Links 8/10/2020

Wildlife forensics: how a giant pangolin named Ghost could help save the species Guardian (furzy)

Italian valley still in ‘red zone’ as Mont Blanc glacier threatens collapse Phys.org (chuck l)

Brent Scowcroft RIP: He Risked A Friend To Reject The Iraq War American Conservative

Ecological disaster as Japanese carrier spills 1,000 tonnes of crude oil on pristine beaches of Mauritius – as country’s leader warns cracks in the ship are growing and they fear it could break in half Daily Mail

How falling solar costs have renewed clean hydrogen hopes MIT Technology Review

ATOMIC BOMBINGS AT 75: My Father Was to Invade Japan; He Did Not Feel Saved By the Bomb Consortium News

Opposition in Belarus says Lukashenko’s re-election win is illegitimate Reuters

#COVID-19

NURSING HOME MAGNATE COZIED UP TO TRUMP AS DEATHS ROSE IN HIS FACILITIES Intercept (MCC)

HS that suspended teen who tweeted photo of hallway has 9 COVID-19 cases Ars Technica

Pharma is showering Congress with cash, even as drug makers race to fight the coronavirus Stat

Banks braced as pandemic poses biggest test since financial crisis FT

US tops 5 million confirmed virus cases, to Europe’s alarm AP

School year like no other launches with chaos coast to coast Houston Chronicle

Coronavirus data failures add to California’s struggle to deal with pandemic LA Times

At sunny Saint-Tropez, the party crowd brings champagne — and the coronavirus WaPo

Woman Goes To Get Her Nails Done Just 2 Days After Testing Positive For Coronavirus Bored Panda

Science/Medicine

Cutting Corners in the Race for a Vaccine Der Spiegel

Explainer: What is antigen testing? And why are Indians states using it more and more? Scroll

Climate change and COVID-19: reinforcing Indigenous food systems The Lancet

Trump Transition

Trump says adding his face to Mount Rushmore ‘sounds like a good idea’ NY Post

How Pro-Trump Forces Work the Refs in Silicon Valley NYT

With latest executive orders, Trump gets approval from his golf club crowd Politico

Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran The Hill

EPA to Rescind Methane Regulations for Oil and Gas WSJ. Because of the timing, this action won’t survive a potential Congressional Review Act challenge, if the Democrats capture both the White House and both houses of Congress.

Trump’s Threat to Press Freedom Is Global TruthOut

Class Warfare

Apple refuses to allow major gaming apps from Microsoft, Google, and Facebook onto the App Store, and the fight just went public Busines Insider

Apple imported clothes from Xinjiang firm facing US forced labour sanctions Guardian

Barack and Michelle Obama’s family home has an incredible rooftop terrace – see inside Hello! Chuffed to see they are comfortable and enjoying themselves.

America in Flames

US Postal Service

Waste Watch

Credit system designed to boost plastics recovery launching in 2021 Waste Dive

2020

Election Fears Begin to Spread Capital & Main

Biden’s Ukrainegate Problem Counterpunch

ARE FACEBOOK AND TWITTER PREPARED FOR A TRUMP ELECTION MELTDOWN? Vanity Fair

China?

National security law: Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai arrested on suspicion of foreign collusion, as police detain at least eight others, raid Apple Daily newsroom SCMP

China imposes sanctions on U.S. lawmakers over Hong Kong Reuters

China sympathisers’: a new Red Scare stalks Australian businesses SCMP

Iran’s Pact With China Is Bad News for the West Foreign Policy

Tech, Financial Firms Eye Ways to Save TikTok’s U.S. Operations From Ban WSJ

India

Panel of US Firms to Push Back Against India’s Regulation of Non-Personal Data The Wire

Manmohan Singh’s ‘three steps’ to stem India’s economic crisis BBC

US, India in a tentative anti-China embrace Asia Times

Syraqistan

The statesman John Hume and lessons over the Middle East Independent. Robert Fisk.

Beirut police fire tear gas as protesters regroup: Live updates Al Jazeera

Who profits from the Beirut blast? Asia Times.Pepe Escobar.

Lebanon, a state in freefall thanks to corrupt governance Qantara

Antidote du Jour (via):

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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267 comments

  1. Wukchumni

    I lived in a hood’ with way too many non-native homeless peacocks, that while beautiful in a ‘i’m running late for a coronation’ guise, made up for it with the runniest crap you could ever imagine festooned in particular on your driveway, make that all over your driveway, and the noise emanating from their beaks could easily have come from the soundtrack of a 50’s horror flick-and not a good one either. Needless to say, I don’t miss them, but it was like old times there for 26 seconds.

    In lieu of 30 peacocks (just imagine the noise they made if you will, as a group) in the immediate vicinity of our domicile, we have a similar amount of for the most part quiet wild turkeys here, whose mutual gobble is soothing to my ear, making up for the idea that they got hit by the ugly stick in appearance, compared to the majestic menace i’d known previously.

    Reply
    1. skk

      3 decades ago I’d just moved to the USA from the UK, staying in a hotel in Arcadia. I woke up to the distant sound of peacocks squawking. I hadn’t heard that since India, as a kid, over 6 decades ago, for a moment I thought that the stress of moving was causing auditory hallucinations. But it was real. The nearby LA Arboretum was home to dozens to wild peafowl !

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      We hear the morning ‘greetings’ of a pride of peacocks that live at the nearby little public zoo, all of the time. I expect Tarzan to swing in on a vine next.

      Reply
    3. Chris

      I took a ute* load of rubbish** to the tip*** a couple of weekends ago. They charge by weight, so you cross a weighbridge to enter. The weighbridge was guarded by a nonchalant peacock, who refused to get out of the way. Drove up to him, blasted the horn, nothing worked, until the weighbridge operator slid back his little window and swore at him.
      * pickup
      ** trash
      *** dump

      Reply
      1. mary jensen

        @chris

        Do you mean to say “a ute load” or “an ute load”?

        Just looked up the collective noun for peafowl because “pride” means lions to me.
        A group of peafowl: an “ostentation”, a “pride” or a “party”.

        I prefer a party. A party of peafowl outside my hotel window kept me up all night.

        Reply
        1. Janie

          Rule for “a” or “an’: it’s the pronunciation. Say it and you’ll feel how awkward “an” is. Its “a” before “yoo” and “an” before “uh”.

          That’s why people should read speeches out loud prior to seeing them for the first time on teleprompters. It avoids “yo, semite”, among other things.

          Reply
    4. JBird4049

      The ugly stick? Hey, I rather like how turkeys look. That majesty of the peacocks always looks both flashy and fake. Rather like a cheap toy.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird, so would we be eating factory farmed bald eagles for Thanksgiving instead now, if it had gone down?

        Reply
  2. epynonymous

    Gotta keep it short, but I’ve been deep in Daniel Elsburg’s new book, “doomsday machine” (note: titles are set by publishers, not authors) anyways… Let’s see where 10 minutes gets us.

    Rather than talk about what I’ve read about this or that, I can’t help but connect a pro-atomic strain of thinking from both Japan and America. I could list more, but I’ll stick to Death Note and “The Jesus Factor.” The modern manga/ anime and the 1970’s novel.

    The premise of the jesus factor is that imagine if the atomic bomb was just a fiction. A terrifying conspiracy that holds the whole world’s violence in grip because of its unspeakable horror. The author implies that the Trinity tests did work… and didn’t blow up the whole world consequentially… However, they say only static tests could be successful, due to sci-fi mumbo jumbo about the earths magnetic fields. This is pure hookum, but is used to present the argument that the atomic bomb is a net positive because it had prevented World War III through conventional, or indeed, any means.

    The modern Japanese fiction Deathnote is a marketing tool to sell ‘goth’ teenagers 20 dollar notebooks branded “Deathnote” … Anyone’s name recorded in these books (according to the marketable power-fantasy) dies of a heart attack immediately. The story is different in that it is set to glorify the murder-happy anti-hero who seeks to kill all criminals to enthrone himself as the god of a new world. (their words.) Alot will have to go unsaid.

    Sorry I didn’t confirm America’s stance on extra-judicial killings regarding our past president *edit* yesterday. Here’s a link.

    https://www.amnestyusa.org/is-it-legal-for-the-u-s-to-kill-a-16-year-old-u-s-citizen-with-a-drone/

    #baseballcards

    Reply
    1. FDW

      I feel Death Note wound up overrated simply because of how edgy it was. Keep in mind, it ran during a period that featured WSJ’s most crowded, star studded lineup, so anything in there needed to hit hard to gain attention.

      Reply
    2. ZacP

      I would argue for Deathnote the opposite ideology of total power. **Spoiler alert (do we do that here?)** The main character’s new world order was ultimately a false peace. Even if he had not been bested by the genius detectives, the moment at the end where he is exposed revealed his depravity and implies that his potential future government would have been even more corrupt than the current system. However I do agree that a lot of Japanese animation (and media in general) can devolve into simply power tripping fantasies.

      Reply
    1. mary jensen

      Surprising: no one ever mentions the Omaha USA Buffet schtick so lucidly exposed by W.S. Burroughs in nearly all his ‘novels’ after “Junkie”; notably “The Naked Lunch”, “The Soft Machine”; “Nova Express”. Burroughs could smell out that hypocritical cornpone naked capitalist porn from 10,000 miles away. No one remembers?

      Reply
  3. Wukchumni

    We use about 25% of the globe’s resources despite being only 5% of the population, so maybe it’s fair that we have about 25% of the world’s Covid cases, eh?

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Fair but if you just flew in from Mars… incomprehensible.

      If you were (the common white male libertarian) writing SciFi back in the 50’s, and you postulated a country that used that much of the world’s resources per cap, you would write about Uber Men and rather cardboardy Uber Women, tall healthy and smart.*

      Instead we keep getting shorter, fatter, and dumb beyond… well comprehension.

      * and in real life with Good Hair. As my friend said, success in America is completely due to three factors, intelligence, height, and good hair. “Any two will do”. :D

      Reply
      1. Pelham

        Yes, a sharp observation. A substantial portion of the US has always been Third World-ish, the only change in the past 50 years has been the rapidly accelerating growth of that portion.

