Links 7/9/2020

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Spreading rock dust on fields could remove vast amounts of CO2 from air Guardian (David L)

Earth’s magnetic field changes 10 times faster than once thought LiveScience (Kevin W)

Why Is Glass Rigid? Signs of Its Secret Structure Emerge. Quanta (David L)

The Best Veterinary Telemedicine Services Wired. Gah.

From floating guts to ‘sticky’ blood – here’s how to do surgery in space The Conversation (Kevin W)

The Far Side Returns After 25 Years, and It’s All Digital The Verge

Oregon to officially vote on legalizing psychedelic psilocybin therapy New Atlas (David L)


Trump’s Tulsa rally ‘likely’ source of virus surge MPR News (Chuck L)

An Antidote to Helplessness and Disorientation: The Great Humanistic Philosopher and Psychologist Erich Fromm on Our Human Fragility as the Key to Our Survival and Our Sanity BrainPicking (Chuck L)


COVID-19: Many People Stay Sick After Recovering From Coronavirus Der Spiegel (resilc). Finally some numbers. This story says 1 in 10, but that is presumably a German or European estimate.

The emerging spectrum of COVID-19 neurology: clinical, radiological and laboratory findings Brain

The Path to Zero: Key Metrics For COVID Suppression Pandemics Explained (resilc)

If you’re over 75, catching covid-19 can be like playing Russian roulette MIT Technology Review

People with Neanderthal Genes May Have Higher Risk of Contracting COVID-19 Interesting Engineering (Chuck L)

Brain problems linked to even mild virus infections: study Agence France-Presse (resilc)

Coronavirus has caused a huge spike in drug overdoses nationwide Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Mounting Evidence Suggests Coronavirus is Airborne—but Health Advice Has Not Caught Up Scientific American (David L). This kerfluffle is really overdone and is based on the not-clear-cut difference between droplet and aerosol transmission. Basically, masks help reduce both. 6′ social distancing may not be adequate even for droplets but that has not been widely discussed. Next?


As coronavirus surges, Houston confronts its hidden toll: People dying at home NBC (furzy)

Coronavirus Is Blowing Up America’s Higher Education System Vanity Fair (J-LS)

Buccaneers coach says his players will ‘all get sick’ when NFL returns Houston Chronicle (resilc)

Census Workers Say Coronavirus Protections Insufficient Intercept

OMG, this is Lowndes County, Alabama. It has only 11,000 people but far and away the highest per capita rate of Covid-19 infections and deaths in the state. I remember this segment; I watched it more than once:

Mexico border towns try to stop Americans crossing amid Covid-19 fears Guardian

Political Responses

Trump wages war on CDC over ‘tough’ school reopening policy after lashing out at Dr Fauci Sun and Coronavirus: Trump threatens to cut school funding, slams CDC reopening guidelines CNBC


Economists Think Congress Could Create An Economic Disaster This Summer FiveThirtyEight

NYC Rental Market Pushed to Breaking Point by Tenant Debts Bloomberg

Coronavirus: United Airlines and American Airlines stop resumed Hong Kong services over mandatory Covid-19 testing concerns South China Morning Post

Coronavirus ‘collateral damage’ hits U.S. rural power providers Reuters


China’s Great Firewall Descends On Hong Kong Internet Users Guardian

The Political Logic of China’s Strategic Mistakes Project Syndicate (David L)

China reverts to its dirty coal ways Asia Times


Territorial nationalism a dead end for Modi Asia Times

Why India and Russia Are Going to Stay Friends Foreign Policy

New Cold War

U.S. & UK intensify campaign against Russia; UK harks back to first pillar of new Cold War, the Magnitsky hoax Lucy Komisar


Afghanistan: What is to be Done? CounterPunch (resilc)

UN Special Rapporteur: US Drone Strike killing Iranian Gen. Soleimani was Unlawful Juan Cole

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

ThiefQuest Ransomware for the Mac Bruce Schneier

Supreme Court expands religious rights with trio of rulings The Hill

Why It Took So Long to Defeat the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Slate (Kevin W)


New York Times lays out conditions for Biden to debate Trump… or loophole to get Joe out of live sparring RT (Kevin W)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Police Unions Wield Massive Power in American Politics — For Now Rolling Stone (resilc)

We Don’t Need Cops to Enforce Traffic Laws Vice

Defund the Pentagon, Too Nation (resilc)

Our Fabulously Free Press

Facebook civil-rights record hammered in own review BBC (David L)

Too Little, Too Late: Facebook’s Oversight Board Won’t Launch Until ‘Late Fall’ TechCrunch

Resistance Radio – Guest: Vince Emanuele (leeto). Have not checked this out, so reader input welcome.

How Narcissistic Leaders Destroy from Within Stanford Business (Kevin W). The lady doth protest too much. MBA programs select for and encourage narcissism.

Brooks Brothers files for bankruptcy, seeks buyer, closes stores CNBC (resilc)

Post Office Delivery Trucks Keep Catching on Fire Vice

Robinhood Has Lured Young Traders, Sometimes With Devastating Results New York Times

Explainer: What 1.1 million foreign students contribute to the U.S. economy Reuters

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus from Pat S (warning, borderline anti-antidote):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Zagonostra

    Defund the Empire, Pentagon is just one tentacle of this deadly, wasteful Hydra.

    1. Adam Eran

      I don’t know just how horribly over-funded the pentagon is (although NC reports $5 billion a year is spent to militarize the police, though)…but here’s a “Defund the Police” explainer:

      U.S. population: 1981 – 229.5 million – 2017 – 325.1 million. That’s a 42% increase.

      Police funding: 1981 – $40 billion – 2017 – $115 billion. That’s a 187.5% increase.

      The truth is that for generations, the U.S. has been defunding the social safety net programs that would make police force less necessary. This includes releasing mental patients, reducing welfare, and being miserly with Social Security Disability (you typically have to hire an attorney to navigate a disability application).

      I have friends who are policemen (and women), and I want their jobs to be safer. The social safety net used to be acknowledged as a cheap way to ensure social peace. Now, it’s a commonplace for people to believe only frauds and cheats (“welfare queens”) get such support. As billionaire investing genius Warren Buffet acknowledges, there’s a class war going on, “And,” says Buffet, “my class is winning.”

  2. Bugs Bunny

    I had no idea that the Robinhood app let anyone with a connection trade options. That’s like giving out hand grenades to kids. How is this getting past the SEC or CFTC? This makes no sense.

    1. Wukchumni

      I read the other day that a Vegas casino sportsbook goofed up on the times of Chinese & South Korean pro baseball games, and allowed betting for an hour+ into the contests.

      The idea that some sharpies got in there and made some substantial money is a testament to how little there is to bet on in our gambling obsessed nation, and into the void out of nowhere comes Robinhood, stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.

    2. vlade

      Robinhood is taking from the stupid and giving it to, honestly, I have no idea who yet. It’s a gambling app.

    3. FreeMarketApologist

      The suitability assessment that brokers are supposed to do before enabling their retail clients to trade options has an absurdly low bar to step over. It’s a few relatively innocuous questions.

      Retail customers who want to trade options should be required to have first taken and passed the Securities Industry Exam, at a minimum (the SIE is the ‘new’ Series 7).

      1. Bugs Bunny

        That’s what I thought. I took Series 6 ages ago and it wasn’t all that easy if you didn’t
        do the prep.

    4. TiPs

      At least with options you can only lose the premium, which is probably why it’s allowed. Now if they let the dopes trade futures…..

    5. lyman alpha blob

      That article is extremely dumbed down, to the point where it describes options trading like this –

      Mr. Tenev said only 12 percent of the traders active on Robinhood each month used options, which allow people to bet on where the price of a specific stock will be on a specific day and multiply that by 100.

      So I’m wondering if the description of how Robinhood and the Wall St companies make money off the rubes is also dumbed down a bit too much –

      That’s because it makes money through a complex practice known as “payment for order flow.” Each time a Robinhood customer trades, Wall Street firms actually buy or sell the shares and determine what price the customer gets. These firms pay Robinhood for the right to do this, because they then engage in a form of arbitrage by trying to buy or sell the stock for a profit over what they give the Robinhood customer.

      I’d like a little bit more detail about this “complex practice”. They don’t specify whether this practice refers to market or limit orders, but isn’t this frontrunning?!? It sure sounds like it from the limited descriptiion in the NYT piece. When I do a search of “payment for order flow” both wikipedia and investopedia tell me it’s a practice pioneered by Bernie Madoff and it seems to be considered rather dodgy.

      This Robinhood outfit sounds like it gathers up the marks and then outsources order fulfillment to a bunch of frontrunners, collecting fees while doing not much itself other than providing a website with confetti graphics.

      1. Dan

        This is the only way they could be making money, since commissions are free and the interest on margin is very low. Robinhood is notorious for slow order fill times and bad fill prices. I noticed the difference right away when I switched to TDA.

      2. FreeMarketApologist

        The Times description of payment for order flow is a little too condensed to be accurate, in my view. Separately, I’d like to see the citation that Bernie Madoff pioneered it, as I don’t believe his firm ever had the sort of client transaction volume that would have let him profit from selling his order flow, or had the capitalization / proprietary trading function to benefit from paying for other firms’ flow. That said, there are elements of how PFOF can be implemented that are dodgy (regarding a broker’s best execution requirements), but front running isn’t it.

        Robinhood is not registered as a market maker, so all they can do is accept orders and route them to execution venues (market makers, exchanges, dark pools, etc.) to be executed. If PFOF is influencing their routing decision in a way that gets a poor price for their customers, then they are in violation of FINRA Rule 5310.

        I believe retail brokers’ largest source of income is interest / margin fees.

    6. Leroy R

      “…like giving out hand grenades to kids.”
      To get the flavor check out a sometimes hilarious often raunchy Reddit sub-reddit called WallStreetBets. “Stonks only go up!”

    7. diptherio

      There was a story linked to on here not too long ago about a young man who committed suicide after his Robinhood account showed his balance at -$700,000 (or something like that). So your metaphor is apt.

      These people know exactly what they are doing and I don’t expect that anything will be done about it. Video game devs have been putting gambling into their games for several years now, and have been shockingly direct about what they’re doing and why, and the PTB have done f— all about it. I don’t imagine the response to these kinds of apps will be any better.

  3. Zagonostra

    Post Office trucks get turned off every time the postman gets out to place mail in mailbox. I asked my post carrier why she does that since it is so wasteful and will prematurely wear out the flywheel teeth, and she said she could get fired if she didn’t. This was in a suburb where houses were closely situated.

    What a waste of fuel and Capital. If ever there was a niche for electric vehicle, it’s the USPS delivery truck.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I was once fined by the police for leaving my car turned “on” standing at the curb while I was out of the vehicle doing something. I did not know that this was against the law — in retrospect, I suppose that it’s a sensible safety measure. My vehicle was manual transmission and was in neutral while standing “on”, and I’m confident that there is zero danger that it would have rolled away, but perhaps automatic transmission vehicles are less safe when “parked while on.”

      The solution is, as you say, to electrify the USPS local delivery fleet.

