Links 7/6/2020

Why Bald Eagles Are No Longer Endangered Treehugger (Re Silc).

New way to calculate dogs’ ages may unlock secret to aging ABC

The only catfish native to the Western U.S. is running out of water High Country News

Pink ice in Italy’s Alps sparks algae probe Agence France Presse

Why the crisis marks the end of the road for longstanding business lines FT

Minor League Teams Could Be Latest Casualties of COVID’s Disaster Capitalism Truthout

Court ruling ties SEC’s hands over investor fraud FT

The time for accounting reform has arrived Tax Research UK


Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19 PNAS. “Our analysis reveals that the difference with and without mandated face covering represents the determinant in shaping the trends of the pandemic worldwide.” Readers?

Coronavirus pandemic may not have started in China, experts say Sydney Morning Herald. “[Dr Tom Jefferson, senior associate tutor at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University] believes that many viruses lie dormant throughout the globe and emerge when conditions are favourable. It also means they can vanish as quickly as they arrive.” Jefferson believes fecal transmission is more significant than currently thought.

Covid-Like Virus Was Sent to Wuhan in 2013, Sunday Times Says Bloomberg. “Scientists in 2013 sent frozen samples to the Wuhan lab from a bat-infested former copper mine in southwest China after six men who had been clearing out bat feces there contracted a severe pneumonia.”

* * *
Microwave-Generated Steam Decontamination of N95 Respirators Utilizing Universally Accessible Materials American Society for Microbiology. “Using widely available glass containers, mesh from commercial produce bags, a rubber band, and a 1,100-W commercially available microwave, we constructed an effective, standardized, and reproducible means of decontaminating N95 respirators.” News you can use!

* * *
U.S. Coronavirus Cases Are Rising Sharply, but Deaths Are Still Down New York Times

Gottlieb says U.S. “right back where we were” at earlier peak of coronavirus outbreak CBS

Michigan reports no new coronavirus deaths for first time since March MLive

Why the U.S. still hasn’t solved its testing crisis Politico (Re Silc). It’s hard to solve a manufacturing problem in a deindustrialized country. It’s hard to solve a national problem with a Federal system. And for those who think “leadership” would solve the problem–

The Obummer Plague Eschaton

‘A Nightmare’: Georgia Tech Faculty Push Back Against In-Person Reopening Plans NPR

* * *
Moderna: Overpromising and Underdelivering? Trial Site. On Moderna, see alert reader Ignacio here.

WHO Chief Scientist on ICMR Vaccine: Scientific, Ethical Standards Mustn’t Yield to Speed The Wire. “[Soumya Swaminathan] said India has to accept that the solution will be a long term one. The virus is with us for the foreseeable future. We need to create a new normal and learn to live with it.”

The WHO changed its coronavirus timeline to say it got its first report about the virus on the internet, not from Chinese authorities Business Insider

Pontifications: Why I won’t be flying any time soon Leeham News and Analysis. “Containing the virus requires passenger cooperation. It’s not there yet.”

Neighbors fed up with parties during pandemic at NE Miami-Dade mansion 7News

112 Fraternity Members At The University Of Washington Have Tested Positive For COVID-19 Buzzfeed

COVID-19 hotspot fears as Byron Bay bush doof leaves authorities ‘dumbfounded’ ABC Australia (a “doof” is a large party or festival with dancing to electronic music).


Chinese stocks surge in biggest 1-day jump for over a year FT

China’s shadow banking system under spotlight as Sichuan Trust misses payments amid economic slowdown South China Morning Post

Goldman Says U.S. Tensions Won’t Hurt China Stocks Too Much, Yet Bloomberg

US imports keep falling, except from China Quartz

Why a ‘new normal’ might fail in Indonesia and how to fix it Jakarta Post


Global report: India becomes third worst-affected country as giant Covid-19 hospital opens Guardian


Iran Says Damage At Nuclear Site ‘Significant’ Agence France Presse


Dozens of shifts at coronavirus mega-lab cancelled and staff paid to stay away, whistleblower reveals Independent

UK court recognises Guaido as Venezuela’s president in gold dispute Reuters


BOUNTYGATE: Scapegoating Systemic Military Failure in Afghanistan Scott Ritter, Consortium News. Must-read, a massive takedown.


Is Biden Trying To ‘Out-Hawk’ Trump On Foreign Policy? The American Conservatives. Of course. That’s why the Bush Republicans are slithering onto the Biden bandwagon.

COVID-19 meets Election 2020: the perfect storm for misinformation Seattle Times. All the examples are on the right, which, to be fair, is a yarn diagram-heavy environment. The difficulty here is that supposed authorities WHO and Fauci provided misinformation on key issues: Fauci and WHO on masking, and WHO on asymptomatic transmission. The masking kerfuffle wasn’t merely misinformation, either; it was dis information, a falsehood propagated deliberately. Could we have some sort of single standard?

Health Care

The COVID-19 Pandemic Underscores the Need to Address Structural Challenges of the US Health Care System Andy Slavitt, JAMA. “With all-payer rate setting, access to care will broaden for everybody.” Health care lobbyists leverage credibility as COVID-19 pundits to oppose #MedicareForAll (“Andy Slavitt, MBA” runs United States of Care. See NC here and here.)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Police Used Smart Streetlight Footage to Investigate Protesters Voice of San Diego. There’s that word.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell prepared to snitch on ‘big names’ to save herself NY Post

No, Ghislaine Maxwell Has Not Tested Positive for COVID-19 in Jail Snopes

The Uprisings

How Revolutions Happen The Atlantic

This ‘revolution’ isn’t what it looks like The Spectator

OLYMPIA: Two reportbacks from “Fuck the 4th” march Puget Sound Anarchists

Frederick Douglass statue vandalized on anniversary of his famous Fourth of July Rochester speech Democrat and Chronicle

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black Lives Matter May Be the Largest Movement in U.S. History New York Times

George Floyd Protester Demographics: Insights Across 4 Major US Cities (PDF) MobileWalla. New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Atlanta, May 29-31. Creepy that the data was gathered at all, but still of interest.

Breonna Taylor warrant connected to Louisville gentrification plan, lawyers say Courier-Journal. Law enforcement for profit, exactly as in Ferguson.

Black Lives Matter Protests, Social Distancing, and COVID-19 (PDF) NBER. From the abstract: “Event-study analyses provide strong evidence that net stay-at-home behavior increased following protest onset, consistent with the hypothesis that nonprotesters’ behavior was substantially affected by urban protests. This effect was not fully explained by the imposition of city curfews. Estimated effects were generally larger for persistent protests and those accompanied by media reports of violence. Furthermore, we find no evidence that urban protests reignited COVID-19 case growth during the more than three weeks following protest onset. We conclude that predictions of broad negative public health consequences of Black Lives Matter protests were far too narrowly conceived.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

How to Build a Post-Pandemic America Washington Monthly

A yarn diagram, but Catholic. Fun stuff. Or not. Thread (VE):


Class Warfare

Employment won’t recover for a decade, CBO says Politico. Well, the Obama Alumni Association has form; the last time, it took a decade, too. For some definition of “recover.”

Pay cuts are becoming a defining feature of the coronavirus recession WaPo

The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus NYT. Erasing class.

Generation Z Is Bearing the Economic Brunt of the Virus Bloomberg. Ditto.

Hamilton Lessons The Big Picture (Re Silc).

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. Ignacio

    RE: Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19 PNAS. “Our analysis reveals that the difference with and without mandated face covering represents the determinant in shaping the trends of the pandemic worldwide.” Readers?

    In support of the airborne transmission is the fact that most contagions occur indoors where airborne droplets and aerosol do not dilute as fast and as much as outdoors and can even concentrate depending on air currents and HVAC systems. Another supporting indirect evidence comes from superspreading events that could be more easily explained by airborne transmission rather than direct or fomites-led transmission. This PNAS paper looks directed specifically to US readers since it is in the US where It has been seen more anti-mask attitude compared with the ROW. Where I live there is no anti-mask attitude, on the contrary, unmasked people are seen with mistrust. Masks become more important after lockdowns when the movement of people increases. Two months ago I would not consider very important to wear a mask in the elevator that I was using about once or twice a week but today I always wear a mask in the elevator because its usage has increased by a lot. There has been a cluster in a residential building in Santander that might be associated with elevator usage.

    1. rusti

      The public health authority here in Sweden (please don’t yell at me) doesn’t suggest wearing masks because they say that the benefits aren’t suitably established, they think people might be inclined to go out while sick if they think a mask will make them non-infectious, and that the public health authority will lose standing in the eyes of the public if they mandate things that aren’t established to be effective. Very few people wear masks, maybe 1 in 30 at the grocery store.

      In an hour-long radio program released a couple weeks ago, Anders Tegnell said that the other Nordic countries have come to the same conclusion and don’t recommend masks. I see on the Norwegian Public Health authority page a summary from June that has the conclusion in English:

      In the current epidemiological situation in Norway, wearing face masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is not recommended for individuals in the community without respiratory symptoms who are not in near contact with people who are known to be infected. If the epidemiological situation worsens substantially in a geographical area, the use of face masks as a precautionary measure should be reconsidered. Measures to reduce risks during necessary public transport and during mass events,including wearing face masks,should be explored further

      The Finnish public health authority site says:

      The Government will not issue a general recommendation on the use of face masks.

      There is no evidence that the extensive use of masks by healthy people will help reduce infections.

      Norway and Finland look to have been pretty successful so far in minimizing the spread.

      1. Ignacio

        Hahahaha! Can I yell a little? The reasonns given “the benefit’s aren’t suitably established” are IMO poor in the sense that if you need scientific proof but of course you cannot do real-life controlled experiments with Covid-19 and humans there is no way to suitably establish any evidence of benefit.

        1. Winston Smith

          You are thinking in a scientific way…puzzling that Mr (Dr?) Tegnell does not seem capable of doing so. I am yelling too-a lot.

        2. Ford Prefect

          I think the double-blind studies will be complete and peer-reviewed sometime in middle of 2021. We should be able to reliably inform the public of how to avoid the pandemic by then.

          1. Mr. House

            If you had a suitable treatment for COVID how could you keep everyone scared all the time? What would the media talk about?

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        this and the linked article about masks is discouraging. without being willing to deprive health care workers of n95s and wanting to protect myself in addition to others, if I have to share inside air with others I want a filter and a good fit.

        clearly the results of the testing (linked in the article) suggest that even with good filter material the fit of cotton masks is so poor that 80% capture is about the best you can hope for.

        so really, if it is primarily transmitted by breathing out/in airborne virus, not “droplets”, these masks provide some protection but a sizeable risk remains.

        and washing your hands does squat for anything you’ve inhaled.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i have assumed both fomite and airborn vectors, and have acted accordingly.
          I wear a bandana when i clean out the chicken house…and when i went all GI on the trailer in anticipation of cousin coming up to quarantine(rat problem, over there…handled with bar-bait, but numerous droppings and corpses to contend with…so nasty, contaminated dust!)…If a bandana is good enough for all that…then i reckon it’s good enough for a not-lingering-at-all run through the grocery store, taking care to avoid other humans.
          I’ll also note that when both boys were born(youngest, by C-Section) they slapped a paper mask on me…similarly when i was in the OR with my eldest for an ingrown butt hair(!)…and similarly when helping stepdad with his bedsore/tunnelling issues when we were flooded and nurses couldn’t get here.
          all this “masks are no good” is silly..if not malignant.
          of course they are better than simple blithely inhaling the suspended droplets of random strangers.
          and I haven’t a care at all about how random strangers…or people i know in town…feel about me wearing a mask.
          Let them gawk…let them even yell at me for being a commie.
          my wife has cancer, and is on chemo…and i’d rather not add to her travails by causing her to be on a ventilator, lying prone in an ICU somewhere….and leaving us even earlier than she already will.
          it’s being an adult…and taking responsibility…something that these very same maskless morons have been preaching to me for as long as i can remember.
          so I’m with you Chigal.
          screw em…”as for me and my house”, we shall wear a derned mask.

        2. anon in so cal

          There are articles suggesting that masks made with non-woven (polypropylene) melt-blown fabrics, manufactured using extrusion machines, may provide protection equal to the N95 masks. These can perhaps be mass-produced more economically than the N95s. Some articles suggest these are the new gold standard. Hard to sift through the hype.

          1. juliania

            It’s stupid to make mask wearing have to be as well fitted as an astronaut’s helmet in outer space. Good grief, what about Amfortas’s testimony do you not appreciate? A bandana is a ton better than no mask!!!

            I looked at patterns online and stitched up by hand (no sewing machine) a really swell cloth mask that I tie at the back of my head (sensitive ears) in a single evening. It has three inner layers of old undershirt material from back in the day before such stuff got made overseas. Breathing is fine and fit is fine, just a little warm in summer temperatures. As I’ve said before, I lay it on the western windowsill for fumigation in between wearings, haven’t bothered to even wash it yet, but I could.

            If I can do it, everyone could — and should!!!!!

            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              sorry, but I appreciated anon’s response. you have not provided any useful info, just assertions. I have been researching this stuff because I am at risk and caring for someone on hospice.

              1. FluffytheObeseCat

                “the fit of cotton masks is so poor that 80% capture is about the best you can hope for”

                Excluding 80% of the viral load you might otherwise be exposed to is a non-trivial improvement on mask-free life*. The elevated illness rate among healthcare providers the world over has made it clear that exposure level, over time, is a major risk factor. Not in terms of infection, but in term of lethal illness.

                I’m not afraid of being exposed to COVID-19 at this point; I’m afraid of being over-exposed to it.

                *(Or the rapid absence thereof.)

