Links 7/25/2020

Dog Influencers Take Over Instagram After Pandemic Puppy Boom Bloomberg

Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All WSJ. “[A]s the work-from-home experiment stretches on, some cracks are starting to emerge. Projects take longer. Training is tougher. Hiring and integrating new employees, more complicated. Some employers say their workers appear less connected and bosses fear that younger professionals aren’t developing at the same rate as they would in offices, sitting next to colleagues and absorbing how they do their jobs.”

Stuck-at-Home Parents Want More Support for Home Schooling Bloomberg

How a New Effort to Trace Emissions, Led by Al Gore, Could Reshape Climate Talks Time

With Siberia in flames, climate change hits home for Russia Christian Science Monitor

Searching High and Low for the Origins of Life RealClearScience

Jim Chanos: ‘We are in the golden age of fraud’ FT


Researchers map how coronavirus infection travels through cells of nasal cavity and respiratory tract (press release) University of North Carolina (original). “[SARS-CoV-2 ] infects the nasal cavity to a great degree by replicating specific cell types, and infects and replicates progressively less well in cells lower down the respiratory tract, including in the lungs.”

Face Coverings, Aerosol Dispersion and Mitigation of Virus Transmission Risk (preprint) arXiv (via). From the abstract: “[A]ll face covers without an outlet valve reduce the front flow through jet by more than 90 per cent. For the FFP1 and FFP2 masks [FFP = Filtering Facepiece] without exhalation valve, the front throughflow does not extend beyond one half and one quarter of a metre, respectively. Surgical and hand-made masks, and face shields, generate several leakage jets, including intense backward and downwards jets that may present major hazards.”

Dogs Can Sniff Out Coronavirus Infections, German Study Shows Bloomberg. Sounds like there are false positive issues, but mass screening is a good use case.

Science opens a door for getting students back into schools Dorchester Reporter. Hat tip to the reader who threw this over the transom, and whose handle I have misplaced.

An Elite Group Of Scientists Tried To Warn Trump Against Lockdowns In March Buzzfeed. The difficulty with “trust the science.”

The Dilemma of Covid-19’s Second Wave Bloomberg


Australia rejects Beijing’s South China Sea claims, backing US Agence France Presse

Whose century? Adam Tooze, LRB. “In 1949, ‘Who lost China?’ was the question that tortured the American political establishment. Seventy years later, the question that hangs in the air is how and why America’s elite lost interest in their own country. Coming from Bernie Sanders that question wouldn’t be surprising. But it was more remarkable to hear William Barr, Trump’s attorney general, describe American business as ‘part of the problem’ because its corporate leaders are too focused on their stock options and have lost sight of the ‘national view’ and the need to ensure that ‘that the next century remains a Western one’. He warns corporate executives lobbying for China that they may be treated as foreign agents.” Well worth a read.

US agents force their way into China’s consulate in Houston as diplomats pack up SBS News (KW).

National security law: EU proposes cutting off Hong Kong’s access to goods used in surveillance and ‘internal repression’ SCMP

Goldman to pay Malaysia US$3.9bil over 1MBD scandal The Star. That’s real money. Why can’t we do that?


India, China Agree on ‘Early and Complete’ Disengagement of Troops From Eastern Ladakh The Wire

Engineering a season of floods Live Mint

Grocery Shopping and Fish Markets: Weekly Rituals With My Father

Africa Starts to Have Second Thoughts About That Chinese Money Bloomberg

Why This Year’s Locust Invasion Is Setting Off Global Panic Vice (Re Silc). On locusts, see NC here, here, and here.


Central London Rents Decline as Vacation Homes Flood Market Bloomberg

Johnson’s handling of pandemic and Brexit fuels separatist sentiment FT

Labour was warned antisemitism report was deliberately misleading, leak reveals Guardian. And by “Labour” we mean “Labour officials opposed to Corbyn.”

What Will Lula Do? Pepe Escobar, Consortium News

Trump Transition

U.S. House Speaker Pelosi opposes separate deal on jobless benefits Reuters (SlayTheSmaugs). Hilarity ensues:

Pelosi also told reporters an amusing story that illustrated public concern about Congress’s next steps.

She said she recently tried to telephone actor Rob Reiner to express condolences at the death of his father, comedian Carl Reiner.

“I called Rob. ‘Rob, Rob darling, this is Nancy Pelosi, I’m calling to wish you and Michele my condolences. I’m so sad, your father was so funny and so wonderful,'” she said.

“This man says, ‘I think you have the wrong number,'” she continued. “And he says, ‘But I’m so glad you called me. I have one question for you … am I going to get my $600?'”

Expectations successfully lowered!

GOP Coronavirus Relief Package to Include Romney Bill That Would ‘Fast-Track Social Security and Medicare Cuts’ Common Dreams. It’s bipartisan (Joe Manchin, Doug Jones, and Kyrsten Sinema are the Democrat co-sponsors).

‘A Combination of Forces Puts Our Postal Service at Grave Risk’ (interview) Lisa Graves, FAIR. For example:


Trump Campaign Finds Young, Politically Engaged and GOP-Leaning Audience With Barstool Sports Interview Morning Consult. Interview parts one, two, and three.

Biden predicts that Trump will try to ‘indirectly steal’ the election WaPo. “The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee asked donors attending a virtual event to spread the word that ‘this president is going to try to indirectly steal the election by arguing that mail-in ballots don’t work.'” “Indirectly steal” is good.

Charlamagne tha God rips Biden: ‘Shut the eff up forever’ The Hill. “‘How the hell can Donald Trump be the first racist president in a country where 12 presidents before him owned slaves?’ asked Charlamagne, the popular African American host on New York’s Power 105.1.” It’s simple. 2016 is Year Zero. Liberal Democrats (and Bush Republicans) have no memory of events before that date.

Now Almost All Of The Republican And Democratic Conventions Will Be Virtual The American Conservative

How Warren, and the Professional Class Left Undermined Sanders 2020 Collide

Pandemic travel Yasha Levine


Boeing to delay 777X as demand drops for big jets – sources Channel News Asia. 737-300, -400, -500, -600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER have engine shutdown problems; 737 MAX not airworthy; 787s building up on the lot, and now demand falling for the newest model of the 777… This is a troubled company.

Intel’s manufacturing hold-up sends shockwaves through chip industry FT

Our Famously Free Press

Local TV stations across the country set to air discredited ‘Plandemic’ researcher’s conspiracy theory about Fauci CNN. Sinclair.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Facebook offers $650 million to settle facial recognition suit The Hill

Sick of AI engines scraping your pics for facial recognition? Here’s a way to Fawkes them right up The Register (dk).

“Hurting People at Scale”: Facebook’s Employees Reckon with the Social Network They’ve Built Buzzfeed

Police State Watch

In Portland, Questions Swirl Around Local Police’s Coordination with Federal Officers The Intercept

How Law & Order’s Dick Wolf Is Reimagining His Shows In The Wake Of The BLM Protests Forbes

Guillotine Watch

The Whiners Who Earn $200,000 and Complain They’re Broke Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic. In retrospect, Bartlett was one of the earliest Republicans to assimilate as a liberal Democrat. His bio (“longtime observer and commenter”) illustrates The Great Reset in action, as it erases his service in the Reagan Revolution and Bush the Elder administrations, as well as his tenure at Heritage and Cato. Not that he hasn’t changed his views, but the change is not as great as it might seem inside the Beltway bubble.

A Federal Eviction Moratorium Protecting Millions Ends Today. Renters In These States Are Most At Risk. Forbes

A Lot of Americans Are About to Lose Their Homes The Atlantic. We’d better get Team Obama back in; they’re experts in facilitating that process.

Philly lawyer collects millions evicting people for city courts. She’s married to an eviction judge WHYY

Class Warfare

Why Class Formation Occurs in Humans but Not among Other Primates Human Nature (dk). “Our goal here is to regard a class as an alliance and use this idea to extend a model of coalition formation among animals (we use “coalition” to refer to social interactions and ‘alliance,’ to long-term relationships; a class is therefore an alliance). Specifically, we aim to show that in animal groups, dominants merely exclude subordinates from critical resources (access to which increases fitness), whereas in humans, the emergence of two or more classes is inevitable in any group in which individuals can profit from exploiting the resources produced or possessed by others, who are prevented from leaving the group.'” So anthropology, isn’t? Worth reading in full.

A Job Guarantee Costs Far Less Than Unemployment Pavlina Tcherneva, Foreign Affairs

Beyond Moldy Jam: The Inside Story of What Went Wrong at Sqirl The LAnd

‘Spread out? Where?’ Smithfield says not all plant workers can be socially distanced Reuters

NLRB’s GM Ruling Gives Employers More Slack to Punish Speech (1) Bloomberg. Awesome. Anything that gives HR more control over workers is good.

The psychology of misinformation: Why it’s so hard to correct First Draft (TH).

In praise of negativity Crooked Timber

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour“>here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. zagonostra

    >How Warren, and the Professional Class Left Undermined Sanders 2020 Collide

    This is an excellent and well need postmortem of the failed (by design?) campaign of Sanders. Until the pain cuts deeper into the fickle and politically clueless PMC, who always seem to identify with their masters instead of those struggling to make rent, not much will change in American Politics.

    The professional class is a distinct social class, antagonistic to workers and amenable to elites…

    The most prominent and damning example of the professional class acting in their self-interest against the working class (despite their self-proclaimed left/socialist beliefs) was the professional embrace of Elizabeth Warren…

    Mussolini and Hitler were supported by military, bureaucratic and business elites in Italy and Germany who feared the working class. Elites saw fascism as a bulwark against communism and liberal democracy. American elites have no reason to fear a working-class disconnected from the left. Elites have no fear of communism, which has no chance of rising out of the professional petit-bourgeois left which sucks at the teat of elites. Neither do elites have a fear of liberal democracy, a political system they have bought and paid for…

    The left spent the years since 2016 engaging in an auto-lobotomy, removing any capacity to engage in self-reflection by excising offending parties who challenged puritanical orthodoxies. Increasingly, the left was both unconnected from reality and any kind of working-class constituency that might have grounded them. Instead, the left remained attached at the hip to progressives and their ideological narratives and by its umbilical cord to the Democratic Party and their political narratives…

    The thinking classes are fatally removed from the physical side of life- hence their feeble attempt to compensate by embracing a strenuous regimen of gratuitous exercise. Their only relation to productive labor is that of consumers. They have no experience of making anything substantial or enduring. They live in a world of abstractions and images, a simulated world that consists of computerized models of reality- “hyperreality,” as it has been called- as distinguished from the palpable, immediate, physical reality inhabited by ordinary men and women…

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      This is a clear departure from a working-class interest. Professionals never cancel to ask for manufacturing jobs back in America, and they never cancel to get the minimum wage hiked. Nobody has ever been “called out” to end at-will employment or to cancel right-to-work laws.

      i quibble about the inclusion of public school teachers in PMC, though.
      and…like in my only beef with IWW…i also quibble about my own inclusion in that class….
      (I’d like the Farm to eventually be a co-op, owned by those who work it…but me and the boys are the only ones who do that for now,lol.
      we treat it like a co-op, of course.
      but what about when the villagers eventually arrive(something I’ve been planning for for 20 years, and expect in the near future, as things “out there’ deteriorate)…they’ll have to be educated…nobody i know in real life knows what a union is or does…let alone a co-op(save for the older former farmers, who look back fondly on that era, but have otherwise swallowed the gop koolaide)—i expect the learning curve to steepen.
      this quibble needs flesh on the bones, i admit)

      1. norm de plume

        ‘but what about when the villagers eventually arrive (something I’ve been planning for for 20 years, and expect in the near future, as things “out there’ deteriorate)’

        Puts me in mind of something I read about Germany, either in the Turnip Winter of 1916, or perhaps the worst of the early 20s hyperinflation, probably in the journalism of Joseph Roth. It was the image of roving gangs of starving city dwellers, those able-bodied enough to march a few miles into the the countryside, there to rip vegetables out of the ground and eat them raw. Another image from the same source is of buttoned down respectable types, still wearing their frayed pin-striped bourgeois uniforms, quietly dying of hunger without protest.

