘worse’ for the generality than they were a year or so ago. If nothing is done between now and next spring, we could well see an “American Spring” style uprising.
                As a gauge of how worried the Status Quo might be, keep your eyes open for some new, “transformative” process or legislation concerning the Internet. As I commented on another thread, the Egyptian government shut down the social medias soon after the beginning of their Arab Spring events. They saw that much of the organizing of the demonstrations and anti-government propaganda was being carried out over the Internet and mobile devices. Something similar is supposed to have happened during the recent Hong Kong demonstrations. Thus, the HK street people reverted to old school methods of command and control.
                Welcome to Interesting Times pardner!

              3. JWP

                It’s not the locala politicians either. No matter who is elected, the problems will persist. In such an unequal and morally backwards society, increasing murder rates and borderline gestapo police/military tactics are a given. If we are in the business of assessing blame, which in this situation, singling out a single group does nothing, then look at 95% of elected officials and 99.9% of corporate leaders. Thats a whole lotta thousands of people to “blame.” But finger wagging at trump or local politicians doesn’t come anywhere near the root of the problem.

              4. marym

                People try to hold local officials and local cops responsible all the time. That’s why there are contested primaries and elections, petitions, recall efforts, ballot initiatives, and protests, although powerful establishment forces (on both “sides”) constrict their effectiveness.

                An anonymous, unaccountable paramilitary in the streets is a problem, not a solution; and, given everything Trump’s said about big blue states and cities and done or threatened to do or left undone there indicates he would rather hurt than help the people there.

          3. HotFlash

            How about we blame the guy who called in ill/untrained Border Patrol and ICE troops? That would be Pres. Trump.

      8. Keith

        In Seattle, and I suspect Portland, the politicians in office also drink from the same Kool Aid, so there is actually sympathy for them. It is part of the reason the police are handcuffed from dealing with these rioters and maintain the peace and protecting property.

        Both sides want to crank up the angst. Trump wants the ‘burbs and regular people to see what these hard left urbanists are capable of and their beliefs, hence launching federal authorities into the cities to dial up the agitators and make headlines with violence. On the other side, the Left wants to dial up the angst and spread fear to cause the upper class to protect their property against the protest, like in MO, then charge the people and rally their hardened supporters. As summer drags on with people under out of work with nothing better to do, expect more and more of these clashes. This is all practice before the real fun starts, with the fiasco that will be the general election and the fighting over whose ballets should be counted and whose tossed, with the outcome being pushed back farther and farther.

      9. martell

        I can’t say that I fully understand the local political scene, but what’s currently happening is much more complicated than the mayor allowing the protests to unfold in order to embarrass Trump. For one thing, the mayor, Wheeler, probably couldn’t stop the protests even if it were legal for him to try. For another, the nonviolent protest has a lot of local support. But the downtown is a mess, some businesses have been vandalized and/or looted, and so city officials are also under pressure to bring the protests to an end. In an effort to simply keep them under control, the mayor asked the governor to deploy the national guard to Portland, but the governor refused. Also, the mayor is the police commissioner, and the police have been coordinating with the feds in dealing with the protests since at least late June. City officials only publicly distanced themselves from the feds after the latter were caught on video practicing “catch and release” with citizens. Even so, the Portland police were seen to be carrying out joint operations with federal agents a day after city and state officials had denounced the federal actions. Adding to the complexity of the situation, there is some evidence that elected officials of the city and state don’t have full control over their police forces. At the very least, it seems that the Portland police hold Wheeler in contempt. For instance, after the mayor approved bereavement leave for all city employees so that they could have time to grieve over George Floyd and 400 years of systemic racism (and that’s very close to a quote), members of the police department took more bereavement time by far than those of any other city department. Makes me think they were mocking Wheeler. In any case, this makes it impossible simply to read off the intentions of the mayor from the actions (or inaction) of the police force.

      10. Offtrail

        Mike, I’m local to Portland, and I think it highly unlikely that Mayor Wheeler has been trying to “bait Trump into over-reacting”.

    2. Geo

      Playing Whac-A-Mole is sort of our standard foreign policy regarding warfare. Probably the same brilliant strategic minds that think doing the same thing in the homeland will work out for them just as well.

      Winning hearts and minds!

      1. dcblogger

        I have been thinking the same myself, we are doing to ourselves what we have don’t to other countries for decades.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Bin Laden actually came out once and said what his strategy was. He said that he would send two of his guys to the furthest reaches of the earth and raise a ratty, old flag. Then America would send a massive military expedition to chase them down and in this way, he would have America squander their resources again and again. He could never have imagined how successful this strategy would have ever been. The blowback to America of police militarization and mass surveillance coming back to home shores would have been icing on the cake for the sob.

          1. Wukchumni

            We kicked ass in Operation Urgent Fury, that makes up for half a dozen of the losses, no?

      1. HotFlash

        “These insurrectionists in the streets of Portland are little different from the insurrectionists who seceded from the union empire in 1861 1773 in South Carolina Boston, and tried to take over Fort Sumter Griffin’s Wharf.”

    3. Pelham

      Sounds about right. Relatedly on this subject (and at risk of being accused of class reductionism), I think that sending troops to put down these riots rather fits into Michael Lind’s latest ideas on class in the US.

      What we have are troops drawn largely from the class constituting the 70% of Americans who don’t acquire 4-year college degrees pitted against a bunch of protesters containing a large element of college grads. One group probably cherishes American history and the other dismisses it as a thinly veiled narrative of white supremacy.

      What we can learn from this conflict or what will come of it I wouldn’t dare predict. But to the extent that protesters get riled up by the presence of troops, they may tend to confirm the darkest suspicions of that group of Americans currently dying their many deaths of despair. As Lambert would say, everything is going to plan.

