Links 7/27/2020

Narrative Is Crumbling Caitlin Johnstone

Churchill’s secret chemical war Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

On Cuba’s National Rebellion Day, A Reminder that State-Generated Social Capital Matters The Wire

It’s too late to stop QAnon with fact checks and account bans MIT Technology Review

The Food Industry Puts Profits Over Public Health Using Big Tobacco’s Playbook TruthOut

Boris Johnson’s fight against obesity: Family doctors will become ‘weight coaches’ and sweets will be BANNED at checkouts under plans to make UK healthy Daily Mail

Intel is making a mockery of reshoring Asia Times

Waste Watch

Your next smartphone will be a lot harder to scratch Ars Technica. And some good news embedded in here. Consumers are keeping their ‘phones longer before upgrading. That means less e-waste.

China’s food delivery boom may undercut plans to reduce plastic bags SCMP


Amid virus, uncertainty, parents decide how to school kids AP

Why the World Worries About the Virus 2.0 Nuclear Option Bloomberg

Florida records 9,300 new coronavirus cases, blows past New York Reuters

SECOND WAVE Europe on alert as coronavirus infections surge and France says progress against virus has been erased The Sun

UK could impose more ‘handbrake restrictions’ on arrivals beyond Spain Guardian

Empty Towers, No Power Lunches: Ghostly Midtown Is Omen for N.Y.C. NYT

Kudlow suggests extension of federal eviction ban is in works Politico

Dr. Birx: COVID-19 may be starting to slow down in certain states NY Post

Top White House officials say Congress might need to rush narrow relief bill to avoid unemployment aid lapse  WaPo (UserFriendly)


‘Everyone is panicking’: British tourists scramble to get home from Spain after bombshell two-week quarantine announcement Daily Mail


A coronavirus vaccine may have a high price tag – and set off an international race for first access Scroll

Covid-19 vaccines may cause mild side effects, experts say, stressing need for education, not alarm Stat

Class Warfare

Police State Watch

More Than A Few Bad Apples: Why Conservatives Should Back Police Reform American Conservative

Police declare riots in Seattle and Portland amid US protests Al Jazeera

Trump’s Handling of the Coronavirus Could Cost Him Presidency Der Spiegel

Homeland Security Was Destined to Become a Secret Police Force New Yorker

We’re Publishing Thousands of Police Discipline Records That New York Kept Secret for Decades Pro Publica

Portlanders use leaf-blowers to isolate and return tear gas to the thugs who threw it Boing Boing (re Šilc)

The echoes of Hong Kong in Portland WaPo

The attacks on press freedom in Portland Columbia Journalism Review


The blue wave keeps growing Axios. Wishful thinking on the part of Democrats?

Donald Trump’s suburban horror show Politico

Trump has 100 days to turn things around The Hill

Boris Johnson’s government is privately ‘desperate’ for Trump to lose to Joe Biden Business Insider

Child care is broken. Biden has a plan to fix it. Vox

From police chief to VP? Inside Val Demings’ unlikely path AP

The Media Manipulator: Why Trump’s Distractions May Not Save Him This Time Patrick Cockburn


US flag lowered for last time at Chengdu consulate as China retaliates for Houston closure SCMP

Rising Tensions Put Supply Chains in the Spotlight Jing Daily


China, India forge peace on one border as other frictions emerge, this time in Iran SCMP

Coronavirus: Why won’t India admit how Covid-19 is spreading? BBC

Give Kashmir Unrestricted Access to the Internet. It’s Long Overdue. The Wire

Modi stumbles: India’s deepening coronavirus crisis FT


Turkey versus France – a game of one-upmanship in Libya? Qantara

Sudan to deploy troops to Darfur after killings: PM Hamdok Al Jazeera

In Gaza, deaths by suicide are now being talked about – even in a culture where the act is considered reprehensible  Independent. Robert Fisk.


The U.S.-Supported Coup in Bolivia Continues to Produce Repression and Tyranny, While Revealing How U.S. Media Propaganda Works Intercept. From last week, still germane; I missed this.


Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. zagonostra

    >Antidote du Jour is a repeat

    I guess I have to admit I come here a lot, coffee and NC have become a routine (I do donate now and then since I use an ad blocker). What I noticed this time around which I missed before is that the bird’s neck crease looks like a frog’s mouth and bill looks like a horn…it’s like the two faces or vase picture…and no I haven’t had bowl yet.

    1. Charger01

      Coffee and NC is a ritual for me as well. The recent antidotes are quite amusing. More photos of pups/cats please.

      1. Milton

        You know the drill, if you see creatures that are avian, the Links post was written by Jerri-Lynn.

  2. jr

    RE: dilemma of COVID-19

    ““Populations can be summoned to heroic acts of collective self-sacrifice for a while, but not forever,” political scientist Francis Fukuyama, author of “The End of History and the Last Man,” wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine

    Ah, the political science pornographer Francis Fukuyama bobs to the surface once again. I’ve only force-read excerpts of the book but I have to wonder did he ever try to account for the role of a black swan event like COVID-19 in his “just so” fable of political evolution? Or eco-collapse? Or on a smaller scale, the rise of neo-feudalism? Or that making a claim about the arrival of anything at the “end” of it’s “evolution” demonstrates a misunderstanding of the concept of evolution?

    ” Fukuyama draws upon the philosophies and ideologies of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx, who define human history as a linear progression, from one socio-economic epoch to another.” Wiki

    How could one draw upon the works of those two Titans and arrive at the conclusion that human history has an endpoint, other than our possible extinction? The dialectical process…and to say that Hegel and Marx viewed history as a linear progression is about as simple minded an interpretation of their notions of historical development as I’ve seen. It’s akin to saying a seed growing into a tree is a linear process, a confusion of the narrative form of the argument with the actual process being described.

    But it’s been decades since I’ve read my Marx or Hegel so perhaps my ideas are rusty.

    1. zagonostra

      Funny thing is that Hegel also thought that the dialectical process ended with his analysis/conclusions; once the process became self-aware the process, so the the thinking went, reached a certain endpoint…and yeah my Hegel is rusty as well.

      1. jr

        Thank you, and thanks for the comments below. I had completely forgotten that about Hegel, yes of course he did. I had always thought that Marx saw a conclusion or endpoint in historical development but then recognized that that was simply the beginning of a new dialectical relationship, a new set of conditions, new stresses. I applied that to Hegel as well, incorrectly. Again, though, decades…

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      It was Fukuyama’s title, but his ramblings weren’t particularly different than any other group that decided they were wonderful and everyone before them was a dumb dumb. There is a certain amount of “moral development” involved that isn’t unique. They can’t see problems because these are such wonderful people.

      Barbara Boxer expressed regret the other day about her support for DHS. I’m fascinated she went for the whole cabinet department not something smaller such as ICE, but she said she couldn’t imagine a president like Trump. So despite all evidence to the contrary about secret and authoritarian government power inevitably being misused found in every history book ever written, Boxer is claiming she lived in a golden age society where bad things can’t happen because everyone who could achieve power is of wonderful morality. Her excuse is dumber than the NBA player who went to the strip club just to get dinner.

      1. anon in so cal

        >Mention of Barbara Boxer calls to mind the 2016 Nevada Democratic primary… speaking of police states…..The Las Vegas police lined the stage….

        >Separately, maybe Boxer forgot Obama’s crackdown on the Occupy Movement:

        “the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          No, she didn’t forget, but Obama is one of the “good people”. Hence, his behavior was morally justified. When Obama kills American citizens with predator drones, Obama like Boxer herself also possesses a superior moral ability to determine good and bad. All those laws and lessons of the past don’t apply to them. Boxer and Obama are part of the “End of History” legion of heroes.

            1. Procopius

              I once read an explanation of the Nazi mental framework: My intentions are good, so my actions cannot be evil. Certainly Hitler saw himself as saving the “Aryan Race” from eventual extinction, which he said was good. I suppose he thought so, as well. The same must be true of Obama and Boxer, unless (not impossible) they are simply conscience-free sociopaths.

      2. Oh

        In her earlier terms Barbara Boxer was a true progressive but as time went by she became a dyed-in-the-wool DemoRat. Sad!

    3. hunkerdown

      In other words, Marx and Hegel believed in teleology. Bit of a mistake on their part, but we’ve gotten over it, unlike the “history ended in 1876” reactionaries that run things today.

    4. Pookah Harvey

      Covid was not a black swan. A black swan is an unpredictable event. The author of the book “Black Swan”, Nassim Taleb, has stated his disapproval of anyone considering Covid as a black swan. This was a predictable event. We dodged the bullet with Ebola, SARS and MERS. Covid is the result of neo-liberalism concentration on profits uber alles.
      If the world had taken risk management seriously there is a high probability that we could have crushed the pandemic in 5 weeks. Check out Taleb and Steve Keens.

      1. jr

        +1 Thanks, great point, will do.


        +1 Agreed, “evolution” is wildly misused, it is in a way a “weasel” word in that it lends an authoritative intellectual air and a sense of ontological “innateness” to concepts that meet neither criteria…

    5. Otto

      Biological evolution does not explicitly state that evolution and the notion of ‘progress’ are the same thing. Simply that organisms have the ability to adjust to a given eco system by adaptation. By throwing out mutation after mutation to see which one will stick (live), isn’t anyone’s idea of progress. And then there is progress itself. People who use the word tend to leave out much of the impact, as negative impact in an overall sense, and focus on the advancement of a very small aspect of alleged “improvement”. Almost every use of the word evolution outside of the life sciences makes no sense. As to History, in thinking of what I’ve learned from Jared Diamond, I can think of states of civilization that are far worse and far better then where we are now. Are the end states? If we don’t get a grip on climate heating, ya, where at an end state. We failed.

