Links 7/24/2020

Private Equity Captures Rather Than Creates Value Newsweek

Gov. Mike DeWine calls for repeal of House Bill 6, reversing his position from the day before Cleveland.com. Fallout from the Householder indictment. Also–

Why didn’t FBI agents stop Ohio’s corrupt FirstEnergy bailout as soon as they learned about it? Cleveland.com (CR). And–

An FBI investigation shows Ohio’s abysmal energy law was fueled by corruption Leah Stokes, Vox

Is America’s biggest gas utility abusing customer money? California demands answers Los Angeles Times. Surely not.

Tesla sues Rivian over ‘disturbing pattern’ of alleged trade secret theft The Verge. It’s almost like Silicon Valley is full of crooks.

What Lies Ahead Counterpunch

#COVID-19

We blew it Axios

Fauci on coronavirus: ‘I don’t really see us eradicating it’ The Hill. Controlling it, yes.

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Chloroquine does not inhibit infection of human lung cells with SARS-CoV-2 Nature. From the abstract: “[C]hloroquine targets a pathway for viral activation that is not operative in lung cells and is unlikely to protect against SARS-CoV-2 spread in and between patients.”

Hydroxychloroquine use against SARS-CoV-2 infection in non-human primates Nature. From the abstract: “Neither HCQ nor HCQ+AZTH showed a significant effect on the viral load levels in any of the tested compartments. When the drug was used as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), HCQ did not confer protection against acquisition of infection.”

* * *

What Scientists Know About How Children Spread COVID-19 Scientific American. A good round-up. My personal view is that children are fomites, because they touch everything; but that doesn’t necessarily say anything about transmission. However, here as elsewhere, the Precautionary Principle should prevail. Tina Hartert of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine: “There aren’t many other countries that have opened schools while rates of the virus are increasing exponentially.” No indeed. But America is exceptional.

After spreading covid-19, a huge European abattoir vows reforms The Economist

Normally, I would link to the study, not the tweet about it. But the SSRN sever is “down for essential maintenance,” the thread is good, and I want to pair this with the meatpacking link above:

MIT engineers designed an affordable, reusable face mask that’s as effective as an N95 — take a look CNBC (J-LS).

* * *

Surge in single-use PPE feeds ‘toxic’ pandemic waste crisis (free) FT

Americans Not Welcome in Caribbean Resorts Re-Opening to Tourism Bloomberg

The Long Game of Coronavirus Research The New Yorker. “Modern medical research is inherently collaborative, but the constellation of efforts now under way around the world is unprecedented in scale and scope.” Science is popping. Or at least percolating.

Classrooms without Walls: A Forgotten Age of Open-air Schools Messy Nessy (JD). From 2016, still germane. A desk in the garden has worked well for me. So why not a garden classroom? Won’t work in the winter, of course.

We need major air-conditioner innovation to keep us cool without warming the planet Fast Company

China?

Cold War Escapades in the Pacific Consortium News

Everyone loses Jakarta Post

China orders closure of US consulate in Chengdu in tit-for-tat move Straits Times

Who’s the brain behind Mike Pompeo’s anti-China stance? SCMP

China Has Blown Its Historic Opportunity Project Syndicate

* * *

A nervous watch on the Three Gorges Dam The Interpreter

China braces for impact after mass flooding at Three Gorges Dam UPI

* * *

‘People exempt from quarantine behind new wave‘ RTHK. Commentary:

China May Refuse to Accept British National Overseas Passports Bloomberg

Why a ‘route to citizenship’ is not enough: The limitations of expanding BNO rights Lausan

India

India to curb Chinese bids for state contracts FT

Modi’s extension of food grain scheme was welcome but Centre must expand it to cover the neediest Scroll.in (J-LS).

Internet Curbs, Chinese App Ban Allows Local Alternatives to Flourish in Kashmir The Wire (J-LS).

Nigeria: Why Some Anti-Corruption Campaigns Make People More Likely to Pay a Bribe All Africa (original).

UK/EU

‘A hell of a year’: Tories reflect on 12 months led by Boris Johnson Guardian

“Credible Open Source Reporting”, the Intelligence Services and Scottish Independence Craig Murray

England’s leasehold system is crumbling. Freeholders’ fightback will be nasty Guardian. When I was at a London Meetup, some Londoners tried to explain leasehold v. freehold to me, but my eyes glazed over. But since “there are billions of pounds at stake here – money that flows to rich freeholders, many of them aristocratic families or companies in the British Virgin Islands, for doing virtually nothing,” perhaps some kind souls will explain again.

Melting Arctic Permafrost Threatens Russian Energy Firms’ Bottom Line – Morgan Stanley Moscow Times

New Cold War

Putin plans to make the West destroy itself The Spectator

Bolivia delays presidential election again over pandemic FT

Trump Transition

Trump Rule Change Will Likely Do More Harm Than Good to 401(K)s, Study Shows The Intercept (MC).

2020

Democrats Go On Offense On Russian Election Interference As November Approaches NPR. Because of course.

Dems Voting Against Pentagon Cuts Got 3.4x More Money From the Defense Industry Sludge

Our Famously Free Press

I Don’t Always Believe CIA Narratives. But When I Do, I Believe Them About China. Caitlin Johnstone

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Epstein floodgates open as judge rules explosive docs detailing Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex life can be UNSEALED in Virginia Giuffre’s defamation case within a week Daily Mail. We’ll see.

Influential DC-Based Ukrainian Think Tank Hosts Neo-Nazi Activist Convicted for Racist Violence Consortium News

Police State Watch

Why Portland Became the Test Case for Trump’s Secret Police The Nation. “Trump’s Secret Police” is, of course, funded by Democrats. As was Obama’s, although since 2016 is Year Zero, nobody remembers that.

Dems’ Sternly Worded Letter Won’t Stop Fascism David Sirota, Too Much Information.

In Portland, the Baby Fascists Have Shown Their Face Timothy Snyder, Foreign Policy. “All of this is a dry run for November.” Possibly. But it’s amusing to see liberal Democrats, who hammered the talking point that Trump would not accept the 2016 results, and then very visibly did not accept the results themselves, hammering the same talking point again. Honestly, if Trump was or could be what Snyder says he is, wouldn’t Snyder already be in a camp somewhere? For a better discussion of fascism in the American context, see BAR; linked to yesterday in Water Cooler, but very much worth a read.

Buildings damaged in Minneapolis, St. Paul after riots Star-Tribune. Good maps. Here is a handy chart of damaged property types:

Imperial Collapse Watch

2020: The Year We Confronted Decline The American Conservative

Class Warfare

The “Strike for Black Lives” protest stunt WSWS. If there’s no work stoppage, it’s not a strike.

Counterfeit Capitalism, Food Delivery Apps, and the Attack on Franchising Matt Stoller, BIG

“Stealth” food banks serve the undocumented The Counter

KFC will test lab-grown chicken nuggets made with a 3D bioprinter this fall in Russia Business Insider

Pigeon: We should not tear down Confederate statues! Duffel Blog

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/07/links-7-22-2020.html“>here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

216 comments

  1. Wukchumni

    Had issues with feline embezzlement recently, not in a cash vein like the Russian kitty though.

    I’d wondered why the caterfamilas of the family would suddenly jump on my shoulder and purr contentedly when I was puttering away on my laptop, when all it was really doing was learning how to buy stuff on Amazon.

    I was able to return the gross (144 plastic containers) of Temptations (sometimes referred to as kitty crack or hairball heroin) treats that the UPS driver attempted to deliver, but wasn’t here when the cat condo came and because they assembled it and shed hair all over the heavily carpeted dwelling, there was no way I could return it for a refund.

    Reply
      1. edmondo

        You might want to consider getting the cats their own starter credit card with a low limit, say $500. Once they max out the card, then they are banned from Amazon for the remainder of the cycle. I know this worked for my feline and i was a reasonable compromise until they raised the limit and went cataclysmic.

        Reply
        1. rd

          The bank would keep raising their limit on the assumption that federal stimulus money will be available or they could get a loan from the Fed.

          Reply
    1. ambrit

      The Russian cat is obviously in training to bring down the American economy! Wait to see, soon, a rash of mysterious felonious felines absconding with the cash here in the Homeland. The Wily Russkies know that America is sliding into a cash/barter economy, just like Russia did in the nineties. Those kitties are a truly Cunning Plan.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The barter economy will prove to be interesting to watch, for aside from homes & cars, it has always been uncouth to bargain on anything, so the populace will really have no idea how to dicker, to their detriment.

        Reply
        1. Chris

          Bartering and bargaining are quite different things. You can swap your cabbages for your neighbour’s chickens’ eggs without haggling over the exchange rate. You can also argue about the price of a can of beans while offering nothing but cash in return.

          It is, of course, possible to bargain while bartering, but that might be seen as un-neighbourly.

          Reply
          1. Kfish

            It’s usually not necessary either. In all of my bartering experiences so far, people have taken pains to be generous. I swapped a few jars of home-made jam for several seedlings once, and the seller was worried: “Are you sure you don’t want more?”

            Gardening in particular induces people to be generous, since crops come in large batches and spoil quickly. Usually it’s easier to give it away than to preserve it.

            Reply
      2. km

        It’s actually not much more farfetched than some of the conspiracy theories swirling around since summer, 2016.

        Proof of Poe’s Law, I guess.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          I had to look Poe’s Law up. Hah! Learn something new every day here.
          Poe’s Law: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law
          Yes to your observation about the state of political discourse after 2016.
          I’m going to have to begin to end every reference to the Democrat Party with a Sideways Smile. ;) The entire subject is now sardonic.

          Reply
  2. Ella

    Re: outdoor classrooms. I’m on planning committee for public school reopening (parent volunteer). This has been raised as opportunity. Feedback from superintendent is that this is wrought with security issues. Read:guns. They can’t get volunteers or security needed to safely do this.

    Go USA. What a country.

    Reply
    1. mike

      are school shootings common around you? That is a shame if that is really a comparable risk to either the virus or no school.

      Reply
      1. Ella

        No it’s not common. But it’s clearly an issue that they need to accommodate for and don’t have the flexibility or capacity to support.

        Makes a case for private schools but not everyone can afford that option.

        Reply
        1. CallMeTeach

          Most districts have strict policies regarding safety around gun violence. One conundrum for teachers in my district is that they’ve been told to keep their doors shut and locked, often being reprimanded for not doing so, but common sense says to keep doors open so kids aren’t using the handles, thereby reducing one vector for transmission. What you’re seeing is the reactionary shooter policies running into the virus. (Another one is mandatory fire drills. We have to have them by law, but there’s no way to social distance during one. Same for active shooter drills and bomb threat drills.)

          Reply
          1. marym

            There’s a meme on twitter of a little kid and the text “You think it’s ok that I have to wear a bulletproof backpack, but you won’t wear a mask?”