        Reply
      2. JBird4049

        >>* and in real life with Good Hair. As my friend said, success in America is completely due to three factors, intelligence, height, and good hair. “Any two will do”. :D

        Of course, for instance, Governor Rick “Goodhair” Perry. So named by the late, great Molly Ivins.

        Reply
  4. Wukchumni

    I’ve given up hope as of yesterday, had a conversation with another cabin owner my age who is an evang, and she very stridently told me that it’s just another flu, masks are useless and it’s only old people dying, and also any old malady somebody dies of in the hospital is reported as a Covid death. As a parting shot, she told me she was going to heaven, playing upon my heathen status, methinks.

    Sadly, about the only thing that would change her mind, is somebody close to her contracting it, and even then I have my doubts that it would sink in, the enormity of the situation.

    Reply
    1. Winston Smith

      That interaction reminds me a bit of a Seinfeld episode where Elaine finds out that her boyfriend Puddy listens to a christian rock radio station. When confronted he says he doesn’t care what she thinks because he’s going to heaven and Elaine is going to hell…

      Reply
        1. Janie

          Haha. Reminds me of obits that talk about the deceased going to be with the Lord, when everyone in town knows he was a no-good so and so.

          Reply
      1. RMO

        In that episode he later asks her to steal something for him – she’s going to hell anyways so it won’t make any difference whereas he has something to lose. The conclusion to the storyline has Puddy’s priest telling him that he’s going to hell too as he’s engaging in premarital sex with Elaine. As I recall Jerry’s reason for the finale episode going the way it did was to highlight just how terrible and reprehensible the characters were as he found viewers often either didn’t realize this or kind of forgot about it while laughing at the show.

        Reply
    2. DJG

      Wukchumni. Recalling David Byrne’s line, “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens,” I will also point out to you that if heaven is going to be filled with Self-Elected Calvinists who can’t choose a good wine and probably can’t make decent profiteroles for dessert (because all of that pleasure is Not of God), do you truly want to end up there?

      I recall that Dante’s masterpiece has a curious effect: Many of the most interesting people are in Inferno and Purgatorio. When we get to heaven, we get …. Saint Dominic. The father of the inquisition? That Saint Dominic?

      Why bother?

      Reply
        1. Geo

          That’s what they say about Los Angeles too. Still a rathole city full or narcissists and loons (myself included).

          Reply
      1. Harold

        Dante’s Paradiso is full of light and flowers and music, though.
        ***
        “Into the yellow of the Rose Eternal
        That spreads, and multiplies, and breathes an odour
        Of praise unto the ever-vernal Sun,
        As one who silent is and fain would speak,
        Me Beatrice drew on . . .
        ***
        and with the bearing of a guide whose work is done,
        she began again: “From matter’s largest sphere,
        we now have reached the heaven of pure light,
        light of the intellect, light filled with love,
        love of true good, love filled with happiness,
        a happiness surpassing every sweetness.”
        ***
        and I saw light that took a river’s form—
        light flashing, reddish-gold, between two banks
        painted with wonderful spring flowerings.

        But as my eyelids’ eaves drank of that wave,
        it seemed to me that it had changed its shape:
        no longer straight, that flow now formed a round
        ***
        so were the flowers and the sparks transformed,
        changing to such festivity before me
        that I saw—clearly—both of Heaven’s courts [i.e, the human & the angelic].

        Reply
      2. Pelham

        As a Christian, I’m unimpressed by non-believers’ threadbare trolling of heaven and the Heavenly Father. That said, I’ll allow that most of the atheists I’ve known stack up well morally against most of my loud Christian acquaintances over the years. When their time comes, I just hope the good non-believers can be dragged kicking and screaming into a heaven that will ultimately prove more delightful than their earthly imaginations suggest.

        Reply
        1. juno mas

          …why don’t the folks in heaven just Instagram their paradise to us All? Because it’s a different paradise than where Allah resides? Or is it because both are illusions? Better to know life is precious on earth and live it that way.

          Reply
          1. Geo

            Dreaming of some future heaven while ignoring the living hell so many currently endure seems to be an act of evil – or at the very least is counting their chickens before they’ve hatched. Maybe they should “do unto others” first and fantasize about their aspirational post-earth paradise later? Or has apathy has been deemed godly?

            Reply
            1. Harold

              Dante’s all three cantos of the Divine Comedy amply denounce evils current in his day, crime, corruption, and especially, inequality. Commentators have called it an allegory that takes place in the present and that demonstrates that heaven and hell are eternally within us. That said, I am not a believer, but rather someone who acknowledges sublimity in art, as did the poet P. B. Shelley, a self-styled atheist, who considered the Paradiso the best of the three cantos (T.S. Eliot favored no. 2, Purgatorio).

              Reply
            2. witters

              “Dreaming of some future heaven while ignoring the living hell so many currently endure seems to be an act of evil.”

              Marx said it was ‘the heart of a heartless world.’

              Reply
        2. Foy

          I’ve never understood why not just put everyone in heaven in the first place, if it’s for all of eternity and is so great? Why create this world of misery as the judgemental evaluation stepping stone, and risk all those miserable souls disappearing into hell? Because you have to earn the way into heaven? Just put everyone in heaven in the first place, I don’t think it would have required any extra effort at all on behalf of the big fella.

          Or is it because we have to have the free choice to burn in hell? To me that whole argument makes no sense, it makes much more sense that if you are creating people and heaven, just put everyone in there, happiness for everyone for ever! If it’s so good, who would want to leave? Why risk (lots and lots of) people, that you created, burning in hell forever, for what purpose?

          Was raised a Catholic with Latin Mass going parents and I still don’t get that Christian heaven/hell logic.

          That’s just one reason why Buddhist and Eastern thought makes much more sense to me.

          Reply
          1. RMO

            There are many variants of Christianity which hold that there is no eternal burning in hell afterlife. It’s become central to Roman Catholicism and some of the strains of Protestantism that have gained great popularity in North America though.

            Reply
            1. Foy

              Yes I feel that Jesus’s original words have been rewritten and misinterpreted, they make much more sense if looked on at a mystical level “The kingdom of heaven is within you”, no need for a burning hell when looked at at that level. The fire and brimstone theology has been added by the dogmatics.

              Reply
        3. Janie

          The older I get, the less I am certain of, so I’ve quit trying to figure out the meaning of life, the universe and everything. I’m going with 42 and faith without works is dead.

          Reply
        4. Wukchumni

          Nothing wrong with a mystical bowing league, if that’s what you think the meaning of life on this good Earth is, but what if heaven was right here under our feet?

          Reply
        5. CitizenSissy

          I’m Episcopalian, and confirm that the atheists in my life behave with considerably more integrity than many of the Fundies. Pelham, your last sentence reminded me of the Absolutely Fabulous episode with Marianne Faithfull as God and Anita Pallenberg as Satan; an interesting pre-coffee ontological discussion indeed.

          Reply
      3. Jeff W

        Many of the most interesting people are in Inferno and Purgatorio.

        “Pack Up Your Sins and Go to the Devil” – Irving Berlin (1922) here


        Pack up your sins and go to the Devil in Hades
        You’ll meet the finest of gentlemen and the finest of ladies
        They’d rather be down below than up above

        Hades is full of thousands of
        Joneses and Browns, O’Hoolihans, Cohens, and Bradys
        You’ll hear a heavenly tune that went to the devil
        Because the jazz bands they started pickin’ it
        Then put a trick in it, a jazzy kick in it

        They’ve got a couple of old reformers in heaven
        Making them go to bed at eleven
        Pack up your sins and go to the Devil
        And you’ll never have to go to bed at all

        If you care to dwell where the weather is hot
        H-E-double-L is a wonderful spot
        If you need a rest and you’re all out of sorts
        Hades is the best of the winter resorts

        Paradise doesn’t compare: all the nice people are there
        They come there from everywhere
        Just to revel with Mister Devil

        Reply
      4. John Anthony La Pietra

        I think Mark Twain in one of his speeches suggested plausible reasons both ways:

        “Heaven for climate; Hell for society.”

        Reply
    3. Randy G.

      Wukchumni —

      Those sorts of conversations are quite depressing — partly because of the fanatic certainty in beliefs that are irrational, evidence free, and yet held immutably.

      Many non-believers will argue that religion, even if not true, consoles people, and therefore is beneficial. Admittedly, that’s sometimes true. However, many religious movements bring out a vicious meanness in people, and evangelical Christianity seems especially prone to spite, the celebration of ignorance, and retrograde politics.

      In fairness, I have a relative who is an evangelical and she is extremely kind and thoughtful, and is taking CoVid-19 seriously. However, she was kind and thoughtful before her conversion. Her politics are now invested in the Trump-Pence camp like the rest of her Church.

      I get especially dismayed that so many true-believers are completely indifferent — or even cheerleading —the environmental destruction of the entire planet. If you are headed to heaven with Jesus or Allah — who cares if the planet ends up a strip-mined, overheated dead zone?

      Believing that planetary ecocide is small potatoes compared to the joys of heaven is not a harmless belief.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        Revelation 11:18: “The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” How will they feel when their Lord sends cheesed-off environmentalists after them personally?

        Not that most Evangelicals have any respect for the New Testament, US culture seemingly having been reoriented toward the OT post-WWII.

        Reply
        1. southern appalachian

          Isaiah 2-5 gets at it a bit; Walter Brueggemann a good read. Sometimes almost as if people read entirely different compilations. Have never been able to make sense of it or reconcile it. Had opportunities to talk to people, given where I live. Moral obligations seem clear enough, but gave up trying to understand the interpretation-

          Reply
        2. Janie

          Mentally, i separate believers I know into two groups: the OT smiting God and the NT loving God. We have three church-going neighbor families, and all are the NT type who don’t push religion but try to live it.

          Yves has indicated she is ambivalent about religion, as it is often the only remaining structure for people of good will to act collectively, but if you don’t believe, well, it’s hard to mouthe the words on Sunday morning. (Apologies in advance, Yves, if I paraphrase you incorrectly.)

          Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        Our next door neighbors went born again in the 70’s, and they tried to push it on us a little, but being Bohemian, we don’t believe in that higher power nonsense so they backed away…

        …fast forward to 15 years ago and the patriarch passes away and my mom and wife and I go to the service and for a good hour all the preacher says is that he feels certain Herb made it into heaven, repeating himself often in one of the longest 60 minutes of my life, and it dawned on me that it’s all about the payoff at the end, they could’ve been offering a 28% CD that never paid off while you’re living despite investing heavily in it-only after you pass away, and it wouldn’t have been all that different

        Reply
        1. Susan the other

          I think that is almost the mindset about heaven. With men – I’m not sure about women as I never had even a vague concept of what heaven might actually be. But I notice a true, deep patriarchism in some men that tells me they want their wives, their children, their extended family and possibly their sheep and goats to get into heaven with them… so sort of the same thing. A good farmer is sort of a patriarch in that sense.

          Reply
      3. Ford Prefect

        I came to the conclusion a couple of months ago that the groups that would be hardest hit by coronavirus would be: nursing home residents; poor immigrants; poor black people; poor Hispanics; and Fox News watchers.

        I have nothing sympathy for the first four groups and want to see us do whatever we can to help them from a disease prevention and economic standpoint.

        The last group may be the key to the election as reality strikes their communities and they realize that they have been fed a massive pile of horse hockey (in the immortal words of Col. Sherman Potter).

        Reply
      1. Phacops

        I prefer the observation by Dawkins: “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          The ancient Greeks had many powerful Gods: Hermes, Artemis, etc.

          They now pretty much exist as luxury goods names or perfume/cologne names.

          Reply
    4. Glen

      Looks like my mother-in-law, who is definitely high risk, has been infected by a church member visiting her house that thought wearing a face mask infringed on her freedom, and informed my mother-in-law that she had been exposed to CV after having a thirty minute conversation with her sans mask.

      My wife, a retired RN, was besides herself on the phone yesterday with her mom after hearing this. Her mom is running a 103 degree fever, and covered with a rash.

      Crazy, just crazy. Why wouldn’t you let an old lady in poor health know that you had been exposed FIRST THING.

      Reply
        1. juno mas

          Tried that “assault” thing locally after a 20-something spit at me after asking for some social distance. The store I was in refused to give me the surveillance video. So no movement by the DA.

          Reply
        2. Kfish

          It’s unlikely that the state will prosecute many of the incidents that will undoubtedly qualify for deliberate infection, but I’d be deeply curious to see how many civil cases will come. Negligence, for instance, is a civil claim that can be brought by anyone.

          Reply
    5. kareninca

      This lady is not an evangelical, and is pro-mask, but makes me feel just as hopeless:

      “Two Saturdays ago, for the first time in four months, my husband and I went over to visit a friend whose wife recently died. He was starving for company, too. We had a delightful, fun time and intended to observe all the rules.

      We came with our masks on, did not walk through his house and sat on the patio with a pleasant breeze blowing. He served us wine.

      I haven’t yet figured out how to drink red wine through my mask. I couldn’t quite get the liquid into my mouth. So off the mask came. Back on after the first sip, then off, then on, then a “hell with this” response on my part.

      He served takeout pizza and a salad. Although we were sitting 8 feet apart, we all had to pull our chairs to the table to eat off plates. Our social distance collapsed to 2 feet.

      By the end of dinner, and starting on my second glass of wine, my mask stayed around my neck. Then we talked about food, travel and the election and the virus for more than an hour.”)”
      https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2020/07/31/an-alternative-view-going-stir-crazy–but-still-wearing-my-mask (Diana Diamond)

      How can you account for that kind of stupid? I have visited friends and managed to keep my mask on and not get close. But all around me I am seeing people who are upper middle class who can’t keep a mask on their face, and can’t maintain distance, even though they yak and yak about how great masks are.

      Reply
      1. Arthur Dent

        It takes discipline and planning. We have been doing things in people’s yards and we have to pre-plan everything precisely so we don’t end up in your scenario. We even position tables and chairs so that people can come and go without getting close to people. food is timed and often put on a middle table away from people so that each group can get food at a time.

        We did one recently where we watched Hamilton on TV outside while having dinner and wine. It took some planning but we pulled it off. Nobody wore masks but the couples didn’t get closer than 6 feet in the outside air.

        Reply
    6. lordkoos

      “…it’s just another flu, masks are useless and it’s only old people dying…”

      I have seen this stuff repeated endlessly on facebook (which is one of the many reasons I now rarely visit the platform) and it is quite depressing. The talking points of the anti-maskers are very similar, I supposed they are getting them from Fox news, or social media? Whatever the source, millions of Americans seem to be all in on these ideas… this country is truly effed.

      Reply
      1. juno mas

        Yes, when you combine a go-it-alone culture with abject ignorance of viral transmission, no public health system worth a damn, a dysfunctional political system, food/housing issues, and guns everywhere, then impending social disruption could get Ugly.

        PS. Did I forget that Kamala Harris was selected as putative VP? We’re truly effed.

        Reply
    7. ambrit

      Wuk, try a flank attack.
      Next time she chimes in with “The Good Word,” tell her who Jan Hus was and where he came from; “My Grandfather knew some of his progeny!” etc. Then tell her, in all humility of course, that Protestantism owes it’s very existence to a “humble Czech theologian.”

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          Oh! I didn’t expect to get ‘flamed’ over it!
          Flame broiled. Something one expects from a Burgher Kling, or ‘How’d You Like It?’
          (Alas, I am too dull a wit to come up with something ‘respectable’ concerning the ‘Windows of Prague.’)

          Reply
  5. Paradan

    Craig Murray has a good article about sugar production and tariffs. Might want to link it in this afternoons water cooler.

    Reply
      1. Stephen V.

        Yes another great one from Murray. He writes that:
        At the end of the 18th century, when serious breeding started, it was around 8 to 12%, similar to sweet potato today. Industrial scale production of sugar from sugar beet started around 1820.

        Ah, but this is a long story made short:
        Britain had the monopoly on the sugar cane trade for over a century. During the Napoleonic wars of the early 1800s the British blockaded France’s trade routes with the Caribbean, leaving the country with low supplies of sugar.
        AND
        By 1806, cane sugar had virtually disappeared from the shelves of European shops. In 1811, French scientists presented Napoleon with two loaves of sugar made from sugar beet. Napoleon was so impressed he decreed that 32,000 hectares of beet should be planted and provided assistance to get the factories established.

        Within a few years there were more than 40 sugar beet factories, mostly in Northern France but also in Germany, Austria, Russia, and Denmark

        Napoleon encouraged new research with sugar beets, the University of Nebraska writes, and by 1815, over 79,000 acres were put into production with more than 300 small factories being built in France.
        [Snipped from}
        https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/blame-napoleon-for-our-addiction-to-sugar-152096743/

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          Funny how copyrights are a Very Very Good Idea because it “rewards initiative both for the creator and those who now need to find a new way” but tariffs… eh not so much.

          Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran”

    It is a certainty that Russia and/or China will use their veto at the Security Council to stop Trump’s attempt to extend an arms embargo against Iran. Both are wanting to sell arms to that country which will further safeguard them against attack. But here is where it gets interesting. Pompeo has threatened to argue that the United States remains a participant in the nuclear deal despite Trump having withdrawn from the agreement and that the US has the right to call snap-back provisions. It is brazen as it is stupid. And it won’t work.

    A coupla weeks ago Russian’s Minister of Foreign Affairs – Sergey Lavrov – was asked what would happen if Pompeo tried this at the UN Security Council. The Russians appear to be sticklers of law in matters like this and Lavrov said that this issue was settled in an international court case back in 1973 I think it was. It was decided that if a participant in a treaty does not fulfill its obligations and even hinders it, then international law says that for all legal purposes, that participant has forgone all rights and privileges of that treaty through non-participation and is no longer part of it. As Trump pulled out of that nuclear treaty years ago, then they get no say in trying to invoke snap-back provisions.

    So Barbara Slavin of the Atlantic Council in this article may say that it all depends on Iran’s response but in fact it was the response of Trump to withdraw from the nuclear treaty that has left him and Pompeo in legal limbo with few nations willing to back him up.

    Reply
    1. L

      On a related point I note in this article: “Iran’s Pact With China Is Bad News for the West Foreign Policy” buried within it is this offhand point:

      The strategic landscape has shifted since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

      Somehow the focus is always on what others’ do but in this and other articles on the middle east everyone seems so casual about how that event changed so much. Thanks Neocons! If China had wanted us to make a critical error and give them an opening they couldn’t find a better one.

      But oh look Bush is now being rehabilitated because he hates Trump.

      Reply
    2. km

      Law is not self-executing.

      Persons such as Mike Pompeo, persons whose behavior is indistinguishable from sociopathy, know this fell well.

      Reply
  7. Tom Doak

    Re: the Atomic Bombings piece: my father also trained for the invasion of Japan, as a Marine artillery officer in the Pacific. (His last stop was Okinawa.) Unlike the author’s father, he mentioned on several occasions that were it not for the Bomb, he would never have made it back.

    Now, also unlike the aithor’s father, my dad did not serve in Japan after the war, or see the destruction caused by the bomb. If he had, the guilt might have changed his view of things. But the author fails to consider that his father never said the Bomb saved him because he didn’t want to accept that it may have indeed done so, instead of because he had made a thorough military and strategic analysis of the situation.

    There is no doubt that our military and political establishment had an eye on Russia in the decision to use the Bomb, but then just as now, when weighing their actions, the only casualty numbers that were considered were those of our own team.

    Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        It would have been absolute hell for everyone if it had gone ahead.

        What is interesting is that there was little intention to invade and occupy the entire country – the plan was to go straight for the ‘head’ in occupying Tokyo and the Kanto plain after establishing bridgeheads in Kyushu and Shikoku on the assumption that this would finish the war. Forcefully occupying the entire island system would have required millions of troops.

        Reply
        1. Harold

          Contrary to the previous, self-serving myth that dropping the bombs saved lives, most historians, now recognize that the bombs were not decisive in the Japanese decision to surrender (they had run out of fuel and surrender was inevitable, anyway). Rather, General Zhukov was.
          https://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=167

          At the Tehran Conference in Nov 1943 and at the Yalta Conference in Feb 1945, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had agreed declare war on Japan three months after Germany would be defeated. On 5 Apr 1945, the Soviet Union informed Japan that the Soviet Union would not renew the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact of 1941, which ensured non-aggression between the two nations through 13 Apr 1946. At 2300 hours Transbaikal time on 8 Aug 1945, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov informed Japanese ambassador Sato that the Soviet Union was revoking the neutrality pact with a declaration of war effective on 9 Aug; at this point, the neutrality pact was still six months from its natural expiration.