    2. Carolinian

      My intown neighborhood has “to the door” delivery of mail–grandfathered in. They drive their trucks one block at a time and then walk the deliveries. The story says the old mail trucks have exceeded their 24 year design lifetime and the fires–from various causes–are probably because they are simply too old. The USPS is trying to choose a replacement design while using converted minivan style trucks to sub for the fire hazard trucks (which are now rare where I live).

      As I understand it newly build neighborhoods–even of luxury homes–now have to use the clusterbox type mail delivery which would indeed save on gas.

      1. Keith

        It could also shift people to FedEx and UPS. I have one of those cluster boxes as I live on a private road where the USPS does not need to delivery to my house, only the box. They also do not drop off large packages but require me to pick up at the local post office, which is a good distance away. That has driven me to look for ups and FedEx for delivery, or in Amazon’s case, just wait for the post office to return to sender.

    3. Leftcoastindie

      They all do – UPS, Fedex Amazon. Who is the lucky one to get the contract to replace starters for these companies?

      1. ambrit

        When I worked for the Post Office, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the ‘station’ had an in house person who doubled as a Clerk and did simple maintenance and repairs on the rolling stock. He replaced starters, a quite simple procedure. He did oil changes, tire rotations, cooling system flushes, cosmetic repairs, and general safety checks, (a regular process then.) Doing simple work on the rolling stock was an easy ‘cost containment’ process.
        Now, if the Post Office only did banking.

        1. a different chris


          This isn’t like your personal car, but even if it was a personal car VW messed with auto off/on like in the 80’s if I recall correctly. It does make sense, it was just hard to do with an IC engine just like Cadillac V8-6-4 because of the general knarlyness (a triumph of refinement over engineering, as Reese Callaway liked to say) of the IC engine.

          If it was wasteful, that is if the overall cost of running the vehicle was negatively rather than positively, affected, then those big companies wouldn’t do it.

          And the flywheel teeth will last until the sun cools. The starter bearings are probably what goes. Eventually. I have no doubt everything (as per ambrit) was designed to do this, from extended life to the “quite easy” replacement when they do finally fail.

        2. GF

          When I was a UPS driver back in the late 70’s and early 80’s UPS did a big study of gas savings from turning off the engine while making a delivery. It turned out to be substantial. Back then we had to get signatures for every delivery so the time needed to make a delivery was longer and gas mileage was lower then too. Also, there was the rare issue of idling trucks being stolen. We also were required to remove the keys from the ignition and close the self locking door between the cab and the package area when making the delivery once the change went into effect.

          1. Carolinian

            If you own a Prius or similar hybrid the car saves gas by literally turning off the gasoline part of the engine while sitting at a stoplight. It is constantly stopping and then restarting the gasoline engine using the large starter which also serves as the car’s other, electric, motor.

  4. norm de plume

    I just had to share this news, good news for a change, somewhere. Bill Mitchell has had an MMT/Job Guarantee piece published in Rupert Murdoch’s Australian. I couldn’t believe it either. News titles are paywalled but Bill runs what he submitted (which is a bit longer than what was published):

    It is one of no less than 4 on the subject, none critical, in the one issue of the Oz on the weekend. Not only that but Bill apparently has a paper sitting on PM Scott Morrison’s desk, and has been quietly consulting with state governments too. I am reliably informed that The Conversation has also been running positive pieces on MMT, and leading econ journo Alan Kohler has been spruiking it too after being openly appreciative of Mitchell’s ideas in an interview with him a few weeks back.

    If Uncle Rupert has OK’d this (and it is difficult to believe his eds could run 4 pieces at once without some indication of approval) then the chances of Morrison coming on board at least to some degree are very much higher than otherwise. ScoMo, unlike say Abbott or Howard, is more the pragmatist than the ideologue and he won’t want to waste the runs he has put on the board with Covid, after his bushfire disasters. If he puts ‘this could work’ alongside ‘legacy’ things could start to happen. It is cheaper than the current JobSeeker and Keeper programs and he can throw his base the red meat of a reduction in welfare payments.

    Bill has been working to promote the JG here with the impressive indigenous leader Noel Pearson, who was given space alongside Bill in The Oz for this piece:

    This is particularly cheering given it was only a week or so ago that this depressingly myopic and unfair dreck ran in my own paper of choice:

    I wrote to the Herald to complain, noting that they could get ahead of this curve by inviting Bill to write a column. Looks like Murdoch might have beaten them to it.

    The champers should be put on ice rather than opened just yet, but still. Maybe we are ‘the lucky country’ after all.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Remember as well that Kelton was a visiting prof at Adeaide Uni all January (my alma mater, incidentally, but also from what I’ve seen of the lineup at MMT conferences, their economics department seems to have a strong MMT contingent. Kind of surprising because Adelaide isn’t a very vanguardy place but there you go). I didn’t realise this til about the time she arrived (from her twitter) and saw she was giving a public lecture. I looked for tickets but they had long since all been snapped up.

      Something does seem to be stirring. But Mitchell also makes clear that there’s much to be done, as he points out here:

      Still. My apartment building has a communal library. I might buy an extra copy of ‘The Deficit Myth’ and put it on prominent display, see if there are any takers (already planning on buying a copy for my Dad).

  5. Wukchumni

    Cash was hardly king, more of a gesture of independence in the scheme of things with FRN’s only being less than 5% of all monies changing hands, and we aren’t yet to the point where cash is discounted by retailers (‘We accept cash for payments @ 95% of face value’) wary of it being a conduit for Covid, but getting there.

    You feel dirty all along the route from procuring your loot from an ATM pressing all those buttons and then when it spits out semollians, you wonder how long ago they were placed in the machine, en route to getting a look from a cashier after you’ve given her 9 Washingtons for a 6 pack of something, couldn’t you be like other customers, she thinks but doesn’t say. You try and sweeten the deal by telling her to keep the 29 Cents worth of change, in a further attempt to infect her.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I wonder if there is a market opportunity here for low-ish cost customer self-check-out machinery adapted to small store retail environments. As an in-the-moment self-protective measure and a kindness to the workers (CV-wise, but in a larger sense it probably undermines their job security) at the local chain grocery, I self-check out whenever possible.

      If CV is in US “to stay” and will be a seasonal, or perhaps even chronic, epidemic, I’m guessing that there will be more and more adaptations of this kind to reduce person-person contacts. How great for mental health :( . Perhaps Congress will make mental health services (provided via tele-therapy, of course) more “accessible” and “affordable.”

      1. ambrit

        Oh boy. Tele-medicine mental health. What an opportunity for “Meta Data” collection! How would anyone guarantee ‘doctor patient confidentiality?’
        I think I would rather be crazier than I already am then enter into that sort of Panopticon.
        At least the Ellsberg felons had to physically break into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office to rifle through the files. Today, all they need do is call up a ‘friendly’ tech in an allied spy agency to find out how to hack the online medical records data base.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          I am now providing psychotherapy over doxy, which unlike zoom and FaceTime etc. is HIPAA compliant. Surprisingly, because I never believed in online therapy before, it is possible to make a genuine connection and for people to actually benefit. No way I am sharing indoor air in a small room with a succession of people all day long. Not to mention we would have to wear masks, which might freak people out even more.

          I do have a couple of patients who either dropped their frequency or opted out altogether because they weren’t comfortable with the format, but I do believe it is confidential.

          Oops, just realized you were talking about the electronic health records. I do know that ours is HIPAA compliant but I put as little in the formal record as possible. Details are still in my private notes, which I shred after 5 years.

          But horrifyingly, they are pressuring all mental health providers to connect to the UNC system in North Carolina, because one thing HIPAA did was remove the special protection for mental health records in the interest of the consent to treatment being a blanket permission for providers to consult in the interest of continuity of care. We have so far resisted this but may be frozen out of insurance reimbursement if we do not.


          1. ambrit

            You, as a therapist will appreciate the ‘irony’ when I mention that it is all about “Control,” and the balance between self-control and ‘other’-control.
            For what it is worth, the therapist i saw for a year or two was trained under Murray Bowman. Now, for a middle aged person, is that a death wish or what?

  6. shtove

    Intriguing bonus link – clicking through shows it’s a South Carolina osprey + spanish mackerel. Yum!

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Pretty much an ideal augury for 2020, innit? an eagle that isn’t an eagle carrying a shark that isn’t a shark.

      ‘The virgins are all trimming their wicks…’

      1. Matthew G. Saroff

        It’s obvious that it is not a shark from the tail. Symmetrical tail means bony fish, not selachian.

    2. orlbucfan

      That video has been making the rounds in cyberspace big-time. Fascinating. Also, thanks for the excellent read on defunding the Pentagon (gag me).

  7. Redlife2017

    Covid-19 & Blood Groups – I’ve started going to these interesting online seminars given by The Royal Society of Medicine about Covid-19 ( One thing they covered in today’s discussion was the influence of blood group on the severity of Covid-19. A few weeks ago a study came out showing that people in the “A” blood group had a 50% worse outcome, with those with “O” blood not getting as sick. There was an issue with that study in that the control group was based on blood from blood donations. That isn’t a random control group as specific blood groups are over-represented (say “O” blood and rare blood types) and others are under-represented. They suggested a lot of caution around that and that it needed to be replicated before they considered that fact.

    If you are interested in the next seminar (they are a half hour) which is an update on trials and treatments, you can go here:
    The description is: “This COVID-19 webinar will aim to analyse the results of randomised trials of various treatment options, and also discuss what evidence will be required to confirm the safety and efficacy of any vaccine which carries the potential to be a game-changer in this devastating pandemic.

    RSM President-elect Roger Kirby will interview guests Professor Graham Cooke, NIHR Research Professor of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London, and Divya Chadha Manek, Head of Business Development at NIHR Clinical Research Network.”

  8. Pavel

    Well if Biden is so anti-pot, I guess that means that self-confessed marijuana user Kamala Harris should be a no-go for the Veep position, right?

    Au contraire! She is just as hypocritical on marijuana usage and prosecution as many others:

    While attorney general of California from 2011-2017, Harris sent at least 1,560 people to prison over marijuana-related offenses. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation data, initially reported by The Free Beacon, shows the marijuana admissions to California state prisons during Harris’ tenure.

    [chart omitted]

    It is important to note that the decline between the 2011 incarceration rate in comparison to the 2012 incarceration rate was due mostly to the Public Safety Realignment act, not Harris specifically.

    This is just another example of how Harris’ current political positioning on marijuana use completely contradicts her prosecutorial record. During an interview earlier this year, Harris admitted to having used marijuana and claims to support the legalization of marijuana.

    –Kamala Harris Laughs At Marijuana Use Despite Putting 1,560 People Away For It

    As usual amongst the elite and powers-that-be… One set of rules for me, another for thee.

    1. Wukchumni

      Joe watched Reefer Madness when it came out, so he’s hep to the scourge and won’t allow our country to go that route.

      1. JBird4049

        I wonder if the producers of Reefer Madness were secretly pro drugs or something. Some of my teachers showed the film at my high school for a laugh. Not because they were pro pot, but because it’s just so silly. Take pot, go insane, and die.

