Links 7/31/2020

‘They’re Not Looking for Us.’ Experts Say Sharks Might Mistake Humans for Seals When They Attack Time. Metaphorical sharks, on the other hand….

The parallel universe of private equity returns FT. “If IRRs since-inception could be banked, our pension funds would all be as rich as Croesus. Manifestly, if sadly, that is not the case.”
As pandemic rages on, world economic recovery looks ever more shaky: Reuters poll Reuters

The Rot Of The St. Louis Elite Goes Far Deeper Than The “Gun Couple” Current Affairs. Note how the virus got seeded in St Louis: exactly as I suggest here.

Big Tech defies global economic fallout with blockbuster earnings FT. Go long social distancing.

Corporate Insiders Pocket $1 Billion in Rush for Coronavirus Vaccine NYT

US companies cling to share buybacks despite collapse in profits FT


Aerosol and surface contamination of SARS-CoV-2 observed in quarantine and isolation care Nature. We had this a week ago as a preprint. Alert reader Ignacio commented:

RE: Aerosol and Surface Transmission Potential of SARS-CoV-2 (preprint) medRxiv (via). From the body of the study: “Air samples in the rooms and in the hallway spaces (Figure 1B, and Tables S1 and S2) provide information about airborne viral shedding in these facilities. We found 63.2% of in-room air . samples to be positive by RT-PCR… [C]ell culture indicated some evidence for the presence of replication competent virus.” See the link at “via” for the Agence France Presse summary for the methodology in human-readable prose. To my knowledge, this is the first study to trace a pathway from the actual breath of individuals to infectiousness (“replication competent”).

Thank you, this is really a boost for the airborne transmission hypothesis: if you detect infectious particles in the air and demonstrate that these are infectious in in vitro cultures there is not much to add.

“Now that aerosol transmission of the coronavirus is established” (lambert preens):

SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV viral load dynamics, duration of viral shedding and infectiousness: a living systematic review and meta-analysis (preprint) medRvix. From the abstract: “Although SARS-CoV-2 RNA shedding in respiratory and stool can be prolonged, duration of viable virus is relatively short-lived. Thus, detection of viral RNA cannot be used to infer infectiousness. High SARS-CoV-2 titres are detectable in the first week of illness with an early peak observed at symptom onset to day 5 of illness.”

List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) EPA. My thought is that the aerosols have to settle somewhere. So surface disinfecting would play an important role.

* * *

Operation Warp Speed leader says he expects coronavirus vaccine to be highly effective, ‘in the 90%’ range CNN

Pfizer CEO says it’s ‘radical’ to suggest pharma should forgo profits on COVID-19 vaccine: report Fierce Pharma. Yes, and?

Most in poll say they’re willing to wait for COVID-19 vaccine to be fully tested The Hill

* * *

Effect of statins on SARS-CoV-2 infection (preprint; PDF) medRxiv. From the abstract: “We therefore investigated the effect of statins on SARS-CoV-2 infection [via cell culture] and found that selective statins reduced SARS-CoV-2 cell entry and inhibited high and low pathogenic coronavirus infection in human cells. A retrospective study on hospitalized patients with COVID-19 implies that reduced high density lipoprotein levels, which are typically counteracted by statin therapy, are associated with aggravated disease outcome. These results suggest that statin therapy poses no additional risk to individuals exposed to SARSCoV-2 and that some statins may have a mild beneficial effect on COVID-19 outcome.”

Statin Usage is Linked to a Lower Death Rate in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients (press release) UCLA Health. “Hospitalized patients taking statins had a 5.2% mortality rate, compared to a 9.4% mortality rate in patients not taking statins from two groups of COVID-19 patients with matching clinic characteristics except statin usage.”

* * *

What Back to School Might Look Like in the Age of Covid-19 NYT. It’s an “Illustrated Guide.” So why the heck are the school bus windows closed in the illustration?

Careless writing and illustration, sloppy editing. I guess everybody was too occupied in getting the fancy interactive to scroll horizontally and vertically — a first for me, and boy howdy, was that confusing and useless — to actually focus on depicting simple public health measures accurately.

Reopening US Schools in the Era of COVID-19: Practical Guidance From Other Nations JAMA

Age-Related Differences in Nasopharyngeal Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Levels in Patients With Mild to Moderate Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) JAMA. From the discussion: “Our analyses suggest children younger than 5 years with mild to moderate COVID-19 have high amounts of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in their nasopharynx compared with older children and adults. Our study is limited to detection of viral nucleic acid, rather than infectious virus, although SARS-CoV-2 pediatric studies reported a correlation between higher nucleic acid levels and the ability to culture infectious virus.5 Thus, young children can potentially be important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 spread in the general population, as has been demonstrated with respiratory syncytial virus, where children with high viral loads are more likely to transmit.6 Behavioral habits of young children and close quarters in school and day care settings raise concern for SARS-CoV-2 amplification in this population as public health restrictions are eased.”

After Cruise Ships and Nursing Homes, Will Universities Be the Next COVID-19 Tinderboxes? Time

* * *

Handyfuge-LAMP: low-cost and electricity-free centrifugation for isothermal SARS-CoV-2 detection in saliva (preprint; PDF) Ethan Li*, Adam Larson*, Anesta Kothari, Manu Prakash✝, Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University medRxiv. From the abtract: “We present here an open hardware solution- Handyfuge – that can be assembled with readily available components for the cost of <5 dollars a unit and could be used together with the LAMP assay for point of care detection of COVID-19 RNA from saliva. The device is then validated using the LAMP protocol from Rabe and Cepko. With the use of insulated coolers for reagent supply chain and delivery, the assay presented can be completed without the need for electricity or any laboratory scale infrastructure."

The Trump administration was slow to recognize coronavirus threat from Europe, CDC director admits CNN


Hong Kong elections: mass disqualification of opposition hopefuls sparks political storm South China Morning Post

US, China consulate closures deal losses to both nations AP

For kitchen-less Hong Kongers, new ban on restaurant dining is a bitter pill Reuters

Cover Story: The Losing Game for Chinese Retail Investors Caixin. They’re getting the hang of it!


The EU Isn’t Letting In American Tourists Anytime Soon Bloomberg. I remember when I got my first passport, and being, well, proud: “The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and to give all lawful aid and protection.” Oh well.

London’s Newest Ghost Town Was Financed by China Bloomberg

UK’s answer to Disneyland revealed in plans for major new theme park Metro UK

US to bring 6,400 troops home from Germany, move 5,600 more AP

Trump Transition

Trump offers, Democrats reject fix for $600 jobless benefit AP

‘The odd couple’: Mnuchin and Meadows struggle to make a deal Politico

As extra jobless benefits end, millions of Americans struggle to afford food CBS

Lawmakers and jobless workers lash out at California’s unemployment agency LA Times

Treasury report: Less than 25% of state and local emergency funds used as congressional debate heats up CNN

USPS Plans to Slash Hours at Many Post Offices, Hoping to Save A Buck Vice. Outright sabotage.

Census Door Knocking Cut A Month Short Amid Pressure To Finish Count NPR. Another Constitutional public function trashed.

Democrats in Disarray

READ: President Barack Obama’s eulogy for Rep. John Lewis ABC. Summarizing:

All these measures have been desperately needed since at least Florida 2000. That’s 2020 – 2000 = 20 years. So Obama — hold onto your hats, folks — is being strictly performative. Obama could also have eliminated the filibuster in 2009, and if he had wanted to be the next FDR, he would have.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton says the quiet part out loud:


Republican China Hawks Secretly Approaching Team Biden The Daily Beast

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Newly Released Records in Ghislaine Maxwell Case Reveal Correspondence With Jeffrey Epstein Courthouse News. This is interesting:

This is correct; I’ve tested it. Enjoy!

Bill Clinton Went to Jeffrey Epstein’s Island With 2 ‘Young Girls’, Virginia Giuffre Says Newsweek

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

How DHS Went to War With the American People Slate

Multiple Tor security issues disclosed, more to come ZD Net. Oh.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why COVID-19 presents a world reordering moment Brookings Institute. “[W]orld order has come to an end and is not coming back any time soon.”

Failed State

Why Big Nations Have Been Brought Low by the Pandemic Bloomberg. What a poor headline; there’s no nation bigger than China. But this:

In the U.S., the pandemic has made the consequence of decades of misallocation and paralysis tragically clear. The American edifice of government has been hollowed out and its federal structure made unfit for purpose in a partisan and divided age. This ineffectiveness is reflected in data such as the World Governance Indicators, which has seen the U.S. decline steadily over the past two decades.

The world’s largest economy should not have a state that struggles to respond effectively to a crisis, even a once-in-a-century crisis. India’s state, on the other hand, has always been low on capacity. In fact, it’s a standard joke among policy analysts in India that any conversation about what needs to be done ends with the statement, “But we can’t do that anyway.” The Indian state, at every level, is chronically short of managerial resources, of talent, of resources and of time.


UK government refuses to release information about Assange judge who has 96% extradition record Declassified UK (dk).


Anti-Eviction Protesters Just Blocked People From Entering a New Orleans Courthouse Vice (Re Silc).

Portland’s Wall of Moms crumbles amid online allegations by former partner, Don’t Shoot PDX Oregon Live

Citing impostors, feds urge lifting of court order protecting journalists amid Portland protests Politico. P.G. Wodehouse novels are full of “impostors,” but this one appears to have been co-written with Heinrich Himmler.

Class Warfare

What the Sanders universal masking bill would lay (some of) the foundations for:

Halting the economy for a month would require capital accumulation to come to a halt as well, as the C-M-C’ cycle would be interrupted, and workers would be fully provisioned, by government, in order to live, and not merely to work. You — although not Slavitt — can see why this would be problematic for elites; it might get workers asking awkward questions. Republicans (as usual) express ritual fealty to C-M-C’ crudely, by saying “We don’t want to pay people not to work more than we pay them to work.” Democrats (as usual) haze the issue over with means-testing, complex eligibility requirements, demands that existing systems (e.g., unemployment) do what they are not designed to do, refusal to recognize the scope of the problem, and general fecklesness and delay. (For example, the HEROES act — love the name — distinguishes between workers who are essential, and those who are not. Of course, all workers are essential to somebody, even if only themselves, or families.