          “At one minute past midnight on 9 Aug 1945, or 61 minutes after the declaration of war, Soviet troops organized in three fronts poured into Japanese-occupied northeastern China, a region also known by its historical name of Manchuria.Though most westerners believed that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the events that drove Japan to surrender, the atomic bombs were actually only part of the equation. Historians such as Tsuyoshi Hasegawa and Dan van der Vat argued that the Soviet declaration of war was as important a factor, if not more so, in the Japanese decision to capitulate. During the last months of the war, it had been evident that the Japanese, not knowing the secret agreement for the Soviet Union to declare war on Japan, were seeking Soviet assistance as a neutral power to negotiate surrender terms with the western Allies. With the seemingly neutral Soviet Union suddenly changing face and tearing up the non-aggression pact, Japan suddenly lost its last hope, which affected the Japanese psyche tremendously.
          The Nivkh and Orok peoples, native to Sakhalin island, were deported by the Soviets as a collective punishment for some having worked for the Japanese as spies. The fact that equally many of them spied for the Soviets against Japan was ignored.

          In terms of future consequences, the Soviet occupation of northeastern China allowed the Chinese Communist forces to recuperate and rebuild, eventually winning the Chinese civil war.
          In 1983, United States Army historian Lieutenant Colonel David Glantz coined the name Operation August Storm to describe this Soviet operation against Japan, and this American name had since been used in some western literature instead of the original Soviet name of Manchurian Strategic Offensive.”

          Reply
      2. mpalomar

        Just be glad that it never happened-

        Indeed and also perhaps we should question the actual necessity.

        The Interim Committee, responsible for bringing Truman up to speed regarding nuclear program was divided about using the bomb against the Japanese. “A gathering of generals, admirals, and high government officials met in the White House Cabinet Room on the afternoon of Monday, June 18, 1945,” regarding the invasion of Japan and the possible use of the bomb with opinions ranging from for to against. “The battle for Okinawa was still raging, and U.S. forces there were taking upward of 35 percent losses.”

        “Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy saw an alternative to invading Japan… noting that the people in the meeting ‘should have our heads examined’ if they didn’t explore an alternative other than yet another island assault to ending the war with Japan.”

        “Once the Americans had taken positions in the Philippines, Guam, Midway, Saipan and Okinawa, U.S. forces had cut off the Empire’s energy supply. Strategically, the war was essentially over. Japanese economic productivity was grinding to a halt. Japanese tankers were delivering only one tenth of the oil needed for 1944-45.”

        “As noted in the US Strategic Bombing Survey, the impact of the submarine attrition warfare was strategic in effect:
        Instead of the 28,500,000 barrels of oil its leaders expected to import from the Southern Zone in 1944, it imported only 4,975,000 barrels. In 1945 its imports were confined to the few thousand barrels brought in during January and February by single tankers that succeeded in running the blockade….After the battles of early 1945, when Japan lost the Philippines and Okinawa, United States forces sat astride its vital oil life line. Strategically the war was won.”

        Reply
        1. RMO

          The USN submarine arm is often overlooked in this. Of curse having the Navy itself issue a directive that banned any mention of submarine operations regardless of whether there were security concerns or not certainly helped the story disappear. Japan’s merchant navy was gone and almost nothing was making it to Japan. Being an industrial economy on a small island one would think that the Japanese military would have learned from what the relatively small submarine campaign against Britain had accomplished in WWI and certainly from what it was accomplishing in WWII before Japan declared war but you know what they say about military intelligence. The Japanese submarine service itself was largely aimed against USN ships and quixotic things like shelling coastlines or attempting to use submarine carried aircraft to bomb land targets instead of going after merchant shipping. I’ve been trying to recall who it was (a historian or a naval officer I think) who said that Hiroshima was a funeral pyre for a nation that had been drowned.

          Reply
    1. Carolinian

      I knew an old guy who flew fighters on a Navy carrier and said the same thing. Regardless of the ethics of what happened then perhaps what we really should be debating is why we still have nuclear weapons now.

      Reply
    2. lordkoos

      At the time I think people were so relieved to have the war over that most did not question the use of atomic bombs. My father was a navigator on non-nuclear bombers in the Pacific during WWII. He was part of the battle of Luzon (guiding planes to bomb Manila) and later was part of the US occupying forces in Manila and then Tokyo, so he was able to see the damage the bombs did after the fact. He was only 21 years old at the time, and would never talk about it.

      “Atomic Cocktail” by the great Slim Galliard – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEQF3uuFSss

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Indeed aren’t half these guys dentists and accountants because they are the only ones who can afford a Harley? At least that seems to be true of the biker clubs that roar around my nearby mountains. Some even have three wheeled motorcycles–geezer hogs.

        Presumably for the true Hell’s Angels types there’s the Easy Rider ticket to affordability.

        Reply
        1. km

          Yes. Many of the Orthodontists From Hell ship their bikes to the nearest airport to Sturgis, then pick them up so they can make a grand entrance and play 1% outlaw biker.

          First time I heard of anyone doing that, I about fell off my chair laughing.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I see possibilities for a Molarcycle Gang movie, astride implanted Harleys.

            Their gang sign would be forming an ‘M’ by joining thumbs together at a 45 degree angle with index fingers pointing downward.

            Reply
          2. WobblyTelomeres

            Trailer queens.

            OTOH, most of the tarted up bikes are unridable for more than an hour because of the ergonomics (forward pegs, no windscreen, high bars just like Fonda with leather fringe and tin conchos waving about as they imagine themselves as the last Lakota warriors or something) and crappy seats. Put a peanut tank (one gallon, maybe two) on it to feed a ported and stroked big twin, and the riding range is 50 miles, often less. Poor fellas would be stopping for ice cream 10 times just trying to cross Kansas in a day.

            On the third hand (yes, Mote), I’ve been to bike week in Daytona several times, Sturgis once. If you can avoid the politics and can find a place to sleep, it is one hell of a party. Even if you show up on a tired supersport wearing a very faded aerostich.

            Reply
            1. John Anthony La Pietra

              Hey, I support your right to have more than two hands (metaphorically speaking) for purposes of discussion! Up with OTTH!

              Reply
    1. marym

      Headline should say “Bikers undaunted by the possibility of spreading disease to everyone they meet in Sturgis and when they go home…”

      Reply
        1. newcatty

          Speaking of demented dentists… recall that the guy who killed Cecil the lion was one. Just read he glorified in killing a big game type sheep. Hope he is at Sturgis.

          Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      The narrative managers had better HOPE that this becomes a “super-spreader” event, unlike the Fourth of July Trump rally at Mt. Rushmore that they lost their shit over a month ago. November’s still, what, 90 days away?

      Can uncle joe keep hiding in the basement if bikers can mingle in Sturgis?

      Reply
      1. rd

        Its going to be the Sturgis bars that decide the outcome. Its pretty clear now that outdoor gatherings have much lower rates of infection than indoor one. Standing room only bars with poor ventilation could spike infections at a high rate similar to choir practice.

        Reply
  8. David

    As regards the Beirut explosion, I’m not paying actual money to read Pepe Escobar fantasising about outside attacks having caused it (I see from the non-paywalled bit that he immediately qualifies his position by introducing the word “may.”) This is very unhelpful, to say the least, because it encourages the conspiracy mongers in the region (“you see, even the western media thinks it was an attack!”), and provides another excuse for those who are actually responsible to wriggle free.

    In all this, it’s hard to find commentary in English from Lebanese who are in the city. However, there’s an interesting piece here from the generally reputable Lebanese Centre for Policy Studies, which has published some useful material on Lebanese politics and the economy over the years, in Arabic with English translations. There’s nothing earth-shatteringly new in the article, but it’s a good summary of the despair with which educated Lebanese of all confessions view the situation. Two points to take away, perhaps:

    First, if you wonder why the demonstrations over the weekend were so angry and turned violent, consider that, nearly a week after the explosion, the state has done literally nothing to mitigate the situation. No casualty figures, no lists of victims, no whereabouts of the injured, no cleaning up, no rescue services, no nothing. The official aid that has come was provided mostly by the Army who almost certainly saw there was a problem and got stuck in without waiting for orders. Most of the actual work of cleaning up was done by local people, helped by volunteers from around the country. (I heard separately that this has had the paradoxical result that the expensive shopping malls in the reconstructed city centre are still a mess:no-one lives there so they haven’t been cleaned up.)
    Second, the answers, as far as there are any, are all of the generic hand-waving variety. Yes, transparency, governments of all the talents, aid used wisely, prosecutions etc. etc. But I don’t think anyone seriously expects that to happen, because the political system is incapable of delivering it, and there is no alternative system.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Agreed that this was nothing more than a catastrophic, stupid accident and that talks of an attack are only a way to try to divert attention away from the poor performance, or should that be non-performance, of the government. Your description of the state of affairs in Lebanon reminded me of Dmitry Orlov’s Five Stages of Collapse. Certainly Lebanon has gone through Stage One – Financial collapse. Stage Two – Commercial collapse and Stage Three – Political collapse. However from your description and what I have been seeing in the media, it seems that in Lebanon the societal bonds are solid enough that they will not get to Stage Four – Social collapse as they are used to sticking together in tough times. But things are going to have to change-

      http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/p/the-five-stages-of-collapse.html

      Reply
      1. Polar Socialist

        Considering the amount in actual infighting in Lebanon during my lifetime, I wouldn’t say they tend to stick together. At least, not in the sense I think societies usually stick together.

        On the other hand, they do have a strong sense of Lebanese nationality, even if for some it’s more of a Phoenician and for some more Arabic.

        To my understanding, Lebanon is a society that relies very heavily on a family, then a clan, a sect and finally a political party. Parliament seats are divided 50/50 between Christians and Muslims (there are 18 official religions in the constitution), and parties pretty much follow sect lines, so new elections never change much.

        It’s constructed this way to avoid (more) secular (and political) violence, and unavoidably it has led to a corrupt society, where those on top have to deliver good jobs and good opportunities to those who depend on them.