        There are always more of the former than the latter. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I’ve expected refugees from the Greater Houston area since i moved up here…and indeed have had them whenever a hurricane came to town back home.
          I now expect refugees from our nearest and only town in the form of a handful of my eldest’s buddies(and buddettes) for whom we have been surrogate parents for years….and whose own homelives are shaky and not destined to last in a crisis, due to health, age or indifference.
          This was the secret and primary rationale behind my advocating for tiny houses(the current term of art that get’s mom’s mind a-goin’)…which i sold, with armwaving song and dance, as B&B’s for the working class hordes(rather than the in-decline bourgeoisie that the other b&b’s cater to)…had it all worked out to her satisfaction that no one was marketing a country retreat to the upper—or newly—Precariat…lodgings in the wilderness for cheap, with the option of a day or two of farm work in return for a week of Nature and a Visible Universe overhead at night and an often noticeable lack of human noises.
          as for the primary, and still more or less secret, reason…I’m waiting for the Villagers, whether my brother and his brood, or the townie kids with nowhere else to go and a loving respect for wife and i.

      2. skippy

        Bootstrapping has a bad track record as a social imperative … just saying … wild west obituaries don’t support it.

    2. Lee

      They have no experience of making anything substantial or enduring. They live in a world of abstractions and images, a simulated world that consists of computerized models of reality- “hyperreality,” as it has been called- as distinguished from the palpable, immediate, physical reality inhabited by ordinary men and women…

      I am reminded of Mathew Arnold’s description of Shelley:

      “a beautiful but ineffectual angel, beating in the void his huminous wings in vain”

      1. John k

        Arnold describeS Shelley as one with good intentions but without the ability to make a difference.
        The left doesn’t have the good intentions.
        Sanders has that, and does make a difference at the edges… and maybe more; one can hope he has pushed progressive ideas enough that they eventually come to pass. The young are the beneficiaries that need the programs the most, perhaps they will eventually be desperate enough to both register and vote.

    3. David

      Yes, it’s an excellent piece, only slightly let down by a confusion over the nature of the PMC. It is not the successor to the petite (not “petit“) bourgeoisie. The PB were (and still are) the shopkeepers, small tradesmen/women, owners of bars and cafés, office-workers, teachers, country lawyers etc. In most cases they voted for the Right (as their successors do) and had conservative social attitudes. Unlike today’s PMC, they often did (and still do) something practical. The PB was distinct from the Grande or Haute Bourgeoisie, who were bankers, financiers, diplomats, senior civil servants, Generals and Admirals, proprietors of large companies, and usually share owners.
      The real origins of the PMC are in the Courtier Class – the educated people (usually men) who worked at Court, in great houses and for the rich and famous generally. They worked as tutors (like Hobbes) or secretaries (like Locke) and often held advanced or heretical personal opinions. But in the end, they were mercenaries, selling their intellect for money. Their patron saint is probably Richard Rich, who, you may remember, perjured himself to secure the conviction of Thomas More on behalf of Henry VIII, and died, wealthy and respected, in his bed.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, the same process can be seen in many historical contexts. One example is the samurai class in Japan who rose from basically being the hired hands of the aristocracy to taking full control. The final nail in the coffin for the old landowning aristocracy in japan was the US occupation authority, which falsely believed they were the real force behind militarism. The US occupation essentially empowered the old samurai level (who controlled most levers of power anyway) to deliver the final coup de grace to the landowning class (who if anything had been a moderating force in the pre-war years), and so put the power structure in place that exists to this day. But in Japan that class has been smarter than in the US in particular in that they’ve realised its in their interest not to permit too much open inequality to develop.

        I do like this paragraph from the essay in particular:

        Cancel culture is not a complaint about “people being too PC these days,” nor is it about “dismantling oppressive structures” as its orthodox interpreters suggest. Cancel culture is the ideological mechanism by which the professional class expands its role within public and private bureaucracies. The state and private corporations are called to subsidize diversity officers, investigators of the latest NGO crusade, to address how “the whiteness of ____ is a problem”, or that “x department should have more people that look like y.” Whatever minority group cited- female, black, etc, or trauma or harm that justifies it is a cipher to smuggle in more woke professionals to work more bullshit jobs.

        I really wish this could be sent out to every so called leftist who defends Cancel Culture. They really have no idea. They are making the rope for their own necks.

      2. Jack Parsons

        I have seen the name Butler Class for this subset of the PMC.
        I am in a different section of the PMC, making a living dismantling the pre-computer sections of the economy. (Silicon Valley guy that I am.)

    4. DJG

      zaganostra: Yes. And the author is going by the wonderful name of Scipio Sattler.

      My pull quote from SS’s long and detailed work:
      Since 2016, the Democrats have swung hard to the right and became the party of the rich. This completes the rightward shift since Clinton’s tenure in the 1990s which culminated post-2016 in the 2018 midterms through welcoming of neoconservatives and never-trump Republicans into the Democratic fold. The composition of the new coalition clarifies in part why Bernie Sanders performed significantly worse in 2020 as compared to 2016.

      Also, if you click back to Collide’s home page, Sattler has an excellent article there on Herakleitos and Dialectic, which Sattler defines (correctly, in my not so humble opinion) as non-dualism.

    5. Rod

      Longest 28 minute read ever :) and such an excellent example of thinking, formulating, expositing, and documenting. I feel like i just found puzzle parts under the coaster.

      This struck me:

      Ancient elites had fluency in Latin to separate themselves from the rabble, while modern elites accomplish the same function with fluency in wokeness. Latin fluency is gone, so today’s elites speak of a “Latinx community,” a label that ninety-eight percent of Latinos do not personally identify with.

      because it contradicts radically from a discussion recently heard from a host on the NPR talk show
      the survey link is only one of many meaty supporting documents

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    Intel’s manufacturing hold-up sends shockwaves through chip industry

    This one is pretty big news within the tech industry. Intel has been attempting to move to a 7nm fab for a while now and encountered nothing but problems. What the exact problems are has never been fully clear but it has allowed competitor AMD to catch up and surpass them on chip performance which would have been unimaginable 6 years ago. Intel is now in a seriously bad position. Worse than what happened when NetBurst didn’t pan out especially given the ever increasing proliferation of ARM based processors which is a threat to both AMD and Intel.

    1. DF

      Intel’s 10nm has been even more of a disaster. The 10nm mess has had knock-on effects for the West’s 5G race, as Nokia bet the farm on making 5G basestation hardware on Intel’s 10nm process.

      It also means that the United States no longer has any state-of-the-art logic IC manufacturing.

  3. Mr. Magoo

    Re: ‘A Combination of Forces Puts Our Postal Service at Grave Risk’

    And the associated twitter thread – gotten past annoying. USPS isn’t perfect, but in general does a good job at competitive rates. And although could do with less junk mail, shipping smaller items around the country is not something private carriers are going to do at anywhere near the rates. Knee-capping USPS serves no one in the long term.

    Does anyone know of any organized efforts that fight this privatization BS?

    1. Adam Eran

      I’ve been getting mail from the congressional black caucus to oppose defunding the postal service. They promise 450% match. A redirect link displays a picture of Obama…;-( …so now I wonder if the “postal crisis” is real.

      Worth remembering: Not even the formidable Meg Whitman could make ebay work in Russia because the postal service was so bad.

      Meanwhile, in Sacramento, I’ve seen voter registration tables at markets with gun rights appeals prominently displayed (and t-shirts with AK-47s for sale!). The Trump campaign is at work early!

    2. Barbara

      No, and in the current admin setup under Trump it may be nigh on impossible.

      And I have an impossible idea, I’m sure. Get together a group of progressive investors including individuals who want to chip in to buy the usps as a non-profit with the idea of the workers buying out the investment to become the biggest employee owned public service.

      I’m sure there’s a wrinkle. I am after all a dreamer and someone’s going to come along and tell my why my dream isn’t possible.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Sadly, that’s not how our ‘progressive’ robber barons roll, at least where any ‘investment’ beyond virtue signalling is involved.

        Where’s their guaranteed 25 – 150% cash flow RoE pop, within 18-24 months? How could you load this kind of ‘enterprise’ up with enough junk debt to pay out the special dividend? Arbitraging what’s left of the ‘full faith and credit’ of Uncle Sugar, maybe?

        INVESTMENT BANKER Look guys, what’s the problem, let’s go for the kill…. Gekko’s got 12% and climbing, plus the unions are in his pocket for now. Everybody on the Street knows the stock’s in play…. By next week the Street’s gonna own Bluestar and management won’t be able to do anything but poison their own pill.

        Why are you guys dicking around? Is the bank financing in place, or are we gonna have more and more meetings? Our firm’s gonna guarantee 25% of the total debt structure in long-term junk bonds. Now you guys either sign this piece of paper right now or we’re gonna pull and head for another bank for the 75…

        COMMERCIAL BANKER …and the only way we can see this happening is liquidating the hangars and the planes. Can you people guarantee that?

        INVESTMENT BANKER Guaranteed! No sweat. We already got the Bleezburg [lol! thinly altered ref to DJT buddies] brothers lined up to build condos where the hangars are. We can lay off the planes with the Mexicans, who are dumb enough to buy ’em and Texas Air is drooling at my kneecaps to get the slots and the routes. What’s the problem? …. we got it all nailed right down to the typewriters….

        Your man did his homework, Fox. You’re gonna have the shortest executive career since that Pope who got poisoned!

    3. Democrita

      The postal union is active. I signed up somehow and get regular (not too frequent) action calls/updates., I think.

    4. ObjectiveFunction

      Yeah, this nonbocialist fellow traveler has a very queasy feeling about getting rid of the Post Office. It feels a bit like privatizing the army, or tearing up the rail tracks, an irrevocable loss.

      The last Americans who can recall in detail how civilization worked in 1900 are now dead. So I believe a few 1900s relics such as post offices, phone/ telegraph exchanges and high powered AM radio transmitters (the ones you could hear in wire fences and your fillings) ought to be subsidized, as a Federal ‘fallback homeland infrastructure’. Kind of a ‘last 20 mile’ extension to whatever military/civil defense infrastructure remains, including such essentials as a written registry of who lives where in the district (aka the Yellow Pages).

      …This would allow regions, or the nation, to maintain at least a basic level of communications in the event, however unimaginable, that our Amazing Internet goes down hard.

      …Whether due to some Stuxnet-type digital virus equivalent of the Black Death, or hardware attacks such as EMP weapons, or actual nuclear blasts (short of an actual extinction level event).
      (And sure, feel free to @ me with all the difficulties around non-nuclear EMP area weapons).

      …. Perhaps even add a few services like a post office bank, as in other countries, to issue emergency scrip as an credible ‘faith and credit’ alternative to barter.

      …Absent some kind of fallback electrical communications technology, I suspect civilization rewinds back past 1900 to Amish levels (1830, pre-railroads) pretty quick, at least for those who don’t starve. Long buggy whips!

      …And Comrade Amfortas will inherit the earth ;-)

  4. SlayTheSmaugs

    Pelosi’s ‘amusing story’ really bothered me because the imminent loss of $600/week is not amusing. It’s devastating to both individuals and the economy as a whole, the latter because it will drain an enormous amount of stimulus/demand from the economy. And the fact that she accidentally talked to a person who clearly expressed that is presented as essentially, a joke.

    Imagine if the story had been framed:

    Pelosi also shared an anecdote that illustrated public fear about the impending loss of the extra unemployment benefit.