          1. Aumua

            Yeah, right. And therein lies the deep concern and indeed fully justified paranoia about what’s going down.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      He is doing this in hopes of causing more protests in the targeted cities. He is also hoping to turn the protests into riots so that these Federal force-members can go all Kent State on protesters. Will that increase his base-voter turnout or decrease it?

      Stay tuned . . .

      1. Aumua

        Also is this really a re-election strategy, or does it cross over into a more general stay-in-power-and-consolidate-that-power strategy, election or not?

    1. Darius

      Really depressed about this. I’ve ridden out 2020 pretty well so far, but losing Michael Brooks is losing a touch point. Like Naked Capitalism, a rare combination of being consistently informative, enlightening, entertaining, committed, and compassionate. Profoundly generous but with zero tolerance for bulls$&t.

      He alluded to a struggle with depression, but he always had an underlying joyfulness. Like a papa bear, but only 37. It’s like losing your children. I hate to be dramatic but this hit me last night like gut punch. The last thing I was expecting was having to get through the rest of this year and this decade without Michael Brooks.

      1. Geo

        I had only gotten into his work over the last year and really admired him. A calming and insightful voice in a sea of ranters and ravers (been frustrating to see so many leftie voices mimic the perpetual rage antics of rightwing radio). I personally do enjoy listening to people yell for an hour like Cenk, Jimmy Dore, and even a few others have been doing more and more. It’s reasonable to be outraged at the state of affairs but Brooks expressed that through thoughtfulness and humor without turning each show into a bold-pressure rising neurotic anxiety fit.

        He will truly be missed.

        1. Quentin

          Michael Brooks genuinely had the world at heart, as I posted in yesterday’s Water Cooler. He was a mensch. He showed me what a more compassionate and honest world might look like. What a searing loss, and at only 37.

          1. ambrit

            All I find about the cause of death is “a sudden medical condition.” At 37….
            I think we need to see an autopsy done and the results publicized.
            This is 2020, for Deities’ sake. What could be ‘shameful’ today?

  7. lyman alpha blob

    For the guillotine watch, punk lovers edition –

    Here’s a relatively new tune by a punk bank called IDLES which I recently came across while watching ‘Peaky Blinders’ from the BBC on Netflix – they used a couple IDLES tunes in the soundtrack. The show is extremely class conscious, especially for a gangster drama period piecewhere everyone goes around shooting each other in the face. I highly recommend the show and the band.

    I Dream Guillotine by IDLES

    Lyrics – not exact but pretty close

    1. Jessica

      The typo “punk bank” for “punk band” had me trying to picture what a punk bank would be like. My first take was Gringots from Harry Potter but with all the clerks being Johny Rotten or Sid Vicious.

  8. GERMO

    I disagree with Taibbi — “The Left is Now the Right” is a stupid way to describe things. When this line of reasoning says, as he does in this article, “people are losing their jobs” (to lefty intolerance and canceling), I always translate in my head, “influential well-known intellectuals are having their careers modified.”
    “People” aren’t losing anything and the vast majority don’t have anything to worry about at all. Although for us, losing a job often means something other than switching to another one right away with not much trouble. The fact that a tiny minority of people are overreaching here and there in the effort to create justice doesn’t upset me too much. Collateral damage in this culture war is nothing compared to the horror of collateral damage in real war. Sorry Matt, we know you’re worried about all that transgressive stuff you wrote back in the day. But wake up and smell the elitism will you?

    1. Off The Street

      A few thoughts on Taibbi’s piece:

      Idiocracy has become a documentary.

      Bierce could’ve swapped out clarinet for bagpipe.

      1. KFritz

        I can forgive Bierce for his calumny on clarinets, but not Taibbi for repeating it or yourself for adding (Scottish) bagpipes to the mix. Bierce disppeared in 1914, “Lady of Spain” was written 1931, and Dick Contino added to the atrocity by making it an accordion standard in 1947: Myron Floren (late of the Lawrence Welk Show) institutionalized the horror. There’s been no good reason to satirize any other instrument of piece of music since. You and Taibbi are both young enough to know that!

      1. Lupemax

        how so? can you be more specific?
        I find Taibbi increasingly fascinating and insightful. Dare I say brilliant? Strange that.

    2. Alternate Delegate

      Taibbi’s title is unfortunate, as is his device of depicting intolerance as the same person switching sides, which it isn’t. But he has a point.

      What does appear to be happening is a mad rush by the old gatekeepers of intellectual discourse to
      catch up and join a crowd of new gatekeepers. Everybody is awkwardly tripping over each other, and tripping over their own feet, in a new effort to boss other people’s speech.

      The old gatekeepers used to more gracefully get away with telling other people what they’re allowed to say and what they’re not allowed to say, because they’d always gotten away with it.

      But the office of gatekeeper is about to go away altogether. Anyone who tries to get in between a willing speaker and a willing listener does wrong.

      1. hunkerdown

        It’s synecdoche, actually the same class switching sides.

        Also, neoliberals are not willing speakers, but sufferers of a pernicious and contagious personality disorder. Mask them by every means at your disposal.

      2. Billy

        The New Tech Elites want to replace the Old Hollywood and Debt Finance Elites, which means a new Maoist Style American Cultural Revolution:

        “The outcry against the SAT and ACT tests, as “longstanding forces of institutional racism” by the National Association of Basketball Coaches is particularly hilarious. More black academic opportunities and millions of potential self improvement hours have been squandered by young black men trying to become a pro ball player than anything white racists could have concocted to keep them down.

        While this is descending into high comedy, remember the people Taibbi is naming, keep track of their statements and their actions. Never trust them again.

        I suggest Taibbi become President Hawley’s speechwriter then press secretary in 2025.

        1. Lupemax

          I also welcome Taibbi’s humor as I do your’s. Thankyou.
          Perhaps not Hawley’s speechwriter. But who knows?