        3. Pelham

          For those who are free of the virus and looking not to be infected, your points are valid.

          But aren’t cloth masks mainly useful for blocking the virus emitted by a carrier? That’s why everyone should be wearing them.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            not if their exhaled air is leaking out all around the mask. that’s my point.

            1. Synoia

              It is the projectile droplets the mask captures which are important to suppress. Drool, dropping to your feet is not so hazards to passersby, however one should instant ones’ slaves not longer kiss one’s feet.

              Possible they could kiss some other part of one’s anatomy, in a demonstration of fealty.

              This cloth masks prevent other people from infecting oneself. Personally I’d argue that other people not wearing masks to protect myself, is clear Intent to assault me, and thus a crime, from which I am entitled to protect myself.

              Thus I have procured a portable 155 mm howitzer (used, from my local police department), and intend to use it to protect myself from the mask-less, at a very safe distance (up to 25 miles). Alternatively, I can stay at home and avoid the potential assaults, and not have to carry the heavy weapon.

              1. ChiGal in Carolina

                ho ho ho, but sorry, again, the point of the article was it’s NOT the droplets it’s the stuff in the air. and yes, given especially that I am caring for my 90yo mother on hospice, I stay home.

                now, at that distance, do you find you are taking out a lot of people wearing masks along with the evildoers?

                1. Aumua

                  I’m pretty sure that all viruses do not survive long directly exposed to air and that airborne transmission happens almost exclusively inside tiny exhaled droplets suspended in the air. Hence the focus on droplets, and the effectiveness of masks in blocking them.

                  1. ChiGal in Carolina

                    thanks for trying to allay my fears but isn’t this what hundreds of scientists just published a letter to WHO disputing? saying they should acknowledge it is airborne, can be transmitted by HVAC etc?

                    1. Aumua

                      Well it’s all very muddled, isn’t it. For some reason clear, concise information rarely seems to make it through the noise.

                      Ok, so I went to the letter and this is the very first paragraph:

                      We appeal to the medical community and to the relevant national and international bodies to recognize the potential for airborne spread of COVID-19. There is significant potential for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distances (up to several meters, or room scale), and we are advocating for the use of preventive measures to mitigate this route of airborne transmission.

                      So as you can see, what is meant by airborne transmission is in fact transmission in microscopic droplets suspended in the air. Now I don’t know why this is suddenly news, or requires a letter to the WHO, but there you have it.

                    2. Yves Smith

                      HVAC transmission depends on the quality of filters and whether they are cleaned or replaced periodically. This is a big risk and is generally a concern but don’t make flat out statements when it is possible to manage it and a subset may be doing a good job.

                      Perversely, airplanes are pretty good on air filtration. The risk is the people close to you getting to you before the filtration system sucks up the air.

                2. Yves Smith

                  Help me. The argument, and this is not made clear, is over “droplet” (biggish) versus “aerosols” (smallish). There is NO definition of one v. the other. However, despite the sloppiness, droplets are more infection load (can carry more virus) while aerosols hang out in the air way longer.

                  Aerosols call into question social distancing conventions in confined poorly ventilated spaces IF you are there for non-trivial amounts of time, like a half hour plus.

                  If anything, they make a stronger case for masks. They reduce transmission of aerosols too and offer some modest protection to the mask wearer.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          > clearly the results of the testing (linked in the article) suggest that even with good filter material the fit of cotton masks is so poor that 80% capture is about the best you can hope for.

          But if two people wear masks, the protective is not additive but multiplies. I’m too lazy to dig out the videos that show the particles of people breathing or coughing or sneezing on each other, but the visual differences between one neither masking, one masking, and both masking are quite telling. We can’t deal with a pandemic by thinking at an individual level, we really can’t.

      3. Clive

        England (please don’t yell at me, either!) has, just as you’d expect with England, done absolutely sod all apart from laggardly do-the-minimum-possible public health responses (and then, again, as usual, was late to the party).

        Despite a high initial infection rate and associated pool of infected people to contend with, infection rates have declined steadily and continues to decline daily along with mortality.

        Masks (and we really should use the correct terminology here — face coverings) are not mandated except where social distancing is difficult and other measures can not be put into place in situ. Despite the British being even more of a rabble and even less tolerant of preachy public health initiatives by annoyingly overwrought do-good’ers and even more contrarian than even the US, face covering adherence is good (80-90% consistently, even more locally in my observation) in settings where face coverings are mandated. Where they aren’t, there is no face covering adoption to speak of (just now, at the supermarket in my town, I saw two people in the store itself and less than 2 or 3% of passers by [estimated] in open spaces).

        Avoiding a US style face-covering culture war and turning into a proxy-political battle — along with not forcing the issue when forcing it would be totally counter-productive — seems to have resulted in good face covering adherence where it is required and not (hating to jinx it by saying it!) descending into the crazy mess the US has gotten itself into with the matter.

        Nevertheless, face covering is certainly not anything like a universal and widespread occurrence. And yet, a stunningly high level of infection has been brought down. Thus, any research into face covering and the protocol which achieve the best outcomes with the last intrusion and demands on the public must also take into account countries like England where not stellar but not hideous results have been achieved in infection rates without going to a level of zealousness that overwhelmed public tolerances.

        1. paul

          Masks are definitely good for some peoples’ financial health.

          1/2 a billion handed over to deadbeat companies with no previous interest in PPE.


          We shouldn’t overlook the fact that all these contracts would never have come to public attention without the existence of the EU’s TED (tenders electronic daily) portal, which publishes details of contracts awarded by public authorities. After Brexit there may be no legal requirement for such continued transparency. Public authorities are not known for mea culpas.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            When you have an insane health care system like ours (or a system that’s being forced to lose its mind by crooks, like the NHS), that will always be the case. This has nothing to do with medical benefit.

        2. Synoia

          Ah! The UK governance system -The Lazy Unfair System.

          Aka: The LUS(t) system – The ‘t’ is silent, for (social) distancing purposes.

      4. WhoaMolly

        Mask thoughts:

        1. I’m firmly in the “masks make sense if you want to reduce your chances of infection.” Many in my area (USA, northern california) are firmly in the “Because freedom!” camp. Fine. Good for them. Hope it works out well.

        2. Since I am in high risk category for serious complications or death if infected, I’m thinking the only sensible mask *for my situation* is a respirator with replaceable filters. I’m willing to spend $$ and look like an idiot if the downside risk of being unmasked is permanent lung and brain damage or death.

        Right now I’m wearing 3M N95 masks left over after doing some dry-wall work last year.

        I reuse the N95 masks three times. I store them in paper bags for 10 days before re-using. I read that the virus lasts up to 4 days on cotton. I figure 10 days should do the trick on the fabric of the masks. Have not steamed, or disinfected the cheap N95 masks with solvents because everything I’ve read says that the masks are too fragile for that.

        My biggest problems with the N95 masks are that I can’t hear people talking through masks, and the rubber bands on my N95 masks interfere with glasses and hearing aids. I’m testing masks that attach behind the neck with velcro and avoid the ‘over the ear’ rubber bands.

        3. We are doing all the prophylactic stuff meantime. Sunlight, taking the supplements recommended by Eastern Virginia Medical School, staying at home, doing social distancing when out, and doing Zoom meetings for everything. I don’t like Zoom, especially Zoom yoga classes–but they appear to work.

        1. Ignacio

          I also recycle them 3 times but I add a 2 min treatment in boiling water (after 2 weeks in a bag) and check by coughing in front of a match if they still do their job.

        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          I may not be as at risk as you are, but being over 60 and overweight does put me at risk. The problem with your approach is the $$. I might be able to pay through the nose for some n95s (not the knock-offs with the ear loops) but knowing they are not accessible to those who work in stores who really need them is just a real turn-off.

          sauve qui peut and all of that. when this country gets its head out of its ass and they are being mass manufactured and handed out like candy, I’ll get in line. There is nothing we need more.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > 1. I’m firmly in the “masks make sense if you want to reduce your chances of infection.”

          Masks make sense if you want to reduce your the population’s chances of infection.”

          Much of the critique from conservatives, I am convinced, stems from a denial of the very notion of public health. (“American roulette,” as I keep saying. Spinning the barrel and pointing the gun at somebody else’s head, then pulling the trigger.

      5. fajensen

        The adult fun starts when there is a vaccine available and Tegnell & Co then will go out and question its efficiency and safety on TV! You’ll see, it will happen!!

        This is all about honour and principles: FHM decided in March that “Herd Immunity” & “It’s Only A Flu” is exactly what this is about and once decided, one cannot be seen to be swayed by irrelevant evidence when one is an Expert, because that implies that one can be Wrong and therefore not a Proper Swedish Expert :)

        1. juno mas

          If Anders Tegnell doesn’t lose his job in the next 6 months, then Sweden is beyond help.

          1. fajensen

            I don’t think that will happen. Sweden today was formed as an unhappy shotgun marriage between USA-Style Capitalism and the old DDR so we have a combination of “Markets Decide” and “Conformity to Ideas, Process and Models rules Absolutely”. One cannot break the hierarchy and “the ways things are done” unpunished. Everyone visibly agrees – Or Else (they don’t talk about the “Or Else” part because it’s not The Brand).

            Thus when a leader get in trouble with a stupid project, idea, or line of thinking, even a ridiculously stupid one, everyone rallies around them and support their leadership as is expected of them – at the very least with lots of virtue-signalling efforts -> They are all in it Together!

            Togetherness, “fälles beslut”, the illusion of being on “the same team” is very important, much more important than outcomes. This still holds even while the leaders now earns more than 20x of their minions, all have golden parachutes and often goes hunting by helicopter on the representation account of the company they work for with their friends and promise to “do better (in a cushier job)” when busted.

            Because of this “fälles beslut”, just canning the leadership means that the followers will be tainted too, so if everything really goes to indisputable to shit, they will unite to find some non-confrontational way of never addressing the actual issue.

            In Extremis, Anders Tegnell may be promoted into an advisory role and never asked for any advice again :).

            And yes, Sweden is about done. Rather, it was already broken, the “everybody knows that everybody knows” will change to “everyone knows that there are no togetherness”. All of the immigrants know this of course, it is the native Swedes that are still lost in confusion.

    2. Clive

      An approachable introduction to ASHRAE’s recommendations for HVAC which explores the issues of indoor air in COVID-19 transmission (the actual ASHRAE technical note linked to in the report is more detailed and comprehensive).

      What is not stated in this summary is that ducted systems which are predominant in the US in commercial real estate (rooftops, AHUs) have more scope to be reconfigured to help reduce COVID-19 virus concentration levels (UV lamps in the ductwork, setting economisers to 100% outdoor air, provision of Dedicated Outdoor Air treatment units, hot gas reheat dehumidification, humidifiers etc.) than VRF or minisplt units which are the norm in Asia, Australia and Europe. These always recirculate. Makeup air, if even thought of in building design, is a separate system.

      One thing which could have a significant impact on capturing and eliminating COVID-19 in VRF and minisplit HVAC outside the US is keeping the filters scrupulously clean. Usually, especially in bars and restaurants where maintenance can be very slack, they’re disgusting.

      More research is, I think, required on the application and effectiveness of stand-alone air cleaners. These are widely used in high-pollution countries. When I stay in Japan, every hotel room and almost all bars and cafes have one. The Japanese are also fastidious about filter cleaning. It wouldn’t surprise me if small, virtually unnoticed (and which the vast, vast majority of people never think about, aren’t “sexy” and headline grabbing and so not given the slightest consideration) factors like in-room air cleaners may turn out to have unexpectedly large disproportionate effects on COVID-19.

      1. Ignacio

        The newsletter was for me an interesting read and the recommendations cited, for instance diluting virus with increased outdoors air would work best if most transmissions are effectively airborne as the PNAS article states. I very much agree with those recommendations. There are trade-offs between the objectives of comfort, safety and energy saving there. All that has to be examined in a case-by-case basis and each building will have it’s best solution or set of solutions. As you say, the probability that someone dedicates a few minutes to think about this in bars, restaurants and cafes might be very low in most cases.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > the probability that someone dedicates a few minutes to think about this in bars, restaurants and cafes might be very low in most cases.

          Bats like their caves just as they are…

      2. Carolinian

        UV lamps in the ductwork, stand-alone air cleaners. Interesting! Perhaps it’s time for health authorities to concentrate more on simple mechanical solutions. Masks would be one such solution and of course one that was downplayed at first by the sophisticated epidemiologists. It sounds like Asia is much further along with this–having inherited the fading American “genius for the practical.”

      3. Montanamaven

        Can you recommend brands or where to purchase in room air cleaners. I found one a week ago and now have lost it in the gazillion sites I visit. Interestingly, my rancher husband was very interested in the idea of putting UV lamps inside the AC units in restaurants. I always pay attention to people who try to find practical ways of fixing things and who actually fix things like our old 1962 Ford tractor.

        1. Clive

          Hi, yes, Daikin (Japanese, natch’ !) make probably the best units available anywhere. The Japanese don’t buy rubbish, it has to be good to survive in the ruthless Japanese marketplace. Here’s the US product info

          I have the same system as the stand-alone units in my A/Cs. They really do work. I can cook really pungent ingredients (prying onions, garlic bread, tabasco sauce and so on) in my kitchen, run the electric discharge streamer (plus filters) for half an hour or so and the air smells like a spring day in the Poconos. (yes, I know odours aren’t like viruses, but the ability to not only capture particles but to deactive them as the Daikin system does is backed by the maker’s research and independent testing).

          1. Rhondda

            Unfortunately, those Daikin Streamer air purifiers don’t appear to be available in the US.