    She said she recently tried to telephone actor Rob Reiner to express condolences at the death of his father, comedian Carl Reiner.

    “I called Rob. ‘Rob, Rob darling, this is Nancy Pelosi, I’m calling to wish you and Michele my condolences. I’m so sad, your father was so funny and so wonderful,’” she said.

    “This man says, ‘I think you have the wrong number,’” she continued. “And he says, ‘But I’m so glad you called me. I have one question for you … am I going to get my $600?’”

    Now, instead of ‘hearing’ a polite laugh/rimshot, we feel that there’s mass anxiety that she accidentally tapped into. That’s a much more accurate representation of the situation.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      If Pelosi thinks, it probably amounts to “$600 won’t even cover brunch for the week. I’m saving the plebes money and clearing out the brunch line.”

      1. edmondo

        She could have him over at her house for some gelatto and sympathy – Rob Reiner of course, not some unemployed Deplorable, God forbid.

          1. polecat

            Honestly! I can’t decide if she resembles the fictional Madame Defarge ….. or the once corporeal Marie Attoinette more!

      2. Procopius

        It seems to me she’s talking about a person who hasn’t yet received any unemployment insurance payment. There’s a lot of them out there, not often mentioned. Some of them for three months. No payment. Not ending the payment, hasn’t ever received the payment. Are they going to continue processing those applications and eventually pay them retroactively? Or will they say, “The program ended before we got around to you. Sorry ’bout that.” And, no, not funny.

    2. jef

      I agree completely. There are millions of Americans doing a heroic job of maintaining a modicum of dignity in the face of circumstances well beyond their control.

          1. Adam Eran

            “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity” – George Carlin

            Rather than watching “The Matrix,” I recommend “How to Train Your Dragon”

  5. WobblyTelomeres

    Re: Dorchester Reporter article

    At $1/test, the author notes: “The cost of the test seemed to be the major issue that prevented this from happening.”

    How true.

    1. Stephen V.

      Regarding kids back to School, it seems that we are always striving for zero risk. We don’t say this exactly but…I came across this article recently:
      which concludes that: “The influence of social relationships on risk for mortality is comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality.” I think viewing kids as germ vectors, insisting they wear masks and all the rest is very damaging. Don’t get me started on “zoom” as education.
      “Zero risk” is also why the Saliva-home-$1 per testing was not done sooner. The $100 tests give results (sortof) down to the last single viral particle. But Dorchester piece points to the fact that in the process –waiting 9 days + for a (perfect) result–we have lost the plot! That is, that the chances are that the period of greatest infectivity has passed! Medcram shows this graphically along with a panel including the author of the article outlining this strategy. With saliva results in 15 minutes this is mooted.
      Living in an SEC town, I had hoped (seriously) that Football would show the way as far as the saliva test is concerned. Not to be: they are doing “pooling”–lumping your entire team or whatever group together–and only doing individual testing if a positive comes up at the Group level. Wonder if the NFL is getting a group discount?

      1. Peerke

        The problem statement needs to be changed from “do I have the virus?”. Better would be “am I contagious?”. That’s what cheap paper strip test enable. The Medcram Covid content is very good in my opinion. In particular very interesting to hear how the good Doctor reduces infection risk for himself and his nurses when he is on Covid treatment duty.

    2. Cuibono

      So far NO FDA approvals. Requiring 80% sensitivity.
      Any good links to progress on this?

      1. Stephen V.

        Been around a while::
        On April 13, the FDA granted Rutgers University’s RUCDR Infinite Biologics biorepository emergency authorization for a new method it developed to test saliva samples for the coronavirus. Rutgers says that saliva testing allows patients to self-collect samples at home, which helps protect health care professionals from being exposed to the coronavirus at testing sites, and helps reduce the demand for personal protective equipment::snipped from:
        Hope this helps.

  6. a different chris

    With literally zero sympathy for the “200,000” income class, in fact I find the examples plight hilarious, I must add to my mixed-message social dichotomy post, where I pointed out that you have to buy a house! and you have to move, move move! for the best job and nobody admits these are in opposition to each other.

    The addition is also the social messages that

    1) “You” have to save save save for retirement
    2) “Consumers” need to spend spend spend or the economy will fail

    …are not exactly compatible either.

    1. Jesper

      Does anyone (even they themselves) know if they are looking for admiration for making that amount of money or for pity for not making more money?
      It would appear to be impossible to be looking for both pity and admiration but as far as I can tell that is what they want.

      They are overgrown teenagers, insecure in themselves and unable to control their spending. Employers love them as insecure people are easily abused. This type of people are often competitors with their peers and colleagues so they will actively work to keep others down. They are also often proud of the many unpaid hours they work while at the same time looking for pity for working unpaid overtime and they see no contradiction in both being proud and also wanting pity for the amount of hours they work.
      They believe that happiness is relative so some even try to increase their own relative happiness by working to decrease the absolute happiness of others. How else would they know they made the right choice if others manage to be equally happy without sacrificing as much for a career?
      Decreased happiness for other will make their own choice seem better….

      Yep, I do pity them. Not for their claimed lack of money, they get my pity for other reasons.

    2. Samuel Conner

      And the political message is that “we have to cut the Federal deficit”; attempts to accomplish that will make it harder to save, by withdrawing $ from the non-government sector.

      One marvels at how completely incompatible ideas and agendas are pushed by the same people, and are embraced by the seemingly clueless plebs.

      Big Brother would be proud.

  7. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Why This Year’s Locust Invasion Is Setting Off Global Panic

    You know what turns grasshoppers into locusts? Crowding and a lack of food causes an increase in Serotonin. This increases in serotonin makes them more cooperative.

    The two phases of grasshoppers are called solitaria (I want to be alone) and gregaria (Hey, let’s hang out).

    News you can use? Are we as humans making this transformation? Technology and things like Facebook keeping us solitary, lowering our serotonin until we get too crowded (COVID*?) and the serotonin starts finally building up again and we are out in the streets with each other? Are we phasing into gregaria?

    (*I disagree with the take that COVID separated us from each other. I feel it brought families and people closer together. But this was only anecdotal.)

    1. Phillip Allen

      “I feel it brought families and people closer together.”

      It certainly has for some of my acquaintance. For others it has, shall we say, heightened contradictions. One couple I know fairly well are ending their marriage, sooner than they likely would have were it not for ‘shelter-in-place’. I hope that those who have found greater solidarity in dealing with the pandemic so far will be able to maintain it through the very difficult couple of years ahead.

  8. Mikel

    This:” The Dilemma of Covid-19’s Second Wave” Bloomberg

    Is related to thus article from yesterday’s water cooler: “Essential Means Underpaid and Unprotected”

  9. temporal

    Story of our times.

    We have a college in our town mostly consisting of rich kids from other places.

    Last night I went next door because the music was too loud. What I saw was more than ten young adults clustered in the yard around a ping-pong table playing some sort of game. No masks. No distancing.

    Besides asking them to turn down the music I mentioned that they were at risk of the obvious. At that time, more than one then said something about getting rated or tested “black” by the school. (This I assume is because of BLM virtue signaling at a nearly all-white school.) So apparently some people at the college have come up with the brilliant idea that these students can be tested in some sort of way and after that they no longer have to act responsibly. The fact that not even the painful swab test is 100% accurate is an issue I wasn’t interested in explaining because they are clearly too far from the clue train.

    After that they all went into the part of the house that one or more of them were renting. So, problem solved.

    Do they have the disease? Probably not yet.

    I feel about college students the way I used to feel about kids sneezing in stores – only more so.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Gah. I am glad I found a place 20 miles from the University of Chapel Hill.

    2. Jason Boxman

      And the Times reports today:

      It’s well established that people who are hospitalized with severe cases of Covid-19 can suffer symptoms for weeks or longer. Now a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that people with mild cases — including young adults with no underlying conditions — can also suffer symptoms that linger for weeks.

      CDC report.

      1. Procopius

        I’ve been wondering for quite a long while why the lingering symptoms have not been more widely discussed. Is it just that everybody under fifty is in denial? I have a cousin who is saying that opening the schools is a good idea because kids under 10 have a very low mortality rate — probably only be 500 or so die, a few thousand hospitalized, and most of them will just have mild symptoms nursed at home. She’s a very smart person with a strong math/statistics background, so I’m reticent to argue with her.

    3. Judith

      I live near Tufts University. It’s been a quiet summer; most people are wearing masks. But 6,000 students will be returning soon. Tufts has actually tried to come up with a detailed plan involving regular testing and behavioral recommendations that, if students followed faithfully, might possibly work. (I am pessimistic.) Tufts is also setting up temporary trailers to use for quarantining students who test positive. My daily walk takes me by those trailers, and I would go nuts if I had to spend two weeks in one of those trailers. ( see picture in second link.)

  10. Mikel

    “The Dilemma of Covid’s Second Wave”

    There won’t be any “dilemmas’ once the virus starts taking a more serious toll on the health of younger people.
    But then would it be too late?

    1. The Rev Kev

      If you think that the second wave of Coronavirus is bad, wait until you see the third.

        1. ambrit

          Poor you.
          You must live a sheltered life indeed!
          Just pray that you do not “encounter” any wave of the coronavirus. You might not survive the experience.

      1. ambrit

        And the next, and the next, ad infinitum.
        From historical records, this pathogen will probably keep sweeping through the human population, (plus dogs and cats I’ve read,) until it either kills off the most vulnerable, or mutates into a less ‘dangerous’ variant that the human population can ‘live’ with.
        Just look at the history of the American Indigines and Old World infections like measles and small pox. It is a history of continuous waves of mass die offs as new generations of low resistance populations present themselves.
        This might well be the basic mechanism of the much dreaded Jackpot. Who cares any more where it came from. It is here to stay. Now we must begin to develop coping strategies.

      2. Susan the other

        Just wondering about the new strains that will emerge. Viruses are said to become less virulent over time. If a virus becomes more virulent it kills off the host, so the logic goes. Is this the first virus in history with a self-extinction quirk? I wouldn’t be surprised.

        1. polecat

          What if it got a little help in developing that ‘quirkiness’?

          polecat ducks incoming shreeking spittle droplets …

        2. Pookah Harvey

          Virulent viruses are logical….now if only we could get people to follow suit.

        3. Yves Smith

          That is not at all true. Thanks to the state of Google, I cannot find a fairly recent article that debunked this completely. It discussed how polio’s damage wasn’t at all part of its infectious process, it was effectively an accidental by-product.

          Covid kills well after when it is infectious. Some studies say viral shedding starts before symptoms appear, pretty much all say viral shedding is highest when symptoms appear and a few days after and falls rapidly after that. The infection doesn’t turn into viral pneumonia till after day 5 at the earliest, day 7 more common, and it takes another week plus to kill.

          So whether you die or not has little to do with its infectiousness. Ebola is highly lethal and has not mutated to be less so.

    2. Watt4Bob

      Doctor Michael Osterholm, one of the country’s leading epidemiologists, says the COVID-19 virus does not exhibit the well known ‘wave’ behavior of the flu.

      From CBSNews;

      Well, this is a coronavirus that is not acting like a flu virus. It is one where, in two other scenarios, we painted in a discussion of what this might look like in terms going forward from from last spring, is now what I would call a ‘raging forest fire.’ And it is one where it will continue to burn and it’ll burn hot as long as it can find human wood to burn.

      Osterholm once led the CDC, and knows what he’s talking about.

      It’s not coming in waves, it’s one big, out of control forrest fire.

      It is alarming to see that no one is talking about this frightening feature of this pandemic, which demonstrates the absolute control over the MSM exerted by our betters, or should I say ‘bettors’, those who make money betting on the various possible impacts of the pandemic?