      3. barefoot charley

        I don’t think these comments reflect the depth of Taibbi’s argument, which is that the co-opted #BLM movement and its many IdPol Democratic party operatives and HR departments across academia and corporate America–all these are overnight on board with a soft-Maoist self-criticize-or-be-shunned mania spreading fast. By its dogma, you cannot defend your melanin deficiency if you are indeed that unfortunate cavity of identity. Identity springs from oppression, or it doesn’t exist, as the movement says much less clearly. So you can’t defend what you thought was yours. All this is very nuts, and oddly enough because of corporate sponsorship it is alive and well across the party that Basement Joe would be leading if he led anything besides polls. It’s serious stuff that the mainstream promotes, but can’t begin to understand. (Only partly because it doesn’t make any sense.) Hysterias are like that.

        1. flora

          DiAngelo seems to have taken the 70’s and 80’s “human potential movement” and refashioned it into the “human capital” movement. ;)

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I doubt I will ever meet this DiAngelo person because I just don’t travel up there in her rarified social circles.

            But if I did, and she tried to run her White Fragility hustle on me, I would remind her that the name DiAngelo is Italian. I would then ask her who died and made her White? And see what she said to that.

    3. Alex

      I think we only *know* about “influential well-known intellectuals are having their careers modified.” When someone not well-known or influential loses their job, it doesn’t get into national news.

      Most people would simply shut their mouth and not say/post/tweet anything that can get their in trouble. You won’t see this in the news at all.

      1. a different chris

        I will keep saying this: People get fired by their bosses, not people that say bad things about them.

        Shutting people up is exactly what said bosses would love you to do.

        1. flora

          Their bosses probably work for a monopoly – if you go far enough upstream, or for an entity dependent on monopolists and near-monopoly corporations donations for survival. Maybe look at that.

        2. Pelham

          And bosses tend to be exquisitely sensitive to the zeitgeist and have complete authority to fire anyone under them for any reason. There’s an increasingly direct and instantaneous connection between being on the wrong end of social media bad-mouthing and being told to get a box and clear out your work locker or desk.

    4. Ranger Rick

      We cover the precariat pretty regularly here on NC — a job loss is more devastating than you realize. Getting people fired is, in this context, a very effective (and legal!) way of killing someone. Taibbi even offers an illustrative example of a worker being fired via Twitter for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    5. Laputan

      Your careless and flippant response couldn’t epitomize exactly what’s wrong with the mainstream left’s reaction to this movement any better.

      For one, people are losing their jobs at fairly low levels; I’ve mentioned here before that I’ve seen it happen at my job. It’s not exactly pervasive at the moment, but it’s also not a foregone conclusion given the trend in hiring woke diversity administrators who will eventually get their hands on institutional policies. For reference, see the disaster at Evergreen State a couple years ago.

      You’re also completely unaware of the atmosphere this is creating outside of the precarity. In an already constrained environment, we’re now in all probability going to have even more rules regarding free expression in the workplace. We’ll have to constantly keep up with the ever-increasing gotcha terms and ways of being offended irrespective of their legitimacy (microagressions, ableism, use of the word “articulate”, etc.). And, paradoxically given that these people regard silence as some sort of affirmation of bigotry, we’re going to have to let ridiculous demands (like number 5 of Princeton’s Faculty Demands: “they [faculty from minority groups] are routinely called upon to exert influence in hiring committees and to stand as emblems and spokespersons of diversity at Princeton. Being required to chiefly and constantly “serve” and “represent” in the interest of administrative goals robs the imagination and interrupts any possibility of concerted thought. Faculty of color hired at the junior level should be guaranteed one additional semester of sabbatical”) go unchallenged for fear of reprisal.

      This isn’t a few zealots taking a good thing too far, it’s wrong in and of itself. Until the left stops ceding this space to the right and finally acknowledges that it’s a problem, it’s only going to get worse.

      1. barefoot charley

        Yes. And it’s one more dumb way to divide us now that unity failed to break up the Democrats. It makes the Democrats rightly look like crazy people, who will sing “We are the future!” to fewer and fewer saps. This is bad stuff.

        1. Partyless Poster

          This is my main issue with all the IDPol crap, it de-legitimizes real left issues like M4A
          in the minds of more moderate types that the left needs if it wants to get anywhere.
          There has to be a POSITIVE vision of the world not just endless finger wagging.
          I would like to be more involved in a political group like DSA or something but after watching a few minutes of their last convention (where they spend half the time bickering over non-offensive ways to address the group) I realized that I could never work with these people. And I’ve always been a socialist!
          With corporations jumping on the bandwagon its so obviously a divide and conquer strategy.

    6. Darthbobber

      I’m not quite so anti-intellectual yet that I’m prepared to agree that being a well-known intellectual excludes you from the category of people.

      And much of what he describes is not so much overreaching in the service of creating justice as deliberately attempting to sidetrack the whole thing and send it into a political box canyon.

      As to collateral damage, the inability to make omelettes without breaking eggs hardly means that the mere breaking of eggs suffices to create a decent omelette.

      I was watching a similar routine play out as the 60s/70s movements were simultaneously fragmenting and growing in rhetorical (as opposed to substantive) radicalism.

      There’s a significant subset of middle class “radicals” who seem to equate militance of posture with seriousness of purpose.

    7. flora

      Keep whistling past those gates.

      Taibbi’s right about all of this. The left is letting the right pwn them. They’re punking themselves and can’t see it. It might be easy to see all this as a ridiculous modern version of 1970’s Radical Chic; the earlier civil rights campaigns of the 60s and 70s now won, the upper elite is simply recreating discrimination to relive those exciting cocktail partys with just a hint of enjoyable danger.

      But it’s more than that, and much darker.

      As Taibbi writes: Today Matt Yglesias signing a group letter with Noam Chomsky is considered threatening.