      4. Synoia

        Open the widows. Use fans. Have the correct building design.

        I lived 5 degrees N of the Equator, and the proper building design, no direct syn on any windows and doors, through breezes and insect netting, eliminates the need for a/c (Note “need”).

        With trees for shade, properly pruned. The Romans had all this achieved.

        It would also put a severe dent in electricity consumption, and greenhouse gases.

        1. Clive

          Fine for residential, especially if the architecture is done right. A tract development in Phoenix where something like affordable housing means cookie-cutter designs and denaturated lots, not so much.

          And completely implausible for commercial real estate. Heat loads from people and equipment mean a modem office can’t function with open windows alone. Similarly a supermarket or restaurant. Try telling a kitchen worker or waitress in Southern California they can manage not only on minimum wage, but also without their kitchen A/C and, let’s just say, you’re not exactly going to have converts flocking to The Cause.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            I only remember one kitchen that was air conditioned, in 25+ years of cooking in Texas and the South,…and it was one of those kitchens that was like a continuation of the bar, where the customers could watch you…so it shared the general building’s a/c.
            everywhere else? open windows, screen door out back, properly cleaned and working vent hood, and a bunch of fans.
            we’d wet, twist and freeze those ubiquitous white kitchen towels to place around our necks when it got hot.
            this was from mid 80’s to 2006 or so.
            motto: ‘we cook with fire around here!”
            it never even occurred to me that such spaces could be air conditioned….and that one place, with the open kitchen, had customers forever yammering about the heat, smoke, flames, and yelling….as well as the sweaty cooks,lol.
            because the a/c didn’t make much difference when one was standing over a char grill.

            (…oh…and i walked ten miles to school, uphill both ways,etc)

            1. Clive

              I think it’s more a feature of the chain restaurants where if the staff not only had to put up with the cr@p from the management, the franchisee, the customers and everything else but also had to endure the heat too, they’d be even more likely to quit than the already are. A/C is, I guess, a token gesture sop from the chain restaurant owner to allow them to mete out little more derogatory treatment of staff because the working conditions in terms of physical comfort aren’t absolutely atrocious. Certainly in CA, a typical chain restaurant large kitchen will have a 10 ton A/C dedicated to it.

            2. jr


              I was a pizzaiolo with a 700 degree gas fueled Hellmouth to work in. 45+ pies an hour, rotating them through at a minimum of four at a time, like clockwork. Sometimes Satan rented space from us on slower nights, thats how I know JFK, Reagan and Bush Sr. are getting theirs.

              Ever hear your own skin literally pop and sizzle? It sucks…

              1. Kurt Sperry

                In Italy, the pizza oven is usually in the large room where the customers are served so between that and the long paletti, the pizzaioli aren’t subject to the oven heat much more than anyone else in the room.

                1. jr

                  I’ve worked in open and close spaces and open is definitely preferable…but the oven I used in the open setting was really big, a maw. It would get 110F around the lip of it.

                  Close settings were steel ovens, which radiate less heat because doors but you come into contact with the hot surfaces much more often.

                  While we’re on it, here’s a home pizza tip and a recipe:

                  1. Get a pizza stone or sturdy unglazed tile. Take the upper rack from your oven and use the paddle to drop the dough. I prefer cornmeal to flour for a prepping the paddle. When wet dough hits hot stone, the steam produced can escape from the undercarriage into the small holes in the stone. This allows for a crispier crust because less water.

                  Metal surfaces trap the steam and allow the undercarriage to boil a little, toughening it a bit like a bagel or soft pretzel, lending itself to a chewier texture.

                  2. Recipe: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup pizza.

                  I’m sure most people here can figure out a decent dough recipe so the only ingredient I suggest is replacing half the water in your dough with a light but flavorful beer. I prefer a Radeberger or any of the Czech ur-pilsners.

                  (Heavier beer=heavier dough so go light but flavorful)

                  So just make your dough but instead of mozzarella, tomato sauce, etc. put down a layer of American cheese, try to find the real stuff if you can, not the plastic crap:


                  Atop the cheese, layer a sweet, not savory, tomato soup. Don’t put the American cheese on top because it will scorch, it’s going to bubble up and do that a bit anyway. Into a ripping hot oven you turned all the way up and on 30 mins in advance. In it goes, when it’s getting nice and done brush the crust with butter and give it another minute.

                  I used to make that for a restaurant in Philly and I’d empty the dough trays…

        2. Mr. House

          I live like you do, but everything you suggest doesn’t create cash flow for someone (the horror, the horror) which seems to be the reason we exist in these modern times.

        3. Off The Street

          Two-story (or more) houses may benefit from some window and door tactics. Opening the lower portals can induce some circulation to those upper areas that would otherwise stifle. Think of it as your own convection anti-oven.

          If you can add in attic/roof venting, temperatures can drop faster than merely allowing heat radiation.

          Bonus: close eyes, visualize one of the desert conical or beehive structures with really high ceilings and imagine yourself traveling to far-off lands all while feeling the cooling effects.

        4. Yves Smith

          We regularly open the front and back door here to get fresh air in (in a 1950s ranch built when electricity was so cheap only the doors and ONE window has a screen!).

          When I go to NYC (no yelling! for medical), I stay in a hotel I generally do not like (but I not sure any other would be much better due to the loss of all services with the loss of customers) BUT it has windows you can open!

        5. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I lived 5 degrees N of the Equator, and the proper building design, no direct syn on any windows and doors, through breezes and insect netting, eliminates the need for a/c (Note “need”).

          > With trees for shade, properly pruned. The Romans had all this achieved.

          I second this.

      5. steve

        In a majority of existing installations these recommendations will not be achievable without a good deal of effort and expense, and time. For the installations that can accommodate these strategies all well and good but the vast majority of facilities have HVAC that is designed for a relatively narrow range of operating conditions and thus lacks the flexibility to implement without considerable modification.

        At least we are seeing acknowledgment from a respected source that HVAC plays a role in spreading around infectious aerosols and that they can travel more than 6′. Dirty, or loaded, filters main impact is on reducing airflow which should be avoided. A loaded filter provides a greater degree of particulate capture than an equivalent clean one, but I doubt this is a net positive for infection control.

        1. Clive

          Yes, I thought the same. The ASHRAE guidance was definitely aspirational-sounding to me rather than a necessarily immediately implementable set of steps to take. Good luck, for instance, trying to run a Miami office building on 100% outdoor air in August. It would only be possible to control space temperature and humidity within design criteria if the existing equipment was significantly oversized already (and you never want to specify oversized equipment in the design, so why would it have been installed that way?)

      6. Lambert Strether Post author

        > What is not stated in this summary is that ducted systems which are predominant in the US in commercial real estate (rooftops, AHUs) have more scope to be reconfigured to help reduce COVID-19 virus concentration levels (UV lamps in the ductwork, setting economisers to 100% outdoor air, provision of Dedicated Outdoor Air treatment units, hot gas reheat dehumidification, humidifiers etc.) than VRF or minisplt units which are the norm in Asia, Australia and Europe. These always recirculate.

        Thank you, Clive. This is a great information.

    3. eyebear

      Here in Germany the cities of Jena and Nordhausen in Thuringia were the first to arrange an order to wear masks in the public and in public transport especially – and they were the first to break the chains of infection. Masks are not always mandatory, but the people are carrying them anyways, without strict enforcement. The evidence is clear – masks help to mitigate the corona situation.

    4. CanChemist

      Not sure if anyone mentioned this but the NYT had a front page article all weekend that was essentially an expose of WHO recommendations on this,

      239 Experts With One Big Claim: The Coronavirus Is Airborne

      “If airborne transmission is a significant factor in the pandemic, especially in crowded spaces with poor ventilation, the consequences for containment will be significant. Masks may be needed indoors, even in socially-distant settings. Health care workers may need N95 masks that filter out even the smallest respiratory droplets as they care for coronavirus patients.

      Ventilation systems in schools, nursing homes, residences and businesses may need to minimize recirculating air and add powerful new filters. Ultraviolet lights may be needed to kill viral particles floating in tiny droplets indoors.

      The World Health Organization has long held that the coronavirus is spread primarily by large respiratory droplets that, once expelled by infected people in coughs and sneezes, fall quickly to the floor.

      But in an open letter to the W.H.O., 239 scientists in 32 countries have outlined the evidence showing that smaller particles can infect people, and are calling for the agency to revise its recommendations. The researchers plan to publish their letter in a scientific journal next week.”

      Considering ASHRAE went on the record in April already with statements about it,

      I’m glad to see this finally getting acknowledged as being the real risk.

      1. polar donkey

        The restaurant I work at in Memphis has been open for 5 weeks. All employees must wear masks. For the most part, our employees don’t interact with each other after work. We got our first covid case Saturday. Not a server though. Worker had family that went to Florida, got infected there, and came back. We are testing staff asap but almost impossible to get results in less than 3 or 4 days.
        My wife has a friend who works at a testing center. Friend said you need 10 minutes of continuous exposure (talking, eating, singing) for transmission. Friend said you couldn’t pay her to eat in a restaurant and everyone she is testing is restaurant related.
        I will know soon enough if masks are effective. If we don’t have other employees test positive, that to me is a strong pro-mask argument. All our staff works together 8+ hours a day 5 days a week.

        1. rd

          Went to a couple of wineries this weekend. Walk-ins may not be accomodated – saw some people without reservations turned away. Everything outdoors. Tables spaced 10 feet apart. Groups of less than 6. Wear masks until seated. Servers wear masks. Hygiene of tables, glasses, etc. well thought through. Place wine purchase orders at table and they process it and have boxes ready for you to put in car.

          I felt quite safe through the process. Everybody seemed to be very respectful of process, both customers and staff. The only exceptions were one or two people who didn’t understand why reservations were needed now to manage customer density.

          You couldn’t pay me to sit inside for an hour or two in a restaurant right now. An inside bar or packed outside bar are similarly off the agenda.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            if you were an “essential worker” aka vulnerable wage slave for whom we as a society will not provide n95s you would.

    5. shtove

      Can you address the correlation between humidity and the spread of the virus? My understanding is that increasing humidity damps down the spread of an aerosol borne virus, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. If so, doesn’t that show the main vector must be other than by aerosol?

  2. Samuel Conner

    I hate to discard those red plastic mesh onion bags. Don’t feel so bad about accumulating them now.

    Of course, the glass jars I’ve accumulated are filled with rice and beans; that was a no-brainer.

    Sadly, glass is being used less and less for retail food packaging. I suppose that plastic is still proof against meal moth larvae.

      1. John Beech

        No, Carl, you don’t. The fact they use a microwave to boil a couple ounces of water is no reason you must follow in like fashion, just use a small sauce pan and a couple of bamboo skewers and once the water is boiling, place your mask on the skewers and let the steam do its thing for a minute or two. Easy peasy!

        And on another note, I reuse masks without all this fuss and bother by spraying them lightly with denatured alcohol. Evaporates in a few seconds and breaks down the lipids of a virus in about 6-seconds (lipids are the fatty shell that holds their structure together). No smell, less bother, and way faster! However, please do note denatured alcohol has between 5-10% methanol (this is what makes it poisonous to drink the otherwise very desirable to alcoholics, moonshine) so try to keep it off your hands. For use on my hands I use isopropyl alcohol.

        1. polecat

          I drive rather infrequently, maybe couple times a week at most. So, when I’m done with errands and parked in the driveway, I leave whatever mask I’ve used to ‘solarize’ on the hot dash for a few days until needed for the next outing.

        2. CanChemist

          Speaking as a chemist… denatured ethanol can have a variety of things added to it to make it undrinkable. I don’t recommend this approach. If you really want to spray it with alcohol, use isopropanol (rubbing alcohol), it’s available pure and it evaporates faster too, and is nontoxic to the skin (but of course don’t breath it in).

          Also, the studies I’ve seen on persistence on surfaces indicated having at least 5 min of surface contact with disinfectants, which is what one would expect because the viruses/bacteria don’t just instantly fall apart.

          Considering particles can also get trapped in the fibers, I don’t think this is foolproof generally, and I’m not aware of it being recommended.

        3. juno mas

          Although it’s in short supply now, standard rubbing alcohol (70% ethyl alcohol) is what I use to “freshen” my cloth masks. Methyl alcohol of any concentration can be lethal, at repeated contact. (It was discovered in hand sanitizer made in Mexico and removed from markets by the FDA.)

          Methyl alcohol is used in industrial cleaners, but should be kept out of the house (and off your mask).

      2. Billy

        Microwave-Generated Steam Decontamination of N95 Respirators
        and United States CASH too. (Not Euros or Canadian, which has plastic in it.)

        Place a pile of bills in the microwave and give them 20 seconds at full power, when the top bill starts to curl, pile of currency will be hot to touch. You now have cash without virus, bacteria or mold on it.

        If you think Big Brother is bad now, wait until there is no more cash, based on the ‘dirty money’ excuse.

  3. Ignacio

    Coronavirus pandemic may not have started in China, experts say Sydney Morning Herald. “[Dr Tom Jefferson, senior associate tutor at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University] believes that many viruses lie dormant throughout the globe and emerge when conditions are favourable. It also means they can vanish as quickly as they arrive.” Jefferson believes fecal transmission is more significant than currently thought.

    This has not passed my internal corona-bull###t test. There are no direct links between the phrase attributed to the expert “dormant viruses of unknown origin emerging when conditions are favourable” with doubtful evidences such as mysterious/magical appareance of SARS CoV 2 in sewage waters in Barcelona in March 2019. The connections that the article (not the scientists cited) makes between transmission in meat processing facilities and the obscure hypothesis of non-chinese origin are tenuous to say the least. Yes, there are clusters related with these facilities that seem to be high risk sites probably because virus particles are more stable in such air-conditioned indoor facilities. So, what?