            It’s more than just the mask issue, of course, but I would phrase it as: the failure to contain the unrestricted access to guns running into the failure to contain the unrestricted spread of the disease. Just two of the many ways we fail to protect and nurture each other.

            Reply
            1. mike

              It is a case of people having a disproportionate fear of school shootings. The media has pumped it so hard that many people assume it is a real and probable threat but the numbers don’t support that.

              Reply
              1. marym

                I’m no expert on education or school safety, but wouldn’t likely be persuaded by an argument about alternatives that starts with the premise that school shootings don’t happen that often, so no big deal.

                Reply
                1. mike

                  that is because you have been convinced that school shootings are a probable threat. in the past 10 years there has been about 350 people killed in school shootings (and I agree that is terrible) or about 35per year. for perspective, it is estimated 100+ people die from peanut allergy every year.

                  Reply
              2. danpaco

                What numbers are you talking about? There were 25 school shootings in 2019, according to education week. I perused the list, I hadn’t heard of any of them. I guess the media forgot to pump those. I think the numbers don’t support your media pumping hypothesis!

                Reply
                1. mike

                  are you arguing that the perception of risk about school shootings is lower than the actual risk?

                  what are the odds of student getting shot at school?

                  My point is the risk of school shootings is so minimal that the added safety (from the virus) of putting kids outside where possible is worth the risk.

                  Reply
                  1. CarlH

                    I take it you aren’t a teacher, a loved one of a teacher, a parent of a child in school, and/or generally lack any personal connection to this issue.

                    Reply
                    1. JBird4049

                      If I ever manage to attend class inside a classroom again, I would be more afraid of getting COVID19 or even dying from the flu. Today’s sketchy official count so far is over 148,000 people dying from COVID19.

                      Of course, gun violence in schools is a serious problem, but please don’t all but say that someone doesn’t care about people being murdered just because he is trying to put them in perspective.

                      Sadly, our “Free Press” is more interested in propaganda like the Soviet Russian bounties for dead American soldiers to actually pay attention to the increase in suicides and homelessness, forget about school shootings, whatever one’s opinion of those things are.

                      IIRC, the past decade, from death by the gun, each year on average:

                      20,000 people die from suicide, “suicide,” and accidents,
                      10,000 are homicides, of which ~1000 are committed by the police.
                      ~15% are of the last are unarmed people.

                      Last year there were 24 incidents of school shootings and a total of 35 deaths. This is more than the 27 per year average of deaths by lightning.

                      For comparison, there are roughly 139,000 in the United States with over 70 million people enrolled each year. If I am doing the math right, which is not guaranteed, there is roughly a 0.0000072 chance of being killed or injured with a firearm each year in school.

                      Also, for honesty’s sake, multiply three times the deaths for a fairly accurate count of the injured. Most people, even many attempting suicide, survive being shot although often with very bad injuries. But they still count.

                      Finally, I am bringing up the deaths from despair, which suicides are, and which are generally ignored for the vastly fewer school shootings or the greater number of deaths of unarmed people by the police. It is almost as if they don’t count. Rather like the drug deaths especially the 47,000 each year involving opioids. 47,000 to 35.

                      We should try to put things in perspective.

                2. Laputan

                  You didn’t hear about them because most were shootings related to domestic violence, football games, stray bullets, etc.

                  https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/school-shootings-in-2019-how-many-where.html

                  School shootings – like active shooter situations – are terrible but they are extremely rare at the same time. It seems like these people aren’t really assessing the risk nor are they evaluating their ability to respond to an active shooter even outside vs. in a school. I could be wrong, but I would think kids would be a greater risk indoors.

                  Reply
        2. Laputan

          School shootings aren’t “common” anywhere. And to shut down the possibility of open air schools because of a false sense of security is just silly.

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            But how are you supposed to teach children that a ruling class is necessary unless you terrorize them? Servility and rank are the sum total of Western society. Without those, dogs and cats live together in harmony, and who needs servility and ranks then? Don’t you see, this global S&M game is humanity itself and therefore indispensable!

            Okay, with less hyperbole, people easily forget that the social lessons of dealing with ranks and peers were some of the primary goals of the designers of the Prussian model, and that no elite ever has demanded that the broad common mass be allowed to become capable of cognition capable of damaging elite interests.

            Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      So why not a garden classroom?

      But Lambert, how would they plug in all the tech? We all know children can’t learn without Apple and Google.

      We recently had a Zoom meeting with our school administration. First of all the incompetent administration couldn’t be bothered to actually make sure they had enough slots to accommodate all the parents. Then they talked about their plans, which seemed to be no plans at all – just throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. But those kids were going to go back to school, albeit in smaller ‘cohorts’ taking turns at school while the rest ‘virtually learned’. One parent suggested that kids could simply bring home physical workbooks and that not everything needed to be done using laptops and google. Seems that never even occurred to any of our intrepid “educators”.

      Reply
      1. CallMeteach

        It probably occurred to the teachers, but it may be the case that there simply aren’t enough books to let every kid do that. Districts frequently don’t buy consumables because they have to be replaced every year, and textbooks are so outrageously expensive that –at least in my district–we often have a class set of books, particularly at the upper levels. (This is only exacerbated by budgets cuts. We’d only just gotten back to pre-GFC levels.) Which is another hurdle for in person learning because the ALA guidelines for books effectively prohibit sharing of books. There’s no easy way to decontaminate them.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          There’s no easy way to decontaminate them.

          Well my library is back in operation. When you return a book or movie it sits in a bin for three days “decontaminating.” Admittedly this doesn’t sound very practical for a school but then if the assumption is that the kids are all going to infect each other (and that is/was the assumption of the herd immunity advocates) that may not matter. Haven’t “fomites” been downgraded as a path to infection?

          I’ve mentioned here before that our new billion dollar high school (great timing) doesn’t appear to have any lockers. Is that because students no longer use textbooks?

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            My Cynical Self plays around with the idea that the reason for supplying no lockers for the students to stash their stuff in is to get the students used to the idea that they have absolutely no privacy any more. It is a tactic to socialize the upcoming generations into the Panopticon and normalize continual surveillance.
            Orwell was right about 1984, just a little bit premature in his predicted time frame.

            Reply
          2. JBird4049

            The trend for removing the lockers is because of “safety.” That it is cheaper to not have them is probably the real reason.

            Reply
        2. lyman alpha blob

          Yes, I’m sure the teachers have thought of a lot of better options that what the admistration has come up with. To clarify, it was the adminstration running the meeting and giving us the runaround.

          Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      To quote a line from Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat” by the character Harris-

      ‘How about when it rained?’

      Reply
    4. David

      If you look at school districts in the Northeast after the outbreak of the 1917 Influenza, most if not all proceeded with outdoors classrooms straight through the winter.

      Somehow if they could make it work in 1917, I think we could make it work in 2020.

      Reply
    5. Sacred Ground

      Wow, my first thought was rain and other weather disrupting the class, then I thought of all the distractions of just being outside. Security never occurred to me as a concern. Then I remembered that just a couple years ago after Parkland people were seriously talking about locking down the schools, even designing new schools like little prisons in the name of safety.

      Home of the brave, my hairy butt. We are afraid of everything and everyone and especially afraid of each other.

      Reply
  3. zagonostra

    >Dems Voting Against Pentagon Cuts Got 3.4x More Money From the Defense Industry

    Whither to Tulsi Gabbard? How quickly and completely she seems to have disappeared. Her key message was that without reining in the military the domestic policies will never meet the desperate needs of the majority of the U.S.’s citizens. And, it was that message that prompted me to initially support her over Bernie, giving financial donations and trying to sway friends and family to support her campaign. Sadly, though I might have missed it, I’ve not seen any reference to her opinion on this vote.

    Some claim that Reagan ramping up spending on the Military forced the Soviets to spend themselves into collapse by trying keep up, regardless of the veracity of the claim, it certainly seems to be the case that we are slouching toward a farce of that “shining city on the hill” that Bush the Elder so tenderly (sic) referred to…yes that shining city is seen today in the seething anger in the streets of Portland and Chicago…

    Reply
      1. zagonostra

        Yes I know, but have you seen her on Tucker Carlson or anywhere else? During initial phases of the DNC primary she could be found on many MSM and others outlets clearly communicating what for many is a central concern, e.g., endless war and diminishing domestic programs and crumbling infrastructure.

        Her advocacy has been disappeared down the memory hole…it’s as she never existed.

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        Is that ‘shine’ the glow of searchlights illuminating the borders to the City? Illuminating to keep people in or keep them out?

        Reply
    1. Tomonthebeach

      Hey! This is Citizens United enabling Billionaire Oligarchs to create the illusion of a republic.

      Reply
    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      If Ghislaine Maxwell is whacked, wouldn’t the civil action by Roberts Giuffre continue forward against the estate of the deceased? If Maxwell dies the criminal case dies with her and thus the justification for keeping the documents sealed becomes moot. Therefore, ironically, the Prince Andrews, Bill Clintons and Alan Dershowitzes of the late Epstein’s orbit have a strong interest in keeping Ghislaine alive.

      Reply
          1. edmondo

            Please calm down. Jeffrey sent word that he is well and good and working on a kibutz in an undisclosed location.

            Reply
  4. FreeMarketApologist

    I’ll leave it to a UK native to explain the leasehold system, but I will point out that the picture caption says “England and Wales are the last countries in the developed world where you can buy a home – but not own it.” — which I would disagree with: There are a number of residential buildings in NYC (typically co-ops) that are on leaseholds — i.e., they do not own the land they are on, and are subject to periodic renegotiation of the ground lease. And some of them are new developments.

    Reply
    1. Huey Long

      RE: NYC Leasehold

      Many Manhattan commercial office towers are leasehold too. Ground leases abound, like at the Chrysler Buiding for instance. Cooper Union owns the ground underneath the building while another entity owns the building itself.

      Reply
    2. STEPHEN

      In the US we have something similar to leaseholds, as I understand them, in the form of mobile home parks.

      Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          aye.
          it’s alleged all over the property rights portions of the web that Texas and Nevada are the only states where Allodial Title is allowed under law.
          (that’s where its Your Property, Period…not loaned to you by the sovereign(the State) under a feudal arrangement(origin of “fee simple”, so it’s said.)

          sadly, without a lawyer, it’s almost impossible to get accurate information on this…which makes sense, because Texas relies heavily on the complicated machinations around the property tax system. If i were them, i’d consider Allodial Title something of a state secret, too.
          I’m interested in this, not to avoid property taxes(which I pay cheerfully, so long as they’re fair)…nor from debt collectors(i avoid debt)…but to protect the place from predators(pipeline companies, sand mining outfits, etc)…as well as from “clawbacks” from medicaid, etc…which i cannot get a straight answer on, either.
          see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allodial_title for a bare bones primer.

          as near as i can tell, without a lawyer, some kind of land trust is prolly the best i can do…and that will hafta wait til my mother goes to her eternal reward.
          I would much rather that this was already in place, of course.
          …especially given the currently expanding fog of fear, uncertainty and doubt.
          of course, once the Burning Times get going in earnest, it’ll be firearms, booby traps, rotating watches and extravagantly fortified approaches, just like in the good old days when we had that prowler sneaking around.

