Links 7/7/2020

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Scientists Discover Extremely Tiny Dinosaur Ancestor in Madagascar ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

A Surprise Comet Is Coming to Put on a Spectacular Sky Show — and It Won’t Be Visible Again for Over 6,000 Years Travel and Leisure

Marine Life Found in Ancient Antarctica Ice Helps Solve a Carbon Dioxide Puzzle From the Ice Age Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Rare night clouds may be warning sign of climate crisis Guardian (Leroy)

A heat wave thawed Siberia’s tundra. Now, it’s on fire. National Geographic (Geoff)

How Your Heart Influences What You Perceive and Fear Quanta (leeto)

Rare brain-eating amoeba case discovered in Florida Independent. Resilc: “Must be widespread. Totally explains Florida.”


Note Melbourne has a population of 4.9 million, just like Alabama. Our new cases in the last four days? 4771. And with the holiday weekend, you can be sure there were fewer tests than during a normal week/weekend.


Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Spain (ENE-COVID): a nationwide, population-based seroepidemiological study Lancet

An Interstate Trips Analysis during COVID-19 in the United States Cornell

Data show panic and disorganization dominate the study of Covid-19 drugs Stat (allan)

China failed to share Covid-19 clues Asia Times (Kevin W)


Coronavirus vaccine: Anti-vaxxers, far-right and hippie moms unite in Germany Washington Post (resilc)

A third of Brits actually enjoyed the lockdown, report shows Zmescience (Dr. Kevin)


New York Is Ending Its Lockdown. I’m Not Sure I’m Ready to End Mine. Vogue. Confirming the thesis that what drives the contraction in economic activity is much more consumer fear than the lockdowns. And it is immediate for people who’ve seen enough Covid-19 deaths for it, which is clearly not yet the case in much of the US:

I have four friends who’ve lost their dads—but now my fatherless friends are basically being told by Governor Cuomo that it’s time to go out for brunch… husband is sort of convinced that he is going to die of the coronavirus.

More than 300 children in Texas day cares have caught COVID-19, and the numbers are rising Click2Houston

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she tested positive for coronavirus CNN

Navajo Nation faces twin threats as wildfires spread during pandemic Guardian

Political Responses

South Dakota governor, exposed to virus, joined Trump on jet Associated Press

Donald Trump rushed to reopen America – now Covid is closing in on him Robert Reich, Guardian

Nancy Pelosi’s husband among lawmaker-linked loan recipients New York Post (BC)


Coronavirus: Fujitsu announces permanent work-from-home plan BBC (vlade)

Read the thread. This has huge implications for the 2020 elections. Many people register to vote not long before election time…..and how do you have a voting precinct or vote by mail if you have no address? Plus that also assumes the time and energy to vote, which is sorely taxed if you are worrying every day about where to sleep and how to eat.


US imports keep falling, except from China Quartz

Hong Kong Government Tells Schools To Remove Books Breaching Security Law New Straits Times

China Confirms Case of Bubonic Plague In Inner Mongolia Bloomberg

Banks Are Ditching London Offices, Not Just Because of Covid Bloomberg

Prince Charles plans to ‘dampen’ ‘sense of royal entitlement’ Daily Mail. BC: “I guess Burger King isn’t the only home of the whopper.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

New research reveals privacy risks of home security cameras TechPlore (Robert M)

FBI Expands Ability to Collect Cellphone Location Data, Monitor Social Media, Recent Contracts Show Intercept. You’ve been warned and you still carry a smartphone?

Facial-Recognition Firm Ends Operations in Canada, Watchdog Says Bloomberg

How Google Docs Became the Social Media of the Resistance MIT Technology Review. It is hard to treat a “resistance” as serious if it trusts Google. Note the prominent place given a post PropOrNot censorship project.

Trump Transition

Justin Trudeau snubs Nafta meeting with Trump in Washington Guardian

He Built a Privately Funded Border Wall. It’s Already at Risk of Falling Down if Not Fixed. Propublica


U.S. Supreme Court curbs ‘faithless electors’ in presidential voting Reuters

Trump Targeting Wrong Battleground States, As Hillary Did New York Magazine

A Trump-Backed Senate Candidate’s Hedge Fund Disaster New York Times. From what I can tell, Trump is supporting Tuberville out of spite. But remarkable that this is dirt in the NY Times and not (so far) any AL media. Do football coaches get automatic pardons down here? Or has Sessions not bothered with oppo?

A little more than a decade ago, after departing from Auburn University where he was head coach, Mr. Tuberville entered into a 50-50 partnership with a former Lehman Brothers broker named John David Stroud. Their ventures, which included TS Capital Management and TS Capital Partners — T for Tuberville and S for Stroud — turned out to be a financial fraud. Mr. Stroud was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and Mr. Tuberville was sued by investors, who accused him of fraud and violating his fiduciary duty to take care of their investments; he reached a private settlement in 2013.

Judd Gregg: The coming Biden coup The Hill (resilc)

The Marijuana Superweapon Biden Refuses to Use Atlantic


Never Trump Republicans turn fire on GOP senators in 2020 McClatchy. UserFriendly: “Odd, that is how I feel about all Democrats….”

Spencer Cox defeats Jon Huntsman in Utah GOP governor primary The Hill

Vermont Governor Allows Vote-by-Mail Bill to Become Law NECN

Plutocrats, Platitudes and Pitchforks Sardonicky (UserFriendly)

In An Insane World, Madness Looks Moderate And Sanity Looks Radical Caitlin Johnstone (furzy)

Supreme Court rules against law allowing debt-collection robocalls to cell phones engadget (BC)

L’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Former Silicon Valley VC says Ghislaine Maxwell attended an investor party in 2011 despite reports ‘about her supplying underage girls for sex’ Business Insider. BC: “As a lawyer, what was Pao thinking to Tweet her statement and use the words that she “knew”? Breathtakingly stupid.”

Florida Prisoner Ripped Off Lowe’s to Build Home From Jail, Feds Say Daily Beast (resilc)

She Needed Lifesaving Medication, but the Only Hospital in Town Did Not Have It ProPublica

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline Has Been Canceled Mother Jones (resilc)

Uber Acquires Postmates For $2.65 Billion. Who Wants Takeout? Forbes (Kevin W)

The Big 4 audit firms keep failing. Now they’re being forced to change CNN

Federal Reserve official warns US recovery may be ‘levelling off’ Financial Times

Class Warfare

The Working Class Is Bearing the Brunt of Catastrophe—Again—With the Pandemic Esquire (resilc)

Robotic scientists will ‘speed up discovery’ BBC (David L)

Only bold state intervention will save us from a future owned by corporate giants Guardian (Chuck L)

The Willful Blindness of Reactionary Liberalism New Republic. Another attack on Taibbi.

On Disposability and Rebellion: Insights from a Rank-and-File Insurgency Counterpunch (leeto)

Antidote du jour (CV):

Moar cats, this one imitating a hedgehog:

And a bonus. Resilc’s metal art:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Sanxi

      No every state. In what state out of 50 isn’t the football coach the highest paid public employee?

      1. Tinky

        Well, Kentucky, to name one, in which basketball is more highly revered.