      1. Cuibono

        “Well, this is a coronavirus that is not acting like a flu virus. It is one where, in two other scenarios, we painted in a discussion of what this might look like in terms going forward from from last spring, is now what I would call a ‘raging forest fire.’ And it is one where it will continue to burn and it’ll burn hot as long as it can find human wood to burn.”
        This is demonstrably NOT TRUE; NYC, Northern Italy, etc etc etc

        1. Geo

          You do know that those places cut down the infection rates through human effort and not just a natural “wave” like we have with a flu (it’s called “flu season” for a reason), right?

          1. Cuibono

            no one knows ” that”
            and the data I have seen on testing tracing and quarantine in those places frankly do not support it. Wuhan , yes.
            NYC no

            Dont get me wrong: I am not arguing to not do those things; we need to do them and now.

        2. Watt4Bob

          Osterholm was pointing out that we long ago got to ‘know’ the flu and the common cold, that the flu has two waves, we don’t know why, but it hits us in two waves.

          So far we don’t really ‘know’ the COVID 19 virus, there is a lot to learn, but it hasn’t followed the flu’s behavior, it’s got its own path and if it isn’t fought effectively it keeps going.

          NYC and Northern Italy only prove it can be moderated, they don’t prove it won’t continue to be a relentless presence.

  11. Amfortas the hippie

    Dig the bird.
    I’ve been overrun(at least compared to the last 3 years) with birds.
    painted buntings(which that resembles), scissortails, more and more swallows showing up, and red tanagers that seem to have moved in from the Valley.
    I’ve tried to get pics on my phone, but they move too fast
    (grandad told me once to go catch that mockingbird jabbering in the yard.
    i ran around for a time, and came back exasperated.
    he said, “it’s easy….just put salt on their tails…”
    so i ran around for a long time with a jar of morton’s pickling salt.
    all this so they could talk about adult things.)

    1. Watt4Bob

      My folks used to say “Go out and play in traffic.”

      That sentiment explains a lot of the impulse to send them kids back to school.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        pretty sure they’re scarlet tanagers…i’ve been carrying silbey and audubon field guides in the Falcon.
        there’s a few other newcomers that i’ve never seen before…but they are tiny and superfast. hard to get a good look.
        flit flit flit gone!
        but they eat grasshoppers…saw one zoom into a tomato vine to perch for 1/16 of a second to stab a smaller hopper, and zoom off.
        look like wrens, but smaller, with a yellow belly, black everywhere else.
        sharp stabbing beak. and little bitty.
        i must try to fit in some birdhouse production into my busy next month,lol.
        i have a pile of scrap wood for just this purpose, but have been overwhelmed since spring.
        I really, really want these guys to stick around.

        1. anon in so cal

          That is so awesome! Sounds like paradise! The only place around so cal that I know of where you can see Summer Tanagers if you’re very lucky is a place called Big Morongo, near Joshua Tree.

    2. sj

      I have birdbath envy. I just put one my yard but the birds haven’t found it. Yet. Surely they will eventually, right? Although when I go the front yard, I’m not seeing many birds at all in the neighborhood. This makes me rather sad, frankly.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        A birdbath should have enough space around it so that the birds can be sure they aren’t vulnerable to predators (ok, cats) while drinking. Is that the case with your birdbath?

        1. sj

          I think so? But maybe not. There is plenty of space around it, but my front yard has a slope which I just had terraced to create some flat space so maybe they feel vulnerability from above where the porch is? Am I overthinking this?

          I would really hate to give up on the birdbath idea…

  12. marym

    Jacob Soboroff @jacobsoboroff
    Two years after peak of Trump’s family separations again we‘re asking same question: where are the kids? This time it’s kids who were detained inside of a Hilton, are no longer there and neither ICE, nor ACLU which is suing for access to them, can immediately locate them tonight. 11:22 PM Jul 24, 2020

    Still no update from ICE as of this morning. Jul 25, 2020

    “Attorneys filed a lawsuit late Friday to try to halt the imminent expulsion of a group of migrant children previously detained at a south Texas hotel, the latest court challenge against a Trump administration policy that has barred most border-crossers — regardless of their age — from seeking U.S. asylum.

    During [a hearing for another case] a federal judge appointed by President Trump said the expulsions policy was likely not authorized by public health law and violated legal protections for unaccompanied children.”

    No anti-pandemic policies on masks, PPE, economic support for workers, health care… disappearing kids, though.

    1. lordkoos

      My theory is that these “lost” kids are being adopted by Betsy DeVos’ christian friends. Or maybe sold into sexual slavery. It’s not a stretch either way.

  13. Mark Gisleson

    The best thing about virtual conventions is that the competition to be a delegate is limited by how insanely expensive it is to travel and then spend a week in a hotel. Which is why most delegates are already wealthy or belong to an org with deep pockets. This alone skews the conventions.

    If virtual conventions lowers the average wealth of a delegate to a significant degree, I hope we never have another in-person convention (thanks to Democratic National Committee bigfooting everything, you can’t call the Democratic National Convention the DNC anymore which is confusing but in olden days if you said DNC in an election year, most Democrats assumed you meant the convention).

    1. montanamaven

      I was a delegate to the DNC in 2004. It’s a big job’s fair. People looking to get a job in the next administration. Delegates are there to serve as “extras” as background to the “stars” or speakers. We had to raise big banners each night like a bunch of idiots screaming slogans for the TV cameras. Some of my delegation spent a great deal of time with casino lobbyists and others yukked it up with “Oil and Gas Salutes Max Baucus” parties or “Big Ag Salutes Tom Harkin”. Most sought after ticket was the “Blue Dog Democrats” party although the shucked oysters at the Tom Harkin deal was pretty awesome as was the room full of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream at the Harvard Club. And, yes, you had to pay for your own airline tickets and hotel. I was thoroughly disgusted with the whole event including the final night where John Kerry “reported for duty” and the whole place was like a military rally as the Kucinich peace delegates were told to take off those peace scarves from around their necks. Ugh.

  14. timbers

    Covid Resurgence

    Forwarded yesterday’s “We Blew It” to my brother in law in southern California. He’s a real estate broker. This is his reply.

    My brother was working at Amazon and almost everyone in the Phx warehouse has contracted covid including him and now his entire family. He went to the ER when he started coughing up blood and they told him the tests aren’t accurate at all. He was diagnosed with a chest x-ray. When Amazon finds out someone has covid, they fire them and give them two weeks severance.

    Discouraging on so many levels. The lack of talk and effort in the Washington bubble about fixing our healthcare system even though we are in the middle of a healthcare crisis, amazes me everyday. And that insurance pusher Biden thinks making everyone sign up for rip-off Ocare again is the solution. And the alternative? Trump is so incompetent handling Covid, Biden looks awesome.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All”

    There is another possibility and that is that these companies are proving themselves dinosaurs. What I mean by this is that as the virus is not going away anytime soon, that companies are going to have to reconfigure themselves to the new reality. And that will mean that workers too will find their roles and ways of operating changing as well. Trying to find excuses to bring back the good old days of working in offices and the like will not work in the long run. It may be that these companies will have to retrain those workers and adjust to the new reality of the post-pandemic workplace. If these managers at those companies are finding problems adjusting, well, that is why they are paid the big bikkies for. Problem solving is supposed to be in their job description.

    1. CitizenSissy

      Completely agree. I think many companies’ office space rental savings is incentive plenty to make remote working doable. My employer, who swore until two days before the March lockdown that WFH never would happen, is now a believer and broadly hints that future onsite work will be limited considerably.

      1. edmondo

        You can’t clean a toilet with your laptop no matter how fast your internet speed.

        Working from home is what my son calls “White People’s Problems.” The PMC will have more time to shop on Amazon while working and the “essential workers” can die from exposure. Hey, whoever said life was fair?

    2. timbers

      I subscribe to the notion that bigger firms will subside to the notion “if you work for home you might as well be in India.” IMO off shoring might get a bit of a bump from this long-term.

      1. edmondo

        You seem to think that all corporations do is worry about costs and look for ways to reduce payroll, their biggest expense. I wonder what the salary differences are between an “Assistant Vice President for Ongoing Business” and some guy sitting at a computer in Mumbai.

      2. SoCal Rhino

        That ship sailed years ago in many industries. The people working from home in those cases are the retained remnant, and many of their daily interactions are with people in Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe. For colocated teams, was a bit of an adjustment but people adapted quickly. Can’t walk down the hall to see if someone’s free for a quick chat? Message them to arrange a quick call. For example.

        That is why the pre-Covid consultant chatter shifted from “location strategy” to “automation.” Offshoring was played out.

        1. John k

          I dunno. Offshoring always had disadvantages, but now At least half of these middle management jobs that can’t be off shored are now working from home… sack’em, off shore the lot, pay yourself a big bonus, what’s not to like?
          These jobs aren’t coming back, communication is too good now.
          But mfg is subject to tariffs. All production can be forced back here with the right tariff… best, though, to adjust such that a bit comes in to allow you quality competition.

    3. David

      I think it’s rather that any reasonably large organisation obliged to work remotely will start falling apart after a year or two. Your experience may differ, but mine is that it’s effectively impossible to manage, recruit, promote, motivate etc. teams unless you have actual contact with individuals. I suspect that in the immediate future we’ll see the dumber and more ruthless companies attempting to transform their workforces into casual gig workers. This will save money and be very successful in the short term, and be the subject of flattering stories in the financial press, and then these companies will suddenly go out of business.

      1. edmondo

        Whenever we had a “consolidation” of our workforce, we always started with those who worked from home. It’s really hard to kiss the bosses’ ass remotely.

      2. SoCal Rhino

        Harder, but we’ve been doing it. May eventually expose pre-existing weaknesses in some firms.

      3. flora

        This will save money and be very successful in the short term, and be the subject of flattering stories in the financial press, and then these companies will suddenly go out of business.

        Because, imo, while the ‘widget sales’ will initially look great on the spreadsheets, the ‘widget’ quality will drop to sub-crap, imo. (Oh, those pesky human customers whose buying preferences fall outside the ‘management’ algorythm.) ;)

    4. Laputan

      Companies are actually probably starting to realize that most “remote work” isn’t really work. It’s easier to keep up the con when everybody’s in the same space and their calendars are filled up with aimless and redundant meetings…doesn’t really work when people aren’t watching each other and have other options.

      1. dk

        You mean most (or much of) work isn’t work, and fake work is more difficult to pass off as useful when the face-to-face pantomimes are stripped away.

        But real work can be done remotely, in some cases more effectively (like sysop, where a lot of the work has to be done off-hours of the office).

        In 35+ years of remote working, I’ve met less than half of my clients face-to-face.

        Some relate comments inthis reddit thread:

    5. flora

      Some employers say their workers appear less connected and bosses fear that younger professionals aren’t developing at the same rate as they would in offices, sitting next to colleagues and absorbing how they do their jobs.”

      I’m shocked, shocked! The non-textbook knowledge mentoring, aka apprenticeship, is important. Who knew?! / heh. ;)

  16. jr

    Re: formation of classes

    Thanks, that pdf is really interesting. Duly bookmarked. I followed it as far in as I could before toxic levels of numbers began to accumulate in my mind.

    I wonder about the role of the imagination in all this. Why don’t other primates form classes? It takes an imagination to do so, for one thing. Classes have material foundations but they are glued together, buttressed, sheathed, by human perceptions. These perceptions can outlive that material basis: recall the figure of the prideful, fallen aristo living alone in his crumbling mansion save for his lone manservant.