Consumer groups challenge “deceptive” Tyson ads that brag about worker safety The Counter

You’re Only As Free as You Are Wealthy The Nation

Ellen: ‘I Never Intended To Make Staff Feel Unsafe By Wearing A Bloodied Ram Skull And Stalking Them With A Hatchet’ The Onion

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. fresno dan

    Effect of statins on SARS-CoV-2 infection (preprint; PDF) medRxiv. From the abstract: “We therefore investigated the effect of statins on SARS-CoV-2 infection [via cell culture] and found that selective statins reduced SARS-CoV-2 cell entry and inhibited high and low pathogenic coronavirus infection in human cells. A retrospective study on hospitalized patients with COVID-19 implies that reduced high density lipoprotein levels, which are typically counteracted by statin therapy, are associated with aggravated disease outcome. These results suggest that statin therapy poses no additional risk to individuals exposed to SARSCoV-2 and that some statins may have a mild beneficial effect on COVID-19 outcome.”
    Darn…Darn, Darn Darn! No good deed goes unpunished. Exercising and eating right to reduce my statin dose….
    Of course, I just found out I have A fib, so now I have to reduce exercise … looks like the heart problems get me before covid problems. Whoo Hoo! O, wait… Its always sumpthin’

    And on the HICAP front, looks like we will soon be back in business. All client contact will be over the phone and computer. Its hard enough to explain medicare with visual aids, I really doubt I can do it by talking to someone over the phone…

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Did you know that sunlight lowers LDL cholesterol? Did you know it does this by turning cholesterol into Vitamin D? Did you know that low levels of Vitamin D are linked to A Fib?

      So for some people, how you get vitamin D might be important.

      Statins are a known modifier of T Cell function and so it seems more importantly to have your HDL numbers high. HDL plays a large role in the adaptive immune system, but you need the right kind of HDL. IMO, this can be done with high DHA/EPA and low Omega 6.

      Did you know that sunlight raises HDL…?

      1. Katiebird

        What about naturally low LDL (< 24) or HDL (<50) ? I can’t find much information on this.

        1. T

          Well, I haven’t had COVID-19 yet so we can safely assume we’re totally immune. Isn’t that how science works? (No idea how a body lowers cholesterol- by not making lipids or by destroying them? Vigilant homunculus???)

          Thanks, NC, for the disinfectant list. I’ve been hearing Windex for weeks and I now see a Windex-brand disinfectant cleaner is on the list. Must be the source of the notion that blue stuff is a disinfectant.

          1. Katiebird

            I just wonder if it is the statins that make the difference or the low cholesterol. “totally immune” ?? Why?

        2. rxr

          Surely with a test coming back and a total cholesterol of 74 you’ve talked to your doctor.

          Most of my life I had very low total cholesterol (114-120) and very low HDL. I solved this by eating a lot more eggs and cheese and also by getting old. Now my TC is 180 or so, with much higher HDL.

          Very low TC and low HDL are correlated with strokes in otherwise healthy people. and many, many others.

          1. Katiebird

            Yes, of course I have. My previous doctor was fascinated by it and did some research. My current doc thinks it’s mildly interesting. It’s a family thing, about 1/2 of us have it. I do eat a lot of eggs and probably too much cheese.

            I just brought it up here because I do wonder about side affects of it. And the statin thing might relate. And it is not studied very much.

      2. fresno dan

        Krystyn Podgajski
        July 31, 2020 at 8:41 am

        Yup. I’m in Fresno, and we get plenty of sunshine. I’m naturally so white I’m translucent, but I spent a half hour nekid (in the backyard) getting my natural synthesis of vitamin d.

    2. a different chris

      > Exercising and eating right to reduce my statin dose….

      What? How did you manage that?!?!? The MIC has a simple rule for forever drugs:

      1) If you ever test even slightly in the range of (whatever) you get a prescription
      2) If you test again well into the safe zone, you have to stay on the drug because it “worked”
      3) Gathering all the available literature from the drug manufacture themselves that says the “drug will (change whatever) up to (so much) and pointing out that your new result is well, well beyond what the drug company itself claims is possible is just met with a tight smile and an “well, you should really just stay on them….”

      Because they never have any side effects, unlike say french fries which they assure you will kill you the day before yesterday.

      Fortunately (/s) I come from a short-lived family so I won’t get to, uh, see the cataracts that will be bestowed upon me by my beloved statin.

    1. rtah100

      Hardly – most of those 300m tourist nights are other Europeans. If you nett off the intra-EU tourism, the US contribution would be much more significant (apologies, I could not find a nett figure quickly but, for example, UK and Germany are each about a third of Spain’s tourism demand so, ignoring all other EU demand (which is crude but fair because the UK and Germany are the two large rainy EU countries and the French, Spanish and Italians all stay home where the food and weather are better) and extrapolating dangerously from Spain to the whole EU, you could say extra-EU tourism was only a third of the total number. In which case the US provides 30m of 100m tourists, which is a lot!

      The rest are all Chinese and Japanese!

  2. witters

    Ellen’s Onion is great, and underneath, this great story: Theoretical Astro-Fetishists Posit Black Holes Could Be Used For Anonymous Sex Across Parallel Universes

  3. Jim Wightman

    A truck driver who drives from a USPS processing plant reported that five full trailers remained untouched on Wednesday night; the loads remained stored in the trailers over night. I do not have an exact reference point but during the holiday season, 23 trailers was a large delivery. This would constitute about 25 percent of a large evenings work. The major acts of sabotage of the USPS is going on in the processing plants, outside the public’s eye. Congressional inspectors need to check the conditions within the processing plants.

    Last week a major hub station did not dispatch any of its mail for Wednesday until the next day. The dispatch truck left empty,

    The USPS is refusing to call in help for sickness and vacations. Upper management forces stations to fail in their own delivery standards.

    The APWU has signed a Covid MOU with the USPS management that is allowing management to violate the negotiated ratios between career workers and bottom tier workers. The Union received Covid and family leave in return. These temporary workers have no union protection and no benefits. Without the ratio re-instated, the APWU is essentially allowing management to break the union and flood the USPS with less skilled and trained workers. Management is busting the union with union approval.

    The sabotage is hidden in plain sight. No one will speak because of fear of retribution. The USPS runs by a hierarchical command-and-control structure. Where one ranks in the hierarchy is all that matters.

    1. Off The Street

      One of my hobby horses (sorry, must be nostalgic for the Pony Express) is the USPS and how Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband Dick Blum took steps to ruin it and to enrich themselves through unlocking hidden value in the real estate. As part of her legislation, Dianne pushed for the enormous expense of pension pre-funding, and the USPS has been hobbled ever since.

      Combine that with utter failure all around to address postal rate subsidies given to [family bloggin’] Amazon and others, and the basic economics of the USPS take another hit. Hard to make a go of it when burdened with restrictions on the revenue and expense lines of the income statement. Ben Franklin, that archetype of a Postmaster, wouldn’t be pleased.

      That leaves one big line item left to address, labor. My suspicion is that politicians of whatever stripe view that big labor pool as trouble. One side wants more control and more contributions and, dammit, more direct action to support their views. Another side wants more control, mainly to throttle any nascent unrest or potential for public displays of those previously mentioned supported views. The workers must feel more than a little put out at being used.

      On a brighter note, my local carrier is pleasant and always has a smile, so there is that.

      1. DorothyT

        Re: Off the Street

        Thanks for bringing up Dianne Feinstein and her husband Richard Blum’s role in the planning to gut the USPS.

    2. Retaj

      The crapification of first class mail service continues. Whenever I send a thick envelope to family across the country, it is delayed by several days. Likely what is happening is that it’s being held back in one of these trailers.

    3. Procopius

      The Thai postal service is refusing to accept letter mail to the U.S. You can put it in a box (for sale at the post office) and send it as a small parcel, or you can spend about $25 and send it EMS. I am seeing comments on Facebook that letters people sent by EMS three months ago still have not arrived. Apparently Customs is not processing parcels coming from overseas. I did receive a letter from the U.S. on 10 July. It was one of those regular letters from Bank of America notifying me they’ve changed my credit card agreement again. There is an indication in the letter that it was prepared in June, but otherwise no way to tell when it was sent. According to their web site, the USPS will not accept letter mail for Thailand (and a number of other countries). This is a problem for me, because every year, in June, the Social Security Administration sends out letters to seniors to verify they are still alive and have not changed marital status. I’ve seen comments on Facebook that, if they don’t receive a reply the first time, they will send a second and even a third request, but it’s worrying.

  4. Quentin

    Yes, everyone loves that name HEROES Act. What is there not to love? In the worst case workers can take consolation they will immediately be transformed into MARTYRS if they die on the job. What more can a non-elite USAian rightfully ask for? Not much, it seems.

    1. allan

      Thank you for the link. Fun fact that wasn’t included: according to Vanity Fair’s recent article on the testing fiasco, Adam Boehler, the CEO of the IDFC, who put the deal together, was Jared Kushner’s summer roommate in college, providing evidence that Dunning-Kruger syndrome is transmissible.

    2. Carla

      “While I’m all for improving the sad condition of the Rochester area, maybe they should just hand out the $765 million to the residents.”

      Come now. Why would they help 204,000 people when they have the option of helping just 300 ? Really, FreeMarketApologist, I just can’t follow your train of thought, here.

      Let’s see, those 300 jawbs cost $2,550,000 EACH. Whereas you divide the population of Rochester proper (204,000) by $765 million — and each individual gets $3750.

      So which would better stimulate the devastated Rochester economy?

    3. hunkerdown

      But how does that keep the residents bossed? Otherwise it’s anarchy, and we know how GWBiden feels about that. (Pandering to the PMC whose divinely blessed destiny is to boss others, I suppose.)

      What’s IDFC? To Kushner, it must be “I don’t familyblogging care”…

    4. km

      I was planning to write about that one, myself….

      This reminds me of the Soviet Union in 1990. That was a time when everyone in the USSR knew that the current system was still dangerous but at the same time, its structures and authority were clearly collapsing. So, by that point nobody paid more than lip service to the ideas underlying the system. Meanwhile, grift and fraud were abounding, and those in the know were hard at work, stealing everything that not nailed down while there were still things out there that could be stolen.

      For a while there in the dying days of the Soviet Union, entrepreneurial minded grifters were stealing abandoned Aeroflot airliners and setting up their own airlines. Sounds legit.

      In the link, a few days ago, Kodak – which is a public company with less than $100 million in market cap, basically a glorified pension fund – is set to receive $765 million in non-recourse, unsecured “loans” from the International Development Finance Corporation (owned by the US government) to create a “pharmaceutical start-up” that over a period of eight years will start making “pharmaceutical supplies”. Whatever that means.

      Of course, Kodak has zero expertise or experience in pharmaceutical supply production. The DFC was established by the Trump administration in 2019 to replace the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. As the link details, the Kodak executive team have strong ties to the Trump Administration. Naturally, the stock price of Kodak soared. Needless to say, the Kodak executive team are largely paid in stock and options, and they also got big grants in the previous sixty days. That also means that the executives got paid up front, as much as $400,000,000 between them. Not bad for work that they personally will never have to deliver on.

      Then there’s the trading volume in Kodak stock:

      Golly gee. Why that looks like insider trading.

      This is pretty much the textbook case of crony capitalism. What could possibly go wrong?

      No, I don’t expect that a President Biden would be that much better, if at all. Maybe the industries and people allowed to loot openly would be a little different, they might put a few sprinkles on top or something else to pretty the looting up.