        And the port of Beirut was one the best sources of… income in the country. According to reports at least 12 tons of the AN had already been stolen and sold. Which is one the reasons somebody ordered a broken metal door of warehouse 12 to be fixed by welding…

        Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Agreed, unless there is some convincing evidence to back it up, then indulging in such speculation is just counterproductive. All the evidence indicates that the explosion was the result of criminal incompetence mixed with bad luck. Given the nature of Lebanon, its of course entirely possible that someone had a hand in it, but as its impossible to prove a negative (i.e. that it wasn’t a plot), it is just click bait to indulge in that kind of speculation. Escobar can be a useful and interesting source, but he is also annoyingly prone to simplistic theorising. Writers like Fisk or Cockburn or Hersh are far more reliable outside writers on the region.

      It is tempting to suggest that something positive could come from it, but historically this usually only happens when there is the bones of an administrative structure to build upon. Unfortunately, everything I know about Lebanon (which isn’t a lot, but I do know a little) suggests that there simply isn’t the will among enough Lebanese to build a new country, especially not when there are so many rich and powerful interests who want to see it stay weak.

      Reply
      1. David

        The Lebanese government has just resigned. According to the local media the outgoing PM will speak to the nation this evening. Because this is Lebanon, the resignation doesn’t necessarily mean what it would mean in other countries. More later.

        Reply
      2. Kurt Sperry

        Yeah, but what gets more clicks: the incompetence and stupidity angle, or the deliberate bombing angle? The question answers itself. People are drawn to the lurid and the conspiratorial, Pepe’s just giving people what they want.

        Reply
        1. Temporarily Sane

          A good journalist doesn’t “just give people what they want.” Granted, Escobar was never top tier, and he wears his biases on his sleeve, but he had avoided trafficking in fabrications and evidence-free conspiracy nonsense.

          Why would anyone want to pay money to read someone who makes sh*t up as they go along? They can read stuff like that for free all over the internet. It takes a special kind of sad desperation to actually pay to have one’s biases confirmed.

          Reply
    3. Carolinian

      Didn’t you say just yesterday that the Lebanese themselves were so speculating? I’d say Escobar is merely riffing in the news as he often does..

      Reply
      1. Duck1

        Look, not saying that was a nuclear attack. I don’t know. But considering the explosion, caught from a multitude of angles, it seems like human nature would consider the possibility of attack. Over on VT they have put together films that show a missIle landing and kaboom! Not saying this is reality, just what is being put out there for the eyeballs that click on it. So, nuclear attack or not, the hypothesis is being pushed.

        As far as the AN goes, would like to see some paper artifacts, indicating how it ended up in the middle of Beirut. Already seeing headlines claiming that it arrived on a Russian ship.

        Reply
        1. Bill Smith

          People are pushing the idea that it was a nuclear attack? Without radiation? How do these people account for that?

          I’ve saw the early videos where someone inserted a picture of a missile lifted from some comic strip. Did they do a better job with the more recent videos?

          The warehouse is right next to the dock.

          It’s the port which is more or less in the middle of the Beirut.

          Reply
          1. Duck1

            Oh, they show evidence of a radiation signature as well on western med sensors. Information or disinformation, VT does a fairly professional job.
            Mini nukes is one of their hobby horses, in case you don’t pay attention to the outre web.

            Reply
          2. Coin Kydink

            Who remembers this news story and comment on NC the day before the blast. Struck me as quite a coincidence in retrospect!

            How Iran and Hezbollah trapped Israel into staring down 150,000 rockets on its border that it can only counter at a terrible cost

            Donald
            August 3, 2020 at 8:07 am

            Re the piece about 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel—

            It’s called deterrence. The writer seems to think Israel should be able to strike other countries with impunity.

            Reply
      2. David

        These sorts of statements have been circulating for several days (there have been more today) and it’s important not to encourage them. Anything that the Lebanese power elite can do to blame somebody else, preferably foreigners, they will do. The problem with stories like Escobar’s, is that people in the region (not just Lebanon) who pride themselves in reading between the lines, will automatically assume that his story has been planted by one or more western intelligence agencies, and that therefore western governments believe it was an attack. We really don’t need that.

        Reply
          1. Temporarily Sane

            For the Lebanese government hinting that the explosion might have been deliberately set is a face saving measure designed to distract attention from its own spectacular incompetence and corruption, but nobody in Lebanon is fooled by this.

            From what I’ve seen so far only ultra-right fringe lunatics are working the non-existent Israel angle, even Iran and Hezbollah accept that the explosion was an accident.

            Like when the Iraqi and Iranian governments claimed that US/Israeli/Saudi provocateurs were behind the Iraqi anti-corruption protests in late-2019, if Pepe Escobar and “serious” analysts jump on the foreign plot train without any evidence backing them up, it would be a massive own goal that casts doubt on their commitment to truth while empowering the ‘enemies’ they are trying to discredit.

            Reply
    4. Temporarily Sane

      Disappointed that Escobar has jumped on the nutbar conspiracy bandwagon. I’ve always thought he was a bit too trusting in the benevolence and benefits of Russian and Chinese foreign policy but generally his articles were interesting and informative. Not paywall quality stuff though.

      Reply
  9. flora

    Because of the timing, this action won’t survive a potential Congressional Review Act challenge, if the Democrats capture both the White House and both houses of Congress.

    2008 – my hopes ended by 2010. Dems held everything, did little, complained the big bad Republicans were stopping them from rolling back W’s tax cuts, wars, from setting up a real single payer or national health care program, forcing them to try to cut SS, etc, etc. Now listening to Chuck and Nancy complain about GOP obstruction like they’re surprised, when these are the same pols they’ve been dealing with since 2008 or 2006, rings hollow.

    Reply
    1. L

      I think it rang hollow then too because they used it to excuse everything even things like the escalation of drone warfare and the lack of card check that were purely executive branch or which they had been definitive about. Republicans server their donors by going all out to crazyland and daring anyone to follow them. The Dems do it by whining about what they can’t do and stopping things from moving to the left. It is called the Ratchet Effect.

      But if you point that out around committed Dems they’ll treat you like you just clubbed a baby seal in blackface.

      Reply
      1. timbers

        Or unfriend you in FB. Every fact based statement longer than 1 sentence critical of Obama/Dems is dismissed as a “rant” with lots of likes. Any follow-up or response to that dismissal is either crickets, or unfriending by the less tolerate. Posting YouTube links showing Dems doing exactly what you stated are ignored completely. Also the ubiquitous advise that you stop watching FOX News. Got off FB yrs ago.

        Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      No. Republicans were so reasonable then. There were titans like Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, and Denny Hastert. Orrin Hatch….umm…oh right…going back there was Lee Atwater and Dick Nixon…okay, I see you are a perfectionist, but there was Hoov…okay that’s just recency bias…hey, at least none of those Republicans were Woodrow Wilson.

      Reply
    3. pasha

      you forget that the sixty-vote filibuster rule was in effect. there were only sixty democratic votes for less than a year (franken wasn’t seated until june, and kennedy’s death lost a seat to republicans). further, mc connell and ryan had sworn to obstruct anything obama came up with, in hopes of creating a one-term presidency.

      Reply
      1. flora

        You forget that the majority party can eliminate the filibuster in the Senate at the start of each new 2-year session if they want to. People pleaded with Sen. Reid, then majority leader, to end the filibuster for that Congressional session in the Senate. Argued, reasoned, pleaded with him to eliminate the filibuster knowing full well how the GOP would obstruct. He refused to eliminate the filibuster in the Senate, or too many Dem sens wanted to keep it for the that term, knowing the Dems will never filibuster GOP and GOP will often filibuster Dems. My opinion, Dems wanted the GOP to obstruct any progressive moves by the Dems. Reid did finally eliminate it in 2013 session for just O’s judicial appointments.

        And now…?

        https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/senate-democrats-lukewarm-on-killing-the-filibuster-even-if-they-win-the-majority-riding-a-biden-wave/ar-BB17HCwR

        Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “Opposition in Belarus tell Lukashenko to step down after ‘illegitimate’ election win”

    Lukashenko is just a dinosaur from the 90s. He uses the police to crack down on protesters, cuts the internet on the day of the election, arrests the candidates running for President and all the rest of it. So primitive. One young woman who was keeping an eye on a polling station through a window (she was not allowed inside) counted 39 voters but the tabulation for that polling station was 89 that night. In another incident, a middle-aged woman was shakily descending from the upper floor of a polling station carrying bags of, oh I don’t know, ballots perhaps? And on the ground there were police – holding the ladder for her. It is all so amateurish this.

    He should get with the times. Make a law introducing touch-screen voting for the whole country. That way, on the night of the election as the computers are tabulating the votes, you can have an “internet connection” problem. So you would have the votes for say Minsk diverted to the backup servers in say Barysaw where they are ‘adjusted’ before the internet connection is restored. The figures are sent back to the main tabulation center in Minsk where a short time later, it is found that Alexander Lukashenko has once more won the Presidency. It has been done before. By the way, is Karl Rove doing any consultancy work lately?

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      First, the ridiculous slander that the peace movement doubled the length of the Vietnam War comes up every four years for a reason. It leads to this advice: “Don’t bungle things like we did in 1968. Don’t waste time with independent movements. And don’t think for yourself. Just do what the Democratic Party tells you to do.”

      Swallow hard and vote biden. It might not make sense if you think about it, so don’t. Just do it.

      Classic “democracy,” american style.

      Reply
  11. Jeff

    Homes with rooftop terraces are NOT “class warfare” worthy. They are increasingly common in new home builds around the DC area, from $500K up.

    Reply
      1. Keith

        I would say that is very true. We all like to call ourselves middle class, but many of us would fall way above or below that threshold, especially as the costs of lifestyle can affect one perspective of being wealthy. On the same vein, our poor would likely be considered quite well to do compared to second and third tier countries. In the end, it is often relative.

        Reply
          1. Temporarily Sane

            Yep…being homeless and poor doesn’t necessarily mean living in shelters or on the street. A lot of poverty is invisible.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              I foresee a big return to ‘extended families’ in America over the next few years.
              Considering that the really wealthy can only justify a few “second homes” each, there will be a massive slowing in new home construction.

              Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      Being able to afford a 500k mortgage is way above the median household income’s ability.

      Or are we going to start a “Top ten percent of incomes is still middle class” discussion?

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Joint households, crazy mortgages, and expectations of selling at inflated prices are at play.