    6. chuck roast

      Political science pornography indeed. I regularly heap scorn on the “science” of Economics, but at least these denizens of the humanities have the courtesy not to call themselves scientists. Fukuyama’s End of History routine made his bones with the oligarch’s post soviet as an academic shoe-shine boy. Kind of like clock-work whenever the ruling class declares total victory. I remember Daniel Bell tolling the 10 second knock-out during my early days at university. Then I discovered Marx and all the rest describing an interesting revisionist history. Bell and his vacuous, opineing academic discipline promptly found themselves in my historical dust-bin. I can only conclude that some knuckle-head with access to Wiki is gaslighting us. Amazing how these mediocrities make comfortable livings for themselves by inundating us with torrents of BS

  3. fresno dan

    First, I don’t know if there is any value in posting this. Is this a freak event or a harbinger?
    So yesterday I posted a link about Olivia de Havilland’s death (she was 104), a great actress. I quoted something she said, “I feel like a survivor from an age that people no longer understand.”

    In many ways, things change for the better – I never thought I would see a black president in my life (I concede his mediocrity, but aren’t most presidents?)
    And with the caveat that social media allows us to see human stupidity of astounding imbecility, with the intent of riling us up, never the less, I never ever thought I would see the day that people would display Nazi symbols while shopping. And it is only 2 people out of 330 million…(certainly the symbol is displayed at political protests, but I think a Rubicon has been crossed)
    But returning to the de Havilland quote, I can’t imagine this happening when I was young. I truly wonder what message these people were trying to convey. At best, it would be that being forced to wear a face mask is equivalent to living in a totalitarian state?
    But who knows – but it still says something about how the wearer views themselves, history, and changing mores…

    1. a different chris

      How can Walmart really “ban” somebody? They look like normal fat stupid white Americans. I saw their picture and I couldn’t pick either of them out of a crowd of three, one minute later. All they have to do is put on a “normal” mask and pay cash and how’s Walmart gonna catch that?

      Ah well.

      1. Keith

        That’s the beauty of the facemask, it conceals one identity and allows them to engage in speech/conduct that they never would if they could be identified.

      2. truly

        I think they weren’t just banned, but were “trespassed out”. Not a legal scholar here, but my recollection from Occupy days- authorities would write a trespass violation against a protestor. Until a judge could hear the complaint they were to stay away from the premises (in our case, “the protest/occupy zone”) and if they broke that agreement they were in contempt of court. Not breaking the law, but in contempt of court. Which would allow a judge to take any action they deemed appropriate. For protestors they were essentially banned from participation under fear of immediate incarceration.
        Of course if these shoppers properly mask up and go in and mind their own business they would surely be left alone.
        Not feeling defensive of the Nazis, but I think “trespassed out” is far more chilling than being “banned”.

    2. Carla

      fresno dan: I’m afraid it’s not Obama’s mediocrity that we live with the results of every day, but his mendacity.

      And now he’s returning to national political stage. Goddess save us.

      1. fresno dan

        July 27, 2020 at 8:58 am

        I concede his mediocrity mendacity, but aren’t most presidents?

    3. Pat

      This is ironic In the Alanis Morrisette sense of it. I relate to much of your previous comment, but think the change of the position of the swastika to be the logical conclusion of years of political and press twisting of philosophical and historical terms through both careless shorthand and deliberate obsfucation. How many years of yells of Hitler!, Fascist! and political misdirection and pop culture mangling of history have we had as our betters have broken most of our societal norms for fun and profit.

      People picking symbols of outrage that are confused is to be expected. Sort of like a “keep your hands off my Medicare” sign. There is a clear sense that things are broken but not enough accurate information and logic to make the right statement.

      I spend most of my days wanting to repeatedly hit my head on my desk, but I really did go “of course they did” for that story.

      1. Wukchumni

        I find it fascinating that of all the WW2 memorabilia, anything Nazi tends to be worth much more than any of the other combatants.

        We’re nearing the end of living history for those that partook in the festivities, the youngest GI Joe to see action, now being the ripe old age of 93.

        The goombahs wearing swastikas @ Wal*Mart probably have no connection whatsoever to WW2, it’s just something that regularly appears on the telly in the guise of the American History Chanel, which really ought to be called the Adolf Hitler Chanel, as they play a steady diet of the reich stuff, and the fuhrer in particular.

        1. Carolinian

          Craig Murray wrote a column about the BBC’s obsessive interest in WW2 so it’s not just American cable. Perhaps it’s because the Good War provides the good versus evil narrative that people crave before everything got all fuzzy. Not that that will stop them from trying to make Putin or Trump or Maduro or whoever into the new Adolf. My quibble about today’s Caitlin column is that she doesn’t talk enough about how much of the left and not just the big media “left” is devoted to narrative. For that reason her suggestion of narrative’s “death” seems more than a bit premature.

        2. HotFlash

          Tom of Finland quote per Wikip:

          “In my drawings I have no political statements to make, no ideology. I am thinking only about the picture itself. The whole Nazi philosophy, the racism and all that, is hateful to me, but of course I drew them anyway—they had the sexiest uniforms!”

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘they had the sexiest uniforms’

            That’s because they were designed by Hugo Boss.

            1. HotFlash

              I *lurved* me my Karmann Ghia back in the day, dunno the politics of the design. Looks post war, but who knows?? And Leni Reifensthal put together some riveting clips. Form over function? PR may not be everything, but it is a whole lot.

              Brooks Brothers did OK with slave clothing. The passenger pigeon probably was hunted to extinction for slave food.

              The Pyramids, the Hypostyle Hall, there are many wonderful artifacts from previous civilizations. Egyptologists are divided as to whether slave labour, corvee, or winter works built the pyramids and other great monuments of Egypt. Meanwhile, we tear down statues of Robert E. Lee (etc.), and rightly in my view. We should be putting up monuments to Michael Books, Travon Martin, Earl Garner, Breonna Taylor, the list is so long.

              1. HotFlash

                BTW, “winter works” were an unemployment program for farm workers during the fallow season. Also for the farmers. So, propping up the lower and middle classes by ensuring gainful employment => groceries, paid rent/mortgages, affordable visit to the apothecary. What a great idea!

        3. km

          It also amazes me how many people think that the Nazis were somehow supermen, probably an extension of the pop-culture belief that evil = strength and goodness = weakness.

          1. Massinissa

            I mean, their comic book portrayals as literal supervillains, complete with super science creations, probably helps with that.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner.

        It’s like needing to wear a face mask but the only materials to make it advocate for a genocidal, nationalistic war machine…it’s not catchy.

    4. DJG

      Fresno Dan. I’m not sure that we are in an age we no longer understand.

      The Italian writer, Alessandro Carrera, who teaches at the University of Houston, pointed out in a long essay recently published that Americans insist on their rights but cannot talk about their obligations to the community. He asserts that the individual has an obligation not to harm the community, and the community has an obligation not to harm a person. (Which is what Black Lives Matter keeps pointing out.)

      What you are seeing is people who think that the First Amendment gives them a “right” to express that they are offended and a “right” to annoy others.

      I also note that the two of them display the marvelous physiques of so many white supremacists of the USA–thus proving their genetic superiority.

      And even though what they are doing is deeply embedded in U.S. culture, display this swampy mix of rights talk and an urge to give offense, I will point out and paraphrase:

      This is the way the world ends
      This is the way the world ends
      Not with a bang
      but with a discount coupon for
      Family Sized
      Cool Ranch Doritos

      1. furies

        I’m not sure if I read it somewhere here, but last night, while not sleeping, it stuck me as true;

        these mask-refuseniks and maga gun-totin’ macho displays of force are just powerless people availing themselves of the only options to *exercise* any power at all!

        I had an encounter with a coupla of the rednecks in the local grocery who made it a point to not only get into my space but breathe all over me with their mask-less-ness.

        It’s very hard to maintain magnanimity with all these provocations…provocations inspired by Caitlin’s narratives.

        1. orlbucfan

          I dunno, mebbe it’s me, but I look at two overweight humans wearing Nazi flag face coverings as once the stupid, always the stupid. Sad and pathetic.

      2. Otto

        That was good but I’ll stick to the original:
        “This is the way the world ends
        This is the way the world ends
        This is the way the world ends
        Not with a bang but a whimper”
        – T.S. Elliott

      3. fresno dan

        July 27, 2020 at 11:07 am

        Good points. Were JFK to give the famous speech about asking not, it would have to be edited to include a proviso that it certainly doesn’t mean paying more in taxes if your in a top tax bracket, because your already sacrificing too, too much…
        When I went to the university with the BIG library, there was a periodicals room. For the first time in my life I discovered that there were regularly published periodicals devoted to the klan, racism, as well as Nazism. But I can say in my entire life, while just going about my business, I have never encountered someone wearing klan regalia or nazi symbols.
        It just wasn’t done in normal society. You know, sometimes I have seen the mocking of norms – well, were now seeing an outcome of that. Will we be better off when the swastika is worn as a fashion accessory? (I wear it because I think M4A is fascism…)
        And it seems …ironic, along the lines of Samuel Johnson: How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?

        How is it that people asked to wear face masks for the benefit of other humans equate that with the most well recorded horror and cruelty ever documented?

      4. Synoia

        He asserts that the individual has an obligation not to harm the community, and the community has an obligation not to harm a person.

        Deliberate, or Intentional, harm to another person is assault, is a crime, not an obligation.

      5. HotFlash

        Not with a bang
        but with a discount coupon for
        Family Sized
        Cool Ranch Doritos

        Yeah. Totally. From Walmart.

    5. russell1200

      Guessing that they might have been protesting the mandatory use of face masks, not trying to promote Fascism.

      The face mask = Fascism is a pretty common meme.

      1. epynonymous

        Good war indeed.

        “With 1939 and the outbreak of war, these masks were issued to the public in cardboard boxes with strict instructions that they be carried at all times, without exception. Fines would be imposed if you were caught without your respirator.”

        It has been suggested by respected historians that this gas mask push was mainly an internal psychological effort. It has furthermore been written that this led to the popularity of women wearing short hair styles, so influential it was.

