Links 7/5/2020

Coral Sea’s deep-water reef secrets revealed as pandemic sees research ship redeployed ABC Australa

Locusts have hit east Africa hard The Economist. See NC in February and March.

The Rabbit Outbreak The New Yorker

Goldman Lowers U.S. GDP Forecast, Sees 4.6% Contraction in 2020 Bloomberg

Fourth of July Round-up

Fireworks (Los Angeles, CA):

Fireworks (Oakland, CA):

Joey Chestnut (75), Miki Sudo (48.5) retain Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest titles ESPN

Man offers to resign after showering during live video meeting Guardian


Scientists say WHO ignores the risk that coronavirus floats in air as aerosol Los Angeles Times. They say it because it’s true; see NC in May. From the full text of the letter:

We have an urgent message about some critical new scientific research. It strongly suggests that requiring fabric mask use in public places could be amongst the most powerful tools to stop the community spread of COVID-19.

An international cross-disciplinary review of the scientific research by 19 experts and other recent research shows that:

  • People are most infectious in the initial period of infection, when it is common to have few or no symptoms
  • Cloth masks obstruct a high portion of the droplets from the mouth and nose that spread the virus
  • Non-medical masks have been effective in reducing transmission of coronavirus
  • Cloth masks can be washed in soapy water and re-used
  • Places and time periods where mask usage is required or widespread have been shown to substantially lower community transmission
  • Public mask wearing is most effective at stopping spread of the virus when the vast majority of the public uses masks
  • Laws appear to be highly effective at increasing compliance and slowing or stopping the spread of COVID-19.

The preponderance of evidence, in both laboratory and clinical settings, indicates that mask wearing reduces the transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected droplets. The decreased transmissibility could substantially reduce the death toll, other harms to public health, job losses and economic losses. The cost of such masks is very low by comparison.

Modeling suggests that widespread public mask use, in conjunction with other measures, could bring the effective reproduction number (R) beneath 1.0, thus halting the growth of the pandemic.

Therefore, we ask that government officials require cloth masks to be worn in all public places, such as stores, transportation systems, and public buildings as soon as possible. This action will prevent people who are infectious from unknowingly spreading the disease.

Masks are kawaii:

* * *

Vitamin D promoted as potential defence against coronavirus FT

WHO halts hydroxychloroquine, HIV drugs in COVID trials after failure to reduce death Channel News Asia. “The UN agency said that the decision, taken on the recommendation of the trial’s international steering committee, does not affect other studies where the drugs are used for non-hospitalised patients or as a prophylaxis.”

Tracking changes in SARS-CoV-2 Spike: evidence that D614G increases infectivity of the COVID-19 virus (pre-proof) Cell. From the abstract: “A SARS-CoV-2 variant carrying the Spike protein amino acid change D614G has become the most prevalent form in the global pandemic…. . In infected individuals G614 is … suggestive of higher upper respiratory tract viral loads, although not with increased disease severity. These findings illuminate changes important for a mechanistic understanding of the virus, and support continuing surveillance of Spike mutations to aid in the development of immunological interventions.”

Early-Morning vs Spot Posterior Oropharyngeal Saliva for Diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Implication of Timing of Specimen Collection for Community-Wide Screening Open Forum Infectious Diseases. An alternative to collection through the nose.

* * *

Coronavirus: ‘Crystal clear’ drunk people will not socially distance BBC

Governors stress ‘personal responsibility’ over virus orders Associated Press

How Fauci, 5 other health specialists deal with covid-19 risks in their everyday lives WaPo. Very little collective enthusiasm for fllying. Tressie McMillan Cottom: “Their risk evaluations are interesting but so are the glimpses of their lives. Lots of cleaners, kids coming to help with zoom, some outdoor dinner parties. All of them reject indoor dining.”

Scolding Beachgoers Isn’t Helping Zeynep Tufeki, The Atlantic. Yes, the beach is outdoors. Yes, zoom lenses can make a distanced scene seem packed. Yes, images of beach-goers have been used to foment moral panic. My only concern is people sitting together in groups for extended periods, sharing drinks and food, and transmission via fomites like blankets, playing cards, sun block bottles, etc. And I have seen no cases of beach transmission in the literature. Certainly better to go to the beach than a bat cave like a bar!

* * *

Simpson’s Paradox, a thread:

Video from the thread:

Pandemic Practice: Horror Fans and Morbidly Curious Individuals Are More Psychologically Resilient During the COVID-19 Pandemic psyArxiv. From the abstract: “We found that fans of horror films exhibited greater resilience during the pandemic and that fans of “prepper” genres (alien-invasion, apocalyptic, and zombie films) exhibited both greater resilience and preparedness. We also found that trait morbid curiosity was associated with positive resilience and interest in pandemic films during the pandemic. Taken together, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that exposure to frightening fictions allow audiences to practice effective coping strategies that can be beneficial in real-world situations.” So we’re only trying to help you!

Thousands of public housing tenants under hard lockdown as COVID-19 spreads The Age. Australia.

Catalonia locks down 200,000 over coronavirus outbreak Al Jazeera

Ecuador hospitals under pressure, on verge of collapse Al Jazeera


Beijing’s Hong Kong takeover is a masterclass in creating fear FT

China has HSBC’s taipan in a vice with few options but to fall in line with the security law for Hong Kong in the bank’s biggest market South China Morning Post

Libraries pull off some books by political figures RTHK

Exclusive: Illegal protest slogan ‘immortalised’ by Hong Kong gov’t, says co-author HKFP

* * *

US sends 2 aircraft carriers to South China Sea During PLA Drills Times of India

Did China miscalculate the rise of India? South China Morning Post


Brexit: The return of the UK land bridge dilemma RTE (PD).


UK government takes £400m stake in satellite firm OneWeb BBC (Clive). Why not greenfield a government agency, instead of funding a start-up brownfield?


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Restoration:™

Stephen King has done a lot of good in the Great State of Maine, but the combination of hysterical, triumphalist wish fulfillment in the headlines, and lorem ipsum in the text, is pretty much where liberal Democrats are right now. I’m surprised that a writer of King’s caliber would miss this telling metaphor. And then there’s this:

Two billionaires in the cabinet: Bezos (Commerce) and Winfrey (Education). Has recent experience demonstrated that billionaires have a special aptitude for government service? And oddly, or not, no indication whatever, anywhere on the page, that Sanders or his policies even exist; for example, Jayapal would do well at HHS (and not Gilead ramper and mask dissimulater Fauci). There’s also an enormous typo in the caption at top left.

Trump takes aim at ‘radical left’ in July 4 speech FT. Is anything in Trump’s speech different from what Bush would have said in 2003? Do I need to write a post on what a horrible President George W. Bush was, and why under no circumstances should he have been rehabilitated?

In Colorado, Progressives Had A Chance At Real Power. They Let It Go. HuffPo

Kanye tweets he’s running for president The Hill. Predicted by Sturgill Simpson on the Trillbillies back in February.

Billionaires are spending more on political contributions, here are the three biggest spenders CNBC


Lambert here: The RussiaGate franchise needs refreshing. The first in the series (“A New Grift”) was pretty good; the second (“The Blob Strikes Back”) was not so good; and now “Return of the Anonymous Source” just isn’t any good at all.

In ‘Russian Bounty’ Story, Evidence-Free Claims From Nameless Spies Became Fact Overnight FAIR. Unexpected!

Experts Say Intel Should Have Reached Trump On Russian Bounty Program NPR. So Gina Haspel is at the PDB readings….

New Administration Memo Seeks to Foster Doubts About Suspected Russian Bounties New York Times. The audacity.

Our Famously Free Press

Spies, Lies, and Stonewalling: What It’s Like to Report on Facebook CJR. Zuckerberg lies right to your face. Who knew?

From context collapse to content collapse Rough Type

The Uprisings

I predicted 2020 would be a mess for the U.S. Could that help prevent a second civil war? Peter Turchin, Globe and Mail. Must-read.

The Boogaloo Tipping Point The Atlantic

But wait!

Failed State Watch

Trump Is Turning America Into the ‘Shithole Country’ He Fears The Atlantic

Crises Only Sometimes Lead to Change. Here’s Why. Foreign Policy. 1848? Or 1905?

Oregon State Police don’t wear coronavirus masks while patronizing coffee shop, despite governor’s order The Oregonian

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Hamilton Hustle Matt Stoller, The Baffler. From 2017, still germane (Hamilton on Disney Plus a heartwarming cross between play and TV movie CNET. It’s a musical, ffs).

First Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln (transcript) The Avalon Project

Guillotine Watch

Americans on private jet denied entry to Sardinia CNN (Re Silc). “[The private jet] took off from Colorado with 11 would-be holidaymakers on board… The five US citizens were traveling with friends from New Zealand, the UK, Germany and Italy. There were also three children on board.” A flying hot spot.

Class Warfare

The everyone economy: how to make capitalism work for all FT

The NBA’s Reopening Is a Warning Sign for the U.S. Economy Bloomberg (Re Silc).

Who Died for Your Dinner? Buzzfeed

Immigrants should be more woke. Thread:

Bipartisan bill aims to revamp National Science Foundation Physics. Surely we already have an entity focused on commercializing science? We call it “the private sector,” among other things.

The Glassmaker Who Sparked Astrophysics Nautilus

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. Krystyn Podgajski

    I saw where that dog was in the antidote and I knew it was in Missoula. They have some of the nicest hiking trails right on the edges of the city. Makes me want to get back in my van and escape the hell of the south right now.

      1. jefemt

        I’m thinking mongrel — border collie x… could be setter. I love mixed breeds- only way to go.

        I’m keeping an eye peeled for a border collie-german wirehair cross… intense herding, brains, ability to cover open ground and stop on a dime… and an irresistible fuzzy face and hazel eyes.

        Miss my Wirehair / French Brittany terribly — she was La Diablita Con Barba!

    1. hamstak

      Off topic Krystyn, but I realized last night that I had misinformed you a few days back regarding Comet being on PlutoTV — it is not. I was confusing that with the Comet app available on Roku. My apologies.

  2. fresno dan

    What with staying at home, I have been revisiting movies I have seen before I knew I liked. Last night was Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson from 1976. I was in the service when it was released and didn’t see it till a few years later on a VCR, but still, close to 40 years ago. It was like seeing it afresh, but what I got out of the movie today from what I saw those many years ago…

    Lines from the movie:
    Ned Buntline: Yes, he was truly born to entertain. No ordinary man would ever take credit for acts of bravery and heroism he couldn’t have done. And no ordinary man would realize what huge profits could be made by telling a pack of lies like it was the truth.
    No, Bill Cody can only trust his senses. And when his senses fail him he might see things as they really are.
    (brings to mind most prominent people since the movie)

    (after Sitting Bull left the camp and a posse when looking for him)
    Bartender: I don’t see any Indians with them.
    Ned Buntline:’Cause there ain’t no Injuns there.
    Bartender: But Bill’s the greatest Indian hunter of them all. He led fifteen
    of the best trackers into territory he knows better than the back of his own hand
    looking for an old man a giant, and five boys. It’s not your fault, Bill.
    (brings to mind the greatest military ever and Afghanistan)

    William Halsey (Indian interpreter for Sitting Bull): Great Father, Sitting Bull has a very simple thing to ask you.
    President Cleveland: Mr. Halsey, I remind you that in government, nothing is simple.
    Halsey: This request will satisfy Sitting Bull’s people forever.
    President Cleveland: Remember that I’m only “Great Father” four years at a time.
    And another thing I face a Republican Congress. I suggest you deal with your local agent.
    Halsey: We have. The agents will not help.
    President Cleveland: Doesn’t that indicate your request is impossible?
    Halsey: This request is simple.
    Person in crowd: He said nothing is simple.
    Halsey: Sitting Bull’s request is simple. Sitting Bull dreamed he would meet the Great Father here. He hoped the Great Father would honor his request.
    President Cleveland: I’m sorry There’s nothing I can do.
    Halsey: But you haven’t heard Sitting Bull’s request.
    But it doesn’t make any difference. It’s out of the question.
    (brings to mind the last democratic president)

    1. timbers

      Was never a fan of Gone With The Wind (not my type of movie) but recently acquired the blu ray. It was ok but a bit more melodrama than I prefer. But now, it appears Warner has pulled it from market with the current riots, as the content is not presently politically correct.