    If you find virus particles in sewage waters this is not that easily explained by some “misterious appereance in favourable conditions” but, in practical terms it will almost certainly be the result of many people infected releasing particles and residual virus through faeces and/or urine. I am very much sceptical on the result obtained in sewage samples in Barna in 2019 March because it should have been the result of many (thousands, dozens of thousands?) undetected infected with SARS CoV 2 or… some mysteriously favourable environmental conditions. Most probably this was the result of a contamination in the sample. The easiest explanation uses to be the correct one.

    In short: the Herald in search for shocking headlines

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that Ignacio. I read it earlier today and the whole thing sounded like a bunch of anecdotes and as well as a bunch if suppositions. Pretty sloppy work for the Sydney Morning Herald and it did not have much evidence behind it. So I looked up the author and Sarah Knapton is the Telegraph’s Science Correspondent as well as a freelance journalist on the Guardian. This story also appeared in a few other newspapers but none of real note.

    2. MLTPB

      One data point is not sufficient.

      Even at three (Spain, Turin/Milan, and Brazil – per the article), or do we say four, still not convincing, until independently verified.

      I’m curious if some are following up, either to confirm or disprove.

      Presently, we are left in a fog.

      1. Ignacio

        Contaminations occur, regardless the nationality of the technician doing the analysis. Have you had experience with RT-PCR? I have set thousands of PCR and RT-PCR reactions and know very well how easy is to contaminate a reaction, a sample or a full set of reactions.

      2. Ignacio

        Reports on “viral traces” found in Italy in December or in Barna by mid-January might have credibility and are within a time-frame compatible with what we know about the epidemic possibly starting by the end of November near Wuhan but the sample from March 2019 in Barna is an outlier and sequence data should have been obtained to rule out the possibility of contamination. If a SARS CoV 2 sequence is obtained from these samples and shows to be compatible with a possible evolutionary history of the virus before the Wuhan outbreak then it would have credibility. Something similar to SARS CoV 2 could have been playing around for years before the outbreak in Wuhan, no doubt about that, but the strain that not only jumped into humans but acquired the pathological and epidemiological properties that SARS CoV 2 has was first detected in Wuhan and there is no proof for origin different than that in Wuhan. In fact I find it amusing that these claims are never accompanied with sequence data that could give stronger support to them.

        1. MLTPB

          Thanks, Ignacio.

          That’s what I mean – people in position with authority can ask those sequence data, and have others redo the tests, if possible, as well.

        2. MLTPB

          I also wonder if you or anyone else can comment on this quote from Dr. Jefferson: ‘Where did Sars 1 go? It just disappeared.’

          That quote follows immediately the article author’s own statement that these things ‘can vanish as quickly as they arrive.’

    3. GettingTheBannedBack

      The SMH article is getting into the realms of miasmas and ethers and spontaneous creation to explain covid-19. It has the same miasma you would expect from garbage.

      The SMH would be much better to link to this article, which has solid science behind it and opens the argument again on the origins of covid-19.

    4. integer

      The Sydney Morning Herald has priors. From February:

      Nine Entertainment Co’s newspapers copping flack over China fluff pieces Michael Smith News

      Nine Entertainment has come under heavy criticism from one of its most senior journalists and government MPs concerned about the growing role of Chinese influence for continuing to publish Chinese Communist Party “propaganda” in The Sydney Morning Herald.

      The masthead inserted the China Daily supplement last ­Friday, which praises the Chinese government and its response to the coronavirus outbreak, despite several of the organisation’s most senior journalists reporting extensively about the issue of ­Chinese influence.

      Chris Uhlmann, political editor of Nine News, who has written extensively about the creeping ­influence of the CCP in Australia, told The Australian the China Daily insert was “extremely disturbing”. “Since the moment the decision was made (in 2016) to have the China Daily insert in The Sydney Morning Herald, I’ve made it clear that I’ve found it an extremely disturbing development that Communist Party propaganda has the apparent endorsement of an Australian media organisation,” he said. “I said that before I joined Nine and I haven’t changed my opinion.”

      This story was covered by The Australian, but the article is paywalled:

      Nine under fire for China propaganda The Australian

  4. Ramon Z

    Why the link to Eschaton? Don’t get me wrong I’m happy to read any old rubbish but I go to other sites for that, not Nakedcapitalism.

    1. GramSci

      Well, it was an interesting little exercise in alternate history, but I think Obama would have cooly assured Americans that it was time to go back to work, while toasting Tony Fauci on national TV with a glass of ostensible Flint water.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Judging from what obama did do as president, he’d have called all the most virulent coronaviruses together and boasted that he was “the only thing” standing between them and the “pitchforks.” Then he’d have announced a “program” to discover a vaccine and put them in charge of it.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Just remember that you can’t spell Eschaton without using the letters for ‘scat.’ And I won’t go into what it sounds like when with that article you say Eschaton Obama.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Hmmm . . . Eschaton anagrams to “cheats on”. (Or “No cheats”, to be fair.)

    3. Chris Smith

      I think that it is cute that Eschaton is still around. It’s an institution! Like the NY Post or the Weekly World News.

    4. Pat

      I didn’t disagree with the actual post as it was not so much what Obama might have done, but that our country was divided under him as well and the same sort of objections to any proclamation would have happened. It would just be what we are seeing in the states on a national level. I think Atrios has it right on this.

      No it is the fairy tale beliefs that we wouldn’t have ignored warning signs, delayed response or that our shortages wouldn’t have existed in the comments that dismayed me. Apparently all of our systemic problems began in January of 2017 for the denizens of Eschaton. (I didn’t read far, but I did appreciate that the problem of loss of employer provided insurance never raised its ugly little head. )

      1. neo-realist

        I’m not an Obama fan, but he did have a NSC guidebook, or a playbook of sorts for a pandemic scenario, which Trump totally disregarded. So it’s plausible that given the playbook, an Obama administration would have better responded, if not adequately enough given the nature of the virus, to covid-19 than a Trump administration that fired the pandemic team and defunded the CDC.

        1. Billy

          And after the H1N1 outbreak, Obama’s administration did not replenish the United State’s supply of masks for public health purposes.

          According to Bloomberg News, “after the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009, which triggered a nationwide shortage of masks and caused a 2- to 3-year backlog orders for the N95 variety, the stockpile distributed about three-quarters of its inventory and didn’t build back the supply.”

          “After the swine flu epidemic in 2009, a safety-equipment industry association and a federally sponsored task force both recommended that depleted supplies of N95 respirator masks, which filter out airborne particles, be replenished by the stockpile,” the Los Angeles Times reported.”

          Sure it’s unfair to blame Obama for the actions of some minor cabinet level snafu. Just as it’s unfair to blame Trump for the same kind of thing.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Secretary Sebelius doesn’t leave me feeling confident.

            At best Obama was a conservative incrementalist, this is a century style pandemic which likely will hit in the fall again if it slows down. The “fix it later” is Pelosi’s, but the sentiment is important to how these people operate. The scale of the crisis doesn’t even register.

            Isn’t Obama backing the fraudulent “reform the police” routine pushed by Del Ray?

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I would look to Obama’s record on big agriculture as its the likely source of future problems, and its not good. Warnings about super bugs have been around for quite some time. Covid probably came from wild animals being introduced to the food supply. His pandemic response effort might be sufficient for picking up suspect ebola patients, but ebola doesn’t spread like the common cold. Saint Cuomo was sending infected back to nursing homes.

          Most likely Obama would be better on masks, and I suspect the drama of will they or won’t they play sports would be pushed back as messaging on gatherings was clearer. Biden snipped when he was told about his not wearing a mask, so I suspect its going around.

          1. Pat

            I don’t think you can discount what Congress did and did not do as an indicator of how badly the PMC would have responded. It wasn’t just that Republicans were involved that made CARES such a mess, the HEROES act makes that clear. Obama was also on board grift enablement when he was at the top of the pyramid. Hell, all the suggestions about payroll tax cuts reminded me of the the bull we often got.

            Crumbs for the masses, huge benefits for the wealthy and multinational class, AND big noise about the need to cut entitlements would be the same. Also the same would be not bothering to annoy their real base by setting up an industrial policy that not just induced but required needed items be produced in the US.

            There are certainly things that might have looked better in an HRC or Obama run country under these circumstances, but the major fails would not have been avoided.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              To me, Atrios’ point was even with better messaging the GOP reaction would be so crazy to almost make the difference within the confines of managing the crisis irrelevant given the U.S.’s litany of problems. A pandemic team isn’t going to solve the deindustrialization problem for example.

              1. Pat

                And certainly the imagined increased actions or messaging is in the mind of the reader. As I said I think Atrios has the possible crazed response right.

                My point is that even the imagined response tempered or not if based on past and current actions even if more coherent would not have been good enough to keep us from being number 1 in numbers worldwide. The system, the capability and the will to take the radical and extensive actions needed just was and is not there among our top Democrats.

        3. edmondo

          Yes, the way Obama’s Administration reacted during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf was evidence of how superior a Democratic Administration is in problem solving. Can’t wait to see that “competence in action” again after Inauguration Day.

          1. dave

            Or the fact that they had 2+ years to develop a functioning health insurance web portal and couldn’t do it.

        4. marym

          I think that’s fair. Agreed that an Obama or HRC response would be a product of the neolib hollowing out of governance and industry, and turning of every crisis into an opportunity for wealth transfer and grift. Howls from the right of tyranny and socialism for any national initiatives from invoking the DPA to suggesting face coverings would have been worse.

          However, playbooks and task forces and the like would have been a part of the response. It may not have been a sufficient or fair response, but not one confined to the Trumpian broad denial of both the problem and any responsibility for dealing with it.

          I acknowledge there are enough examples of both insufficient response and denial/cover-up in past administrations to make a counter-argument, but a willingness to have had one of the worst responses in the world with no interest in any course-correction seems a step too far.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Yes I’m sure Saint President Hilary would have shut down travel from China in January and reined in super-spreader Cuomo

        5. dave

          The “pandemic playbook” is available online as a PDF.

          It’s nothing special; it’s a typical bureaucratic org chart corporate cya document.

          Don’t think the response to this pandemic would have been any better because of this “playbook”.

    5. Librarian Guy

      Yes, I USED to be an Eschaton fan, but . . . like the DailyKos once Obama got elected, its commentariat got taken over by privileged Liberal “dittoheads” who loved everything the great O did, even drone-killing 16 year olds, putting Larry Summers in charge of the economy, not prosecuting torturers or Wall St. Crooks, etc. Then after poor Hillary lost to Drumpf, the poor dears got upset because “the most qualified person EVER to run for office!! & a woman to boot” did not win against the Obese Orange one . . .

      Then this Election Cycle it got taken over by Warren trolls, though some also thought Mikey Bloomberg would’ve been great. Anyone praising Sanders’ timid suggestions for reform was a “misogynist, Bernie Bros” and probably racist as well (though oddly, all the Bloomberg Stop & Frisk was rarely mentioned.) There is hardly anyone there the slightest bit left anymore– I stopped reading once Covid hit. It is all PMC, comfortable people who believe they are Liberal and Good because they don’t think bashing queers or screaming the N– word like Trump’s fans are good…

      But as to Economic Inequality & endless imperial wars– yawn!! They got theirs, and it’s nothing that bothers them, & couldn’t be remedied by Technocratic genius Liz Warren, who’d revive the economy with wonkish stimuli like refunds for job training, especially targeted at those in academia and the top 15% of earnings . . . & the military would just be improved with greater diversity, & be able to exterminate the brown people & steal their resources more compassionately and not in a mean-spirited way . . .

      In other words, it’s NewDem= NeverTrumpR= Clintonite, Max Boot and Neocons were actually right. And now that Cheney is wearing a mask, he is a hero of the PMC “Resistance” as well, all the murder and Haliburton looting are forgiven.

      1. Donald

        I only occasionally read him, but my impression is that Atrios himself is further left than the type of person you describe.

        I will take your word for it that his commenters are like that. It is a very common type on the internet.

        1. Duck1

          Last I looked, which was a couple of years ago, the regulars would commonly chide Atrios if his message wasn’t congruent with their ideas. There was one particularly foul mouthed lad from SF who would excoriate any outsider who dared to tread on their demesne. He was knowledgeable about certain things, but who cares to listen to such trash talk. It was sadly humorous in a sickly way, but ultimately a waste of time.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Why the link to Eschaton?

      For one thing, I have a soft spot for Atrios because he gave me my start as a blogger, way back in the Bush Era. For another, he’s a very good leading indicator for opinion in the saner part of the Democrat Party (a vanishing species, I grant). For a third, the value depends on — follow me closely, here — actually reading the post and making a simple mental substitution:

      But try to imagine Tsar Obama President Hillary Clinton instituting or just encouraging a nationwide lockdown. Republican governors would have rejected anything the Feds pushed, including fully paid for testing. Large protests in any state with a Dem governor trying to do the right thing. Front page stories in that fucking newspaper dominated by the question of whether OBAMA HILLARY HAD GONE TOO FAR with whatever meek encouragement they would have used to stop the country from infecting itself to death.

      I don’t love Trump and he hasn’t done well. But the liberal Democrat thirst for “leadership” should not be confused with leadership as a cure-all. I remain unconvinced that a Democrat administration would have done much better. And if you want an example of how a powerful Democrat from a Blue State with no significant Republican opposition handled the virus, look at Cuomo. Nationalizing a covid solution would be really, really hard, and I also remain unconvinced any “leader” on offer would accomplish that.