          In the mean time, last New Moon, at 4am, I went down to the cattleguard with a hogleg joint, and spread some more Rundebbilrun Oil all over it.
          Just in case.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Charles Walters Jr. wrote many articles in Acres USA over a couple-year period during the 1980s farm-seizure crisis that Allodial Title was/is the law in many parts of America, but he concluded that the Governating Establishment refuses to recognise the law or enforce it.

            Part of a long-term rebellion might involve digging up those old Walters articles and getting them to tens of millions of people and forcing the Allodial Title issue all over again.

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the hippie

              the gist i get is that it’s like jury nullification: a concerted effort to deny that it exists.

              but this has boxed them in, because with that tactic in play, they can’t do any legislating or judicial shenanigans…because why do that if it doesn’t exist?
              if there’s still a country when my mom passes, i’ll hire a frelling lawyer, i guess.
              the medicaid clawback thing, especially, worries me, because there’s zero actionable information that i’ve found(aside from grey alien type grievance sites and official sites featuring impenetrable govspeak)

              Reply
              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                The first 20 years of Acres USA papers were reprinted in a set of hardback books, one book for each year, called the Acres USA Desk Reference. If I remember my dates and times right, those articles about Allodial Land Ownership would be somewhere in a couple of those 20 volumes.

                None of those articles are on line anywhere. If you know someone personally who has the complete Desk Reference, perhaps you could get to read the volumes till you find the relevant articles. People who live close enough to the Acres USA mothership/head office might be able to see them archived there is the Acres USA staff are set up to handle visitors.

                Otherwise from that, I don’t know how one would be able to see these articles. And I don’t know how one would test a lawyer’s knowledge of this long-and-deeply suppressed and denied to ever-have-even-existed area of American land-ownership law.

                The National Organization for Raw Materials had some personnel and ideological overlap with Acres USA. Perhaps someone(s) there might know something about this or might know who would know.
                http://www.normeconomics.org/#:~:text=The%20National%20Organization%20for%20Raw%20Materials%20%28NORM%29%20is,National%20Council%2C%20which%20was%20formed%20in%20the%201930s.

                And now that I think about it, perhaps some huge and vastly complete University libraries or other libraries might have all the Acres USA paper issues on microfilm or microfiche if they didn’t destroy all their microfilm and/or microfiche collections because microfilm and microfiche are not “digital” and are therefor unworthy of retention and preservation in this digital age.

                Reply
                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  i have back issues going back to the late 80’s, i think(in a box in my Library (pos tralerhouse), but it’s still in chaos due to use as pest tent/quarantine and now dorm room.
                  this will be spun into motivation to motivate the boys to de-chaoticise. 2 couches currently stacked in the old kitchen, where the To Do Section is, are to be stored wrapped in visqueen in the goatbarn loft, which currently houses 30 or so 12 foot 2×6’s….for the cabin/cousin’s boondoggle…and must be cleared out and into position ere the de-chaotic ops can begin.
                  everything’s a process(sigh)….i have 3 weeks to get the roof on the cabin/boondoggle, cut 3 cords of firewood from the side of the highway(before they burn it(see: Hanna), and finish library organisation….since school and college start middle of august(online).
                  lol. all of this, in order to get to a box of old magazines.

                  Reply
    3. campbeln

      Canberra Australia has a similar system as well; 99 year leases on the land to the government. The first batch of 99 year leases are coming due shortly if memory serves.

      Reply
    4. Tom Bradford

      “I’ll leave it to a UK native to explain the leasehold system”

      I’ll give it a go.

      After the Norman Conquest (“1066 and all that’) the Sovereign claimed outright ownership of all the land in England regardless of all previous arrangements, and then began parcelling it out to family and friends subject to obligations in return – military service (supply x armed men off the land for 60 days a year), a share of its produce (a tithe) or just annual cash as a rent – hence the ‘Domesday Book’ of 1086 which was an audit of all the King’s land with a valuation on which the obligation was based.

      However over time those obligations were forgiven ((often to religious institutions as the Monarch sought to gain credit in Heaven) or bought out for a one-time cash payment, from which time forward the land was held of the Sovereign free of any attached obligation – hence “freehold”. Freehold land could be divided and sold off retaining its freehold privilege.

      “Leasehold” is a right to occupy land subject to contractual obligations owed to someone with a superior occupation right – either the freeholder or an intermediate leaseholder whose obligations to the freeholder permit sub-letting. Ultimately, though, all land in England is still owned by the Crown with the rights to actually occupy it subject to legal arrangements (leases) down a chain of possession. (Excepting ‘squatter’s rights’ which can result in the freehold changing hands from the original freeholder to an unauthorised occupier attributed to the original owner’s failure to enforce his rights being taken as abandonment of them. )

      Reply
      1. Rtah100

        Leasehold is perfectly sensible. It is just rent paid upfront.

        Take flats – a developer builds an apartment building, sells the apartments on 99 year leases and retains the freehold and maintains the building out of ground rents and maintenance assessments on the leaseholders. Unscrupulous property types can squeeze leaseholders six ways to Sunday of course for the maintenance charges (overpriced work by connected parties) and for extension payments if people want to extend lease, to get a mortgage for example.

        Recently, evil genius property developers have sold houses on leasehold and charged exponentially increasing ground rents. I feel sorry for the innumerate suckers who bought them.

        The leasehold system is the reason central London is so uniform. The great landed estates of Grosvenor, Cavendish, Howard de Walden, the Crown Estate etc have used leasehold to maintain inter-generational control and unity of large parcels of land. This is one advantage. The problem of freehold speculative development is you can never put the parcel back together for redevelopment with government compulsory purchase.

        The HK system where the state owns all freehold land except the Anglican cathedral and the property tycoons buy long leases means that systematic improvement and redevelopment is not stymied. I would like to see a system that introduced a counter tendency to dispersion of title, where community organisations, not just the rich and well connected who quietly buy up the blocks, could propose redeveloping and area with a 90% or 95% vote of affected properties

        Reply
      2. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        Freehold Explanation:

        Thanks Tom for that. It also explains why there is “Crown Land” here in Australia.

        Now I want someone to explain why war (declared or otherwise) does not break international contracts. Gun Jesus on Youtube’s “Forgotten Weapons” talks of the US (in the 1920’s) paying German companies for arms technology invented prior to 1917.

        Any normal idiot like me would think that a war that voided so many lives would void contracts too – especially in the arms business!

        Pip-pip!

        Reply
    5. Yves Smith

      No, ground leases are very rare for residential buildings in NYC and the apartments in buildings subject to ground lease trade at a very large discount. 625 Park is a famous example. I looked at an apt. there. $30K plus the maintenance for a ratty one BR (maintenance very high due to high level of services + nice public spaces). Similar space on Park would have easily been >$250K at the time.

      Reply
  5. Wukchumni

    Coin shortage:

    The Great Depression cut deep, and early into the imbroglio there wasn’t much demand for coins as the public was well and truly broke and out of work so the U.S. Mint stopped making them for a few years. There were no 50 Cent coins minted in 1930, ’31 or ’32, no Quarters in 1931, no Dimes in 1932 or ’33 and no Nickels in 1932. These yearly gaps in production rarely happened before, and not since. A telltale sign the economy had seized up.

    There were no credit cards back then, so coins & currency would’ve done all the heavy financial lifting.

    Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        M2 (money) growth since 1913 has been +/- 7%. (For reference, actual money creation, by that I mean money that can be used to extinguish debt, long term runs about 1.6% as they *labor* to pull it out of the ground. Roughly equal to population growth).

        Last quarter M2 grew 24.5%. That was before the new monetary configurations really got started.

        Not in the headlines: the $454 billion you, I, our kids, and our grandkids pledged to The New Hedge Fund At The Center of the Money Universe (BlackRock SPV), is hard at work. Top investments? Why German automaker bonds of course! That, and to support “the economy” you just bought a 3-year bond paying 0.4% issued by an eCommerce company struggling to make a profit, their name escapes me for the moment but I do recall their stock ticker: AMZN. Cigars all around.

        Reply
        1. skippy

          VoM superseded by VoE and all traveling at the speed of light in undersea cables …

          Yet nary a word on how computers changed the financial system and with it the economy – It’s computerised accounts that transformed banking. Once you had computers to handle the dynamics you can run the asset side and the liability side separately with a very small liquidity buffer.

          Seems like some are attempting too close Pandora’s box before too many see inside.

          @Wuk

          Been meaning to ask you Wuk about what you think underpinned those Confederate bonds in lieu of some hard stuff. Maybe our resident textile maven can elaborate on the broad scope of Manchester and how it effected *everything*. Interesting to note that the same location now is the residence of the top textile Mfg, all automated of course, in a repurposed old textile building.

          To think supply chains, market dominance, and individual wealth proceeded everything …

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Debt has reached its event horizon, that’s why equity-based money is the new new thing. The CBLDBs (Central Bank Little Dutch Boys) have run out of fingers to put into dikes (no guffaws from the Peanut Gallery please on that analogy…). Run down the list of the top 10 holders of AAPL and you will find…the central bank of Switzerland. The Helvetian Hotshots have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to monetary maneuvers, but Mnuchins Minions have been very busy indeed catching up and the final melt-up will be just glorious, people will see once and for all that trees really can grow to the sky

            Reply
            1. skippy

              Not scared of numbers, its what symbology it represents and how that effects economic outcomes. Marginalist economics seems a better donkey than some notion of debt.

              Reminiscent of Hudsons views on IMF loans to Brazil and how that functions on economic grounds and not per se debt itself.

              Hence my quire to Wuk and his views.

              Reply
          2. Wukchumni

            What underpinned all those CSA Bonds the UK invested in?

            The fervent hope and desire that by funding the Confederacy (much of their investment happened early in the Civil War when it looked as if the CSA would prevail) their investment in being the sole buyer of all the south’s cotton would pay big dividends versus boring old gold (which they used to procure the bonds) which never ever moved much pricewise until 1971.

            It essentially went from $16 to $20 an ounce in a few thousand years.

            Reply
    1. ambrit

      A perfect numismatic ‘scam’ opportunity! Sell, as “Special Issue,” 1931 ‘Q’ fifty cent rounds. No one will ever be sure if they are real or not!
      (In the interests of clarity, the ‘Q’ designation stands for the Federal Mint of Quebec.)

      Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      every business i’ve gone to in san antonio in the last maybe 3 months(?) have had signs in the windows/by the register about a nationwide coin shortage.
      i usually give my change to the carhop(whataburger) or leave it in the “take a penny” dish, any way.
      unless it’s quarters…which are beer money.
      haven’t rummaged for hard news on this alleged shortage, but my accumulation of coinage hasn’t lessened at all, in spite of my habits, above.

      and! this reminds me of another san antonio observation:last 4 times we’ve gone, we’ve ended up with extra food…whether a screwed up order(more common, due to stress, i suppose) or stuff i brought and didn’t eat(veg from the farm).
      normally, I’d locate a homeless person and give them the excess food…but i haven’t been able to find any homeless folks in 2 months…at least not in the usual places.
      I did a cursory search on my phone, looking for any recent changes in homeless policy there, and found nothing.
      so instead of a roadside economic indicator, we have a mysterious absence of one.

      Reply
  6. Sam Adams

    Re: 2020: The Year We Confronted Decline
    Who knew St Ronnie of the Cons was the savior of all that was good, holy and uniquely American? The American St Augustine.

    Reply
    1. bassmule

      “His Democratic opponent seems little better, at best willing to bend to left-wing hate mobs…”

      I’ve heard of purple prose, but this gent is unhinged.

      Reply
      1. Fireship

        The commentators also expose why America is so doomed:

        “The revolt today is not about a bias in our legal system. Infact, the law and the workplace and the educational system completely ignore their bias against whites, men and christians. The only 3 groups not considered minorities.

        Todays revolt is the result of marxist infestation in our educational system indoctrinating students in anti-americanism, social justice, equality of outcome, etc which has gone subsidized by taxpayers but ignored by students, parents, taxpayers and govt.”

        Reply
        1. edmondo

          “… the law and the workplace and the educational system completely ignore their bias against whites, and christians.”

          I am amazed that white people took the time away from running everything to write about their oppression.

          Reply
    2. Fireship

      Tellingly, that piece never once mentions the C word: Capitalism. Full of hopey-changey dream talk it sees the answer to America’s woes in someone, somewhere pulling a rabbit out of the magician’s hat in the form of ‘Leadership’. Yup, that’s the magic dust that we need to sprinkle over Washington DC. We just need someone, somewhere with bold ideas, a vision quest, get-up-and-go-attitude, platitudes and hand-wavy gravy to pep talk America into greatness again. This guy is basically saying that Oprah is the hero that is needed to save America. 🤣

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        My Ultra Cynic personality wonders if this might be a ‘thought piece’ paving the way for a coup in Washington.

        Reply
    3. Wyatt Powell

      I shouldn’t expect much from TAC, but this paragraph right here (to me atleast) shows how blind these fools really are.

      “America’s ethos has always been that of a striving innovator. We don’t simply accept circumstances as they come, as, say, some Europeans tend to do; we seek to shape them and change them. Our civic religion tells us there’s no problem we can’t solve, be it the commies or stagflation or terrorism. Yet today we face so many hurdles, some of them deeply rooted in our own soil, that getting over all of them can seem impossible. That cheerful manifest destiny, that complacent “end of history” attitude that many of us grew up with during the 1990s, now seems like a relic of a distant time.”

      1. “Theres no problem we can’t solve” Commies stagflation and terrorism. WHICH ONE OF THOSE DID WE SOLVE? YOU DELUDED IDIOT!? Last i checked we didn’t destroy the Soviet Union, they destroyed themselves, stagflation was ‘fixed” by creating the very neoliberal nightmare we are all currently living, thanks for that. And how is that war on Terrorism going? The last thing the American polity “fixed” was WW2. GTFOH with your American Exceptionalism and Whitewashing of how ‘cheery” American rule has been for most of the world, its disgusting and truly sickens me to my stomach.

      2. Point out a problem, then repeat that problem in the next sentence. Glorification of our imperial past (and present)

      Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    Golden State cheerleader chants:

    We’ve got Coronavirus cases yes we do
    We’ve got more infected than any of you.

    2…4…6…8
    Just like that
    The virus can replicate
    Go team!

    Reply
  8. allan

    Re: Buildings damaged in Minneapolis, St. Paul after riots Star-Tribune

    I know this is ancient history at this point, but was Umbrella Man who broke all the windows in the AutoZone,
    much discussed here and elsewhere at the time, ever arrested? Some people ID’d him as a St. Paul policeman,
    which the SPPD vehemently denied, and then the story seemed to fade away.

    Edit, from July 15: “The person dubbed “umbrella man,” captured on video smashing the windows of an Auto Zone — outfitted with a mask and umbrella despite the sunny weather — also doesn’t appear to have been charged yet.”
    https://minnesotareformer.com/2020/07/15/no-arrests-in-most-destructive-arson-following-death-of-george-floyd/

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Just spitballing here, but I noticed that restaurants were #1 on that chart.

      Now, I haven’t priced out restaurants in St. Paul, but I do know that our local restaurants can be pretty spendy. When the riots happened in and around Downtown Tucson, a lot of restaurants got the smashed glass treatment.

      I’m wondering if some of the Twin Cities glass smashing had something to do with resentment toward something that has become unaffordable to a lot of people.

      Reply
      1. Romancing The Loan

        The chart largely captures what places were the most likely to be empty – restaurants and retail were shut for covid.

        Reply
        1. Sacred Ground

          And now I’m wondering how many desperate restaurant owners saw the opportunity for an insurance payout. It would be so tempting after months of forced closure of an already marginal business now facing bankruptcy to just wait for an especially active night, put on some black clothes and a mask and light it up.

          Reply
          1. Sacred Ground

            I mean, under these circumstances, official arson investigation will be moot since it will obviously be arson. And how would an insurance company prove it wasn’t rioters?

            Reply
      2. Sacred Ground

        In every city downtown I’ve ever been in, the vast majority of street-level businesses with public access are restaurants and retail shops. Other businesses either have their own buildings or are located on upper floors.

        Restaurants and retail are on top of the list of smashed businesses simply because they are by their nature located in easily accessible to the public. One would have to walk past a bunch of them to go burn a business that isn’t either.

        Reply
  9. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Democrats Go On Offense On Russian Election Interference As November Approaches

    While the Democrat party keeps trying to catch those pink elephants – I’m sure they’ll bag one any day now – Mitt Romney explains why he thinks Trump will really win in 2020 . You have to read between the lines a bit, but it’s good old-fashioned voter suppression cooked up right here in the US of A:

    “And number three, I think the voters that are most animated in opposition to the president tend not to come out to vote ― and that’s young people and the minorities. They’re active in polls, but not necessarily active at actually getting out to the polls,” the senator said.

    They just can’t make it to the polls. I wonder how that could be?!?

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      C’mon man. Are you really going to stand in line for two hours to vote for fkn Joe Biden? I get a postage-paid vote by mail ballot and I can’t be bothered to even open it, let alone decide how one of them might be better as president.

      Reply
      1. Jeff W

        …let alone decide how one of them might be better as president.

        With regard to politicians, I’ve sort of come around to the Anna Karenina principle: Each awful politician—and almost all of them are, it seems—is awful in his or her own way. It becomes difficult to say which version of awfulness is better.

        Reply
        1. campbeln

          The lessor evil is still evil.

          I was going to write in Bernie, but his antics of late to kowtow to the party have disgusted me so I might write in Tulsi instead or go green. I’d be tempted for a Trump donkey vote, especially being in Cali, but not sure I could defend that one even then.

          Reply
    2. Pat

      Same way they couldn’t make it to the polls for the Democratic primaries.

      Suppression isn’t really about the tribes, it is truly bipartisan. No it is about the power status quo.

      Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    Here in the state’s red bastion, spied a ‘Recall Newsom’ booth on a grassy knoll adjacent to the car entrance into the parking lot of WinCo supermarket. It was festooned with patriotic flagging and images of eagles soaring, although the lady running the 1-person show was sans mask. In the brief moments I saw, she had drawn in a couple of people to her lair, there.

    Reply
  11. timbers

    China Cold War…. besides the MIC, biggest beneficiary of our cold war with China is Russia because she gets breathing space. Wonder if the CIA is furious at Trump for straying off course against Russia? It’s unfortunate Russia hasn’t figured out how to energize and decorrupt it’s economy enough to get it to grow enough to make it’s citizens want to stay. Putin’s has to take responsibility for that. Probably he’s trapped in neoliberal thinking.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      I don’t get a sense that you know much about Russia and/or its economy. Moreover, name one country in which its economy is fully “de-corrupted” (as you put it).

      Reply
      1. timbers

        Thanks Olga…I’ll do some double checking. I hope you’re right and I’m wrong. A strong and growing Russia is part of what the world needs, a valuable counter weight to my country, the Evil United States Empire :-)

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          Be a little careful, now. You saw what happened when the Soviet Union counterweight fell off the balance. I’m not sure I would rather have an open-air torture continent massively producing psychological trauma left around just as a counterweight. Oh, whither the Non-Aligned Movement…

          Reply
      2. km

        The corruption in the United States is at least as deep as that in Russia (and maybe even Ukraine), just that the American flavor is normalized and legalized.

        Instead of handing over a satchel of unmarked bills, think “lobbying”, or giving a cushy no-show job to that bureaucrat who catches some flak for reaching a favorable decision.

        Instead of giving the provincial governor’s son a cut of a project, think giving that same governor’s foundation a fat “charitable donation”.

        Reply
      3. occasional anonymous

        They didn’t say anything about ‘fully’. They said ‘enough to get it to grow enough to make it’s citizens want to stay’.

        Russia is a ludicrously broken mafia-state. That doesn’t make the US or West not also a broken nightmare, but let’s be honest here.

        Reply
  12. Omniputincy

    The Spectator and Putin.
    Wow, if that is not hagiography then what is? Ascribing him that level of power over the west.
    How is it that he is so omnipotent? Is he a Divine creature?

    Reply
    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Owen Matthews should make up his mind: is Putin an all-powerful evil genius, or is Russia in terminal decline (…”reeling from a collapse in oil prices and one of the highest rates of Covid-19 infection in the world”…)? Maybe Putin cares more about his own local problems (like the ongoing street demonstrations in Khabarovsk, or the clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan) than he cares about “the West.” As for Covid-19, Russia is doing OK: the curve is flattening and the death rate remains low (as per the JHU scoreboard). I’m guessing that Russia has a lot of confirmed cases because it is testing a lot (as per this site’s data):

      https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-testing

      Reply
      1. RMO

        And my plan to destroy the Earth by making the Sun go red giant in 7.6 billion years is going swimmingly too! Yep, it’s all me, I’m a cartoon-like evil genius!

        Seriously, like Putin needs a “plan” to “do” anything to “make” the west destroy itself. At the absolute most nefarious spin you could put on things he could be said to be following Napoleon’s rule about never interfering with your enemy when he is making a mistake.

        Reply
  13. AbyNormal

    Your knocking them outta the park Lambert !

    The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.~Plutarch

    Hat Tip Sir

    Reply
      1. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        July 24, 2020 at 10:23 am

        After I retired, and drove west about 8 years ago, I stopped in Yellowstone. A herd of bison where ambling down the road, a great chance to be within a few feet of a bison – one was about to stick his mucus covered snout into my open car window, and I decided I didn’t want to see a bison up that close.
        Anyway, a good number of Americans honked at the bison…(not hi bison, how is it going, but get out of the way). I think that explains a lot….