      Another title I acquired on recommendation, having never seen, is How Green Is My Valley, again a bit outside my preference but with it now owned by Disney it it likely effectively OOP so decided to get it while still possible. Once a FOX title, Disney bought FOX. Disney is despised by many movie collectors as they vault old titles and usually don’t release oldies unless they think they can make huge money. So all those older FOX titles (FOX was very good about releasing older movies in updated formats) will sell out and effectively be gone forever at least on physical media. For example titles like Die Hard and Alien – once FOX – are no longer being made in physical media as Disney will let them go OOP, not to be seen again on physical media unless a sequel happens that it thinks it can piggy back off of.

      1. Andrew

        One of my favorite films of all time is “Never Cry Wolf”, a beutifully done Disney production based on the book by Farley Mowat. I would love to have a copy of it but my local video store (now closed) owner said Disney has taken it out of production. Stars Martin Cruz Smith and Brian Dennehy. Ive given up on Hollywood and the CGI visual blitzkreig. The cinematography in older movies like Gone with the Wind is so much better, If I feel like watching a movie I look for something pre- 2000.

        1. fresno dan

          July 5, 2020 at 12:30 pm
          Spoiler alert
          The scene where Charles Martin Smith starts eating mice to prove that a large predator could survive solely on a mouse diet, and one of the mice is looking at him, is hilarious but also full of pathos

        2. ShamanicFallout

          I think it was Charles Martin Smith, the great Terry ‘the Toad’ from American Graffiti. It is kind of a bummer that you have to rent now on prime or Netflix or whatever and then you also have the option to “purchase” them but that’s like purchasing a subscription to MS Office or something… Yes you “own” it, provided you also keep paying the premiums

          1. Andrew

            Yeah your right, CM Smith was great in The Untouchables also. MC Smith wrote Gorky Park which became the movie with Lee Marvin and William Hurt, another great show. These films are the last of the good stuff from Hollywood. I refuse (so far) to spend a nickel on the streamers because you know eventually it just keeps escalating. The cable companies are raping and pillaging older people on their way out as internet takes over. My Dad was getting charged around $160\ mo for dish network before he passed. Im not really big on movies but I can watch one I like many times over; I wish I had bought more of the vcr tapes when you could buy a box full for five bucks at a yard sale.

            1. jr

              I’ve started to assemble a DVD collection of stuff I know I’ll never find on any streaming service.

        3. The Rev Kev

          If you ever get a chance Andrew, you should read the original book by Farley Mowat. I think that I should go make some more coffee to help mark my territory with now.

          1. Andrew

            I have, Farley Mowat was one of the first writers I started following after my school librarian turned me on to A Whale for the Killing. People of the Deer, River of No Return ; I have been a sucker for adventure/ travel stories ever since. I read those stories years ago and now I remember taking them in as a genteel admonishment of the destruction wreaked by the modern world, like we were somehow better now. 911 , The Terror Wars, Abu-Graib , Banning Farley Mowat at the border put the lie to that…It is all so hardcore. Innocense and Experience I guess.

    2. jackiebass

      People need to watch The Grapes Of Wrath. Especially young adults. Many young adults know little or nothing about the great depression. This movie at least would give young people a glimpse at how life. was during those times.

      1. JohnnySacks

        I’d rather they read it, maybe after Atlas Shrugged, with some author bio about a whiny vindictive Soviet ex-pat vs. a US author living through the times he writes about. (BTW, Was the dustbowl days when America was great?)

        1. ambrit

          Oh please don’t inflict Atlas Shrugged on the poor youth of today. Maybe later, when they have some “life experience” under their belts to compare the ideologically driven plot of Rand’s monsterpiece with how the world actually works.
          I would reverse the order of reading that you propose. Add in some Studs Terkel for evidentiary purposes.
          Is it just me, or do I detect a strong element of sexual libertinage in the authors of the neo-liberal Ur texts? (Power in all it’s manifestations.)

    3. Big River Bandido

      Funny you should mention that film as I was just thinking of it the other day. It was the first “grown-up” movie I ever saw…my aunt took my cousins and I to see it when I was 8. I remember very little of it as I had no background knowledge of the story and I was completely unable to follow the plot. Perhaps this is a cue for me to watch it again.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        4 films I watched over the last while that as a youngster I barely grasped were – The Leopard. The Comedians, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff ? & Stroszeck.

        All attached with memories of my Dad’s eventual ” Shut Up ” as he grew impatient at my questions.

      2. Janie

        Read Farley Mowat’s book. Not a movie, of course, but very good. He’s Canadian and was refused entry to US after 9/11. Ridiculous.

        1. RMO

          As I recall, he was on the “list” even before 9/11 due to being a “radical” – things like protesting the ALCM (a cruise missile which had no real reason to exist except as a first strike weapon) being tested in Canadian airspace with the Canadian governments permission.

          the movie is very good too, if sad at times. My guess is it will be available again sometime as Disney tends to shuffle even very popular things in and out of production.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “The Rabbit Outbreak”

    Australia: ‘Hey, I don’t suppose that you can spare us a cup of some of that RHD virsus, can you?’

    1. Synoia

      A myxomatosis infected rabbit crawling across a road is one of the nastiest sights on Earth.I remember myxomatosis well, as it was endemic when I was at school in Norfolk in the UK. It was such a ugly sight that it caused a significant drop in the number of Rabbits eaten in the UK.

      Nobody wanted to eat a mixie rabbit.

      However, inevitably, it spawned some dark humor:

      Rabbit in side of road twiddling it toes
      Onlooker: “What are you doing”?
      Rabbit: “Mixing my toses.”

      1. John A

        And the two rabbits that go into a bar. Bartender asks what they want to drink. The first says pointing at hus companion “mix him a tosis”.

    1. tegnost

      Shows that steven king never leaves his house and orders everything from amazon just like almost every other wealthy american. I’m reminded of a post from early in the pandemic about herd immunity and how people who isolate themselves from the outside world are creating a separate herd with zero immunity, so in the questionable event that herd immunity actually happens, the MOU will find themselves at a disadvantage…

      1. edmondo

        Why don’t they just run Martin Sheen instead of that senile old fool? They honestly believe that the world will automatically just right itself on January 20th, don’t they?

        1. TheDood

          If I was a supporter of traitor red don the con, I’d probably be keeping my mouth shut right now considering how badly he and his crime family have shit the bed. Seriously, nobody wants to hear jack shit from a DJT supporter right now except “I made a mistake.”

    2. clarky90

      I grew up reveling in The American Revolution of 1776. The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, The Constitution.

      Imo, there has been A Counter-Revolution being vigorously fomented and financed by reactionary, counter-revolutionary agents, like Jeff Bezos (The Billionaire Autocracy), The Fed, Big Media…This subterfuge has been going on my entire life. In fact, since 1777.

      “When your movement is financed by multinational corporations………..?”

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Matt Taibbi, linked yesterday I believe, nails it:

        The best explanation for these sudden reversals in rhetoric is that Trump broke the brains of America’s educated classes. Like Russian aristocrats who spent the last days of the Tsarist empire flocking to fortune-tellers and mystics, upscale blue-staters have lost themselves lately in quasi-religious tracts like White Fragility, and are lining up to flog themselves for personal and historical sins.

        In desperation to help the country atone for their idea of why Trump happened, they’ve engaged in a sort of moon landing of anti-intellectual endeavors, committing a generation of minds to finding a solution to the one thing no thinking person ever considered a problem, i.e. the Enlightenment ideas that led to the American Revolution.

        The same pols and pundits who not long ago were waving the flag for wars and insisting that American-style democracy was so perfectly realized that it made sense to bring it to all the peoples of the world, by force if needed (think Friedman’s hypothesis of a borderless utopia of forced wealth creation called the Golden Straitjacket), have now reversed course to tell us our entire history needs to be wiped clean.

        Everything is a lie now. CNN even put “Independence” in quotes when describing the holiday today (i.e. “Reexamining ‘Independence’ Day”). This will end with Wolf Blitzer, dressed in a dashiki, pulling the switch to dynamite the Statue of Liberty.

  4. fresno dan

    The Hamilton Hustle Matt Stoller, The Baffler. From 2017, still germane (Hamilton on Disney Plus a heartwarming cross between play and TV movie CNET. It’s a musical, ffs).

    The Obama era looks like an echo of the Federalist power grabs of the 1780s and 1790s, both in its enrichment and glorification of financial elites and its open disdain for anything resembling true economic democracy. The Obama political elite, in other words, celebrates Hamilton not in spite of Hamilton’s anti-democratic tendencies, but because of them.
    Set in contrast to the actual life and career of its subject, the play Hamilton is a feat of political alchemy—as is the stunningly successful marketing campaign surrounding it. But our generation’s version of Hamilton adulation isn’t all that different from the version that took hold in the 1920s: it’s designed to subvert democracy by helping the professional class to associate the rise of finance with the greatness of America, instead of seeing in that financial infrastructure the seeds of a dangerous authoritarian tradition.
    Must there be a depression before we have true reform

    1. jackiebass

      I’m 79 years old. I have hope young people will help implement real change. The present system is broken because we really only have one party. There is little real difference between the two parties. Change will only come when the old status quo guard is voted out. Biden is one of the old guard. He will give lip service to change but not institute any real change. Of course the con artist Trump doesn’t really want change for the good all. He is a master of conning voters into believing he is working for them. Actually the opposite is true. Neoliberalism must go and be replaced by a new New Deal.

      1. CanCyn

        Things will only change when the corporate masters are excluded from governing via their donations. Campaign financing HAS to change.

        1. Briny

          Sadly, I don’t believe that at all, but not because money doesn’t corrupt our political institutions, it most definitely does. No, so long as those financial interests exist, they will always find another path to corrupt, no matter how indirect. Look at how academe and our legal system have also been corrupted to serve them, or our military since near their founding, a personal example I’m closely familiar with as with academe. Those two have been my life. Sickening.

      2. Tomonthebeach

        Billionaires and various people in charge can only manipulate us if we enable them to do so.

        I do not think Trump is conning anybody. It does not require and 130 IQ to sniff out bullshit and self-serving actions – we all do it every day to survive. A group of people are disoriented by shift away from manufacturing to service even if it has not yet directly impacted them. Life used to be predictable for them. So they want to believe Trump’s transparent lies and childish conspiracy attributions. Perhaps, it also helps to discharge their rage at affronts to their seldom-challenged beliefs, and/or Trump’s simpleminded worldview makes them believe that life today can somehow be willed to simplicity.

        1. Cancyn

          The billionaires are not manipulating us, they are controlling us. We are not enabling them, the campaign financing system is enabling them and no one is going to change that system by voting.
          Dems or GOP basically do the same things at the bidding of their donors and voting third party is but a symbolic protest. This is why many people are so apathetic about voting and elections, nothing changes for them no matter their choice.

        2. expose

          This “shift” is destroying the US and must be completely reversed, or the US simply will not survive. Manufacturing must be further revived; just the US experience in supplies for covid should be a lesson learned. The US dependence on China and other external manufacturing is destroying the US.

          Jobs are the most important glue to keeping everything in society working. US jobs have been handed over to China for decades. Obama’s big fu to the US worker and his bank bailouts are among the reasons behind the support for Trump.

          The majority of people I see ‘discharging’ rage are the bolsheviks/BLM/marxists/dems destroying buildings and cars, looting, destroying jobs, and beating up people. Because, as some dem politicians have said to justify the violence, to paraphrase, they need to express their rage.

        3. ObjectiveFunction

          Could the answer simply be that squillionaires are possessed by demons? Does Bezos float when tossed into the mill pond? [/yesthisistongueincheek]

          The Demon-Infested Left has some very good insights. (But please note, the writer does literally posit the influence of malign spirits, so you’ve been warned. YMMV)

          The Right was once the go-to source for Luciferian arrogance and complete intolerance of dissenting views.