      And the it’s left or liberals making the threats. Which flies away from the left’s Enlightment roots. These 2 quotes are good examples of the Enlightment philosophy and free speech:

      “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.”
      “Monsieur l’abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”

      The liberal left is working against its basic philosoply and principles. Are they too dumb to see it? Or is something else at work? Is it a deliberate campaign to focus attention away from economics, to divide the public over cultural issues to keep them from uniting on economic issues and reform of Wall St. and the FIRE sector?

      Sheldon Wolin (d. 2015) was a contemporary political analyst. Chris Hedges interviewed him in 2015. From Hedges’ article.

      The result, [Wolin] writes, is that the public is “denied the use of state power.” Wolin deplores the trivialization of political discourse, a tactic used to leave the public fragmented, antagonistic and emotionally charged while leaving corporate power and empire unchallenged.

      “The ruling groups can now operate on the assumption that they don’t need the traditional notion of something called a public in the broad sense of a coherent whole,” he said in our meeting. “They now have the tools to deal with the very disparities and differences that they have themselves helped to create. It’s a game in which you manage to undermine the cohesiveness that the public requires if they [the public] are to be politically effective. And at the same time, you create these different, distinct groups that inevitably find themselves in tension or at odds or in competition with other groups, so that it becomes more of a melee than it does become a way of fashioning majorities.”

      It’s interesting that Wolin used the terms neoliberalism and inverted totalitarianism interchangeably.

      Anyway, creating culture ‘wars’ while silencing or threatening to silence certain speech and wigging out that people on different political ‘sides’ would together sign a pretty anodyne letter is something new in modern US.

      Is this near-monopoly power in the media at work?

        1. flora

          Thanks. I keep thinking of this quote and the rise of new monopoly powers …er… ‘consolidation’ in the media wrt ‘the left losing its mind.’ Maybe they’re just hanging on to a job. The ecosystem of employment has changed from 20 years ago, imo.

          “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

          ― Upton Sinclair

    8. jr

      No it’s not. They are both Right political formations. His one mistake was not putting Left in parentheses. Liberals aren’t Leftists, not by a mile, far closer to the Right on the political spectrum. Most especially the Blu Check goofballs. It’s a comforting delusion to imagine otherwise.

      Taibbi painstakingly lays out the similarities between the tactics employed by the Right and the “Left” to smear enemies rather than debate them and the use of in/out groups to wield social control. Identity politics are used to launch and sustain political careers as well, witness Christine Quinn in NYC or Stacey Abrams who publicly announced her love of identity politics because they had propelled her rise. Will they abandon their ignorant ideology when they achieve real power? I suspect not.

      How do you know who is losing their jobs? And where does it stop? Steve “Halo Hair” Pinker makes the news but how about the slob at WalMart who said something ignorant and now faces homelessness? Or did nothing wrong at all but like someone’s web page who happened to like a controversial subject? Perhaps those people don’t count?

      And who sets the standards for what constitutes the crimes worthy of wrecking lives? Suddenly two rights make a wrong? Do the “cancel culture” types not grasp the concept of blowback? Are they so ahistorical they don’t realize the pendulum swings in both directions? Remember the Civil Rights movement? How many of their gains have been lost? And how is destroying peoples lives for a stupid comment made in their youth “justice?” It’s simple minded vengeance and as the adage says:

      He who seeks revenge should dig two graves.

      Neither group has the interests of their constituents at heart, that’s for sure, and if you don’t think the blue fascists are seeking power just like the regular flavor, that they would happily use any means necessary to achieve and hold power….

      And please let me know if you object to the term “blue fascists.”

    9. Lupemax

      Taibbi is anything but “stupid” in his descriptions. He is writing of teachers (i.e. university professors) and distinguished journalists and publishers (Julian Assange for one) who are indeed being McCarthyized. Big time. You should really read more. Are you familiar with the current “cancel culture?”

    10. Lupemax

      Depends on how much one is being paid to NOT say something or being paid to look the other way when something untoward is happening. The higher the pay the less they say. It’s all about the benjamins as someone said not too long ago.

      We don’t hear about the underlings who are quietly sent away. I suspect there are many of those who daren’t speak up?

      Taibbi is courageous to speak up about this. Very courageous indeed.

      Why are you defending this practice?

    11. KFritz

      Taibbi is complaining about authoritarian conformity on the Left, something that Nat Hentoff addressed in the late 1980’s in a Playboy article–which was the first time I recall reading the term, “political correctness.” Are you saying that if authoritarianism originates on The Left, it’s acceptable, or at least excusable?

  9. Wukchumni

    Sheep thrills: 5 Cents a kilo

    WHEN Bernard King was growing up, there were years when his father could pay the year’s bills with the annual wool cheque.

    These days Bernard considers himself lucky if he can find a merchant to accept his wool.

    “We shore 245 sheep three weeks ago – we had four handfilled packs, around 355kg, and all I got was €17.55 or 5c/kg. We were lucky to get rid of the wool if I’m honest,” he said.

    1. Off The Street

      These days, Bernard would have to worry about how much wool that black sheep produced and if he dared to even investigate, let alone publicize, or, shudder, shear any of the sheep.

      Did they consent, and if so, how would he know?

      What did those unindicted co-conspirators, the Master, Dame and that sketchy Little Boy Who Lived Down the Lane do with past ill-gotten gains?

      1. Charger01

        Wool gear, especially merino wool, is fantastic. I’d love to purchase a coat or a couple of shirts and hunting pants of the stuff. It lasts.

        1. Wukchumni

          About 15 years ago I met a Kiwi about my age @ a hut on the Abel Tasman tramp, and he owned around 4,000 head of sheep and told me that when he started in the biz, 75% of the value was in the wool and 25% in the meat, and it had completely reversed itself to where the meat was worth 75%.

          1. furies

            As a hand-spinner, finding raw wool lately has been difficult.

            When I had sheep, I used it for insulation, mulch and added to the compost pile.

            Wool, like cannabis, has tons of uses that now seem to have been forgotten.