      1. Phacops

        Hope it turns out to be more than that. I cannot trust APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) coming out of Asia with their history of product adulteration that tha Agency cannot seem to regulate and see the necessity of domestic manufacture consistent with 21 CFR Part 211.

        Generic API especially isn’t rocket science, but the headwinds facing anybody deciding to manufacture those generics faces the market reality that these are commodities. I cannot see being able to compete with standard batch reactor and purification processes. Using flow reactor technology may be possible, but would require up to date ChemEs as well as process engineers adept at Simplex DOE for process optimization and control.

        We need to restart somewhere.

    5. rd

      Most of the remaining parts of the Kodak company are not in Rochester. The chemical manufacturing division is the primary part left and it is largely in other states like Texas.

  5. John

    It will be interesting to see who is first in line to “rescue” the mails by privatizing the post office. The predators are bothering less and less with ambush and going straight for the throat.

    1. hunkerdown

      But they’re showing themselves. If only Americans didn’t buy into the social order narrative that makes cannibalistic predation normal and proper, there would be a lot fewer feral hogs in human society.

    2. flora

      The USPS Board of Governors (appointed by the Pres past and present) about DeJoy.

      As chairman and CEO of New Breed Logistics, DeJoy spent decades in collaboration with the U.S. Postal Service, Boeing, Verizon, Disney, United Technologies and other public and private companies to provide supply chain logistics, program management and transportation support. New Breed Logistics was a contractor to the U.S. Postal Service for more than 25 years, supplying logistics support for multiple processing facilities. The company received Quality Supplier Awards from the Postal Service on four separate occasions.

      In 2014, New Breed merged with XPO Logistics, with DeJoy serving as CEO of XPO Logistics’ supply chain business in the Americas before his retirement in December 2015. He then joined the company’s board of directors where he served until 2018.M

      No conflict of interest there. /s

      And the other Board appointees, heavily PE and FIRE sectors men, might well have an interest inprivatising the Post Office. Click on their names for their vitas.

      Kettling PO customers to private companies like FedEx and UPS? Sure looks like it. (Insert loud swear words.)

      How is that ‘because private markets’ becomes ‘will force you to private markets when private markets can’t compete against public utility cheaper markets’? We know the answer to that.

      1. flora

        adding; It will be rural POs that suffer the brunt of this, imo. T is really trying to lose the election, no matter what he says.

  6. Toshiro_Mifune

    Reopening US Schools

    This is going to be a mess. Depending on where you are it already is a mess. I have 2 daughters who go to different schools and so far as I can tell no one has a clear idea of what to do and there isn’t a whole lot of guidance being given out.
    My oldest is autistic and went back to school 2 weeks ago. No school bus, my wife drives her in every day, temp check before every class, 6 ft distancing, students are brought in and released from school 1 at a time with no 2 sharing an entrance/exit, masks at all times (though that one was really going to be hard for any autistic child who didnt like the mask), classes disinfected at the start and end of day every day. There were about 5 full pages of the steps the school was taking. Even given all those precautions only 1/2 of the parents allowed their children to return.
    My other daughter goes to a Montessori influenced school (it’s not really Montessori so much as “hippy’) that’s really scrambling about what to do come Sept. Everyone pretty much agreed that education via Zoom meetings doesn’t work for 6-8 year-olds so now they have to figure out how to go forward. Class schedules alternating every other day? Class in the mornings only for 1/2 the students and afternoons for the other 1/2? Hold them outside for as long as possible? How do you keep kids 5, 6, 7 and 8 years old “socially distanced”… I mean honestly? What does all this mean for tuition? Its a small school run out of a 1920s farm house, no one there is making serious $$ (I don’t want to see it go away since not every child is well suited to public school educational models, there should be some alternative) but for a lot of the parents full tuition or 1/2 tuition is a big deal. Right now they have a few weeks to come up with some sort of plan.
    The public schools are going to be even worse most likely as they dont nearly the flexibility on class sizes…
    IDK. Maybe we really shouldn’t be reopening. Especially not for the younger kids. I don’t want to see teachers out of work though, I don’t want to see small cool little schools that have been there for 50 years shut down because there’s no money coming in. I don’t want to see parents who cant work from home hammered on day care costs (if they can even find it) because school is shut down. There’s no alternatives being offered. Just nothing. It all sucks and no one, on either side, at the governmental level who is supposed to be offering solutions has much of an imagination or the courage to really offer anything.

    1. cocomaan

      One thing that this crisis is going to do is strengthen family relations through hardship.

      After decades of a weakening extended family, where families were scattered across the country, we’re now falling back on the relationships that are strongest, not the relationships regulated by capital exchange, JAWBS, and technocratic engineering.

      A friend of mine has two boys, aged 5 and 8. At the beginning of July, the 5 year old was cleared to go to Kindergarten. This was fine with my friend, since it was the 5 year old who was the hardest to homeschool while she telecommutes. The 8 year old can be sent off on a task/assignment for a half hour but, as 5 year olds are, he’s a bundle of energy with a three second attention span.

      I asked her what was going on earlier this week. The 5 year old was now not going to school in a reversal by the district. She still has to work her full time telecommuting job to make ends meet. She’s lucky that she has such a job because I don’t know how, say, a single mother who is a nurse or a single father who is a cook can possibly deal with schools being closed.

      Instead, people like my friend and others now rely on close family members and friends for babysitting. Black markets are appearing where childcare can be consolidated on the down low.

      It’s an interesting transition, though my fascination is tempered by my horror at the situation unfolding.

    2. ptb

      “This is going to be a mess”
      My thoughts exactly.

      Glad this is getting some attention, at least. The JAMA recommendations look thoughtful. The CDC guidelines maybe less so, but those will be used to provide an excuse for institutions who have no other choice to do the bare minimum. Neither seems to have much to say about testing policy, which looks like a potential train wreck to me. I think wealthy colleges are going to buy up all the new national test capacity in the fall, starving out the less-well funded schools and the rest of the health care system.

    3. ambrit

      Our middle daughter works for a decently sized Southern Louisiana school district. She is in the ‘tech’ side of things in a Primary School, (grades 1-6.)
      She says that the situation where she works is a classic demonstration of dysfunction run rampant. There is no plan in place. Everyone seems to be making it up as they go along.
      The basic outline for this public school system is:
      Small, rotating in person classes. Ten students per class, ‘socially distanced.’
      Internet based ‘schooling’ for the other two thirds of the school time.
      No provisions for lunch or playtime.
      Staff supply their own PPE.
      Masks available for students, but students “strongly encouraged” to supply their own.
      No provision for home computers or laptops for poor students. (Use of Library public computers floated as a solution.)

      Our daughter even remarked about conflicting ‘advice’ concerning the relative effectiveness of various sorts of PPE. She mentioned in passing that she was going to use a plastic face shield, without mask. “I have trouble breathing for eight hours in a mask.” This usage was evidently all right with the school administration. I jumped on that right away. (She is my daughter after all. I have a vested interest in her safety!) It took me about five or ten minutes of argument to convince her that masks were de rigueur for the well dressed school apparatchik today.
      She has to go back to work today, Friday.
      From what I have gathered from speaking with our daughter, the upper echelons of this particular school district are mainly graduates of the CFU School of Edumacation. This is a reasonably well funded organization. I fear for those areas that have had their public schools ‘downsized’ and had Public Private Initiatives inflicted upon them.
      A Cynic might well think that not only is the coming Jackpot being designed to “downsize” the population, but that it is also being designed to “de-educate” the lower classes.

      1. sd

        Until your comment and a quick search, I hadn’t realized that public school employees are not protected by OSHA.

        1. ambrit

          I worked in commercial construction for years. I have been on a job where OSHA had to step in. Interesting case where no one was hurt, through sheer good luck. (A sub-contractor substituted cheap materials for the specified kind.)
          From what I glean from conversations with present day construction workers, OSHA protects no one now. The rules are there, but not enough people to enforce them, even were the political will in evidence.
          There are so many “special cases” gnawing away at the foundation of a civilized life today, I fear to soon learn of the reappearance of the Golden Horde on the plains of the Mid West.

  7. The Rev Kev

    ‘… former Pres. Obama proposed a swath of voting rights expansions..’

    Is anybody in the media calling him out for the fact that once upon a time, that he actually was the President and both the Senate and the House were under Democratic control? And that he could have done all these reforms and so broke up Republican gerrymandered States? And that because he did zip about this, after eight years he lost 1,000 seats for Democrats across the board and left the finances of the Democratic party so broken, that they had to let Hillary buy them up and put them under her fat thumb? If the Democrats achieved control of both Houses and the President, they still would never pass a “John Lewis Act.” Barack Obama – King of the Gaslighters.

      1. christofay

        I am in the unfortunate caste of do not know as I will not listen to Obama’s speech. And Clinton’s speech as far as I can tell is just an insult, no joke. Which leaves Bush, don’t tell me he gave the best speech and there’s a black-out about it?

        1. Katiebird

          Me too. I was just going by the excerpts I’ve read (particularly as listed in the post). I can’t listen to political speeches anymore.

    1. Pat

      Or that he and his black AG could have prosecuted voting rights act violations… Or that as the nominal head of the DNC, he could have insisted on robust registration outreach programs including dedicated experts in document retrieval and discovery to help those without the usual identity proof…Or that…

      But no one is pointing out how in the last few decades Lewis was in Congress how little action followed his comments/speeches/et, so it wasn’t just Obama. And when Clyburn kicks the bucket it will be the same. Including lots of proposals echoing Obama from this service.

  8. fresno dan

    More than four months after Breonna Taylor was fatally shot as she lay sleeping in her own home, Trevor Noah reminded viewers of “The Daily Show” that the white police officers who killed her still walk free.

    “Every step of the way this investigation ran, the police screwed up. They made a million mistakes, which is a million more than any Black person is ever allowed to make,” Noah said. “And honestly, with the amount of mistakes that the police made throughout the entire process, I don’t even know if it’s fair to call them mistakes at this point. Because a mistake is something you do by accident. But these cops blatantly ignored so many protocols and so much information, at some point, it moves from a mistake to just actively not giving a fuck.”
    Well, it seems to me the police care very much about covering their a$$

    1. Robert Gray

      By all accounts of the incident I have seen, Breonna Taylor was indisputably an innocent victim. But don’t try to lay it on overly thick. Her boyfriend woke up, had time to grab his weapon and start shooting at the intruders. It seems a stretch to say that Breonna ‘was fatally shot as she lay sleeping’.

      1. Sacred Ground

        How is it even possible to “lay it on overly thick” when the person shot by police “indisputably an innocent victim.” You contradict yourself in defense of the police who shot her.

        1. Robert Gray

          Nonsense. ‘Defense of the police’??? Where in hell did you get that?!? It is a reasonable surmise that she was NOT asleep when she was shot. To suggest that she was is inviting ridicule that only distracts from the egregious actions of the badge-wearing armed intruders.