          Just like the Left projects its own shadow now and then proceeds to melt down in paranoid hysteria, the Right was once known for doing the same thing. Mentally ill people were dumped into the streets en masse by an arms dealing, junta-funding Reagan as the Christian right hoarded wealth for itself and covered up the priestly class’s child molestation habits.

          The Left has its pet boogeymen of the Patriarchy, racism, fascism, and COVID to panic over where the Right once had illegal drugs, abortion, and the Satanic Panic to splatter upon headlines and newscasts….

          In the case of the largely atheist and secular Left, the promise of infinite Progress was the demonic lure. Just as Christians believe God will deliver them, atheists believe in the power of the free market or Progress will grant their wishes, and if not the wishes, the wishes of their descendants…. Belief in any power higher than oneself and one’s will becomes an insult to humanism. Both the atheist and the Christian believe in the Unseen Hand….

          In their minds, they are always bargaining for a better deal, whether it is the Evangelical using the cosmic vending machine approach to prayer or the atheist, who is compelled to amass all the goodies because “you only live once”.

      3. Billy

        From that excellent essay I learned a couple of disassociations:

        The Federalist Party ≠ Federalism

        The Democratic Party ≠ Democracy

        Slavery = Illegals

        The same parasites who have been trying to destroy the manifestations of the Enlightenment in the New World of America, have been at it for a long time, and still are at it.

        Like extirpating a rotten tooth, our “national debt” needs to be repudiated by the taxpayers, no matter how much pain that would cause for the overall benefit of the nation.

        If we ever get a second political party for the benefit of Americans, not financiers and foreigners, it should be called The Jeffersonian Party.

        1. Briny

          Agreed with all, especially the party. I’ve always identified with Jeffersons arguements.

      4. notberlin

        “I’m 79 years old. I have hope young people will help implement real change. The present system is broken because we really only have one party. There is little real difference between the two parties.”

        Agree! I’m 58 years old now, and I’m seeing – at least for me over here in Europe – some real intelligence and strength and fight going on with ‘the youngsters.’ It’s the first time I’ve felt hopeful in a long time, ironically perhaps (as so much seems to be imploding). I have no idea if it will end well, but so uplifting to see these young spirits fighting back and doing so with grace and intelligence, and supporting each other along the way. Of course in standing up for dignity and pushing back against this sort of bleak oppression, nothing comes out perfect. But they are doing it! The police state and its owners seem like mere Troglodytes in comparison. It doesn’t mean – again – it will end well for the good people fighting the good fight, but goddam, they seem to at least putting up real resistance. Which is 100% required and necessary right now.

        I’m still sort of confused how the word “Antifa” has been co-opted to mean a bad thing? Aren’t most of us anti fascist? How is that wrong? But I’m getting my news across an ocean, and not on the ground in the US.

        1. jaaaaayceeeee

          Antifa HAD to be a target, using the usual tarring by association, false dichotomies, pearl clutching and smears, just like protesters as violent thugs (even if you have to foment violence like so many plains clothes police) or Bernie Sanders “the Amenndment King” as never having accomplished anything (move the goal posts to legislation sponsored and passed), or Corbyn the anti-Semite, or young people as having ruined everything (foment generational war and anything that helps divide and conquer or prevent solidarity)…etc., etc., etc.

            1. The Rev Kev

              That elk statue was definitely racist and even had Confederate sympathies. It had to go.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Made a comment when the play “Hamilton” came out that this was the adulation of a man who represented an authoritarian, war-mongering streak in American history. And that it was the modern Washington elite that was determined to reform him as their hero via this play which Obama was fully onboard with. Remember that they tried sections of the play at the White House in front of Obama before it went public. The tickets were pricey enough that you had to be well off to afford tickets.

      So right now we have the counter-culture in full swing and charges laid against figures like Lincoln and Grant because they were not ‘pure’ enough. So how come a slave-selling figure like Hamilton that married into a slave-owning family get a free pass? I haven’t read of any of his statues being attacked either in Washington DC or New York. Has he been reformed or something by the Woke crowd?

      1. Mr. House

        Because the people tearing down statues have a very limited grasp of history, if any at all.

        1. Billy

          Slit view blinders, corralling their emotional responses to elite propaganda in service to and distraction from the plutocrats interests.

          Imagine if the BLM marches were protesting;
          55%+ of our taxes going to losing wars, rather than true national defense via Medicare For All as well as stopping the destruction of the middle class through deindustrialization and third world immigration.

          The same thing that happened to Occupy Wall Street would
          occur with the military quashing the marches.

          1. hunkerdown

            How is a middle class a solution to anything as far as the working class is concerned? Only their complete erasure as a class and their incorporation into the proletariat is any good news for most people. Anything else is just a petty aristocracy by any other name — the true Enlightenment value.

          2. J.k

            Billy: “Imagine if the BLM marches were protesting;
            55%+ of our taxes going to losing wars, rather than true national defense via Medicare For All ”

            if you bothered to read some of their demands you would find….
            In reference to c19 crisis…
            We demand the federal government immediately do the following:
            6. Immediately pass Medicare for All with no work requirements.

              1. Basil Pesto

                I don’t want to seem like I’m on team Billy, whose posts I find a bit, shall we say, monomaniacal, but I think we should examine this a bit more closely:

                Let’s take the proposition, if I may paraphrase:

                “It would be good if the BLM protesters were protesting for Medicare for All”

                (setting aside the ‘taxes fund…’ fallacy)

                to which you might reply:

                if you bothered to read some of their demands you would find….
                In reference to c19 crisis…
                We demand the federal government immediately do the following:
                6. Immediately pass Medicare for All with no work requirements.

                Now, while that’s very nice, I think it begs the question: to what extent can a
                protest movement be said to be protesting something when what they are claiming to be protesting is buried in their Ts & Cs, so to speak?

                (furthermore, we might also ask who exactly the royal ‘they’ of ‘their demands’ is referring to. Put another way, do all those people participating in the protests know that they are also protesting for medicare for all? Would they look at you askance if you were a reporter and went up to them and asked: “so, why are you here today protesting for medicare for all?”)

                We might then ask: If there was a protest movement that put a concrete material benefit such as medicare for all front and centre, as opposed to protesting a pseudo-concrete wrong such as ‘systemic racism’ (which I put in scare quotes following Adolph Reed’s analysis), how do we think it might be treated? Keep in mind that medicare for all could be initiated (as opposed to implemented) in a day if the political will were there (whereas I’m inclined to believe that racism is ineradicable, sadly). That process could be set in motion very easily.

                Would such protests be successful? If they had a similar amount of mobilisation and anger as todays’ protests undergirding them? Would they be tolerated? Or would they get the full Bonus Army/Occupy treatment?

                It’s hard to say, because such a protest movement does not exist.

    3. JTMcPhee

      A “true depression?” What’s the state of the political economy now? And what possible mechanisms could now result in this “reform” of which you speak? The ruling class has their power and privilege locked down, owns the media, the state security apparatus, the legislatures up and down the scale.

      I see little chance of “reform.” Strong possibility of descent into anomie and collapse. One among many “morbid symptoms:

    4. RMO

      fresno dan: Some friend of mine just watched Hamilton and were asking “Is this supposed to be a parody or a farce, or do they mean it?” The Hamilton thing makes me think of an alternate universe version of “The Producers” where “Springtime For Hitler” becomes a smash hit but does so not by people laughing at it but by people taking it seriously and agreeing with it.

      I recall a tweet or quote of some sort by the author of Hamilton appearing in links or the water cooler here – I can’t remember what it was, just that it was a wretchedly PMC, corporate Democrat kind of statement. He was only identified by last name and it took me a second to realize who it was. If anyone remembers this I would like to find it again.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        I never saw the play, but I always assumed the Black revisionist fascination with Hamilton was rooted in the persistent rumor that he was part black, being an illegitimate child born in Nevis.

        In other words, another tenuous ‘Out of Africa’ idea, along with the Bantu Pharaohs.

        1. Massinissa

          I mean, Nubian pharaohs were a thing for a short period, and they were black. But Bantu? Thats too far south, and wrong time period.

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Yes, agreed. But related imagery seems to model very Bantu looking men and women, as opposed to the (also ‘black’) Amharic/ Abyssinians who are the actual Upper Kingdom forbears. Much like Europeans reimaging Jesus as a high foreheaded Nordic.

            Not much harm in either I suppose, if it gets kids ‘engaged’ with history, and their ancestors get to be something other than faceless oppressed masses. But once tribal cheerleading starts politicizing ‘serious’ history, that’s when some pretty ugly stuff starts to happen. Witness, well, most of Europe.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Simpsons Paradox

    Thanks for the reminder, Simpsons Paradox is one of those things that most of us who have sat through many a statistics class ‘knew’ about, but then forgot. Certainly, I did. Plus, I think so have a lot of public leaders and experts.

    Looking at the UK figures, I’ve a horrible feeling that it is also the explanation for a similar diversion between positive rates and death rates. It used to be a joke in the 1980’s and 90’s that the UK was the 51st State (as well as the key line of a great The The song). I think it’s increasingly become a reality.

    1. ewmayer

      Interestingly, the Wikipedia article on the paradox opens with

      “Simpson’s paradox, which goes by several names, is a phenomenon in probability and statistics, in which a trend appears in several different groups of data but disappears or reverses when these groups are combined.”

      …and then proceeds to give a “classic example”, 1973 UC Berekeley applicants-vs-admissions stats which appear to show a pro-male bias in the aggregate, but which does not survive deeper by-department scrutiny, which takes account gener disparities in what kinds of programs males and females tend to apply to:

      “The research paper by Bickel et al.[15] concluded that women tended to apply to competitive departments with low rates of admission even among qualified applicants (such as in the English Department), whereas men tended to apply to less-competitive departments with high rates of admission among the qualified applicants (such as in engineering and chemistry).”

      IOW, the example is actually of something which might be dubbed the “reverse Simpson’s paradox.”

  6. fresno dan

    Oregon State Police don’t wear coronavirus masks while patronizing coffee shop, despite governor’s order The Oregonian

    The store’s assistant manager, Travis Boss, said he told the first trooper who arrived that the trooper needed to wear a mask.

    “Governor Brown has no authority to take our civil liberties. We aren’t going to wear masks,” the trooper allegedly said, according to a written statement from Boss provided to the newsroom.

    The trooper proceeded to place his order, Boss said in an interview, offering a foul-mouthed retort to the governor’s mandate that masks be worn within indoor public spaces.

    “He said, ‘F— Kate Brown,’” Boss recalled.

    The trooper’s alleged comments came on the same day that Brown’s statewide mask order went into effect, and just hours before Brown implored Oregonians to wear facial coverings as a “simple, common sense way to protect yourself and others” during the coronavirus pandemic.
    So I got a message early yesterday from my east coast friend about going to a family barbecue. The question of masks came up and the host stated “only liberals wear masks”
    On the other hand, other family members are germaphobes, so interesting times. Brother against sister-in-law, cousin against cousin. Makes me glad I’m an only child with no surviving relatives…

    1. Clive

      Unfortunately an almost inevitable consequence of politicising public health policy. Which not a few clinicians have been only too happy to engage in. Shame on them.

      Add in societies dividing themselves into a factionalism which lends itself to a characterisation (and it’s a mis-characterisation but that doesn’t really matter) of neo-Puritan school ma’am-ish virtual finger-wag’ers and a don’t-go-getting-all-@‘me Spring Break crowd, and it gets even worse.

      If only propagandising worked, that might be a solution. But if that were the case, you could simply tell people who got into difficulties caused by drug or alcohol dependency they needed to get into treatment (and then follow the treatment advice) and that would be the end of the matter. Or the lurid pictures on cigarette packets would dissuade anyone from ever even thinking of buying them. Sadly not. Similarly, no-one would ever drive over 30 mph in a 30 zone. And they’d always come to a complete halt at every Stop sign, too.

      1. a different chris

        >an almost inevitable consequence of politicising public health policy.