          2. Conrad

            No doubt he was wearing polypropylene. I grew up in a sherpa farming district and served a bit of time in the shed in my youth. Never actually learned to shear though, and my back probably thanks me for that.

            Coarse wool in particular has been replaced by synthetics. Which are lighter, cheaper, easier to clean and contribute to the massive increase in microplastics throughout the environment. When oil was ramping up in price a few years ago I had some hope the wool industry would recover but sadly even that’s faded.

  10. Mikel

    Re: A Very Dark Feeling..Okla Unemployment

    “Now, he was just hoping his misfortune would be temporary, that business would revive as things normalized, with concerts and other events supposed to restart in Oklahoma in August.”

    At this point, it’s all some test to see how numb everyone can become to suffering and/or death. Although this alleged civilization already had that capacity to some extent, the goal is to push it further to see just how much can be given to the few while the rot all around is ignored.

    1. Wukchumni

      My wife and I were discussing GD #2, she felt the economy has the feel of late 1929, I was more of the mid 1930 mindset in terms of timing.

      Book plug:

      The Great Depression: A Diary By Benjamin Roth.

      A Youngstown Ohio lawyer who was quite the critical thinker chronicles events as they happen in the dirty 30’s. You’ll learn more about GD #1 than you would in any history book.

      1. Laura in So Cal

        I read it recently based on the recommendation here. You are correct that it was a new perspective. I wished he had more in there about his personal finances which would have been interesting. What struck me was how he would say, “I think it is getting better” and then a few months later say that he was wrong and it was now worse. Facts about bank books being sold at a discount to pay loan etc. were totally new to me.

        1. Wukchumni

          Imagine settling for 35 Cents on the Dollar on money in your account in a closed bank?

          I also was totally unaware of that until I read the tome.

          He also makes mention of ‘Depression Scrip’, ad hoc money issued by cities in the early 1930’s, and he termed them ‘white rabbits’.

    2. hunkerdown

      But a people that is inured to death won’t be nearly as reluctant to go after the power. I suspect that most of the ruling class is only still alive because bodily fluids are kinda gross.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Airlines Face End of Business Travel as They Knew It”

    I suspect that this is only half the picture and you have to ask yourself just where all these business people were flying too. We are not only talking about business conferences but training seminars and more importantly conventions. Not just the ones for the big boys’n’girls at IBM and the like but the, at a minimum, thousands of conventions for small businesses and industries. But then you have to remember that they support their own ecology of dependent business such as bars, clubs, hotels, venues, casinos, escorts, restaurants, etc. If business travel is only going to be a fond memory, then you have to accept that all those jobs that they supported are likely to go too.

    So here we go. The Coronavirus is not going anywhere anytime soon. It is dug in. As such, the economy that we started off with at the beginning of the year will no longer work and it will require a massive reconfiguration to get something even halfway workable going. And I only see signs of this in fits and starts. God, what a mess. I know that this is going to have a massive effect on the psyche of America but I have no idea which way that it will go except to say that it may be a more inwardly focused one. It will have to be.

    1. Darthbobber

      And this spins out into other parts of the economy like cotton candy from a tube.
      The firm I want working at in NJ until late March specialized in promotional products, ie swag. Your logo and art on mint tins, lip balm, T-shirts, etc, etc. Probably close to a thousand distinct products.

      I’d say a good half of orders were for distribution at trade shows, conventions, community events. Handling of the pandemic thus far guarantees that most of that part won’t be coming back anytime soon.

      As an aside, I think one reason Trump is so eager to obtain exemption from Covid related liability is that fear of potential liability is an even bigger drag on willingness to go full lunatic reopening than state and local orders.

  12. timbers

    I wonder which of these will work better in terms of creating jobs?

    1). China’s BRI makes entry in post-Covid-19 era Indian Punchline:

    Belt and Road Initiative highlights — especially, among the emerging economies across Afro-Eurasia — can be enlarged and strengthened ‘to get people back to work, get food on the table, making sure that people are being paid, that they have jobs to do.

    2). Ivanka Trump jobs program for Americans: helps workers of all ages and backgrounds identify the right path for their career goals by recommending multiple edu pathways, providing aptitude testing, offering a directory of critical resources for child care, food assistance, internet access and more.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I like the way that you laid it out but you missed one small bit. The part where Nancy Pelosi forces a rider onto any Ivanka Trump jobs program so that all those people are means tested first before receiving a single cent – after waiting the obligatory six months of course.

      1. timbers

        Yes, and perhaps her rider to also include some more PPP funding for her husband’s business…

      2. hunkerdown

        Probably not. 30 minutes of means testing makes for a lot less of that sweet, sweet government sugar than ongoing instruction. Besides, who wants to be identified as the heavy when they can all enforce Mammon’s market discipline and diffuse the responsibility. (Those who do can certainly find work in other government aid agencies. Better to not be seen too explicitly enjoying the fruits of aristocracy.)

      3. Otto

        But Ivanka isn’t offering and programs at all, only where one might find them. Pelosi did get a few billion to gig workers which in my neck of the woods help a lot.

    1. jo6pac

      I hear no democrats rallying against it.

      Maybe just 6 or so progressives but sometimes their voices aren’t heard.

      1. cocomaan

        That’s why I said “democrats” haha

        I actually called my thoroughly purple Rep today to explain to her why it’s a dumb idea.

        Where’s the immunity for me if I cough on someone by accident? If this entire defund the police movement shows anything, it’s that any qualified immunity is a road to abuse.

        1. John k

          Isn’t that the point?
          All power to donation supplying corps, no power for workers has been the goal of both parties since Clinton’s third way, or more simply the Corp way. Why on earth would dems protest the continued progress?