  9. The Rev Kev

    I think that the last words of the vet guy holding Wolfgang were ‘Now we’ll just get you to swallow this tablet that you have to have…’

  10. MT_Bill

    Maxine Ghislaine document release – I know better than to assume malice where incompetence will suffice, but could they really be that incompetent?

    Seems like it could only happened if that’s what they wanted. But then again I’m a conspiracy theorist. Epstein didn’t kill himself :)

    1. Winston Smith

      In the meantime, Prince Andrew left for a prolonged and unexpected vacation to Diego Garcia

      1. ambrit

        Scuttlebut in the Palace is that the poor prince is being sent from Diego Garcia to North Sentinel Island, one of the Andaman Islands, on a “Peace and Goodwill Tour.”
        What is really funny about the link above is that they have a picture of the wrong island in the piece. And I thought that I was sloppy.
        Real place:
        Bon voyage mon prince!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      To a certain extent, it’s closing the barn door time as July 1st already passed. The students who will be in the local community are already back or about to be back this weekend. They have rents from leases they signed in the fall.

      This goes back to the idea everyone thought this would go away. I saw a video of younger school age kids starting their first day yesterday. Unless those kids were already grouped together (ex. the five little boys across the street see each other and no one else), the social distancing experiment failed.

      1. Rod

        If a Crises has transpired and you have to use a generator for your household power, you have to make some decisions about how your limited power gets applied.

        With my limited time, I venture we now need to decide what each educational cohort essentially needs to transition (pre-k essentials are different from elementary are diff than pre-teen et al) and build out from that within the parameters of available resources(older siblings, adults, neighbors, teachers, etc) and potential location pods based in neighborhoods or like.
        Needs some flesh here but no time now.
        The whole normal curriculum is too much but an essential emphasis curriculum is attainable in a ‘gorilla’ type of environ.

        1. ambrit

          Home schoolers are a good resource for the more “progressive” parents out there. We home schooled our three children. It is not for the faint at heart. There is real work and some investments in materiel needed. School books to start. We had to comb through the pre internet data banks to find the ‘best’ resources. State of New York mathematics books were the ones the children learned the most from. I’m talking 1950’s era books. Written well and stand the test of time. Maths are one of those subjects that are pretty much immune to “political correctness” purges and the like. Howard Zinns American History tome was another favourite of theirs. They absolutely loved the giant copy of the Oxford Unabridged Dictionary I picked up for a few dollars at an estate sale. It is also a 1950’s copy if i remember correctly.
          So much of what I remember from public school, and I attended some good ones, was geared towards socialization and fealty to American Capitalism. A lot of today’s curriculum could be jettisoned with no damage done to the student’s minds. Indeed, the opposite is probable.
          Good luck! It’s the best investment you could ever make.

  11. Ignacio

    On Pfizer & BioNtech: further disclosure would be needed to test Pfizer CEO claims. Whether BioNtech has received other public funding to develop their platform is not clear (both federal or European). Besides, the details of the vaccine purchase agreement should be disclosed. Apart from this it would be of notice to see whether is the company or the executives who are winning big in advance. So it is not that weird to ask, Mr. Pfizer.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Citing impostors, feds urge lifting of court order protecting journalists amid Portland protests”

    Federal police do not like having their acts reported, do they? But it came out the other day that they were trained to think of journalists as adversaries. And thus you see that attacks on actual journalists in any major protest and this is true of the main protests several weeks ago when mainstream media people were arrested live on TV doing their job and you saw this years ago in the Ferguson riots.

    They literally feel that they can assault any journalist, even if it is CNN, MSNBC, Fox News or whoever and freedom of the press be damned. Of course none of the major media companies will go after these police in a court of law and show some teeth so this will continue until some local judge happens to remember a quaint document that he studied in law school call the Constitution.

    This can get embarrassing when footage showing this is aired around the world. When Trump had his goons clear the space in front to that church for his bible stunt, one of those assaulted was an Aussie cameraman and there was no doubt what he was. Even the girl reporter got a baton across the back as she was running away. What made this even more embarrassing was the fact that this was going LIVE in Australia so it became a big story for a while-

    1. Rod

      So moms show up and it’s same old same old.
      Then Vets and reports of effective countermeasures like strobes, lasers, and etc are reported.
      This is no coincidence
      And, IMO, not going to be an isolated activity

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        How do you mean ‘effective countermeasures’ with regard to lasers and strobes? If talking about the protesters, I don’t think either of those 2 are particularly effective countermeasures to anything: Perhaps at just the right moment a fed shooting tear gas/rubber bullets might have aim thrown off.

        The most effective countermeasures are the same ones the ‘front liners’ have used for ages: makeshift shields against projectiles, gas masks against chemical gases, safety goggles against both gas and projectiles, and full-body/long-sleeve clothing against gasses/irritants.

        Despite being rather militant myself, I’m not at all a fan of lasers: the high power ones really *can* blind people, and until the feds (or other cops) escalate their tactics to live ammo, I feel like protestors need to simply gear up defensively so they can stay in the streets.

        Also, i think the Moms/Dads/Vets et al were all VERY effective collectively – any of them alone had not quite the synergistic effect optically as one group after another showing up, defending each other, and showing people in the suburbs of america that ‘hmmmm…those peeps dont *look* like ‘terrorists’ to me’

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          That reminds me….aim? We dont need no stinkin aiming…we can just launch em hundreds of feet in the air and rain em down indiscriminately:

          …probably a useful way to ‘accidentally on purpose’ tear gas members of the press/legal observers, and use the ‘incidental’ clause of the ‘dont do that’ court order.

        2. hunkerdown

          They ruin a sniper’s career. That seems pretty effective to me, and frankly the machine itself could be toppled if its monopoly on effects at a distance were seriously challenged.

          That said, an attack at this point would only bring in reinforcements. We’d all have to start asking our neighbors whether bourgeois authority is really worth travel to the West, only to find their houses ransacked and lives destroyed upon their return.

        3. juno mas

          Despite being rather militant myself, I’m not at all a fan of lasers: the high power ones really *can* blind people, and until the feds (or other cops) escalate their tactics to live ammo, I feel like protestors need to simply gear up defensively so they can stay in the streets.

          The non-lethal bean-bag rounds aimed and fired at protesters is what encourages some protesters to sweep their green lasers across a zone of “troopers”. It distracts their aim and encourages a similar fear of being targeted; turnabout is fair play? The leaf blower use is a similar tactic turning the tear gas back on the “troops”

          Lets be clear on who has the real weapons in these encounters.

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            Yeah to you & hunkerdowns response – potentially affecting aim of snipers and other projectile shooters. I guess I was misunderstanding the context of what ‘Then Vets and reports of effective countermeasures like strobes, lasers, and etc’ was applying to. (I didn’t fully relate it to Rev Kev’s original comment like I should have)

            1. Rod

              Ok then.
              And your last original point —said so well—was exactly ‘it’ because ‘they’ are all one to me- on the street.

              Your key on media optics to create narrative is the biggest weapon our side can wield currently—imo

              Because as Juno mas said:

              Lets be clear on who has the real weapons in these encounters.
              and I would add: a harmonized and practiced strategy, which includes snipers.

  13. zagonostra

    >Lawmakers and jobless workers lash out at California’s unemployment agency

    It’s no different in Florida. My brother is a chef who still has yet to receive a single UI check even though the restaurant he worked at folded and is has experiencing something similar to the quote below from the lady in CA.

    There was an excellent book I had to read in my first year of college called Street-Level Bureaucracy: The Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Service by Michael Lipsky whose theses was, if I remember correctly, that gov’t bureaucratic systems are designed to discourage use. And, it examined how that was done in great minutia

    What is happening now seems to have devolved into a whole new whole order. it is Kafkaesque and brings “The Trial” to mind.

    “I have heart palpitations when thinking of the emotional trauma I have endured at the hands of the dysfunction of EDD,” said one caller, who identified herself as Jennifer. She said she waited on hold for six hours one day only to have an EDD representative hang up on her after saying she could not answer her questions.

    1. Katiebird

      My sister in law in Portland. OR experienced this. Her unemployment insurance was approved by letter months ago. But she never received anything. She and my brother spent hours dialing, dialing. Then one would get put on Hold. Then disconnected either after talking briefly to someone or not even that. My brother estimated that between them one week, they dialed over 6,000 times. What a miserable system.

    2. Massinissa

      This kind of thing is probably also part of the reason so many express fear/doubt at phrases like ‘government run healthcare’. Some people assume it would just be like this. Hard to blame them considering that’s how everything else in this country apparently works.

    3. JBird4049

      Last I heard, up to 40% of the applications nationwide had been seen, let alone approved.

      The EDD/SSI/SSDI/Medicare/Medi-Cal/SNAP benefits complex is run jointly by municipal/county, state, and federal governmental agencies. They each have their own set of rules and procedures and interconnect differently for each program.

      California was one of the better run agencies; even so, when I had to apply for disability, my case file was moved at least seven, maybe eight times, to six different offices in six cities, five counties, and two states over two years.

      First, they did not have the staff to process the paperwork. Next they spent months looking for any reason to not approve the application, making me redo all the various tests and exams of the previous decades that were already in the application. After it was approved, “quality control” intercepted and denied the application. Finally, I had to get a lawyer and see a judge, who after he approved it, said he was truly surprised that it been not been approved before he got it.

      I had family support, weirdo that I am, I actually enjoy filling out paperwork, am very good dealing socially with individuals in the bureaucracy, had all my decades of medical records, and had a legitimate case.

      I was far more able to deal with a system that is ostensibly there to help me than almost anyone. It still took two years.

      Oh, working at all is an automatic disqualify for some of the benefits, even though most people can work at least a few hours each week. But doing one hour of paid work means an automatic denial.

      This also in a wealthy, liberal,” Blue state. This country expends so much effort to not aid the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the elderly while giving so much, so easily to already wealthy.

      It’s not so strange then that we are having our darkness visible at noon nowadays.

  14. Wukchumni

    Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Was there a job displayed?
    Not though the consumer knew
    Someone had blundered.
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to listen to the big lie
    All that was left of them,
    Left of six hundred bucks

    1. ambrit

      Canto VI:
      When can their glory fade?
      Oh the wild profit they made!
      All the world envied.
      Honour the profit they made!
      Honour the Wall Street Brigade!
      Noble Forbes Five Hundred!

  15. UserFriendly

    “Aerosols have to settle somewhere….”
    A dehydrated virus is a dead virus. Once the bubble of water they are in evaporates they are not long for this world. That is largely how IPA / ethanol kill them, miscible with water and there is also a water ethanol and water ipa azeotrope so it evaporates very fast.

  16. zagonostra

    >Obama proposed a swath of voting rights expansions

    I noticed providing a national paid day was not on the list. If they don’t want to give the people another holiday, they should swap out President’s Day with Voting Day.