        But to pungently illustrate your broader point, John Calipari makes almost $8 million a year to coach the UK basketball team, while the state’s governor, Matt Bevin, makes around $138,000.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Commonwealth of Virginia. Tony Bennett is an employee of The University.

      3. lyman alpha blob

        Not Vermont. UVM does not have a football team. But that could be the exception that proves the rule.

    2. IMOR

      He wasn’t gonna run in his last two coaching stops where he was a cumulative 27-31 in conferene.

    3. jr

      DI had an uncle, a high school assistant football coach, I’ve mentioned him before here. He was a demi-god in his community. (The coach was a full on deity with power skills of life and death.) He told grateful parents how to raise their kids, commanded a phalanx of young men and their brothers, fathers, cousins, friends. He was also a social studies teacher and occasionally smacked mouthy students. This was in say ‘85 in northeastern PA. I once dropped his name to avoid some jail time and it worked, the cop had been a student of his.

  1. PlutoniumKun

    In An Insane World, Madness Looks Moderate And Sanity Looks Radical Caitlin Johnstone

    I think Caitlin makes a very important point in this – when times are bad you cannot assume that this is an opportunity for radical change. In reality, historically this often makes people more conservative with a small ‘c’. They want someone promising to make things better, without threatening the status quo, even if that status quo looks very bad for most people. I recall a political analyst back in 2007, just as the world economy was rocking writing that (more or less) ‘when people are in debt and scared, they don’t say to politicians ‘we want a revolution’, they say ‘ok asshole, you caused the problem, you fix it’. And in terms of most politics at the time, he was right – people retreated back to old faces and old politics surprisingly quickly. Certainly in Ireland it took an upturn in the economy before people started looking again at more radical parties. This could be Bidens secret strong point, and one reason why Sanders momentum disappeared so rapidly.

    1. ShamanicFallout

      This is where I keep going with this as well. Keep thinking back to the 60s and early 70s- very tumultuous and then what came after that- America (at least) became much more ‘conservative’ and in many ways it’s been that way ever since. The other day my cousin said she thought we were headed toward some kind of revolutionary change. I said I just don’t see it. As Biden said to some donors recently, ‘nothing is going to change, just more of the same’

    2. Ignacio

      Alternatively, in times of crisis people tend to support their current government as long as it is seen to protect their interests (another way of being conservative with a small ‘c’) and it is here where Trump could be loosing some of his basement which is almost certainly more complex than heavily armed white supremacists, libertarians and other deplorable guys in the alliance. By no taking bold action against Covid will not win anything but risk many losses.

    1. cocomaan

      Resilic is about to convince me to buy a welder and start making cool sculptures too. It’s one of those things I’ve always wanted but have been too lazy to invest in.

      1. jef

        You will want a plasma cutter too. There are like a magic wand for cutting out designs like cutting through butter.

      2. marku52

        Get a wire feed. I found stick welding impossible. Friend of mine calls wire feed “Hot melt glue gun for steel…”

        1. Misplaced Platitudes

          Sadly, Forevertron closed to the public several years ago. It did inspire this place though, also in Wisconsin: A retired lawyer and his wife built and maintain it. There are a great many oddball installations in WI, many of them concrete art which are maintained by the Koehler Foundation.

    2. The Rev Kev

      That is a smart looking sculpture that. Just thought – if you wanted to deter trick-or-treaters on Halloween, put together a metal sculpture of the Coronavirus and put it out the front. I think that by now, the whole world now knows what it looks like – unfortunately.

  2. John A

    Re The coming Biden coup.
    It laughingly describes potential Biden VPs Warren and Harris as socialists, far left and progressive and that poor old Joe could be cornered into picking one of them. That the only person remotely socialist in the nomination stakes was Sanders, and how he was knee capped by the Dems, means you have to wonder in what fantasy world the writer of this article and her ilk, reside.

    1. allan

      Love that all the The Hill’s bio of Gregg says is

      Judd Gregg is a former GOP governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee

      … neglecting to mention (wiki)

      … In the Senate, Gregg was the leading Republican negotiator and author of the TARP program, which bailed out financial institutions, while he had a multimillion-dollar investment in Bank of America.[34][35][36] After leaving the Senate Gregg became an advisor to the investment bank Goldman Sachs.[37]

      In February 2009, the Associated Press reported that Gregg and his family had profited personally from federal earmarks secured by the senator for the redevelopment of the Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire into an industrial park.[38][39] According to Senate records, Gregg has collected from $240,017 to $651,801 from his investments in Pease Air Force Base, while helping to arrange at least $66 million in federal aid for the former base.[38][39] …

      Of course, Wiki saves the most damning information for last:

      Gregg as a member of President Barack Obama’s deficit commission defended cutting Social Security by quoting Willie Sutton who, when asked why he robbed banks, replied, “because that’s where the money is.”[41]

      Maybe some enterprising reporter should ask 44 what he thinks of his former cat food commissioner.

      1. dcblogger

        Warren or Harris as socialists is laugh out loud silly. But I myself suggested that Biden might get 25th amendmented. He clearly is in mental decline, and I can see the Democratic establishment installing him only to shove him aside.

        On the other hand if the Democratic base is either dead of coronavirus or too traumatized from eviction to vote, don’t see how Biden can win.

        Also, I see nothing but more social unrest ahead.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Why in the world would they “shove him aside?”

          The government is filled with unelected career bureaucrats and think-tankers who figure they should be running the country without subjecting themselves to the whims and preferences of stupid, uninformed “voters.” An empty vessel like biden is a dream come true for them.

          biden’s an age-addled half wit with a “history” that can be easily “misremembered,” and whose most ardent campaign “promise” so far is to “take responsibility.” I’d imagine TPTB are just salivating at the prospect of propping him up, putting their words on his teleprompter, and letting him have all the “responsibility” he can swallow.

          If you want to talk the “constitution,” I’d say forget the 25th amendment and realize that, with biden, they’ve figured out how to give obama a third term. Remember the bush / cheney puppet show that ran for 8 whole years?

    2. super extra

      Yes, this was one of the most hysterical things I’ve read from Team Red this election cycle. Invoking Kamala Harris as a ‘lesser known defender of the far left’ and ramping up to 25th amendment fantasies but from statue-destroyers and twitter-cancelers just like #theResistance did c. 2017. Get a grip!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Painting rightwing Democrats as children of Stalin is long time favorite of the GOP. It moves the Overton window. Scared but informed Democrats who consider themselves savvy see this as an opportunity to win GOP votes by voting for “reliable right wing” candidates and demonstrating how right wing they are. They become enraged when anyone to the left of Goering points out how this is a terrible strategy whether they win or lose and blame the left for not cheerleading sufficiently.

  3. christofay

    Sanders momentum disappeared as the corona was hitting and he lost the vehicle, public rallies, to address people directly. NYslimes never covered him except to fling 5 minutes of hate at Goldsmith. I really fear more for the country with a Biden presidency. Imagine what destruction he can accomplish especially with the neo-con Bush era wing involved. Looting SS here we come.

    1. cocomaan

      Meanwhile, he will spend time apologizing for his record – on race, on women, on whatever – on a daily basis. His entire “public” presidency will be a long form apology while at the same time looting everyone and expanding the worst parts of the bureaucracy in the background.