  13. PeterfromGeorgia

    Georgia plaintiff’s side employment lawyer here with anecdotal evidence – I have taken at least 10 calls in the last week from terminated/quit employees who were undergoing Covid testing and fired for refusing to come in to work. My favorite is the business owner who had a business assembling box lunches for hospital nurses. An employee, working while sick as she was refused time off, received notice she was Covid positive while at work assembling boxed lunches and was told to finish her shift or lose her job.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Hand Axe Made 1.4 Million Years Ago Shows Unexpected Sophistication”

    I don’t see why. I mean, its not like Gronk and Shad had to hustle in the gig economy. Oh wait, there was no gig economy They only had to work a few hours a week and had lots of leisure time. Time to think up new methods. Maybe time how to create a better tool set. I saw one bit in that article that was intriguing where it said that-

    ‘the stone tools and hippo bone axe found in the Konso Formation in southern Ethiopia, from 1.4 million years to 1.25 million years in age, were worked bifacially, with a sophistication thought to have appeared only half a million years later.the stone tools and hippo bone axe found in the Konso Formation in southern Ethiopia, from 1.4 million years to 1.25 million years in age, were worked bifacially, with a sophistication thought to have appeared only half a million years later.’

    But when you think about it, who is to say that those latter hominids weren’t digging around in their cave one day and unearthed a tool set from 500,000 years earlier? Our later day hominid archaeologists looked at these tools and, realizing that the patents would have long expired, knew what was possible. And it would have not taken long to recreate the techniques that produced those earlier tools. And that this explains that 500,000 gap.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Interesting that the hand axe is made out of bone. The specific purpose of a ‘hand axe’ is not obvious to us moderns, one idea was that they may have been cores carried around for ‘snap off’ blades. Being made of bone would indicate the hand axe was a tool in itself. We may be stuck with ‘well it was some sort of swiss army knife.’

      1. HotFlash

        I have read theories of the ‘evolution’ of neolithic and bronze age artifacts (eg, Petrie’s jar-handle theory, also the black/red figured ware discussion). More likely is that the works were contemporary and the distinctive handles/figures distinguished individual makers, and their heirs/students.

        In this case, I would wonder that a hand axe (and here is Professor Larson’s take on stone tools) would have a single type of use, world-wide? It sure doesn’t in the here and now.

  15. Tom Stone

    Anyone surprised that the Albuquerque PD has been overtly cooperating with right wing paramilitaries has been living under a rock for the last century and a half.
    This has been going on since the earliest days of the Klan, if not earlier.

    1. Keith

      Well, it is also a nice way to let the two sides tucker themselves out before the police need to move in and make arrests. Why get in the middle of the two groups, especially nowadays where protests and rioting are synonymous, and a cop is only a cell phone video from losing his job and pension. I think it is a matter of working smarter, not harder, especially in this political and anti-law and order climate.

      1. Nordberg

        I call it the Hockey Referee method of policing. Only break it up when a person hits the deck. I am pretty sure that was the strategy in Charlottesville. Did not work out so well.

    2. chuck roast

      A long history of cop facsismo in Nuevo.

      In the fall of ’67 a bunch of hippies from SF disembarked and landed in Placitas. Placitas was a lightly peopled Hispanic community just north of Albuquerque in the Sandia foothills. Their arrival had the impact of Martians landing among the earthlings. Recall that this was way before “the summer of love.”

      On a Friday or Saturday night, cops from all of the juristictions in the Middle Rio Grande Valley descended on the hippie dome and arrested everybody. They hadn’t done anything of course, except that they were commies from outer space. On Sunday, several of my friends and I ventured up to there lair in Placitas to see what we could see. Nobody was around. The door was wide open, so we went in.

      The cops had completely tossed the place. It was a mess. There were lots of beads around, so we took a few strands. We also took a Frank Zappa record…Freak Out in San Francisco. Whereupon we learned about Suzy Creamcheese.

  16. Wukchumni

    The young Ernest Hemingway, however, working for the Toronto Daily Star, crossed the frontier from France at about that time and managed to be equally gloomy from the other side of the fence:

    There were no marks to be had in Strasbourg, the mounting exchange had cleaned the bankers out days ago, so we changed some French money in the railway station at Kehl. For 10 francs I
    received 670 marks. Ten francs amounted to about 90 cents in Canadian money.

    That 90 cents lasted Mrs Hemingway and me for a day of heavy spending and at the end of the day we had 120 marks left!
    Our first purchase was from a fruit stand … We picked out five very good looking apples and gave the old woman a 50-mark note. She gave us back 38 marks in change. A very nice looking,
    white bearded old gentleman saw us buy the apples and raised his hat.

    ‘Pardon me, sir, he said, rather timidly, in German, ‘how much were the apples?’

    I counted the change and told him 12 marks.

    He smiled and shook his head. ‘I can’t pay it. It is too much.”

    He went up the street walking very much as white bearded old gentlemen of the old regime walk in all countries, but he had looked very longingly at the apples. I wish I had offered him some.

    Twelve marks, on that day, amounted to a little under 2 cents. The old man, whose life savings were probably, as most of the non-profiteer classes are, invested in German pre-war and war
    bonds, could not afford a 12 mark expenditure. He is the type of the people whose incomes do not increase with the falling purchasing value of the mark and the krone.

    Hemingway recorded that with the mark at 800 to the dollar, or 8 to the cent, a pound of coffee could be had for 34 marks. Beer was 10 marks a stein, or one cent and a quarter. Kehl’s best hotel
    served a five-course meal for 150 marks, or 15 cents.

    The French cannot come over to buy up all the cheap goods they would like to. But they can come over and eat … This miracle of exchange makes a swinish spectacle where the youth of the
    town of Strasbourg crowd into the German pastry shop to eat themselves sick, and gorge on fluffy, cream-filled slices of German cake at 5 marks the slice. The contents of a pastry shop are swept clear in half an hour …

    The proprietor and his helper were surly and didn’t seem particularly happy when all the cakes were sold. The mark was falling faster than they could bake.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s a good thing that the Netherlands’s Mark Rutte was not around them or otherwise he would have made conditions for the Germans really tough.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      “When Money Dies” is a classic. And it’s a free download, too. I re-read it from time to time. The eye-opener for me was that many people in Weimar Germany liked the inflation and did very well for themselves. I don’t think the book is very well-known; a shame, because the long-term consequences of Weimar’s hyperinflation were…..not good.