    6. John k

      IMO mediocre has reached a record low bar with our last four eight-term presidents. Fealty to banks, the rich and corps, I.e. the donors, has become the norm. Johnson destroyed faith in gov with the Vietnam war, but he did pass civil rights – that’s mediocre. What have the four I mentioned done that in any way offsets their continuation of destructive neolib policies?
      I see trump much more as a continuation rather than a significant departure from the not Fab Four, and unlike three of the aforementioned four, he has not started a war in his first term… IMO that is overall mediocre these days.

  4. cocomaan

    A lot of Qanon stuff is bogus, but the problem isn’t Qanon. The conspiracy theorist is a symptom of late stage empire. And the reaction of the article, that conspiratorial thoughts need to be exterminated, completely misses the point.

    To actually stop QAnon, experts say, would take a lot more work and coordination. That is, if it’s even possible.

    Or… if it’s even right. Because federal government hijinks, the CDC not recommending mask wearing in March, and bizarre cases like Epstein/Maxwell set people’s bullshit detectors off on a daily basis.

    Want to end Qanon? Sunshine. Declassify things. Trying to stomp out people’s beliefs has never worked. It only strengthens their case.

    1. a different chris

      Even deeper: just improve people’s lives — make them worry less about food, shelter and medical care.

      And then they will stop with wackadoodle conspiracy theories, because they won’t need them to try to explain how everything went to (family blog). Jesus stop threatening to defund the Post Office for a start…. that’s just such a weird thing to normal people, no wonder our brains are starting to misfire.

      But no we need “experts” to do “work” (haha you can’t fly to expensive conferences anymore, guys!) and “coordinate”.

      1. Pelham

        Perhaps even deeper: I like Eric Weinstein’s take on why so much official BS has been in circulation for so many years. He says our existing institutions were all built up in the 30 or so years after WWII when growth in just about everything was surging at a pace that was unsustainable.

        So since about 1970 when the economy and people’s life prospects in general began to sour and diminish, the institutions (academia, government, media, think tanks, etc.) couldn’t change their narratives (their members’ livelihoods depended on entrenched systems and beliefs), so they began lying to us about nearly everything. Out of necessity.

        I like to supplement this with a separate theory about the insidious and pervasive influence of the Mont Pelerin group, whose deep thinkers believe the great masses are stupid and must be deceived into believing that so-called free markets are the best possible solution to all societal problems. The arrival of the internet, btw, has been a huge gift to these loonies.

        Thus the lid is completely off and wackiness runs willy-nilly ‘cross the landscape.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Trying to stomp out people’s beliefs has never worked. It only strengthens their case.

      And it’s like taking a hammer to a blob of mercury.

      I’m also opposed to this because we’ve already seen tit for tat “canceling” where progressive voices are silenced along side the alleged fringe right. But I agree with you 100%. Conspiracy theories like Qanon are right just enough of the time that they have credibility among the believers. The only way to end them is to make them obsolete by opening the books. Never going to happen.

      1. Notberlin

        “And it’s like taking a hammer to a blob of mercury.”

        Slam dunk. Great phrase. If you coined it, a major salute from me.

        I agree with all of this, but especially the ‘opening books.’ But I’m not entirely convinced of your last line, although you would probably win with the bookies by taking this stance. I’m just not ready for it, maybe. I found my way to books and the university against great odds, they both literally saved my life, I think (although I became indebted).

        Perhaps we won’t change ‘beliefs,’ but we can grow and find ways to support education and community and share our kindnesses with each other. And there may be ways to do it just by believing it’s not all battle or angst or becoming martyrs….

        Just a personal anecdote, forgive :) I think I was in 3rd grade at this time, just before our little Catholic school shut down. I was spending a lot of time at the library, yes, strange for a white trash kid with two alcoholic parents. Or not. I wanted to read this book, Robinson Crusoe. It’s obscure. Nobody here would ever have heard of it :) I brought this book to the counter, to check it out to take home. I forget the librarian’s name now, and I certainly don’t really blame her, can’t imagine her life in that broken down town, and she took the book and opened it to a page and pointed at a word. She said, “Here, pronounce this word.” The word was” i-s-l-a-n-d.” I said, “IzLand.” (Not I-Land). She slammed the book, loud, in my face and said, “You are not ready for this book.”

        A week later I brought it home. It was the first book I ever stole.

        So I think there is still a chance. Underdogs are just that, sometimes they take a while to percolate up.

    3. diptherio

      I spent yesterday binge-listening to Robbie Martin dissect Qanon and it’s possible/likely genesis on the Media Roots podcast. Here’s part one:

      I’m surrounded by quite a few Q believers around here, and for at least some of them the only way to combat their (crazy) conspiracy theories is with other (less crazy) conspiracy theories. YMMV.

  5. Toshiro_Mifune

    Empty Towers, No Power Lunches: Ghostly Midtown Is Omen for N.Y.C.

    Leave it to the NYT to write a article celebrating midtown.
    Honestly let it go. As someone who spent 5 years working at 1221 Ave of the Amers; that whole section of mid town is a wasteland of corporate retail. Let it collapse and let the rents tank so places like Manny’s can move back in.

    1. Redlife2017

      Visiting NYC over the years I would never go to Midtown as it’s very business orientated. But about 7 years ago I went on a business trip where the office is slap-bang in Midtown (on top of Grand Central Station!). I was there with a Brit who was on a secondment and she was horrified by the lack of decent pubs and restaurants. To go to a good (not great) restaurant was extortionate. And that’s if you can find someone who will recommend something in the area (a real struggle). Really shocking at how there is just nothing there.

      And I will note that this is in comparison to the City in London. You can get great cheap and great expensive food. Most services are available within the square mile (there is an Argos near the Bank of England for the love of the gods!), but Midtown is just lots of buildings and then…maybe get something at the station, I guess? Not impressed at all.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        A few years ago I arrived with some disparate relatives for a family funeral in NY – we’d all booked the same flight and mid town hotel as there was little else available at the last minute. We arrived at Grand Central at around 9pm thinking ‘hey, this is Manhattan, it’ll be easy to drop off our bags and get something to eat’. Nope, we wandered around darkened streets until we more or less forced ourselves into a small corner sushi place that was closing for the night at 9.30pm. We had a good time (two cousins in the restaurant business bonded with the Korean owners over the price of good tuna and they ended up giving us free drinks). But we were left puzzling at how somewhere right in the heart of NY could be so empty of anything in an evening.

        Of course, its not helped by NYers turning their noses up at the few good places around there on the basis that if its in Midtown, it must by definition be bad. I’ve a friend in Queens who loves a particular French bistro in north Midtown, but she says she can’t persuade any NY friends to come with her so she uses any out of town visitors as an excuse to visit.

      2. Ignacio

        In my last visit to London I noticed with some sadness that in central London most traditional Pubs had been transformed into tourist-oriented pubs. There is no lack of choices but…

    2. jr

      Don’t sell it short, Midtown Manhattan is a wonderful way to get from Lower to Upper Manhattan!

    3. SufferinSuccotash

      Maybe some really good second-hand bookstores too!
      Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    4. jsn

      After Disney remade Times Square, Manhattan became a career theme park for the children of the super rich and mid-town was the main ride.

      Downtown and Wall Street were like the ricketty wood rollercoaster out at Coney Island (when it wasn’t like the parachute drop (without parachutes)).

      The valley of low quality bearing stratta between the two kept the intervening spaces habitable until QE made development anywhere profitable.

    5. ShamanicFallout

      No doubt. I go to NYC every summer for a Javitz trade show (except this year of course- canceled!) so we usually stay in mid town just for convenience sake. But gawd it is hellish around there for all of the reasons discussed. And when we are there in the summer, pretty hot too. For a while I started to stay up near Central Park and further which is nicer but more expensive but the grind of getting down to the Javitz by train or cab was just too much. But midtown is an easy place to get subways going elsewhere! I get the ACE and get out of there

    6. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      One of my happiest HS memories is of when my HS band descended on Manny’s in the late 70s. Part of a trip en route elsewhere in NYC. Anyway, we all bought a kazoo and stood at the entrance and performed informally. All the players knew their parts. Those who worked at Manny’s were somewhat bemused….

  6. The Rev Kev

    “From police chief to VP? Inside Val Demings’ unlikely path”

    I don’t know who Val Demings thinks she is but there is already a female, black cop in the Vice-Presidential running – and her name is Kamala Harris.

    1. Keith

      In fairness, Demings was an actual cop, while Harris was a prosecutor. The difference is the media is very willing chastise the police for wrong doing, or quite often, properly doing their jobs in a way that can be exploited by the media to rile of racial tensions. Prosecutors, however, get a free pass for their wrongdoing. They can even withhold expulpitory evidence in order to get a conviction. If this evidence ever comes to light, the accused will eventually be freed, while nothing happens to the attorney. Even worse, due to the demands of their job and the need to hit their numbers, they actually benefit.

      With all that being said, we can also pass blame to the voters. They merely look at the prosecutor’s stats without thinking critically about how they got them. Until the situation of the ignorant voter is resolved, these issues will continue.

  7. .Tom

    > It’s too late to stop QAnon with fact checks and account bans MIT Technology Review

    “Researchers know that belief in one conspiracy theory can lead to acceptance of others, and powerful social-media recommendation algorithms have essentially turbocharged that process.”

    Logically therefore believing, for example, Epstein suicided, WMD, Steele dossier, Biden legitimately won the primary, Syrian gas attack, Russia hacked Trump’s election and other stories/conspiracy theories promoted in mainstream and official channels makes us believe more of them and unofficial/fringe ones.

    So the only thing left to do is what Caitlin Johnsone says and believe nothing? Adam Curtis’ Hypernormalization was about this condition.

    If trust in what’s real is low enough, there’s no way for a popular movement to organize.

    1. jr

      “If trust in what’s real is low enough, there’s no way for a popular movement to organize.”