      At least people know that Trump is a crook. Biden is a career crook who democrats seem to think is a straight shooting angel.

      1. Synoia

        Biden is a career crook who democrats seem to think is a straight shooting angel.

        But he is. He shoots from the right and never fails to destroy a target on the left.

    2. Aumua

      Sanders… Sanders. Now where have I head that name before? I seem to have a dim recollection of someone named Sanders, I just can’t quite put the name to a face right now…

      1. JBird4049

        True, but just look for the old dude with all that cutlery sticking out of his back. He can be honestly critiqued for his flaws, but I think looking at a person’s enemies tells a lot about them, and much of Sanders’ (fr)enemies are all epically slimy.

        1. Aumua

          I’m just saying, I haven’t seen any mention of the guy for some time. Anywhere. Not even in the links here. It’s like he never existed.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I have noticed the same as well. It is like he has been memory-holed. He missed a massive opportunity to be the face of those fighting the pandemic and Medicare for All would have been a great way to help deal with it. As it is, when the pandemic is over all Americans will have to show for it will be a huge death toll, millions more crippled by it, millions more thrown out onto the streets and a more precarious existence.

            1. tegnost

              On the bright side there is zero chance the dems can blame him for their loss. i think one of the reasons they are seemingly caught flat footed is that their plan was to win by fighting socialism and gaining repub voters and doing a divide and conquer. Micheal Bloombergs sports radio commercials were all about “we ain’t no socialist country” (yeah, actors acting and all). But bernie bailed which I consider a blessing in disguise as he seemed to me to be an also ran this time and no question the knives were out and if one has not noticed the dem elite live on the blame game, it’s never their fault, they’ve only been and ever will be disappointed in us, the voters…
              As you say…
              As it is, when the pandemic is over all Americans will have to show for it will be a huge death toll, millions more crippled by it, millions more thrown out onto the streets and a more precarious existence.
              One step farther down the staircase…

              1. Procopius

                Trust me, they will blame “revanchist Bernie Bros.” There are people at other blogs who are still virulent in their hatred of Bernie supporters for cheating Hillary of her deserved victory. Loudly.

            1. Aumua

              Yes he did. And now they can ignore him like never before. I mean, they’re probably still not sure Biden is going to make it to the election, so they want zero chance of Bernie making any kind of comeback. Don’t want to remind anyone what could have been, as this trainwreck of a national election proceeds.

              1. JBird4049

                Biden could still die before the nomination. Who knows what drugs they are giving him. What happens then?

                I am sure that the Democratic Party would do whatever it took to still deny Bernie. Sorry the corpse won and only “he” can run. Can you imagine the blowback?

  4. a different chris

    Thanks, I guess, for the Judd Gregg link.

    He went to Columbia and Boston University and still is clearly an idiot. Here we go:

    Thus the socialist/progressive wing of the Democratic Party is now center stage — and insisting one of their own be Biden’s vice presidential candidate.

    OMG, could it be Kshama Sawant? Let’s see:

    That individual could be Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)

    Oh Jeebus, that’s really — not socialist/progressive at all. We got one ex-Republican and one Law-And-Order freak. But it gets worse:

    But the difference is that the socialist/progressive movers who now control the board in the game of Democratic Party politics have no ethical tether.

    They are filled with the flames of clarity as to the rightness of their goals.

    They have “no ethical tether” but “are filled with…the rightness of their goals”. Dude doesn’t know what an “ethical tether” means, he seems to think it means “what he and his friends think” is ethical is what you should be tethered to. Or something. Don’t we have a pasture for these people?

    He’s an educated man of great accomplishment. Lord help us.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s a preview of the GOP if Biden wins. Biden will be more subservient to the RNC than Obama, and it appears the GOP are setting up for the unelected are in charge narrative. The GOP likes to also hold up right wing Team Blue types as standard bearers of the left to shift the Overton window.

      Team Blue types liked to claim the GOP never treated anyone like Obama, and though was true in regards to Obama’s skin color, they will just come up with something as unhinged which will be parroted by #resistance republicans mid November.

      1. Tom Doak

        Well, duh. Everyone on the losing side always calls for bipartisanship.

        The Democrats are the only dopes who call for it after they win.

      2. Redlife2017

        The original sin of the GOP being unhinged was in how Clinton was treated during the 1992 election. I have no love for the man (or Hilary), but it was pretty shocking (at the time) as to how they called him unpatriotic, a Soviet/ Russian spy (Dems love that one now), and all around satanic individual. The rise of the righ-wing militias, abortion provider murders (including a bombing of a doctor by the person who bombed the Atlanta Olympics), right-wing hate radio / Fox News came out of that election. But of course, the Resistance then went and did the same bloody thing. I guess it works for their purposes…

        All in all, the Dems went right and that would never be enough. Even supporting the Iraq War in 2003 or having a catfood commission on and off over the past 30 years. Nope. Kamila Harris is a Commie. And Orange Man is Hitler.

        Time to find solace in the good Dr Hunter S Thompson’s words:
        “In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
        – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

        “How many more of these stinking, double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote FOR something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?”
        – Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It goes back further than Clinton, and the media is usually complicit. I think Obama winning re-election cooled things a bit with the narrative of the “Emerging Democratic Majority” as Obama won when anyone approaching his economic record went down in defeat which is when they really fell in for HRC.

          Nightline might as well have been opened up with a “brought to you by the RNC” ad.

          “Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” -CNN’s own Bernard Shaw in 1988

        2. Oh

          Hunter Thompson figured out the US political system a long time ago and warned the public. But the public hasn’t got the message yet. Funny how the majority of the voters still fall for the RED vs BLUE stuff while their pocketed are being picked and their jobs are being off shored.

      3. polecat

        I think we need a new, a fresh, moniker for the political phoenix rising from within our midst.

        I give you the POPP! – the Purple Orc Pandorean Party

    2. Dalepues

      Yes he’s educated in the law, and lucky too:

      “Gregg won more than $850,000 in 2005 from the D.C. Lottery after buying $20 worth of Powerball tickets at a Washington, D.C. convenience store.[51]”

      1. Maritimer

        Maybe a little more to Gregg’s win than meets the eye. I’ll top that with the famous gangster Whitey Bulger of South Boston fame:

        “The lottery win had been another one of Bulger’s brilliant schemes to launder his drug, extortion, and loan-sharking money. Back in the summer of 1991, a winning Mass Millions lottery ticket had been purchased at the South Boston Liquor Mart by Michael Linskey, who was the brother of a Bulger underling named Patrick Linskey. The FBI had learned that once Whitey heard about the jackpot, he ordered the real winner to sign the ticket over, with Whitey and two associates paying $2.3 million cash for 50 percent of the winnings. Bulger himself paid Michael Linskey $700,000. Although Linskey lost money in the deal, he really had no choice. It came down to selling the ticket or risking his life.”

        Oh yeah. for those unfamiliar with Whitey: his brother was President of the Mass Senate and, at one time, most powerful pol in Mass. See Black Mass with Johnny Depp. More lore from our hallowed American Democracy.