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          In his 1839 Narrative of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard he recounts his life of being a mountain man between 1831 and 1835. Leonard was with Joseph Walker, the most acclaimed of the mountain men, with many places in Ca, & Nv. named for him.

          Hunting meant eating and the group of a dozen was always moving, and if your hunters came back with bupkis you starved that night. He chronicles this all along the way, and of all the meats, he was by far fondest of Buffalo, and grass fed California beef was much inferior he felt.

          Have a free read of a fascinating tale, told relatively soon after his travels into history.

          https://user.xmission.com/~drudy/mtman/html/leonintr.html

          Reply
      2. AbyNormal

        Ahhhhhhhh yes….

        Wild Bill Hickok: What are Crows doin’ in Sioux territory?

        Charlie Zane: Probably heard about the white buff on the moccassin telegraph.

        Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Fauci on coronavirus: ‘I don’t really see us eradicating it’ ”

    Fauci needs to be sacked. In the middle of a pandemic he has time for fashion shoots and throwing out the first ball at a baseball game (badly – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYVB9IbSmxY). Sorry but I am the sort that says that you cannot live with this virus but that it needs to be eradicated State by State. The reward for doing so is that people get their lives back again. To steal and modify a speech from The Wolf of Wall Street-

    Are you behind, with the death toll rising? Good. Start to fight the virus to eradicate it!
    Is your economy seized up? Good. Start to fight the virus to eradicate it!
    Do you want to live your life without fear of infection? Good. Start to fight the virus to eradicate it!
    Do other countries think you have given up? Good. Start to fight the virus to eradicate it!

    It may sound impossible but I do not believe that. The problem for the United States is that the response has been wasteful, uncooperative and haphazard. And that the priority of the government was to print trillions to bail out the wealthiest people and corporations in the country, forgetting that if you do not save the people, that in the long run you will not have an economy. I keep on thinking something that PlutoniumKun said the other day about this virus acting as a stress test and he is right. We are learning which institutions and people are failing us and you cannot hide it – and its not pretty.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Rev Kev,

      While those are all strong points you bring up, where do you stand on this season’s introduction of the universal DH?

      Reply
        1. Maxwell Johnston

          I can live with the DH, but re that second base rule for extra innings…….words fail me.

          Reply
      1. ambrit

        When “they” put the games on free streaming services, I’ll watch. Otherwise, it’s Roller Derby for supper!

        Reply
    2. edmondo

      He’s a Hero of the Resistance. In the olden days they used to put up statues to guys like that but in a couple hundred years, when the viruses take over the planet, they will probably just pull it down anyway.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        #Resistance types do like to celebrate knowing the names of people who do the bare minimum to stay informed. When they were canonizing Comey and Mueller, it wasn’t so much hero worship as an announcement of how wonderful they are for knowing anything.

        Reply
    3. Cuibono

      surely no one imagines that disaster capitalism is not in FULL SWING HERE and will be to an extent we never imagined for years to come

      Reply
  15. dcblogger

    if Trump was or could be what Snyder says he is, wouldn’t Snyder already be in a camp somewhere?

    because Trump is testing how much he can get away with. He instituted the Muslim ban and the airports were jammed with demonstrators. When people found out about the baby prisons demonstrators went to the gates of the prisons and started demonstrating. baby prison contractors started getting demonstrations. Trump sent out DHS goons to kidnap demonstrators to intimidate people and the demonstration got ten times larger. But yeah, if he does cling to office he will start putting opponents, real and imagined, in detention centers.Democrats may not be willing to stop him, but the rest of us are not so meek.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      if he does cling to office he will start putting opponents, real and imagined, in detention centers

      There’s not even a “probably” in your prediction. It does seem there are many who are determined to make Trump into Hitler or bust. However many others look at Trump and just see a blowhard, not a “fascist” (contra BAR I’d say time to drop this buzzword altogether rather than correctly apply it). Here’s suggesting the much discussed “inverted totalitarianism” is the real situation–no Fuhrer required. By obsessing over Trump you provide the corporates who really run things with a useful distraction…so useful perhaps they really will allow him to continue. Certainly Biden seems like a weak choice to take him down.

      Reply
    2. pjay

      “because Trump is testing how much he can get away with…”

      So do you really think that Trump is the Evil Mastermind behind our potential Police State? Honestly? Trump did not pass the legislation or create the domestic security infrastructure that makes this a real danger. He did the things you describe, sure. But his motives are based on narrow calculation of his own political interests. He has no grand plan to institute some sort of Global Fascism. He is not capable. He is not in control. He reacts. He is in over his head.

      In my opinion, there are people who DO have such a plan. Some of them are in the Trump administration. Many others are the very people who have been trying to *get rid* of him for the last four years. They have contributed to the development of this infrastructure for decades, in both Republican and Democratic administrations. Their work is easily documented.

      Trump is capable of a great deal of destruction and misery, as he has demonstrated. But playing the “Red Team vs. Blue Team” game and feeding TDS contributes to mystifying the real threat lying behind all the political theater.

      Reply
      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I mostly agree with this – I see Trump as a very ‘useful idiot’ whose ham-handed attempts to wield the machinery of the fascist state to his own purposes causes many more people to become *truly* conscious of how much the architecture and infrastructure of that fascist state has been built up around us with gay bi-partisan abandon over the last few decades…regardless of which corporate-ruled ‘party’ is in power.

        Once people get over the cognitive dissonance of “not only can it happen here, it is…and has been..happening! omg!!” they are (in theory) in a better position to respond and resist rather then somnambulantly acquiesce as has been their wont.

        Maybe that leads to voting changes that get truly constitutionally-minded congresscritters voted in from the left *and* the right….and please lord also from many ‘3rd parties’…or if that pendulum swing is thwarted as it usually is by TPTB…then maybe it just increases the population of people who finally have had enough and want off, and the hell OUT, of this clown car. In which case….Welcome Cascadia!

        https://twitter.com/johnogpdx/status/1286461123168858113

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          And yet, you gave him the tools to do it. Designed them, even. Why are we listening to Democrat moderates instead of throwing them out of helicopters in return for Chile?

          Reply
      2. heresy101

        John Whitehead has a good review and history of the Red and Blue Team’s actions to support a police state with real gestapos to protect the one percent.
        https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/the_federal_coup_to_overthrow_the_states_and_nix_the_10th_amendment_is_underway

        “It was 1798 when Americans, their fears stoked by rumblings of a Quasi-War with France, failed to protest the Alien and Sedition Acts, which criminalized anti-government speech, empowered the government to deport “dangerous” non-citizens and made it harder for immigrants to vote.

        During the Civil War, Americans went along when Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus (the right to a speedy trial) and authorized government officials to spy on Americans’ mail.

        During World War I, Americans took it in stride when President Woodrow Wilson and Congress adopted the Espionage and Sedition Acts, which made it a crime to interfere with the war effort and criminalized any speech critical of war.

        By World War II, Americans were marching in lockstep with the government’s expanding war powers to imprison Japanese-American citizens in detainment camps, censor mail, and lay the groundwork for the future surveillance state.

        Fast-forward to the Cold War’s Red Scares, the McCarthy era’s hearings on un-American activities, and the government’s surveillance of Civil Rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr.—all done in the name of national security.

        By the time 9/11 rolled around, all George W. Bush had to do was claim the country was being invaded by terrorists, and the government was given greater powers to spy, search, detain and arrest American citizens in order to keep America safe.

        The terrorist invasion never really happened, but the government kept its newly acquired police powers made possible by the nefarious USA Patriot Act.

        Barack Obama continued Bush’s trend of undermining the Constitution, going so far as to give the military the power to strip Americans of their constitutional rights, label them extremists, and detain them indefinitely without trial, all in the name of keeping America safe.

        Despite the fact that the breadth of the military’s power to detain American citizens violates not only U.S. law and the Constitution but also international laws, the government has refused to relinquish its detention powers made possible by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

        Then Donald Trump took office, claiming the country was being invaded by dangerous immigrants and insisting that the only way to keep America safe was to build an expensive border wall, expand the reach of border patrol, and empower the military to “assist” with border control.”

        “Yet as we’ve learned the hard way, once the government acquires—and uses—additional powers (to spy on its citizens, to carry out surveillance, to transform its police forces into extensions of the police, to seize taxpayer funds, to wage endless wars, to censor and silence dissidents, to identify potential troublemakers, to detain citizens without due process), it does not voluntarily relinquish them.”

        Reply
  16. jr

    Re: KFC’s Three Dimensional Nuggets

    Mmmm height….depth….sponginess….

    But if it helps to kill Big Poultry, I’m happy to let other people eat them.

    Reply
    1. Billy

      Tissue culture. Picture a metal anus squeezing out a uniform stream of pure white chicken flesh, no bones, no tendons, no skin, no dark meat, only a stream of homogenus chemically created “meat”.

      Soylent White.

      Reply
  17. freedomny

    Re Freehold vs leasehold. In NYC there is something similar – landlease apartments which you find down in Battery Park, some places on the Eastside and Roosevelt Island. You can also find a couple of landlease house communities on the North Fork of Long Island. They can be difficult to get a mortgage on as technically the lease could end & the owner of the property can kick you off said land. Banks usually look at the risk involved by examining the lease agreement. Not as much a risk with NYC apartment buildings that have leases with the City of NY. But you can have other owners – I believe there is a landlease on a Related developed property on the Eastside where the lands owner is a church or other religious organization. Britain also has a commonhold arrangement which is somewhat similar to our cooperative apartments in NYC. But bottom line, I personally would never buy a landlease property….

    Reply
    1. Rtah100

      It is exceptionally hard to terminate a leasehold title in the UK. Possibly if the leaseholder burns down the building but even then insurance for the damage might be your only recourse. They bought it, it’s theirs for the next N years, smoking hole though it may be.

      Reply
  18. Laughingsong

    “Putin plans to make the West destroy itself The Spectator“

    Humph. “Make?!?” All Putin needs to “make” is the effin’ popcorn.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Russian military spending: $65.1 billion
      U.S. military spending: $686.1 billion
      E.U. military spending $260 billion

      Russian GDP: $1.658 trillion
      U.S. GDP: $20.54 trillion
      E.U. GDP: $15.6 trillion

      Putin must possess one hell of an Archimedean lever. Pass the popcorn, please.

      Reply
    2. Massinissa

      When the plane breaks down, the crew and engineers blame the gremlins, not themselves.

      In this case its specifically Gremlins from the Kremlin.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        The last lot that were bedeviled by the Gremlins From the Kremlin ended up in a Gotterdammerung.
        Not a desirous outcome.