        But the politicizing (American spelling :D) only works on people that are dumber than dirt. Really a small percent of the population but Media likes to put cameras on them like the exotic zoo creatures they are. Note the now-famous “empty arena” Trump picture — plenty of people wearing masks.

        Those ones aren’t stupid, they are just getting what they want from Trump so they support him.

        The ones a step beyond that are busy (cough, Lincoln Project, cough) taking over the Democratic Party. Pretty easy when you have a bunch of doddering old idiots (Pelosi, Schumer, Biden) at the top and the only guy with any youth and heft (Obama) is so self-centered and right-wing himself it is better that he isn’t “saving” it from them.

        1. Clive

          Unfortunately they are dumber than dirt people whose cooperation any particular public health policy discussions are utterly dependent on. It’s not possible with our current levels of technology to spin up a parallel planet where either mask advocates can move to or mask refusenicks can be sent, thus allowing each group to create the space they wish to live in.

          There is only one trajectory for this debate now, given the givens. And it was always going to be a debated question that would prove self-resolving. Either an initial soft-launch pro-mask messaging campaign would gain increasing support and meet no meaningful counterputsch and prevail in pretty short order. Or a resistant grouping would form and, if that happened, because any public health policy requires very high levels of adherence to be deliverable, neither side could gain an upper hand (this has rumbled on since at least May so it is at a point where more information or ratcheting up the rhetoric isn’t going to work, propaganda is either a blitzkrieg tool that secures a rapid victory or else it is a matter of trench warfare).

          So, we’re now going to have to sit through the attrition phase where both sides continue to fling vitriol at each other but neither managing to score a knock out blow, either. This will continue for maybe another couple of months.

          After which time, having confronted each other with mutual incomprehension and loathing, some sort of societal truce will be hammered out that everyone can accept. Oh, and no doubt each viewpoint will despise the other and grumble about it, maybe for years.

          “And they all lived unhappily ever after…”

          It’s the American way! The British one, too, I regret to say. Misery loves company etc. so at least there’s that.

          1. David

            Would you have worn a mask a year ago if the popular media identified mask wearing with opposition to Brexit and the installation of a pro-Remain coalition givernment?

            1. Clive

              As for me, I’d have always followed both the letter and the spirit of whatever the prevailing public health advice is.

              But if either Leave or Remain had been foolish enough to intermingle politics with public health, then an already messy situation would have become even more intractable. At least we were spared that. But now, having intermingled the two with COVID-19, there’s no unscrambling those eggs.

              As a rejoinder, in the same vein, if you were Jon Snow and you’d asked Daenerys Targaryen:

              “How do you know?” Jon asks. “How do you know it’ll be right to enforce mask wearing?”

              Daenerys replies:

              “Because I know what is good. And so do you.”

              Jon Snow:

              “I don’t.”

              Daenerys again:

              “You do. You do. You’ve always known.”


              “What about everyone else? All the other people who think they know what’s good, whether they want to wear a mask.”


              “They don’t get to choose.”

              Maybe you’d trust Daenerys, with her armies and her dragon to back it all up, to do the right thing, to impose order on the chaos and to use her power, which you’ve given her — and you are giving it to her — benevolently. Always. And every time.

              Maybe in her position, you’d bring your will to bear on the powerless (and this is absolutely about power — who has it, what they do with it; these things are invariably power struggles albeit being played out in new venues but sometimes, as here, wearing a mask, literally and figuratively) and wield it in total certainty of your convictions.

              Me, I’m not so sure.

        2. Mel

          “But the politicizing (American spelling :D) only works on people that are dumber than dirt.”

          And that would be great, except for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

          1. Mr. House

            Wouldn’t it only be “health policy” if the health community really had a grasp of what they were talking about? I mean from what i’ve witnessed with all the back and forth, it appears that only have an inkling of what they’re talking about.

            1. marym

              And yet some countries have managed to find their way to (not particularly obscure) pandemic management strategies.

              In the US the people objecting to masks aren’t weighing scientific theories, though they sometimes use the “back and forth” as an excuse. As in the Oregon post, they define “their” civil liberties as anything they feel like doing, for any reason, no matter the harm to others.

              1. Mr. House

                So they fully understand what they are dealing with? I wear a mask when i go to the store, i have no problem with that. They now have mandated you wear a mask while you are outside. I’ll have one in my pocket but i’m not wearing a mask outside. Six months into this pandemic and i still do not know anyone personally who has had coronavirus. All i’m saying is that something strange is afoot at the circle K and most people don’t seem to sense it.

                1. marym

                  Most people don’t fully understand what we’re dealing with, of course.

                  Some are willing to take a simple step that may lighten the burden for all of us. Others are not. They give no informed (even if controversial) public health reason, only selfish reasons of personal convenience and politics.

                  1. Mr. House

                    “only selfish reasons of personal convenience and politics.”

                    That isn’t a two way street? Only one way?

                    Its funny, i was always under the impression that most people dumped their parents in a nursing home for “only selfish reasons of personal convenience” Have you ever visited one of those nursing homes? I’ve been to many because my mother volunteered at them. I would not like to end up at one. Its funny, nursing homes even have a class system to them. If you can afford to spend thousands of dollars a month on them they might almost be tolerable. The rest of them not so much.

              2. expose

                Skepticism about quarantine measures was certainly aided by the contradictory “scientific” predictions and instructions given to the public.

                When governors have been so hypocritical and heavy handed with their kingly pronouncements, push back would be expected. People couldn’t buy seeds at stores? No outdoor church services?

                And the dems’ hypocrisy about gatherings versus protests/rioters is truly stunning. If you didn’t think the virus was being used by politicians for ulterior motives before the protest/riots, then certainly the freedom allowed for all these huge groups would make anyone question the quarantine measures.

                Myself, I started wearing a mask early on, well before it caught on or was mandated.

    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      “makes me glad I’m am only child with no surviving relatives.”

      Thanks for this! Deep belly laughs this morning and is sure to become our mantra for family squabbles.

    3. Kurtismayfield

      So much for enforcement of the law.

      At this point I believe the only way to get everyone to wear masks is to have the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail play out. They need to see someone wheeling the dead out of the village in order to make it real for them

    4. Arizona Slim

      @fresno dan, I am another only child with no close surviving relatives. I do have cousins, but we haven’t spoken to each other in years.

      Since my last close relative died last year (miss ya, Mom!), my attitude has taken a rather interesting turn. To the point where it can be summed up as, “So [family blog] me. I don’t care.”

      And, yes, I wear masks when I’m inside buildings with other people. Guess that makes me a liberal.

      1. The Rev Kev

        No Darwin Award for you, Slim! Just keep on playing it safe. Arizona keeps on pumping out bad figures.

      2. fresno dan

        Arizona Slim
        July 5, 2020 at 9:43 am

        for you, dear cousin liberal cynic….without surviving relatives.

        Westmoreland: Oh that we now had here but one ten thousand of those men relatives in the USA that do no work today at this family barbecue

        Henry: What’s he that wishes so? My cousin Arizona Slim? No, my fair cousin. If we are marked to die we are enough to do our country loss. And if to live the fewer men the greater share of Honor God’s will and hot dogs and hamburgers from the grill! I pray thee wish not one man more, for more for moi. By Jove I am not covetous for gold nor care I who doth feed upon my cost it yearns me not if men my garments wear such outward things dwell not in my desires (WTF does that mean?). But if it be a sin to covet honor I am the most offending soul alive no faith, my coz, wish not a man from England. God’s peace I would not lose so great and an honor as one man more methinks would share from me for the best hope I have i.e, hot dogs and hamburgers. O, do not wish one more! Rather proclaim it, Arizona Slim, through my host that he which hath no stomach to this fight barbecue, let him depart; his passports shall be made and crowns for convoy put into his purse. We would not die in that man’s company that fears his fellowship to die with us. This day is called the feast of Crispian 4th of Julyus.Barbecueus.
        ….and so on and so forth
        This story shall the good man teach his son; and Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, from this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered-we few, we happy few, we unrelatived few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood drinks much beer with me shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile as to double dip the guacamole, this day shall gentle his condition; and gentlemen in England now-a-bed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap (I really have been trying to cut down on my manhood holding, but alas, with little success) whiles any speaks that fought barbecued with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

        So thinketh yourselfeth not aloneth on this sojourn, Arizona Slim.

    5. DorothyT

      About the Los Angeles Times article and airborne aerosol spread

      The text reprinted on NC accompanying the LAT article is important re: wearing masks. However, the article itself has much more information refuting and correcting WHO regarding what is known about airborne aerosol spread of coronavirus. The mask info is from a different letter from worldwide scientists and doesn’t specifically reference the airborne aerosol scientific findings.

      I hope everyone can open and read the LAT article about aerosol spread as their paper is usually behind a paywall.

      I just learned of a letter from a prominent NYC music school saying they are opening in the fall and observing ‘government directions’ to maintain safety. When you read this article about aerosol spread you understand that the directions they refer to would not apply especially to students of voice or wind instruments, let alone other music students and teachers.

  7. Krystyn Podgajski

    That Chris Arnade tweet got under my skin. Are they glad to be here because we turned their countries into such sh*t trying to get resources fro our empire? Talk about gaslighting…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, it’s an odd one. In my experience of immigrants to Ireland, those who are most keen to adopt an Irish identity are those who have had good reason to reject their previous one. Those immigrants I know who simply came over for a job, for marriage, etc., are quite content to have a dual or ambiguous identity and if they get Irish citizenship, its just seen as a pragmatic choice. Those I know who have embraced the passport and identity almost all consider themselves to be estranged from their country of birth for one reason or another, so I would assume much the same would apply to many moving to the US (it certainly applies to many Irish Americans I know).

      Anecdotally though, I’ve little doubt that its changing. I’ve a Vietnamese friend with relatives in the US and Canada and Europe and was pretty much sent out by her family to study and work in the west with the express goal of getting a western passport. She told me that the US passport would have been seen by her parents as the gold standard, but no more – she was basically torn between Canada and Europe, and eventually decided that Canada was far too boring.

      That said, it should not be underestimated just how strong the draw of a US identity is for many people around the world. US soft power is still very strong, you just need to go to Asia or Africa and see how many young people are influenced by US music, dress, cars, attitude, and often politics. Even in a country like Japan, it’s surprising how many young people you will meet who really want to go and live in the US.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        US soft power is still very strong, you just need to go to Asia or Africa and see how many young people are influenced by US music, dress, cars, attitude, and often politics

        Something I always thought about, how we are more likely to attract a consumer phenotype to the United States.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I mean the US has its problems, but the official myth is that it’s supposed to be for everyone (melting pot and such). Only one of my great grandparents was born here. A black guy was just president. Obama himself might be a Hamiltonian monster, but he wasn’t an accidental president. He won and beat the SS Titanic and Saint McCain.

        As for Canada, my forebears fled that hell hole and it’s inferior maple syrup. Why not just guzzle corn syrup and eat tree bark?

        1. Wukchumni

          The French Revolution was caused by climate change, which thanks to a couple of Icelandic volcanoes blowing up real good, made for iffy harvests for the next decade after erupting in 1783-85.

          Now, the situation was exactly the same for the rest of Europe & the UK, so why did only France revolt?

          QE was a big reason, although they were called ‘Assignats’ and similar to here, started in small amounts and then got progressively larger.

          I expect the USA to go ape shit crazy while the rest of the world looks on in horror, and who will be the latter-day Edmund Burke who chronicles goings on?

          1. mpalomar

            I think the French eruption was more likely triggered, not caused by volcanic activity in Iceland. You can only kick the villein around so long before they become villainous.
            The assignats only appeared after the revolution became a thing, ingeniously floated on the confiscated property of the church.

        2. JEHR

          Re: NotTimotyGeitner “As for Canada, my forebears fled that hell hole and it’s inferior maple syrup. Why not just guzzle corn syrup and eat tree bark?”