  5. John

    Re: phone tracking – don’t forget most newer cars have a cell modem in the head units these days that can not be turned off. They use it for things like onstar, traffic update features in gps, and over the air firmware updates. Plus your car has a built in microphone for hands free. Hack the head unit, endless undetectable wiretap in your private space. Just the cell tower connection logs from the modem tracks all movements and business records don’t require individual warrants. Dealers won’t tell you where the modem is or How to remove it. The ones I have hunted down can still be unplugged physically in the head units but it’s unacceptable.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      man, that’s depressing!
      in the 2 trucks i’ve had in the last 25 years, i quickly removed the thing that dings when the door is open(door is often left open)
      looking at my mom’s spaceship(2018 chevy suburban with every possible bell and whistle), let alone driving it…I’ve determined that i do not want to play, when my current pos farm truck bites the dust.
      now all that…unremovable tracking devices embedded in the bowels of the machinery, that what?…brick it like a john deere when removed?
      I finally got the number of the donkey/burro people in fredricksburg(one number at a time when flying past,lol)
      need a couple for goat guard duty and provision of manure any way.
      or perhaps the goats, themselves:

      most people i know(who are mainly repub-leaning, with numerous antigov features), don’t mind at all that they’re tracked and bagged and tagged.

      1. Mel

        In theory it should be possible for some Bright Kid to get a flock of Arduino microcontroller boards and replace all the manufacturer electronics in a truck. Will void your warranty yada yada etc. — when the time is ripe, we’ll know. There will need to be Arduini by then for this to work.

      2. John Beech

        You are so funny! Brick it, you say as you drive you 40-y/o Ford pickup whilst carrying a smart phone. Willing to give that up as well if you’re not involved in anything nefarious?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          it was a free upgrade(sic) from the fone co. …and getting another flip phone would have cost me $ i didn’t/don’t have.
          if i was ever to get up to nefariousness, then yes…i’d leave it at home/wrap it in foil.
          I dislike it because i can’t get it out of my pocket without pushing something and activating some “feature” i didn’t even know i had, and having to dig out my glasses to figure out how to turn said “feature” off, again. I liked my old nokia flip phone a whole lot better.
          truck is an 04 dodge. got it fer cheap.
          paid cash, etc. so only 15 years old. I’ll drive it right into the ground, as is my practice….then harvest the baling wire and parts and whatnot for other use.
          finally getting it inspected/re-registered after almost a year. I expect the lady at the sheriff’s office to roll her eyes at my laxity in such administrative things, just like last time.
          that laxity…as well as the millet growing in the bed of the truck(making seed heads,nicely…we’re very excited!)…has become a key fixture of my Identity, so please don’t micro-aggress.
          …and a land line came with the dsl, it turns out, so i hooked up an old rotary phone a skater buddy stole from a courthouse and left at my place for some reason 30 years ago–but only my mom has that number…it’s good for when it rains and the fancy smart phones stop working.

    2. dougie

      Hmmmm…interesting. I am a repair shop owner, who owns and pays through the nose for Factory tooling/diagnostic capability for several Euro brands. The first caveat would be the fact that you would only want to hack vehicles out of factory warranty, because any modification will most likely void the warranty. Those diag tools can be hard to circumvent. Ask me how I know.

      That said, I think I have a new project for our shop foreman/diagnostician! We have a two year old VW we can play with.

      I still haven’t figured out how VW turned the wonderful “new car” smell into something akin to a new box of crayons!?

      1. Robert Gray

        > the wonderful “new car” smell

        Wonderful?!? That’s clearly a matter of opinion … :-)

        Most people don’t know what ‘the new car smell’ actually is. A car-dealer buddy once clued me in: it’s formaldehyde from the upholstery.

    3. Carolinian

      You inspired me to look up my car manufacturer’s privacy policy and it seems to indicate that data collection, and perhaps even the cell radio, are only activated if you subscribe to a service such as Onstar clone or a GPS navigation service. In other words this would make it an “opt-in” spy situation rather than an opt-out and I believe there may be laws and especially in California that require this. Of course if you are truly paranoid you could probably disable the “head unit” or dig into it and unhook the cell chip but, as mentioned by Dougie, that would void any warranty and possibly demolish your dashboard if you don’t know what you are doing. Doesn’t seem like a good idea.

      1. ewmayer

        …Because history has shown that we can trust the Big Surveillance corporations to respect their own promises, right?

        And if you think there aren’t remote “silent activation” switches built into most modern location/telecoms tech for use by law enforcement and the government spooks, well, you are a far more trusting soul than I. Again, I base my skepticism on documented history of such silent-activation exploits (e.g. mics in smartphones). Anything you basically have to take Big Tech’s word for, well, don’t.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          All you have to do is look at how your computer behaves. It’s not easy to disable the mike on a Mac (although something simple like wax over it might impede the sound quality enough to do the trick, I have yet to try). I’ll mention say Ecuador and I’ll get ads for Ecuador holidays for days even though I have done no searches or visited any site related to Ecuador. The funniest was when I mentioned some aspect of commercial construction. I started getting ads for rebar.

      2. John

        The chrysler uconnect cell modem must still be active at all times. The manufacturer can push OTA (over the air) firmware updates at any time they want. A tech at the dealership confirmed this. Also i believe they collect diagnostic data from the cars systems. If the cell modem is active..its connecting to towers leaving a trace everywhere you go. The rub is we have no way to monitor this. They have locked us out of these computers. We have no idea what these systems are doing. They have already been proven to be hackable and in this day and age, tech vendors have repeatably violated our trust where we dont even expect privacy anymore. Automation is now synonymous with other people making decisions for you and often not with at least some of their own interests in mind.

    4. Oh

      If the navigation system knows where you are, the (navigation) satellites do too. And OnStar what a pain in the rear!

      1. Carolinian

        If the car supports Android Auto then you can let Google Maps be the navigation system via your smartphone. That way only Google will be spying on you, a big improvement (????). Android Auto does have an offline mode so the spying can at least be delayed and not real time. There are also non Google Android apps for smartphone (but not the car “head unit”) that will perform this task including offline.

        One can also go retro and buy a map book.

        1. ewmayer

          Geez, Carolinian – your credulity appears to be dangerously high. “That way only Google will be spying on you” — because Google doesn’t data-share with all manner of “interested 3rd parties and advertising partners”? and again, you take oh-so-trustworthy Google’s word for it that offline mode really does what it says?

          Retro-style paper map, now there, finally, we agree on something.

  6. Krystyn Poddgajski

    RE: FBI Expands Ability to Collect Cellphone Location Data, Monitor Social Media, Recent Contracts Show Intercept.

    You’ve been warned and you still carry a smartphone?

    Smartphone, dumbphone, it only makes a small difference here. It is more about how you uses the smartphone.But I mean you could just leave them at home, right?

    But I agree. I get serous FOMO when living in my van without internet. It is just mental conditioning, but man it is hard to break.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, there is a real difference (although I agree on the point about leaving it at home as a default).

      Smartphones geolocate you all the time. Fox of all people did a demo using a “man in the middle” box showing the phone was still geolocating when the user thought he had turned it off. And that data in pretty good conditions is +/- 5 feet.