        Reply
    3. kmason@vogellaw.com

      We’re supposed to believe that Putin has more granular knowledge of US elections than the best data scientists and consultants that money can buy. After all, he supposedly flipped an election with over $2,300,000,000 in total ad spend for a measly $150K. At the same time, Putin couldn’t be bothered to get his patsy to make Russia-friendly appointments, much less spend a few bucks more and buy himself a new Congress.

      To believe the conspiracy theories, you’d have to believe that Putin has superpowers that Lex Luthor, Josef Goebbels and even Ivy Lee never dreamed of, stuff bordering on psychic mind control (but somehow, the chattering classes are not only completely immune, but they immediately see through all of it and are also able to read Putin’s mind in near real time!)

      At the same time, we are also supposed to believe that Putin has absolutely no idea how to use these amazing abilities.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        such instances of cognitive dissonance are commonplace, and have been with us forever.
        like “The stupid Far Left, whining and crying” that is yet “just about ready to take over the country and put all us patriots in camps”.

        or “trump is the most evil and dangerous president ever, with all manner of evil mastermind plans”….so…”let’s give him more money for weapons and surveillance and jails”.

        We’re not supposed to remember, day to day, but are instead expected to fall from the turnip truck anew each day, all dewy eyed and innocent, to a brand new world with no past.

        Reply
        1. Sacred Ground

          or “trump is the most evil and dangerous president ever, with all manner of evil mastermind plans”….so…”let’s give him more money for weapons and surveillance and jails”.

          You do realize it’s not the same people saying these two things. Unlike in your first example where it is the same people painting the Left as simultaneously ineffectual and poised to take over. Or another: the same people who were up in arms about government overreach in enacting temporary public health restrictions, painting these as intolerable tyranny, are now cheering federal troops taking over cities and mass arresting protesters.

          Reply
      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I don’t think we were ever just “supposed to believe it”, it was always Certified Canonical Received Truth catapulted from the length and breadth of the guardians of our public discourse. We learned in breathless horror that the White House occupant unfortunately beyond any shred of doubt was taking his instructions direct from The Kremlin and they had tapes of him cavorting with a micturating woman of the night. A chipper flying squirrel and a dull but well-meaning moose would never be a match for this Natasha and her partner Boris, in The Cartoon That Substitutes For Rational American Discourse it was always clear exactly who the characters were and exactly what they were up to. We never got to see that yellow stream falling on an orange pompadour but no matter, Very Serious People Assured Us Beyond Any Doubt that it was there.

        (Paging Mr. Barnum, please pick up the courtesy phone, Mr. P.T. Barnum…)

        Reply
  19. Tyronius

    The piece on private equity made me wonder why it’s become such a big part of today’s financial landscape. What happened since the 1980s to encourage them to grow to be such a big part of the economy?

    TAXES! Rutger Bergman was right when he advocated raising taxes at Davis. Falling tax rates, especially on the rich, have converted our economy from one that builds things into one that exploits and parasitises those who do.

    Until that changes, America will keep swirling around the drain, ever more frenetically.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      But, but, how will our beloved politicians get a few donation to get re-elected? They might have to work hard to get reelected!

      Of all the institutions that could be “virtual;” Congress should become so, and out “representatives” should be visible 365 days a year in the communities they represent.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        I agree 100% with this statement. In fact, better that they be entirely banned from meeting in person with one another or with any constituent, so that all deliberations can be recorded for quality assurance.

        No, they don’t get privacy on our time. “Get back in the cube, politician, and don’t move until we come for you.”

        Reply
    2. a different chris

      >TAXES!

      Yup. I’m a full supporter of MMT but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to tax for many other reasons. It’s what cuts the fat off the meat, when done properly.

      Speaking of that, funny nobody suggested that rather than suspend the Payroll tax, they should flip it (in a revenue neutral manner to placate the scolds) so you don’t start paying until a certain amount of income.

      Just temporarily, of course because FDR or whoever advised him on it was right that if people don’t “pay into” something other people don’t think they deserve any of it. Best yet would just be to drop the caps, again in a revenue-neutral way.

      Reply
  20. jr

    Re: Bison

    Came across this on UTube just the other day:

    https://youtu.be/okdEqk9FS7g

    It’s a Grizzly taking down a bison in Yellowstone. It’s not especially gory, what’s chilling is how determined the bear is. It brought to mind some of my museum education days and a paleontologist I once watched explain what it was like to meet one of these:

    https://bear.org/the-giant-short-faced-bear/

    The fastest bear ever, +/- 40 mph. Estimates of 8 to 12 feet in height. Estimates of 1500 up to 2K lbs. Legs like a horse.

    He described a scene of early humans gathering food in a hillside. One looks to see an enormous bear the size of your hut lumbering across a distant field, too far off to bother about. Look down and then up again, it’s closed half that distance.

    So someone screams and people scatter: up trees, into holes, or just running. But it doesn’t matter cause this thing can push over trees, dig you out of a hole, or run you down. Someone is getting eaten alive today in front of your entire family group.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Held the rifle (it’s on display in our museum in town) that killed the last Grizzly in California in 1926 just inside Sequoia NP. Also in the museum is the clincher, as there’s a 1930 Visalia Delta-Times newspaper clipping that confirms that yes, it was the last of it’s kind.

      Reply
        1. juno mas

          The video demonstrates why bison back into a grouping when challenged (usually). Once the bear has a grip on his hind the bison can no longer use his horns as weapons. And there are no compatriots to assist in dislodging the bear from his backside. Fatal mistake.

          Reply
          1. jr

            Yeah, exactly, you can see the poor thing only has two tricks, charging and running, while the bear circles and lunges and then latches on…

            Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      A passage from the aforementioned 1839 Zenas Leonard book…

      They had meandered the creek till they came to beaver dams, where they set their traps and turned their horses out to pasture; and were busily engaged in constructing a camp to pass the night in, when they discovered, at a short distance off, a tremendous large Grizzly Bear, rushing upon them at a furious rate. They immediately sprang to their rifles which were standing against a tree hard-by, one of which was single and the other double triggered; unfortunately in the hurry, the one that was accustomed to the single trigger, caught up the double triggered gun, and when the bear came upon him, not having set the trigger, he could not get his gun off; and the animal approaching within a few feet of him, he was obliged to commence beating it over the head with his gun. Bruin, thinking this rather rough usage, turned his attention to the man with the single triggered gun, who, in trying to set the trigger (supposing he had the double triggered gun) had fired it off, and was also obliged to fall to beating the ferocious animal with his gun; finally, it left them without doing much injury, except tearing the sleeve off one of their coats and biting him through the hand. Four men were immediately despatched for the traps, who returned in the evening with seven or eight beaver. The Grizzly Bear is the most ferocious animal that inhabits these prairies, and are very numerous. They no sooner see you than they will make at you with open mouth. If you stand still, they will come within two or three yards of you, and stand upon their hind feet, and look you in the face, if you have fortitude enough to face them, they will turn and run off; but if you turn they will most assuredly tear you to pieces

      Reply
      1. jr

        Many years ago while at Ft. Hood I met a guy from Alaska whose brother was a hunter and trapper. He told me some stories, and to be clear they may only be stories, about people encountering Kodiak bear. One was about a guy who was chased by a hungry bear and managed to wedge himself into a crack in the face of the cliff. The bear couldn’t pull him out but it could and did scrape a lot of his skin off the side of his face, arm, and leg that were exposed. Licking it’s paws as it did. It eventually got bored and left this poor soul terrified and uncertain for at least a day before he dared move. The guy came crawling into town a few days later to general horror.

        Another story was about a hunter sitting down on a log to eat his lunch. As he tucks in, he feels a cold, wet touch on the back of his neck. Yep. The bear calmly slides it’s head over his shoulder, inhales his sandwich, and ambles off. The hunter only then realizes he has emptied his bladder…

        Reply
    3. a different chris

      Fun post, just have to say: I really doubt the “early humans” would “look down” – they would well know the danger and would pack and scatter at the first glimpse of that sucker.

      Somehow, I don’t know how given the size (and no doubt smell!), that thing would still need to be an “ambush killer”,

      Reply
  21. Keith

    Regarding the “Counterfeit Capitalism” article, I was expecting it to be about talking an already functioning marketplace idea, slapping an app to it, and then courting disaster, like Lyft vs. Taxicabs, Uber Eats vs the pizza guy, etc. I understand that the cell phone is ubiquitous and annoyingly central to most peoples/zombies lives, but it also seems not everything needs an app to function well. To me, it just messes things up.

    That said, perhaps I am just becoming a Luddite.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Modern smartphones have a perfectly serviceable tabbed web browser. Apps are not only superfluous to function and yet more powerful at commandeering your personal information, but they are sometimes little more than web pages in a container. The same goes for desktop apps these days, too. Personally, I just use the web page version wherever I can, solely except for the bank which of course needs to use the camera for mobile check deposits.

      Aside, Ludd’s beef was all the power and riches gained from automation going to the ownership class. If that’s not part of your beef so much as moral problems with creating automatons, maybe you’re closer to the Butlerian persuasion (pace Dune) than the Luddite, either of which is certainly a reasonable, defensible position IMO.

      Reply
  22. Mevans

    I grew up in England. Our home was on ‘rented land’ but we owned the bricks and mortar and had complete free rein wrt digging up the garden and renovating the house.

    The rent on the land (ground rent) was ‘peppercorn’ and, as I understood it never really in the control of the land owners anyway. The house is still standing and is probably about 150 years old. And everyone in the area assumes this will go on for ever.

    In theory, at least in some cases, the land can be sold usually for a very low fee and the subsequent owners can jack the rent. A system that existed based on an assumption these rents were simply there to validate a contract between the land owner and the home owner has now become a profit centre for some.

    Consequently everyone’s getting upset (rightly so) and now ‘something’s being done’. See ..

    https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jun/11/watchdog-investigates-leasehold-trap-for-uk-homebuyers

    Reply
  23. Wukchumni

    These seemed kind of familiar, almost exactly a century ago in a comes around goes around fashion.

    The Palmer Raids were a series of raids conducted in November 1919 and January 1920 during the First Red Scare by the United States Department of Justice under the administration of President Woodrow Wilson to capture and arrest suspected leftists, mostly Italian and Eastern European immigrants and especially anarchists and communists, and deport them from the United States. The raids particularly targeted Italian immigrants and Eastern European Jewish immigrants with alleged leftist ties, with particular focus on Italian anarchists and immigrant leftist labor activists. The raids and arrests occurred under the leadership of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, with 3,000 arrested. Though 556 foreign citizens were deported, including a number of prominent leftist leaders, Palmer’s efforts were largely frustrated by officials at the U.S. Department of Labor, which had authority for deportations and objected to Palmer’s methods.