      But don’t material conditions provide a both an ontological and an epistemic basis for organization? A sort of seed pearl around which resistance can formulate an ideology as well as a concrete plan?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        that’s the current predicament with our ontological crises…instead of heads in sand, people still have their heads in digital ephemeral silos.
        the simulacrum persists, even while the real world worsens.
        people still talk to me about the stock ticker as if it had some meaningful relation to our shared reality on the ground.(with an earnestness in their eyes, as if the assertion were a prayer)
        i guess it will take more and more bare shelves, more homeless zombies and a lot more dead people for folks to notice that food, water and shelter are not abstractions.
        a bug in the workings of twitter and FB would likely do wonders for this, particular, problem…as well as perhaps engender a more fruitful public discourse…once the dopamine cycles return to mean.

        1. jr

          Thanks for the comments guys.


          Yeah it speaks to the stupidity of TPTB that they don’t seem to realize that bread n circuses are cheaper than collapse.


          Agreed and my earlier statement was a bit too formulaic, I know it’s not that straightforward.

      2. .Tom

        I suppose so in principle but it depends on the balance of motives and on numbers. If enough people are more motivated to argue angrily with each other than to listen and seek common ground then angry nonsense will continue to drown out everything else.

    2. pjay


      The NY Times publishes a new conspiracy theory about Russia every week, usually with even less evidence. The story is constantly echoed in the mainstream media as “fact” and becomes part of our cultural belief system. It shapes opinions on a mass scale, even those of people who are skeptical of the media. That these stories are always debunked, sometimes within days, does little to curb their effects. Among these effects are the legitimation of an extremely dangerous foreign policy.

      Which is worse, the NY Times or Qanon? I sincerely wonder how the author of this piece in MIT Technology Review would feel about de-platforming the Times to protect us from harmful disinformation.

      1. hunkerdown

        I think they’re both run by the same people.

        The nice thing (from the rulers’ standpoint) about all these conspiracy theories is that the ones that take off seem to always follow the Gould rule, pitting one half of the working class against the other, without implicating any actual power centers. In fact, that seems to be a good working test for what’s bullshit and what’s not.

        I see that they’re trying very, very hard to preempt an open-source insurgency such as John Robb has been quietly not bragging about designing and setting up in SW Asia, trying to add more, and more varied, noise to the mix, to see if something will resonate and distract the inconsolable children they’ve been quietly starving and abusing, and are acting up for no good reason.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          There was a link here last week about how the CIA pushes stories to the MSM and that they’d give four fake stories they wanted to push for every one true one. So, who’s to say they couldn’t be feeding Qanon similarly? Except the four fake stores would be intended to help discredit the one true story they’d want to bury. Seems plausible to me.

      2. T

        You’re not wrong. Large population with no material discomfort who would prefer to believe anything other than genuine grievances and a larger population who because of early life or outdated models believe they ~should~ be living free and easy and are incoherently furious … when and where and how is the truth useful for them?

      3. Aumua

        Which is worse, the NY Times or Qanon?

        Look at the Times front page. Almost every story, every day is some kind of Trump hit piece. Whatever facts are present in the news stories about things such as COVID, or the protests, there is always this additional agenda being pushed at every turn to make Trump look as bad as possible. People see that, and it throws into doubt everything the Times and other MSM outlets say. The Times is as responsible as anyone for driving people in record numbers toward these batshit insane, hard right alt-narratives.

    3. hunkerdown

      Then one has to trust in one’s fellow man, which is a daily battle against the forces of ambient competitiveness and arrogance woven into the core of Anglo culture (especially Victorian culture, as the War Nerd guest post today shows).

  8. Alex morfesis

    On Cuba’s national keep the mic working day…on July 27th, 1953, the military spending wind down on the Korean peninsula was scheduled to take effect…our former man in Havana, Mr Prio, was happy to oblige and called on his old krewe and associates, including the Castro family, to help the cause by staging a Woody Allen type party with guns with proper Western media coverage. Thus on July 26th, the great committee to make sure Batista is not allowed to successfully drill for oil offshore in Cuba along with the need for the fabrication of a new enemy was born. The made for TV event led to the five eyes flow thru of money to buy the granmma, where a boat made for 12 people magically, in typical Cuban style, morphs into a vessel holding over 80 “heroes” who typically do their mister Magoo and lead to 20 being escorted into Prio drug manufacturing and dealing operations in the hills of Cuba.

    When cienfuegos, the real leader of the Cuban revolution is scheduled to take over Cuba in a grand meeting after Batista took the mic offer of free cash and no work on New Year’s Eve, there is that famous photo of Prio sitting at the center of a table with che and Fidel sitting around “him”….all smiling as they know the airplane carrying cienfuegos was going to attempt an unconventional landing while falling apart in midair…thus obviously preventing cienfuegos from leading the nation “his” revolution had freed…

    The great Cuban plantation lives on, with the “commite” replacing Wall Street and oligarchs as the head piglets in charge…the great indoctrination and narrative machine a shining example on how to keep everyone happy being broke while staying in power and selling strategic minerals to NATO with slave labor.

  9. fresno dan

    More Than A Few Bad Apples: Why Conservatives Should Back Police Reform American Conservative

    Some of conservatives’ reluctance to acknowledge systemic problems with our nation’s law enforcement structures is temperamental. Conservatives are, by nature, reluctant to enact widespread change without plenty of evidence that such change is necessary. We tend to see revolutionary change, like something as dramatic as reforming our entire police system, as inviting disaster, and we prefer incremental changes whenever possible.
    A problem with the above is that principles are rarely followed. “Conservatives” passed all sorts of police “reform” that gave police special and additional rights, such as laws that prevent police suspected of crimes being afforded a 3 day period before they can be interrogated. Despite the fact that there was NO evidence that police were being maliciously prosecuted. If the criminal justice system is deficient in providing defendants rights, additional rights should be provided to ALL defendants, not just police. Such “reforms” were simply done for the political purpose of winning endorsements from police associates and being given the imprinter of being “pro police.”

    1. a different chris

      Also, given the normal (self) misunderstanding of conservatives, I would correct this to “without plenty of personal evidence that such change is necessary. ”

      Conservatives don’t believe in things that don’t happen to them. People (still, amazingly enough) like to say “a conservative is a liberal who got mugged” with that stupid smile they always have when they think they are making a point.

      I quickly wipe the smile off their face with “a liberal is a conservative that got arrested”.

      1. fresno dan

        a different chris
        July 27, 2020 at 9:01 am

        Unfortunately, too many “conservatives” are like Trump, and lack even a scintilla of intellectual honesty. Trump, after actually and truly being set up by the FBI, still thinks he is the only one that ever happened to in American history. Everybody the police beats or kills deserved it. And that the ONLY POSSIBLE miscarriage of justice is when a rich white guy is convicted of a financial crime…

        1. John Steinbacvh

          Say what you will about “conservatives”, but I’d hesitate to accuse the American Conservative of lacking intellectual honesty.

          1. fresno dan

            John Steinbacvh
            July 27, 2020 at 2:38 pm

            I should have said pseudo conservatives – I link to American Conservative quite frequently

    2. Keith

      Blame unions for the three day grace period. Hopefully, the police reform movement will result in the public taking another look at public employee unions in general. As police unions garner more scrutiny, that just may happen.

    3. John Wright

      Asset forfeiture is an additional area for police reform.


      “Police abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws has shaken our nation’s conscience. Civil forfeiture allows police to seize — and then keep or sell — any property they allege is involved in a crime. Owners need not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for their cash, cars, or even real estate to be taken away permanently by the government.”

      “For people whose property has been seized through civil asset forfeiture, legally regaining such property is notoriously difficult and expensive, with costs sometimes exceeding the value of the property. With the total value of property seized increasing every year, calls for reform are growing louder”

    4. John Anthony La Pietra

      If the criminal justice system is deficient in providing defendants rights, additional rights should be provided to ALL defendants, not just police.

      Imagine if police-union contracts, LEO Bills of Rights, etc. were all subject to state or Federal law saying this — that either both police and everyone else got the additional rights the police bargained for, or neither police nor anyone else did. Now THAT would be a real example of serving and protecting!

  10. timbers

    Catlin Johnstone is dangerous. Hope DHS doesn’t notice her:

    The leader of the most powerful country on earth speaks in a way that has no real relationship with facts or reality in any way, and people have just learned to roll with it.

    There’s a presidential election between two obvious dementia patients and the mass media are all pretending that’s fine and normal despite what people can see with their own eyes.

    Another topic:

    All those blue wave 2020 articles. Maybe we need some 2022 red wave articles to go side by side, too? It might turn a few light bulbs on. Or just get them to cash and loot the place quicker this time.

    1. KLG

      Yes, caitoz is very dangerous. How has she stayed on the interwebs “in this country” all this time?

      Blue wave? More like a Blue Ripple in a receding puddle at the street corner after a brief summer rain shower.

      I have a very good friend going back to elementary school who has a severe case of TDS. Like most good liberals, the belief is that Donald Trump is the inexplicable, unbidden embodiment of the Apocalypse. Last week I sent a rundown on Biden’s past and how he and his peeps paved the road for Trump, who is well within our norm (except for the unpresidential tweet storms) and her response was: “But he is the only alternative, what are we going to do?”

      1. Pookah Harvey

        “Trump, who is well within our norm (except for the unpresidential tweet storms)”

        140.000 dead due to incompetence
        Sending Federal storm troopers into major American cities to quell 1st amendment protesters
        Encouraging armed right wing militias to roam cities to protect them from “antifa”.

        These are within our norms?
        Biden’s and Trump’s policies are similar but one is not a completely incompetent demogogue who is determined to divide the country.

        1. KLG

          Yeah, pretty much. Federal leadership can be useful, but public health is a state and local matter in this country. Cuomo the Second could have prevented most of the 32,000 deaths in NY, before taking credit for “flattening the curve” while letting nursing home management off the hook for thousands of unnecessary deaths; we’ll see if the latter sticks. Ditto for many other governors. Go to 91-DIVOC and noodle around. Daley the First had the storm trooper thing down pretty well, albeit with locals. Ditto for William H. Parker in Los Angeles, not so long ago; ask Mike Davis. Rizzo in Philadephia. Conner in Birmingham. What do you think COINTELPRO was? The Department of Homeland Security is a thoroughly bipartisan construct (as was its cognate Heimat a thoroughly foreign concept until someone in Bush the Lesser’s administration thought it up). As for Trump being a “completely incompetent demagogue,” that can go two ways. Compared to Huey Long and Father Coughlin, he is a piker (go to Thomas Frank’s latest, featured here in the past few days). But Trump knows where to strike his opponents…ask Hillary and Bill. Does Joe Biden? Does Joe Biden have any clue as to his (erstwhile) opponents? I know not to turn my back on either of them, especially the latter. His henchmen are likely to be more competent.