          Really? Are you having a stomach ache right now?/sar

      3. Tomonthebeach

        About a half dozen of my very Irish Chicago HS classmates have expatted [sic] to their grandpa’s homeland in retirement. The motivation shared, aside from family solidarity, was the SOL and QOL of Ireland as opposed to the USA. They are all still quite American, but just like most retiree expats, its about the money.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, its not uncommon for Irish people who emigrated to the US to maintain an address in Ireland, specifically so they can take advantage of Irish old age benefits. An Irish-American friend of mine brought her father back to Ireland after 50 years in the US after he got dementia. She said the cost to the family for keeping him in a high quality private nursing facility in his native Kerry was less than half that of an equivalent one in NJ. This really brought home to me the rip-off that is elder care in the US as labor costs are at least as high in Ireland as in the US. Of course, the Irish taxpayer was also to an extend subsidising his care.

      4. km

        I am amazed by the number of European young people who want to live and work in the US.

    2. Basil Pesto

      the thread is interesting. The examples of interviewees that Arnade provides have a very, uh, arbeit macht frei aspect to them.

      1. Alex

        I think you have chosen the least sympathetic interpretation possible. These people, as the majority of immigrants anywhere, work hard and are happy that their children will be better off than themselves.

        Also it’s worth listening to immigrants to understand things that natives take for granted. Gives you another perspective, you know.

        1. hunkerdown

          But it’s not all about them, is it? And why should I even care about the ability to actually believe a marketing scam? Neoliberal ideology needs to be cancelled, not respected.

        2. Basil Pesto

          Oh, truly I intended no slight on the immigrants Arnade spoke to, though I can see how you would think that I did with my snarky comment.

          So let me hopefully clarify: they’re in some cases literally saying “work will make you free”. My problem with this is twofold:

          1) philosophically, I guess, I think it’s a bit facile? Work can be fulfilling, obviously, beyond the mere need for money to pay for the necessities
          for survival. But liberating? How and to what extent? Work hard and you too might be granted the freedom of being allowed to buy into a heath insurance plan? Is the ‘work = freedom’ axiom true of all work in all circumstances, or even most work in most corcumstances?

          And, per the Nazi slogan, I think there’s perhaps a sinister edge to that mode of thinking. Who are you working for, ultimately? When it comes to the subject of how this ‘work = freedom’ belief/slogan has been inculcated, it almost begs a “cui bono?’ question in response.

          2) If my time reading NC has taught me anything, and if the commentariat is representative, it’s that what Arnade’s interviewees declaim (”if you work hard then you can have/buy/do anything”) is simply not the case.

          Or to put it another way, you say: “the majority of immigrants anywhere, work hard and are happy that their children will be better off than themselves.”

          No argument from me with the first part of that sentence, but as I understand it, the second part of that sentence, in the United States at least, has been shown by researchers to no longer be the case, statistically.

          What Arnade’s interviewees are speaking to is the so-called ‘American Dream’, that eternally naff cliché. To me, this is a question of soft
          power. As PlutoniumKun points out, US soft
          power is very strong and has considerable influence all over the world, believe it or not (I daresay even on me: I’d probably rather live under a US hegemony that a Chinese or even Russian one!!)

          Also it’s worth listening to immigrants to understand things that natives take for granted. Gives you another perspective, you know.

          Yes, I agree

          1. Basil Pesto

            Adding: from high school up until my early-20s, Dad used to say ‘work will make you free’ to me, semi-ironically (Mum’s Jewish, he and I are historically literate – but undergirding it was a sincerely held belief in ‘work ethic’ mythology, I think, hence semi-ironic).

            Several psychiatrist bills paid on my behalf later, I think he probably regrets it. And maybe that’s why I’m so sceptical of that worldview, if it can be termed such. At any rate, I’ve not heard him say it since we visited Auschwitz together six years ago.

          2. Alex

            Thank you for the answer. I don’t have data to back it up, but I think that for immigrants the American Dream still holds: if you came from a place that is 10 times poorer than America, with little English and not much by way of education, then it’s quite hard for your kids to not do better than you.

            Philosophically I tend to agree with your first point about the work making you free. But it’s just one way to look at it. To me their words rather reminded of Marx’s and MLK’s words about the dignity of work.

    3. expose

      Sure. That must be it.

      I read a comment today elsewhere that said, even the US citizens who hate the US won’t leave.

      LOL. So very true…..

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Scientists say WHO ignores the risk that coronavirus floats in air as aerosol Los Angeles Times. They say it because it’s true; see NC in May.

    As many of us have been discussing her for months, the evidence for this has been very strong for a long time that masks constitute a low risk with potentially high value means of reducing infections. I recall that right back in January I was commenting on why it was that in a clip from Wuhan security officials were berating a woman on a bus for not wearing a mask, while casually touching poles and handles with uncovered hands. At the time I thought this was stupid, that mask wearing was all about show. But I forgot my own first rule – do what people are doing, not what they are saying. Its very clear that in Asia the value of mask wearing was well known.

    I think PhD’s will be written on the obvious failures in public health science exposed by Covid – the abject failure by most (Slovakia being an honourable exception) western countries to see its value has undoubtedly coast many lives. I still know very sincere, very well informed doctors and public health officials (some in my own family) who are highly resistant to the mask message. I really would love to know why this is.

    1. The Rev Kev

      What makes the whole mask thing stranger is that our grandparents had no major problems wearing masks back during the 1918-19 pandemic. In fact, people were shot for not wearing a mask in the US.

  9. Basil Pesto

    Heh, I saw a poster here in Melbourne for Hamilton on Disney Plus a few days ago, which prompted me to re-read The Hamilton Hustle. An oldie but a goodie.

    The fact that arch-monopolist Disney has snorted up the rights to broadcast the play just adds a kind of Stollerian *chef’s kiss* to the whole thing.

  10. witters

    The Rabbit Outbreak The New Yorker.

    I got through the 1st paragraph, and the New Yorker told me I had disappeared.

  11. a different chris

    >Has recent experience demonstrated that billionaires have a special aptitude for government service?

    Yes absolutely I think. “Special” however actually just means “noticeably different from the average” and I think they suck to an unbelievable level. The cluelessness can only, to me, be attributed to an absolute isolation from what a normal life is.

    So that makes them special.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Oregon State Police don’t wear coronavirus masks while patronizing coffee shop, despite governor’s order”

    Believed for a long time now that if you can’t do the job, then you shouldn’t be doing it. If those Oregon State Police cannot follow orders, then perhaps they can resign and go work for a private company. One where they can tell their future boss that they refuse to take his orders because of their rights. Let’s see how well that works out for them.

    1. Synoia

      How do you patronize a coffee shop if it is not takeaway?

      Eating and drinking in the shop is very difficult, if not impossible with a face mask.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Eating or drinking, after lowering a mask to do so, in a closed space in the middle of a pandemic does not sound like the way too go. That is why restaurants and the like can only do take-away in a lock-down situation. My daughter is a chef in a restaurant and when we were locked down, her restaurant only did take-aways. Oregon has had less than 10,000 cases of Coronavirus but unless everybody takes it seriously, including cops, that could rapidly change.

    2. griffen

      I’m sure they’ve all planned for 7 years of famine, maybe just like that Joey guy did (while in servitude in Egypt) from the OT. Cause that ‘tude doesn’t fly in corporate world – not for long anyway.

      Finally reached my senses about wearing a mask. At a very minimum, in stores and the local QT or 7-11.

      1. tegnost

        “I’m sure they’ve all planned for 7 years of famine, maybe just like that Joey guy ”

        I thought you were talking about joey chestnut but I din’t know there was an egypt new york…hmmm

  13. Amfortas the hippie

    Re: Turchin/Hari Seldon:
    I understand wanting to avoid Civilisational Collapse, Burning Times, Civil Wars, and Depressions, and all the other terrible things we humans do to ourselves and each other.
    But the Little Vulcan in my Head says that perhaps such things are necessary for growth…like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon…it requires the exertions to open up it’s wings.
    also makes me think of Star Trek(Next Gen),where Picard and others go back to our time and all the chaos and depression and might near offing ourselves as a species….the strong implication being that Humankind needed to come to such an existential bottleneck in order to “grow up” and begin building an egalitarian planetary society.
    Borders on Hard Determinism/Fatalism, I know….but still…Pathei Mathos…”Through Suffering, we become Wise”-Aeschylus.
    To get to Homo Sapiens, we must grow through Homo Agonistes.
    suck, but there it is.

    1. jsn

      If you haven’t read Turchin’s “Ultrasociety”, you might like it.

      It’s a quick read who’s central theme is that warfare has been the dominant force driving elites to give up their total domination of society: existential threat is the only thing that will make them share. Of course there are exceptions.

      In the high tech death era of nuclear war and biological weapons, that valence shift you mention from Agonistes to Sapiens had best be done without war as the catalyst because war has become an existential threat to most life on earth. If enough of us try, maybe we can learn what we need from the virus.

  14. Pelham

    Re vitamin D: I can’t remember where I read it (perhaps here), but there is some speculation that vitamin D in the body serves as merely a marker for one’s exposure to sunshine. Thus it may be that there is some combination of benefits from sun exposure that’s the real factor boosting the immune system, not vitamin D itself.

    Or not. To be safe, I take D supplements, get some sun at low-UV times of day, and eat the occasional egg. And for supplements, make sure they have vitamin D3, not D2. D3 is supposed to be more readily absorbed by the body.

    1. ewmayer

      Did you seel the chart Lambert posted a couple days ago showing the Worst 5 states in terms of premature-reopening-cased case count explosion? All in the sun belt, which I’d say puts the lie to the “Vitamin D is protective against covid-19” meme, except perhaps in the general “a healthy balance diet with adequate vitamins and minerals helps keep one’s immune system strong” sense.

      1. Cuibono

        you might think so. but i am a doc in hawaii and routinely see lots of patients with low D levels

        1. Dan Cox

          There was a recent Dr John Campbell video where he interviewed an English Dr living in New Zealand. This Dr claimed that vitamin d is produced in the epidermis and secreted in oils onto the skin where it is later reabsorbed into the body. This was discovered after a study of retirees living in Florida were discovered to be vitamin d deficient. It was found that they took frequent showers and washed the vitamin d rich oil away.
          The same process occurs in dogs and it was postulated that their grooming was a way of absorbing the vitamin rich oils from their coats.
          So much we still have to learn!

  15. Carolinian

    Ginormous links today. Thanx man.

    Re Beaches–our Myrtle has apparently become a bit of a virus node. Seems it’s not so much the beach itself as the social life surrounding it including bars which are a big part of the scene. My dad used to take us to the beach every year on the theory that all that salt water was good for you, a return to the primordial soup. This fixation didn’t take in my case and am more of a mountain person (we have those too).

    1. dougie

      Ah, yes…..I have returned to the beach (from the Raleigh area) exactly 3 times since we bought our lil mountain cabin in Carroll Co, Va. 20 years ago. If I could get the buy-in from she who must be obeyed, I would be breathing mountain air full time. But alas, the great (lack of) bandwidth divide is an impossible objection to overcome.

    2. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

      Myrtle’s a node of sickness because it’s a decaying corpse.

      1. Carolinian

        I take it you are not a fan. While I can’t claim to have spent much time there in recent years (as in none), my last trip a dozen years ago they seemed to be shooting for Miami Beach Jr. Whereas when my family went there a long time ago we were a lot more downscale and usually camped (with liberal use of Off).

        For a corpse I think it is still quite popular.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus: ‘Crystal clear’ drunk people will not socially distance”

    Of course drunk people don’t socially distance, not even behind the wheel of a car. That is why you shut down bars in the middle of a pandemic and just let people drink at home.

    1. griffen

      Thats the morning after right ? I mean once the beer goggles are unfogged. I chose what again in my drunken stupor ?

      Applies equally to men and women.

  17. Wukchumni

    At first I thought the LA/Oakland videos were WW2 saturation bombing videos, but that isn’t expected to happen until next year.

  18. Wukchumni

    The Boogaloo Tipping Point The Atlantic

    Tiny bullets (tiny bullets)
    In the gun (in the gun)
    Make me happy (make me happy)
    Make me feel fine (make me feel fine)

    Tiny bullets (tiny bullets)
    And a Hawaiian shirt worn under
    With a feeling that I’m gonna
    End up doing a lot of time

  19. John Wright

    One can wonder if the alleged Russian Bounty on US solders story is a feel good story for the USA population.