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

    Reply
  24. Synoia

    We need major air-conditioner innovation to keep us cool without warming the planet

    Here I have the benefit of experience, and here is what our two level house had:

    1. No direct sun on any windows (overhands and porches work well)
    2. Through breezes in the living area
    3 Trees for shade
    4. No fitted carpets
    5. Terrazzo Floors
    6. Fly screen the whole upstairs bedroom area
    7. Live with the bugs, and encourage the Geckos to enjoy the food

    An this was a sea level, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria, 5 degrees north of the equator.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Synoia
      July 24, 2020 at 11:30 am

      I lived in downtown Sacramento a few years ago, and it was filled with houses from the turn of the century. but what I noticed most was the huge street trees that had been planted and taken care of for near a century. Not only did it cool the whole neighborhood, but it made walking tolerable even in July. In almost all neighborhoods in Fresno, you can see the idea of planting large trees for the purpose of communal shade went the way of the dodo. Conspiracy by the utility company or people just not being willing to invest in a tree, something someone twenty years hence will get the benefit of?
      To paraphrase Galbraith (the dad, not the son) private air conditioning, public stifling heat…

      Reply
      1. Keith

        Depending on the size of the lot and trees, they may also impact gardening activity. I have planted some small trees (dwarf Austrian pines) to aid in cooling during the summer (we’re in the 100s), but I do not want to grow anything larger as it will impact my vineyards on the west side of my house. While trees may be employable when used smartly, depending on the use of the surrounding land, they may not be that helpful.

        Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        in Texas, at least, it’s common practice for developers of a subdivision to just clear cut the site, build the tickytacky, and plant 10 foot trees(often non-natives that die in a year or two) in strategic places on the lots.
        parking lots, too.
        (i’m thinking of the parking lot at the chemo place, here…at the very least, they planted live oaks…so in 50 years, that lot will be nice and shady.)
        Higher end developments, oth, seem to strive to retain the extant trees as much as possible.
        …and i remember reading about tree ordinances in austin that would endeavor to retain the extant foliage, but never followed up on it.

        Mom had this place bulldozed before i got here…took out most of the mesquite cover that had come up from disuse and neglect.
        i still haven’t forgiven her…especially at this time of year…but at least she spared the big oaks.

        Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If you had a “house-sized” one of these in the “upwind” side of the house intercepting all air trying to get into the house and forcing that air to go through this cooler before getting into the rest of the house, how would you force air to come in through this cooler installation to begin with? Would there be some way to blow air out of the house at a conceptually ” downwind” side or part of the house?

        Blowing “outward” fans lowering air-pressure inside the house just enough to keep sucking air into the house through this cooler installation before getting into the rest of the house? Perhaps a “solar chimney” on the sunniest side of the house to harvest sunlight falling on it and turn that sunlight into heat, thereby making air rise through the chimney? And forcing that air rising through the chimney to suck air out of the house, making the house suck new air through the cooler installation to get into the house to replace the air sucked out of the house by heated air rising in the solar chimney?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_chimney

        Reply
    2. lordkoos

      We are lucky enough to live in an older house that has 12 ft ceilings which helps a lot with the heat, and if we close up windows and blinds by 11 am or so the house can stay fairly comfortable. No AC, just fans and open windows at night.

      Reply
  25. jef

    N95 masks are designed for filtering the air you are breathing in.
    Surgical masks (the most common worn by people around the world right now) are designed to inhibit the trajectory of particulate you exhale from going directly onto the patient, not to filter the air you breath out.

    The goal of requiring universal masks use is to dramatically reduce the particulates in the air in areas where people are present. Neither of these two mask designs are designed for that.

    N95 masks are too fine a filter to be used for everyday use. They load up quickly with moisture from exhale and from particulate from inhale then begin to inhibit breathing and as they load up an increasing amount of air is forced out around the edges. Plus, as anyone who has blown their nose after wearing one while doing dirt work will know, they don’t work all that well. Industries answer to all this is to just make it tighter.

    If the mask is successfully designed to cut down particulate from exhale there is little or no need to filter out the are we inhale but the mask will still do this too.

    MIT is not doing this.

    Reply
      1. jef

        What part of what I said do you disagree with or are you just shutting off your brain and saying “but…but it’s MIT”?

        I have spent years researching this subject and personally interviewed over a hundred daily mask users. We have tested dozens of designs. MIT has been on this for a month or more and just like most design projects they don’t even have a clear idea of what they are solving for.

        I am not saying I am smarter than a room full of MIT engineers but I know what I know and I know what is so.

        Reply
      2. Maritimer

        I guess we live in an age of good separated from bad. Like a bailout solution, Good bank vs old $$ stuff in Bad bank. Good bank which committed errors no longer Bad.

        So it is with an institution like MIT. Extensive work for the Pentagon for starters. What other secret work for govt agencies, who knows. Is all this work benign? What else goes on with Global Corporations? What about GI? AI? Nanotech? Biotech? All good?

        For example, the much unexplored and proven Epstein connection with MIT Media Lab:

        “An investigation in The New Yorker published on Friday revealed that Epstein secured at least $7.5 million in donations to MIT’s Media Lab, run by Ito. Internal emails discovered by The New Yorker revealed Ito helped conceal the donations, referring to Epstein as Harry Potter villain Voldemort or “he who must not be named.””
        https://www.cbsnews.com/news/joichi-ito-mit-media-lab-director-resigns-after-jeffrey-epstein-investigation-2019-09-07/

        Other reports I have read indicated that Epstein may have been experimenting with Eugenics at his NM ranch.

        So which MIT today, Good or Bad?

        Reply
  26. JJ

    I’ve been following the Three Gorges Dam story for a few weeks now, and it’s impossible to get a clear picture from the news. So far, I believe the established facts are: (1) there has been historic flooding throughout the region, (2) all floodgates are open on the dam, (3) the dam has “deformed” some, and (4) some number has been evacuated.

    As for the evacuation numbers, I’ve seen quoted: “thousands (NYT), 1.4M (Australian BC), 38M (Nikkei Asian Review), and 40M (Interpreter article linked above). I’ve also seen 45M “affected”, but what the heck does that mean?

    When I first saw the 38M number a week ago, my first reaction was “no way”. That’s the state of California; how can they possibly move that many people in such a short time? That displacement should be visible from space!

    On the deformation: a google maps image was circulating showing the dam a few years ago and now. The current photo showed the damn buckling, but it was so obviously an image stitching artifact that I didn’t even realize that the buckling was supposed to be the story. That image was pushed hard by Epoch Times, so I was surprised that anyone was even taking it seriously. Since then, biased Chinese sources have pushed back, quoting engineers who admit that there has been deformation, but within “normal” range.

    Speaking of bias: bad news sites like Epoch Times are hellbent on portraying China in the worst light possible, but their stories (for me at least) kept popping up near the top of searches (both Bing and Google), and I’ve been surprised at the number of people on Twitter and sites like Oilprice that have taken their reports seriously. Within a few days, I started seeing stories from Chinese sources (in English) saying “there’s nothing to see here.” More “reliable” news sources seemed to be avoiding the story altogether.

    I understand that: we’re in a pandemic and economic crisis, China tends to paint a rosy picture in their news, less partial foreign journalists may not be in the country or have limited mobility due to COVID. Yet, I still struggle to understand how 40M can be evacuated in such a short amount of time, and reports are varying so widely.

    Reply
    1. pjay

      Thank you for your comment. I have also been trying to find out more about this, with similar frustration. As with COVID, it is difficult to separate even basic science or engineering information from politics and propaganda.

      As Caitlin Johnstone says in today’s excellent post, all we can do is “Stay skeptical, my friends.”

      Reply
    2. shtove

      The only reason I was aware of this story was from visiting my father after the easing of lockdown, to find him engrossed in youtube presentations about the impending disaster. I brushed it off as part of the obvious CIA propaganda push in the past month, joined up with all those sovereign men who insist “gold is the only money” and “bitcoin forever”, so I’m surprised to see NC linking these articles without comment.

      Reply
      1. lambert strether

        The Lowy Institute and UPI = Epoch Times? GTFO.

        I looked into deformation, couldn’t find anything. Flood stage seemed to be above nominal, but two or three days ago. Presumably the dam was overspecified. One hopes the cement contractors were on the up and up

        Reply
        1. shtove

          Well, I’m curious about how the story has jumped in the past two days from internet mutterings to mainstream news.

          Reply
      2. JJ

        Interesting. I first heard about the Three Gorges Dam story on Twitter because I had been tracking TeslaCharts (maybe from NC links?) because I can’t stand Elon Musk (ha!).

        Anyway, I heard the lead guy on TC in a youtube interview talking about the stock market; he sounded completely sensible and reasonable to me, but then, towards the end of the interview, he starts flouting gold and Rolexes as his preferred investment vehicles. Apparently, his primary goal is maintaining wealth with low volatility. Sounded crazy to me, but I don’t know much about it.

        PS, I’m not necessarily doubting the veracity of the reports one way or the other. I’m just venting frustration at my inability to get a decent handle on the story. I did ask a Chinese colleague of mine, but she had little information herself. She’s been asking her friends on the Mainland using WeChat(?) but her posts are being removed.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          “..but her posts are being removed.”
          The same is beginning to become ‘policy’ here in America as well.
          This internet and twitter ‘disappearing’ phenomena is very much in the spirit of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes “major clue” of “the dog that did not bark in the night.”
          The really interesting things are those things that the “authorities” don’t want we ordinary people to see.
          With the rise of electronic media, paranoia has become a vital item in the thinking person’s intellectual tool kit.

          Reply
          1. JJ

            Interesting. I hadn’t really heard of the ‘disappearing’ phenomenon on Twitter, although I put nothing past our tech companies.

            As for paranoia, well, as the saying goes, it isn’t such if they’re really out to get you. Unfortunately, even reasonable paranoia can put you in league with some..interesting..kinds, and once you step into Wonderland, it’s hard to tell which way is up anymore.

            Reply
    3. juno mas

      When you place a single dam at the confluence of three separate (but geographically adjacent) watersheds, unusual rain events make for unusually big problems. China is in that predicament.

      Like in the US, the resultant floodplain gets populated. And the “spilling” of water over the dam still results in a certain level of flooding. The removal of downstream residents will be a function of how confident the authorities are that dam “deformation” is within design parameters. . . or not.

      A 3 Gorges failure would easily impact millions of people.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        A Three Gorges Dam failure could easily bring the government down with it.
        This being Post Revolutionary China, expect to see senior people put “up against the wall” and shot.

        Reply
    4. TroyIA

      As far as the 3 Gorges Dam is concerned this Twitter thread explains why the talk of dam failure is waaaaay overblown.

      Basically the dam is used for flood control during the rainy season (now) and then water is held back for the dry season in the winter. The height of the retained water is higher during the dry season than it is now. Collapse is extremely unlikely.

      Reply
    5. Sacred Ground

      How is it possible that 40M people have been evacuated without any foreign press coverage? It’s not.

      So, consider the possibility that 40M have not been evacuated. If the number is actually in the thousands or tens of thousands, that could far more easily go unnoticed or at least unreported in foreign press in the current news environment.