    2. a different chris

      She’s unfortunately perfect for the DHS (?*) and the like. She’s a woman from another country – exactly the type of person they can point their drooling followers at and say “see! see!!” (see *what* is already been pre-programmed).

      The difference between the fascism we all read about and what’s happening today is that the fascists have realized that they actually are better off letting the opponents have a microphone, just so it’s one way smaller than theirs. It’s much harder to scare people if they don’t experience anybody to be scared of.

      *you do know she doesn’t live in the US?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Yeah, she works from Melbourne (Australia – not Florida) so is probably working from lockdown right now. And I believe that her husband is an American guy named Tim Foley who collaborates with her writing.

          1. Carolinian

            You Aussies are the new Canadians Among Us. I hadn’t realized until recently that my heartthrob (and very good actress) Margot Robbie is Australian. Seems all those descendants of the transported turned out to be good looking, camera friendly people–go figure.

            1. The Rev Kev

              They pop up here and there in unexpected places. Chris Hemsworth aka Thor, is also from Oz and grew up in both Melboune and the Outback.

    3. foghorn longhorn

      Just goes to show that the gov. has been ‘catfishing’ us for the last 250+ years.
      Nothing to see here, pick biden or trump you dumb plebes.

    4. flora

      Blue wave or Blue Dog wave? That is the question.

      Those centrists are DLC informed Dems. The DLC has history.

      This is from an Intercept article:

      The Obama administration embraced free trade, making the enactment of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership a cornerstone of its global trade policy that was widely opposed on the left and right. Donald Trump made opposition to free trade a central component of his campaign and rode to the White House over the objections of the Koch brothers. He immediately pulled out of the TPP negotiations and has made opposition to free trade a central component of his presidency. The leading progressive Democratic candidates for president, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, both opposed the free trade agreement.

      1. Steve

        The title was Free Trade. The agreement itself was not about Free Trade. In point of fact it was not free trade it was heavily regulated trade which tried to move US business interest on IP and pharma forward (as in backwards for the average consumer). Brought to you by the same clowns who called it the Patriot Act. No president is actually interested in free trade.

        1. flora

          Also hidden in the fine print, passage would stop renewable energy changes at the point where TTP was passed. That’s why energy companies lobbied hard to roll back passed renewable energy bills in states’ legislation. Roll them back, so when TPP passed then the rolled back statutes would be in place and no new renewable energy bills could be passed, per TPP. Clever, eh?

  11. jr

    Re: neoliberal establishment lapdog Trevor Noah

    I had no idea what a piece of work Noah is. Lots of high talk on social justice issues here but literal laughter for butchered striking miners:

    Also, a copyright troll:

    This show is called “Noncompete”, the host is an anarchist who has run afoul of one of Noah’s creatures whose task it is to find instances of “fair use” of Noah on Youtube and then “strike” them. That bit starts at 9 minutes.

    I actually know a woman who dates one of the writers of the show and I had the misfortune of meeting some of them. At the time they were transitioning from Stewart to Noah. As smug and politically ignorant a group of Manhattanite circle jerkers as you could hope to not find…

    1. The S

      People only get put on TV if they’re no threat to the status quo and their politics are tepid. Why would rich media owners have voices on if those voices might cost them money and power? Most all of our celebrities are trash who want to protect the system that made them celebrities.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      IIRC, Noah had some of the hardest, most skewed and unfair anti-Sanders stuff on the air in 2016. The first piece I saw was so anti-populism, I thought it was intended as a parody of the Hillary/Dem establishment until someone pointed out it wasn’t.

      Sadly, the studio audience roared approval.

      1. jr

        Apparently Sanders isn’t the only target of his mud. I’d love to see him get purged for this eventually. How many careers have been put to the torch for far less?:

        “Messi gets the ball and the real players try foul him, but Messi doesn’t go down easy, just like jewish chicks. #ElClasico
        — Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) January 25, 2012
        Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn’t look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!
        — Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) September 18, 2009
        Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel
        — Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) May 12, 2014

        Looking at how successful all the Kardashian women are, I don’t blame Bruce Jenner at all.
        — Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) February 5, 2015
        “Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!” – fat chicks everywhere.
        — Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) October 14, 2011
        I’m watching Olympic women’s hockey. It’s like lesbian porn. Without the porn. #InLove
        — Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) July 31, 2012
        A hot white woman with ass is like a unicorn. Even if you do see one, you’ll probably never get to ride it.
        — Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) November 28, 2011

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Wow. It suddenly makes a lot more sense why he attacked Sanders as viscously as he did. Seems it wasn’t just pushing the Dem line, eh? Guess Noah should thank his lucky stars his Twitter history came under scrutiny in 2015 and not now.

            1. RMO

              Noah reminds me so much of the painfully unfunny attempts in US right wing media at comedy in the past.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well . . . one could always re-exhume it in hopes of getting it re-scrutinized.

    3. Rod

      so, whatever happened to Jon Stewart–y’know, after he ‘walked’ away from that FO platform–from which he was calling back some pretty accurate fire?

      1. jr

        I’ll say this for Stewart, I saw an interview of him where he said he deeply regretted the political divisiveness that his show helped foment. He was referring to a red state/blue state kind of thing and how the show had mocked red staters relentlessly. You’ll never hear such words out of Noah’s lips…

        1. Rod

          thanks for the insight–will say i do not think that out of his character range and pleases me

  12. a different chris

    The Respectable Lawyer link was a bit relieving…. until I realized that for us normal people, 50K is simply a lot of money especially when you haven’t incurred a single expense (like medical bills if you say got hit by a bus) over the issue. And a heck of a lot of money for somebody Sandmann’s age.


    1. Pat

      My read on that was Sandman got whatever was left after his lawyer’s percentage and “expenses”. I could be wrong but the way he referenced expenses I got the idea that he fully expected that Sandman didn’t begin to see 67%, which would be the most he would get in a standard representation agreement. And yes thirty thousand plus would be a nice chunk of change, but it isn’t the pay day assumed. (I agree with Respectable Lawyer, that the real value in this for Sandman is his status and position now in the MAGA groups which he should be able to cash on.)

    2. Duke of Prunes

      The lawyer may be right, but he lost me when he went after the kid (toward the end of his tweets). Most teenagers smirk. Then the “piling on” in the replies about his “punchable face” once again reminded me why twitter is a horrible, horrible thing.

  13. Matthew Saroff

    Ames comment on Spain’s death rate needs to mention that most of the worst actions taken in Spain have been taken by the PP provincial government in Madrid.

    The PP is very much the descendant of Franco’s Fascists.

  14. fresno dan

    Saint Bernards are known for helping to rescue distressed travelers in the mountains, but the tables were turned Sunday in northern England.

    Sixteen volunteers from the Wasdale mountain rescue team took turns carrying Daisy, a 121-pound Saint Bernard, from England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike. The mountain rescue team spent nearly five hours rescuing Daisy, who had collapsed Friday evening while descending the mountain with her owners.

    Rescue workers said Daisy was displaying signs of pain in her rear legs and was refusing to move. After consulting with a veterinarian’s office, they administered some pain relief and adjusted their stretcher, which is designed for humans, to be more dog-friendly. They also packed a few treats to help settle her down.
    Um, a man bites dog rescues St. Bernard story.
    AND the Wasdale mountain rescue team should maybe be renamed, in light of the fact that the afore mentioned elevation was 3,209 feet above sea level. Maybe it could be called the Wasdale very slight increase in the topography rescue team…
    Actually, I think it is endearing the lengths that people go to help their doggies.

      1. fresno dan

        July 27, 2020 at 5:31 pm
        They also packed a few treats to help settle her down. Daisy got TREATS!
        I wish somebody would give me treats…

  15. zagonostra


    Bolivia is but the latest of a long line of thriving, stable democracies destroyed with the support if not the outright participation of the U.S. government, while jingoistic media figures disseminated the propaganda used to justify it all. And the suffering, violence, repression and tyranny left in its wake are then simply ignored by those who helped bring it about.

    Yet most of my friends/family on the Right who support Trump against what they perceive as his heroic battle against the resurgent communist/socialist and the godless globalist, is their complete blindness to the empire which Trump presides (at least figuratively) over. Anytime I mention what happened in Venezuela, or in this case Bolivia, it’s as if cognitive functions cease. What they do clearly recognize is that the corporate media are an extension of the political ruling elites.

    What I also notice is that Trump is in trouble with the Right. They don’t like his wearing a mask, Fauci throwing out the first pitch in MLB while he meets with Little League kids at the WH. They want a clash with the Left, they define and derive meaning from that confrontation. Many, though not all, don’t like his calling out the Federales in Portland, they see it as an intrusion and danger (at least on this point) laying the foundation for future intrusions.

    Brings following quote to mind:

    Both parties make a public show of how bitter their conflicts are, and how dangerous it would be for the other party to achieve power, while both prostitute themselves to the financial sector, powerful industries, and the wealthy.”

    Charles H. Ferguson

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Turkey versus France – a game of one-upmanship in Libya?”

    I think that the situation is more dangerous than what the articles says. But first I would take issue when the author of this article said ‘He also added that some recent reports revealed that Russia had started recruiting fighters from Idlib province, which would likely include extremist operatives’ which is complete bs which the author would know. Idlib is under control of Jihadist factions, not Russian, and it is well know that Turkey has transported several thousand of these Jihadists to Libya via Turkey itself. Come to think of it, that was an outright lie that he told. But there was a notorious incident that the article deliberately understated for reasons of their own.