    1. ewmayer

      “The one provided gives a 404” — That’s one Methuselanically old pooch, there!

  5. The Rev Kev

    “UK court recognises Guaido as Venezuela’s president in gold dispute”

    So, ‘the High Court judge…based his decision on the so-called “one voice” doctrine, in which the court must accept as conclusive an unequivocal statement by the British government recognizing the leader of a foreign nation.’ That is a remarkable doctrine that. But let’s back up a bit and look at the current situation.

    The Maduro government has control of the military, the police, the judiciary, the civil government,the diplomatic offices and the greater majority of the population. Greedo on the other hand is a random dude that one day declared himself the President. He is only recognized by a ‘cartel’ of governments all wanting to profit out of a regime-change operation while Greedo himself is hard pressed to put together enough people for a riot in a nation of some 30 million people. Sounds legit.

    But getting back to that doctrine, it flat out says that a British Court of law will not consider justice in such a situation but will follow the political decision of the government of the day. Ahem, is that a wise doctrine to practice when a Court of law is supposed to deal with such quaint notions as justice? Is that how the Chagos people are being robbed of their homes?

    1. John A

      Meanwhile the British government is busying itself with introducing a Magnitsky Act, despite the overwhelming evidence that Browder is a liar, a fraud and a conman and the eponymous Magnitsky was Browder’s accountant, not lawyer. The pathetic stenographers at Guardian repeat the lie that he was a lawyer. Beyond parody.

      1. Olga

        Not to mention that a country that has for the last few years occupied itself by a slow-motion killing of a journalist is now sanctioning others for human rights violations. The UK must be short on mirrors.

    2. Wukchumni

      When the USA couldn’t return Germany’s all that glitters in all that timely of a fashion-taking them years to get it back, it set off alarm bells in my mind that it had long since disappeared, and a scramble ensued to allow the Unabankers to somehow come up with the goods.

      Germany can build BMW’s Mercedes Benz’s & Porsches from scratch and send them to our shores in just months from not existing to finished product on a car dealers lot, but we couldn’t deliver what was already a finished product just sitting in a dank vault.

      I suspect this is just a delaying tactic by the UK, Guaido ain’t never gonna get anything, as he’s a proven failure and you don’t reward that with a billion clams, nosirreeebob.

      1. JBird4049

        Just because the government and the country exist doesn’t mean they exist. Don’t bother me with the facts, or with reality, just tell me what to do, says the judge. Okay.

        This is about the United States instead of the UK, but I have noticed a growing trend of politicized judicial decisions that are examples of twisted logic and unreason. Almost the entire Bill of Rights have been made mostly dead letter because of it and it is often not about power per se, but about how the judge wants the world to be or to behave. Since a judiciary’s role is to honestly interpret and decide on both the word and the intent of the law this is a serious problem.

        The goals and the reasonings for the law and the ideology on which the law is based on is simply ignored. For instance, the right to a speedy trial is in the Bill of Rights. However, in many places you can be accused of stealing something, say a backpack, and legally not go to trial for three years, because of a backlog of court cases. Then there is civil asset forfeiture where the police can merely accuse you of committing a crime, and without even being accused, have anything you own including the money in your pocket, the car, and the house. Then there is the right to bare arms which has created many creatively supported decisions against it.

        If your rights depends on whatever judge you see and barely with a pretense of serious reasoning and certainly not justice, what’s the point of having judges or the law? I mean most of the Constitution is straightforward black letter law. The exact interpretation need to be decided by the courts, but still. However, more and more, I am seeing the equivalent of the “separate, but equal” decision. That is decisions that appear reasonable, but really violate the meaning, and often the wording, of the law be it Constitutional or legislative or even reality.

        It reminds me of Karl Rove’s assertion that:

        The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” He continued “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

        (My apologies for the long quote. It just encapsulates the mental derangement of much of our ruling classes.)

        I do not think many non-Americans realize just how important, even crucial, the Constitution is to the existence of not only the American state, but the nation as well. It and the Declaration of Independence are the very foundation of our existence, even if many American ignoramuses do not understand that.

        Actually, most of the ruling classes, the police, and the corporations especially FIRE are in that category, I think. The ideology for the existence of the country arises from them. Destroy the meaning of constitutional law, you destroy the reasoning for the existence of the country and have rule by by oligarchy, ultimately dictator, backed by the gun.

        The rule of law is also important to most Western countries although to a lesser extent, which is why the BS that is of some of the British judiciary’s decisions are more than just a problem for right now, but a problem of tomorrow as well. If the written words do not mean what they say or even the facts in real life, but only whatever wants it to say with the support of illogical, contorted, even mendacious reasoning, why have the judiciary or the legislature?

    3. Tinky

      Excellent points. Of course given the Assange trial, no one should be surprised at the extent to which British courts have become politically influenced.

    4. Bugs Bunny

      “Justice” was once applied by common law judges through “equity”, especially in cases of unjust enrichment where the letter of the law would prevail for the party being unjustly enriched. They still have the ability to do it but are likely very afraid to use such a tool of jurisprudence on a political question. So they punted.

    5. Ignacio

      “One voice doctrine” sounds like a a bad excuse for a big mistake. The pretension of justice by courts has been definitely abandoned.

    6. Polar Socialist

      One would think that the gold belongs to the Central Bank of Venezuela (or some such) no matter what, and the question of who thinks he’s the current president has no bearing whatsoever on the issue.

      Guaido can access the gold the minute Venezuelans give him the command over the Central Bank. And that can’t be within the jurisdiction of any UK court. Unless they supersede the Venezuelan legal system, which I doubt.

      With what’s been going with Assange, Salmond and Murray lately, the British courts can’t be thought of as unpolitical and impartial anyway.

      1. Conrad

        Central bankers of states that store gold in London will have to start organising the repatriation of their country’s gold now. It would be foolish not to.

        Another step in London’s decline as a financial centre?

    7. David

      Sorry, but the judge didn’t “decide” anything about who Venezuela’s president is. He just followed the rules, which as far as I know are the same in every country.
      In any political system, the government has the right to recognise (or not) any individual or regime as legitimate, and the other parts of the system (legislative, judiciary) follow suit. Anything else would be impossible to manage. In most cases, this is uncontroversial, but there are a number of countries (Somalia, Libya) where it’s not clear what the legitimate government is, or even whether one exists. In that case, governments make a choice and courts, foe example, treat it as a matter of fact that the government recognises X as the legitimate government of Y.
      That’s all the judge did here. He has no discretion. To criticise the judgement is to argue that judges, as individuals, should have the power to decide personally whether the government of a particular country is legitimate or not. So a judge could decide that Clinton, not Trump, was the real President of the US, and act accordingly. Does anyone really want that?

      1. Bugs Bunny

        David, I’m sorry to disagree with you on this point but common law judges have more latitude to decide these matters ignoring both the political implications and the black letter of the law. A judge does not simply apply rules in common law jurisdictions. Might as well have algorithms do it then.

        1. David

          Ah but it wasn’t a legal point, except in the limited sense that UK government recognition created a certain legal situation. I’m not aware (though I’m not a lawyer) that judges have ever been asked to rule, as a matter of fact and politics, on whether a foreign government was legitimate. I’m not sure we’d want them to have that power.

          1. Clive

            This is entirely correct, I deal with international disputes on a regular basis where justiciability and jurisdiction (including complex recognition such as disputed territories like Crimea) come up.

   is a good summary.

            While in international and continental European courts recognition has only probative value, in English and American courts an official statement of recognition or non-recognition by the forum government is conclusive evidence as to the legal status of a foreign authority or entity as, according to the “one voice doctrine,” in matters of foreign affairs the judiciary and the executive are to speak with one voice.

            The judiciary, in English law, cannot decide to overturn HMG decisions on what, or who is, or isn’t, the legitimate government or what is, or isn’t, the sovereign in territorial fracas.

          2. MLTPB

            I would I imagine that has happened often.

            For example, once the UK recognized Fidel’s Cuba, the embassy there went to the new people.

      2. Olga

        The argument seems logical at first glance – but it is also oh, so wrong. Where to begin?
        First, if the implication is that the fault lies with the UK’s govt (and not the court) – then I’m sure you’re right. The Perfidious Albion has put a stake into the principle of states’ sovereignty (at least, as based on the Westphalian peace treaty).
        If it were acceptable that – as you say – “the government has the right to recognise (or not) any individual or regime as legitimate,” what kind of a world would that be? China could recognise Corbyn as the legitimate leader of the UK – on account on him being scurrilously smeared during the election, and thus denied a fair election. Navalny could be the leader of Russia… on account that he really wants to be… and so on. Is that really the world we’d want?
        “He just followed the rules…” – where have we seen this argument before? If I recall, this was roundly condemned at Nuremberg.
        If the judge were truly impartial – and not just an obedient servant of the empire – was there really no way for him to rule differently so as not to confirm the bias? But as we’ve seen from the conduct of the judge in Julian Assange’s case, the UK’s judiciary has been thoroughly corrupted, in tandem with the political system. A political system that still operates from a perspective of a colonial ruler…
        Old habits are hard to break… but to defend them? Why?

        1. Clive

          No. See my comment above and the article I linked to. This has absolutely nothing to do with imperialism. It is merely a system of law. English courts look upon U.K. government recognition of legitimate foreign governments as they would the passing of a U.K. law by the U.K. government. You’re in effect saying that every point of law which comes up in a English court’s legal proceeding should have the judge say “hmm… what do I think of this law? do I think I agree with what the U.K. government did there in passing it that way?”

          It (this approach) helps both litigants (defendants and plaintiffs) to have legal certainty — everyone knows, or should know, what the judge will decide on the fact of who the recognised government is, or isn’t. In what are invariably already complex cross-border litigations, knowing that a judge will find as a fact — before you’ve even set foot in the courtroom — who the recognised government is, is one less thing to have to be decided and so one less thing to have to prove or disprove in evidence and arguments. This greatly simplifies case management.

          1. Tom Bradford

            Agreed. Under the Common Law system judges can only apply previous decisions of the court or established principles.

            On what basis should a judge decide in isolation who comprises the ‘legitimate’ government of a country? On a majority popular vote in a free-and-fair election? On that basis HRC ‘won’ the 2016 election? On the published outcome of a clearly rigged election? Does that corruption give the party that came second an automatic right to government? On the basis of the party with the most guns? A party that ‘won’ the popular vote fairly but subsequently abandoned all its promises and policies to enrich a few (a’la Trump?)

            Recognition of a foreign state’s government is a purely political matter, and politics should have no place on the Bench.

            1. Duck1

              Three branches of government, at least in USA!USA!, and the bench is not political. Hahahahaha!

            2. juno mas

              Does anyone really believe that Gauido is the legitimate head of state?

              (I worry that my bank will decide that my account doesn’t really belong to me.)

      3. The Rev Kev

        I know what you are saying David but we are getting into some pretty dodgy territory here, Was it not the Courts in the US that decided back in 2000 that George Bush was the President of the United States and not Al Gore in spite of some shenanigans that went in in Florida – and that the judges decided to halt the counting that was going on at the time? So here a Court was deciding who the government was.

        And having a taste for the absurd, let me suggest a historical possibility. Suppose that an ex-Austrian corporal had gone to the British and said that he was going to do a takeover of the government but if they gave him the nod, he would make sure that the British got priority of reparations payments over France and that he would have Germany renounce any territories such as Alsace-Lorraine. So comes November of 1923 and our German Greedo announces that the Bavarian government was deposed and declared the formation of a new government with Ludendorff. The UK government recognizes him and the UK Courts back the UK up. Oops!

        I have not gone into it much but did not German judges face justice at Nuremburg and it was held that saying that they were following the dictates of their government did not mean that they got off? As I said, some pretty dodgy territory here. Clive below mentions the Crimea which reminded me that under international law, those people were entitled to decide their own fate which included rejoining Russia. but countries like the US and the UK are saying to ignore international law because, err, whatever.

        I suspect that it is the Humpty Dumpty principle at work here when he said, in rather a scornful tone, “When I use the law, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

        1. Basil Pesto

          Was it not the Courts in the US that decided back in 2000 that George Bush was the President of the United States and not Al Gore in spite of some shenanigans that went in in Florida – and that the judges decided to halt the counting that was going on at the time? So here a Court was deciding who the government was.

          This is apples and oranges! The question at the heart of the Florida case was who had won that vote – that was the aim of the case, the dispute that was being resolved. In the Venezuela case, it is merely a technical issue to define who the goverment is so that the trial – where the dispute is not about who rules Venezuela – can proceed! Clive explains this excellently – it is well beyond the judges’ remit to decide who the true and proper leader of Venezuela is; the one voice doctrine takes that decision out of their hands by making them accept a priori who that leader is in the eyes of the government of the jurisdiction in which they, the court, are operating. Anything else would be nuts. Procedurally insane. It does not make a judgement on the rightness or wrongness – legally or morally – of the so-called Guaído government

          Relying on Nuremberg to make a jurisprudential argument is somewhat… problematic. I would’ve thought that was axiomatic. Regardless the analogy is flawed. To regard legislated procedural rules which are necessary for any judiciary to function as analogous to orders to commit genocide is inane.

          Of course, when you’re an aspiring anti-Western hammer, everything looks like an imperialist nail.