    (I can not countenance clicking on any video/audio that has Obama, it makes me queasy, like running into someone who f$^ked you over good and just want to be free from their presence)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Jerri-Lynn has described Obama before from their school days, and Obama is really the same guy. Hes just repeating what the professor has just said and expecting praise.

      1. curlydan

        I saw numerous postings of praise of his speech on Facebook–so he got what he was looking for. I can’t go there.

  17. jr

    Re: Sharks mistaking morons for seals

    I’m in the process of moving and have been unable to relax in my home so I fell down the Utoob hole for a few days. Hours of ducks eating snakes, pike eating ducks, bear eating everything, an octopus eating a gull(!), etc.

    Naturally sharks. So here are two videos of some of the dumbest adrenaline junkies on the face of the planet. The earnest understatements of the narrators vis a vis the situations these guys put themselves in left me howling:

  18. Wukchumni

    SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Santa Clara County health officials are investigating clusters of COVID-19 cases at four Costco stores in the South Bay.

    At least 31 workers have been infected; 13 at the store in Sunnyvale, 8 at the one on Senter Road in San Jose, 6 cases in Gilroy, and 4 in Mountain View. Health officials define a cluster as three or more cases within two weeks.

    I heard in keeping with the Costco tradition, it’s cheaper if multiple employees get infected.

    1. ambrit

      The triage tent is in the Outdoors Department.
      The bad cases are being housed in empty shipping boxes in the rear parking lot, loading dock area.
      The deaders go in the dumpster. In more ‘woke’ regions, the deaders go in the community compost pile.

    2. curlydan

      that’s not good, especially if Costco was undoubtedly masked up. It makes me wonder the method of transmission. Likely the break room was unmasked, or handling same surfaces between cashier and boxer, or partying after work.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        After investigating the clusters the Santa Clara County health dept concluded the transmissions occurred outside of the stores. Therefore, they decided not to close the stores, and they assured the public that it is safe to shop at Costco. No need for anyone to freak out about these clusters.

  19. notabanker

    Oldest son was away at uni and came home early in the lockdown. He finally received his class options for his final semester and will be finishing all of his courses from home and will not be returning to campus. I guess he is fortunate that none of his particular classes required in person attendance, but that is not the case for everyone. Don’t even get me started on tuition.

    Oh, he has played NCAA sports and has one year of eligibility left. The coaching staff is still under the delusion of playing in the fall. He won’t be playing.

    United Corporations of America has become thoroughly infected with extend and pretend. The air of desperation is palpable.

    1. ambrit

      “The air of desperation is palpable.”
      It is the same here in the NADS.
      Locals are gearing up, as in stocking up on supplies and ammo for what is generally expected to be really bad times this winter and next spring. Informal mini-neighbourhood watch groups are forming as well.
      So many “working class” people around here are out of work, and about to be out of funds and possibly out on the street that civil unrest is widely anticipated among the remaining “middle class” and “upper working class” populations. The local PMCs seem to still be in denial of the hard times approaching.

      1. JBird4049

        I don’t think that it’s going to be the Winter of Long Pork. Yet. Yes, having Mitch McConnell leading the entire Senate off to a month long vacation while hunger and riots roam the land. However, if the Turtle or the Kente Woman don’t do some real work for the majority of Americans in the next month, the Republicans will lose the Senate and whatever insurgent campaigns that the Democrats have are likely win.

        What does worry me is what the parties’ leadership or the President do if they are toast, or if the election results are so obviously fraudulent, but they insist on approving the results despite whatever the general population wants. Lots of teargas will be used and maybe some real bullets.

        1. ambrit

          Someone elsewhere mentioned that Trump could lose in 2020 and come back and run hard in 2024. If Biden and his handlers run true to form, ‘things’ will be so bad by 2024 that the proverbial ham sandwich will win against the 2024 Democrat Party ticket.
          The Presidency this next term will be a poisoned chalice.

  20. Michael Fiorillo

    The article about St. Louis, while talking about local white elites forcing austerity on the public schools, fails to mention that the two most prominent grifters/”leaders” of BLM in the aftermath of the Michael Brown killing were Brittany Packnett and Deray McKesson.

    Packnett was the head of St. Louis Teach For America at the time. Teach For America is a notorious school privatization outfit, the purpose of which is to develop leadership cadre for the corporate takeover of the country’s public schools.

    McKesson, an entrepreneur posing as a pundit and activist, was a charter school teacher and admin who has compared charter schools to the Black Panther Party school breakfast program.

    Are we really expected to accept leadership from people like this? Can these gaping contradictions and hypocrisy be pointed out, minus the accusations of white fragility and making people feel unsafe?

    This IdPol thing is really out of control, and is leading to wholesale ignoring of complicating and uncomfortable facts.

    1. ambrit

      Sorry to point out an “inconvenient truth” here but the idpol ‘leadership’ had better up their game concerning inter-group politics.
      The fact is that black people are still only about one eighth of the population of America. The other, so called, ‘Brown’ peoples in America are by no means all on the same political page. Divide and rule has lasted for such a long time because it works. For example, the notorious Amritsar Massacre in the Punjab in India in 1919 was carried out by Gurkha and Sikh troops, firing on similarly “native” peoples.
      A well run and ruthless minority can literally kill off the leadership cadres of the out groups.
      The leadership cadres of the so called ‘white supremacists’ which I view as a cover organization for a class based movement that favours the wealthy, are quite capable of violence and murder to advance their interests.
      So, a United Front movement is the way to maximize one’s power and effectiveness.
      There are Leftist “rednecks” and “wild boys” out there. Get to know them and, at the least, arrange some sort of modus vivendi.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        So, if a United/Popular/Working People’s Front is the way to go (which, fwiw, I personally agree with), where does BLM come in?

        1. ambrit

          I am not ‘connected’ enough to be sure, but signs I have seen incline me to believe that BLM, as presently constituted is now a front for the Oligarchic/PMC Axis.
          Around here, BLM signs are professionally made, slick affairs. The speeches at the BLM “demonstration” last month were anodyne “Woke Professions of Faith.” No real rabble rousers spoke. The crowd was mainly higher income ‘Persons of Colour’ and ‘Woke’ hipsters. The two groups somewhat overlapped. The ‘Wokistas’ mingled in front of the Courthouse steps where the speakers podium was situated and virtue signalled for all they were worth. The real working class people, mainly blacks, congregated along the sidewalks and in the entrances to the side streets abutting the ‘demonstration’ space. That group was not very energized at all.
          The BLM movement needs to have a Fourth International event. The result of that could ally itself with others in a United Front that does something other than idpol performative politics.

          1. Olga

            Well, ain’t this the beauty of America! Any protest movement can be (and will be) – in time – coerced or co-opted to serve TPTB. A great country! (And if not, just dispose of the leaders!)

            1. ambrit

              I’m just wondering what or where America’s Gulag will be. People complain about the size and endless hunger of the American Carceral State. They don’t realize the resources yet available to the Top Predators with which to expand the prisons.
              I want to make some tee shirts with the signage; “Contents Property of FEMA.”

            2. cripes


              “Any protest movement can be (and will be) – in time – coerced or co-opted.”

              BLM was co-opted at birth.

              Alicia Garza, one of the BLM co-founders, now a co-founder of “Supermajority” has thrown in her lot with “activist” Cecile Richards, (daughter of Texas Governor Ann Richards) who…served as the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America… sits on the Ford Foundation board of trustees and was deputy chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi, among other things…

              Same story (maybe worse) with Deeray Mckesson et al.

              Some “movement.”

              Maybe that’s why Huey started smoking crack.
              My woke favorite, see the comments for comedy gold below. Enjoy!

              “Why black lives matter to philanthropy”

                1. Cripes

                  Not sure when you date the die-ins.
                  Ok so BLM is strangled in pre-school by the ever forward- looking non profit industrial complex and the ambitions of their idpol-obsessed leaders groomed for board positions, public-private partnerships, TV interviews, authoring dreary books no one reads at academic presses, all in the hope they can serve as future deputy chief of staff for Nancy Pelosi’s successor or, even, Susan Rice!

      2. JacobiteInTraining

        There are Leftist “rednecks” and “wild boys” out there.

        lol….far leftist redneck, reporting for duty as ordered, sir!

        The preacher man says it’s the end of time
        And the Mississippi River she’s a goin’ dry
        The interest is up and the Stock Markets down
        And you only get mugged
        If you go down town

        I live back in the woods, you see
        A woman and the kids, and the dogs and me
        I got a shotgun rifle and a 4-wheel drive
        And a country boy can survive
        Country folks can survive

        I can plow a field all day long
        I can catch catfish from dusk till dawn
        We make our own whiskey and our own smoke too
        Ain’t too many things these ole boys can’t do
        We grow good ole tomatoes and homemade wine
        And a country boy can survive
        Country folks can survive

        Because you can’t starve us out
        And you cant makes us run
        Cuz we’re them old boys raised on shotgun
        And we say grace and we say Ma’am
        And if you ain’t into that we don’t give a damn

        We came from the West Virginia coalmines
        And the Rocky Mountains and the and the western skies
        And we can skin a buck; we can run a trot-line
        And a country boy can survive
        Country folks can survive

        I had a good friend in New York City
        He never called me by my name, just hillbilly
        My grandpa taught me how to live off the land
        And his taught him to be a businessman
        He used to send me pictures of the Broadway nights
        And I’d send him some homemade wine

        But he was killed by a man with a switchblade knife
        For 43 dollars my friend lost his life
        Id love to spit some beechnut in that dudes eyes
        And shoot him with my old 45
        Cause a country boy can survive
        Country folks can survive

        Cause you can’t starve us out and you can’t make us run
        Cuz we’re them old boys raised on shotgun
        And we say grace and we say Ma’am
        And if you ain’t into that we don’t give a damn

        We’re from North California and south Alabam
        And little towns all around this land
        And we can skin a buck; we can run a trot-line
        And a country boy can survive
        Country folks can survive

        1. ambrit

          Greetings and felicitations! I met lots of the “Long Haired Country Boys” on jobs around the South. There are a lot more of them than anyone suspects. Plus, this group is not the same as the ‘Country Meth Heads.’ That lot has been around forever and has been identified by what was the drug of choice at the time. The untold story about the Meth Heads and associated heavy chemical users is that they tend to die young. Something like a self culling program circumscribes their lives.
          My other favourite Country story/song is “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” by Charlie Daniels. I always wondered, just where from “above” Georgia did said Devil travel from, Raleigh, the D of C, Wall Street?
          Stay safe and Keep the Faith Baby.

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            I liked that song too…though I am of the PNW subspecies of leftist redneck – more Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, & Metallica in the playlist then country-western. There’s more of us here then many places, I think (In Oregon in particular, where I grew up) due in no small part to lots of 60’s/70’s communes that spread a lot of Northern Cali/SF ‘summer of love’ types into the hinterlands of the Willamette Valley, Coast Range, and Cascades…plenty of my age-mates in rural HS’s from that ancestry who have an AR-15 and/or AK-47 + a Grateful Dead sticker on the guncase. :)

            Oregon had its days of being a KKK hotbed in the 20’s, but despite that history…we have had decades of people – leftist, alternative, union, hippie, gay, and similar moving here from other more oppressive small town regions to bulk up the overall ‘left’ population – not just in cities but towns too.