      Triangulation with a smartphone, even under pretty good conditions, is more like +/- 100 feet. It has been rejected in court as evidence of being anywhere due to the imprecision.

      On top of that, unless there is a warrant out on you contemporaneously, your phone company retains the data that could be used to attempt triangulation only when you are using the phone, as in on a call or making or receiving a text.

      1. Off The Street

        New Product Idea for the modern intrusive world: Combination Faraday Bag and Human COVID Shield.

        Maybe known by its snappier title Bi-Applicable Resistance Faraday Bag?

      2. John Zelnicker

        @Yves Smith
        July 7, 2020 at 8:25 am

        Third paragraph, I think you mean dumbphone, not smartphone.

  7. Winston Smith

    Trudeau declines to attend Trump photo op in COVID fever shed after US hints at aluminum tariffs. What a surprise.

    1. cnchal

      > What a surprise.

      In what way? Why meet Trump and be bullied into opening the Canada US border while the US is turning itself into a boiling cauldron of covid 19 infections?

      Jawb one is do not get it.

  8. Wukchumni

    If Burning Man had been held in April instead of August, it would’ve been one hellova vector with dust storms plastering everybody with the virus, but it didn’t happen.

    Money is of scant use when you’re there, you can purchase bags of ice and there’s one place that sells coffee/tea, but that was it.

    When I went, tickets were around $150 and no problem getting them, and for a place where money meant nothing, my expenses were around a grandido for the 9 day soiree including travel time.

    Although it was never mentioned much, the BM organization was racking in the dough legitimately as good or better than any mainline business, especially when tickets went up to $400 and sold out immediately and were fetching $1000 in the aftermarket, and not only that, attendance went from 25k when I attended, to around 70k, and when you do the math, it was really Capitalism Man. They offered an enticing product for which there was much demand and limited by the BLM (not that one, the original) to amount of people allowed.

    I can’t defend Grover Norquist’s actions in sucking from the government teat though…

      1. Berto

        Yes. It’s almost like Grover Norquist’s group and the Ayn Rand Institute don’t believe a thing they say. Without the “It’s almost like” part.

        1. Massinissa

          I mean Ayn Rand herself lived on public assistance for awhile. If I recall, she self justified it somehow and said she deserved it.

          1. Synoia

            Ayn Rand is a good example of

            “Rules for thee but not for me”

            I’m somewhat convinced that Atlas Shrugged is a comedy, written tongue in cheek.

  9. dcblogger

    I went to the #BlackHomesMatter demonstration yesterday at Freedom Plaza DC. It was anti-gentrification/cancel rent/expand rent control. I would guestimate that 60% of the protesters were white.

    I can’t believe our elites, they are worse than the French aristocrats in the 18th century. No clue. By Labor Day the demonstrations will be overwhelming. I imagine that many previously prosperous people are being driven to desperation.

  10. Pat

    “As a lawyer, what was Pao thinking to Tweet her statement and use the words that she “knew”? Breathtakingly stupid.”
    Yeah, it would be if she hadn’t already gone on the record and been ignored… But I guess when you lose your gender discrimination and harassment case you may be safely ignored?
    She was very specific about which party guest list she was referring to.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I followed the case and have no recollection of Pao entering into evidence that Maxwell was at the “Al Gore party” or that she suspected Maxwell of soliciting underage girls. Nor does that Wiki link say anything of the kind. You would think something like this would be prime evidence of a hostile work environment.

      It does make her look bad to say she “knew”. The BI article shows her backpedaling massively and trying to say she learned it through the Daily Mail. That isn’t the sort of rag you’d expect someone like Pao to have the time or inclination to read. It’s more likely she either heard about Maxwell on a rumor mill or read a November Washington Post story, which made similar accusations but with much more watered down language.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I think that the key sentence here was “We knew about her supplying underage girls for sex, but I guess that was fine with the ‘cool’ people who managed the tightly controlled guest list.” Yeah, Pao has been getting a hammering but what I want to know about here is the use of the word ‘we.’ Just who was the ‘we’ that Pao was talking about? And more important, just who exactly were the ‘cool’ people that managed the tightly controlled guest list. Here, Pao is just collateral damage but we are ignoring who we should be really asking about.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Uhhh, mmm, gee – that is a rather remarkable series of tweets. It makes you wonder if Elon went to the island.

          Happen to know that Jerry Seinfeld was also into very young girlfriends and when ‘Seinfeld’ was being filmed, his fellow cast members gave him a copy of a Hollywood High School Yearbook as a present – so that he could choose his next girlfriend.

  11. juneau

    “China failed to share Covid 19 Clues” There is a You Tube blogger who lived in China for 15 years named SerpentZA. He was finally driven out last year. He described their early outbreak management as incompetent, with local officials lying to protect their own freedom/lives. Then the central government called it “only a flu” and encouraged large gatherings to deny the existence of a potential pandemic. Sound familiar?

    My biggest criticism of them is that they didn’t tell us about the clotting disorder associated with Covid. That alone deserves investigation, as it led to problems with ventilation that could have been averted had we know.

    1. Ignacio

      The article, not being the typical corona-hysteric or corona-conspiranoid trash, making some sound objections on China’s management, bringing new important facts, and citing good scientific reports still makes a few interpretative mistakes on the, IMO, all-important question on the origin of the disease.

      For me the most important novel contribution is the news that RaTG13 strain previously described by Wuhan’s lab was not the result of lab screening of potentially dangerous CoVs in the wilderness but the result of a small virus outbreak in Yunnan. This elevates to three, the number of bat coronaviruses identified and originated in China that have caused disease in humans. The RaTG13 caused disease never made it to news because it was confined to a very small number of subjects all of them related with the mine and probably unable to transmit human-to-human. This was another case for concern for Chinese HC authorities about the risks of zoonotic infections from bat CoVs and was hidden to foreign authorities. This said, the sub-headline saying that RaTG13 “is the closest ancestor of Covid [SARS CoV 2]” is making a false claim and as for today we don’t know which the ancestors of SARS CoV 2 could have been but certainly RaTG13 isn’t. A correct sub-headline would have said that RaTG13 is the closest SARS CoV 2 relative known so far or the most similar CoV found in bats. Having this stored frozen in a lab doesn’t give any clue on the origin of SARS CoV 2 except that such RaTG13 certainly isn’t the origin of the epidemic. It is too distant genetically to be the origin. There is a lab in Wuhan and there is a CoV strain inside, which being the most similar known virus, it is certainly not the origin of the disease. Thus, as the article states more research, [and I add, other than eternally speculating with RaTG13], is needed. And here is where criticism against Chinese authorities arises: they are not doing, and not letting others do the necessary research.

      The article says that Ghebreyesus has said that the WHO is “sending a team to prepare for that (research)” but I couldn’t find the statement in the link provided by the article.

  12. The Rev Kev


    Another dog that is not barking. In such cases in the past, Wikipedia has restored a page and then locked it until differences could be resolved. The fact that Wikipedia has not done this seems to indicate that they are nervous about offending a possible future Vice-President. And if it is Biden that wins, that Veep will certainly become the President before too long. No use looking for trouble here.