        1. ambrit

          Wholehearted belief in the fantasy ‘science’ behind the “Reefer Madness” meme is equal to the cognitive dissonance needed to believe in the ‘RussiaRussiaRussia’ Madness.
          For the latter, the progression will be; Blame Russia, Go Nuclear, Destroy World.
          Today’s world events are a “real world” experiment in the theory and practice of “Phenominalism.” If you don’t know what to believe, trust your senses.

    2. Leroy R

      Here in Connecticut the legislators are still diddling around with legalization. I get the impression that besides the pharmaceutical industry, the alcohol industry is a powerful lobby working in opposition to this potential competitor.

      1. sam

        At least during the primaries, Biden’s position was that marijuana should be moved from Schedule 1 (illegal for all purposes) to Schedule II (subject to regulation by the FDA). Some have suggested that the plan is not to ban marijuana but instead to impose a regulatory model that would shift market control to Big Pharma and other players with the resources to play the FDA game. So maybe it’s just a matter of following the $.

      2. bob

        The NYS liquor authority is the ONLY part of the state government not completely controlled by Cuomo. He owns the rest of the state top to bottom.

        They haven’t budged.

        They’ve already been used during covid to make examples out of businesses that didn’t comply with shut downs. Not the state police, not local cops- the liquor authority.

        1. periol

          “NYS liquor authority”

          Serious question, have things changed, or is that still just a euphemism for “the mafia”?

    3. hunkerdown

      That’s the whole point of having elites though. Every social taboo has its exception, and to be elite is to be exempt from the vast majority of them. For some reason we have decided to consolidate all our taboo exceptions and give them to a nobility. Weird, what humans will sometimes think is a good idea.

  9. John A

    Re U.S. & UK intensify campaign against Russia; UK harks back to first pillar of new Cold War, the Magnitsky hoax

    I was amused yesterday by the way serial fantasist and storyteller Luke Harding reported this in the fanatically anti-Russia Guardian. Now anyone who has followed this story knows that Magnitsky was a tax accountant and not a lawyer as Browder repeatedly lies. Harding must also know this, but to cover his own evershrinking credibility, he describes Magnitsky as a tax accountant and lawyer.

    1. Alex

      This is also a very one-sided view of this. It’s true there is no hard evidence that Magnitskiy was beaten to death in prison. However the fact is that he died after spending almost a year in prison without trial. It’s also an easily verifiable fact that he was seriously ill and his lawyers asked several times for him to be released from the prison to be treated. Do you seriously think that if he were released the almighty Browder would have spirited him from Russia?

      Browder may not be a corruption-fighting hero he pretends to be and surely this case is exploited to keep Russia under sanctions but it’s extremely callous to call this a hoax.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You have to take anything that Luke Harding writes with a salt truck. He is a serial liar and once ‘co-authored a piece for The Guardian claiming that Julian Assange and Paul Manafort met several times at the Ecuadorian embassy in 2013, 2015, and 2016.’ It’s just that all the extensive security cameras in this street just happened to never record them. If it turned out that Luke was receiving a stipend from the Atlantic Council, I would not be surprised-

      2. km

        I believe that, after Aaron Mate cornered Harding on several of his lies, Harding said that he was not a journalist but a “storyteller”.

        This begs the questions of why the Graun (which claims to be a newspaper) would employ a storyteller, and why anyone would believe anything from Harding’s mouth or pen.

      3. John A

        I did not write that headline and hoax is perhaps too strong a word. However, Browder is a total scam artist from start to finish. I suggest you watch the film about Browder where the director started off believing Browder and telling his side of the story but gradually realised it was total bullshit. Magnitsky died on natural causes, not a prison beating. Whether or not earlier medical intervention could have saved him is a separate issue.

        While not wanting to stray into whataboutism, how you describe the treatment of Magnitsky is almost a mirror image of how Assange has been treated in a high security prison in England where his crime is jumping bail, for which the max sensence is 6 months, usually 3 months with good behaviour. He is clearly now in very serious mental and physical decline due to this treatment and in a location where covid-19 infection is a real and present danger. Magnitsky is dead and cannot be brought back to life. Assange’s life is very definitely at risk and he should be released.

        1. Alex

          I have no illusions whatsoever about Browder or for that matter about anyone who had to do something with the privatisation in Russia, through which I lived.

        2. David Carl Grimes

          I read Browder’s book “Red Notice.” Throughout the whole book, Browder kept on claiming that Sergei Magnitsky was a lawyer who was fighting against corruption in Russia. I was surprised to learn that Magnitsky was just an accountant because his university did not offer any legal training.

          It blew my mind. This guy is a liar.

      4. Olga

        Not sure why anyone would even attempt to defend Browder. This affair is the very definition of a hoax – actually, much worse because the scam was used to deepen/strengthen anti-Russia laws and sanctions, putting the whole world on a slow-motion move to a serious conflict.
        You may find it interesting to watch Nekrasov’s film about WB. The director set out to make a nice film about WB, confirming his allegations – only to discover mid-filming that WB was a liar and fraudster. It is fun to watch how the light bulb slowly turns on…
        Lucy Komisar at has done a lot of investigative reporting on the matter – if one is interested to educate oneself.

        1. pjay

          Right. Given the repercussions, “hoax” is entirely too mild a term.

          Regarding the sanctions, as the author herself notes:

          “The main story at the center of the Magnitsky Acts in the U.S. and UK are not that he was mistreated or failed to get good medical care, which is what is mostly alleged here. That would put dozens of U.S. prison officials in the crosshairs, including recently those running state prison systems in Alabama and Mississippi. It is that he was murdered. In the only reference to beating, the head of the Matrosskaya detention center is accused of “ordering the handcuffing and beating” of Magnitsky before he died.”

          Nothing like a good brutal torture story to harden the soft hearts of liberal media consumers against yet another sadistic dictator. That these stories are later walked back (quietly) doesn’t matter; their effects live on.

      5. Maxwell Johnston

        If you want a quick laugh, go to YouTube and search for “Bill Browder served with subpoena in New York.”

      6. bob

        The hoax is that browder used his death to obscure the fact that browder stole millions. There is every reason to believe browder wanted him in jail so that he would die, taking the details of the heist with him.

        The very cynical part is that he now holds him up as a martyr. Browder very likely martyred him.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      The Browder/Hermitage/Magnitsky story is an iceberg: we only see the 10% that’s visible, and the remaining 90% is hidden from sight and likely to stay that way. I don’t trust the official Russian government version of the story, but I don’t buy Browder’s version either (his book “Red Notice” adds a new meaning to the phrase “self-serving”). The more I’ve dug into this affair, the more I’ve been reminded of the saying: “if you put your hand into a barrel of manure, the only thing you’ll get out of it is a handful of manure.” Check out Browder’s links to Robert Maxwell, Edmond Safra, and Edouard Stern (all three of whom died mysteriously). If you read Russian, there’s also lots of good stuff on the Runet (today’s link is quite tame by comparison). A very strange story.

      1. jr

        Nothing personal, but you can keep him.;)

        “psychedelic visions were genuine revelations or just delusions”

        What if delusions can be revelations? This relates to a terrible piece posted here a few months back by Mark Lilla in which he mocks the ancients and their use of oracles:

        The original is paywalled. Now bear in mind Lilla is a humanities professor, openly mocking humanity as badly as the comedy routines of Neil DeAsse Tyson and Bill Nye the Scientism guy. He crudely reduces the oracle at Delphi and her prophet to a lucrative “startup”, a piece of ahistorical sloppiness, an unpardonable sin for a historian. The oracle would get high sniffing Gaia’s farts and then babble to her prophet. People lined up for miles to credulously listen to this none sense. Story told.

        Except this thinking expects us to accept that the ancients were dummies, that they had never encountered false prophets before, that they were without critical reasoning skills. It expects us to accept that ancient generals and leaders forgot that prophets could be wrong and simply returned, drone like, to be lied to over and over and over…

        Instead, consider the oracle as an “idea” lady. Leader X wants to invade his neighbor. He plots and plans. A general recommends the Oracle. Messenger is sent, prophecy received.

        How to interpret the data? Literally? Some would, doubtless reminded of failed prophecies from the past by aides. Some would take it as an addendum to their own intelligences. Some might see it as a sort of mental “randomizer”, sending the mind down paths it hadn’t considered before to see things from different angles. Perhaps all three at once.

        All of this is of course dependent on knowing what a delusion, or any thought process, is. Which is most certainly not the case…

        ” environmental fear-mongering”

        You’ve got to be kidding. He didn’t monger enough…

        “”If the hyper-intelligent AI is not filled with bodhisattva compassion,” McKenna warned, “then our ass is probably grass.” McKenna presented all of this with a mischievous grin, daring us to take him seriously.”

        The only compassion that will ever fill an AI is what we program into it. Humans often struggle with compassion. If this author isn’t terrified of AI carrying out its duties sans compassion, well, I’ve got almost a centuries worth of sci fi to help him along…but then thats only fiction and this guy probably only deals with “facts”……….as he sees them, that is.

        ” I admitted that I had once been a staff writer for Scientific American, and I still shared that magazine’s rather skeptical, conservative perspective.”

        Skepticism is the suspension of believe, it denotes that particular strength of mind that allows one to view the world without automatically assigning names and definitions. It opens the mind to the notion that all the names and definitions applied to the world do not actually define it, merely model it. In my experience, Scientific American’s beliefs rival those of the Puritans in their rigidity.

        ” He even stooped to speculating about extraterrestrials and to forecasting the end of life as we know it”

        Life as we know it has ended. Whether COVID, the pace of data collection and transfer globally, environmental catastrophes piled upon catastrophes. I say McKenna was darn close at eight years off or so…

        Oh, almost forgot:

        “he delivered his prophesies with a wink, an implicit acknowledgement that ultimately reality is stranger than we can say or even imagine.”

        Perhaps the author should work this perspective into his own conception of science, his seems nailed down to the floor if his approach to inquiry is as presumptive as his writing suggests…

        Lastly, including the “wild eyed” Glen was an indirect ad-hominen attack on McKenna. Sure, lots of wild eyes at McKennas talks….also lots of really smart people unafraid to question orthodoxy, brave enough to travel “inwards” to see what actually lies there, free enough to create new conceptions of what they find and strong enough to remember they are only models. You know, skeptics.

        1. ShamanicFallout

          On Chris Arnade’s Twitter page a while back, he asked the question “name something everyone in your field (in this case physics) knows but they the cannot actually say because it would lead to general chaos” and he said “The Big Bang is just God dressed up in fancy math”. This lead to a very interesting and lively Twitter thread.

          That made me think of McKenna’s famous quote: “Modern science is based on the principle ‘Give us one free miracle and we’ll explain the rest!’. The one free miracle is the appearance of all of the matter and energy in the universe and all the laws that govern it from nothing, in a single instant’.

          And further McKenna: “The Big Bang is the limit case for credulity. In other words, if you can believe this, you can believe anything. It is a notion that is utterly absurd, yet terribly important. Those so-called rational assumptions flow from this initial impossible situation”.