    A gorilla or chimp male may know instinctively that it is the physical superior of it’s rival, perhaps there are even some kinds of abstractions of personal superiority, I hesitate to place too many limits on the minds of other animals because it seems those limits are constantly being stretched. But I feel confident in saying that only a human imagines that s/he (or their in-group) is superior by Divine Right…

    1. JTMcPhee

      If I recall, the remaining primate non-humans generally live in pretty small populations. My guess is that class formation requires some number n of individuals to occur. As to imagination, we pretty much hairless apes don’t seem to have that as a survival trait (in the right form, and in sufficient numbers,) and bonobos at least seem to have it if you ask the right questions.

      I wonder about other species — dolphins maybe? There are some pretty smart birds flying around out there too. And given the present example, class development and consciousness seems to be lacking for the mopery, and a non-survival (beyond short-term) for the “upper classes.”

      1. jr

        Sure, an “n” makes sense, but I wasn’t referring to imagination in some inspiring or progressive manner (if I take your meaning) but merely as a faculty. It may save us or it may doom us, probably the latter. My point is that it seems unlikely that something like a class identity could arise without the ability to formulate what are essentially mental fantasies about oneself and one’s in group.

      2. JBird4049

        Yes, class seems to need numbers. Primates do have hierarchies rather like dogs and wolves do. Chimpanzees often form cliques and alliances especially in struggles for being the alpha chimp. The alpha and his buddies could be considered a proto-class, I suppose.

        Humans throughout most of our existence have been small groups of maybe fifteen, which will sometimes connect with other local groups to form something like a very small tribe or clan. There just isn’t the numbers for classes. When people finally start making classes instead of just positions, occupational specialties, or ranks like healer or chief is when they form permanent tribes or clans. That requires something like a hundred plus individuals living permanently, if loosely, together.

        Really though, much of the past seven thousand years or so of civilization has been a really small class of rulers, a larger, but still small class of artisans, priests, healers, etc, and the remaining 95% of peasants. An enlarged version of the leader, his cronies, and everyone else although in a tribe the leader is usually just first among equals and not some dictator. If he tries, he usually is deposed.

        The current system of almost equally large classes is unusual. Even having a ruling elite with a 10% artisanal class is unusually large. Then having a large middle class followed by a large working class and then a relative small class of the poor is really unusual. That was one of the strengths of the ancient Roman, Greek, and Chinese societies. A very broad middle or even prosperous farming class were their strengths. Once a parasitical elite formed and collapsed the bottom into a fairly homogeneous class of the poor, the fall of the empire was inevitable.

    2. norm de plume

      Fascinating discussion.

      I am part way thru ‘On Kings’ by Sahlins and Graeber, and it is so densely packed with interest I have been taking notes, as my memory is not what it used to be. The linked article provided some intriguing new perspectives, as have some of these comments, particularly with regard to the importance of imagination, divinity and the number of individuals in the group. 

      My ‘back of the envelope’ calculations:

      * our first ancestors were indistinguishable from other primates, with male dominance based on fighting prowess
      * this prowess provided greater access to resources and females, in order to ensure genetic continuance, this often buttressed by the killing of the offspring of rival males
      * climatic and environmental change drove physical evolution via natural selection which included the growing brain
      * greater cognitive capacities permitted variations to the traditional route to dominance – social manipulations via coalitions of convenience being one
      * another being the emergence of female awareness of reproductive power – their preferences expressed in social manipulations such as withholding sex from males not sufficiently prepared to provide for their young
      * these enhancements to social skills gave birth to individuality, to personality, as the interactions of the ‘people’ became more complex..
      * but also to a reduction of dominant male primacy in decision-making, as both intra-male and female coalitions drove a move to actions which benefited the collective rather than the individual
      * hunting and gathering tribes emerged from this, the first genuinely collective human ‘societies’ in smallish groups
      * these in time became aware of themselves as distinct from other such groups and generally in competition with them, fostering mutual distrust and a sense of belonging to a group
      * the need to institutionalise the benefits (in terms of evolutionary fitness) of these developments led to the emergence of ritual; the repetition of socially-sanctioned behaviours and events which were intended to foster greater success in hunting, reproduction and protection of the tribe
      * by now our ancestors have left the animal world behind in terms of imagination – the ability to conceive rather than just perceive – to be aware not just of existence generally but of your tribe’s and your own life, and death 
      * at some point the elements of life they could conceive of but not explain – phenomena such as birth and death, weather events, scarcity and abundance of food and water – became, thanks to this ability to imagine, subject to explication via supernatural agency, their rituals providing a means thru which to express supplication and atonement along with gratitude 
      * the myths and beliefs that grew up over thousands of generations hardened into religious certainties which stipulated grooves for individual and group behaviours, thus cementing into place the division between gods and men, the latter governed by the former
      * this still obtains in some culturally isolated communities to this day, but was prevalent in prehistory and common up until the modern era
      * though there may not be ‘classes’ as such in these tribes, there is the template for a ‘political’ society, in which ‘the people’ are subject to the often violent and always obscure whims of agents who notionally control them and to whom they owe their continued existence
      * the ground is therefore fertile for the next step – Engels theory of agricultural surplus accumulation leading to class formation. Once individual and genetic ‘fitness’ can be furthered by control of not just present but future resources and not just raw produce but manufactured product, temporary ‘coalitions’ harden into permanent ‘alliances’ of interest – classes
      * this process would have been abetted, thanks to the surpluses, by the growing incidence of communities larger than Dunbar’s limit of 150 (the maximum number humans are capable of knowing enough to care about) and the corollary increase in governance by contract rather than family/tribal trust relationships – ie, the administrative class
      * The gradual relative dispossession of the lower orders was enforced not only by coercion but by buttressing the ritual-based social schema, administered by shamans and then priests, to the benefit of the few… an ancient, perhaps the original TINA
      * a quote from another of today’s links, the Crooked Timber piece on negative criticism, seems related – ‘Mercier and Sperber’s basic argument is, as I understand it, as follows. First – that reasoning has not evolved in the ways that we think it has – as a process of ratiocination that is intended independently to figure out the world. Instead, it has evolved as a social capacity – as a means to justify ourselves to others. We want something to be so, and we use our reasoning capacity to figure out plausible seeming reasons to convince others that it should be so’
      * as does the concept of ‘stranger kings’ which I was introduced to by the Sahlins/Graeber book. That is, most ruling nobilities trace their origins to outside of the territory and the people they govern. Home grown monarchies are unstable, arising as they do from local stock which, once they begin to feel their erstwhile equals push their weight around, push back because they feel they are just as good if not better, just as if not more entitled to rule, and also because ‘known knowns’ do not carry the same potential for power to become sacralised into ritual as do ‘unknown unknowns’ which by virtue of their strangeness allied to martial success find the ground much more amenable to exploitation and therefore dominance
      * this sacred element of earthly primacy is thus enjoined in the person of the King or Chief to that of the dominant god, enforced by priesthoods and occasional bursts of apparently senseless violence, and so in time we have the concept of Divine Right, licensing on earth a division which in pre-agricultural times existed only between heaven and earth
      * Once kings and their penumbra of aristocracy were established, the existence of class was inevitably part of the fabric of ‘civilisation’ for better and/or worse…

      1. jr

        Thanks for the above and especially this:

        “the ability to conceive not just perceive”

        Perfect language.

  17. William Hunter Duncan

    “Whose century? Adam Tooze, LRB”

    ‘Spread out? Where?’ Smithfield says not all plant workers can be socially distanced”

    Smithfield, owned by a Chinese conglomerate, polluting America’s waters, shipping much of the product to China, contributing to the pandemic among America’s “essential” working class.

    I am imagining Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and the rest of Congress packaging pork for Chinese markets, cheek to jowl, for less than a living wage. The hedge fundy masters of Earth following up with mops, soaking up all that grist and blood; going home after to live in a trailer park or low-income, multi-generation apartments without air-conditioning, with heat indexes half the summer exceeding 100.

    1. timbers

      It’s a nice thought. Might I add, both Nancy & Mitch with no eployeer based healthcare makes the thought even sweeter?

    2. Alex morfesis

      Actually that would make a great constitutional amendment…forcing all elected officials (federal, state, county, municipal and local) to work and live a minimum wage life for seven weeks every year. No staff, no luxury RV…simply drudge to work on public transportation or local minivan jitney or carpool service. No access to their own personal funds. Maybe a ten year old used car from a buy here pay here boss Hogg used car emporium. Must figure out how to survive and not get fired. Getting fired adds a week to the timelines each time they mouth off or slack off to get fired. Brooohahahaha….one can always dream….

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        We can’t leave out the executive class, and those private equity exemplars. Of course, if elected officials were obligated to live that experiment, probably the phenomenon of private equity AWKI would not be legal, and “employees” would likely have a much greater equity stake in business, ala anarchic theory. The executive class too would be not anywhere so high and mighty and holier than though…

        I’m thinking we could add to the list of jobs, aside form meatpacking (which btw American-born citizens don’t want to do because the pay does not reflect the inhumane and frankly pathological arrangement), 24 hour housing and care for people with the most profound autism, and the elderly and otherwise infirm.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I’d not care to have PE and politician sociopaths providing “care” for the aged and infirm. There’s way more than enough abuse and torture that goes on in such settings already.

          1. William Hunter Duncan

            To rebuild society more focused on essentials, we have to think creatively. More focus on taking care of those in need would mean there would be much more focus on how they are taken care of. If the work were more central to the economy, surely society would pay well to make sure people in need are treated with the respect they deserve?

            1. JTMcPhee

              Always the inchoate non-agent “we,” needing to do this or that or the other thing. Sorry, just annoyed by the usage. But where is that “we” going to materialize from? It’s not going to be from the readership of NC or the people the readers here can influence. IMVHO.

              1. ambrit

                I’m expecting the renormalization of extended families. Yo Olde Ffolkes living in the family manse, taking care of the young, and in return later being taken care of. Nuclear families waste a lot of societal “institutional knowledge.”
                It is also going to mean the end of the societal wide “me, me, me” attitude.
                All this by necessity. Cooperate to survive.

      2. Rod

        7 weeks–just about the length of their Recesses–so it would be just like a second job, huh?

        and maybe their Constituents could meet them there–after work–to talk about their concerns?

        1. William Hunter Duncan

          Humbling indeed. If they claim religion then it will be like a test of faith. And call it service, no pay, just about getting closer to God and their constituents most in need.

    3. ptb

      Good wide ranging article by Tooze. Just before the obligatory “we must all unite to fight climate change” conclusion, Tooze writes

      Having recognised what ought to have been obvious all along – that China’s regime is serious about maintaining and expanding its power and conceives of itself as having a world historic mission to rival anything in the history of the West – the question is how rapidly we can move to détente, meaning long-term co-existence with a regime radically different from our own, a long-term attitude of ‘live and let live,’ shorn of assumptions about eventual convergence and the inevitable historical triumph of the West’s economic, social and political system.

      But in the 5000 or so words before, he makes a pretty good case that the path we are on is not at all détente, but a blunt rivalry, economic warfare in essence — which are supported by both political parties, most of the business class, and with time much of the public too.

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        Well I assume a jobs program could be about going to war against Russia and China, but that seems like a war nobody wins. I did like however that he said we have to work out how the economy must take care of the earth. There is so much good work to be done

      2. ObjectiveFunction

        Agreed, the Tooze piece won’t surprise anyone here much, but very well written.

        If you focus on the erratic character of the president himself and seek to interpret trade policy according to the ground rules of the pre-Trump era – to assume that it is about social and economic interests – you will find only incoherence.

        But as the new generation of American grand strategists see it, the real incoherence was in what came before, in the period from the 1990s to roughly 2010, when the civilian branch of the US government was planning for the incorporation of China into the world economy while the Pentagon was wargaming a possible shooting war in the Taiwanese straits or on the Korean peninsula.