      1. Wukchumni

        As the Mark was going through it’s death throes in the early 1920’s, the German stock market was posting nice gains, sound familiar?

          1. Wukchumni

            I find it frankly amazing all of the faith in MMT, which is pretty much the desire for everybody to get free money, as opposed to only doling it out to a select few.

            The table is set for a banquet of consequences…

  17. Wukchumni

    Current odds on just the FACT states going feral first:

    Az: 4-5
    Fla: 7-5
    Tx: 5-2
    Ca.: 4-1

      1. Wukchumni

        Oh, brandishing an AR-15 so your infected one can go to the head of the line in the hospital, that sort of gig.

  18. ObjectiveFunction

    Extremely interesting (and tragic) history, by one who lived it, in the new Matt Stoller piece linked here a couple days ago (mild edits for readability):

    On the issue of how infrastructure and construction projects changed, you have to go back about 75 years. In those days public departments were the largest engineering firms in any area. Also they started out as County entities.

    I will use Cook County for examples as I was the director there for a few years. The Cook County Highway Department was created nearly 10 years before the State of Illinois department of transportation. It did the planning and oversaw the construction of all the major highways around Chicago starting in 1940. Up until the 2000s the County HIghway department had nearly 2000 employees and over 1000 engineers. It now has less than 300 and that number is shrinking as it is hard to attract good engineers….

    [For municipal infra projects, through the 1960s] only actual construction and construction engineering was done by private firms, [which had] the equipment and staff to move earth and pour concrete. [Planning and Design Engineering] were done by government engineers.

    In the 1970s, as public budgets started to shrink, more work and functions began to be outsourced to the private sector. Engineers would [then leave] the public sector after 30 years, take their pensions, and work for 10-15 years in the private sector for bigger paychecks. Public Works departments became major sources of patronage or graft.

    This accelerated in the 1980s [Reagan / ‘government is the problem’ era]. Anyone with skills was encouraged to move to the private sector, thus ensuring governments would lose expertise over time…. In some cities, contract engineers had (and have) desks and offices in government departments to oversee big projects. The days when Government engineers and planners could conceive, design, plan and implement plans passed.

    In the 2000s as budget crunches got worse, we saw the rise of Design+Build, D+B+Manage, DBM+Finance and DBMF+Operate models, mostly tied to “Public-Private-Partnerships” (PPPs). PPPs made it easier to finance projects and moved everything to the private sector. This fed the rise of ever larger construction firms, while public agencies have lost the expertise to do the work.

  19. Pookah Harvey

    re: Albuquerque Police Use White Supremacist Militias Instead of Feds to Harass Protesters
    The BLM protests in Coeur D’Alene and Boise Idaho had 2 or 3 times more counter-protesters (heavily armed) than protesters. As in many areas there was an affinity among the counter-protesters for the police with Blue Lives Matter chants and flags. I follow some of the 3%er type vlogs from across the country and they, universally, are talking of civil war and things going “hot” in November. What do you think will happen with a close election?

    1. Wukchumni

      I heard our evangelical militia church that hightailed it for the potato state about 5 years ago (Idaho’s gain is our gain) was involved in the counter-protest with guns at the ready.

      To give you a flavor of what kind of nutters they were, I was told the entire flock was out on the North Fork in Three Rivers all armed & dangerous from around 5 pm on December 31st till around 5 pm the next day, in case Y2K reared it’s ugly head, 20 years ago.

      They also had a shooting range behind their church…

    2. Duck1

      There are some seriously weird theories floating around to the right of the neo-Birchites in the Overton Window. One that I’ve seen in a few “crackpot” locations talks about BLM being funded by 200+ large corporations–gives list–along with Soros, with planned flash mobs attacking whites later in the year. So civil war perpetrated by the “left” or communists as they are often labeled.

      Have to scratch my head about all the inflammatory rhetoric as an unarmed citizen.

      1. GF

        Thank God Trump is sending in the federal troops to save us. By election time every big city under democrat control will be fully occupied. They will undoubtedly guard the polling locations so everyone will be able to vote unmolested.

      2. Aumua

        We haven’t even really begun to see the Q-anon movement’s influence here yet. But they are not that far under the surface, and they are nutty AF. I mean dangerous.

    3. voteforno6

      What do you think will happen with a close election?

      The same thing as a blowout election – whoever gets the requisite number of electoral votes becomes the next President. There aren’t enough of those crazies in this country to be able to overturn election results like that.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Supreme Court Learns That If You Give John Yoo An Inch, He’ll Take Unchecked Martial Law”

    John Yoo really needs to be sent away on vacation to get him away from the public eye. How about Cuba? I understand that Guantanamo Bay is lovely this time of year. It was the work of people like him that pushed the Unitary Executive Theory. That is the one that tries to give the Presidency the powers of a king. A man like Jefferson or Paine would have had Yoo’s guts for garters. Lawyers like Yoo were arguing once that as the Constitution of the United States say that the President is charged with enforcing it, then that means that to do so, the President has to be above the Constitution – and the law too. No, seriously. That is what they argued. It would be nice if somebody found that he was actually an illegal alien and had to be sent back to South Korea where he was born.

  21. Wukchumni

    One last-minute trip to REI and 220 miles later, we found ourselves in Lone Pine, Calif., and on our way to the Whitney Portal on July 4, one day prior to our hike. As we drove through the parking lots, I noticed only half of the day trippers and campers were wearing masks, triggering that now-familiar feeling of nervousness I feel around large groups of mask-less people.