        Rationally I would say many Nova denizens can’t afford, but they do it anyway. It’s where there job is.

        Reply
        1. Janie

          Also, cobbling together first and second mortgages along with projected income from rental of a bedroom or two. How banks have allowed that I don’t know.

          Reply
    2. John

      Like the $12/pint ice cream in Nancy Antoinette’s SubZero freezer, Michelle’s tropical hardwood deck tiles and premium custom furniture on the very exposed rooftop didn’t just pay for themselves. Quarantine is hard.

      Reply
    3. vega

      I think often the down payments for a house is provided by parents and grandparents. I’m pretty sure that in brownstone Brooklyn no property is bought people under 40, who don’t have rich relatives. This is also probably true for most high-end East coast suburbs.

      Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I just imagine Joe putting up a spirited defense of his admiration for black people, as Beau shared 2 mutual letters with them.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden has to apologize on a routine basis over his decades, but at no point has he ever tried to not be Joe Biden. As President, no one will hold sway over him. Watch out then. There won’t even be a letter.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Just thinking about metaphors, and The Biden. He’s perfect: our nation has become one big, all-encompassing gaffe.

          Along the lines of “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids”.

          “America: We Were Just Kidding”

          Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m not sure it will hurt the electoral college, but I could see people like Spanberger losing. Democrats enjoyed anger over Trump in the midterms, but they didn’t work to expand the electorate to win which the aren’t doing now. A lack of enthusiasm could wipe them out especially if #nevertrump republicans come out and vote GOP down ticket.

      The Team Blue strategy is about winning goosesteppers who think Trump is too unkempt. Even if Biden didn’t speak (the aren’t gaffes), Team Blue would demonstrate their values.

      Reply
    3. Big River Bandido

      Funny how he lays the problem of Trump at the feet of “white voters” and not the Democrat Party for having nothing with which to counter him.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        Which white voters? Does white mean something different when applied to different income percentiles? So many of the shining faces on the networks are white, depending on who they’re talking to.

        Reply
    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Ouch, but it might get worse.

      I tuned in to morning joe this a.m. to see the reaction to Trump’s executive orders. Instead I caught a bit of revisionist history–joe’s promise to name a woman vp as opposed to a woman of color.

      Apparently, joe met in person with gretchen whitmer weekend before last about the job. A young, black female panelist was, among other things, not placated by the promise of a black woman supreme court nomination. She said if biden didn’t pick a black woman vp, black women would probably still vote for him, but they won’t rally their “churches” or their “salons.”

      Rock, meet hard place.

      https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/08/07/gretchen-whitmer-joe-biden-vice-president/3325013001/

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The faux woke ID Pol refugees who can’t advance in the GOP are going to have a bad day when they realize they aren’t going anywhere in the Clinton’s neo-klan either. Obama did, but he had to beat Hillary. If Hillary had won in 2008, Obama would be on Senate committee for taking care of the White House grounds.

        Reply
        1. Parker Dooley

          “Senate committee for taking care of the White House grounds.”

          That could be a pretty powerful committee. “Too bad if…”

          Reply
        1. Massinissa

          Seemed like it was mostly republicans, maybe a few leftists, all decrying Whitmer. I only saw like one comment, from a liberal, that was like “Everyone here hates Whitmer, they must all be evil Republicans!” (To be fair, it did seem like most of them were. Republicans I mean.)

          Anyway, if this is any indication, I’m doubtful Whitmer would actually be able to deliver the state to Joe if he wasn’t going to win it anyway.

          Reply
  12. zagonostra

    >Counterpunch/Ukrainegaqte

    The US does not regard its constant interventions in other countries’ affairs as “interference” when it has to do with US hegemonic power demands. Personal manipulation of foreign governments and their leaders is not at all considered illegitimate.

    So half the population is living in on the edge of economic catastrophe and a medical illness that would financially ruin them and the empire blithely carries on. It’s why I think I’m going to withhold voting for the first time in my voting life. At what point did the people decide that they were to fill the breech left open by the demise of Great Britain? Although the imperial impulse was there earlier, in TR’s gun-boat diplomacy.

    This diabolical notion of the “indispensable” nation has got to go. Ever human is indispensable in the eyes of the Creator. Perhaps if the ideal of becoming that “shining light” on the hill became real, then the nation could turn it’s eye to helping other nations – that is helping in the opposite sense as what the the Obama/Biden administration did in Ukraine.

    It seem the opportunity that a sufficient number of people will come around in time to save the world is quickly disappearing, along with cumulus clouds, no, what you have now is a perfect metaphor in the scarred blue sky sans white puffy clouds I used to watch as a boy. Nothing left but the untoward effects of the desacralization of the environment and concern for the welfare of human life.

    Reply
    1. km

      Following Ukrainegate:

      Everyone in the Ukrainian government is corrupt, from the postman and the fire department all the way up to the president. Everyone and everything there is for sale, everywhere, all the time.

      Of course Shokin, the fired prosecutor, was corrupt. Up to the neck in corruption. Everyone knows it.

      In fact, I would not be at all surprised if the fired prosecutor were in fact investigating Burisma Holdings simply to shake down the owners. That’s just the way business works over there. Things have only gotten worse since the 2014 coup.

      That said, there is no reason to hire a cokehead failson like Hunter Biden for a $600K a year no-show job, except for the political cover he provides.

      And when Shokin was fired – his replacement was just as corrupt, but the replacement left Burisma Holdings alone. The Ukrainians got the message. And as soon as that happened, Joe Biden suddenly stopped caring about corruption in Ukraine. In other words, the political cover (the “krysha” as they call it there) worked exactly the way it was supposed to work.

      For that matter, Trump doesn’t care about corruption in Ukraine, either. Anyone who thinks otherwise should not buy bridges. The only thing Trump cared about was getting the Ukrainians to provide him with a stick to beat his political opponent with. Unless you believe that corruption in Ukraine began and ended with Biden, because that is the only corruption Trump seems to care about, in a country that is 100% corrupt.

      The consideration for Ukrainian assistance was more American weapons to use to butcher the civilians on Donbass with. And Zelensky sounded like he was auditioning to be Trump’s prison bride.

      As far as I am concerned, none of the parties come out of this looking good at all.

      Reply
      1. Sheldon

        George Soros funding protest groups and working for regime change in Ukraine is evil.

        George Soros funding protest groups like BLM and working for regime change in America is part of the social justice movement.

        How stupid does the the elite and financial sector think Americans are?

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          Is there any evidence that Soros funds BLM or ‘works for regime change in America’?

          Hell, why did you even mention Soros? Its not like he was the main financer of the Maidan either, the main sponsor of that was the State Department a la Vicky Nuland and friends.

          Lastly, last I checked most Americans are propagandized enough that they think the Maidan was a good thing, if they even remember it happened at all. Yet one more foreign intervention to go down the memory hole, like the dozens of others the US has orchestrated over the years.

          Reply
      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I suppose it’s a matter of degree, the “snout in trough” performance by The Biden is pretty tough to match, I’ve not seen corresponding levels of absolute shamelessness by The Orange One but perhaps they’re there. And I do tend to get worked up when my tax dollars are used to pay actual snipers a la Maidan in 2014.

        And I thought Hunter earned himself some very nice style points, he really is the king. Impregnating strippers, skating on child support, the well-publicized tendency for his nostrils to seek out fine white powders refined from certain nondescript bushes that grow in the Andes. But the best style was revealed in yesterday’s article: that he never deigned to set foot even once in the fabled land from which all his grift blessings flowed! He’s the absolute king! Maybe they had lots of Zoom calls instead. And the supply chain was kept simple: U.S. taxpayer dollars flow to Kiev, quick diversion to Burisma, then back to Hunter’s bank, then quick-smart straight to Hunter’s coke dealer. Q: did Nancy Pelosi’s son use the same methods? He can be the king too!

        Reply
  13. The S

    A toast to the arrest of colonial collaborator Jimmy Lai! Nothing would be better for Hong Kong than the incarceration of the billionaires and the turning over of their massive real estate holdings to everyday workers for guaranteed housing. Now if we could just muster the courage to do that to Warren Buffet as well; Stoller didn’t even mention that Buffet is the slumlord for most manufactured homes in the US. A person who already has billions and still insists on squeezing interest out of the poorest Americans is a parasite and the lowest form of scum. Pull Buffet out of his ivory tower and turn him over to the trailer parks for justice:

    https://publicintegrity.org/inequality-poverty-opportunity/warren-buffetts-mobile-home-empire-preys-on-the-poor/

    Reply
    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Did you notice how Buffett jumped in to help after the Haiti earthquake in 2010? Sent uninsulated trailers, no AC, no restrooms, no water, no lights, unwired, etc. for use as schools. 100F inside. Schools. Memory is vague, but I think it was coordinated through the Clinton Foundation.

      Reply
      1. The S

        Yeah, he got tax write-offs for off-loading unsellable inventory as Haiti donations. One more chapter in the US’s constant destruction of Haitian lives and well-being

        Reply
        1. Sheldon

          “the US’s constant destruction of Haitian lives and well-being”

          Haiti has practiced black self determination and been run by black people ever since the slave revolt of 1804 and whites were kicked out.

          Do you want Haiti to be a U.S. protectorate?
          Part of Rudyard Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden”? Self determination is 100% or nothing.

          Reply
          1. The S

            Haiti hasn’t had self-determination since the US invasion of 1915. Also see the coup by Bush Sr. in 1989, the Clinton neoliberalizion of the Haitian economy, and the Bush Jr. coup in 2004. Haiti is crushed under the thumb of the US. I would very much like to throw out all the US corporations and US political puppets and let Fanmi Lavalas run Haiti for Haitians.

            Reply
          2. skippy

            Haiti is the primary Mfg’er of U.S. pro team sport garment murch, that kinda of money brings the DC family together every time.

            All efforts were to get the shops up and running again under the aegis of back to work and the economy thingy for the locals … can someone please give that poor man/woman/kid a job.

            Reply
          3. Kfish

            Haiti was forced to compensate France for the loss of France’s slave population as part of the independence deal. That deal was enforced by American gunboats. It took until 1947 for Haiti to finish purchasing its population from France. The price tag in today’s dollars was $21 billion.

            Amazing how many black nations ‘just happen’ to be poor, until you take a closer look at who robbed them.