  6. Ignacio

    Moderna: Overpromising and Underdelivering? Trial Site

    Hoo boy! Is this a case of executives trying to win big in advance or a case they want to win big even if the project succumbs on bad results? Stay tuned and if Moderna’s Phase III start is delayed further expect the worst. Remember the incentive is to start the sooner the better. The article does a good job identifying the possibilities: i) it could be the case they have trouble scaling up production for Phase III or ii) Phase I/II results were not as promising as initially reported.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Some days I wonder how many people in this woild will do anything for money? Half? I wonder if they consider the consequences of their actions for what they have been paid to reconsider? Is there a ‘bridge too far’ that some won’t cross? What is the deciding reason for their choosing money? Starvation or privation? What about the ones that take money from an oil company for example to frack their property that is subsequently destroyed by the process?
      I also wonder if there is a way to cause it to slow down or stop in a world suffering from a potential shut down due to government crime and the refusal to assist their own people from a pandemic?
      But that last answer we have, to our collective detriment.

      1. Mr. House

        I wouldn’t put all the blame on money (though its a big factor), people just want to fit in with their peers. Life is just one giant high school for the most part.

      2. Stephen V.

        I would say that what we are concerned about is “self-interest” rather than money. Everyone who has to eat needs money. The question for me is how much altruism through gov’t. coercion do we want? versus a voluntaristic world, which most would say is pure fantasy.

    2. Winston Smith

      Just a reminder: Moderna’s vaccine is based on mRNA and no vaccine based on this approach has ever been approved…new tech, what could go wrong?

  7. Woodchuck

    Man, that thread about the catholic conspiracy theories is wild. Not something I followed before at all, but I like how it ends up to :

    “The allegation brutally summarized is that Satan now controls the Vatican, and his agenda is to subjugate the world to communism. And that’s about where religious schisms and politics intertwine into the makings of a possible holy war”

    Satan wants to subjugate the world to communism? And of course Russia and Putin are involved in there too. It’s like finding a whole new QAnon.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Warrior Nun on Netflix explains all of this. It’s the Vatican’s fault for having kept Satan locked up in the catacombs the for the last thousand years.

    2. Redlife2017

      I think in one of the comments (or in another thread) I saw that QAnon started having religious nutjobs join in a few years ago, so this would be right up that ally.

      Of course, the problem as with all conspiracy theories is that some of it is probably true:

      a) the Catholic church lies. I am shocked, SHOCKED to find gambling in this establishment (/sarc). It is no wonder people don’t think John Paul II actually released the full 3rd mystery
      b) the Russian Orthodox church (or at least some members) DO believe in the Moscow as new Rome / center of new religiousness. Goodness, even the Archdruid linked to some of that with Orlov and his crew.
      c) the Catholic News Agency article that is linked in the thread is quite interesting. It gives a lot of context of what some of the traditionalist Catholics are getting upset about. An example is with the Amazonia Synod and the 3 days of events that took place which included Pachamama. Including a Goddess not as the Virgin Mary or as a recognised saint as well as obvious (emphsis on the obvious-part) pagan elements is a big no-no amongst this set. The church is acting like they don’t care about what the catholic rituals are supposed to mean and that they have power.

      I say all the above as a former Catholic involved in, uh, other spiritual efforts – I have no dog in this fight…

      1. Darthbobber

        Well, the Orthodox never accepted the primacy of Rome. If they had, they’d be Roman Catholic, not Orthodox. And the tsars always presented themselves as the legitimate successors to the eastern empire.

    3. DJG

      Woodchuck: I don’t know. First, in Catholicism, there is a strong divide between many of these types who consider themselves ultra-orthodox + brainy as opposed to the clergy in parishes and their parishioners. (And the opposition is often more than obvious.)

      Also, Kazminska may be a tad over-sensitive because the Polish Catholic church is reactionary and fancies itself a liberation organization. Instant Saint John Paul II was no friend to any Catholic with moderate or leftist tendencies. He damaged the Catholic Church in Latin America, and now Brazil is being governed by Evangelical loonies.

      I am a lapsed-lapsed-lapsed Catholic, with Buddhist leanings, but I understand Catholicism as a culture. Every great religion is also a culture–Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Buddhism. And the people of the pews, the people in the temples, are seldom dogmatic. These Catholic conspiracy types who fancy themselves intellectuals (Malachi Martin who? he’s no Thomas Aquinas) have almost no influence beyond the bishops that they suck up to. Organizations like Opus Dei (Scalia, another Catholic pseudointellectual) spend time trying purify the church and insist that their members do something like put barbed wire in their underpants. To no effect.

      The anger of many of these upper-level clergymen, archbishops and cardinals, is that they know that the laity doesn’t care about this stuff. Fatima prophecies? They have as much value among the laity as the yammering about birth control (which Pope Francis has toned down–so he must be evil) and the yammering about the dangers of gayfolk (which the laity pretty much ignores).

      The Catholic church is on record as supporting the rights of workers, including the rights of workers to organize in unions. But these Fatima fetishist don’t want to talk about that.

      Of course, I descend from Italians and Lithuanians, two groups whose Catholicism is rather loosey-goosey, shall we say. On Saint Joseph’s day, one eats pastries to celebrate the Father of God. Many Lithuanians still think that people’s souls migrate to live in trees when the person dies. Newt Gingrich may impress some loony cardinal, but he isn’t as important as the Franciscan movement, which is what has kept Catholicism vital–and you’ll note that Francis chose Francis as his papal name. That’s the signal that he wants to try to keep Catholicism relevant and humane.

      And if you ever get a chance to go to Assisi, as a traveler, or maybe you’ll call it a pilgrimage, you’ll see just how much most of the people mentioned in Kazminska’s thread are irrelevant nutters.

      1. Wukchumni

        My wife is a lapsed Catholic who had a reawakening that didn’t take, and we were @ Fatima about 20 years ago, and I was kind of bored with the whole affair as she went into the church and I hung out under a covered outdoor shrine as it was pissing down rain and said shrine had about 20 feet of astroturf around it, and I watched 4 or 5 women on their knees circling it for about 30 minutes. A German woman suffering from gout seemed the most stout and was actually lapping those with perhaps lesser ailments and the whole spectacle was just too much, if there was a God I doubt he’d appreciate what I termed ‘The Fatima 500’.

        1. fwe'zy

          “A German woman suffering from gout seemed the most stout and was actually lapping those with perhaps lesser ailments and the whole spectacle was just too much, if there was a God I doubt he’d appreciate what I termed ‘The Fatima 500’.”

          Thx for my first big chuckle of the day.

      2. barefoot charley

        Thanks DJG for your excellent contextualization. Every great church has great nutters. I appreciate your reassurance concerning the Franciscans, and agree they inspire the pleasantest Christian tourism I’ve ever encountered. My grim Assisi memory is of Francis’ first little crossroads chapel of wattle outside town, on top of and all around the holy site was erected an enormous Baroque bus station of a basilica to process pilgrims. A pretty picture of Francis’ radically kind spirit engulfed by Mama Church and made safe for public consumption. His friars were incensed, doubly truly.

    4. Alex morfesis

      Crusades redux…1st crusades was Rome attacking Byzantium to get “their” ayia Sofia back and end this rubish of Byzantium having exclusive rights to visit yerosalima…Rome had vanished, having been taken over by the ostros… Justinian sat in Byzantium and pulled back Rome into the empire while building ayia sofia…but it is “their” Church…meanwhile…shoosh…quiet now… don’t tell these geniuses, but Muslims pray for the return of issa/Jesus to go to Damascus and wake up John the Baptist…but don’t be alarmed…most folks don’t like to read so the secret is quite safe…hate is the universal language… unfortunately…

  8. The Rev Kev

    “COVID-19 hotspot fears as Byron Bay bush doof leaves authorities ‘dumbfounded’ ”

    Yeah, a word about Byron Bay as it is so unique. A few decades ago it was hippies, surfies and alternativers that made it their home as it was so cheap. But from the 1980s the tourists started rocking in and and the town was ‘developed’. Cashed-up bogans appeared and made the place their home which led to the development of retail districts, high-class accommodation and a lot of up-market residential areas. You have multi-million dollar mansions there now so it is quite a well off town with the average home worth over $1.5 million. I suppose the word is gentrification. Saw the same happen in Sydney and I know of streets with two-story ‘worker’s cottages’ that are very wealthy now. I doubt that most of those residents living there now know that some of those streets were notorious for the brothels located in them a few decades ago.

    1. Paul O

      I spent a couple of weeks at the Arts Factory in my travelling times (1995). I remember it being rather a pleasant place all round (likely somewhat more pretentious than I might have appreciated at the time though). Back in the days when a doof was safe – sigh! This summer is barren of dancing.

  9. Mikel

    Re: “Gen Z is bearing the economic brunt of the covid virus”

    The economic brunt is going to be borne by those with outrageous medical bills.
    Forget all the generation this, generation that, woe is me.

    1. Ranger Rick

      It echoes the doom and gloom of the GFC — a few outlets remarked that the “lifetime earnings” of the generational cohort entering the workforce at the time would be permanently reduced by the state of the job market. Well, rather than getting such pithy quotes as “this is the first generation to be worse off than their parents,” this time they’re skipping straight to fretting about the social safety net. Australia wasn’t an example plucked from thin air, their public benefits scheme supports a lot of people.

      1. JWP

        While I agree with Mikel, there’s some disturbing trends among my Gen Z cohorts. Close to 70% of my friends have applied or work for Postmates, Grubhub, or another cash guzzling zombie gig company. This is while maintaining already aggressive spending and lifestyle habits amidst a pandemic where our parents are in serious danger of any losing savings and retirement they have left. Seeing as many of them will have to work longer to retire and pay bills, the jobs in more experienced positions will not be there early enough for young people to have and in turn buy homes and other long term investments. The more career focused Gen-Zers are trying to find virtual internships (often unpaid) which leave them with little experience or job track. Absent a safety net, some combination of financial and career stupidity and (mostly) the economic hellstorm built up by the three previous generations + the fallout of COIVD is making me very scared for the next 30 years of life.

        Reading about Bloomberg’s “lifetime earning” and “generational scarring” and similar macro trends is a joke. It seems they expect our generation to be judged by the same standards as theirs despite growing up directly in the way of their exhaust pipe.

  10. John

    BOUNTYGATE: Scapegoating Systemic Military Failure in Afghanistan Scott Ritter,

    I continue to get the “Cannot connect to the server.” message. This is not the first time either. I would appreciate any clues as to why.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I had no problem accessing the piece and I want to echo it being must-read. Ritter—who is always worth reading and one of the few intel people to come out of Iraq II smelling like a rose—puts the whole sordid affair in a well-constructed political context. This is the definitive takedown of the Bountygate agitprop.

  11. griffen

    I’m so disappointed to find some good news this morning. The bald eagle article is an interesting history, albeit briefly summarized.

    Always find Franklin an interesting character to learn about as well.

  12. JacobiteInTraining

    Pursuant to my intentions of maintaining prudent and regular social distancing rules in regards propaganda, bad news, buzzwords, digital media, cats and dogs…living together….I spent the long weekend far far away from fireworks, crowds, and anything related to the digerati.

    1500 feet elevation at the mountain compound, visited only by chipmunks camp robbers, robins, stellers jays, and the neighbors dog who made a 300-yard expedition down on his own from the nice old couples place up the road from me. He hasn’t seen me in awhile, and I apologized for my lack of pets with….lots of pets…..until they came down to retrieve him! :)

    I admit to partaking in a rather constant legal-weed sampling/testing regimen, so i stayed away from the power tools and instead made myself useful pulling weeds, brambles, encroaching salal, and also did some cleaning-up & burning of old piles of branches, slash, and other wooden odds and ends so as to increase my ‘clean’ defensible borders in case of fire risk later in the year.

    I filled my mp3 player w/happy and sad songs….felt melancholy about past loves lost….and best friends who are present now only in my memories. I sang little happy ditties from summer camp 40 years ago, And also renewed ties with that special lady who may never be my wife, but who always texts me to say ‘hi’ for no reason from half way across the planet – and to remind me to eat dinner.

    All in all, a very happy weekend. I hope all of you had something similar….or at least, a smile. :)

    1. Rhondda

      Yes, a very fine post. Refreshing and renewing, like the antidote of that jaunty, smiling, tongue-lolling dog running along a meadow trail from a day or so ago. I think true happiness shines — and we can’t help but mirror it.

  13. L

    With respect to this:

    How to Build a Post-Pandemic America Washington Monthly

    I get that proposing new initiatives is good, and new agencies sound awesome but, the Department of Labor already does everything they describe. They administer grant programs which are designed to link educational institutions to demonstrated industry needs and to initiate new programs. Yes “fund the existing DOL infrastructure” sounds less exciting but the MBA-approved reorg would get in the way of immediate response.

    1. Geo

      Reminds me of a musician friend who has been working on his own album for over a decade but always has to buy some new instrument or tech gadget to “get that sound he’s looking for.” Those purchases aren’t needed his music but are excuses for some deeper personal reason he cannot commit to completing an album.

      All these new agencies – when we already have plenty that could accomplish the same goal – are just excuses for why we’re not already doing what needs to be done.

      1. expose

        Well, part of it is just a shakedown, I’ve concluded. Again, it’s people who can’t get what they want through typical electoral processes (city budgets are political instruments) and who are now threatening continued violence if they don’t get what they want.

        When (or if) these groups get huge infusions of cash from the government (regardless of whatever other agency budget might be reduced), it will very likely be used to pay the executive directors’ salaries of a new crop of non-profits. Who do you think will be the exec dirs of all these new non-profits professing to perform this or that program? And what will be the biggest budget item of the non-profits? The eds’ salaries, of course.

        1. Briny

          That’s been my view since encountering these agencies, while acompanying my Mom, since 1969. A rationalized set of of government programs would be a one stop shop to connect a person or family to match their needs and wants to funds available but what do I know. Efficiency? The government has never heard of it.