    Several weeks ago a cargo ship left Turkey for Libya escorted by three Turkish warships. A French frigate – the ‘Courbet’ – operating as part of Operation Sea Guardian (a NATO maritime security operation) went to investigate after being alerted by a Greek warship. The cargo ship refused to identify itself, its destination and eventually turned off its locator. One of the Turkish warships lit up the French warship three times with radar as the French warship attempted to board. So the cargo ship escaped and offloaded its cargo in Libya. The French filed an official complaint but NATO said it was “inconclusive” and the Turks demanded an apology. So the French said stuff the lot of you and withdrew from Operation Sea Guardian as they were going to be left swinging in the wind. This is not over.

    1. Keith

      On a positive note, if a war does break out, hopefully it would between NATO members Turkey vs France, Greece and Italy (Turks not so recently chased one of their drill ships away from Cypriot water), which could be a death bell for NATO. I could not see the US backing Turkey over our European brethren, which could cause the Turks to kick us out of their bases. Could be a good win for humanity, after the unpleasantness, of course.

      1. Alex morfesis

        Probably not the NATO break up and perhaps more a cut me in and let’s start drilling before all this oil and natural gas is worthless…fine print…Turkey burped out it wants “everyone” to have a fair share… everyone meaning Greece, turkey, Libya,(not Italy since they got too cute with far east mesoyian escapade) and others directly bordering…not France and not any remnants of mister five percent…Greece and turkey have played tag distraction games with each other every time there is some local investigative reporter getting too close to something…like clockwork…in theory, based on the European attempts 100 years ago to cripple the remaining part of the othman empire…a tiny triangle was left for turkey as it nautical rights somewhere between Rhodes and Cyprus….a preposterous stamp size blip…they are designing their own nine dashes map and France has continued it’s attempts to project empire while drowning in it’s own past with not too many citizens willing to gear up to keep the flame lit ….the only real question is will tayyip attempt a link with Ethiopia to keep Egypt in check…

        1. Keith

          You forgot to mention Israel. Turkey has put a block on their gas field development and pipelines to Europe. Also, a would question exactly what a “Turkish fair share” would really look like.

          Regarding the Ethiopian dam issue, a wildcard is Sudan. They are also adversely impacted. They are also dependent on their Arab Kingdom paymasters, who also has an interest in Libya, ditto for Russia. Worst case scenario, this could end up becoming a royal cluster, but, with NATO on both sides of the engagement, the US would have the cover to sit it out, for at least the initial cull, a la WWI and WWII style.

  17. John

    Motherland, Fatherland, Homeland: DHS was designed to be exactly what it is. I thought so at the time and nothing has occurred to change that perception. The emergence in public of large muscular agents of ICE confirmed it. Now we have “them” operating at night, nameless, snatching individuals at random, operating at arms-length using chemical agents against crowds. Step by step the idea of an American Secret Police is being normalized. The idea that you have no rights is being normalized. Does habeus corpus even exist anymore or has it been weasel-worded to death in the courts? Due process , trial by jury, self-incrimination have been whittled to splinters by the plead-guilty-to-the-lesser-offense-or-face-really-hard-time school of prosecutorial procedure.

    Declaring the protests riots, opens the doors to additional levels of arbitrary actions making clear a path toward a declaration of martial law, which would fit nicely into the Law-and-Order narrative upon which Mr. Trump hopes to be re-elected.

    The protesters need to look long and hard at the peaceful protest playbook of Dr. King. The Portland example of the line of Moms and line of Vets and a brigade of leaf blowers to return the tear gas to its senders are inspired. The purpose of “their” tactics is intimidation. Reacting violently and destructively may be momentarily gratifying, but it does not advance the cause. Be like water; fill the space available. Be the tide. Ebb and flow,but never disappear.

    1. ambrit

      Following up on your Maoite analogy of ‘wetness,’ the protesters need to identify the agents provocateurs in their midst and ‘liquidate’ them.
      There is a very long and storied tradition as to why the eventual ‘end’ for snitches and infiltrators is a shallow grave. It’s not only good tactics, but a very Human process.
      I come across as a hopeless cynic; of that I am aware. However, the historic record is quite clear; the powerful do not voluntarily cede power. They must be either swept out of the way or convinced, as a class, that their continued survival depends on compromise.
      The demonstrators in Portland and elsewhere need to establish secure channels of communication between themselves and like minded groups. In unity is strength. The Oligarchic elites used to understand this.

      1. hunkerdown

        They still do understand that, but their strategy today is to let the Market™ sabotage unity in the others via mass media, while remaining true to their own private culture mostly uninfected by the popular carborundum.

        And I’m not sure that letting them stick together as a class is going to provide anything but a temporary respite while they work in their inculcated ways to restore their supremacy and their ability to make others suffer (that’s what the human institution of rank is all about: some people’s childish fee-fees are more important than others). Since ambition cannot be durably made to counter ambition, perhaps it would be better to ensure they are all followed around by at least one escort from the working class, videoing everything.

        +1 to all the rest.

      2. Eureka Springs

        The fact agents provocateurs are both legal and utilized says so much. And so few ever seem to acknowledge this.

      3. Oh

        To me you don’t come across like a hoeless cynic. The dress rehearsal happened in Boston not too long ago with massive deployment of homeland security forces and massive firepower just to find two alleged bombers.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        Since there is no way for the layman to tell the “real” Black Bloc true believer from the “false flag” secret policeman in Black Bloc disguise . . . the vast majority of pro non-violence demonstrators would need to be able to exterminate-in-place every Black Bloc-looking person to be sure of exterminating the secret policemen.

        ” Kill them all. God will know his own.”

        Demonstration movements will have to mature into an awareness of the difference between non-violent demonstrationism as against pacifist sub-humanism.

    2. Rod

      to the chagrin of many
      The Portland example of the line of Moms and line of Vets and a brigade of leaf blowers to return the tear gas
      bold mine–IIRC–The largest gathering of Veterans formed to Protest actions by the Federal Gov’t took place at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation from 3Dec 2016 thru 6Dec 2016 in support of the Souix Nation and all the Indigenous American Veterans against the DAPL.

      Wesley Clark, quoted:
      “First Americans have served in the United States Military, defending the soil of our homelands, at a greater percentage than any other group of Americans,” he wrote in a document, formatted like a military operations order, that began circulating on the internet in early November. “There is no other people more deserving of veteran support and this situation encapsulates whether we are called heroes for violence and cashing paychecks or for justice and morality.”

      I got the reminder–The Oath is a forever thing–…Enemies Domestic and foreign (some here are familiar with the context)
      I was there, and there were thousands and thousands more of us. Despite the Blizzard etc most everybody i talked to agreed it was not the worst Cluster F***k we’d ever been in and probably for the best cause. Moral was high without drugs, as we were specifically asked to be clean when arrested so as not to give cause

      Corps of Engineers caved that Saturday to avoid a Bonus March Media Frenzy that most all of us thought was imminent.

      My take away was that Vets had Moral Highground in American Culture. Vets could use that Highground for Higher Causes and would. Police beating Vets would trigger cognitive dissonance in the American Public( many more families have Vets and NOT Police within their ranks) or at least within PD Vets.
      And that would be very useful in the future I saw coming.

      I fear that future is starting to emerge–because Tension at SR was as high as the Morale.

      I will add as anecdotal that most of my ‘Unit’ at Kenel and the Casino were from the PNW or Cali because of ETS and Marijuana Laws.

      1. flora

        I remember watching some MSM national news evening show at the time about the SR near confrontation. (MSM had pretty much ignored the SR protests until then.) The news announcers seemed… a bit nervous?… that something was about to go horribly wrong and they’d have to read from a script that didn’t match what viewers might be about to see. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Wukchumni

      Tried watching an MLB game, and to my horror it’s even more boring now, which didn’t seem possible.

      Oh, and go long on baseball manufacturer stock, they are going through 5x as many balls per game now.

      1. Bruno

        Watching baseball played without a crowd is like watching ballet danced without any music.

        1. mpalomar

          Gotta say I remember as a kid attending a game or two live in the early 1960s. Boring was an important part of the game, a game that revealed itself in its metromically regular pacing, pitch by drawn out pitch.

          The sport by its nature lacked overtly dramatic or violent confrontation, it absented brass marching bands, no cheerleaders, no annoying team mascots, no crescendos of synthesized stimuli rolling over the sound system. The unviolated senses were allowed to open to the subtle pleasures of the deadly pageantry and symbolism of a purer, slow is okay baseball.

          There was however the moment after passing the ticket taker and coming out the dark passages from under the grandstands to the bright view of the lush, green trimmed, infield diamond, there were smells that included cigar smoke, there were the sounds of the ball smacking into a mitt or cracking off a bat.

          Once they introduced the wave and the giant dumbo tron TV sound systems those Proustian moments of remarkable sensory stimulation were lost, probably forever.

    2. Burritonomics

      Well, with a ton of Miami marlins players and staff (14!) testing positive, and several games being postponed today, that may become true. The Covid-19 record scratch moment for this season has arrived even quicker than I thought it would.

      1. mike

        will the Miami players be good to go in a week or so? perhaps young, fit athletes won’t be so adversely affected by the virus? The story has more chapters to unfold.

      2. Wukchumni

        When the season ends (there will be no re-opening) soon, those salaries and no tv money coming in, is going to perhaps mean the end of paying players moon money?

  18. Carla

    I sent a few bucks to Caitlin Johnstone once before. Now I want to do it again, but must do so through Patreon (don’t remember if that was true the last time; doubt it). That gives me pause.

    I recall that Yves had some sharp criticisms of Patreon and does not use that platform. It looks to me like the kinda monopoly we should avoid feeding. But I checked, and Matt Stoller — the biggest foe of monopoly I know of — uses the Patreon platform.

    If Yves or anyone else has time to chime in as to whether I should donate to Caitlin Johnstone via Patreon, or if they know of any other way to send $ to her, I would appreciate it.

    Hate to feed the tech monopoly beast…

    P.S. Brilliant piece by Caitlin today!