          1. jr

            I’ve recommended the writing of Dr. Bernardo Kastrup here in the past, he speaks to a lot of these questions:


            Please note: this is not some goofball with a coffee table book of Buddhism, a podcast, and too much time on his hands. Kastrup holds dual PhDs, one in computer science and one in metaphysics, worked at CERN, and also does high level corporate consulting. He is the sharp tip of the spear of modern idealism and he is happy to skewer folks who come at him unprepared…

      1. jr

        Have you ever dosed heroically and in isolation? I have. I once chewed 35 salvia divinorum leaves in a lonely, darkened apartment* and soon saw myself orbiting the bright blue Earth, seeming to float around it as a satellite might. I turned to see the Sun resplendent, power and majesty streaming off of it in beams millions of miles long…a powerful humming filled my ears. I found out later the humming was me, my then GF returned from a friends to find me naked and worshiping the setting sun out our back windows, arms raised high, emitting a solid, single tone to the highest arches of creation…

        Yeah, waste of time.

        *This is for the prepared psychonaut, and not even then really.

  10. Wukchumni

    The MLB rapture is interesting, 7 LA Dodger players have gone AWOL from training for the opening of the abbreviated season.

    And while we’re at it, ‘Dodger’ sure sounds like somebody on the receiving end of ‘smear the queer’ as practiced in elementary school blacktops everywhere back in the day, and we must banish that moniker in lieu of something less caustic to the LBGTQ community.

    1. MT_Bill

      The dodgers could follow the lead of other Kalifornians and move to Montana. The Berkley Pit seems like it would be an appropriate place for an MLB franchise.

      Maybe they could be renamed the Butte Bandits.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “People with Neanderthal Genes May Have Higher Risk of Contracting COVID-19”

    This presents an interesting possibility. If Neanderthals were more susceptible to a Coronavirus as opposed to homo so-called sapiens, could it be that a series of Coronavirus pandemics sweeping through early populations help pushed the Neanderthals to the edge where something else pushed them over? It may explain why, even though Neanderthals and our ancestors were doing the nasty together, that the percentage of Neanderthal genes is still quite small as those of mixed genes back then also succumbed to these possible pandemics. Coronavirus were only discovered about less than a century a go and in that time we have recorded several cutting loose. Postulating ancient pandemics is really not such a big stretch-

    1. The Historian

      It is an interesting idea.

      You have to remember that Neanderthals lived in small isolated groups all over Europe and Asia, and the best estimates of population say that there were only 10s of thousands of Neanderthals alive at any one time in Europe. This was a very small population of people over a large swath of land. There wasn’t the social contact between these small groups that would lead to a pandemic. There is some evidence that the Neanderthals did have conclaves where several groups would get together but these were sporadic at best and never very large.

      It is more likely that the currently accepted theory is more true – that Neanderthals died out because of climate changes that killed off the large and slow moving animals they lived on. Remember, Neanderthals didn’t have throwing weapons – they had to get in close to make a kill. You cannot do that with deer or smaller, faster moving animals . Combined with the pressure from homo sapiens who did have throwing weapons, Neanderthals probably just couldn’t get enough food to survive.

      But there is one thing that does support the pandemic theory that we shouldn’t forget. Homo sapiens, who were much more social than Neanderthals, bred sporadically with Neanderthals they met, so it is possible that Homo Sapiens brought something with them that they had developed some immunity to that Neanderthals didn’t have, and while it didn’t kill off the whole population of Neanderthals, it could have reduced their numbers enough so that other factors had a greater influence on their survival.

      It will be interesting to see where this goes!

      1. The Rev Kev

        I thought about those small groups but do we really know if they stuck to their small enclaves as did supposedly homo sapiens? I suspect long trading routes with lots of contact between the two communities but of course cannot prove it off-hand. I also suspect boat travel on the rivers of Europe which would make for an extensive, fast highway indeed.

        I remember reading of how medieval peasants were born, lived, married and died within sight of their church steeple but then you reflect how some of them went on pilgrimage across the breadth of the continent. It may turn out that our ancestors were also as mobile but how would you prove it? At least it makes it fun to speculate.

        1. The Historian

          One of the theories that points to their social isolation is the lack of technological changes with Neanderthals. Neanderthals weren’t stupid people and there is evidence that when Neanderthals were in close contact with Homo Sapiens, they did borrow some of the Homo Sapien technology, but for the most part Neanderthal technology stayed the same for over a quarter million years.

          When groups have a larger contact with other groups their technology changes because of the interchange of ideas. It is no wonder that most and fastest technological change occurs in cities where where there is a free flow of ideas. History is replete with stories of how people who were isolated were thought to be stupid because they didn’t have the technology of Rome or Athens or Baghdad, etc., but it wasn’t that they were stupid – they just hadn’t been exposed to the ideas flowing in the larger populations. The same with the Neanderthals.

    2. MLTPB

      Percentage of N genes is still quite small…

      Has that percentage been fairly constant over more than 40,000 years?

    3. ewmayer

      …except that C-viruses are a major component of “common cold” pathogens, and Neandertals were highly adapted to cold climates. The % N-DNA in modern humans is small, but a major part of it is several crucial genetic packets that boost survival in cold climates, which were lacked by the proto-modern humans migrating north out of Africa.

  12. jr

    The intelligence community’s catamites at NBC are now walking back the bounty fable while still Red baiting a mile a minute. You will all be shocked to learn that Russia has been pursuing its own goals in Afghanistan instead of capitulating to ours. They are not our “friends” in the region. This is apparently news, both in the immediate sense and from a historical perspective.

    The article also manages to admit that the evidence is “inconclusive” then goes on to provide ample opportunity for a bunch of professional baby killers to continue to support that claim…I’d call it “doublethink” but thinking is too generous of a term…

    1. Carolinian

      Latest MOA says that Adam Schiff and his staff had been briefed on the bounty accusation months ago but did nothing about it. The MOA post then speculates that Schiff or his staff may have been the “officials” cited by the NYT and Wapo as the source for the story. This is speculation, but more than plausible given that the actual intelligence agencies have been challenging the story ever since it came out.

      In other words it’s just more dossier style oppo fed to an all too willing press by the Dem opposition. One has to believe that the Gilded Age yellow press where every paper represented a political party or faction was at least more honest about what they were doing. Our modern day Hearsts are more than a bit sanctimonious. Time for Citizen Kane Two? It would doubtless be suppressed just as the first one was.

    2. Olga

      Even NYT is admitting there’s no proof –
      “What does a newspaper do when it publishes a supposed “bombshell” story and then discovers that, erm, there is actually zero evidence for it? Well, if you are the New York Times, it appears that you quietly bury a story admitting to this on page 19 – but make it so opaque that even the most diligent reader would be unlikely to make it to the last paragraph, which is where, ever so quietly, you make your confession.”
      But the main purpose of publishing such a story has been achieved… since most people only remember headlines, Russia continues to be the boogey man – mission accomplished!

      1. Carolinian

        Russia continues to be the boogey man

        Russia and Trump.

        100 years ago it was the “yellow peril.” Plus ca change…

        1. Olga

          Well, with the ‘China bad’ hysteria currently in vogue, we may just revert to the ‘yellow peril’ insanity. Déjà vu all over again… even where folks should know better.

      2. chuck roast

        They’re burying a bit deeper these days. I think that the Judith Miller walk-back was on page 16.

  13. Mr. Magoo

    Re: Trump’s Tulsa rally ‘likely’ source of virus surge

    Counting bumper stickers in the Covid-19 testing lines?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Isn’t there a major rally coming up to choose the Republican Presidential candidate i.e. Trump? If that is not for a coupla months, then maybe fewer people will want to attend as the pandemic hits harder between now and then.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Texas GOP “stood firm”, and let Sylvester Turner(mayor of Houston, prominent Texas Dem) take the blame….except that he, too, passed the buck(and the blame) to the “operator of the facility”.

        allows Texgop to continue to ride the hog they’ve shot full of meth(“cain’t make me wear a mask!”).
        this hog-riding is very similar to the Teabilly Phenomenon.
        In that instance, 30-40 years of constant yelling pushed the gop into a corner(the right wing crazy corner), from which they couldn’t accomplish the things they really wanted to(all that oligarchy stuff), without kow-towing to the extreme Right.
        They survived, of course, but i reckon all that led directly to trump, and circumscribed their freedom of movement regarding their real, long term objectives…the accomplishment of which was the reason to engineer and erect a Gladio-style pseudoarmy in the first place.

      2. marym

        Maybe not practical in summer heat/hurricane season, but now there’s this:
        “NEW: Republican officials are considering moving the main events of the Republican National Convention outdoors as coronavirus cases surge in Florida, two Republicans involved in the planning tell CNN. 11:15 AM · Jul 9, 2020”

        also this:
        “At least five Republican senators say they will not be attending the Republican National Convention next month in Jacksonville, Florida.”

  14. Wukchumni

    Is the antidote the celebrated jumping fraud of cavalier accounting, poised to strike?

  15. bmeisen

    Vanity Fair conflates in-person classrooms with what their elite-institutional informants call the “residential model”. Higher ed is in trouble in the US because elite institutions promolgate a neo-liberal, meritocratic fallacy to entrench their positions in what became a market once public institutions were compelled to compete. The “residential model” is a construct of the market leaders. In-person classrooms exist without it in systems that reject the “educational market” hoax and conceive of higher education as primarily a public good rather than a personal choice. The article at Vanity Fair misses this important distinction.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Residential model.” Jeez, who thinks this garbage up?

      “Residential model” is mckinseyite shit speak for blowing billions constructing luxury “dorms” and “world class” fitness facilities, and providing gourmet “meal plans” to attract $1.6 trillion in non-dischargeable “student” loan money from stupid teenagers who get their ideas about the college “experience” from olivia jade on instagram.

      The “residential model” deserved to go up in flames. If it took “the covid” to blow it up….well…..maybe it’s a dark clouds / silver linings kinda situation.

      1. Carolinian

        In Wizard of Oz they just give out the diploma, no infrastructure needed. I think the satirical point was made long ago.

      2. bmeisen

        If you don’t have a top football team you better have 3 pools.

        COVID is not an existential threat to education, be it high or low. It’s an existential threat to the scheme that charges 25k for an semester of tuition. Btw, under which item do they book the riding stable fees: tuition or room and board?

      3. Arizona Slim

        Here at the Arizona Slim Ranch, I’m watching the construction of not one, but two of those luxury student apartment towers.

        I’m of two minds on them.

        On one hand, they’re like giant vacuum cleaners that suck partying University of Arizona students out of neighborhoods like mine. On the other hand, they are way too darned expensive for the average student. It’s as if the developers are trying to take elitism and put it into a tower.

        Then there’s that infamous X Factor, aka COVID. There’s talk of how the UA will reopen this fall, but I think it’s just talk. Since the Evil Virus is enjoying our state so much, I don’t think the UA will be reopening anytime soon.

        Which means that if your business model depends on catering to the student market, you’re going to be in a world of hurt for quite some time to come.