        … In sharp contrast to the fawning FT piece, whose writer was far more concerned with the lunch venue and sucking up than in teasing actual insights out of Jim Chanos, who has spent a lifetime being ahead of the curve on disasters and clearly sees another impending.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “In Portland, Questions Swirl Around Local Police’s Coordination With Federal Officers”

    Whether local or Federal, I notice that the protestors are upping their game as has happened in Hong Kong the past few years. Napoleon Bonaparte once said that ‘You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.’ and this is what is happening with all these riots. People are analyzing police tactics, techniques & procedures and are adjusting accordingly. Would you believe that this has led to leaf-blower wars in Portland?

    1. a different chris

      Well this is interesting, from the Portland JC

      To the individuals tampering with the cameras by using unlawful lasers and spray paint. No need they dont work

      But no more thread about it. Seems really unlikely they are deliberately fake like homeowners used when they were expensive, so did they get screwed over by your normal sleezy gummint contractor? The tone is, um, not real happy sounding.

    2. William Hunter Duncan

      Coming from RT, that must be stock footage propaganda coming from Putin’s alternative universe, meant to destabilize America?

      Seriously though, I’m remembering a John Wesley Rawles book where America was destabilized to the point of collapse in part because a military guy used an experimental laser to permanently blind something like 72 protestors.

      1. JTMcPhee

        The tech is there already – all that lacks is the “will” to apply it, and it has been happening since the early ‘80s. There is one of those international agreements on not using lasers to intentionally blind “enemy forces” (other humans stupid enough to get involved in the game that humans just can’t get enough of.) Constant search for ways to get around the agreement (“we don’t intend these target designator and counter-laser weapons as troop blinders, it just sort of happens unfortunately…”)

    3. JWP

      Nothing says news dichotomy like CNN reporting on the “violence” and unrest while a guy on stilts and one on a unicycle mull around in the background. The weirdness here has a humanizing effect.

  19. KLG

    HH: If you are here this morning, scroll back up to the Boeing links.

    Yes, I still think Boeing produces crap (as does Apple, which is difficult for someone who started with Apple before the Classic II, which was my first personal computer). Alas. Really, can there be any doubt that “Zoom engineering” is at the root of this? I read an article about the 747 last night (Guardian?), as it passes out of passenger service but will probably keep flying cargo, and the president, for a long time to come, for a functional life of 80+ years. A product of a different era.


  20. Brian (another one they call)

    I am going to ask why anyone in their struggle to survive and thrive; When will you abandon the “party”? I find that I have no representation by a D or an R these days. I realized it was beyond fix in 2000 or so that no one cared about the things that mattered to the people around me.
    When will the abuse bother you enough to stop believing they can be a part of the solution? When will daily serial lies about everything involved in continuing life on this planet cease?
    You know the answer and it is hard to break the chain, but that chain binds with no relief.

    1. Copeland

      I voted my Washington State primary ballot several days ago, by mail. Actually not by mail as I dropped our ballots in the ballot box at our library.

      There were 35, um…creatures?, running for Governor. Inslee is totally safe among this lot, so I voted for the only socialist, just to send a message. The other offices on the ballot only had Ds and Rs, other than write-in. I couldn’t find a a single Rs that I could vote for, and only found a couple of D’s that I could vote for, and the rest of the ballot was left blank, because there is no NONE OF THE ABOVE line.

      How exactly does one abandon the party when this is the type of ballot on offer? No third, fourth, etc. parties for the vast majority of offices, and the folks that do make it on the ballot are cartoon characters* that can’t even do grammar.

      *Good Space Guy is pretty entertaining though.

  21. fresno dan
    (NOTE the SOURCE)
    President Trump issued four executive orders Friday that he said will lower drug prices — but in reality, three of the orders will cause far more harm than good and represent electioneering at its worst.
    The three harmful executive orders allow the importation of drugs from Canada, reduce the price of insulin, and introduce an International Pricing Index for prescription drugs. (Horrors!)

    The International Pricing Index will effectively impose price controls on prescription drugs under Medicare Part B — and in so doing, dramatically slow medical progress. That will be disastrous for the health of current and future patients.
    It takes more than a decade and $2.6 billion, on average, to bring a drug from the lab to market. What’s more, less than 12 percent of treatments that start clinical trials are ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
    One of the interesting things about covid 19 vaccine research if it succeeds (should it pan out – I’m doubtful) in generating an effective vaccine so quickly is that it will expose that maybe our drug development and regulatory scheme isn’t designed for producing effective low cost drugs quickly or efficiently as it is at maintaining high profits.
    When I first started working at FDA I was amazed at how chummy the pharmaceutical and FDA relationship was. At first, I attributed this to merely the regulated currying favor with the regulator. But later I learned a new term, “barrier to entry.”
    In the 1960’s there were something like 20 producers of vaccines in the US. Now, essentially every vaccine is a monopoly product. There are of course reasons other than regulation for that, but the fact that the government thinks monopoly supply is OK speaks to how concerned the government is with pharmaceutical prices…

    1. td

      In Canada, there has been some discussion about what would happen to our drug supply if a substantial amount started going south of the the border. What you can expect is that if the total exceeds a few percent, the flow will simply be blocked from our end.

      Prices in Canada are low relative to the US because of deals made between the government and the manufacturers a long time ago, which made some concessions on issues like patents and the like and probably mandate against massive exports. Also, the single-payer health care system means that negotiations are continuous and from a position of strength.

      Being over 65, the Province of Ontario provides me most common drugs for free and the pharmacy charges me $6.50 per prescription. That being said, there a lots of issues surrounding expensive or new treatments and the system is by no means perfect.

    2. Susan the other

      I was surprised by Trump’s announcement too. But the current drug pricing cannot go on. So it won’t. I’m also surprised about the statements Barr made about American corporations needing to return to a national “view” or face various taxes. And I’m also surprised that Foreign Affairs published Paulina Tchernevka’s article on how it’s better to start a jobs program than allow unemployment to literally destroy the economy. Signs of the times.

      1. ambrit

        I am beginning to think that Trump and Bannon have made up behind the scenes. I can see Trump running to the left of Biden and winning a second term. As to whether or not he delivers on his promises…. over our lifetimes, how many politicos have delivered?

        1. KLG

          Precisely! He won’t mean it and he won’t follow up, but expect considerably more helicopter money to the people and an executive order on M4A or equivalent for the duration of the pandemic. This is as predictable as a wagging finger and a “But, but, but…” from Duchess Nancy of Pacific Heights.

          I live in a medium-size city in distress due to the Neoliberal Project, but according to the spreadsheet, PPP has “saved” over 17,000 jobs in the neighborhood. This will be used in the campaign. Some of the companies are owned by the local Red-Staters. Can’t wait to ask them about “socialism.”

        2. Susan the other

          I do too. I see Trump running Left like a big lumbering sprinter just to get out in front for a few seconds so that everyone will remember – hey that Trump was a real cannonball. But then the one thing that really gives me solace is that we are faced with conditions we can’t dodge – we and our dear leaders must now get real. I’d like to commemorate this with a new national holiday. “2020.”

          1. ambrit

            Or ’20/20?’ As in hindsight?
            Perhaps it’ll be something like the Eleventh of Germinal.

  22. TroyIA

    CDC: One-third of COVID-19 patients who aren’t hospitalized have long-term illness

    At this point I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. As readers of this site have seen there have been multiple stories of long term effects and possible reinfection of covid-19. With this report from the CDC I was hopeful we could get some clarity about this illness.

    The CDC could answer if the reported cases of reinfection were actually just a person shedding old RNA fragments. Or does the virus hide in a place in the body where the immune system has difficulty removing it? A Chinese researcher claimed that covid-19 evades the immune system by the same process that HIV does. Is that true? Is covid-19 a chronic infection?

    With the resources and experts at their disposal I expected that the CDC would be to able test patients in a medical setting but then I read this

    The CDC report is based on telephone surveys of 274 COVID-19 patients.

    A telephone survey?! Why don’t they just Google long term effects of covid-19? I am thankful NC keeps everyone up to date on covid-19 but it is absolutely pathetic 7 months into a global pandemic we are just as knowledgeable about covid-19 as the CDC.

    1. LawnDart

      “we are just as knowledgeable about covid-19 as the CDC.”

      You might be more right than you realize, and not just Covid-19.

    2. Acacia

      Thanks for posting about this. Not to seem doubtful of your reaction to the CDC just conducting a telephone survey (indeed, is that really the best they can do?), but there are some other problems in this news article. If you click through to the original CDC article, it appears that in fact n=292 — not 274 —, and “2-3 weeks after testing” in the CDC study somehow becomes “long-term illness” when reported by NBC News.

      Feels a bit clickbait-y.

  23. jr

    Re: negativity

    I’ve always thought that chronic positivity is as dangerous as chronic negativity. I think that is being borne out in regards to our response to COVID. Given the author’s argument that our self perceptions are generally biased to the positive while our perceptions of others are more clearheaded, maybe it’s fair to say “bright-siding” oneself is the greater threat? If I think I can fly but my GF says it’s not true, my delusions tend to carry more weight than her screaming to get off the roof.

    Anyway, the whole “+/-” cultural paradigm is just another polarized framing meant to simplify concepts and make them easier to control. And through them, people. Like “cis/queer”, it’s forces everyone and therefore all discussion into artificially bounded terrain.

    1. zagonostra

      I didn’t read the Crooked Timbers article yet, but anytime I hear “negativity” I think Bob Dylan’s Tom Thumb’s Blues”

      When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez
      And it’s Eastertime too
      And your gravity fails
      And negativity don’t pull you through
      Don’t put on any airs
      When you’re down on Rue Morgue Avenue
      They got some hungry women there
      And they really make a mess outta you

        1. jr

          I’m not a big Dylan fan but “Girl from the North Country” will bring a tear to my eye.

    2. Laputan

      Agreed, somebody who’s a little too sunny can be just as bad or worse to be around than a gloomy gus. But the “+\-” dichotomy is real, especially in the workplace. Our credulous corporate culture selects for a kind of pathological positivity. It’s why cons and frauds are so pervasive.

      1. jr


        “pathological positivity”

        My GF is a successful corporate PMC type (generally non pathological) and that stuff is baked into every aspect of her work culture. Unless something has gone horribly, utterly wrong you have to find a bright spot in everything, almost as a matter of courtesy I think. Even in disaster, you’re only allowed to gripe off handedly and then quickly counterbalance that with a “solution.”

  24. Lee

    Pathetic testing clusterphk in my home town: Alameda COVID-19 Testing Center Forced to Suddenly Shut Down

    Proof of insurance or government I.D. is required to be tested. The latter requirement is not in keeping with the city’s virtue signaling that we are a sanctuary city. Alas, the site was closed shortly after opening because of liability insurance issues. No wonder our town of of 78K has had for weeks only ~150 confirmed cases. No tests, no cases, problem solved.

    1. LawnDart

      “No test, no problem…”

      Yeah, similar to the response to Fukushima and Deepwater Horizon– happy-talk, b.s., and whistling past the boneyard.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      hardly any tests happening out here, either(texas hill country)…with the added wrinkle that the robust rumor mill(not just gossip, but social cohesion) has uncovered 2 more folks who knew they had it, kept it secret, and kept working like normal with old people.
      that makes 4 of these willful spreaders in 3 days.
      and those 4 have been in close contact with at least 15+ old folks(housekeeping,mostly…but also like a private, under the table version of home health)
      to a person, these people say they didn’t want the stigma…and didn’t want to be out of work. austerity strikes again.
      git ta wirk, prole!

      1. JBird4049

        And so someone like my Mom, trapped in her old age home, gets to die. Wonderful.

        Did they say anything about murdering those old people? Seriously.

        Poverty is real, God knows, and there should be no “stigma” for being sick as it is just a damn virus; a person who tries to stigmatize someone for being ill should be stigmatized themselves; however, willfully spreading a deadly disease is not a moral or an ethical act. Even so essential a thing as paying the rent does not justify it.