            Reply
  14. Tom Stone

    I recieved an email this morning with a link to an article that made my stomach sink.
    The Man who sent it to me is someone I have considered to be pretty level headed,
    A Christian, but not an evangelical, holds a Master’s Degree from a good school and a successful business man who is now retired and in his 50’s.
    He’s also a combat veteran.
    The article he sent, the contents of which he agrees with, contends that the Dem Party has been taken over by radical socialists who are using Covid 19 as an excuse to destroy the US Economy and establish a Police State and that ANTIFA is now the Military wing of the Dem Party.
    This is not someone whose opinion I dismiss lightly.
    If Trump loses and there is any question at all about the legitimacy of the election the reaction is likely to be violent.
    To say that I am concerned would be an understatement.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Don’t worry about it. It’s the same nutty stuff the GOP has pushed for decades. The Bush crime family hates Trump, so aspects might be muted, but if Biden wins, every msm outlet except msnbc, which wI’ll lurch to the far right, will scream about Biden being worse the 11 Stalins and want to know why he killed Santa Claus.

      “Liberals” will whine and seek to please their GOP masters. GOP types will double down, and Biden will order the arrest of public school teachers. “Liberals” will say the GOP is being unreasonable like no one has ever and call for Trump to restore a sense of decorum.

      But mostly these emails exist to give Republicans something to say and drown out reality with deranged noise.

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        It’s the the same nutty stuff the fringe right (GOP?) has been pushing for decades, but the difference is now it’s making serious inroads into main stream “conservatism”. I think that’s what Tom Stone above is seeing that is causing him concern.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its always been part of main stream conservatism. The GOP has been pushing bizarre email chains going back well into the 90’s.

          There was a whole cottage industry of deranged books written by Hillary’s Secret Service agents. This garbage was available at Waldens.

          Reply
          1. Massinissa

            “The GOP has been pushing bizarre email chains going back well into the 90’s.”

            Anybody here still remember the Black Helicopters conspiracy theory from the 90s? That was basically the OG conservative conspiracy theory, at least in terms of the internet. The UN was going to send in legions of black helicopters to do… Something… And Clinton would get a third term. Or something.

            This was pretty mainstream stuff, to the point where one a congresswoman from Idaho was talking about it publicly. Apparently Helen Chernoweth said that there were UN helicopters violating US sovereignty and landing in farmers fields to… Er… Enforce the Endangered Species Act, according to an interview she had with Sierra Club back in ’96. To be fair, despite the absurdity, this still makes Q type stuff almost sound reasonable in comparison

            Republicans have pretty much always been like this. It could be argued they’ve gotten worse due to the Internet making it easier to spread than ever before, but I find the idea that they’re so much more wound up than normal this year that they might start a spree of violence to be somewhat questionable.

            Reply
    2. Romancing The Loan

      A Trump win that is then actually overturned as illegitimate would be the worst case scenario in terms of violent reaction, I think, although the Supreme Court wouldn’t react the same way they did in Bush v. Gore (I think they’d refuse to take a case if at all possible) and so that scenario is pretty unlikely.

      A close Biden win with plausible but unfounded rumors of illegitimacy is the most likely outcome but I don’t see the right wing actually starting much violence over it. Covid will not disappear after the election like they think, and so by the time Biden actually takes office in January the country will be in even worse shape and it’ll continue to careen downhill during his administration. It’ll be very hard to maintain your friend’s narrative at that point and I’m not sure how interested most people are going to be in setting roadside bombs.

      Reply
    3. Amfortas the hippie

      agree with NotTim that this is pretty standard RW fare.
      but this is 2020…maybe they’re for reals, this time.
      the afternoon of 9-11-2001, i was packing up the dry goods from my little cafe in town…robbing the register to load up on gasoline and cigs, etc…and suddenly, the big convenience store across the road was full of people, with trailers loaded down, and trucks piled high with beer and canned goods.
      when i saw an open pump i raced over there to fill up and talked to a few folks that i knew.
      everybody was heading to the ranch/deer lease…and expecting the UN Troops/Mexican Hordes/grey aliens to arrive within 30 minutes.
      That reaction scared me far more than anything the terrists did or anything that the gov was doing.
      i knew right then that my business was toast(gourmet cajun/italian/french/whatever i was hungry for…everyone wanted comfort food).

      a little later, when air travel was still shut down, a carload of Indian people came through town…long colorful robes, and that red spot on the womens’ foreheads.
      maybe they picked up on the vibe of my cafe…idk…but they stopped, and it just so happened that babaganoush was a side for the special that day….and i whipped up some vegetarian fare for them.
      they talked about how they had been stuck in california, and had rented a car to get back to florida…and how scary it was being brown and exotic, driving through a shellshocked america.

      it really depends on the pain at an individual level, around election time…if the pain is widespread, there may be violence….but i don’t expect any organised violence…
      these people are not all that organised, in any kind of operational sense…just yelling on FB.
      if homelessness and extreme poverty explode between now and then,which is my best case scenario,lol… i figure the election will be secondary, at best…folks will be busy trying to feed themselves, and not become prey.
      groups like the 3% and oathkeepers…well, yeah…they’re organised, as far as i can tell…but they also seem scattered and isolated…so, again, individual acts…not widespread coordinated action.
      we’ll see.
      meanwhile, i smell bacon….so we’re ok.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The X factor with evangs, is that they are the only bloc in the country holding precious metals in physical form, and if things really come a cropper financially, they’ll be one eyed jacks in a country full of blind people.

        Reply
        1. D. Fuller

          In an economic catastrophe? Physical metals are worthless.

          Bread is more important than gold. Land is the ony true measure of wealth. Which is why the wealthiest always buy land as soon as they become wealthy.

          You can’t feed or house your children using gold or silver unless people agree.

          Give me a loaf of bread, give you a ton of guild and no food? I still have 1/2 a loaf of bread and you have no gold.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I could give you a myriad of examples to the contrary, but lets go with a recent one: Argentina, ok?

            2000: 1 oz of gold was worth 400 Pesos

            2020: 1 oz of gold is worth 146,000 Pesos

            Is Argentina still functioning, can you buy a loaf of bread there?

            Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        4There are certainly time and places where this rhetoric is dangerous, but it’s not new. To a large extent, the email is just a GOP golden oldie. They had a bunch of specific items for Obama and really bizarre stuff for Hillary (the GOP respects the corruption) because they really oppose her on personality grounds. Antifa is new, but before it Sandanistas. Again golden oldie.

        Also, it’s designed to play with the very ignorant who know the msm is full of it but don’t know why. So it has just enough familiar words to make it sound reliable to the ignorant. Also my sense is the ignorant know they are ignorant and are super happy to recognize words even if it doesn’t make sense.

        Since the sender of the email is supposed to be reasonable, I would add this is one reason I have such contempt for Team Blue types going after suburban goose steppers. These people should know better but still choose to be pigs. The worst poor person is more moral than the best Republican.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          If white catholics weren’t white today, the GOP would be demanding for Biden to denounce the Pope. And reasonable people would be worried if Biden might have loyalties to the Vatican that might be put ahead of “real Americans.”

          Reply
        2. Dr. John Carpenter

          “…and really bizarre stuff for Hillary (the GOP respects the corruption) because they really oppose her on personality grounds.”

          Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            There is an element of revenge for the emotionally addled in all of it, but the subpoenas for the Chelsea Clinton slumber party really have never been topped. We have had two absolute farces of impeachment proceedings since then.

            Reply
          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            There is an element of revenge for the emotionally addled in all of it, but the subpoenas for the Chelsea Clinton slumber party really have never been topped. We have had two absolute farces of impeachment proceedings since then.

            Reply
      3. Sheldon

        How much you want to bet that after Biden wins election, coverage of Covid, the alarming stories, the attacks on the spreaders, will cease. “We have to get back to work” will be the mantra and if your elders die, or you have permanant body function problems should you survive it, well,that’s just an opportunity for innovative insurance programs to ensure profits to Biden’s donors.

        Reply
        1. JWP

          I’ll take that action so long as the bet goes beyond a few months, long enough for reality of collapse to push progressives and the right to make the mantra change to getting moderate dems out in all their forms. Especially if a bunch of these progressive challengers take down moderates down ballot.
          Team blue is working with their eyes closed down ballot and are focusing on the big money races. 10-15 years from now that’ll come back to bite them when peril strikes and a real progressives take the party (or voting bloc as a different party) under its wing and scoops up the working right.

          Reply
        2. ShamanicFallout

          What was that old commercial? How do you spell (covid) r-e-l-i-e-f? B-i-d-e-n! It’s kind of funny- I have also been teasing people that if Biden wins, corona will go away (whether it actually, in the real world, does is another question). Count on it

          Reply
      4. ChrisPacific

        I remember the first 6-12 hours after the 9-11 attacks being a bit like that. I was in the CBD and had to walk for an hour back to the office because all public transport had shut down. When I got there I was in time to witness a shouted confrontation between a security guard and an office worker outside our building. I’m still not sure what it was about. They didn’t even seem mad at each other in particular, just angry/scared in general (it fizzled out after a bit and the guard let the guy in).

        Initially it wasn’t easy to tell what was going on, especially if you were away from a computer or TV – you’d just get verbal reports that initially sounded too fantastic to be true. (This was in the days before smartphones and mobile Internet). A pretty clear common theme across all of them was that the US was being attacked in a systematic and coordinated way that had clearly taken considerable preparation and planning. I spent quite a bit of time wondering how much of what I’d been told was true, and (if it was true) what else might be going on concurrently that we didn’t know about yet. It’s hard not to let your imagination run away with you in that situation. Even though I knew perfectly well intellectually that I was personally safe for a whole host of reasons, that’s not what my gut was telling me at all.

        I’m not arguing that your locals aren’t a bunch of CT nut jobs, if that’s your point, but I think we can cut them a little slack in this instance.

        Reply
    4. Kurtismayfield

      The brilliance of the upper class in taking the “us vs. them” mentality of the cold war and using it on its own people should be applauded.

      Reply
    5. Keith

      It is just the pendulum swinging the other way. We have had four years of the “illegitimate” president who was installed by the Kremlin, along with a media supported resistance. Add to that the images of peaceful protesters burning down buildings, looting stores, attempted murdering cops by trying to burn them alive in Portland and engaging in various mayhem, it helps inflames a concern about the other side of the political spectrum, along with the feeling of being underseige. Both sides are gearing up to call the other illegitimate.