    Where formerly the Taliban would kill US soldiers for free, now, allegedly, the Taliban need financial incentives.

    This could imply that the “winning the hearts and minds” of the Afghans is succeeding after about 20 years (7 October 2001 to now).

    Next the USA media will characterize Hillary Clinton’s advocacy of changing the government of Libya by force as a “long term” success.

    “But, in speaking with Clinton’s closest aides and advisors, it’s clear that she has already formulated a detailed defense. Clinton, they say, does not see the Libya intervention as a failure, but as a work in progress.”

    1. periol

      The story could definitely go a different way though. I mean, maybe the story Americans should be hearing is that other people around the world hate Americans and USA foreign policy so much that they’re willing to pay people who are already trying to kill American soldiers extra money for actually doing the killing.

      The whole thing feels to me like when you see your neighbor has hired someone to take care of the feral cats in the neighborhood, and you are so fed up with the feral cats you offer the guy an extra $20 for every cat he catches, just to make it really worth his while to clean up the neighborhood. Sure, he was already doing it, but now he’s that extra bit fired up.

    2. Briny

      If any organization is to be pointed at, start with our ‘allies’ in Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency.

      1. Late Introvert

        If any organization is to be pointed, start with our ‘allies’ in the Pentagon.

  20. IMOR

    “It’s a play, ffs!”
    I would guess anyone published at CNET now would have been in one of the first two school generations here to never see one live. :( And of course on the snarky level, after K-12 they haven’t left their rooms.

  21. Wukchumni

    Certainly better to go to the beach than a bat cave like a bar!
    As luck would have it, I was the token male in our hike to the Panorama Bowl Caves, 6 of us sauntered one by one into Bathing Cave, which has a nice opening and a stream emanating out of it. You walk about 40 feet back to where it dead ends in a circular room about 20 feet wide with a 10 foot wide pool in the middle and a 20 foot high waterfall supplying the largess.

    No bats were spotted, but I had the sneaky feeling a thunder lizard was watching our every move…

  22. dougie

    Ah, yes…..I have returned to the beach (from the Raleigh area) exactly 3 times since we bought our lil mountain cabin in Carroll Co, Va. 20 years ago. If I could get the buy-in from she who must be obeyed, we would be breathing mountain air full time. But alas, the great (lack of) bandwidth divide is an impossible objection to overcome.

  23. Polar Donkey

    Big year for fireworks sales. Almost all the fireworks stands in North Mississippi are run by teachers. Off during summer and New Year’s and know teenagers to work the stands. Every fireworks stand was sold out before sunset yesterday. Still a haze of smoke throughout Memphis as of 930 this morning.

    1. The Historian

      Fireworks were still going after 2 AM here. and yes, the air here too stinks of gunpowder this morning. All those Idahoans doing their patriotic duty setting off all that Chinese fireworks. Somehow, I don’t think they understand what patriotism means. If they really wanted to be patriotic, they’d wear a mask around other people, but noooo – that violates their rights.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Last year I heard no fireworks. This year my closest neighbors fired off three moderate booms just after dark last night. I expect sulfur fumes will be blowing in from Texas sometime tomorrow.

    2. mpalomar

      Videos of fireworks over LA and Oakland: the petards always brings to mind a civilian urban centre under bombardment.
      Having lived awhile I’ve witnessed enough video replays of normalised ‘shock and awe,’ the real thing, when USian media needs to pedestal the ‘presidential’ stature of some bathetic leader.
      Behavioural modification programming for the citizenry along with the low altitude fighter jet flyovers.

  24. fresno dan

    I predicted 2020 would be a mess for the U.S. Could that help prevent a second civil war? Peter Turchin, Globe and Mail. Must-read.

    There is another, subtler and even more serious problem with too many millionaires. Our theory suggests that a certain proportion of people with great wealth will decide to convert their economic power into political power at some point in their lives; in other words, they either run for office themselves or invest in candidates of their choice. Four times as many millionaires, compared with 40 years ago, means that four times as many are now involved in politics. There are many more candidates, but the number of power positions hasn’t changed: There are still 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 100 senators and just one U.S. president. When intra-elite competition reaches such a feverish pitch, it generates many more losers than before. Cutthroat competition corrodes the co-operation on which our societies are based, while the social norms that govern the smooth functioning of a democracy unravel.
    In the U.S., we are getting awfully close to the point where a civil war or revolution becomes probable. Such “revolutionary situations” don’t always end in an actual revolution, however: Our historical analysis indicates that in some cases, wise leaders and prosocial segments of the elites, backed by broad-based social movements, are successful in adopting the right set of reforms to turn things back to stable waters.
    Not to be churlish, but I recall that the idea of civil war was dismissed on this blog not so long ago. It would be interesting to see how many people actually died in the 5 years preceding the 1860 civil war (?20 or so? in John Brown’s raid, and the Kansas massacre occurred during the civil war and of course a ?senator?).
    Starting now, we have Charlottesville and a few other protesters hit by vehicles but ?not? killed.
    Could there have been a revolution during the great depression? Yes, we were lucky to elect have Roosevelt available, but it certainly wasn’t fore ordained.

    Now, to defend “norms” – would the pandemic be substantially better if Biden were president? I think not from the standpoint of actual numbers, BUT as I noted in another posting today, I don’t think my friend’s family member would have said, “only liberals wear masks.” Could the time come when people are afraid to wear masks? That only scaredy cats and commies wear masks and the brave and true are willing to die for freedom….
    Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind…

    1. Carolinian

      What that article seems to be saying is that the prospective civil war is more among upper class members as there are now far more candidates for easy street than slots for them to fill. That sounds right to me. Out here in the boonies life continues more or less as normal except for the current pandemic. The hysterical attacks on Trump from day one seem more because he took a space reserved for the ruling Republicrat clique. He trashed the place and it wasn’t his place (it was their place). Perhaps because things are now so unequal the 10 percenters see themselves as increasingly under threat and they are not going to go down quietly.

      If the article’s theory is correct….

      1. jsn

        Wars are waged logistically and I don’t see the logistical competence in our elites to make them dangerous except to themselves. “The Bloomberg Campaign” says it all. Repression, however, is something they’ve inherited institutional capabilities for that remain in tact.

        In addition, almost all the guns are on one side and we’re watching the Republicrats formally merge toward that side.

        I don’t like it any better, but see the consolidation of a high tech police state with massive psy/opps – propaganda machine as more likely than civil war: Obama secured all the tools left lying around by the Cheney Administration and we’ve been blessed to have a blundering incompetent for the last four years.

        1. tegnost

          The treat of peace? What about your raytheon stock?
          You’re not being a rational actor! (wags finger at flora…)

          1. rowlf

            One of my favorite lines from the 1967 film Bedazzled:
            George Spiggott : We’ve been hit very badly by this peace scare.

      2. Mr. House

        “10 percenters see themselves as increasingly under threat and they are not going to go down quietly.”

        Interesting that you mention that. A great friend of mine moved to NYC in 2013 from Pittsburgh. Never spoke about politics the entire time i knew him. He and i went to Germany in 2016 (pre election). He was going for a wedding and i was going just to tag along. The night of the wedding i went out and caught live music. I returned to our hotel not expecting to see him around midnight. He was already back which surprised me. I asked him how the wedding went and he said it was terrible, all the europeans talked to him about was “how could america ever elect trump?” and so forth. Fast foward to post trump election and his wife asked him to attend one of those strange pink hat protests with her. He refused and got an earful. Fast forward to 2020 and now he’s lecturing me on BLM. He and his wife make 200k+, he in supply chain and she in marketing for american express. These are the people who suffer extreme TDS.

        1. Massinissa

          So as we have said here for awhile, they don’t hate him over policy, they hate him over cultural issues and, possibly more importantly, the fact that he is so outwardly uncouth.

        2. Glen

          One does wonder how many Republican small business owners just got wiped out and are maybe re-thinking things. But honestly, I think the vast majority of the “middle class” that feels immune to the ills of American socioeconomic trends are being lead to the slaughterhouse and have no idea what’s coming.

          Oh the irony of wanting to Make America Great Again. All the people longing to get back to the 1950’s and live once again in FDR’s America. So sorry, but we now live in Ronald Reagan’s America – forty years of destroying FDR and the New Deal.

      3. Amfortas the hippie

        peasant’s revolts hardly ever go anywhere unless they have some subset of the upper class join with them.
        Turchin’s whole thing is about the various elite factions not being able to get along any more.
        as for mr trump…he was never supposed to win…he was there to troll the gop and make Herself look good by comparison.
        It back fired mightily…turns out there was just enough functioning electoral machinery,lol.
        The look on his face(and on melanoma’s!) at that 3am “we won” speech said it all for me.
        “uh, oh, I caught the car!…now what?”

        as for the counterfactual “what if Hillary were Prez right now?”
        cosmetic and tonal differences…and I’d bet more New Forever Wars added to the mix.
        same fundamental malaise and angst and myriad crises of legitimacy would still obtain.
        and it’s not like she has ever been some great unifyer…the gop would have gone nuts, instead of the demparty.

        I think the PTB have lost control of the Narrative….even with the hijacking of blm(“go tear down statuary, instead of tearing down cop-shops!”)
        rent/mortgage/debt payments will soon come due…and Unemployment Plus will run out…unless both parties abandon Paygo/austerity, and overcome the odious Social Safety Net= Lazy Folks Won’t Work nonsense.
        another $1200 bucks ain’t gonna cover it.
        is there an FDR whispering in the PTB’s ears about Liberty’s Razor?
        and the wages of indifference?
        I’ve seen little evidence that there is,lol.
        If there truly isn’t, and they and their Parties “stay the course”, I think we’re in for a….difficult… Fall and Winter.
        (and on that last, what with the chaos in oil and gas industry, what’s the situation with the heating oil y’all use up north? can we add “cold” to “hungry, angry, hopeless people”?)

    2. Tom Bradford

      would the pandemic be substantially better if Biden were president? I think not from the standpoint of actual numbers,”

      The article at argues that a major contribution to the catastrophic US response to the pandemic was Trump’s conscious rejection of the extant planning to meet such a situation simply because it had Obama’s name on it. I’d suggest that a Biden administration would at the very least have not been subject to that level of stupidity.

  25. Jason Boxman

    It’s interesting you re-post that piece on Hamilton; I’ve recently begun reading Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, And The Future Of America. So far, it’s interesting.

    1. flora

      From Taibbi’s latest. Behind a paywall.

      Year Zero

      It’s the Fourth of July, and revolution is in the air. Only in America would it look like this: an elite-sponsored Maoist revolt, couched as a Black liberation movement whose canonical texts are a corporate consultant’s white guilt self-help manual, and a New York Times series rewriting history to explain an election they called wrong.

      The people who run this country have run out of workable myths with which to distract the public, and in a moment of extreme crisis have chosen to stoke civil war and defame the rest of us – black and white – rather than admit to a generation of corruption, betrayal, and mismanagement.

      1. Dirk77

        Interesting article as always from Matt. The paragraphs that you quote are a good summary I think. And Lambert last week also commented about the recent NYT “Caste” article, though from a slightly different angle.

    2. barefoot charley

      The somewhat racially mixed, somewhat upper-middle class Chicago suburb of Oak Park suffered a similar performance of shrieking white-privilege renunciation last year, in its city council:

      As in the Greenwald thread, we see spittle-flecked righteous anti-aggression that can’t be countered, nor dialed down. Our college students major in this now! It is crazy creepy, and as observed in the Greenwald thread, closely resembles religious hysteria. And I just realized it overlaps elements of the neoliberal and the actual left. Performative virtue in place of thought may be how Facebook defeats what’s left of civilization.