    1. Billy

      The mirror of truth reflects sunlight down the memory hole, which in Kamala’s case is more like the Bingham Canyon mine than a well.

      Then there’s the multi Billion dollar Bay Bridge fraud she did nothing about as attorney general.
      Costs rose from $250 Million to $6.5 Billion.

      The Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that California’s prisons were so overcrowded that prisoners’ constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment were violated. Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office made the case that some non-violent offenders needed to stay incarcerated or else the prison system would lose a source of cheap labor.

      Finally, the image “Kamala’s a cop.”

      And the above does not cover her career as an incompetent San Francisco District Attorney and arm candy to the most corrupt politician in California history, Willie Brown.

      If Biden really wants to win, he will pick Tulsi Gabbard as his V.P.
      Many republicans, especially veterans, would vote for that ticket over Trump.

  13. Toshiro_Mifune

    FBI Expands Ability to Collect Cellphone …. You’ve been warned and you still carry a smartphone?

    For quite a lot of us we don’t really have a choice. If you work in IT and access remote servers almost everything requires some form of two factor authentication. All of that has moved to phones. Even, a large amount of normal network/domain logins now require it as well, all moved to the phone.
    We wont even touch on email/messaging apps on you phone which, maybe not officially required by work, are certainly needed.
    Honestly, we’ve all known how intrusive phone surveillance was long before even the first iPhone was released. At this point though what is my alternative? Not working?

    1. Billy

      How about a foil wallet or pouch that prevents signals from revealing your location until you choose to take it out? Avoids EMFs as well. I bet you have an old camera case with a belt loop sitting around your house. The aluminum foil is in the kitchen drawer.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        Faraday jacket cases are already available. The problem is they block pretty much all signals. Including the ones I want.

  14. a different chris

    Former Silicon Valley VC says Ghislaine Maxwell attended an investor party in 2011 despite reports ‘about her supplying underage girls for sex’


  15. a different chris

    >that what drives the contraction in economic activity is much more consumer fear than the lockdowns.

    Yes, but… it also does show how much we buy that we don’t need.

  16. allan

    United Airlines warns of lower bookings, furloughs [Reuters]

    United Airlines (UAL.O) has warned of booking declines and potential furloughs due to new travel restrictions in an internal presentation to the carrier’s employees, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

    United’s reservations for travel within the coming month quickly began to slide after New York, New Jersey and Connecticut said last month they would require people arriving from hot-spot states to quarantine for 14 days, the airline said.

    The slump was most pronounced at United’s Newark hub, where near-term net bookings were
    just about 16% of year-ago levels as of July 1. …

    The terms of the U.S. airline bailout prevents layoffs before October 1.
    After that, it’s going to be a bloodbath.

    1. D. Fuller

      Regarding Nancy & Paul Pelosi, I will post this once again.

      Section 2203/2204 of the misnamed CARES Act is a multi -billion dollar bailout of real estate investors and developers. Section 2203 alone is worth an estimated $94 billion over ten years.

      Now for the kicker.

      Paul Francis Pelosi Sr. is an American businessman who owns and operates Financial Leasing Services, Inc., a San Francisco-based real estate and venture capital investment and consulting firm.

      Trump, also. And an unknown number of Congress Critters who “passively” invest in real estate. Congress and Trump took care of themselves and their 1% donor-constituents.

      A case of people who “hate” each other, finding common cause.

  17. Matthew Saroff

    As an aside, the whole :Florida Man” thing appears to come from the fact that the state has stronger freedom of information laws, and so it appears that Florida is not crazier than the rest of us, just more open about it.

  18. Fireship

    > Ghislane

    ‘As a lawyer, what was Pao thinking to Tweet her statement and use the words that she “knew”? Breathtakingly stupid.’

    It is incredible how stupid people actually manage to get so far just by sheer persistence and bloody hard work. Courses such as a law and medicine are not conceptually difficult. Brute force studying will get most people through. I actually know a doctor that has never read a book in his life. Never. Not one. He listens to a lot of hip-hop and smokes a lot of weed. Then there are the guys and gals in the “hard” sciences who couldn’t use a washing machine. I have also met Art students who were crazy smart and worked really hard to create really astounding, challenging and original work. I suspect some of the best philosophers are also mentally ill.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Even quite profoundly stupid people can, in my experience, be very, very good at a specific task. Even a quite difficult and technical one.

    2. JBird4049

      You really don’t have to suspect anything as some philosophers used philosophy as a means to deal with their mental illnesses. Kierkegaard for one. Nietzsche for another. Probably Epictetus for yet another although that might have just been to deal with being a slave. I’m blanking out on the names of others right now, but many of the big ones had problems. At the very, least some were seriously, truly neurotic.

    3. CarlH

      I read voraciously and also listen to hip hop and smoke weed. I personally know many highly accomplished people who smoke cannabis, but I live in California, so maybe that is more the norm here than elsewhere. I like your post but did not understand the injection of music and cannabis.

  19. Wukchumni

    Walked to Eagle Lake and then off-trail to the Mosquito Lakes and out yesterday, the latter chain of 6 step ladder lakes certainly living up to their namesake, but for some reason mossies don’t bite me.

    Saw 1 mask wearer in the 12 mile traipse, i’d have to say that being in the wilderness is the same as it ever was, where social distancing is a honed art.

    My favorite of the Mosquito Lakes is #2, a beaut!

    1. furies

      I used to sit on the balcony of Kaweah Delta Hospital during breaks when doing clinical training and will myself to be up on Sawtooth instead of where I was.

      Nursing school was awful. I’m not sure why professional schools have to make their student’s lives miserable in order to school them. Seems bassackward to me…

      Lucky you to live so close to MK–my former fave spot on the planet. I now play in the Klamath Knot.

      1. Wukchumni

        Can’t usually see the Sierra all that much in the summer from Visalia, too much smog. The view can be pretty glorious in the winter though.

        Mineral King is one hell of a playground…

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Melbourne under lockdown.”

    This has been a long time developing this. It was a case-case-cluster-cluster-boom story. The Premier in charge was all for re-opening up the economy like the Premier for New South Wales was. Both were demanding that the other States open up to them and both got really nasty about it with a war of words. It was really getting acrimonious. Scotty from Marketing wanted to have the entire country open up on one day this month with aircraft criss-crossing the nation while assuring people that we should expect outbreaks but we could handle it. Since this mass outbreak, Scotty has gone missing in action from the airwaves I note.

    So in spite of the clusters of cases, the Victorian premier did a Greg Abbott and opened up too early and cases exploded. Yesterday it was 191 cases but the day before it was only about 74 cases. Teams of nurses and staff have flown in from the other States from around the country and aid is being given in the form of equipment, contact-tracers, etc. The Army is helping the police out in sealing the entire Victorian State borders (but without rifles or battle gear I should note) as well as centers of infection and it is all hands on deck in a nation-wide effort to shut this virus down.

    What must be paining Victorians was that they were getting Australian Rules Football games underway (Melbourne is the heart of this game) but the teams have had to flee north to continue trying to hold games so no games for Victorians. This is like having such a bad outbreak of the virus in the US, that they have to relocate NASCAR to Canada. Yeah, that bad. Anyway, blind Freddy could see this going to happen and it did. So now the entire of Melbourne is to be locked down once again for the next six weeks at the cost of who knows how many billions of dollars and who knows how many lives. And all those businesses that were demanding that the economy open up got their wish – and now face a second round of this rolling disaster because they would not be patient.