          1. JBird4049

            I think he is referring to Karl Marx’s C-M-C’ (a commodity is sold for money, which buys another, different commodity with an equal or higher value)

            Since those workers are not paid much, I guess their labor or the their lives and those of their patients are not worth much either.

            1. LawnDart

              Thanks, JBird, I believe that you are correct– a little more info led to a fruitful google search:


              Some good stuff to chew on in the text (and footnotes):

              “Trade is a game, and nothing can be won from beggars. If one won everything from everybody all the time, it would be necessary to give back the greater part of the profit voluntarily, in order to begin the game again”

              But true to my leanings, I strayed from the Marxist tract to wander elsewhere:

              “Lenin is not comparable to any revolutionary figure in history. Revolutionaries have had ideals. Lenin has none.”

              “in the long run the practice of solidarity proves much more advantageous to the species than the development of individuals endowed with predatory inclinations.”

              Pyotr Kropotkin

              1. JBird4049

                Kropotkin is a little harsh there on Lenin.

                Marx was a revolutionary thinker. An economic philosopher or even a political economist.

                Lenin was someone who tried to translate and transfer those thoughts into reality.

                You cannot have a true revolution, successful or not, without both ideas and actions.

                On the last, yes. It does match with what is in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations Latter-day writers distorted his words to make it match libertarian thinking.

                1. LawnDart

                  You cannot have a true revolution, successful or not, without both ideas and actions.

                  Where the rubber meets the road…

                  Got any short-cut to where Adam Smith meets Pyotr Kropotkin and they have a beer?

                  1. witters

                    Got any short-cut to where Adam Smith meets Pyotr Kropotkin and they have a beer?

                    Maybe Amfortas’ place?

      2. Rod

        NCPR interviewed a Poultry worker from out East, on air, Thursday, who said he was confirmed sick– but facing the prospect of staying silent, going to work, and infecting others or staying home and not making money thereby losing his rental, chose to go to work.
        The Interpreter conveyed this to the Reporter on air.
        Some hard to live with decisions being made there.

  25. ZacP

    Very disconcerting…First I read the Buzzfeed recounting of the John Ioannides political crusade to avoid lockdowns and characterize COVID as not that dangerous due to its low fatality rate. Then I read the opinion piece in Dorchester Report from this guy who, based on a new hypothesis, wants to reopen schools using a low sensitivity (i.e. unreliable) Abbott rapid test.

    Why is the “do no harm with unproven interventions” guy now pushing interventions that have cost hundreds of thousands of lives? How is he, one of the most important physician-scientists of our time, unable to look beyond case fatality % and see the damage of exponential spread? And why is this creepy business and charter school guy offering up the teachers and students of Boston as test subjects for his pet theory? Why do these people want to avoid low cost, efficient, proven, and safe interventions in favor of these other ideas?

    1. Lee

      If we largely shut down with the government and the citizenry engaging in only those economic activities necessary to provide the material necessities for life and by doing so insure social order, the role of parasitic, concentrated private capital where wealth, income, and authority are based on nothing more than mere unproductive ownership rights, will be revealed for the destructive sham it is. Or something like that.

    2. martell

      I believe the author of the BuzzFeed article badly misrepresented Ioannidis’ position. If I had to sum up his main point since all this began, it’s that we have not had the data required to get a good handle on the IFR. The initial data, he claimed, were consistent with a very wide range of IFR values, so wide that the numbers of Covid-19 deaths in the US could fall anywhere between several million and ten thousand. The lower of those two numbers was not his prediction, as the BuzzFeed journalist claims. Rather, it was part of a complaint. This is, at least, what Ioannidis has repeatedly said in interviews when questions about his “prediction” come up. Perhaps he’s a liar, but it’s disconcerting that the BuzzFeed author either doesn’t know what Ioannidis has said or doesn’t care.

      Also, Ioannidis has recently said that the “lockdowns” were justified, since so little was known. Perhaps this is a change of opinion. I don’t know, but I don’t think the article mentions this either. He’s repeatedly stressed that age group IFR values have a very steep gradient, so that Covid-19 is very dangerous for the elderly. Comorbidities make the risk of death much greater. I believe these are, by now, commonplace observations that are easily confirmed by a quick look at the numbers from just about anywhere in the world. And I am not aware of Ioannidis recommending any interventions, aside from more testing aimed at getting a better sense for infection fatality rates (regionally, by age, relative to the presence of comorbidities, etc.). It is true that he is a skeptic of prolonged “lockdown,” asserting that the latter has costs too in terms of years of human life (e. g., “deaths of despair”) and that these costs might outstrip the benefits of that intervention. But I doubt he’s expressed anything approaching certainty about this, because you need to have a pretty precise estimate of the IFR to even begin to make such comparisons between different government responses. And, as I mentioned, his main point is that we have not been able to make such an estimate.

  26. Carla

    RE: Tcherneva’s article on the Job Guarantee: I fear public sector unions will nix the Job Guarantee, and the Dems will fold immediately. Nevertheless, this is a great article. I have Tcherneva’s book on order!

  27. UserFriendly

    I’ll have to change my knock against Pelosi from:
    “She hasn’t talked to a real person in decades”
    “She hasn’t intentionally talked to a real person in decades.”
    Figgures. At least I diagnosed the problem correctly.

    1. JBird4049

      She has been quoted as saying approximately “I don’t what to hear it.” when the collapse of the economy or of corruption is brought up.

      I saw Mitch McConnell verbally slap down a reporter when she asked, if I heard correctly, “why don’t you try to pass more aid (stimulus like the $1,200 check or the proposed $2,000 in other words.)” The Senator from Kentucky unpleasantly asked if she worked there (the Senate) and then told her he was elected by the people of the United States. What a jerk.

      I think that not only are the legislators in a bubble, they actively work to maintain it.

      1. John A

        She has been quoted as saying approximately “I don’t what to hear it.” when the collapse of the economy or of corruption is brought up.

        Is that the real translation of her neverending ‘All roads lead to Putin’ shtick?

        1. JBird4049

          She has said more or less in those exact words, but PutinPutinPutin could be thought of part it. Rather like putting one’s hands to one’s ears and going PutinPutinPutin!!

  28. ShamanicFallout

    I keep reading about sabotage at the USPS, trying to make it fail. And of course we can’t put that past the privatizers, but I can’t find anywhere or anyone explaining the nature of the sabotage. That is, what are they actually doing? How is the sabotaging happening? Are they taking trucks off the road so they can move less volume? Letting carriers off? I can’t imagine it’s a manager saying something like “OK, today we’re going to put half the packages in the back room and not deliver them for a couple weeks”

    1. flora

      1. loading a pension debt burden onto the USPS (75 year funding) that isn’t required of any other business or govt entity. (Although Romney and the GOP are going to try that 75-year gambit with SS to cripple it, too.)

      2. Slowing delivery and raising rates to make the USPS less attractive, and make UPS and FedEx more attractive to customers. Govt putting its thumb on the scale in favor of private companies.

      This is all neolib playbook:

      Private sector targets a public resource it wants.
      Change the rules by whatever means necessary. (govt intervention)
      Reduce govt support for govt function or agency.
      Privatize resource directly or incrementally by selling “free market” solution.
      Protect profits.

    2. meadows

      It’s the money, esp the the demand that pension amounts all be pre-funded, according to my carrier. I actually think the USPS could be a great rallying/unifying thing for all citizens everywhere…. fully funded, efficient, unionized, new trucks and centers, affordable rates… and we could get Kevin Costner to be the new spokeperson! (The Postman Movie)

      1. Carla

        The post office should provide free, universal broadband and Internet service. Its original purpose was to LINK the country together. And that’s how to do it! Public banking would be great, too, but I think broadband and Internet should be the first priority. Just unprivatize it!

        1. Pookah Harvey

          Good point. Here is Title 39 U.S. Code § 101. Postal policy enacted 1960 and reenacted 1970:

          The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by Act of Congress, and supported by the people. The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities. The costs of establishing and maintaining the Postal Service shall not be apportioned to impair the overall value of such service to the people.

          As far as public banking goes the USPOs provided public banking from 1911 until 1966, in 1934 postal banks had $1.2 billion in assets—about 10 percent of the entire commercial banking system.

          1. Copeland

            >USPOs provided public banking from 1911 until 1966

            There it is again, ’66 (the year of my birth) apparently being the end of all good things.

    3. deplorado

      That’s pretty much what they are doing (put packages in the backroom and asking workers to not be bothered by it) – definitely read this, infuriating and unbelievable but true:

      I have a simple small subscription package (imagine what that will do to subscription businesses!) that was supposed to be delivered July 11 (sent end of June), and it’s stuck in a USPS transit facility with no expected delivery date in sight, according to their tracking page.

      1. deplorado

        I will take the liberty to post this from the article:

        “Management at the United States Postal Service (USPS) has taken a big step toward privatization with the July 10 release of an internal memo stating that mail deliveries would be delayed due to cost cutting and a subsequent directive prohibiting overtime and promising “more to come.”

        The first memo, titled “Pivoting to the Future,” declared, “Right now, we are at a critical juncture in our organization and must make immediate, lasting, and impactful changes in our operations and in our culture. This operational pivot is long overdue and today, we are talking about the first step in a journey we must take together, for the health and stability of the Postal Service.

        “The initial step in our pivot is targeted on transportation and the soaring costs we incur, due to late trips and extra trips, which costs the organization somewhere around $200 million in added expenses.”

        “Pivoting to the future”. Throwing up doesn’t begin to describe the disgust.

        I think this level of sabotage will accelerate the official start of privatizing USPS to a matter of mere months.

        1. Briny

          I was able to maintain until I hit “impactful.” The finest example of MBA bureaucratese between the two.

        2. jr

          Oh god that word “pivot”, meant to imply a sharp, militarily precise turn…’s right up there with “passionate”, “sinister”, “embattled”… weasel words all…

  29. allan

    Pepcid-COVID study raised red flags weeks after $21M grant [AP]

    Two months after the Trump administration awarded $21 million to study whether a common heartburn drug was effective against COVID-19, government health officials raised serious concerns about patient safety and scientific integrity, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlined a long list of concerns in a June 8 letter, concluding there was “a high probability” that the companies doing the research would fail to honor the terms of the deal to assess famotidine, the active ingredient in Pepcid, as a coronavirus treatment. …

    On April 14, the Trump administration signed the contract to test famotidine in COVID-19 patients in New York despite a lack of published data or studies to suggest heavy doses would be safe or effective against the novel coronavirus. When government scientists learned of the hastily produced proposal to spend millions in federal funding on the research, they considered it laughable, according to Bright’s whistleblower complaint.

    But the June letter from HHS would indicate that the trial was plagued by poor management from the start. …

    Here’s the last company press release on the study (from just before the HHS letter).

    We spent $21 million on this study and all we got was a lousy tee shirt sample size of N=10.

  30. Goyo Marquez

    If viral load is the issue is any work being done on testing the air in rooms or other gathering areas. A virus alarm like a smoke alarm comes to mind.

  31. deplorado

    Apropos yesterday’s discussion about freeholds/leaseholds in England and Wales, a clarifying and useful thread – read through the end:

    Cory Doctorow #BLM
    When I first moved to the UK, I noticed all my friends who lived in flats were always complaining about “freeholders.” The first few times I asked to have this explained, I assumed that I’d just misunderstood, because there was no way the system was that fucking terrible.

  32. kareninca

    I live in Silicon Valley, one of the epicenters of the PMC. And I volunteer at an activity that attracts the overeducated.

    So, last week I was shelving books and an aquaintance stepped forward to chat – a nice lady in her 70s who is a cancer survivor with heart failure and a doctorate in nutrition. She pulled down her mask entirely off her face to chat with me. Yes, really.