    1. Lee

      Here’s an article about Patreon; The politics of the Patreon purge

      The article focuses on the issue of banning at the site. Patreon exercises editorial control. Many sites do, including Naked Capitalism. The issue for me is the editorial criteria of any given site.

  19. arielle

    Concerned by ProPublica article and many others, that refer to population of American citizenry as “civilians” (as in “complaints made by civilians”) as opposed to law enforcement. This line needs to remain as bright as possible (esp in light of Portland etc.). Police are also civilians; they are not military. Anyone else take issue with this?

    1. ambrit

      “Law enforcement” is not a monobloc.
      It includes many groups and sub-groups, each differentiated by function and level of force “allowed.”
      It follows that “local” cops are a bit military, they do carry guns, but not full out “squad and platoon tactic” assault units. SWAT teams are closer to the “militarized” police format.
      That said, the political organization to whom the police answer and from whom they take their orders is the key. The further removed from the public political sphere those units are separated, the easier it is to use the police units in question in anti-public ways.

    2. HotFlash,

      My brother worked for the Wayne County (MI) Police Dept, ie Detroit area). The elite group was ‘sworn officers”, he, as a probation officer, was not sworn (lower in the pecking order, along w/office staff and such), then civilians, then felons.

      Might be interesting to see what oath was sworn and compare it to observed behaviour. Funny, I can’t find it, it should be here somewhere.

      1. flora

        Interesting trivia: convicted felons can’t vote in lots of states. Convicted felons can serve in Congress. Make of that what you will.

        1. Bruno

          The SCOTUS has decreed that work requirements for “convicted felons” are not covered by the 13th prohibition against “involuntary servitude” because their involuntary servitude has been imposed as “punishment for crime.” Yet denial of voting rights to “convicted felons” after release has never been held by any court to be what it so obviously is, a direct violation of the 15th’s prohibition of voting-rights denial for a “previous condition of servitude.”

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            Well, if they did that, they might next have to look at Section 2 of the 14th Amendment — and realize that states which violate voting rights this way are supposed to lose a proportional share of their US House seats.

            (Now throw in the “one person, one vote” line of Supreme Court cases which say one way to deny voting rights to a person or a group is to dilute their voting power, their ability to affect the outcome of elections. Any state which doesn’t award its Electoral College votes — at least the ones that come with the House seats — in proportion to the popular vote in that state is doing just that . . . and therefore arguably violating the Constitution. The NPV proposal is even worse on this score, because it denies your voting power in your state based on results in other states with other election laws and rules — about which you can’t sue the other state, thanks to the 11th Amendment.)

          2. Angry gus

            I’ve worked with a bunch of “convicted felons” In Central Ca meth land… & Not one of them voted before or after incarceration… Except maybe that one guy tho… with the: ‘jesus is my homeboy’ tattoo .
            Getting more people to vote is great and all… and felons DO deserve the vote… but “those people” Ain’t the people that are going to swing an election … at least not in a good way .

  20. JacobiteInTraining

    Well, had a great weekend. Exhausted, but drove down to Portland to hang with some of my ‘leftist antifa terrorist’ friends, drink some brews, donate lots of $$ & supplies (old men with spare cash can support a movement well in this way, heehee) …and get a first hand look at the protests.

    We are all 50-somethings – a couple were Reagan/Bush voters once long ago, but they hate Trump only marginally less then I do – so although we participated during the day by the fed courthouse, a little marching/sign waving and listening to some BLM speeches, and then split off to go with some Native American groups for food, supply meetings, and other things….we left the ‘on the ground’ night activity to the youth.

    It was exhilarating. It was terrifying. Even during the day, when things were pretty calm (even right by the courthouse) there was this palpable presence of history….and not the good kind. People were masked up, cheerful, determined, and really REALLY pissed off. I dunno about at night, but during the time we were there during the day I didn’t see too much in the way of split focus – BLM messages front and center. Native American group I was with wants inclusion, but backing up BLM 100%.

    I grew up in Oregon, born and bred, and out in the rural fringes we used to have a saying (due to its complete quirkiness) that “Portland is about 15 minutes from Oregon” but I have a newfound respect for the city after seeing the solidarity.

    I called up some of my relatives – ex-loggers, salmon gillnetters, current farmers, and at least in my extended clan Trump is falling fast. Say what you like about a family arguing and disagreeing amongst itself, but when some external bully shows up and starts beating even that cousin you don’t like….you nevertheless unite the clan to mess up the bully. Thats what it felt like.

    Heh…if the feds want war, good luck in Oregon. They’ll f*** you up. :)

    1. pjay

      Thank you for the report. Could I ask a few questions? Let me preface by saying I don’t know much about the Portland situation. But my sister lived in downtown Seattle for many years until a few weeks ago. She was very sympathetic to the BLM demonstrations and visited the CHAZ site a couple of times. So I did get first hand reports from there.

      What is your take on reports that, while the majority of protesters are united and well-meaning, there are groups who have a somewhat different agenda (whether agent provocateurs, “anarchists” — or maybe just kids taking advantage of a disorganized situation)? Also, I know that in Seattle, a number of small business owners downtown, many of them fairly progressive, suffered and became considerably less supportive. How does that square with Portland? Let me be clear; in no way do I think federalization or militarization of the police is necessary (just the opposite). But given your own pretty positive report, I do see some possible problems. I’d be interested in your take.


      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I grew up in Eugene, Oregon. I was a ‘punk’ (in the 80’s) and the whole anarchist scene (which may or may not – but often does – align with the ‘black blocs’ that tend to break corporate windows) was present then, and has grown, changed, evolved.

        Aspects of the early Eugene scene no doubt cross-pollinated with P’land. Then again, I make no claims to understand that scene in P’land any more then I would in Seattle,..I’m a leftist suburban white guy who spends most of his time working, and trying to keep my little collective alive, housed, fed, and happy.

        When it comes to the question ‘there are groups who have a somewhat different agenda?’ I would say…yeah – plainly. Not everyone waits around to put the flower in the gun barrel before being shot.

        I saw all kinds. But if you want me to do a blanket condemnation of graffiti, direct action, and standing up to the authorities…you’ll not get a full-throated defense of ‘property rights’, or any other apologies for the way different groups choose to fight. Not from me.

        I would instead turn the question back on you and say – what do _you_ think makes people desperate enough to throw a rock through a window? To spray ‘ACAB’ and ‘die piggies’ on a federal building? To sniff tear gas, take a rubber bullet, and yet still stand shoulder to shoulder with a shield in front of a courthouse?

        Why do some people feel so pissed about their lives and their futures that facing off against guys who are armed to the teeth and can turn their brains to pink mist in a heartbeat…seems like a winning bet?

        TPTB dont want ‘socialism’? Or riots? _You_ don’t want that? Then figure out what people are (and have been) systematically lacking that causes them to become so angry…and work to remedy that want.

        You might be surprised at how quickly the angry become complacent again. A society that cares, works.

        A society that gleefully creates downtrodden serfs….well, it eventually riots. And worse….

        1. pjay

          Thanks for your response.

          I think I understand why many feel so pissed off. I am not trying to minimize the real anger out there. But there can be a variety of motives for throwing rocks through windows. That’s what I’m trying to sort out.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus: UK could impose more ‘handbrake restrictions’ on arrivals beyond Spain”

    I saw interviews with British tourist whose travel plans had been thrown into chaos by this sudden announcement of the Government measures. No warning, no easing in period but just bam! It has not escaped my notice that this may be of net benefit to the British government. Consider that UK finances have been bleeding heavily for the past six months.

    If people could be ‘nudged’ into having their holidays in the UK itself, then all the money spent would stay in the country and not be spent in Spain. People are now more wary about booking holidays in Europe as the government might add any of those countries to a quarantine list overnight. Remember too that the UK government has not had a problem with thousands of people coming into the country every week for most of the year but now they are suddenly worried about infected people returning? I smell a rat.

    1. fajensen

      I think at this point, the UK government is incapable of excecuting any coherent policies or even dastardly plots. They are all much too busy covering up the shambles from all of their latest cockups with new, soon-to-become-cockups, like this or perhaps “The Boris Health Plan” – which I predict will begin to come apart already in September.

      When will people stop caring?

      They are never going to enforce any quarantine for people coming back because that will take more effort than talking incoherently about random stuff does (The one sticky issue being perhaps the travel insurance which in some cases will not cover areas where travel is oficially advised against).

    2. ddt

      Guess it wasn’t an issue for brits to go on holiday, even with flight bans. BoJo’s dad managed to get into Greece via Bulgaria when UK was on a no-fly list (along with the US). Maybe the vacationers can also find a circuitous way back if flights from Spain are blocked.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Some time ago. I was walking through the woods when I came across an abandoned cabin. Curious, i went inside and found a rather large table with what appeared to be a shimmering, moving, surface. Pulling out my smartphone, I used a microscope app (it apparently zooms the camera and does some other image manipulation trickery) to closely examine the table surface. What I saw there was mesmeric; the surface was crawling with little microscopic creatures that looked to me like waddling medieval bankers, and they were behaving like Borgias. Assaults, thieving, brutal torturing in what appeared to be small city centers, murders, rapes of all kinds, small gangs industriously fortifying storerooms of what appeared to be food while tiny bones surrounded their walls and moats. Everywhere I looked, it was the same; absolute, unhinged, debauched brutality.
      Then something caught my eye in the center. Looking closely, I saw a wee man on a soapbox who seemed both aware of my presence and trying to get my attention by waving a megaphone (okay, a micro megaphone). Adjusting the app settings, I was able to get the mega microphone on my smartphone turned on so I could hear what the tiny man was trying to say.

      “THIS IS HOW WE FEED PARIS!”, he yelled with absolute confidence.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Churchill’s secret chemical war”

    The British knew that if the Wehrmacht landed, that it was going to be a fight to the death. German plans were to, after occupying the islands, evacuate all the men to the continent as slave labour leaving only the women and children as labourers. It was not only poison gas that the British were planning to use. Up and down the coastline the British installed pipelines that would pump oil off invasion sites and light them up burning the German troops to death. Here is a contemporary film showing this operation and they made sure that the Germans knew that this was waiting for them-

  23. ptb

    Re: Covid testing
    CNN reports that pooled testing has been approved at Quest and LabCorp, citing Asst. HHS Sec Giroir, Trump’s “testing czar”.