        1. Aumua

          From my group project meeting yesterday, the U of A is likely not going to be opening for in-person classes in the fall, or it will be very limited if it does open. No idea what the plan is for the student dorms.

          As for the luxury apartment monstrosities, which I think suck the life out of the neighborhoods around the University, not just the ‘partying’ students… but I mean it’s not the students who are paying for that anyway. It’s their parents, and in many cases their foreign, wealthy parents. So I foresee a major collapse there as well.

          1. Arizona Slim

            I’m with you on the major collapse, Aumua. I can’t help thinking that a lot of those wealthy students won’t be back in Tucson anytime soon.

            As for the luxury apartment monstrosities, I live far enough away from them to *not* experience them looming over the Ranch. OTOH, I have heard that the rooftop parties can be heard up to a quarter mile away.

            What will happen to those monstrosities? I think that, in the coming years, they’ll become housing for UA faculty and staff, and people who work at the medical center.

      4. JWP

        Great take Katniss…
        Residential systems are starting to resemble an on campus caste system. Half our campus is luxury high townhouses and high rises while the other is draconian 50s dorms festering with mold to the point 2 kids have nearly died of complications in the last year. No coincidence Larry Culp’s kid lives in one of the nice ones and so do the International students paying 1.5x the tuition as the rest. Maybe just the school’s way of introducing sheltered college students to the infrastructure of inequality in the real world.

        P.S. the $15 million gym remodel is going to waste from COVID

        1. newcatty

          Don’t forget the wealthy parents who buy residential houses, townhouses, duplexes for the kids to live in while attending UofA, and I would imagine other colleges across the country. Usually they are nice places that will be easy to sell when “The market” is good. Sometimes even just breaking even is fine. Junior or junioress has a great place to live while away from home. Also! Parents have a place to stay for parents ‘ weekend or to attend a basketball game. Some of the parents are fine with the kids having a roommate to help pay the way. Most don’t take out any mortgages…pay cash. Kids all have nice cars, and parents glad to pay for ridiculous parking on or near campus. The other model is the Greek houses. Pretty much the same, but with well publicized fun and games. Some bros or sisters live off the row. The caste and class systems have been around for a very long time. Now, with the scary virus…

          Don’t some of the lux dorms rent out not per room, but per bed? How will that work? Like they have two to four beds in each “apartment”? Will there be dorms built, but no one can live there. Will there be college bars and restaurants and no one will go there. Will there be “storied” sports teams and will 4th Ave. still be cool. Can Tucson survive from DAFB, Raytheon and the service industries.. Will Tucson dry up and fly away.

          1. Arizona Slim

            Good points, newcatty. The retail vacancy signs are already starting to crop up on 4th Avenue.

            I’m also watching — with great interest — the 4th Avenue restaurant that’s owned by a couple of acquaintances. Place has been boarded up since the late May unrest. And now the board-up has a very attractive mural. Doesn’t strike me as a place that will reopen soon.

      5. juno mas

        So where do you put 18-25K students in a 75-80K college town? On campus. The universities simply saw the gouging the in-town landlords were perpetrating and decided to get on the gravy train. Modern campus design attempts to incorporate “Green” energy concepts: on-campus dorms/dining/shopping/entertainment to reduce travel time and transportation expenses.

        Not to say that higher education isn’t over-priced. It is. Student loans certainly add to the inflation. (Just like longterm home loans inflate house prices.)

  16. John

    Re: Biden anti-pot – I have begun to wonder if their aversion to marijuana legalization might stem from something like it making less vulnerable to manipulation and more prone to think your own thoughts. Not sure if that’s backed by science. But there has to be some reason beyond “morality” or fear because it just doesn’t make sense. They really don’t care about us enough for it to be about us. Maybe just big Pharma’s thumb?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s an excuse to arrest people. But Big Pharma, private prisons, alcohol, and the CIA and its drug trade don’t want free flowing marijuana. It cuts into everything for the powers that be.

      Legalizing pot, not merely decriminalizing pot raises the question of current prisoners, and Biden neither has the character or work ethic to consider this.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The important issue with pot is how much do you need and the moniker weed. It’s not hard to grow. There isnt a need for a tobacco sized industry. Grandma pot sellers can more or less serve the population outside of a few urban areas. The room to skim isnt there because any idiot can grow it.

      I think the pot tourism angle pulled people in but how long does that last?

      1. IMOR

        The fraud of commercialization in place of legalization/ decriminalization is that growers/suppliers and transactions outside the licensed / excise stamped system it enacts become illegal (as opposed to the five or ten plants you can raise for your own use). The cut and pasting of each state’s dui laws to include weed – 100% counter to anyone’s actual experience- is another reason not to support the Wall Street-based consumerist ‘legalization’ movement. Most all of the upside eas avail via the medical weed system(s). These ‘advocates’ and ‘legislators’ lacked the [fam blog ‘fortitude’] to take the one necessary step: allow procedes to be deposited in regular banking institutions. Pfeh. Hippies knew 50 years ago the system would never truly free weed. Notice it was 20 years of bringing hard liquor ads back to TV before booze industry was willing to get out of the way.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      i’ve thought about this for a while.
      Machine appears to be against Mind Expanders(pot, acid, shrooms, etc)
      but actually involved in the production and marketing(if in a hidden way) of Mind Shrinkers/Lizard Brain Drugs(CIA and Heroin(air america/afghanistan), CIA and crack(weakening a subset of pop. as well as justifying their targeting and incarceration, boosting the then-fading “reasons” for “keeping them in line” and segregated), cops and meth(even way out here, there’s been protection rackets and sheriffs with their beaks wet)

      prolly not all there is to it(weed/shrooms grow easily at home, making it difficult to maintain hydraulic despotism, for instance)…but i’m sure it plays a part in the thinking at the upper levels.
      can’t have too many open minds wandering around out here.
      Lizard Brain is much easier to manage.

      1. ShamanicFallout

        I agree- the drugs you mentioned as Mind Expanders usually come (and there is undoubtedly a scale here) with a pretty good vision of one’s conditioning. And this can come initially as a shock to a person, but it’s pretty clear that the structures of the Combine reflexively understand this as a problem and threat to their control. As Kesey said when he came out of the Stanford hallucinogen study in the early 60s, it was “the revolt of the guinea pigs”

    4. hunkerdown

      It’s a matter of record that Nixon’s pot and heroin bans were meant to create reasons to arrest the left and Blacks. The Democrat Party’s well to the right of Nixon today with their desire for bourgeois authoritarianism, so of course they’re on board.

    5. Aumua

      I think weed disrupts the normal thought process, which can be an asset or a liability, depending on your point of view. Maybe it can ‘make you less vulnerable to manipulation’, or maybe it just ‘makes you paranoid’. You might be thinking more of ‘your own thoughts’, or you might be thinking ‘the marijuana’s thoughts’. It can be hard to know what you really think, or feel when you regularly take a sledgehammer to your mental state.

      1. periol

        “Thinking ‘the marijuana’s thoughts'”

        That’s a new one for me. Can you give me more insight into the marijuana’s thought process?

        Anyways, it’s just not as bad as you seem to think, from your sledgehammer comment. For decades, I have had similar (but darker) thoughts about prozac and other similar pharmaceuticals. I will admit though, not everything works the same for everyone, and so weed isn’t or shouldn’t be for everyone. I had a friend who used to smoke and instantly fall asleep. Real downer for him and us when we hung out. So he just didn’t partake anymore, and all was chill.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I knew three brothers who lived together and played video games and watched sports all afternoon and night while passing multiple bongs around.
          I got my weed from them, so…to be al sociable/proper, and all…I’d hafta sit and toke with them.
          hard to then drive 100 miles out here,lol.
          I thought it a waste.
          one can only get so stoned.
          Conversely, productivity around the farm plummets when i’m low on weed.
          but i meter mine…maybe a joint per day if i’m working a lot…less at other times….brownies if there’s pain inducing weather and i must lay there and watch tv.
          some days, not at all.
          getting high is a welcome side effect.

        2. Aumua

          I speak from vast experience of getting high every way I possibly could for decades, to excess. Suffice it say I am an advanced user of mind altering substances, so much so that I don’t use them at all any more. And now that I have a little experience with the subtleties of my natural variations and cycles of feeling and thought, I can say that using any chemical to change those feelings is like a sledgehammer compared to the shades of my unaltered being.

          When you’re high, you are under the influence, and your feelings and thoughts are in some sense tied to the cycle of being high and coming down. It takes you for a ride.

          But my experience isn’t everyone’s experience, of course. And when it comes to weed, I think you’re right. It’s mostly harmless for some people, but there are others who really shouldn’t smoke it. But a lot do them do anyway, cause it’s just the thing to do.

          1. periol

            I do hear you. I just don’t find that your experiences match mine. And I have tried long periods of fasting from substances as well, but at the end of the day I decided it’s just not that big of a deal.

            There are lots of things besides “mind-altering substances” that impact our unaltered being.

        3. integer

          I had a friend who used to smoke and instantly fall asleep.

          Heh, I had a friend like that when I was in, er, high school.

    6. Kurt Sperry

      Biden’s antipathy to cannabis comes from the exact place that Trump’s does I think—being culturally stuck in the fifties. Many people who were young and impressionable then were programmed with the today extreme cultural conservatism of the period and simply cannot reconfigure their thinking to reflect current reality.

  17. Wukchumni

    Even prior to extended quarantines, lockdowns, and self-isolation, it was hard to imagine life without the electronic escapes of noise-cancelling earbuds, smartphones, and tablets. Today, it seems impossible. Of course, there was most certainly a before and after, a point around which the cultural gravity of our plugged-in-yet-tuned-out modern lives shifted. Its name is Walkman, and it was invented, in Japan, in 1979. After the Walkman arrived on American shores, in June of 1980, under the temporary name of Soundabout, our days would never be the same.

    Up to this point, music was primarily a shared experience: families huddling around furniture-sized Philcos; teens blasting tunes from automobiles or sock-hopping to transistor radios; the bar-room juke; break-dancers popping and locking to the sonic backdrop of a boom box. After the Walkman, music could be silence to all but the listener, cocooned within a personal soundscape, which spooled on analog cassette tape. The effect was shocking even to its creators. “Everyone knows what headphones sound like today,” the late Sony designer Yasuo Kuroki wrote in a Japanese-language memoir, from 1990. “But at the time, you couldn’t even imagine it, and then suddenly Beethoven’s Fifth is hammering between your ears.”

    Bought my first Walkman in 1981 and this would’ve been when I started doing extensive travelling around the world, and I had around 20 cassette tapes, it was quite something in an age when music really mattered the most. They were belt drive I think, and I had to get it repaired once for I used it all the time, and then one day on an Athens to Belgrade 24 hour ‘express’ train that took 52 hours, the thing was dying on me-as in kaput, while across the aisle was a Yugoslav guy in his early 20’s with an insurmountable language gap and a longing for my Walkman, as just having it would make him the coolest cat from Skopje no doubt, but how to express I want to make a sale, but i’m selling a broken item that doesn’t work?