            Not to say we dont have ‘the other kind’ too, but at least theres a pretty good mass of fellow travelers out in the woods, farms, and mountains who ‘know how to survive’. :)

          2. Temporarily Sane

            The untold story about the Meth Heads and associated heavy chemical users is that they tend to die young. Something like a self culling program circumscribes their lives.

            “Self culling” would fall under deaths of despair. People who are connected to a reasonably healthy and functional community and feel like they are valued contributors to that community do not become heavy methamphetamine and opioid users.

            There are many myths and misconceptions out there about drug use and misuse. There is no such thing as an instantly addicting drug, for example. Nobody becomes addicted to meth, heroin or crack cocaine after using these substances only once.

            There are plenty of people who go through a “party” phase in their 20s and use ‘hard drugs’ on a semi-regular basis and then grow out of it. Most people who receive strong opioid painkillers after surgery or for a painful injury or condition do not become addicted to them.

            But prescribing potent opioids like OxyContin like candy and widespread availability of a powerful, super cheap dopamine agonist like crystal methamphetamine, particularly in regions hit hard by economic disenfranchisement, is a recipe for disaster.

            Genes do play a role in addiction and studies show that some people are more genetically predisposed to becoming addicted than others, but the genes have to be ‘activated’ first, usually by adverse life conditions, for that to happen. Very few content, socially connected people with reasonable earning prospects become daily drug users.

            Of course the plight of opioid/meth addicts and the devastating impact their “self culling” has on already ravaged communities gets no airtime in the current woketopia. Inner city addiction has likewise disappeared from the radar as focusing on these issues might lead to uncomfortable questions about why so many people in these communities become addicts.

            In woketopia any suggestion that the root of most present day social ills might be economic and neoliberal in origin, rather than the result of overt oppression based on race or gender characteristics, is deemed “problematic” and met with bristling hostility.

            There has to be an easily exploitable ‘oppression’ angle with individualized IdPol™︎ approved villains and victims or it didn’t happen.

            1. Aumua

              …that the root of most present day social ills might be economic and neoliberal in origin, rather than the result of overt oppression based on race or gender characteristics…

              The two sides presented here are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “You’re Only As Free as You Are Wealthy”

    Ah yes, shaming people if they do not agree with you. That has always been a successful tactic to get people to change their minds. You can lead a horse to water but berating him until he drinks wastes your time and simply annoys the horse. Ed Burmila, as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Bradley University, should know better.

    1. hunkerdown

      Transpersonal exclusion works. It may not change the target’s mind, but the transpersonal sphere is not about the individual. It’s about putting the enemy into the outgroup, as I argue we should be doing every day with neoliberals.

  22. DJG

    Aaron Maté distills Bill Clinton so that the rest of us don’t have to go near him.

    Why is Bill Clinton trotted out? So he can have another Sister Souljah moment and prove for the gazillionth time that he (and Hill) is a malign influence on U.S. politics?

    And what would President Hill have done with him? Dragged him to the White House and let him have his pick of interns?

    He is just one more reason why Hillary Clinton had likeability problems. Bernie may like her, but she’s also ambitious enough to stick with a criminal and flimflam man. Hmmm.

    1. jr

      I see her as directly and willfully providing cover for Bill’s crimes. She had to know where he was and what he was up to. She never said a thing to anyone. She could have screamed bloody murder, dumped him like a trash can, assumed the mantle of the battle scarred feminist PMC stateswoman and been proclaimed a champion. I’d bet she would have made a stronger candidate in ’16. It would have been a lot easier than trying to develop an alternate reality narrative about events as she is now…

      1. Berto

        That still wouldn’t have prevented the NY Times from pretending to care that Republicans were pretending to care about her email protocols throughout 2016.

        1. CarlH

          I cared about her email protocols as well, and I am as far from Republican as you can get. Did you really not see the significance of her stashing away her official emails as SOS on a private server that was not subject to public records requests and the like? Nothing to see there huh?

        2. caucus99percenter

          Public service reminder: Setting up one’s own personal e-mail server and conducting affairs of state through it, with the intent of evading the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and government archiving law, was a serious and unprecedented offense. As is erasing said server to destroy evidence after a subpoena had already been issued.

          In the more just world Democrats claim to want, both would have deserved to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

      2. Temporarily Sane

        The way the #MeToo crowd still holds Clinton up as some sort of feminist icon and conveniently ignores the credible accusations against the hair sniffing weirdo Joe Biden (while at the same time shaming his accuser) shows just how cynical and tone deaf the whole establishment IdPol™︎ project is.

        They claim to be outraged that women are reluctant to report rape and sexual abuse to police but the message they send is if the accused is a member of the anointed Democratic PMC class, and the accuser(s) is/are not, best shut up and keep quiet about it.

        They can’t even live up to their own self-professed standards.

        1. GettingTheBannedBack

          If you harboured a suspicion that the #MeToo movement was brought out of obscurity by the Dems in their campaign against Trump, then you might expect it to fade away when a Democrat candidate with a questionable history with women was the candidate.
          So, has anyone noticed a muting of the #MeToo press coverage in 2020?

  23. tegnost

    One might love to see what the MOU (not a memo of understanding, the other ones, the cthulu)
    have in mind to replace the postal service after they burn it down to ash. There most certainly is a plan for that…

    1. ambrit

      Oh! Oh! Or, “Ia!” “Ia!”. I profess ignorance.
      What is this ‘cthulu’ based MOU prey tell!

      1. hunkerdown

        Masters Of The Universe prefer MOTU. Rolls off the tongue better and “the” says TINA just loud enough to be heard subconsciously.

        1. ambrit

          Hmmm… I have been told on reputable authority that “T” is very good at inducing subliminal communications.

        2. Massinissa

          I dunno, I usually associate MOTU specifically with the He-Man version (As in, ‘He-Man and the Masters of the Universe’). I usually word it out when I mean the Gordon Gekko kind.

          Those Wall Street types only WISH they could be as powerful as He-Man. They’re just a gang full of Skeletors with delusions of power.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Bill Clinton Went to Jeffrey Epstein’s Island With 2 ‘Young Girls’, Virginia Giuffre Says”

    I see that RT has been putting the boot into Bill Clinton with this story. They featured one tweet that said-

    Just watching blue check after blue check completely ignore the fact that a Jeffrey Epstein victim identified Bill Clinton as a resident of pedophile island.
    How do you ignore what is objectively of the highest news value?

    The FBI does not come off well in this sorry saga either and a lot of people will be disappointed to learn that Trump is in the clear but Bill Clinton is up to his neck in it-

    1. a different chris

      Poor Ms Giuffre seems like an earnest sort. She probably doesn’t know about Mandy Rhys-Davies, who produced one of the all time kill-shots with “Well he would [say that], wouldn’t he”.

      Somebody should clue her in. The deadliest weapon against the ponces that float like scum on top of society is and has always been laughter.

    2. Geo

      Epstein modeled his “agency” after Trump, who modeled his after Cassablanca’s notorious agency. Probably a good reason Bill was pals with Trump (remember who Trump called before entering the race in ‘15?)

      The real scandal isn’t just Epstein, it’s that any of these men and their enablers, are still walking free and wielding power instead of locked away decades ago in a deep dark prison cell for life.

      1. Geo

        In court documents reviewed by the Herald’s Brown, he (Epstein) is quoted as saying “I want to set up my modeling agency the same way Trump set up his modeling agency.”

        What was different and appealing to Epstein about Trump’s agency than any of the other numerous modeling agencies that exist? Probably the same thing that Trump found appealing in Cassablanca’s agency. They were thinly veiled escort services for the rich and powerful to take advantage of young women.

        Epstein is merely to this “industry” what Bernie Maddoff was to finance. One bad apple in a rotted barrel.

      2. Temporarily Sane

        Sexual exploitation is reprehensible and it’s good that organized trafficking within the modeling industry is being outed and is no longer an unspoken secret.

        But what isn’t much talked about is how the global modeling industry in itself routinely exploits young teenage girls from poorer families with promises of a glamorous and, more importantly, well paying modeling career.

        A Russian documentary film called Girl Model tells the story of a 13- or 14-year-old Siberian girl who is promised a high paying modeling job in Japan with a well known international modeling agency. She isn’t exploited sexually in the Epsteinian sense, though that is quite common too, but the economic exploitation is brutal.

        When she’s in Tokyo the agency dumps her in a crappy apartment with an older Russian girl whose been there for a while and keeps ‘delaying’ her money while working her nonstop. She is miserable and wants to go home but her family needs the money (they also had to pay money upfront to send her there) so she stays. Spoiler: she doesn’t get the money she was promised

        The documentary also profile two modeling agents (a European man and an American woman) who basically run a pipeline funneling skinny teenage blonde girls (considered “exotic” in Japan, thus highly in demand) from rural Siberia to Tokyo where they are ruthlessly exploited until they are sent home again, most of the time without the money they were promised.

        When the two promoters are asked about this they are unapologetic about what they do. The American woman does look a bit uncomfortable and even admits that the modeling business can be shady but she says “well, that’s just how capitalism works. If we didn’t do this someone else would.”

        Neoliberalism at its finest.

        1. Massinissa

          I don’t understand why this stuff doesnt get normal people (like the aforementioned American woman) upset or angry. Instead they shrug it off as if the only alternative is Stalinism or something. I’m rather tired of all the gaslighting.

    3. ambrit

      And yet nothing about Hillary Clinton’s relationship with Epstein. Isn’t she supposed to have spent time along with Bill at the Ranch?
      At best, she enabled Bill’s predatory pedophile predilections, at worst…OMG, the rot runs deep.

      1. JBird4049

        So you’ve taken the Red Pill? Congratulations!

        Just be careful before becoming a Qultist.


        1. ambrit

          Would that require me to go to the Qulting Bee at my local BDSM Bathhouse?
          I was appraised of the essential truth behind ‘Primary Colours’ down at the pizza joint.

  25. WobblyTelomeres

    Re Multiple Tor security issues

    Using RMON (remote network monitoring), detecting and flagging initialization of Tor sessions as well as VPN sessions is trivial. It is intrinsic to the nature of TCP/IP. Knowing what gets transmitted following that is very much dependent on the encryption technology, how well it is implemented, and whether security library development teams are penetrated by the IC.

    Some of you may recall the shock of the realization that the entirety of ecommerce depended upon the efforts of a handful of volunteers working on openssl. It still largely is (the openssl project only has two paid employees, with their meager funding coming from, I suspect, the usual San Jose/Seattle suspects). If I were a dedicated IC technologist charged with compromise, the weak points are obvious.