    New Zealand has put on hold the idea of having a travel bubble with Australia and so would I. Lots of Victorians have been leaving the State before the borders closed and my own State, which is over thirteen hundred kilometers (about 900 miles) from Victoria, has in the past four days turned away well over seven hundred Victorians trying to get into the State. Yeah, I know that it is holidays time down there but how many of all those people would be sick with this virus? Said it before and will say it again, this virus is the Iceman of viruses-

    “He wears you down, you get bored, frustrated, do something stupid and he’s got ya.”

    1. voteforno6

      “Scotty from Marketing” still makes me chuckle. Though, he could just as easily be “Scotty from Sales.”

      I’m not sure how those numbers would scale in comparison to the U.S., but from where I’m sitting they don’t seem so bad.

        1. RMO

          I’m still worried and still taking serious precautions here in the Vancouver suburbs where our last daily new case count was seven, with two of those in the Health District I live in (which has seen the majority of the BC cases). Our total case count out of a 5.1 million population is still under 3,000. Choosing to go out to a bar or nail salon etc., unmasked in places which are seeing 3,000+ new cases per day is just plain insane.

      1. Pookah Harvey

        On 7/3 from John Hopkins
        —————-New Cases——–New Cases per 1,000,000 Population
        We’re “leading”.

    2. Chris

      Smug Tasmanians like to remind their friends in other states that it’s been 53 days since our last new case. Being an island helps…

      1. The Rev Kev

        Can’t be that smug about it. It was not that long ago that due to an outbreak centered around a Hospital, that they had to lock down about 5,000 people which is a lot for a small population like Tasmania has.

      2. ewmayer

        Careful on that smugness thing – here an example of such national-pride smugness from a fellow posting in a discussion thread I participate in, from 2 Feb:

        Canadian Health Minister States that asymptomatic people do not transmit the virus.

        Makes you kind of proud to be a Canadian and not to give in to unjustified panic like most of the rest of the world.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Asymptomatic people do not transmit the virus? Odd that. I heard of a study that said that typically they shed more virus because their bodies were not busy fighting down this virus. Obviously the Canadian Health Minister must have missed the class on the precautionary principle.

    3. ChrisPacific

      The opposition in New Zealand have just removed their leader and replaced him with a Scotty clone, who has been making noises about needing to open up the country to get business moving. I suspect this will go down like a lead balloon at election time, given the examples we see playing out around the world of what happens when leaders prioritize business needs over public health. National have always made much of being the ‘party of business,’ but the fact remains that if other countries had all done what we did (in the face of some pretty strident objections from the opposition at the time, I might add) then we would all be able to go back to business as usual right now – as NZ has done already in the domestic economy, one of a very few countries in the world to have that luxury. Turns out eliminating the virus is good for businesses as well as people in the long run, at least compared to the alternative.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Agree here with what you say. Eradicating the virus is great for business even if you lose out on international tourists. I cannot understand these businesses that seem to be only thinking in terms of the next financial quarter and want to re-open early. Victoria shows you what happens when you do that. Don’t suppose that after your election is over, that we could borrow your Jacinda for a few weeks, could we?

        1. ChrisPacific

          You almost certainly have your own Jacindas, as do all the countries who are coveting her right now. The problem is that they can’t get on the ballot, because the system chops them off at the knees early before they get a sniff of power. Until societies learn to demand different qualities in their leaders, back it up with votes, and punish parties that don’t cooperate, nothing will change.

          We almost wouldn’t have had the chance to vote for Jacinda here if it wasn’t for Andrew Little, for which we all owe him a big debt of gratitude.

  21. td

    Re: Burning Siberian Tundra – Just a minor correction. The word Tundra is often being used as equivalent to Arctic or Subarctic. If there are trees, it’s Boreal Forest. If there are no trees and just a few low-lying bushes, it’s Tundra. The Boreal Forest burns a lot better and covers more territory, including lots of permafrost, which is one of the main points.

  22. Alice X

    Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive. If there were a list of people that would test my general belief in not wishing anyone ill…

  23. Billy

    The Marijuana Superweapon Biden Refuses to Use

    The word Pharma doesn’t appear in the article. Guess the mouthpiece for the Atlantic Council and the globalists doesn’t want to step on any investor toes.

    The Democratic Party is owned by Big Pharma.

    Now, what if Trump were to legalize it?

    1. D. Fuller

      That is what the fight over ACA is all about: donor money.

      The Democrats passed Heritage Foundation/American Enterprise Institute/RomneyCare. A thoroughly RW market-based health care framework while conveniently leaving out items such as Medicare negotiating medication prices, caps on price gouging, etc.

      The Republicans realized that donor money would be redirected towards Democrats. How well this bears out, I do not really know.

      The Republicans responded with Repeal & Replace. Some advocated Repeal. When it came time for Republicans to R&R? There was a curious incident on The Senate floor between Mike Pence & Senator McCain in which McCain said, “I promise”. What McCain was specifically promising remains unknown.

      However, McCain always voted “no”. McCain was always the last to vote. Pence never had to be the tie-breaker.

    2. D. Fuller

      As an addendum, I should have added to my comment…

      Republicans want to modify ACA to attract donors back to their side.

      That doesn’t necessarily mean modifying ACA directly – though it is the expedient route. Republicans can sponsor legislation that tweaks health care rules, administratively using administrative code used to implement laws.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      Trumps is culturally stuck in the fifties. He wouldn’t recognize the opportunity.

  24. Sefl Affine

    Re: “Coronavirus: Fujitsu announces permanent work-from-home plan:

    Just a question from someone who knows very little about tax laws.

    Which tax jurisdiction am I in if I only work from home?

    1. rowlf

      That is a damn fine question. I say that due to being a time card puncher in the past the wise guys punched in/out at a different location than some of us newer folks. I found out that the time clocks the wise guys used were outside of the city zone.

      1. Sefl Affine

        That’s going to make local and state tax revenues very interesting.

        Take NYC as an example – what happens to their budget if former commuters work
        from home.

      2. Sefl Affine

        That goes for all of our institutions and services.

        We really aren’t set up at all for a login universe.

  25. flora

    re: Willful Blindness

    So much straw, so little time. The author is very concerned for liberalism.

    first this:

    It is the former group, the defenders of progressive identity politics, who in fact are protecting—indeed expanding—the bounds of liberalism.

    Progressive civil rights politics is not identity politics. Clever how the author tries to erase that distinction and rename it at something it is not. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act and EEOC the forces against its full realization shifted gears to say the goal wasn’t a race neutral or race blind law and society, but that race itself should be a dominant consideration. The author stands the meaning of the Civil Rights Act on it’s head. Yet the author pretends otherwise.

    Next this:
    That history isn’t finished with us⁠; the material disadvantages facing minorities remain grotesque. The net worth of the median white family was roughly 10 times the net worth of the median Black family in 2016; The New York Times’ David Leonhardt wrote recently that the wage gap between white and Black men remains roughly as large as it was in 1950.