    He fans out a dozen Dinara banknotes in his hand, as I point towards the Walkman and indicate by a gesture of slitting my throat and pointing to it, that it doesn’t work, and take around $25 of his money and give it to him, and he smiles like somebody that just pulled one over on me.

    The desire to have western goods was such, that I noticed a number of young Jugoslavs wearing t-shirts with English written on them, and it could say “I had sex with your mother” and nobody would’ve known what it meant, but you were cool.

    About a decade ago, they drained Shaver Lake in the Sierra above Fresno to do maintenance work, and talking to one of the workers we met at a local restaurant, I asked him what they were finding on the bottom in the muck, and he told me Walkmans were the commonest artifact.

      1. Milton

        Stolen, er, influenced greatly, by Alstraltune. I bought the knockoff in ’79 and it changed my outdoor life. Placed next to a bota bag filled with apple schnapps, this portable stereo system enhanced my skiing sessions like nothing I’d experienced before (until mushrooms a few years later).

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I grew up in the 80’s and got one for xmas, but didn’t like it.
      my Old Soulism manifests as a 70’s Guy…Hi-Fi, big speakers, all that.
      so that’s what i have…speakers all through the trees, with an a/b/c/d switch here in my room for the several lines(all mono, too,lol)
      the boys have their phones, and the ear buds…(had the little barrel speakers for a time and wife and i would use those for date-afternoons in the golf cart, but the battery life sucked).
      I’ve thought about the perhaps unnoticed differences there….private music vs shared music, etc.
      but now they all have these larger versions of those barrel speakers that their phone hooks in to somehow…waterproof, long battery life…
      so i guess things come and go, and we’re just reinventing various wheels as we go along.

  18. DJG

    From the article about how corporate snowflakes American Airlines and United Airlines don’t want to conform to Hong Kong regulations. Because, like all U.S. businesses, they just don’t have to.

    And the last paragraph:
    “Separately, United announced on Wednesday it could lay-off around 36,000 staff, or two-fifths of its workforce, as soon as financial aid from the United States government expires.”

    And then there’s Boeing. I suspect that we have just seen the U.S. airlines and U.S. airplane manufacturers turn into buggy-whip factories. I don’t see a way out for businesses based on overcrowding, bad service (but I do like the tiny packet of Biscoff cookies, although not enough to fly), environmental degradation, and unsanitary facilities.

    Too bad about that “creative destruction” stuff.

    1. anon in so cal

      The *only* airline to take to Hong Kong is Cathay Pacific. Orders of magnitude better, on every level. AA and UA are at the bottom of the list.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Why India and Russia Are Going to Stay Friends”

    There is another reason for the Indians to stay friends with Russia and that is because of what happened with US Task Force 74. Back during the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, a US and British fleet sailed towards India to get India to stop the war. In fact, the US Admiral had permission to strike the Indian Army with air strikes if he wanted to. But then a Russian fleet turned up which made this option impossible for the two fleets allowing India to complete its war. The link below gives the story in full with fascinating phone call transcripts between Nixon and Kissinger-

    1. HotFlash

      Thank you, Rev Kev, I did not know that! I will file that as another interesting episode of Untold History, right next to the Gough Whitlam folder.

    2. Olga

      Thanks! According to various reports, Modi has a couple of pro-US advisers, who are pushing him to align with the US. Very unwise – hope they see that before it is too late.
      This piece –
      should be read together with today’s link to ‘Territorial nationalism a dead end for Modi Asia Times.’
      Both clarify important points about the conflict (in addition to
      Dangerous times we line in.

      1. The Rev Kev

        If Trump is pushing India into getting into a fight with China, I hope that Modi has studied geography. If so, he would remember that India has a 4,056 kilometer (2,520 mile) long border with China while the US has a 0 kilometer (0 miles) border with China. Sort of like Trump saying to Modi lets you and him fight.

  20. Carolinian

    Re Vice on traffic enforcement–this article seems to be a typical example of our current “to a hammer everything looks like a nail” reporting. The article says that the origins of police discretion re traffic tickets is white privilege and that’s the only thing preventing a switch to stoplight cameras and other robot methods of issuing citations.

    I’d suggest though that the people who hate these things are mostly mad because they see them as a sneaky way for cities to raise money. There’s also the resistance to driving laws in general by all the public (the article does admit that much). Doubtless one source of the American love affair with the car is the autonomy it gives us. People read On the Road and chuckle–rather than cluck with disapproval–as Kerouac speeds across the continent in his Hudson. The Fast and Furious movies are very popular not to mention just about every improbable car chase in any H’wood film.

    And that cop discretion doesn’t just work against African Americans. If you are a pretty woman that may help to get off or if you are someone famous or a leading politician. There was a case here a few years back where the Lieutenant Governor got a speeding ticket and expressed outrage that he wasn’t given a pass.

    Unequal enforcement of the law is a problem but one that extends across our society in general and not just when we are in our cars. We should address that problem directly and not by expensively putting cameras at every intersection (or controversially picking and choosing the spots)–private contractors no doubt taking their cut. The public dislike these things for a variety of reasons. It’s doubtful that racism is at the top of the list.

    1. newcatty

      A pretty woman…back in the day I was what most Americans would classify as a pretty or nice looking woman. One of the scariest moments I had was driving home from the large city to my out of the way small town. For an important reason, related to needed therapy for our child, I made the 2 hour trek, one way, to the city. It was always an afternoon appointment. Once in a while would spend night and husband would get a ride to join us.

      One afternoon, about 4:00, I was driving on the highway home. I was often alone on the road. My kid usually fell asleep in backseat. I listened to the radio or a cassette. I always drived right at speed limit. Liked to have control and it was fast enough for me. All of a sudden a cop came out of nowhere( think it was prob a sheriff) and pulls up next to me and motions me over. I do so and wait for an explanation. He just stares at me for awhile as I roll down my window. I say: is there a problem? He grins and says, oh no. Here you are all by yourself on this road. No kidding he looked like a young guy from central casting dressed up like a cowboy. I could feel my spidy sense tingling. I said, oh, no. I am not alone, my child is asleep in back of car. He leans in my open window and confirms my kid is there. Kid is still sound asleep. I say, she is really tired and I need to get her home. Sure, he says. I then say, oh, we know lots of drivers from our town who commute for work on this road. He grimaced. Well, just wanted to be sure you are safe. Grins again. Gives me his business card. Says if you ever want any thing, you just call me. I say nothing. He finally stands up and slowly walks back to his car. I watch him drive off. I shakily start my car and hit the road, again. Did not have a phone then. The appointments were essential. My husband started to take some days of his vacation to come with us. Sometimes a friend would come for the day. I don’t know what would have happened if my child had not been with me. I made a few more trips by myself, never saw the cop again.

  21. chuck roast

    Afghanistan: What is to be Done?

    What was a reasonably good analysis in The Nation of the continuing Afghanistan debacle, ends with this…
    “…we need to pay more attention to possible Russian actions against the 50 separate electoral systems in the U.S. presidential election of 2020.”

    Clearly, everybody at The Nation got the Russiagate memo. Interesting that vanden Huevel, the publisher, is married to Stephen F. Cohen the most lucid and rational voice on Russian affairs that I am aware of. Cohen would have debunked this nonsense years ago. The two of them must have some interesting conversations over the breakfast table while reading the NYT agit-prop.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Answer to the headline question: nothing. If the Afghan “war” didn’t exist, it would have to be invented.

      The “opportunities” provided by that “war” have been many and varied. That wretched piece of real estate is a base from which to perpetually taunt Russia, a farm on which to breed torture experimentation subjects, and a proving ground for weapons “innovation.” (Remember the MOAB?) All manner of justifications for further military interventions sprout in Afghanistan’s “fertile” soil.

      Military heavyweights earn promotions and fatten their retirement, and pad their resumes for second careers as MIC lobbyists and consultants there. Budding politicians manufacture campaign “street cred” there.

      I’m sure a hefty chunk of the $22 trillion the pentagon “can’t account for” could be “accounted for” there.

      Not to mention the poppy fields which provide the raw materials for the international drug trade and the myriad of “industries” its profits support.

      Lastly there’s always a market for the random, anonymously sourced, Afghanistan-referencing political hit jobs that can be manufactured at a moment’s notice to nurture or revive a lackluster political campaign. Like the current “bounty” bs.

      Like I said, if the Afghan “war” didn’t exist, it would have to be invented. An awful lot of people’s lives and fortunes depend on it

      1. Olga

        A gift that keeps on giving… except, of course, those poh’ US soldiers, who pay the price of empire maintenance. Maybe one will write ‘Afghani Days’ one of these days… (i.e., an allusion to Burmese Days).

  22. YankeeFrank

    W/ regard to yesterday’s water cooler on the Epstein affair — any discussion of the Jeffrey Epstein/Ghislaine Maxwell story that fails to point out Whitney Webb’s reporting is missing out. Not sure if Webb’s reporting has been linked to here on NC but just in case it hasn’t, her reporting is at thelastamericanvagabond and well worth checking out.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “COVID-19: Many People Stay Sick After Recovering From Coronavirus”

    This is very disturbing this. About 1 in 10 is high enough but what happens when people go for a second bout with this virus? I read some guy joke a few months ago that all the kids born about now will be called “Caronnials” but this article brings up another possibility. It may turn out to be that so many people get damaged permanently by this virus that, as people talk about “The Lost Generation” that came of age during WW1, that we may have a “Broken Generation” of those that live during the time of the present pandemic.

    1. martell

      It’s unclear from the article what “1 in 10” means. Is that 1 in 10 infected, or 1 in 10 cases? The distinction is important because many of those infected are asymptomatic, do not seek care, and thus do not count for cases.

      It is worth noting that “sick” in this context means things like headache, fatigue, and diarrhea. Some people also suffer from a range of cognitive impairments, though the severe cases seem to be infrequent and age dependent. “Long-term” means more than 30 days. It is also worth noting that it is unclear whether these persisting problems are caused by the virus itself or are instead the results of an autoimmune disorder triggered by the infection.

  24. flora

    re: Brooks Brothers files for bankruptcy, seeks buyer, closes stores – CNBC

    :.( Brooks has/had a wonderful line of womens business wear.

    1. flora

      adding: even in the 1980’s, when women were first entering in large numbers formerly all-male dominated industries like law and finance, Brooks’ womens wear never tried to make womens business wear look like some junior male executive by, for example, using shoulder pads “out to there!”, unlike so many other off-the-rack clothiers back then. Brooks never fell into the it-has-to-look-oversized-to-be-taken-seriously in its womens line.

      Very sad to see Blackstone’s name in the list of “rescuers”.

      In the past 10 years the one complaint I’ve read consistantly on Brooks feedback pages is that Brooks was going for the size 6-10 market, which mature women generally don’t fit.

  25. flora

    re: ThiefQuest Ransomware for the Mac – Bruce Schneier

    Torrent downloaders are notorious for security holes and deliberate compromises built into the torrent app by default: like invisibly taking space on your pc’s storage for other torrent users to use, but hidden from you. I know of people getting DMCA take down letters for having movies on their computers they did not put there, for example. (At one point the fed gov was using torrent downloaders because torrent is very fast. oy.)