          -Retired engineer with an economics degree

    2. expose

      Yes, that is what is missing from all the discussions about ‘fixing things.’

      All these people swoon over notions of community-based efforts, how they need the police funds to initiate these, how they need jobs programs and so on and so on and so on.

      These programs are already operated by local governments, public schools, private schools, numerous non-profits, for-profits, and even religious groups throughout the communities.

      How is it possible that someone like Hawk Newsome (pres of BLM in NY) can go on TV and speak as if his notions of jobs programs/community programs are something brand new that nobody ever thought of before? How can a reporter not ask him why he is unaware of the trillions spent on these programs?

      It is astounding and not remotely believable when you hear politicians spouting the same bs. After all, many of them are in positions where they would have knowledge of applications for government funds, and they would vote for (such as city councils) and approve funds and grants for these programs. And it’s not just federal funds, it is state and city tax revenues that are also approved for these programs. Human services, which include job programs, housing, food, medical, travel, and legal assistance, are typically a huge chunk of any city budget. And all of these services are frequently combined by various entities in order to provide one-stop services (so clients don’t have to go to multiple offices to get benefits).

      I just think it’s just a big shakedown to suck funds from other budgets. I can’t think of any other explanation for the constant flow of propaganda pretending that these programs don’t already exist.

      1. Billy

        How does he explain the thousands of ‘Migrants’ lining up on streets all over the country and in New York City, to successfully find work, while activist ventriloquists for black people, and some of the alleged leaders, demand yet more job creation programs?

        1. Fireship

          Is this really what you want to do with your life? Be an unpaid lick-spittle and tool for the wealthy and powerful to punch down on those weaker than you? You really sound like Wilhelm Reich’s archetype of the sexually repressed little man that Fascism attracted. Sad.

          1. Billy

            When you cannot argue the issues, personally attack the messenger of ideas with which you disagree. As a backup, when all else fails, turn to the pop psychology screeds.

            You are inadvertently defending the interests of the wealthy elites with your defense of the “justice” movement, which serves to distract and alienate the mass of Americans from what is really important, like M4A, the anti-war movement and implementing a just economy.

            Yes, we know “statues” are so important. More like a fetish object for shallow activist’s minds.

            1. hunkerdown

              “Issues” are the things the ruling class want us to talk about precisely because they’re irrelevant distractions from the real question, that of what we should be doing about them.

          2. flora

            Migrants working gig jobs are probably paid much less than minimum wage, which is already hollowed out in purchasing power from what it once was. Maybe instead of more jobs for specific demographic classes (beside the MBA class, who would have more jobs created for them to administer the testing for program acceptance, heh) raise the minimum wage to a living wage for everyone, even the migrants working and dying in the meat packing plants. Have OSHA crack down on dangerous working conditions in meat packing and in Amazon warehouses, for example, instead of looking the other way.

            1. flora

              Federal minimum wage is currently $7.25/hr. Many people in the gig economy are make much less than that. The minimum wage last raised in July 2009. This past eleven years’ span from 2009-2020 is the the longest time span it’s gone without a raise since it’s inception.

              We can fight over allocations of our ever shrinking slice the pie, or we can work to make our slice larger. That’s certainly what big business has done these past 40 years.

              1. Duck1

                So I read that the last raise of the minimum was actually passed in 2007 and 2009 was the third step increase. So 0bama had nothing to do with it and couldn’t manage to step across the aisle to ruffle the Republican feathers with another increase. Worthless hypocrite president.

      2. fwe'zy

        I think it’s about defunding public pensions, to be honest, and maybe even privatizing “law enforcement,” then “city admin/ management.” The police and their unions are a perfect scapegoat-wedge.

        1. Aumua

          Or it could be about the the very real and ongoing issues with the institution of policing in this country: racism, secret gangs in the police departments, rampant steroid use, militarization, the ‘code of silence’… the list goes on. The system has proven itself resistant to all attempts at reforming it, and has in fact only gotten worse year by year. So if that’s our starting point, where do we go from here?

          1. fwe'zy

            I guess if I didn’t know about neoliberal Democrats’ privatization kink I could buy that.

            1. Aumua

              There could be a large faction who remain focused on the actual problem and what might be some actual solutions, and also at the same time various other factions who want to turn the movement into something else, nefarious or not.

              1. fwe'zy

                By all means. Focusing on the issue as a moral, behavioral, or idealistic one isn’t gonna do shoot. The “actual” problem goes to the root of our mode of production, which both produces and runs on inequality.

    3. Rhondda

      But the DOL might not be staffed by (Obama term from Strozk notes) “the right people” and the thus the right consultants and contractors might not get selected.

      Seriously, it’s what the Dems do. To wit: Department of Homeland Security.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “BOUNTYGATE: Scapegoating Systemic Military Failure in Afghanistan”

    A few years ago there was a bogus story of how the Russians were supplying the Taliban with weapons but it was dismissed quickly as it was just a bs story. This bs story, however, was more effective as it was used to help stop Trump pulling US troops out of Afghanistan. Was this bs story any better? Of course it wasn’t. It was just that some players like politicians, generals, legislators and the media were all operating together to make sure it was effective.

    Tough luck if you are a US soldier in Afghanistan just wanting to go home.

    1. Ignacio

      It was very much surprising for me to find that the CIA bounty leaflet used for illustration the image of the Alhambra in Granada to catch Taliban and Al-Qaida murderers…

  15. Bernalkid

    RE: BLM protest size. Didn’t see any mention of the anti-war movement in the late sixties, early seventies. Not saying they were necessarily larger, but seem like an an obvious reference point for this sort of article.

    Strictly anecdotal, but was in a position to hear about things in the Bay Area during the great recession and various forms of pay cuts or reduction in hours seemed very common in manufacturing there, if there was not a complete lay-off. So if it is worse this time, it is very bad. Another nail in the consumption, debt-loaded, expensive housing coffin of USA! USA!

  16. a different chris

    On the High Country News about the catfish, near the end, my italics:

    “I later called Bill Radke, who has managed San Bernardino for about two decades, and asked him whether falling groundwater levels in the refuge might be just one more threat to the Yaqui catfish, or the final nail in its fishy coffin. Radke would not comment on the effects of the border wall construction,

    Yeah we’ve got Freedum! You can say anything you like, as long as you aren’t close enough to actually know what you are talking about.


        1. Ignacio

          When I was a teenager Lee Van Cleef was among my favourite actors, with time my admiration turned into sympathy. I have bookmarked the video.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Hamilton Lessons”

    ‘But if you want to have influence, stop saving for a house, don’t get married, don’t have children, don’t buy an expensive car, just WORK!’

    Seriously? That is the crux of his takeaway from the life of Hamilton. Sorry, but Horatio Alger died a long, long time ago and his grandson is still trying to pay off his own student debts. Saving for a house, getting married and having children are just dreams for him. Success through simply being a hard worker does not work so well for a lot of people anymore in case he has not noticed.

    I have films and books that I really love but I would never build a mountain of thoughts on a moll hill of a play like Barry Ritholtz does for “Hamilton.” I will be unfair here and say when you read about Barry at the top of the page (Read More), he is exactly the sort of person that I would imagine being a fan of this play. He should read a bit more history about the real Alexander Hamilton.

    1. doug

      Barry (of ‘Bailout Nation’ that took a bailout this time) sure writes a lot of nonsense on the Hamilton link.
      Work hard, get ahead, meritocracy, BS.
      Success alters most folks, I guess, and he has been successful.

    2. Winston Smith

      I saw the filmed version on Disney+ last night and it is obviously not historically accurate. The fact is that even if you read Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, you will not get a definitive portrait of the man. Hamilton was equally admired and reviled in his day.

      1. barefoot charley

        Hamilton was plugged into planter and trader fortunes in both the West Indies and NYC, from (quasi-illegitimate) birth. He got off the boat headed straight for the estate he was referred to, and set about his life-work of serving and becoming money. Making him a scrappy immigrant kid just like all the other Puerto Ricans somewhat sickens me. Which is the only credit Chernow deserves for his idiot’s career celebrating great moneyed lives.

        1. Winston Smith

          If for just one thing, I think you are severely underestimating the stigma of being born out of wedlock AND being of “uncertain origin” at a time when such things mattered greatly.

          1. barefoot charley

            His parents weren’t quite unwed (she thought her prior was dead, which gadabout was of a fine Scottish family. So formally she was a bigamist). Her family kept young Alex in sight of superior social circles till he left for America, where he had established commercial connections to rich society. Social stigma in less settled colonial societies didn’t weigh as heavily as connections and brains, which Hamilton had in abundance. Consider Ben Franklin, who took a common law wife to avoid bigamy charges in case her runaway turned up again, and the stigma . . . really wasn’t.


    3. Massinissa

      ‘But if you want to have influence, stop saving for a house, don’t get married, don’t have children, don’t buy an expensive car, just WORK!’

      Yes, because Donald Trump did so much work and sacrifice to get where he is. Same with all the other billionaires. Soooo much work and sacrifice…

      This guy is basically saying, “Work harder in hope of being rewarded in Heaven, proles! Maybe if you’re really lucky you, too, can write nonsensical articles about how just the current system is for money!”

      1. Geo

        I have a book from 1852 that is a collection of bible verses and teaching guides that was written for slave owners to administer “the word” to their slaves. Every Bible verse in the book is of the theme that your toil and lot in life will be rewarded in the afterlife.

        It is a truly vile book and yet it so clearly illustrates how this narrative of “work hard for us and you’ll be rewarded one day in the ever distant future” has been weaponized for so long.

        An article I read years ago (and have forgotten its name and author) explained entrepreneurship well in this context too: “If you’re rich and your business fails, it’s a learning experience. If you’re poor and your business fails, you’re ruined.” So, even a hard worker who takes their own path is risking lifelong poverty. 90% of business startups fail. I’m curious how many of those that succeed were started by non-wealthy people?

        Maybe the solution is to once again value labor? I know, sounds communist. Just spitballing here. Tired of a person’s hopes for escaping poverty being dependent on superior athletic prowess, a hit album, or the lottery.

        1. Billy

          “Tired of a person’s hopes for escaping poverty being dependent on superior athletic prowess…”

          How many billions of hours of student’s lives have been wasted on athletics, which could have been spent on academics?

          1. Massinissa

            The rich people love sports though.

            Not because they actually watch it, but because it makes them so much money. Even with agressively monetizing tuition as of late, it doesn’t make them as much $$$ as sports.

            The economy is about servicing the desires of those with money, which usually entails them making even more money.

            1. jr

              They also love treating people like property. Chris Hedges said something once in an interview about visiting a football training camp. He described it as an open air flesh market, young men’s bodies being bought and sold for the entertainment of others.

          2. fwe'zy

            The institution of Sports as we know it is critical to gambling, especially when casinos are on lockdown. Some of Sports is about establishing brands, both during and after the asset’s athletic career. They use the whole carcass in this operation!

      2. jr

        Who let this guy near a keyboard? That post is a smorgasbord of ideological confabulations, marketing “think”, sheer fantasies, and the writing style of a Wharton freshman.

        “And if you want to change people’s behaviors, it’s best to do this through art. Because when you grab people by their hearts and minds they’ll follow you anywhere.”

        What could go wrong? When have “Pied Pipers” ever lead people astray? Who has ever abused art for political gain? Why not inform people instead of propagandize them? A second earlier he told us our society is now “bottom up” but here he speaks glowingly of elites leading the masses about like prophets and their flocks…

        “…marveling that you did not learn all this in school.”

        That’s because it’s not true. In fact, it’s actually an active lie.

        “Hamilton” is subversive, even though it’s hiding in plain sight. When something is so good, and so truthful, it cannot be denied.”

        If providing cultural and ideological IDpol cover for the beneficiaries of the ruling neoliberal order is subversive, then Lin-Manuel is a regular Adorno…

        “Maybe not. But if Lin-Manuel asked you to come together in concerted action, you’d probably follow his lead.”

        Ahh, the meat of the nut. Where does this “lead” lead, this grass roots “concerted action” brought to the grass roots from from the lofty perch of elite propa-enter-ganda-tainment? No doubt to the temporarily big tent of blue MAGA, TDS ding-a-lings who see a future in “Oh No!” Joe and whatever token that is selected for him as a fall back plan…

        1. jr

          Editor’s note: Please mentally insert the word “bound” between “Wharton” and “freshman”.

    4. Off The Street

      I’ll gladly share my opinions with you individually of Hamilton the musical and Hamilton the dude, for a $10 bill.

    5. occasional anonymous

      Years ago I sat down and subjected myself to all three hours of Hamilton. It was miserable. The substance of the story is just conservative nonsense, and the songs aren’t good (I’m not even much into hip hop, but even I could tell this is cringe, basic ‘white rap’. It’s barely above the level of an embarrassing PSA video for elementary school kids from the 90s). It’s maddening that this garbage has become a wildly successful introduction for many kids to American Revolutionary history. They’re basically getting a foundational grounding based in lies.

      Also Miranda played a large PR role in the PROMESA coup in Puerto Rico. What a swell guy.

  18. Wukchumni

    Minor League Teams Could Be Latest Casualties of COVID’s Disaster Capitalism Truthout

    Is this how MLB commits a ‘suicide squeeze’ play, by getting rid of meaningless salaries in the minors, and the future while they’re at it, as the greedy players in the bigs don’t want to relinquish theirs?