    No where does the author reference the biggest gap that drives those current percentages exists in the top 10% of both black and white families, and the best correction is to raise wages at the bottom for everyone. It’s about the upper classes in both groups. See this Jacobin article:

    Readers can find other disingenuous arguments in the piece. There’s some ‘Willful Blindness’ in this article and some clever work tricks, imo.

    1. flora

      It’s interesting he erases the economic underpinnings of the Civil Rights Act and the EEOC. Both were about equal access, equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity for education, employments, and wages without regard to race, creed, national origin, or sex. (‘Women’ as a class was added at the last minute in an attempt to derail its passage.)

      This from Philip Mirowski’s paper The Thirteen Commandments of Neoliberalism.

      Neoliberalism thoroughly revises what it means to be a human person.

      Classical liberalism identified “labor” as the critical original human infusion that both created and justified private property. Foucault correctly identifies the concept of “human capital” as the signal neoliberal departure that undermines centuries of political thought that parlayed humanism into stories of natural rights. Not only does neoliberalism deconstruct any special status for human labor, but it lays waste to older distinctions between production and consumption rooted in the labor theory of value, and reduces the human being to an arbitrary bundle of “investments,” skill sets, temporary alliances (family, sex, race), and fungible body parts.

      ‘Temporary alliances’ sounds a lot like what he means in this para, where I think the word neoliberal can be correctly substitued for his use of the word ‘liberal’. But then, the neoliberals have use this sleight of hand for decades. The tension is between liberalism and neoliberalism, imo.

      The tensions we’ve seen lately have been internal to liberalism for ages: between those who take the associative nature of liberal society seriously and those who are determined not to. It is the former group, the defenders of progressive identity politics, who in fact are protecting—indeed expanding—the bounds of liberalism.

      1. flora

        Shorter: More fog. For “progressive identity politics” substitute “neoliberal politics”. Never talk about class and keep the working class divided by whatever means possible, including identity politics.

        This is not to discount the BLM movement, only to discount the way it’s being addressed by the economic elites in a way that protects the elites financial interests.

        1. chuck roast

          I’m always going on about bourgeois, suck-up economists. This is the perfect case of an analysis by a political scientist…a misnomer if their ever was one. Economists are the ones who are forever pretending that they are scientists. There is apparently no pretense by the political scientists. You could read a whole raft of their text books and legitimately come away with the presumption that we all live in a barter economy. Political economy is dead…long live political economy!

    2. occasional anonymous

      I’d also add: but Osita. I’m not a liberal. I don’t care if you think you’re ‘protecting the bounds of liberalism’, because my worldview exists well to the left of those boundaries. I’m pretty sure Taibbi still identifies as a liberal, but he too is well to the left of the norm.

      The world of these liberals is imploding. It doesn’t mean the left is on the ascendant, but it does mean that liberals are in a permanent fighting retreat.

      1. flora

        It’s important, I think, when discussing neoliberal writings to distinguish clearly what one means by ‘liberal’; the traditional liberal or the neoliberal. They are different world views. The neoliberal is happy to hide that fact by using the world ‘liberal’ in a shifting way. If the purpose is to confuse readers it often succeeds, imo.

        Neoliberal writers deliberately confuse the term ‘liberal’ for ‘neoliberal’ in an effort to win arguments with vague or misleading labels, imo. They use ‘liberalism’ as a stand in for neoliberalism when it suits their purpose to confuse neoliberalism with liberalism, and also use ‘liberal’ to mean liberal when it serves to discredit traditional liberalism. They fly false colors to win arguments. If I re-wrote the last ‘Willful Blindness’ para I quoted using Mirowski’s analysis of their language use and argument style it would read like this, where my edits are in [ ] and strikes (this is my own subjective exercise) :

        The tensions we’ve seen lately have been internal to [between neoliberalism and ] liberalism for ages: between those who take the associative nature [temporary alliances] of [neo] liberal society seriously and those [liberals] who are determined not to [see people as an investment bundle of traits]. It is the former group, the defenders of progressive [neoliberal] identity politics, who in fact are protecting—indeed expanding—the bounds of [neo]liberalism.

        In the original para I think the word ‘liberal’ is interchanged with ‘neoliberal’ to confuse the meaning of what’s being said. I don’t claim my “translation” is correct, but it makes more sense of the use of the word ‘liberal’ than the original, imo; it’s an effort to show that when you read ‘liberal’ wrt neoliberal writings it’s important to be aware the the distinction between the two words and make them clear.

        1. flora

          adding: neoliberals never use that term. They present themselves as liberals, new liberals. But their philosophy is the opposite of traditional liberal philosophy which comes out of the Enlightenment. Between the two liberalism is the better philosophy, imo. (Not saying it’s the best philosophy.)

          1. Judith

            Your thread certainly supports Adolph Reed’s argument that identity politics is a form of neoliberalism.

            1. skippy

              Adam Curtis

              The juxtaposition of the execution of the Ceaușescus with the Jane Fonda workout set to Brian Eno’s “On Some Faraway Beach” in ‘HyperNormalisation’ is (IMO) a high water mark of documentary film making concerning neoliberalism I offer.


              Next thing you know and consumers need pills help control themselves … rim shot …

    3. Jeff W

      That Jacobin article by Matt Bruenig is excellent, flora! (Matt Bruenig always does illuminating work.) Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comment.

      I had read that New Republic piece just after seeing this Jacobin video “The Trouble with Diversity” (with Adolph Reed, Jr.’s fellow critic of racial disparity ideology Walter Benn Michaels), which places diversityidentity politics in a broader context.

  26. jr

    Field report: there was a small BLM protest here in the West Village yesterday afternoon, maybe 20 people walking and chanting.

    Thanks for the article about how the heart influences one’s emotional state. It’s given me a lot to think about in regards to my meditation practice. Trying to find a balance between those states by regulating one’s heart rate is exactly what I strive to do.

  27. BoyDownTheLane

    With regard to “breathtakingly stupid”, the new word I learned today is “camarilla”.

  28. GettingTheBannedBack

    Working from home was resisted with a passion by big corps and govt until the software was around to enable it in real time and as a bonus track the workers.
    From a corporate perspective, WFH suddenly looks like a wet dream.
    Cut the office expenses – floorspace, lighting, aircon? tick.
    Cut out all the extraneous politicking of underlings. Tick.
    Automate more of the business functions? Working on that.
    Cut the payroll? Maybe a labour hire company? Working on that.
    Fragmented workforce making it impossible for employees to organise/unionise. Tick.

    Every innovation in history has been co-opted by the ruling class to its benefit. Agriculture? Peasants and serfs and slaves. Mining? Little kids digging in the smallest tunnels all day every day until they died. Manufacturing? Factory workers working for a pittance, tied to a building for 12 – 14 – 16 hours a day. Electricity? Workers can work longer. The Internet? Surveillance, non-stop propaganda and mind games, the consumer as the consumed.

    How long will it take for WFH to become a term that means precarious job, woman’s job, lower status job, outsourced labour job. A perjorative term in other words. The fragmentation of society into tribes makes this a new way for corps to cut costs easily, painlessly. Why didn’t we think of this before?

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