      Reply
  27. Wukchumni

    Misfortune Cookie Saying:

    ‘Look, we were happy to get out of Houston where the humidity is so bad you’d think you were in a waystation to hell, thanks for forcing our hand.’

    Unlucky Numbers

    Ro2, Ro4, Ro6

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      “Who’s got team 10% spirit?”
      “We’ve got Team 10% spirit!”
      “R2, R4, R6, R8!”
      “Who can we obliterate!”
      “Gooooo Jackpot!”
      Where is More Science High when you need it?
      (There is a ‘More Science High’ Facebook page, but, I don’t sign up for stuff, so, there it is.

      Reply
  28. juno mas

    RE: Covid-19, KP, and Zinc

    (This is an addendum to my prior comment (yesterday) on the ongoing discussion of Zinc supplementation as therapy.)

    This link: https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/4/2/176/4591626 discusses many of the issues PK, and others, have been discussing ever since the pandemic became a trenchant topic.

    In many ways it confirms, generally, the application of Zinc supplement as a therapeutic for common colds (a coronavirus) and other conditions. However, it recommends using Zinc as a lozenge and NOT in tablet form as a therapeutic for a cold virus onset. The study also shows how Zinc is used to treat certain chronic diseases (diabetes, age-related macular degeneration). It also discusses how too much Zinc consumption constrains Copper (Cu) uptake in the body. (Unmonitored, supplemental consumption of Zinc is not without risk—consult your doctor.)

    The use of Zinc lozenges to ward off the common cold had been well known to jazz musicians (horn players) since the 1970’s (at least). Maybe a megadose (75 mg.) via a Zinc lozenge will become a prophylactic for Covid-19.

    Reply
  29. TK123

    Re: freehold vs leasehold from a UK resident who owns a leasehold flat built by one of the greedy developers.

    Heavily borrowing from but will try and explain leasehold vs freehold and why it’s important.

    Traditionally land in the UK was held by the upper classes due to historical reasons e.g., Norman conquest. It was then “leased” out to the rest of the population as a way of retaining the land, which imbued power to the ultimate owner – the feudal landlords.

    Over the past hundred years, as renter power increased vs the old days, landlords sold long leases rather than deal with the hassle of short-term leases (i.e. proper renting with all the laws and regulations that came with it). It acts as a half way house between full ownership and renting.

    This came on the background of flat ownership rising dramatically, especially in London. The only way to deal with common areas vs private areas was to have a freeholder maintain the commons under the traditional set-up.

    Reforms since then enabled leaseholders to firstly extend their lease e.g., if you bought a short-term lease from someone, you could extend it. Blair launched something called a common-hold, which is equivalent to the Co-op in USA basically. There are only 20 common-hold developments in England however, so they’ve been another of his many failures.

    The problem with this current set-up is the market is stuck in a system where people accept leasehold and don’t pursue the alternative. Moving to freehold is costly, with lots of legal complications where the leaseholder takes the risk on when trying to buy out the freehold. It’s also anyone’s guess how to value the freehold etc. etc.

    Moreover, developers hold onto the freehold when they build new flats and houses. In the case of houses this is ridiculous. They are generating an income (called ground rent, which in some cases doubles every 10 years!) for literally doing nothing. No service is rendered. In a flat situation where there are communal areas that require management (i.e. like Co-ops in USA) the developers claim they need to act as the “responsible adult” to maintain the property etc. to prevent situations like Greenfell.

    However, even in the case of flats, the ground rent does not count as payment for services. You pay a service charge on top of this for maintaining the buildings etc. This service charge covers the fees for the person who does the legwork of managing the property like getting buildings insurance, sorting the waste management system, cleaning etc. And these service charges are also extortionate because they’re not done very efficiently, with reports of enormous commissions made on sourcing the buildings insurance (kickbacks in legalised form basically)

    Even more outrageously, freeholders are refusing to pay for the cost of updating the building. Their claim to responsibility is just that they order the leaseholders to act in the interest of the building and repair it… but do not bear any of the costs of doing so!

    The system was abandoned in Scotland, and with no major negative repercussions. In my development, hopefully we will switch to commonhold at some point to avoid the ground rents, and more importantly, get control of the maintenance / service charge for the whole development area and be efficient.

    Reply
  30. Billy

    Why didn’t the FBI intervene in the Ohio vote paid for by the nuclear industry?

    Because the oil and gas industry has more influence in the Justice Department than does the corrupt nuclear power industry? Burn more oil and gas, except for the massive amount needed to build the reactors. Still less. Let them dig their own grave with HB6 knowing that they could impeach the entire process after the fact.
    p.s. Govenor DeWine, Nuclear is not ‘carbon free’ unless there happens to be a vein of pure uranium somewhere in Ohio just below the surface next to reactors that have been built by hand using recycled material.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      In Indispensable Enemies, Walter Karp suggests that privileges granted by an oligarchic-political machine partnership are necessarily corrupt and obscene, because honest and respectable options don’t need oligarch-political enablement, and so oligarchs and politicians are codependent, each having something only the other can give them.

      As for the ruling class lying, that’s their purpose for existing. If you don’t want to be lied to, don’t respect systems of rank.

      (The solution is not to disintermediate oligarch rule, as neoliberals and other market psychotics would have us do, but to destroy and prevent ruling and other leisure classes from forming, anywhere, ever.)

      Reply
    2. John k

      Every new form of energy is built with the energy that preceded it. Muscle power built the first coal plants, which then produced far more energy than muscle ever did.
      If solar panels didn’t make far more energy than the fossil energy that made the first ones they wouldn’t have driven the cost of electric power below that of fossil.

      Reply
  31. fresno dan

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zBrbdU_y0s

    AI robotic haircuts
    Well, I don’t care to look like Fabio (hair wise) and hair salons are a den of cooties. However, there is a conspiracy theory that the guy’s head was cut off, and that it is an android facsimile speaking at the end. Look at the premolars – obviously we’re looking at a duplicate – a very good mechanical duplicate, but not the human we started with…

    Reply
  32. Glen

    I haven’t seen this reported in too many places, but the current bill being put together to prevent an economic collapse now includes cutting Social Security:

    https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/478929-the-trust-act-is-a-plot-to-gut-social-security-behind-closed

    Funny that, the funding passed in the CARES act for billionaires and millionaires (Wall St) would have made Social Security completely solvent and WOULD HAVE BEEN SPENT IN THE REAL ECONOMY. There is no shortage of funding for bailing out the richest, but EVERYBODY ELSE is in big trouble.

    Reply
    1. Sacred Ground

      When the proposed response to a crisis is… exactly what that party has been pushing for the last 80 years? It’s not likely to be a good faith effort towards a solution to the crisis.

      Reply
  33. Kouros

    I see this euphemism more and more lately, “capitalist democracies”, when the reality is they should be properly named “Oligarchies” or even more precisely “demagogic oligarchic democracies” in good old Aristotelian fashion

    Reply
  34. Jeremy Grimm

    “What Lies Ahead”:
    This link gives flesh to the vision of our future I have sensed, felt, and fear. Though I hope this future will not come to pass I am aware of little that might nurture my hope. The window for finding a different path narrows to a few months at most.

    Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Does the “TRUST” Act have any legs or is Romney just making a show of serving his own? I am retired and living on Social Security and sharing as much of it as I can toward supporting my unemployed former bar-tending daughter. I doubt I am alone in using the relatively steady income I receive to support family. And of course there is the long tradition of “Mother’s Day” in severely job-and-income-challenged areas.

        Reply
          1. Jeremy Grimm

            More on the ‘Trust’ Act:
            Goals:
            (A) “avoid depletion of the Federal trust fund established for the critical social contract program”

            (B) “provide for the solvency of the Federal trust fund established for the critical social contract program during the 75-year period beginning on the date described in paragraph (1);” “TRUST Act”, p. 3 lines 18-24 [https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/s2733/BILLS-116s2733is.pdf]

            Odd that the critical period of concern is 75-years. That echoes nicely with the concern Congress has already shown for the US Postal Service.

            Democratic sponsors: Sen. Manchin, Joe, III [D-WV]*; Sen. Jones, Doug [D-AL]*; Sen. Sinema, Kyrsten [D-AZ]*; Sen. Warner, Mark R. [D-VA];
            4 of 13 and a majority of the original cosponsors

            An identical bill was introduced to the House as H.R.4907 – TRUST Act.
            12 of 16 and a majority of the original cosponsors

            Rep. McAdams, Ben [D-UT-4]*; Rep. Case, Ed [D-HI-1]*; Rep. Peters, Scott H. [D-CA-52]*; Rep. Cisneros, Gilbert Ray, Jr. [D-CA-39]; Rep. Cooper, Jim [D-TN-5]; Rep. Spanberger, Abigail Davis [D-VA-7]; Rep. Lipinski, Daniel [D-IL-3]; Rep. Phillips, Dean [D-MN-3]; Rep. Rouda, Harley [D-CA-48]; Rep. Brindisi, Anthony [D-NY-22]; Rep. Houlahan, Chrissy [D-PA-6]; Rep. Horn, Kendra S. [D-OK-5]

            All the initial cosponsors signed on to this bill 10/29/2019 — the same date the bill was introduced to the House and Senate. Is McConnell’s effort to “fold it into the next bailout package” what suddenly raised attention to this bill?

            Reply
  35. flora

    re: What Lies Ahead – Counterpunch

    an aside: Wall St. and the elite money interests were saved while Main Street still hasn’t recovered from the 2009 economic crisis, and has been in recession – if not depression – since then. Now this pandemic economic crisis brings on another recession. I think a comparison to the Long Depression is more apt comparison than the Great Depression for what’s happening. The Wall St. bubbles and collapse were imo a symptoms of deeper problems in the economies. Saving Wall St. while the real economic problems are ignored is treating the symptom instead of the illness.

    Reply
    1. flora

      In the Great Depression, a lot of Wall St. companies and banks went bust, a lot of very rich people lost fortunes. Not like now, when govt saves Wall St. and the big banks but Main Street is ignored and goes near-bust for over a decade.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I suspect what lies ahead — for the US in particular — will only modestly resemble the Great Depression or the Long Depression. The real economic problems you note and accompanying political problems are deeper and more refractory. The US is in decline — perhaps more like Britain in the Long Depression. I believe the size and reach of the International Cartels is greater than in either previous depression. The shell of enterprise remaining in the US is like that of an egg sucked dry. The US still had remnants of an Industrial capacity after both previous depressions. What is left now? Millions of people are out of work, the businesses they served are failing likely never to return, and there is no hint of what new jobs if any will sustain the Populace in what lies ahead. Both resource exhaustion, and Climate Chaos loom within a few decades at most. Our Government cannot plan as far as next week.

        I have trouble making an equivalence between the fortunes of Wall St. and even so much as a symptom of the wasting diseases afflicting our body politic-economic. The Stock Market has degenerated into a rigged casino serving Big Money in looting.

        Reply

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