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      MLB doesn’t need to finance the minor leagues as it used to. It has NCAA college baseball to develop and train its future stars, free of charge. Most MLB players nowadays go to college (definitely not the case 50 years ago). Or perhaps I should say “college”; these “student athletes” certainly aren’t studying Plato or Einstein, but they are perfecting their baseball skills under experienced supervision for four years. Each MLB team can probably get by with sponsoring two or at most three minor league clubs; enough to teach the finer points to “college” grads, high schoolers, and the imports from Latin America and Japan. Minor league baseball in the old tradition is pretty much toast. Times change, not always for the better.

      1. Wukchumni

        MLB is picking up pennies by taking a called strike in front of a steamroller of near complete lack of interest in terms of younger fan base and getting older until eventually nursing homes will have the lions share, but the reality is, they can police the bigs perhaps as far as competent testing, cleaning, disinfecting, hotels, transportation, etc., but could you really pull that off in AAA Fresno which scowls at masks if i’m not mistaken. Grizzly what became of America’s sport.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          Agreed on all points. But: “Why does the dog lick his balls? Because it can.” The MLB owners can, and so they do.

        2. Wukchumni


          This is what kills MLB along with no revenue on the telly when Covid-19 shuts it down sooner than later.

          In 2019, Mike Trout signed a 12-year, $426 million contract with the Angels, the richest contract in the history of North American sports.

          Now if this pandemic had happened in 1966, Sandy Koufax & Don Drysdale both held out for $500k 3 year contracts, and then had to settle to 1 year deals @ $125k & $110k.

          What a bubble professional sports players salaries were!

  19. Musicismath

    Bizarre goings on at new site The Bellows, which has had a few (good) articles posted here over the past couple of months. One of the two co-founders, Ryan Zickgraf, has been “let go.” Much of the content previously hosted there, including Benjamin Y. Fong’s important article, “Unpacking the Left’s Cultural Baggage” (linked here on 13 May 2020), disappeared from the site over the weekend.

    Perhaps it will eventually turn up at the new site Zickgraf claims in his Medium piece to be currently putting together. Who knows? Anyway, it’s another data point in the accelerating eclipse/memory-holing of sites, articles, and writers from that particular part of the left spectrum over recent months.

    1. Geo

      There’s a small publisher called See Sharp Press that preserves and prints old leftist pamphlets from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It’s a great resource for some truly remarkable political and social works of that time that otherwise would have been long forgotten.

      I wonder if there will be anything for that in our current time. We don’t have Mercers and Kochs to bankroll our left media. NC is great for our daily news and thinkpieces but it would be great to have a catalogued and searchable database (not google-driven/censored) to house these works. Have seen many attempts over the years but it’s usually one or two hearty souls attempting to compile what they can but falling short for various reasons.

      I have no answer or solutions… just worry too about the lost voices and articles. Even pieces I’ve saved links to I find gone after a few years.

      1. flora

        Robert Scheer has a new site.

        Paul Jay and Sharmini Peries have a new site.

        Both are worth a look,imo.

      2. Billy

        Don’t forget Loompanics:


        which has a long list of banned books and pamphlets for free download.

        Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine The American Historical Review The American Mercury American Political Science Review The American Scholar The American Spectator Analog/Astounding Science Fiction The Atlantic Monthly The Bookman The Century Magazine Chronicles Collier’s Weekly Commentary Commonweal Coronet Magazine Etc.

  20. Wukchumni

    Pontifications: Why I won’t be flying any time soon Leeham News and Analysis.
    I’ve flown a whole 3x domestically since 9/11, so was practicing sardine can distancing before it became popular, but my sisters on the other hand can’t wait to be up in the ether again, one used to fly 4-5 days a week in her capacity as a hospital computer whiz-going all over the country, and the other has been to 120 +/- countries. In our family Zoom sessions they sure bring it up a lot, the longing to be aloft.

    1. WhoaMolly

      We are not flying anywhere for a while. Both of us are in the “high risk” category. If we get this damn thing, there’s a realistic chance one of both of us will be hospitalized or die.

      If we *must* fly, I suppose i will have to figure out a way to save enough money for two first class seats. That’s the only way I can see that social distancing will be maintained.

    2. marieann

      I mostly fly to visit family in Scotland and I don’t do it often. I was back in December 2018, I made sure I went to visit everyone and all the in laws.I felt this would be my last time in the air….I hate the flying but I hate the airports more.
      Turned out this was not my last flight December 2019 I went to Jamaica for my son’s wedding. Horrible experience with late and cancelled flights, long exhausting hours in airports…..and the resort was “meh” my first and last time at canned comfort.
      I am never getting on a plane again and that counts for funerals also…and any family who wants to see me can come here.
      I am actually pleased that the wee virus has removed planes from the sky and I hope it continues.

  21. noonespecial

    Re: Big Brother/Protester Demos:

    Creepy indeed. In the Buzzfeed protester article: “Datta said Mobilewalla didn’t prepare the report for law enforcement or a public agency.”

    No worries, the MIC is on it with its own “smart ways” to support the military’s efforts to track the spread of COVID. One could speculate that the data sets could be used for so much more. This organized under the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2).

    From Defense One:
    “As NORTHCOM confronted the pandemic, there were a lot of players with their own data sets and, in some cases, their own clouds. That data included reports from the medics in the field; geospatial economic, municipal, demographic and other data from ESRI; FEMA and other government data from Palantir…[a spokesperson for] NORTHCOM [is quoted], ‘The forces that we have deployed across the nation for COVID support is very much a joint force: Army, Air Force, Navy that is deployed forward into each one of those areas, and so the datasets that we’re working with from the beginning are also joint datasets,’ said Strohmeyer.”

    1. fresno dan

      July 6, 2020 at 12:50 pm

      Is there anyone who has written more iconic themes than Morricone? I actually am not all that much into music, but everything Morricone wrote is unique, stirring, and memorable, and this just hits a deep, deep cord in me:

      1. Carolinian

        I have the Yo-Yo Ma Morricone album which is excellent. For Leone he would write the music in advance and they would play it back while filming to create the mood for the actors. His music is often much better than the movie. Example: Once Upon A Time in America.

  22. Kurt Sperry

    Ghislaine Maxwell prepared to snitch on ‘big names’ to save herself NY Post

    Steven Hoffenberg, a former business associate of Epstein’s (and who temporarily managed the New York Post in 1993), said, “She’s going to be naming some big names — not only in terms of those who abused underage girls at Epstein’s parties — but also those who made financial agreements with Epstein or benefited from his generosity, including flying on his plane and staying at his homes.”

    The naming of “those who made financial agreements with Epstein or benefited from his generosity, including flying on his plane and staying at his homes.” testimony seems likely to be a nothingburger. The flight logs containing the names of the people on the flights on Epstein’s “Lolita Express” have already been made public and no consequences of note that I’m aware of have followed from those disclosures.

    Unless there is some known sort of “deadman’s switch” that automatically makes public damning evidence in the event of Maxwell being killed/suicided, her continuing silence is more likely to get her killed than spilling all the beans would, as someone pre-emptively silencing her would be the most obvious danger to her life if she had any hard evidence in her possession or control. One might have expected such a deadman’s switch would have been in place to protect Epstein, but clearly there wasn’t, or it was it was so poorly planned and executed that it failed, or was found and defused. Something must be keeping her from going public, and I doubt it’s loyalty to the people she could testify against. My guess is that Maxwell and Epstein were never in control of the really damning evidence, that they (or at least Epstein) were just pawns in a larger state-sponsored blackmail operation collecting the blackmail tapes and turning them over to spooks and both were too naive or complacent to make and keep their own copies as personal protection.

    Either way, I don’t expect any direct evidence like damning video against any powerful figures to ever see the light of public disclosure. Whatever made killing Epstein without triggering a release of blackmail tapes possible is probably still in effect re Maxwell. The tapes probably remain safely only in the hands of the spooks and agencies that presumably sponsored and set up Epstein and Maxwell’s blackmail honeypot. Any solid Blackmail material would be of incalculable value and once publicly disclosed, that blackmail evidence no longer has any worth. So it shall remain secret and valuable.

    1. Geo

      Remember when the DC Madam gave her “little black book” to ABC journalists to expose all the politicos and intel agency clients of hers… and nothing was ever released? … And she committed suicide?

      Only thing that ever came of it was learning David Vitter liked to wear diapers and act like a baby during sessions with his escorts. Not much different than how he acted as a congressman. Got re-elected anyway.

  23. richard

    re The CBO report on it taking “10 years” for employment to recover
    has anyone heard them trot out “the new normal” yet?
    because that kind of fingerwaving and scolding of people you just robbed totally didn’t blow up in their face and lead directly to trump last time they tried it and they should totally try it again and see what happens
    (knits and recites arya stark list)

  24. GettingTheBannedBack

    The situation in the US is what you end up with when the people get evidence-free propaganda delivered to them in the guise of “facts” for years and years. Russiagate, Iraq. Syria. Globalisation.
    Coupled with the powerlessness of being thrown out of work by forces they have no control over.
    Coupled with a deteriorating, underfunded education system for the general public.

    When the reality is that there is no reality, just an infinite hall of distorting mirrors. When you are told that globalisation is good, even as you lose your job and slide into penury. When you are told that executives earn every penny of their $10,000,000 salary, but that a raise for you to $15 ph will send the company broke. When you are told that the Middle East wars are fights for democracy.

    What can you believe, where do you go for some semblance of sanity, some glimmer of fairness?

    You grab onto a saviour, and you believe everything they tell you, to save your own sanity. You shut out everything that tells you that your saviour is a greasy-pole climbing, self-serving fraud, just like the rest of them. Your saviour is your liferaft. So, Trump. So, Sanders. So Clinton. So Biden. So AOC. So Q-Anon. So boogaloo. So Fauci. So WHO. So religion. So Boris. So Duterte Harry.

    The antidote? Try looking at how NZ is treating their people over COVID-19. Dump the clever spin, the PR, the nudges, the marketing, the Orwell 1984 wars, the faux outrage, the identity wars which are little more than Democrat or Republican insurrection exercises. Get rid of the secret service campaigns to destabilise their opponents. Spend on education not bombs. Give people genuine reasons to hope for a good life and deliver in jobs, education and respect.

    1. Daryl

      I wonder if there would be some value in a website that simply shows Wikipedia 6 months ago, compared to Wikipedia now. Wikipedia itself has this capability, of course, but it might make these shenanigans more obvious.

  25. allan

    Data show panic and disorganization dominate the study of Covid-19 drugs [STAT]

    In a gigantic feat of scientific ambition, researchers have designed a staggering 1,200 clinical trials aimed at testing treatment and prevention strategies against Covid-19 since the start of January. But a new STAT analysis shows the effort has been marked by disorder and disorganization, with huge financial resources wasted. …

    Indeed, the analysis found many of the studies are so small — 39% are enrolling or plan to enroll fewer than 100 patients — that they are unlikely to yield clear results. About 38% of the studies have not actually begun enrolling patients.

    “It’s a huge amount of wasted effort and wasted energy when actually a bit of coordination and collaboration could go a long way and answer a few questions,” said Martin Landray, a professor of medicine at Oxford University and one of the lead researchers on the RECOVERY study, a large trial of multiple treatments being run by the U.K. government. …

    “The lack of leadership around a clinical trial agenda in the US is one of the failures of the US’s pandemic response,” said Walid Gellad, director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh. “If we had taken the U.K.’s strategy of a set of large pragmatic trials, prioritizing recruitment in those trials, we could have all the answers now that we’re waiting for.” …

    The World’s Best Healthcare System cannot fail, but only be failed.

  26. Geoffrey Dewan

    “Ghislaine Maxwell prepared to snitch on ‘big names’ to save herself ”

    ‘Big names’ seem to have an uncanny correlation to suicide. Ghislaine probably better be watching her back…and her front.

  27. Conal

    Colour me unimpressed by the “expert” Dr Tom Jefferson, senior associate tutor at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University:

    Strange things like this happened with Spanish Flu. In 1918, around 30 per cent of the population of Western Samoa died of Spanish Flu and they hadn’t had any communication with the outside world.

    “The explanation could only be that these agents don’t come or go anywhere. They are always here and something ignites them, maybe human density or environmental conditions, and this is what we should look for.

    Really? That’s the only possible explanation?

    I’m pretty sure he didn’t ask any actual Samoans about that, because in this part of the world, the origin of the Samoan outbreak is pretty common knowledge; it was a New Zealand cargo vessel, the SS Talune, which called in Western Samoa (which was at that time a New Zealand colony) in late 1918, with several crewmembers who were infected with the virus.

    It was almost a century later that the NZ government made a formal apology for introducing the virus, and allowing it to spread throughout Samoa through negligence of the colonial administration.

    On the basis of his obliviousness to the historical record, I think it’s worth also taking Dr Jefferson’s theory about the emergence of COVID-19 with a grain of salt.

  28. wendys

    Poor Olympia, it’s a nice little town, quirky and fun. It doesn’t deserve to be vandalized and terrorized. I live on the outskirts and I don’t always get to downtown as much as I should, parking can be a problem there.

    Is it perfect, no, but I think it’s better than anywhere else I’ve lived. I have lived in Albuquerque NM, Tucson AZ, Klamath Falls Or, Bicester Eng., Spanaway WA. There are lots of parks and places to walk here, lots of friendly people.

    I support our right to protest and I support the BLM movement and deplore police violence, but I am not sure that vandalizing a few small businesses in downtown Olympia is the right way to go.

    1. tegnost

      I read the article in the olympian and it pointed out that the earlier, presumably BLM protest was peaceful and ended hours earlier and a vague description of the troublemakers as potentially wearing black clothing…maybe hard to say who’s doing the window smashing vandalism and terrorized should include an example of someone who ran away in fright, but here the story doesn’t even have an detailed description of the terrorists, so who got terrorized?
      Maybe you have more details

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