    If you really need secure communications, there is no substitute for one time pads and tradecraft. Of course, that means no Amazon, no eTrade, etc.

    1. hunkerdown

      The best part is that OpenSSL’s predecessor, SSLeay, was written by some Aussie guy to “learn C”. Just the sort of activity you want people doing in your production code base, nu? Ironically, EAY got hired at RSADSI and couldn’t participate in the open source project anymore, thus, the OpenSSL fork. I really hope Theo de Raadt and other iconoclasts in the infosec community have removed every bit of that junk.

      I fear the wokesters have implemented affirmative action in the codebase through the “Contributors Covenant” thing going around a few years ago. The Heartbleed bug was committed by Robin Seggelman, who (rumors had it) was a contractor for BND, the German SIGINT agency. So, when the woke FOSS world are actively seeking contributors of an exotic color mix, any (non-Asian, non-white) guy has another card to play, to pretend to be an inexperienced enthusiast and be held even more blameless and less accountable for their malicious activities on behalf of the Interagency.

      1. Briny

        If there is just one person in the universe that I entrust all my security to, it’s Theo. He’s been far ahead of the curve when it comes to systems security in our industry for it to be any kind of accident.

  26. Lee

    How a crumbling antibiotics infrastructure could yield ‘catastrophe’ PBS Newshour

    What jumped out at me was the statement by the interviewee that the average cost of keeping a new antibiotic in production and at the ready to treat drug resistant infections, before paying anything back to investors, would be $350 Million over ten years. $35 Million a year to keep a vital drug in production is a pittance these days. Alas, market forces seem unable to accommodate such prudential, life saving public health policy. Hmmm, if only we the people were the investors, the companies could pay us back in drugs instead of dividends.

  27. Sheldon

    “The rot of the St Louis Elite…”

    Anti-Catholic bigotry and white shaming.

    Compare the spread of Covid in St Louis to how the progressive paradise of New York and how it sucessfully stopped the advance of Covid. What does the Current Affairs clique have to say about that?

    St Louis was the murder capital of America way before Covid.

    1. hunkerdown

      All US partisanship is neoliberal noise designed to distract the people from disciplining their own elites (that this occurs with pliers and blow torches is irrelevant, after everything they’ve done to us), and tes, elites need to be disciplined harshly and continuously to ensure they serve the broad interest. All partisans need to be punished for playing games with other people’s lives. If you want to play partisan touch football, there is a huge Internet out there.

      1. Sheldon

        “disciplining their own elites”

        You mean like demanding Medicare For All, domestic infrastructure and investment in public goods instead of foreign entanglements, et al?

        Fate is the hunter of elites. But oh how the mighty can sometimes fall. Spotted a billionaire’s Last Years Model, who didn’t get the right divorce lawyer apparently, working at a Starbucks. She did her best to hide under that sports visor–indoors!

        The partisan sports desk is already fully functional on this here field.

    2. flora

      Say what? I read the link. It’s a story about deep, historic, and ongoing racism and elites’ destruction of unions and the poor in STL county, going back to the 1880s.

      Just as you can overlay maps of household income with hot spots for lead paint, and chart payday loan offices on the dividing lines between white and Black neighborhoods; so can you overlay maps of COVID-19 and trace the jagged contours of segregation in St. Louis and other rust belt cities.

  28. Darthbobber

    The operation warp speed CNN piece is an example of how playing with the magic 8 ball has become news. He predicts a level of effectiveness for his not-yet-existent vaccine. Then goes on to speculate about its hypothetical wide availability. Me, I’ll stick with casting the yarrow stalks.

  29. hunkerdown

    As of 12:01am the bar’s closed (except for Up North):

    Bars. Food service establishments, as defined in section 1107(t) of the Michigan Food Law, 2000 PA 92, as amended, MCL 289.1107(t), that hold on-premises retailer licenses to sell alcoholic beverages must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.

    Same for miniature golf, or any other commercial summer fun (outside of Up North):

    Public accommodations restrictions. Subject to the exceptions in sections 8 and 9, the following places are closed to entry, use, and occupancy by members of the public:

    Indoor services or facilities, or outdoor services or facilities involving close contact of persons, for amusement or other recreational or entertainment purposes, such as amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor climbing facilities, indoor dance areas, skating rinks, trampoline parks, carnival or amusement rides as defined by MCL 408.652(2), water parks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities.

    (Non-commercial summer fun? I’m for it.)

    Michigan Executive Order 2020-160

  30. Wukchumni

    Louie Louie, oh no, you got infected. now ya gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby
    Louie Louie, oh baby, blame the mask if you will

    A fine little time, awaits for thee
    You catch the Corona, not the beer you see
    You’re the only Congressman all alone
    A dullard’s dullard is all you’ll be

    Louie Louie, oh no no no, you gotta go, oh no
    Louie Louie, oh baby, you gotta go

    40 nights and days you’ll be quarantined
    Reminds me of Cain constantly
    On the GOP ship, I still see you there
    I smell desperation in the air

    Louie Louie, oh no, you gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby
    Louie Louie, oh baby, you gotta go
    Okay, the alternative is you give it to ’em right now

  31. jr

    Just had an interesting exchange with our young super, I mentioned we are moving and he begged me to leave any unwanted furniture in the apartment. Apparently the building has received numerous tickets because there are people moving off the block literally every single day and the piles of garbage are huge. In the last week I’ve counted at least five separate moving trucks on our street.

    Our moving company rep called me earlier to ask if they could add another guy to our team. It’s going to be really hot and he said his crews are exhausted. Working seven days a week. I agreed readily, I field managed a moving company for several months, many years back. I’ve seen guys pass out and slide back down stairs they were ascending with armfuls of boxed dishes etc. Sometimes heat, sometimes hangover, sometimes heroin. I want a clean move.

    It got me thinking about movers and how they must be suffering. It’s an insane world where you let a group of mostly smiling and friendly ex-cons into your house to grab your stuff and then hope it makes it across town intact. And I say that with much love to those ex-cons, family and friends. Their lives are desperate, frustrating, and painful. A constant merry-go-round of casual violence, court dates, probation/parole officers, domestic dramas, and weeks lost to intoxicants of all kinds. One crew member on one job, a giant of a man, had to be physically retrieved by the crew every morning from his mother’s front lawn where he slept more often or not.

    Fights, theft from customers, thefts from each other, customers ripping you off, crack smoking, cops being called on you by neighbors, employees and customers dorking during lunch breaks, a dresser drawer full of serious sex toys spilling out onto the floor in full view of everyone, skeletons of missing pets found air dried in an attic corner, epic family/divorce fights erupting mid move including physical violence, rattlesnakes, poisonous spiders, wasp’s nests, and clothes dryer ventilation tubes so clogged that you find mouse skeletons in the four to five foot long, six inch diameter “hotdogs” of lint that fall out of the ceiling and break apart when you pull out the tube. And I’m not even including the hoarders, they are a species unto themselves, like the one family who paid us an additional grand to spend all afternoon literally packing boxes they bought from us with empty boxes, used wrapping paper, and piles of newspapers dating back decades. We made a game of it, I won by finding a paper dating back to 1984. This was in 2006. They had a Britta water pitcher in their fridge that had slime sheets growing in it. One crew member flipped on the food disposal in the sink and almost passed out from the stench that exploded out of it. The one customer laughed and said it hadn’t been run in months. Another crew member refused to return to the job because he was certain the owners were “witches” due to the enormous quantity of New Age hexeraii hanging literally everywhere. When we moved the china cabinet in the dining room, I put my hand on top of it to get a grip and found I had stuck my hand in an open can of molasses that happened to be sitting there. No one, including the owners, could account for it.

    There were customers who walked around in their underwear….or less. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes indifferently. Customers railed on booze or coke. Or dropping hints about their expansive gun collections and catching thieves. One wealthy McMansion owner burst into tears when I handed her the bill. She told me her husband had left her and her kids hated her and she had to move because the place was empty. Her new house was smaller but still huge, enough for a family of four and to spare. Moves to assisted living communities were always fun, as one client told me when I said goodbye “At least it’s my last move!”

    One particular trip through Hell springs to mind. A three day mansion move, tons of huge furniture, and a big crew, like ten guys. After we wrap up, three guys get in the cab of the truck and the rest in the back. Door locked, pitch darkness, laying on moving blankets too tired to talk.

    Suddenly the truck begins to lurch and slide at around 40 Sheer terror: guys screaming, arms and legs flying around in the dark. The truck slams to a stop and now screaming can be heard from outside. We are locked in because an unlocked truck will get pulled over by the fuzz. We start pounding and yelling but a good five minutes of horror passes before the doors open.

    Turns out one of the guys in the cab told the driver he was going to rape his wife when they got back. Driver punches other guy and they struggle, with third guy between them trying to keep them apart. The guy with the mouth, popularly known as “Scary Gary”, a monster of a man, then smashes the windshield with something handy and spider webs it. That’s when the truck came to a halt.

    So now the monster is holding the keys and won’t give them up. Screaming and hollering. At one point he punches the side of the 26′ bed truck and it rings like a bell from the impact. As this plays out, two men approach out of the darkness and one slaps me hard on the shoulder, wishing me good luck with my crew of “N-bombs.” in a very unfriendly tone that was directly directed at me. After they melted back into the gloom I asked one of the guys where we are and he told me “We in mutha-f***ing KKK Virginia!” with real terror in his eyes. I snapped, grabbed a metal pipe from the ground, and my 5’7, 150lb. self began to chase and wave the pipe at the 6’10, 250+ lb. monster, screaming threats, to everyone’s surprise. Most of all me.

    The monster is now running and dodging but still won’t let go of the keys. I pull out my nuclear option:

    “Gary, give me those $&#*$+/#*$ing keys or I’m calling your mother and waking her up!”

    The monster immediately dropped the keys and ran off. Everyone piled into the cab or onto the running boards, literally clinging to the side of the truck to avoid sitting in the back, and we crept home along old state roads to avoid the Troopers. The next day we started another big move, everyone averaging around four hours of sleep or so.

      1. jr

        My pleasure sir, and thanks to Angie below as well. NC has literally kept me sane these last few months so any favor has been repaid ten times plus.

        A few more anecdotes:

        My foreman, a funny, cynical man named Quayze (Kwaze) and I were meeting with a client in his basement living room while the crew began to offload. This guy was bragging a mile a minute about the incredible deal he had received on the home, ask me how much!, blah blah. Nothing new.

        Now, as he is addressing us, framed by the sliding glass windows and behind that a solid curtain of rain, we see that the edge of his back yard is only maybe 15 feet from the porch and that it drops off into a sand pit. As he jabbers on, a significant chunk of the edge suddenly washes away. Now he has a 14 foot backyard.