  26. Dirk77

    I may have missed it, but Beckett’s use of Simpson’s Paradox was not completely clear. However, thinking about it some, the death rate falling while the infection rate increasing seems more about the delay in deaths from infection if the infection rate is increasing. That is, say it takes a week for someone to die after getting sick. And say 20 people per day were getting sick and 1 person was dying per day and this had been going on for awhile, then the death rate would be 5%, irrespective of the delay because things had reached steady state. But say this weekend, 100 people get sick per day. However, since it takes a week for someone to die, only 1 person per day will be dying till next weekend. So until next weekend, we have an increasing infection rate of 100/20 = 500%, yet a falling death rate of 1/100 = 1%. So the problem with the data is not really bc it’s taken over all states, but the delay in the time of death from being infected?

    1. curlydan

      I wasn’t overwhelmed with his use of Simpson’s Paradox either. I think a nice regression with 2-week lag factors (and getting rid of auto-correlation) might be more appropriate. He briefly acknowledged that treatment appears to be getting better but later went on to explain that he’s expecting a huge bump up in deaths soon aka NYC. I don’t see that happening. Deaths are declining at a faster rate than infections even when disaggregated. Mortality in NYC is basically worse than anywhere else in the nation besides Gallup, NM. I’m not sure why that is other than the disease was newer and worse in NYC.

      I’m still deeply pessimistic about national situation until mask wearing becomes required, but I am relieved on the lower death rates.

      1. Dirk77

        Interesting. I don’t claim to be up on the latest re Covid relative to most people, but treatment improving is good. Though time will show if it’s not used as an excuse to relax social restrictions. But even I got the word about mask wearing so there is hope.

      2. Rhondda

        Yes, other commenters on his Twitter thread gave it the eye roll. Seems like “Simpson’s paradox” could be used to interrogate, shall we say, quite a few datasets and the calculations therefrom.

      3. Aumua

        Seems pretty obvious that the falling death rate is at least in part caused by increased testing and detection. Not saying that’s all of it, but I’m surprised that this is not mentioned much in these late stories about the death rate.

  27. Carolinian

    This article in praise of the great Diana Johnstone is getting some buzz.

    As Johnstone recounts, after the Cold War liberals became bewitched by the prospect of waging wars for humanitarian ends. A generation of journalists and foreign policy experts including Samantha Power, Christiane Amanpour, Jamie Rubin, and Christopher Hitchens, would make the Balkans a proving ground for their liberal theories of preventative war, in the process throwing the ancient and venerable tradition of St. Augustine’s Just War theory on the trash heap and paving the way for what was to follow in the coming decades, including Iraq II, Libya, Syria and a global drone war and a “targeted” assassination program.[…]

    Worryingly, the anti-antiwar Left is not going away. Indeed, it has some powerful allies-in-waiting should Joseph R. Biden win in November. In a recent interview with CBS, Biden protege and former deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken bemoaned the fact that the Obama administration’s regime change efforts in Syria didn’t go nearly far enough.

    Pat Lang says that possible dementia victim Biden shouldn’t be anywhere near the nuclear football. Perhaps that’s exaggerated but it’s hard to disagree that the woke left should be paying a lot more attention to foreign policy given that a mistake could get us all killed a lot more thoroughly than Covid or racism.

  28. Dirk77

    Re: In Colorado, Progressives Had A Chance At Real Power. They Let It Go. HuffPo I have a hard time thinking anyone who wants to abolish ICE as progressive – or have any understanding of basic economics, such as supply and demand. So I’m not surprised Romanoff went down in flames.

      1. Dirk77

        I looked it up. You are correct. ICE’s mandate is border-related national security of the anti-terrorist variety, primarily. Direct control of customs, borders and immigration is done by a sister agency. I withdraw my initial comment due to lack of knowledge.

  29. jr

    Re: the benefits of horror/prepper films:

    Really great link. I think the focus of the authors points can be adjusted to a larger scale. It makes sense that prepper films help adjust one’s thinking to things like invasions, hunger, and rationing, horror movies to mass illness and the gore of violence, allowing one to build up psychological buffers and prompting material preparations for hard times. In a broader sense, their mere existence forces people to confront the idea that humans aren’t invulnerable, that this can all go away despite what everyone’s been telling you since you were born, not just for you. For everyone.

    I believe this extends to any form of media related to these topics. As a folklorist I knew once explained to me, people live their lives through their stories. It makes sense that other stories can shape their “internal” one.

    But I’d like to propose there is another level to all this. If prepper films help you prep and horror films help you horror, what do weird films help you do? Do they help at all? How?

    The weird, the obscure, the alien: these are truly a forge for the mind. If prepper and horror prepare us for specifics, the weird prepares us for, well, anything because anything can happen.

    Imagine a prepper movie, Man in Bunker in the Hills. The viewer mentally pats her carbine and smiles with grim determination. Resilience goes up. Suddenly, a pair of zombie McCloskeys appears at the tree line, moaning half intelligible threats and clumsily assuming threatening postures cribbed from the Rambo franchise. Now we have a horror film on our hands! The viewer is mentally buttressed with the notion of facing violence and of having to actually use it, of having to strike down public historians or any other person for that matter. Resilience goes up.

    Now, let’s twist the weird knob to 11.1/55 %. The McCloskeys suddenly stop in place, literally rooted as their well heeled feet erupt into a thin, veiny network of tendrils that needle deep into the rich soil, consuming worms and larvae as they plunge. Torsos twist into springy, coiling geometries, lengthening, rippling with cables of muscle. The ill defined notions of liberty spouting from their lips morph into a beautiful, atonal piping which vibrates in time with the alternating flashing bands of gaudy pastels that suddenly begin to run up their lengths. Fingers and hands blossom into iridescent fans near fifteen feet across, grotesque with color and shine. A call and response pattern begins, and the pair, resplendent in primary colors and tones of aged mahogany, speaking a language only they can know, begin to sway gently from side to side, occasionally emitting clouds of purple mist…

    At this point, our hypothetical viewer may be forgiven for having inserted her mental carbine into her mental mouth. Barring that, she has now entertained a world where anything can happen, where all the rules seem to be breaking down. Reality as it was once understood shrinks down to encompass exactly only you, and even that is suspect.

    I’ve stepped away from reality more than once in my life, mostly through bizarro literature, psychedelics, and intense meditation. More fundamentally perhaps, I’ve also experienced at least one major and a few minor psychotic breaks. You can feel your mind falling out of itself, I don’t recommend it unless you know what you’re doing.

    They have all served me in that literally the only thing that has well and truly fazed me in recent memory are the UFO videos. And even there, I’m much more resilient than my friends who won’t watch the videos or discuss the possibility even though their Congress and DoD have been doing so in very serious tones. It’s in the NYT! But climate catastrophe, pandemic, economic ruination? Nah, mentally, I’ve been there and back again…

    We are now officially living in Weird Times and as HST said “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” If you feel you’re lacking, check out the films of the Bolex Brothers, the Brothers Quay, and Jan Svankmajer to cure what ails you. The SCP series can also be a great way to vaccinate against notions that things are just the way they are:

    1. Alex

      It can’t be accidental that a lot of fairy tales – especially in their original versions – have a lot in common with horror stories. This probably conferred some benefits to their listeners, otherwise these stories would not be transmitted and would not survive to our times.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        There has always been a booming market for lurid prognostications of doom. People love that stuff and eat it up.

      2. ambrit

        A lot of the stories collected by the Grimm Brothers depict dangers facing children in the earlier ages. People really did kill children if they annoyed them too much. Young children were sexually exploited. Children were exploited as cheap labour. Most of it was taken for granted. The concept of an extended idyllic childhood was a mainly Victorian creation.
        Short take; the horrors depicted were real.
        My personal problem with this is that someone, somewhere seems H— bent on returning society to those grim and murderous days.
        History is omni-directional. “Things” can, and do, go ‘backwards.’
        I am a child of the Golden Age of both the Cult of Technology and the Myth of the Perfectibility of Humans. (I am biased in my thinking. Phyllis once called me a Cynical Romantic.)

    2. fresno dan

      July 5, 2020 at 11:43 am

      Pandemic Practice: Horror Fans and Morbidly Curious Individuals Are More Psychologically Resilient During the COVID-19 Pandemic psyArxiv. From the abstract: “We found that fans of horror films exhibited greater resilience during the pandemic and that fans of “prepper” genres (alien-invasion, apocalyptic, and zombie films) exhibited both greater resilience and preparedness. We also found that trait morbid curiosity was associated with positive resilience and interest in pandemic films during the pandemic. Taken together, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that exposure to frightening fictions allow audiences to practice effective coping strategies that can be beneficial in real-world situations.” So we’re only trying to help you!
      A big phffftttt to all those people who told me I spent way, way, WAY too much time looking at pictures of mutilated and decomposing corpses. If you don’t build resilience to face a festering, suppurating, decaying reanimated corpse ahead of time, how will you be able to respond when you open your door and one is there???

    3. Briny

      Brings to mind that weird movie “Midnight Special” which I saw after dying, again, and just before Trump was inaugurated. 11/10 on the weird meter. Which has always raised the question, did I wake up in Hell?

  30. semiconscious

    from yesterday:

    Risk Factors for Mortality in Patients with COVID-19 in New York City Journal of General Internal Medicine (RR)

    “Among patients with COVID-19, older age, male sex, hypotension, tachypnea, hypoxia, impaired renal function, elevated D-dimer, and elevated troponin were associated with increased in-hospital mortality and hydroxychloroquine use was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality.

    from today:

    WHO halts hydroxychloroquine, HIV drugs in COVID trials after failure to reduce death Channel News

    ” The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday (Jul 4) that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 after they failed to reduce mortality.”

    ah, yes: ‘science’…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I bet you’re feeling pretty lucky that you’re only semiconscious right now.

      This endlessly contradictory crap is everywhere currently, and full consciousness is becoming unbearable.

    2. flora

      Also from yesterday’s link:

      On this occasion, we discovered that even in the British Medical Journal[6] the editorial office had asked to remove from the original paper[7] all tests that showed the efficacy of hy-droxychloroquine….

      It’s like someone or something is putting a thumb on the scale. No, that can’t be happening. /s

    3. JohnMc

      here is a decent compilation of the numerous HCQ studies that have been performed:

      useful in that it breaks down the studies into prophylactic, early, mid, late stage treatment.

  31. rowlf

    Governors stress ‘personal responsibility’ over virus orders Associated Press

    Does the media have any responsibility in politicizing the use of masks? I say this as I have actually heard the Republican governor of the state I am living in give live press conferences in May and request everyone to wear a mask and then the gatekeeper media mostly* not publicize the request. (*Some small news outlets that weren’t full of themselves passed on the message.)

    I will say I laughed myself nearly into a ditch when hearing loopy Erick Erickson on the radio telling everyone they were idiots if they were NOT wearing a mask. I guess that is what happens when you learn people mathing.

  32. jr

    re: Hamilton

    It’s hard to know what weighs more heavily on the weary bosom of Columbia: Americans with no historical perspective whatsoever or those who’ve watched Hamilton.

    The question recalls to memory a conversation I had some years past with a stout yeoman of the carpentry trade. We were discussing freedom and he explained to me that it, freedom, had in fact been “discovered”, as one might discover a new plant, by the Founding Fathers. Any attempts to explain to him that the question of freedom, in any form, is as old as humanity itself was brushed aside with a confident smile.

    1. Massinissa

      As a political science student that makes my head hurt. Have these people never heard of people like Locke?

      1. Mr. House

        “never heard of people like Locke” Hahahahaha come on. The only philopshy most people know comes from the lyrics of music (and some of those can be very good sometimes, so i’m not knocking that) and most of it is from pop music. CONSUME, OBEY, REPRODUCE!

        “They call it a scene I call it disaster
        Down here the kids grow up faster
        Scared they’re scared to the bone
        Like a pack of wolves they don’t run alone
        One on one they won’t look you in the eye
        But when the pack’s together there’s a battle cry
        I saw it fifteen on one
        When the crowd dispersed the kid was done
        Yeah, down there you gotta have a label
        Just like a cattle in a stable
        Knee jerk reaction I call it violence
        Why speak out when you could be silenced
        Down there out on the dance floor
        Too much violence I dont want more
        Down there out on the street
        I can see the air I can see the heat”

        1. ambrit

          Are all the superhero films of recent date attempts to ‘Create Consent’ by some sinister cabal or responses to “popular demand” for some feel good escapist wish fulfillment fiction? (Come on now. Who doesn’t want to be strong enough and wily enough to defeat all those seemingly ‘unstoppable’ evildoers? Especially the bully in fourth grade who flattened you with some regularity in the playground during recess.)