    Despite our mask anxiety, we hit the Mt. Whitney Trail, covering just a few miles to help us acclimate to high elevation. My nervousness quickly faded — nearly every hiker we passed was wearing a mask, even in the baking afternoon heat — and turned into a jumpy excitement for the next day’s adventure.

    I’ve seen just one person wearing a mask in many hikes in Mineral King, seems superfluous to me when all you have to when you see somebody coming the other way is to just step off to the side of the trail.

    Guess i’ve been on the summit of Mt Whitney 8 or 9 times, and remember the first ascent in the mid 80’s. A friend & I had driven up to Lone Pine and spent the night in a motel there, and the next morning we got up at o’dark thirty and went to hopefully get a wilderness permit and to our chagrin there were a dozen bodies in sleeping bags forming somewhat of a prone conga line not going anywhere as they had all spent the night, and I knew there were just so many permits available, and a few hours later when the office opened they started issuing them, and there were 3 German fellows in front of us, and only 2 permits left and it wouldn’t work for them, but for us it was perfect.

  22. Off The Street

    thinking of you and those four-legged predators lurking around National Parks. Lassen is down the road a fur piece but their bear cousins around Kings Canyon and environs like picnic baskets, too.

    1. Wukchumni

      If you really want to get your food pinched, camp @ Lodgepole in Sequoia NP and leave some out on the picnic table. They used to feed black bears the leftovers from the restaurant from the 1910’s to the 1940’s in the Giant Forest, and it left a legacy of ‘garbage bears’, although not one of them has dined ala carte in 80 years in such a fashion, it beat the heck out of grubs and their usual fare, and great great grandchildren know the drill still.

      Conversely in Mineral King bears were never fed, and are no problem whatsoever. I’ve also never had food taken in the backcountry by a bruin, almost always utilizing the counter-balance method, and as of late we carry bear canisters.

      1. polecat

        garbage bears ..

        Except that they work it off to great effect .. annually, unlike those crazy hominids.

    1. JWP

      Like anything with self reporting, the pressure to perform and in turn get paid is foremost in the mind and therefore the reporting system will be useless. Clearly these studios and production companies can’t last much longer and many will fail but in their wake, safety protocols will be the least of their concern. My school is trying a similar self reporting system and it has already been dismissed as a cruel joke.

  23. George Phillies

    Cat has Ears.

    As some readers will recognize, this is almost the standard interspecies self-awareness test.

    1. HotFlash

      Only one of the many, many cats I have had over the decades knew it was him in the mirror. A few tried to catch or fight their reflection but ignored it once they found that it wasn’t a real cat. My dear cat Tiglath Pilaser (of happy memory) would sit on the bathroom counter to groom. He would check his progress and make corrections if he didn’t look spiffy enough.

  24. allan

    WSJ Journalists Ask Publisher for Clearer Distinction Between News and Opinion Content [WSJ]

    A group of journalists at The Wall Street Journal and other Dow Jones staffers sent a letter on Tuesday to the paper’s new publisher, Almar Latour, calling for a clearer differentiation between news and opinion content online, citing concerns about the Opinion section’s accuracy and transparency.

    The letter, signed by more than 280 reporters, editors and other employees says, “Opinion’s lack of fact-checking and transparency, and its apparent disregard for evidence, undermine our readers’ trust and our ability to gain credibility with sources.” …

    Among the other examples the latest letter highlighted was an opinion article titled “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism,” which the letter’s authors said was one of the paper’s most read articles in June. The article argued that the “charge of systemic police bias was wrong during the Obama years and remains so today.” The letter says the piece “selectively presented facts and drew an erroneous conclusion from the underlying data.” …

    The letter also said that “Opinion has also published basic factual inaccuracies about taxes,” citing two specific articles. …

    WSJ editorials containing `basic factual inaccuracies’ and `erroneous conclusions from the underlying data’?
    Not to be overly cynical, but where were these 280 reporters for the last (at least) 50 years?

    But there is an interesting tidbit:

    … The letter also proposes that “WSJ journalists should not be reprimanded for writing about errors published in Opinion, whether we make those observations in our articles, on social media, or elsewhere.”

    So, presumably some WSJ journalists have been reprimanded for pointing out the BS on the editorial pages.
    Who, what, where, when?

  25. Stephen V.

    “What we need to be measuring is who is infectious, not who has 1 viral particle in their system.” Medcram #98:::
    We have the ability to do at home saliva on inexpensive paper testing DAILY with results in 10 min. ! Everyone testing means NO contract tracing.
    These tests are less sensitive but who cares about peeps who are no longer infectious but are getting a positive result 10 days after testing (with the $100 per RT-PCR test)?
    As it now stands if little Johnny is positive 1/2 his classmates will be quarantined. Teachers are threatened with payouts if fewer butts in the seats. C’mon peeps.

  26. Jason Boxman

    Interesting thought, though I missed the day here I guess — I wonder if Senate Republicans will include some kind of immunity or liability protection for pharmaceutical companies, given the huge payday those that appear to have a winning vaccine are likely to make. Maybe it works, but it happens to maim an unusually high percentage of people relative to vaccines deployed today? But since it’s a world-wide emergency, maybe that’s totally cool, because liability protection/immunity.

    Something to consider.

  27. Wukchumni

    Was out on a 9 hour hike off-trail with the 14th great granddaughter of King James V of Scotland the other day, little did I know until I googled her name.

    How cool is that?

  28. jr

    Re: psilocybin

    I just found a source! Gotta get my inter dimensional passport and book a flight on a McKenna class Spacedship…

  29. John Anthony La Pietra

    From the Oregon portion of the Strike for Black Lives page:

    This week natural gas workers, members of the Utility Workers of America in Oregon employed by NPL, are entering the second week of their strike.

    The workers said they are forced to work in dangerous conditions and many workers make as little as $15 an hour.

    Not rejecting this claim — just thinking it points out again how inadequate even $15 is.

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