    1. flora

      adding: someone else remotely accessing and storing data on your computer in a hidden file they/torrent creates that you do not see and cannot access can lead to all sorts of legal complications. Saying ‘I didn’t put this file here. I didn’t know this file was here.’ could well be true, but how do you prove it?

      If the worst that happens is someone storing a copy of innocuous intertainment like the move “Mary Poppins” on your pc, that’s not too bad. But what if they store something not so innocuous?

      1. Aumua

        tl;dr, use a VPN. $3/month = no problems. Hypothetically. If hackers are using your computer to d/l files surreptitiously then you have bigger problems than bittorrent. If you’re concerned about compromised clients then use one of the many free and open source clients.

      2. ambrit

        This method can be, and is, used to frame people for child pornography.
        Put some incriminating evidence on someone’s computer, then raid the person, “find” the offending files on their computer and charge them with what is a really fearsome crime to be accused of. Prisoners are notoriously harsh with kiddie molesters and porn convicts.

          1. flora

            adding: I know someone who was fired from his public service job for having XXXXX (how many X’s are there?) movie on his office pc and getting a DMCA take down notice that went to the administration. He swore he did not download the porn movie, that he only torrent downloaded data for his work. I believed him, but the public agency couldn’t run the risk of political fallout for an employee having X4 data on its public agency computer puchased with public funds. He was fired. I understand the box the admin was in and agreed with their decision, even though I believed this fellow might well have been completely innocent of intent. But there was no way to prove he *hadn’t* deliberately downloaded the movie onto his work computer. Very bad situation all the way around.

            1. ambrit

              I knew a fellow in the New Orleans area, not a friend so much as an ex-university acquaintance, who was a closet gay for social and employment reasons.
              He gets busted for kiddy porn. He denies any culpability. He ends up doing time in State prison for it. Entire career and social life ruined. (I saw him later and he was, seriously, a shadow of his former self. He was, oddly enough, happy that I acknowledged him, though we had not been friends. He continued to claim innocence ever after.) At the time, I discussed the case with another person who knew him well. We agreed that he was not a paedophile personality. The possession of kiddy porn was out of character for him.
              What I gathered from that second hand experience is that the Powers prefer to smash down on helpless victims. My lesson from this was to never fold up and play dead. Being seen as harmless seems to increase ‘official’ oppression. Such behaviour is the hallmark of a bully.

  26. Pat

    My cynical take on marijuana is that removing marijuana from the War on Drugs makes it clear how much of boondoggle that so-called war is. Sure it makes minorities a target and provides fodder for the private prison system which are wins for our leading politicians but those “agreements” are disposable and vulnerable to public opinion. Not disposable is that it also distracts from the big money distribution of other drugs. Distribution that our government encourages and uses and which provides lots of off the books for funding.

    Which is why it is rare for a candidate with ambitions for high office is a honest advocate for marijuana reform.

    1. Mr. House

      Don’t forget the rumors that alot of the CIA’s money comes from the drug trade. Keeping it illegal insures higher profits.

  27. Matthew G. Saroff

    Anyone know how to get an RSS feed for The Far Side?

    That’s how I read my regularly updated stuff.

    1. Carolinian

      Apparently not unless you use a screen scraper dyi solution (which I’m certainly not recommending). But this idea comes up on DuckDuckGo.

  28. McWatt

    Does anyone know what is happening with Bill Black? Haven’t seen anything by him in a while.

    Have I missed something?

    1. Pookah Harvey

      Black did a podcast with Paul Jay at Jay’s new website on June 8 . Jay started his website after his defenestration at The Real News Network, apparently at the hands of a wealthy donor. Many of the interesting people that were on TRNN are interviewed by Jay at the site, Larry Wilkerson, Max Blumenthal, Michael Hudson, Bill Black.
      Here’s the Black interview link:

        1. hunkerdown

          Or, as noted above, not interfering with the wife’s very important state business.

  29. Laputan

    RE: How Narcissistic Leaders Destroy from Within

    So, in sum, leaders tend to be bad people but we can smoke them out before they ever obtain positions of power by…using background checks? Thus the perspicacity of management schools, pointing out what everyone already knows and then offering a non-solution solution.

    I’ve got a better idea: why don’t we limit the power these sociopaths can achieve instead of relying on an outmoded, thoroughly debunked great man theory of institutional governance?

    1. The Historian


      Even Machiavelli in his lesser known book: “Discourses on Livy”, talks about why he thinks government structures where people come together to rule themselves, i.e., diffused power, make better decisions than Princes do..

  30. Code Name D

    It would appear that Trumps chances in the election are indeed slipping, and that his decaying electoral numbers is not just an elusion generated by the media. But this still forces me to ask, how can Joe possibly snatch defeat from the certain jaws of victory. So here is a lit of possibilities with how things could go monstrously wrong – again.

    First, Joe will run on the wrong issues. And completely ignore the pressing issues of the day. So, the collapsing economy, and the Covid disasters will be ignored completely. Instead, Joe will run on “the threat from Rusha,” and Trumps violations of “norms and guard rails,” and other alleged conspiracy theories.

    He will avoid dealing with Trumps response to Covid, which he should be hung for (And I am increasingly thinking he needed to be removed from office before he doses too much more damage.) I don’t think Trump; the incompetence can win in November. But Trump; the victim of political persecution, might be another story. It might even give him cover for Covid if he gets to blame his failures into the Democrats somehow.

    Second, Joe will likely trip over his own arrogance. Just like Hillary, he will fail to notice the rigging of the primary and simply assume he won because of his own brilliance. He will run on extremely unpopular neo-liberal policies will be front and center of his campaign in the delusion fantasy that these polices are precisely what people want. Things such as restarting TPP negotiations and restoring favored trade status with China. Another old item on his bucket list will be “reforming” Social Security. Joe will also probably continue to tout the “successes” of Obamacare and promote long sought after “reforms” in a futile attempt to shore up the program.

    Third, the totalitarian trends under the new Democratic regime to be usurer in under a potential Biden administration could see early manifestations in the campaign. We are already seeing worrisome signs as the tech companies begin giant purge campaigns to remove “wrong think” from the landscape. Imagine the Hill-bots with real power to get you purged from social media and even result in your firing or disbarment from employment or education. Joe could tap in and try to use these trends to boots his electoral odds.

    Forth, Joe simply runs a bad campaign. Just like how Hillary did. This is usually the argument I hang my hat on. High level Democratic campaigns are brimming with social con artists that bank on their connections and loyalty, often in the face of blatant incompetence. Worse yet is that this kind of leadership tends to suppress real competency displayed from the lower ranks, preventing a functional campaign. And with Russia-gate mania so prevalent, incompetent leadership will be even further emboldened.

    As bad as Trump is, and as far as numbers are, let’s not kid ourselves Joe could still blow this.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Fourth, Joe simply runs a bad campaign.

      Besides energy going to direct action and immediate Covid concerns, who wants to register voters at all, the eviction crisis is coming. College kids when there might be a shut down. Where are they registered especially if outside organizations and congregation events are frowned upon?

      Biden doesn’t have state directors (he may now), but every state is going to be a mess. The Sanders field organizers are griping about the lack of organizational help, but Team Blue more or less wins and loses based on whether they organize or not. A once in a century pandemic might change things, but how does this affect downballot races? The “brains” behind the Lincoln Project has already been exposed as a guy who said this:

      Give me a gun. Put me in Darren Wilson’s shoes. I’d have shot Mike Brown right in his face. -Ben Howe of Project Lincoln. Long Live the #resistance. They won’t use french because they are those quacks from the 00’s.

      Since this is how they speak normally, we can make assumptions about liberals with Republican friends. Will a Republican who votes for Biden vote Republican down ticket? The support for Biden from the older cohort doesn’t seem to be anti-Republican, just specifically Trump because people can’t deal with the empire falling apart.

    2. Glen

      Trump isn’t attacking Biden for being a neoliberal like he did Clinton. I suspect it is because Trump is a neoliberal too.

      Alas poor Trump subsumed in the DC swamp he ran against in 2016. He’s been busy passing giant tax cuts for the rich, bailing out corporations with trillions, and smashing millions of small business. Too bad he turned out to be just like every other Republican.

      But the upside is Mexico may pay for the wall to keep all those sick Americans out of their country.

    3. Aumua

      Fifth, some combination of Joe’s worsening dementia, bizarre outbursts or pathological compulsion to paw at and smell young girls becomes too great to ignore.

  31. Carolinian

    Dean Baker on drug patents

    There is no reason that the government can’t simply make it a condition of the funding that all research findings are fully open and that any patents will be in the public domain so that any vaccines will be available as a cheap generic from the day it comes on the market. Not only does this ensure that a vaccine will be affordable, it will likely mean more rapid progress since all researchers will be able to immediately learn from the success or failures of other researchers.

    It is amazing that this obvious route is not being considered in public debate. Government-granted patent and copyright monopolies are one of the main ways in which we generate inequality. Bill Gates would still be working for a living without them.

    Yes it’s so obvious that it must be suppressed utterly. Intellectual property is the ultimate rice bowl for our ten percent.

  32. sam

    Re Trump’s Tulsa rally and coronavirus: Trump is an idiot and that rally was a stupid idea (both politically and as a matter of public health) but it was not the only potentially risky political gathering in the past weeks. For some reason there has not been much discussion of possible COVID transmission resulting from the much better attended BLM protests, notwithstanding the seeming correlation with the recent increase in confirmed cases. See

    1. marym

      The link discusses people with expertise or influence being prejudiced in linking their moral assessment of the purpose of a gathering with their risk assessment. The people quoted seem to be grappling with this, as we all should. It specifically states:

      “There is as of yet no firm evidence that protests against police violence led to noticeable spikes in infection rates.”

      I’ve been collecting links to assessments of BLM protests from different cities. In some cases there was testing set up for specifically for protesters, or people being tested were asked to confirm whether they participated in a large gathering. In other cases, it was a matter of drawing conclusions from general data. There was little to no correlation, in most cases. In NYC and Chicago, for example, where there were a lot of protests, case numbers have been going down. I did see some reports of infection among the cops.

      As far as Tulsa, I think there was minimal BLM protest on the day of the rally. The large outdoor gathering was Trump supporters, mostly maskless, waiting in line. The report in today’s links doesn’t tie the new cases specifically to attendees at the outdoor gatherings or the indoor rally, just the general timing.

      Links I previously posted in comments were from late June/early July. Here’s a recent summaries of protest and church gatherings.
      “More than 650 coronavirus cases have been linked to nearly 40 churches and religious events across the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, with many of them erupting over the last month as Americans resumed their pre-pandemic activities, according to a New York Times database.”

      In my opinion, it’s important to understand the relative risks of indoor/outdoor and masks/no masks, and to be aware of our prejudices in regard to the nature of the activity being assessed.

    2. flora

      I’m trying to imagine what cancel-culture would do to scientists who published papers showing a connection between large BLM gatherings, tear gas, and increases in C-19. Much safer to blame the bars opening and beaches opening or large religious gatherings. /not really a snark. A health crisis has been politicized by both ‘sides’ in both public health response and in journalism reporting. ugh.