          1. jr

            Well sure, we all want to be that powerful, it’s just when people use that as a lens to view the world….I’d like to think I have the moral clarity of Superman but I really don’t think Hamilton did.

    2. GF

      “It’s a play ffs”. Watched it on Disney+. I actually enjoyed the music and the production quality was pretty good too.

  33. Alex Cox

    Regarding the “land bridge” from Ireland to Europe, via England, why on earth would this be retained following Brexit?

    Surely it’s more efficient for a truck to enter one ro-ro ferry in Eire and leave it at Rotterdam, say, rather than use two ferries and the crowded English motorway system? Just because a system has been established doesn’t mean it’s the best one, or has to be preserved.

    I can’t think of any rational reason for the current system. Other than facilitating smuggling, perhaps.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its a simple matter of speed and reliability. A consignment can go from Dublin to Rotterdam in 14-16 hours via Holyhead and the English Channel – another 2 hours and its in Germany. The ferries from Ireland to France take 18 hours, plus another 5-7 hours to drive to northern Europe. A ferry direct from Dublin to Rotterdam would probably take significantly more than 24 hours each way. It’s actually much quicker to go from Dublin to Le Havre via the UK than by sea (about 14 hours vs 18 hours). So for most northern European destinations thats a 10 hour difference. Plus, the Irish Sea and English Channel routes are less likely to be weather disrupted.

  34. Laputan

    Re: Trump takes aim at radical left

    In case there were ever any doubt, the recent hagiography of the Bush years and the relentless hammering of the Sanders campaign from the establishment left casts in stark relief the disparity in emphasis they place on the modifier rather than the noun.

    Also, couldn’t help but notice this little gem in the boogaloo story in the Atlantic:

    Boogaloo boys certainly do not face the economic disadvantages of marginalized groups in the United States, but like the alt-right, they are unhappy enough to form their own radical identity politics of collective grievances.

    Certainly? How could you possibly know that with any form of certainty? Economic disadvantage is rife in these online extremist communities. Who cares if those are the same or not as “marginalized” groups? They’re living in the same economic system that depends on the exploitation of the most in the form of an underclass. They might have had slightly better odds at winning the lottery, but it’s still a lottery. And, given our demographic makeup, people who look like them are going to comprise the majority of those who don’t win.

    1. hunkerdown

      Usually they just treat that certainty as a matter of fact.

      Is one of their consensus conceits cracking at last? One hopes.

    2. ewmayer

      Yes, an interesting juxtaposition of the following pair of articles from The Atlantic today: “The Boogaloo Tipping Point” lulls the MSM-skeptic by for the most part nicely describing the underlying economic stresses resulting from 4 decades of government-abetted neoliberal looting and hollowing-out of the economy. So may we expect some sort of “the economic inequality and rising police-state status of the US are real problems and must be addressed by government policymakers before the set of currently fragmented and inchoate protest movements exemplified by the Boogaloos coalesce into something truly dangerous, perhaps united behind a charismatic populist-firebrand leader” acknowledgment in the conclusion? Noooooooooo, what we get is this:

      Indeed, before most people, including myself, got wind of the boogaloo movement, Rutgers University had generated a “contagion and ideology report” for law-enforcement agencies in February that detailed the group’s online network. Its conclusion: The boogaloo boys are terrorists. Its recommendations: more law enforcement, more surveillance.

      And then we get to the second elites-in-deep-denial piece, “Trump Is Turning America Into the ‘Shithole Country’ He Fears”. Right, because, despite the aforementioned 4 decades of government-abetted neoliberal looting, hollowing-out of the economy and rising police-state status of the US, everything was hunky-dory before Trump took office.

    1. GERMO

      Meanwhile online slandering of the BLM movement carries on. Safe to assume millions of liberal types looking for an out by obsessing on the “bad” protesters. There are still a lot of people who are doing fine and think of themselves as plenty progressive but when it comes down to it they don’t care for this tension at all.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Not sure how much slandering is required when a simple read of their own demands in their own words would likely give 90+% of people pause:

        – All black Americans should receive a guaranteed minimum income and free healthcare, schooling, food, real estate, and gender reassignment surgery;
        – An “end to all jails, detention centers, youth facilities and prisons as we know them”
        – Black Americans will also receive government-funded “control of food sources, housing and land.”
        – “Disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” (but then confusingly they say “we make our spaces family-friendly”)
        – A demand for race reparations payments by foreign nations;
        – Formation of a “global liberation movement” that will “overturn US imperialism and capitalism.”

        Yes some fine ideas are also in the mix. But before I go to a march or pick up a placard I do try and read up and understand what it’s all about. I also like to believe in advance that the stated goals and objectives, even if difficult, are achievable. But that’s just me.

        1. Aumua

          Can you supply a link to the list of demands that includes those things, cause I can’t seem to find it on their website?

        2. Massinissa

          I’m with Aumua. I can only find these things from a single article that is anti-BLM and wasn’t citing its sources. This sounds like Disinfo. I can’t find any website or manifesto or whatever from BLM where these things were listed.

        3. Aumua

          Right, the only place I found those quotes collected like that was the Acton Institute, a “conservative, free market, religious principles” based think tank. With ties to the Koch brothers no less. So, draw your own conclusions there.

          However that did lead me to this site, which is ostensibly connected to BLM in some way: The Movement for Black Lives. There I was able to find most of Hal’s little list, but not in those words or framed that way necessarily. Framing is important. That said, there are some rather extreme things sprinkled in with a whole lot of actually good ideas. I would consider those things (such as ending prisons altogether) to be quite long term goals, but for the most part if you read through the site you might find yourself agreeing with a lot of what’s being said. I do, at any rate. Regardless, the right way to negotiate is to start high, so these more crazy sounding demands could simply be strategic.

          The qualification on the demands that they are for Black people doesn’t really bother me, because many of these things, if they were actually implemented, would naturally have to apply to everyone.

  35. Mikel

    Re: Kanye 2020

    I guess people weren’t as enthralled with the upcoming “election” (if that’s what you all insist on calling it) as some think. So the entertainment and distraction factor is now turned up to 11.

    Will it drag Biden out of the basement?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Can’t do much worse. Bring the whole Kardashian clan with him and the reality TV circle shall be completed. The aliens will land and take care of us.

      1. HotFlash

        1.) Agree with you here, and the Kardash Klan will certainly provide much cabinet material.

        2.) WRT the aliens, “It’s a cookbook!”

        Unfortunately for me, my parents provided me with long-lived ancestors.

  36. Daryl

    > Simpson’s Paradox, a thread:

    Here in Texas, there has been a mysterious rise in “pneumonia,” “Alzheimers” and other deaths not attributed to coronavirus, along with the rise of coronavirus cases. We should consider that the numbers are being intentionally misreported.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      my little county petri dish is experiencing this same phenomenon.
      via the rumor mill/mutual aide society(via my mother in law, who literally knows everyone), as well as people we know…the numbers of cases…as in people saying “I got it” …is far above the official numbers.
      likely due to some breakdown between here and the official bean counters in Austin…nefarious or due to incompetence. County website has always been poorly maintained and updated.
      Nurses I know are exasperated by it, because it justifies the “masks are for p**ies” nonsense.(when i’ve ventured out in the last 5 days, almost no one has a mask)
      Those Nurses also imply, but do not say, that there’s shenanigans afoot with the reporting.(wink-wink)
      according to the scanner, there’s been lots of fires the last few days, but the few EMT calls I’ve heard, the dispatcher makes a point of mentioning the results of “the covid questions”…which, I am told, includes contact with known covid cases, “travel to areas affected by covid”(!?), and queries about symptoms.
      so far, the folks we know of who have/had it report mild to moderate symptoms.

      and apparently Gov. Abbott is no longer a member in good standing of the texas gop, and is instead regarded variously as a commie, soros plant and traitor, based on eavesdropping while getting milk,lol.

      we’re going to cut free oak on the side of the highway tuesday(from last month’s storms–highway dept. will just burn it all, come a good rain), but otherwise, we’re staying on the farm.

      1. Daryl

        > EMT calls I’ve heard, the dispatcher makes a point of mentioning the results of “the covid questions”

        Yes, here in Houston, approx 1/4 of our firefighters are in quarantine. Everything is already stretched pretty thin, and we won’t see the consequences of yesterday until a week or two from now, not to mention the big GOP convention coming to town.

        It’s a good month to stay inside. Stay safe out there.

  37. HotFlash

    Joey Chestnut (75), Miki Sudo (48.5) retain Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest titles ESPN

    I probably should not have clicked on this article. I definitely should not have watched the video, and I absolutely should not have looked up the Ladies Winner, Miki Sudo. She is a ‘competitive eater’. I didn’t know there was such a thing — compulsive I’ve heard of — but yes, yes, there is, and she is a true champion. She has eaten ribs, tacos, kimchi, chili, pies of many sorts, gyros (that requires a lot of manual dexterity!), deep fried asparagus (whut?), oysters and — my personal favourite — hard boiled eggs. This lady ingested 109 hardboiled eggs in 8 minutes. Cool Hand Luke just barely managed 50 in an hour. Several sources dispute even the possibility (DYO searches on this), but this lady did it with many, many witnesses. Yeah, Joey won that one too, but Ms Miko has the women’s crown. And now I wonder how she trains.

    1. fresno dan

      July 5, 2020 at 5:38 pm

      WOW, Just Wow
      Cool Hand Luke is rolling over in his grave.
      you gotta wonder how this all comes out in the end…

    1. flora

      What a pair of sanctimonious idiots… or other words…. and I notice the guy is speechifying to the ‘audience’ while the woman does all the work. That’s really perfect. ;)

      Here’s Taibbi on Rising expanding a little more on his article with Saagar and Ryan.The part about corporations wanting to substitute HR training sessions in instead of say, paying higher wages and creating better working conditions or M4A is about right, I think.

  38. allan

    Frederick Douglass statue vandalized on anniversary of his famous Fourth of July Rochester speech [D&C]

    On the same weekend in which famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass 168 years ago delivered one of his most historically resonant speeches, a statue of Douglass was toppled from its base and left near the Genesee River gorge.

    Located in Maplewood Park, the statue “had been placed over the fence to the gorge and was leaning against the fence” on the river side, according to a statement from Rochester police. The statue was left about 50 feet from its pedestal.

    The base and lower part of the statue was damaged, as was a finger on the statue’s left hand.

    There is historical significance to the timing of the vandalism — though no one can now say whether the timing was mere happenstance — just as there is historical significance to the statue’s very location. The Maplewood Park location includes Kelsey’s Landing, where Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and others helped shuttle slaves to safety along the Underground Railroad. …

    There were no signs of graffiti at the statue or anywhere in the park, police said.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  39. fresno dan

    Nick Cordero, the charming Tony-nominated actor known for his work in Bullets Over Broadway, Waitress and A Bronx Tale the Musical, died Sunday after a grueling battle with the coronavirus, his wife announced. He was 41.
    I have not read of anything that said he has aggravating medical conditions prior to the infection.

    1. savebyirony

      I read in one piece, I think it was on the Good Morning America site, where his wife is quoted as saying he had no known preexisting conditions.

      This is a covid story and loss of a great theatrical artist in his prime which unfortunately won’t get the popular and public attention it deserves and frankly we need. When a star athlete gets seriously ill and dies, then maybe we’ll see the impetus that will move tptb to unleash a graphic enough media blitz to get the message across of how dangerous the virus is and the importance of public preventative measures.

  40. Adam Eran

    RE: Billionaires are spending more on political contributions, here are the three biggest spenders CNBC

    There’s a NY Times story reporting Kochs spent much more than the CNBC story reports in 2016 alone ($889 million).

    Of course reporting the (horrifying) large numbers might not look good, too…

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