        I casually mentioned that he seemed to have a subsidence issue. He looked and mumbled something about having “it” looked at. The “it” was a sand pit the size of a small quarry. As the day, the rain, and the yard wore on he became more and more agitated. When we dragged the last of his stuff inside he was apoplectic with rage, screaming at the real estate agent on the phone. We didn’t wait for a tip.

        Quayze, or “Q”, or “Quay-zee”, a summa cum laude graduate of the School of Hard Knocks, had had experiences on the road that left me stunned. Once he had watched a pretty young lady zoom in front of his truck in a sports car at around 70, speed up to pass a dump truck filled with gravel, get in front of the flying dump truck, then for reasons known only to her and God slam on the breaks to a dead stop. The dumptruck, and Q emphasized this point, tore the sports car in half, flipped onto it’s side, and dumped tons and tons of gravel onto the freeway. Q pulled over and ran to the remains of the car to find the woman’s body had practically disintegrated under the impact, liquid and fragments. He hastily stole all the coin change from the remains of the car’s console then ran to help the other guy. He justified the theft with the following: “I needed it and she sure didn’t.” And it was true.

        Another time Q was working with two guys on a small job. The client had confessed to being broke come tip time but offered up a bottle of booze apiece from his liquor cabinet. The terms were agreeable and the trio headed for home, bottles already cracked.

        So it’s Q, this small dude Randy, and a new guy sucking down hard drink, driving down the highway. The new guy had recently been released from a long bid in the pen and had developed a taste for small men while inside. Q told me the guy must have thought because they were both ex cons and black that they were buddies or something because suddenly the new guy grabs Randy, tries to kiss him and drag off his pants. Randy starts to fight him, Q slams on the brakes, pulls over, and screams for Randy to open the door. Door opens and Q, a powerful man, runs to the passenger side, grabs the new guy, and slams him to the ground like a sack of potatoes. Q grabbed a stick laying nearby and, in his words, “beat him till the red meat showed.” Then they left him there.

        The last I heard, Q was back in prison. His girlfriends brother had beat her up and Q in turn had beaten him, breaking parole. I tried to send him a letter but it came back marked “No such person” or something.

    1. Angie Neer

      jr, thanks for a dose of human reality. Such a refreshing change from all the bogus pontification bombarding us from every direction.

    2. Massinissa

      NakedCapitalism is a great place with great commenters and great comments.

      But this is easily one of the best I have had the chance to read.

      1. jr

        Thanks for the comments guys! I’m glad you enjoyed my experiences, they are a lot more fun in the retelling…

      2. Jeff W

        I think I haven’t enjoyed a comment as much since Clive’s various accounts regarding his mother-in-law in East Dorset (“which is a little to the right of Benito Mussolini”).

        A bit heartening, too. As abysmal as my housekeeping is, any open can of molasses I stash on the top of the china cabinet for safekeeping I do (try to) remember.

        1. jr

          Thank you sir and one last mental visual gut punch for the night:

          The crew was breaking for lunch, this was at the “witches” house. We mentioned it to them because usually people spring for Subway etc. (Always buy your crew lunch unless it’s really good home cooking. Remember they have half a day plus to get back at you for being cheap. Also, it tells them not to expect a tip at the end if the job.) While the family tucked into the sandwiches they had had delivered, we were invited to explore their fridge. My buddy Brian, of food disposal blackout fame, and I looked at one another but decided to explore anyway for fun.

          Try imagining the packs of cheap lunch meats we found in their fridge. Some were newish but opened, greasy, and some had practically liquified in the plastic, unopened. Ages of dirt and grime and food drippings. One exposed product, formerly bologna, had dried and curled in such a way that the concentric layers resembled a flower budding up out of the Oscar Meyer wrapper…

          All that being said, they were nice people. The father and mother, 60ish, were academics and he generously offered to refer me to a history graduate department chair at a good school who I later found out had been dead for years. The daughter was in her late 30’s but wore the clothing and hair of a much younger woman. In fact, it was herself, we found a high school photo of her and she was dressed and coiffed identically. 20 plus years on.

          As we were wrapping up, the father apologized for the state of things. He said they realized how weird they were but that right around the time the daughter was graduating from high school they had had a baby boy who died a few days after birth. He said they had all become stuck there.

      1. jr

        No, thank you, that link is priceless! I’ve thought about writing it down somewhere but here is fine too.

        Now here is the craziest bit of all: I was only the field manager for maybe six months. The chaos and insanity I relayed in my first comment all occurred, directly or indirectly, well within that period of time. Some of those guys have been living in that world for decades.

  32. Cuibono

    Thank you, this is really a boost for the airborne transmission hypothesis: if you detect infectious particles in the air and demonstrate that these are infectious in in vitro cultures there is not much to add.”

    Well yes there is. What is to add is how common or important this is to widespread transmission.
    Lots of things CAN happen. Question is, how often do they happen?

    1. sd

      As to how often – approximately 17,300,000 cases worldwide since roughly November 2019 for an average of 2,162,500 infections each month.

      They could be getting COVID-19 by licking door knobs though that seems doubtful.

          1. Cuibono

            Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted between people via respiratory droplets and contact routes – although aerosolization in medical settings where aerosol generating procedures are used is also another possible mode of transmission – and that transmission of COVID-19 is occurring from people who are pre-symptomatic or symptomatic to others in close contact (direct physical or face-to-face contact with a probable or confirmed case within one meter and for prolonged periods of time), when not wearing appropriate PPE. Transmission can also occur from people who are infected and remain asymptomatic, but the extent to which this occurs is not fully understood and requires further research as an urgent priority. The role and extent of airborne transmission outside of health care facilities, and in particular in close settings with poor ventilation, also requires further study.

  33. CarlH

    I have a hard time understanding how the CDC and the administration failed to recognize the threat from COVID-19 from Europe after what happened in China. I recognized the severity of the threat the second the news of the magnitude of the Chinese lockdowns broke. Did these “experts” think China just glibly shuts down basically their entire economy on a whim? This doesn’t even come close to passing the smell test. If I knew, and I assure you I have no training in pathology, or epidemiology, or any other ology for that matter, then they knew and are lying.

    1. Ford Prefect

      I figured out the reason why a few weeks ago.

      Donald Trump is and his father was followers of Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking” ideloogy. Norman Vincent Peale officiated Donald Trump’s first wedding.

      Looking back, you could hear this playing out in every press conference or press release from The Donald. He was simply wishing it away and believed that would work. Acknowledging the power of the virus is negative thinking, not positive thinking. So you don’t acknowledge the virus has any power.

      Superimpose the fact that the initial wave hit Democratic strongholds, but not Republican ones, meant there was no political necessity to act quickly and decisively. Therefore, it was clear that nothing needed to be done other than apply the power of positive thinking.

      1. CarlH

        Great insight. I did not know that he was an adherent to the Power of Positive Thinking schtick. That makes sense.

  34. Arthur Dent

    The thing I didn’t like about the ventilation video is that fans are just blowing the aerosols elsewhere. That may dilute it, but it won’t eliminate the virus aerosols unless the venting is to the outside or into an unused space. Blowing it into a hallway isn’t a good way to prevent infection.

    HEPA air purifiers are surprisingly affordable and available. Just regular HEPA ones for allergies seem to be good enough as they will get down to 0.3 micron. We bought medical grade H13 HEPA air filters that are supposed to filter down to 0.1 micron at a pretty reasonable price. They act like a fan but the air being blown by them is now quite clean of the virus. You can size them by computing the volume of your space and then selecting a CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) that will provide 4+ air changes of your volume in an hour (theoretically, you need 5+ air changes per hour, but there are usually built in ways, including your regular HVAC systems and open windows that will get you at least 1). These air pruifiers produce about the same amount of noise as the fans they show in the video.

    My wife is going back into school to teach in September. Fortunately, our area doesn’t have very high cases. She teaches in an inner city school and there is effectively radio silence on protective protocols, Almost everybody in her classroom is eligible for free breakfast as well as lunch. Many are immigrants and English is not their native language. We expect little practical prevention although we expect lots of hygiene theater with wiping down surfaces after students leave.

    So we are doing the following on our own:

    Purchased HEPA air purifiers capable of 4 air changes per hour of her classroom volume – she will turn them on when she gets there and off when she leaves. One will be by her desk and the other will be in the other side of the room so air doesn’t have to travel too far or over too many kids to get cleaned.
    We have purchased replacement filters for when the air purifiers indicate new ones are needed.
    Her classroom has windows – they will be open, even in the dead of winter (can get to -10F at beginning of school day)
    The classroom door will be open.
    She will wear a mask.
    She will wear a face shield for close interaction with students.
    We have purchased disposable face masks in case students don’t have one.
    We have purchased bulk hand sanitizer to make sure it is available Day 1 in the classroom.
    We have purchased bulk 99.9% isopropyl alcohol for disinfection of surfaces, face shields, electronics, etc.
    She will have liquid hand soap dispensers available for when the bathroom soap dispensers don’t have soap.

    We are looking into purchasing kid-sized face shields for when they are close to each other.

    If you have to quarantine a sick person at home and there is a room with a bathroom attached, you can create a negative air pressure system by turning on the bathroom fan and closing the bedroom door to the hall. Opening a window near the sick person’s bed would allow clean air in which then gets vented out through the bathroom fan after picking up aerosols.

    1. Late Introvert

      Very thoughtful and thorough.

      The isopropyl needs to be diluted (we use Aloe Vera gel) to 60% – 70%. It evaporates too quickly otherwise. Or so I’ve been told on NC.

      1. Arthur Dent

        The 99.9% isopropyl alcohol is for applying to surfaces without leaving residue after it evaporates. So face shields, desks, electronics.

        The main reasons for diluting to 60-80% (rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer) are reducing manufacturer cost, reducing toxicity for ingestion and skin contact, reducing flammability, and to add moisturizers in the case of hand sanitizer. Over 60% is likely to be effective at sterilizing if allowed to dry in place on hands or surfaces as long as the surface is reasonably clean.

  35. flora

    re: Why Big Nations Have Been Brought Low by the Pandemic

    Let’s see, the CDC’s budget has been continually reduced. It’s now about $11 billion a year. Sounds like a lot, but inflation adjusted it is lower than it was 15 years ago.

    Meanwhile, the military/contractors’ budget is about $1 trillion a year.

    Send out those F-35s to strafe Covid-19. Yeah. /s

  36. JBird4049

    That article in the SCMP on the disqualification of a number of opposition candidates is mind blowing. The whole “it’s the state and not the legislature working (even in theory) for the people that runs the state” is nonsensical to this American. Either the legislators chosen by the people are supposed to be the final judge of what is or is not legal or legitimate, or it’s not the legitimate and certainly not even a real council/parliament/congress/whatever.

    The argument or reasoning that the government used to justify disqualifying much of the opposition’s candidates right before the deadline to apply is a neoliberal’s wet dream. It fulfills the goals of the Mont Society with its bogus democracy as cover for an elite oligarchy in command using a technocratic and autocratic bureaucracy.

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