    The next day I was in the same room with a retired schoolteacher, also in her 70s. She kept her mask on her mouth, but completely off her nose.

    Yesterday I was in and the wife (they are both women) of another volunteer kept pulling her mask off as she loudly told me about what was up in the organization. When she wasn’t pulling it off, it was falling down. She was about three feet away.

    There is one younger guy who volunteers there who attends a mega church. He was also in yesterday and he was wearing a mask properly and kept it on. But he was busy with actually doing volunteer work, so we didn’t talk.

    So my personal experiences do not comport with the stereotypes of who is willing to comply with mask requirements.

  33. JWP

    I’m hearing there’s a move among multinationals to establish headquarters, data centers, etc…(places with higher paying jobs usually reserved for domestic locations) in foreign countries. Reasoning being people either don’t feel safe, don’t like the outlook, or straight up don’t want to be in the US. Offering the higher level positions in places like India to save the trouble of immigrating, possibly being educated, and dealing with insurance, hc, etc in the US. Haven’t seen anything published about it but picking it up from people I’ve talked with in the sector. this is esp focused on tech companies.

    1. Briny

      At least for data centers, they are having to deal with national laws restricting citizen data to in-country data centers.

  34. JBird449

    Connecting 2016 to the Year Zero has some truth to it, but whenever I see it I remember Khmer Rouge’s Year Zero. It is the same idea of erasing the past and I wonder just how strong is the desire to erase is. Not that I expect to see remotely like having 1/3 to 1/2 of the population to die from hunger, disease, or murder, but the echos are unsettling.

  35. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Researchers map how coronavirus infection travels…”
    The results reported in this press release and associated research paper match those of an earlier study linked at NakedCapitalism a little over a month ago [sorry I couldn’t find where I stuffed the paper]. What I believe should have been the lede for this press release and result paper is a little buried:
    “In summary, our studies have quantitated differences in ACE2 receptor expression and SARS-CoV-2 infectivity in the nose (high) versus the peripheral lung (low). These studies should provide valuable reference data for future animal model development and expand the pool of tissues, e.g., nasal, for future study of disease pathogenesis and therapy. Although speculative, if the nasal cavity is the initial site mediating seeding of the lung via aspiration, these studies argue for the widespread use of masks to prevent aerosol, large droplet, and/or mechanical exposure to the nasal passages. Complementary therapeutic strategies that reduce viral titer in the nose early in the disease, e.g., nasal lavages, topical antivirals, or immune modulation, might be beneficial. Finally, our studies provide key reagents and strategies to identify type-specific and highly conserved neutralizing antibodies that can be assessed most easily in the nasal cavity as well as in the blood and lower airway secretions. [p.15 of 33 (443 in the journal article “SARS-CoV-2 Reverse Genetics Reveals a Variable Infection Gradient in the Respiratory Tract” []) [This is by far some of the plainest and clearest prose in the research paper. Does a paper written as this one is really communicate that well to even those highly specialized to the particular topics?]

    Another plug for using a Neti pot or one of its children and suggestion of seeking topical treatments for Corona infection, at its onset.

    A little off-topic — I wondered at the writing of both the journal article and its PR plug. Both emphasized the techniques and new processes used in the study and seemed to treat what was discovered and its implications as almost incidental. That seemed very odd. It started me wondering how many of the techniques and new processes might have patent applications associated with their details.

  36. (poorly) Paid Minion

    Engine shutdown problem?

    No, not really.

    This will be just another thing for us wrench turners to check off the return-to-service checklist, when these airplanes come out of long-term storage. I’m not familiar with where this check valve is, but I’m guessing its relatively easy to get to. I’m betting that they will be looking at other Boeing and Airbus models to find the same condition.

    Airplanes (of any type) just don’t like sitting around parked for any length of time. Most of the corporate jets I deal with have a requirement to put them in Long Term Storage if they don’t fly every 30 days, or thereabouts

    Any operator with half a brain tries to do a ground run up every week to ten days, fly it every month. But, as usual when some owners and upper level managers make the call, it may not happen. Hence the Emergency AD.

    1. John k

      Wait a minute… weren’t they eating them before we were? They think we’re the thieves.

      1. Copeland

        Agreed, but in the case of Robins, I think they have benefited more than a little, from our human exploits!

        Now, when the much rarer Waxwings come around, I’m happier to share.

  37. kgw

    Re: Africa/China…
    The intensity of the propaganda wall in the MM: CHINACHINACHINA! is at a fever pitch. Pompous must be nearly in an uncontrollable state of giggles.

  38. (poorly) Paid Minion

    In my 40 years of Corporate Aviation, being in relatively close proximity to the Executive Class, I’ve observed something that almost all US Americans don’t.

    That being…….a not insignificant percentage of the Leadership in this country is not very smart. IOW, “stupid as a box of rocks”.

    None of them could see the following:

    That outsourcing our industrial base to China might not turn out so good.

    That investing a billion plus dollars buying into private equity (who was was azzhole deep in mortgage backed securities) might not be the thing to do in the summer of 2007. (“We’ll make bank, no matter what the economy does”…….direct quote)

    That hiring the daughter of a guy (who is actively looking to get you fired) to be your executive assistant might be problematic.

    That opening a Mexican restaurant in a high rent/trendy locale (while charging a premium for trendy) in 2009, when there was no shortage of Mexican restaurants locally.

    That banging your exec assistant in the back seat of a company car, in the executives parking lot could create problems.

    I used to think Jerry Springer was BS. In reality, he just barely scratches the surface

  39. Wukchumni

    I probably mailed in excess of 10,000 insured/registered packages through the USPS, and maybe 8 to 10 insured got lost and I was fairly promptly paid for those, never had a registered package go missing. I was always amazed at how quick delivery was, and a lot of what I was selling was to Rural Rt 2, 2745W kind of addresses. (85% of what I sold on eBay went to small town America)

    These memories are from around the turn of the century, and judging from what i’ve been reading about the USPS currently, I think i’ll just live in the past, much more pleasant.

  40. Wukchumni

    This county knew coronavirus could ravage farmworkers. Why didn’t officials stop it?

    Up to 70% of new cases of coronavirus in California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley may be Latino workers, but advocates say they lack testing and access to care.
    Hispanics (read Mexicans) do all of the Ag work in the CVBB, and really live apart from the rest of the community, so we’ve got dueling viruses here, the other source being nursing homes that spread it through the white community.

    Say, whose gonna pick up their sizable slack and do all the work needed on a regular basis that goes on in orchards & ground crops?

    Methinks an awful lot of food is going to rot, and by the time the powers that be figure it out and attempt to get Plan B workers (white folks totally unaccustomed to this sort of work, who will last a day or 2) to save the crops.

    1. JBird4049

      Yeah, TPTB won’t go hungry as they can spend whatever it takes to steal horde buy food. As for everyone else it’s the Darwin Olympics or perhaps the Donner Diet Plan.

      I still think of the great Indian and Irish famines of the 19th and 20th centuries as outliers for they were man made in deference to libertarian ideas and the wealthy grain merchants. Seeing our current leadership non-action maybe it’s not.

  41. Daryl

    > US agents force their way into China’s consulate in Houston as diplomats pack up

    This is quite an escalation, and for what, exactly? Do they expect to find some giant red folders with “HACKED INTELLIGENCE” labels on them?

    At a time when we need the most deft leadership possible, we have the exact opposite, and the vast majority of possible outcomes for what we’re optimistically calling an election seem like they can only accelerate the decline.

  42. The Rev Kev

    Gotta put this in here though I find it difficult to believe. So Australia has a Treasurer named Josh Frydenberg and I was always suspect of him. I just found out that two days ago he made a speech about how Australia was going to rebuild the economy and he said-

    “It is important to go to the supply side. Thatcher, Reagan, that’s an inspiration.”

    He said that we won’t do austerity but will continue to do fiscal discipline. Yeah – big difference but going back to the economic policies of the 80s? That’s his solution?

    1. Foy

      He repeated it on the Insiders TV show this morning. Yep back to the trickle down days. Which part of falling aggregate demand if customers have no cash they can’t buy stuff doesn’t he understand? Business spend/invest when they know they have customers to buy stuff. Which research focus group told him this was a good idea to run with?

      1. JBird4049

        Which research focus group told him this was a good idea to run with?

        The one paying his salary?

        It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

        –Upton Sinclair

    1. skippy

      Serves the BSD financial protected financial class … fixed …

      Managerial social book club buffer confuse a cats coat tail distraction device included.

      E.g. I miss kid dynamite lamenting moving to an area where one needs fluro to walk the dog during hunting season … ev’bal chortle …

  43. Amfortas the hippie

    from the sidebar of one of the links:

    The radical difference between the infrastructure overseen by Mark Zuckerberg today and the one rolled out by George Gallup in the 1930s is that we can all now potentially act as the pollster. Here’s my dog: like or dislike? Donald Trump is a fascist: agree or disagree? This is not the idealised classical or liberal public sphere of argument and deliberation, but a society of perpetual referendums. The perennial question, when it comes to so much up-voting and down-voting, is who can be bothered to ‘vote’ at all. The passionately positive and the passionately negative can usually be relied on to take part.”

    that “everything is a Like Button” is a hell of an observation.
    agency, bias, a bandwagon effect that’s been huffing ether.
    stumbling right through the sliding glass door and into the yard

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “It is easy to lose sight of how peculiar and infantilising this state of affairs is. A one-year-old child has nothing to say about the food they are offered, but simply opens their mouth or shakes their head. No descriptions, criticisms or observations are necessary, just pure decision. This was precisely what Schmitt found purifying in the idea of the plebiscite, that it cut out all the slog of talking. But a polity that privileges decision first and understanding second will have some terrible mess to sort out along the way. Look at what ensued after 46 million people were asked: ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’”

      ” Once history itself becomes a matter of plebiscitary decision, we are assigned to cultural camps that we had no hand in designing, and whose main virtue is that the other camp is even worse. One stupid position (‘You can’t judge the past by the standards of the present!’) presumes its only marginally less stupid opponent (‘We must judge the past by the standards of the present!’). This turns an opportunity to address the myopia of the history curriculum and present the public with the complexities of their history into a matter of taking sides. The past becomes one more product to acclaim or decry.”

      well worth a read.
      a bit of fat to chew on this stormy sunday while ignoring the news feed.

      1. Mel

        That’s what I’ve been trying to describe as the “consumer approach” to philosophy, politics, any complicated human process. The approach where my participation boils down to buy the package or don’t.
        I’ll go read the article.

      2. Romancing The Loan

        The right understands how to play this ‘culture war’: identify the most absurd or unreasonable example of your opponents’ worldview; exploit your own media platform to amplify it; articulate an alternative in terms that appear calm and reasonable; and then invite people to choose.

        That this tactic ends up appearing very silly to outsiders means this has become a recognized meme format on Reddit – I believe it focuses on Ben Shapiro. Fun article, thanks Amfortas!

    2. jr

      “everything is a Like Button”

      For me, a lot of this goes back to the stunted notions of “freedom” and “choice” that people carry around. You’re free to choose to press that button, you’ve made your voice heard! Never mind that that freedom and that choice are embedded in sedimentary layers of abuse, active misdirection, ignorance, confusion, fear. It’s a Freely Made Choice, no need for nuance!

      It’s the freedom of the Intsa-Kitty dopamine loop, the freedom of taking a stand for your favorite chicken sandwich or cola brand, it’s the freedom of a gerbil hitting the lever for the same stale pellet over and over again.

  44. John Anthony La Pietra

    How Law & Order’s Dick Wolf Is Reimagining His Shows In The Wake Of The BLM Protests Forbes

    Will he finally have to admit that not everything the police investigate is a crime — and not everyone the district attorneys prosecute is an offender?

    Now that would be a story ripped from the headlines!

Comments are closed.