    Giroir also said that last week, pool testing was authorized at Quest and LabCorp, which will help “improve efficiency.” Surge testing is also being added to “a number of cities where there are outbreaks,” and point-of-care testing is being increased at nursing homes, he said. [CNN 2020.07.26]

  24. Ignacio

    RE: Covid-19 vaccines may cause mild side effects, experts say, stressing need for education, not alarm

    By now and for the next few months vaccine developers such as Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZeneca plus other players joining later will be recruiting dozens of thousands of volunteers in hundreds of recruiting sites distributed all along the US. Now, the US is a good place for Phase III trials that guarantees many of the vaccinated/unvaccinated volunteers will be ‘naturally’ challenged by the spreading epidemic in relatively short times.

    Volunteers will be informed about risks before signing the mandatory Informed Consent Form. and developers have more or less good info on the reactogenicity of their candidate vaccines. Those nasty vaccine-associated side effects described in the article that seem to be associated with the presence of vaccine-associated production of SARS CoV 2 Spike protein subunits in all those candidates. Yet, there are unknown risks. Imagine Moderna, that has published ‘promising’ Phase I/II results but hasn’t done any preclinical study on efficacy and adverse side effects such as ADE in Rhesus macaques. Will these unknown risks be communicated to the volunteers in a comprehensive way? I am looking closely at this and still see to many unknowns. But one of the questions I am making myself is if we are granting Phase III permits to easily and to too many candidates. This could backfire later because if it is true that the more candidates, the more possibilities to have something approved, it is certain that the probabilities of unanticipated adverse effects are also higher.

    Preliminary results so far reported show indeed a promise for protection but immunologic analyses so far published are not as comprehensive as I think these should be. Since results are ‘preliminary’ it may well be the case that manufacturers already have more detailed knowledge on their vaccines not yet published or to be kept secretive. I wouldn’t volunteer to any project that is unable to answer my questions and I would be surely rejected for making too many questions making them uncomfortable.

    I somehow feel uncomfortable with such a large wave of Phase III trials.

    1. Otto

      Agreed. This strikes me as another attempt to dictate to reality. If I recall correctly, this worked exactly = never.

    2. Rod

      using a shot gun with birdshot to practice marksmanship may led one to overestimate ones true ability

    3. HotFlash

      I propose that we use Congresscritters as a test group. If n=535 isn’t enough, we could include staffers, members of think tanks, D and R “strategists”, and, of course, lobbyists. I would suggest Pharma, banking, and Insurance CEO’s and marketing types, but we are talking about human testing, and I’m pretty sure they don’t qualify.

      1. Ignacio

        Or, at least, before going with 30.000-40.000 volunteers with each candidate do the necessary time-course analysis with phase I/II subjects and do all the necessary characterization of vaccine candidate’s immunogenicity including not only virus neutralization titres but also characterizing the cytokine response, the kinds of antibodies produced, (affinity, epitopes tagged, subclass and route of protection via NK cells, monocites etc) and the whole cellular response (Thelper bias if any, cytokines plus types of T-lymphocites involved). Extra simultaneous preclinical studies would also help to evaluate risks.

  25. Idland

    Sure let’s lend the RW a hand in coming up with a decent critique of Marx. They are obviously out of their depth and resorting to violence.

  26. urblintz

    I lived in and loved Manhattan for 30 years. I left in 2011. As a musician, a singer, I thrived there and often included on my recitals a song written by a friend. The poem is by Frank O’Hara and it resonates still, although in very different ways now:

    Song (Is it dirty)

    Is it dirty
    does it look dirty
    that’s what you think of in the city

    does it just seem dirty
    that’s what you think of in the city
    you don’t refuse to breathe do you

    someone comes along with a very bad character
    he seems attractive. is he really. yes. very
    he’s attractive as his character is bad. is it. yes

    that’s what you think of in the city
    run your finger along your no-moss mind
    that’s not a thought that’s soot

    and you take a lot of dirt off someone
    is the character less bad. no. it improves constantly
    you don’t refuse to breathe do you

  27. kareninca

    I would like to think Caitlin is right but I don’t think she is. I have a friend who is a member of the PMC since her husband has a good job. She has the usual advanced degree, but has a “ladylike” job. Despite money being tight due to the family’s purchases (including a second home), she bought a ticket to the Pussy Hat march and went back then.

    Recently she told me that she does not think that we can obtain information and reason from it to an understanding of what is going on in the world. Well, there is some truth to that; we are looking at a lot of propaganda. But her conclusion is that we have to go by emotion. Strictly by emotion. As a consequence, she is not interested in information about the corruption of politicians whom she has decided make her feel superior emotions.

    I don’t know how to interact with someone who actually thinks it is best to base all behavior on the emotion of the moment.

    1. flora

      sigh… Over decades I’ve heard so many men say “women can’t be trusted with leadership, they’re too emotional.”, or words to that effect. Your friend is keeping up the stereotype.

    2. km

      Sounds like “I’ve got my feelings and I’m not going to let inconvenient facts get in my way!”

      I think some WWII German general said that truth and falsity are irrelevant – the only thing that matters is what one believes is true. Magical thinking at its most sparkly. The irony is that this general was a logistics specialist. That is one area where magical thinking and sparkly ponies sure don’t help, and it sure didn’t help the Germans,

  28. Laputan

    RE: Child care is broken. Biden has a plan to fix it.

    I’m all for not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, but I’m beginning to think that the Democrats start the bargain at what most of its constituency would define as the compromise because they don’t even want the compromise (see: the last 40 years).

    Universal pre-school for ages 3 & 4 sounds great, but you know what sounds even better? Universal childcare. I don’t get the strategy here. Assuming they’re in earnest – I know, I’ve already assumed away reality – is their play to seem both compassionate and fiscally responsible after their proposal inevitably gets shot down by the republicans? Do they think the public actually remembers or cares about this kind of horse-trading you only find on cable news? They’re just going to again look feckless and weak when they only get what the republicans will give, a bailout for the daycare companies.

    And what was conspicuously absent about the squeeze childcare puts on families and childcare workers was the obvious: the fact that most of these companies exploit both. It’s like the author can’t understand what happened to the money from the rising costs if they didn’t go to workers. The arithmetic is pretty simple.

    1. jr

      Did Biden mention touching any children as part of his plan? Sniffing their hair in a fatherly way?

  29. Michael McK

    Re Intel not able to keep up with Asian chip fabricators:
    Isn’t what we have good enough? Can’t we just survive fine forever with the state of tech gadgetry and sophistication we have now? The e-waste implications alone of the constant march ‘forward’ boggle the mind. Has any new stage of tech in the last decade actually made anyone’s lives any better aside from investors and those consumers they subsidize enroute to envisioned monopoly? Couldn’t more useful investments be made with people’s time, energy and resources?
    How do we resist this, beyond looking bored when early adopters gush? Asking investors to divest from the sector responsible for most recent stock market returns would be a tough sell.

  30. Olivier

    Intel throwing the towel would truly be the end of an era.

    But it is more than just an issue of US dominance. As costs keep skyrocketing with every new generation (see for instance this chart how much longer would even a single chipmaker monopolist be able to cope? Similar considerations hold for many other wonders of technology. We may be approaching the point where society can no longer fund further technological advances. What happens then: do we merely stagnate or do we go into a tailspin?

    1. Oh

      The kind of technology that they keep coming up with is mostly unnecessary. I don’t think we’ll go into a tailspin. Let them eat chips!

    2. Michael McK

      I don’t think stagnation would be bad if it meant that I still had this great cheap laptop I’m using and we had a web with NC on it as we have now. I am content with the tech I have. I want innovations in local food and resource production, and social equity. Oh, wait, we don’t need more innovations in those fields, just application of the knowledge we already have.
      As to tailspins, I see the relentless proliferation of technology and the prevalent belief that the more technology is a solution to Earth’s ills is a major part of the social, and more importantly environmental, tailspins I feel like we are in the first few revolutions of.
      I know I am using the word technology broadly and loosely but one bad aspect of our (in many ways great) technology enabled conversations is how much time they consume so I will leave it at that.

      1. Olivier

        No doubt the current modus operandi is unsustainable. I would be very happy with current technology in perpetuity (except in medicine, which still leaves a lot to be desired) but our society is geared for growth and “progress”, practically requires it. When it stops somehow I don’t think the result will be pleasant stagnation, more an almighty unraveling. That’s worth pondering.

    3. VietnamVet

      AMD 7nm CPUs are manufactured by TSMC in Taiwan. Intel’s failure to manufacture chips below 14nm means that it is in the same position as Boeing, unable to design and build with the latest technology. To sell chips Intel will have to outsource too. Basically the last manufacturers left in the USA have failed. There really are not any options left. The Trump Administration response was trying to restart the Cold War with China and cut off Tim Cook’s supply of iPhones. Joe Biden, on the other hand, will take the globalist’s money and Asia will supply North America with manufactured goods.

      With the failure to control COVID-19, the protests will only expand. The enormous public and private debt will only be supported by industrial farming and fracking. The backwater, sick areas of the USA will split apart from the 10% controlled relative healthy cities that merge with nearby military nuclear armed bases to form Neo-feudal corporate fiefdoms.

  31. farmboy

    CJ’s Narrative is Crumbling and the Qanon observations allow us to see our consciousness is formed around our experience, second by second, epoch by epoch. That we share this horizontally or day to day and vertically or historically is easy to miss. This is the “meta” of consciousness and if we allow it to find expression in poetic ways like CJ has done here it is always and forever subversive. How we think and what we think, that “little voice in your head” can be soothed with some art, some nature, or some emptiness. CJ has given us art today. I, for one, listen to the dirt teeming with millions to give today’s rhythm and a little blues.

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