      1. caucus99percenter

        There are reasons to be extremely pessimistic that any notion of academic freedom of inquiry would protect them. It appears Stephen Hsu was forced out at Michigan State solely because people found his conclusions unattractive and inconvenient in the current political climate.

    3. Mr. House

      On that line of thought, the media is claiming that outside transmission isn’t as bad, so the protestors were ok. Plus they all had masks or so they claim. Using that reasoning i think outdoor summer concerts should be allowed.

  33. anon in so cal

    >Covid and schools

    Israel had been doing well with suppressing Covid, until recently. This Tuesday, Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, the head of the nation’s public health service, resigned.

    ““Israel is heading to a dangerous place,” she wrote in an 8,000-word indictment of the government’s failure to prepare in any way for a resurgence of illness.

    “Despite systematic and repeated warnings through various channels, and discussions in several forums, we are watching with frustration as the hourglass of opportunities runs low,” she warned.

    “I have come to the conclusion that in the newly created conditions under which my professional opinion is not accepted—I can no longer help to effectively cope with the spread of the virus.”

    ….During the six wasted weeks, the period singled out by Sadetzki, schools were chaotically reopened and then, as infections soared, re-shuttered. Parents were unable to foresee reentering the workforce. The public was instructed to wear masks—but no system of enforcement was put into place….

    “On Tuesday, in testimony to the Israeli parliament, Dr. Udi Kliner, Sadetzki’s deputy, reported that *schools*

    —not restaurants or gyms—turned out to be the country’s worst mega-infectors.”

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      we’ve been dealing with this issue on the farm.
      eldest moved in to the Library/Trailerhouse, because he’d finally accepted that his first semester “away” at college was off, and he’d be doing it on-line, instead.
      then wife watches a video put out by the college…and reverted to the Bargaining Phase: “well, they’ve got lots of things they’re doing to stay safe, so maybe…”
      This, while being mad as hell about her own public high school’s opening plans.
      Pure psychology, there…like putting the sugary cereal at 5 year old’s eye level.
      But it’s harmful to my boy…teasing, even.
      so we had a row, she and i…and i talked at length with him on the way to and from the hardware store.
      he’s angry, of course…more surly than yesterday.
      he says he’s not mad at us, but at everything.
      all the conflicting messages, from every possible direction, are as if calculated to cause just this sort of intrafamilial conflict.

      cousin…at large in the world for the last month and a half…has also reverted…to Denial. This, due to fox news and the sort of Libertardians he runs around with. says the whole thing is a scam….”it’s not even as bad as the flu!”…the intellectual gains he made from being locked down with me for 3 months all gone, eaten away like apple tree bark by the grasshoppers of our current, diseased, political economy.
      and of course, he plays fortnight online with both my boys,lol.
      so i must inoculate them against this vector of confusion and chest thumping, as well.

      We, as a society, were already enjoying an exponentially growing set of interlocking crises of legitimacy before all this mess.
      It was bad enough when the seriousness of that illegitimacy was growing along a sort of well defined upward curve…now, it’s gone vertical.

      Eldest says he accepts my veracity as a prophet of doom…admits that i’ve been right about more than i’ve been wrong about.
      and his Minor is to be Psychology, so he understands the Stages of Grief(I’ve used this for decades when going on about Doom)

      I’m just tired…weary of filling the role of bad guy, laying down the law, and laying out the depressing truth…again and again…
      it ain’t getting any better, any time soon.
      the Acceptance Phase is not exactly comfortable, i admit…but it allows a certain kind of freedom to move forward, by considering the unpleasant reality as Read.

      1. anon in so cal

        Thing are dire. I hope you all stay safe and your wife does not have to go back to the classroom until things are under control—which is looking as though it won’t be any time in the foreseeable future.

      2. ChrisPacific

        Your boy has an absolute right to be mad at the things he is (as I’m sure you know). I would be too if I was in his position.

    2. a different chris

      >Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, the head of the nation’s public health service, resigned.

      But we have Dr. Fauci, who just stays on and stays on and stays on. We now know exactly how he got to his “station”.

      There are actual gonads, and then there are “balls”. Funny how it lines up in this case.

  34. Ignacio

    RE: As coronavirus surges, Houston confronts its hidden toll: People dying at home NBC (furzy)

    This is atrocious. In the society of hyper-connectedness and (mis)information there are still people that cannot figure out Covid-19 as a possible cause of certain symptoms or simply as a risk.

  35. John Beech

    Police Unions Wield Massive Power in American Politics — For Now Rolling Stone

    Whilst boarding a flight you notice several young dark eyed men wearing beautifully flowing white robes, chattering away in Arabic through heavy beards? If you’re concerned, are you racist or is this perfectly justifiable in light of 9/11? Similarly, we live in a world where blacks males (~7% of the population) are responsible for ~50% of all homicides. Are our police racist for being spring-loaded around black men? Make no mistake – I do not – condone the behavior of the animals who murdered George Floyd. However, neither am I so reflexively Polyannaish in my outlook that I’m surprised police officers are human. So what can we ‘do’ about it? Honestly, I feel a good start would surely include decriminalization of the good paying ‘professions’ open to inner city youth, e.g. drug dealing, prostitution, etc. After all, surely it’s harder for crime to get a toehold when we’re not busy minding other people’s business. However, as long as Mrs. Grundy dictates we will mind other people’s business, then this will continue to be the result. Put another way, it strikes me like we want the black man under our thumb. Me? I wish it weren’t so.

  36. a different chris

    Oh god I just read the Cancel Culture letter — let me go off and vomit first — ok:

    censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.

    Wasn’t that sort of behavior like 50% of the Harry Potter books?…and Voldemort didn’t seem to ever have a good side. But ok, not gonna pick on JK (haha like I could)

    …But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.

    Yeah that’s so good… oh you mean that’s bad? Lil’ wimmen, “the Blacks” should just shut up until they get their considered and researched views into the appropriate journal? I grew up being told that if you got punched in the face you did, at some level, something to deserve it. And if you threw the first punch, you got no sympathy at all. And thems was the rules was when I was like 8 years old. Oh well.

    More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms.

    Here’s a thought – if these “institutional leaders” are doing the wrong things, then maybe they just suck at their job? You got two choices, signatories, either they like you are “the best of the best” and are handling this correctly, or they, like you are just lucky Powerball-of-life winners and are Peter Principled well above their station. Pick one.

    Editors are fired for running controversial pieces;

    Glass floor, much? How many leftys can’t even get a job in the newspaper business, let alone become editors because an editors job is mostly to suck up to right wing owners? Getting fired is a part of life for most people. If the piece is so important it needs to run, then do it after making sure your Rolodex is up-to-date. But don’t cry about it.

    books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity;

    Well glory be. It was so good back in the days when white males wrote everything about everything.

    journalists are barred from writing on certain topics;

    Yeah the right-wing nutbars running the Post Gazette wouldn’t let black reporters cover a story because…they were black. Oh, that’s not what you were talking about?

    professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study;

    Here we go with the professors again. You know, most of the world is *not* involved in Higher Education?Jesus get over yourself. And again, if you raise sucky people to the top of the pile then don’t be surprised if sucky things happen to the slightly-less privileged people below them. The problem is not Cancel Culture, it’s again either useless people who won’t push back or smart people who realize the problem stated is, actually, a problem.

    and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes.

    Yeah, um, they get paid the Big Bucks not to make “clumsy mistakes”. Wow. Just wow. Anybody signatories ready to jump on a 737Max? I bet not.

    1. periol

      A bunch of snowflakes wrote this letter. My entire life I have believed that America was a terrible place, still stuck in apartheid after fighting a civil war over slavery and genociding the indigenous population. Don’t even get me started on the nightmare corporate wasteland we’ve created. My “employability” for the most part has depended on me keeping my opinions on these things to myself.

      America has only ever had freedom of speech for those with $$$.

  37. Maritimer

    Oregon to officially vote on legalizing psychedelic psilocybin therapy New Atlas (David L)

    One economic argument is that this will be a great stimulus for the Sasquatch Sighting Industry. Ommmmmmmmm, it should also lead to Greater Awareness and Total Comprehension of Modern Monetary Theory.

  38. ewmayer

    This is actually a Links discussion yesterday – was too busy to read Links all day, just caught on yesterday’s installment today. Grumpy Engineer expressed extreme skepticism of a study, “catching and killing of airborne SARS-CoV-2 to control spread of COVID-19 by a heated air disinfection system“, based on the high energy consumption that would be needed, first to heat the air, then an A/C cycle to cool it back down. The idea seems especially daft in light of the fact that there are far more efficient ways of doing such fine-particle removal from gas streams. In particular, electrostatic precipitators, such as used to remove pollutants from industrial emissions. Wikipedia:

    An electrostatic precipitator (ESP) is a filtration device that removes fine particles, like dust and smoke, from a flowing gas using the force of an induced electrostatic charge minimally impeding the flow of gases through the unit.

    In contrast to wet scrubbers, which apply energy directly to the flowing fluid medium, an ESP applies energy only to the particulate matter being collected and therefore is very efficient in its consumption of energy (in the form of electricity).

  39. Jeremy Grimm

    “Why Is Glass Rigid? …”: I don’t understand how DeepMind’s neural network analysis of the way the constituents of glass migrate explains ‘why’ glass is rigid. How do computer modeling and neural network analysis of a virtual cube of glass comprising 4,096 molecules, simulating the evolution of the molecules based on 400 unique starting positions at various temperatures, and computing the particles’ propensities in each case explain anything? [propensity: how much a set of molecules is likely to have moved by some specific time in the future, given their current positions]

    I suppose the model calculations and neural network analysis might verify in some sense that the forces between the glass molecules are correctly modeled, trusting that the simulated temperature where a glass transition occurs in the model matches that measured for an actual glass composition. The model might be useful as a tool for exploring the melting temperatures and viscosities of different glass compositions at different temperatures — but this didn’t seem to be the matter of interest to this link or the study it reported on.

    The two embedded statements from the glass scientists are cryptic and I don’t see how they are related to the reported DeepMind findings.
    “He [Peter Harrowell] said the new work “makes a stronger case” than ever before that in glass, “structure somehow encodes for the dynamics,” and so glass isn’t as disordered as a liquid after all.”
    “Peter Wolynes, a glass expert at Rice University, said that the correlation length learned by the machine provides evidence that materials “approach a thermodynamic phase transition” as they become glassy.”

    The first statement sounds to me as if some questions of entropy are at issue for explaining the properties of glass[?]. The second statement rings of a tautology of sorts. What is ‘glassy’ if not a phase transition?

    Maybe someone who knows more physics than I do can explain what this link is about. This link has me flummoxed.

  40. Alice X

    Marx, in the The German Ideology: link at marxists dot org, wrote of the alienation of labor from its product.

    His future thinking should be understood from that start.

    Lenin did not know of that work and clearly did not understand its import.

    1. Alice X

      And I should add, that under capitalism, the amelioration of said alienation proposes to come in the form of money, which is an illusory thing.

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