      When you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind. How bad it gets will likely be determined by how the economy does.

      Reply
    6. NotTimothyGeithner

      Though my stated view above applies to most Republicans, I have a printout of an email my dad sent earlier years ago detailing how Shrub really was a nutter and was way more consistent with his beliefs than he is given credit for. For a trip down memory lane, search gog and magog, bush, and Chirac.

      Pence probably is. I use to think Ted Cruz was, but I think he’s more performance art than anything, a perfect toad like Lindsay Graham.

      Reply
      1. RMO

        I don’t see the days after the election playing out at all calmly unless both Trump and Biden kick the bucket in the next couple of months. You can be sure that if Biden gets in the people who are dedicated Trump supporters will believe the election was illegitimately stolen from them – by a Commie-Nazi-Globalist-Conspiracy that wants to send everyone who has ever stood for the Star Spangled Banner to concentration camps. If Trump gets in again… well we’ve already gone through four years of the corporate Dems and media blathering on that the election was stolen by Putin so you can be sure there will at the very least be four more years of that, if not a more extreme push to throw him out.

        Either way there’s going to be a lot of anger, hate, and unrest coming – in addition to all the other stuff currently hitting the fan of course.

        If Biden wins I do expect to see a lot of opinion pieces and learned articles patiently explaining to we dumb proles the the office of President of the U.S.A. has no real power and you can’t expect him to do anything that actually helps the citizenship. They will come from the same people who have spent the last four years saying how amazingly dangerous it is for Trump to wield the overwhelming power of the Presidency which is why you have to vote for whatever animated corpse show the DNC has selected for you – Biden this go around.

        Reply
    7. lyman alpha blob

      Antifa is certainly not the military wing of the Democrat party. If Antifa actually exists as an official organization, and I’m not sure that it does exist outside of deranged right wing fantasies of liberal boogeymen, it is composed of some confused young people and a bunch of cops egging them on.

      This notion that Antifa is a bunch of dangerous militarized leftists is about the stupidest thing I’ve seen, well, since the Democrat party decided having Biden as the nominee would be a good idea.

      Reply
      1. Susan the other

        And for the inevitable twist – today Bill Bar pontificated about Antifa being “Bolshevik” – this must have been to offset Trump’s gaffe about Antifa being “fascist” (Anti-fascist is fascist, all is well mein Fuhrer.) – But it was so ludicrous for Trump to forget the difference between Bolshevik and Fascist it’s almost impossible to accept a correction that is equally stupid. But Billy Barr is certainly almost as dumb – because the “Bolsheviks” were originally those in the majority of the populist movement in the early part of the 20th C. They sat around the coffee houses in Berlin and were considered to be advocates for…. drum roll… democracy. Somebody please tell our esteemed Attorney General. Nobody wants neo-feudalism. OK?

        Reply
        1. kareninca

          “it was so ludicrous for Trump to forget the difference between Bolshevik and Fascist”

          I would bet about one percent of Americans could distinguish between Bolshevik and Fascist.

          Reply
    8. Oh

      The decades of propaganda against socialism seems to reverberate in the tin ears of the rural and red state population. Trump keeps repeating that the Dim party has been taken over by the left wing. If only that were true!

      Reply
  15. Code Name D

    New surge will be coming from reopening schools

    My next-door neighbor spends three days online enrolling her three girls – and she is pissed. And she is not alone. Wichita Ks is currently in a hot-outbreak, so its pure insanity to re-open now. And yet precisely this is happening. Further spreading is now inevitable. Trump should be impeached for forcing schools to open. But of course, we all know that is not going to happen.

    And this is going to be a disaster for western Kansas. These communities, thanks to their isolation (those that do not have butcher plants that is) have been spared Covid. But their schools are all consolidated, insuring a transmission path. And these students are NOT waring masks. Even quality masks become less effective when placed in a condition of long-term exposure. It is like Russian roulette. Your first play, you have a 1 in 6 chance of catching a bullet, but the next chance is 1 in 5. Play long enough and it becomes 100%. And rural Kansas tends to be more conservative, a larger likelihood that these students will refuse to ware masks at all.

    And these communities live in hospital deserts, as well as counties with small budgets that simply do not have the resources or expertise to fight a corvid outbreak.

    Reply
    1. allan

      Federal agency to reopen 53 Native American schools despite coronavirus fears [NBC]

      The Bureau of Indian Affairs, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Education, announced last week that it would reopen “brick and mortar schools” under its jurisdiction to the “maximum extent possible”
      on Sept. 16. …

      An internal memo sent to bureau-operated schools Friday and shared with NBC News included details of the return to in-person teaching. Families can opt for virtual learning, according to the memo, but instructors must still teach in person, said the memo, signed by Tara Sweeney, the assistant secretary of the interior for Indian affairs. …

      Many Bureau of Indian Education schools face numerous challenges that educators fear could be aggravated by the virus: They are frequently miles from students who must travel hours from far-flung corners of their reservations. As a result, some students live in dormitories during the week in close quarters with one another, while others board full time at one of the bureau-operated boarding schools. …

      It’s not a crime against humanity if the President’s appointee does it.
      But is there anything else we should know about Tara Sweeney? Thank you for asking:

      …As Assistant Secretary, she faced calls for her resignation over the inclusion of for-profit Alaska Native owned corporations to directly compete with funding set aside for native governments dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.[6] On April 28, 2020 a federal court blocked the inclusion of Alaska Native owned corporations from receiving federal stimulus money earmarked for tribal governments.[7] …

      Seems nice.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        It is true, some things don’t change. Recall the horrors of Native American children in this country and in Canada being forcefully removed from their parents and sent to “boarding schools”. Often “Christian” run with support of Bureau of Indian Affairs. The children were stripped of their heritage and culture. They were punished if they spoke in their native language. If at all rebellious, they were ruthlessly beaten or isolated. The current boarding schools are not so egregious, one hopes. The dorm ones, also. But, opening the physical schools for the children as the option to continue their education is, indeed, a crime against their and their family’s humanity.

        Reply
      1. Arthur Dent

        One big difference is that Schumer wants to fund school opening. There are things that can be done to make schools much safer to re-open than they are now. But to do that, the Feds would have needed to sign a bill in June to give school districts and states two months to get everything planned, procured, and in place. Instead, it is largely just going to be opening existing buildings with few modifications other than some surface cleaning that is generally not worth the money.

        We are spending over $500 to have things pre-positioned for my spouse to use in her classroom, including HEPA air purifiers. I expect that replenishment of supplies over the year will push our H&S expenditures to $1k or more. Many states and school districts are very strapped for cash and we are going under the working assumption that if it costs money, it will either not show up at all or will not be replenished as the year goes on.

        Reply
      2. JWP

        Opening schools is like going to the grocery store. Go the the store to bring food back home. Except here, we go to school to bring a virus back home. Schumer is lobbying for the virus.
        I’ve heard Grubhub is planning to deliver vials of the virus directly to homes to save the trouble of waiting for the kids to bring it home.

        Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      With all the firearms in this country, we definitely do have the resources to fight a corvid outbreak. I hear a 410 shotgun does the trick nicely ;)

      Reply
    3. Eureka Springs

      Sad to hear. I have many friends out your way. Missing them and our yearly 1 to 3 week Winfield (Walnut Valley) gathering this year has been hard on all of us. Need our familial gathering more than ever, but it’s cancelled and we wouldn’t be going if it wasn’t. Had a chance to visit a couple of friends from rural KS a couple weeks back. They are scared and desperate. Both highly skilled (electrician, teachers, musicians), hard working and able to handle much more economic limitations than most… still they are in primal fear survival mode.

      Reply
      1. Janie

        Winfield! Used to go 8 to 10 years ago. Loved Carp Camp. Stayed there til sausage and biscuits were available on the midway about 3 or 4 am.

        Reply
    4. tongorad

      Trump should be impeached for forcing schools to open.

      I’m a public school teacher, and the push to open schools isn’t just coming from Trumpers – the PMC’s Very Smart People are also onboard.
      Case in point my school district superintendent, who has been interviewed on local TV saying “buildings must open,” and has denigrated those who oppose him with health concerns as extremists.

      We are starting the school year with 2 weeks of distance learning – the kids will stay at home – yet teachers and support staff must report to school buildings to deliver instruction from our empty classrooms. Support staff will providing day care for the teacher’s kids. The rationale provided for this arrangement is “professionalism.”

      Reply
  16. DJG

    Trump and Mount Rushmore. For the last four years, there has been a lot of psychobabbling about Trump. Many people also have esthetic problems with him–the hair, the vulgarity, the bad interior decorating–although, even among liberals, many of those tastefully offended are not all that opposed to his smash-and-grab policies.

    I think that it is important to keep mentioning that Trump is a symptom and not a cause. I refer to him as Bob That Assclown from Marketing. He is supported by Chad the Marketing Manager for Homeland Marketing. Now we see the effects of DeJoy, the Marketing Manager for Winding Down the Post Office. And then there’s DeVos and family, the Marketing Managers for Bad Education and Mercenaries.

    I estimate the number of Trumps in the U S of A as 3 million to 5 million. They infest every complicated organization, from mini-restaurant chains, to charities, to churches (that feel compelled to publish a Mission Statement).

    If we want any major change in this Great Land of Ourn, we are going to have to re-think a big bunch of things and not be distracted by the latest press release from Marketing.

    Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “Trump says adding his face to Mount Rushmore ‘sounds like a good idea’”

    Actually it may not be a bad idea this. But have it only one story off the ground instead of up with all the other four. Then all those people slash pilgrims with TDS can come from near and far and “stone the devil” like they do at Mecca after Trump eventually leaves the Presidency. It might give them a bit of closure, give them a chance to finally get it out of their system, give them a bit of peace of mind even. And if you gave Trump the concession for the toll-gates leading to his granite image, he wouldn’t even care.

    Reply
    1. Oh

      I wonder if they’d scream “Russia, Russia” while they hurl the rocks. Rotten eggs from the local farms may even work for those too feeble to throw rocks.

      Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    With the miracle of compound interest, I reckon I can double my savings in about 300 years, give or take a century.

    Reply
  19. mrsyk

    “I think that it is important to keep mentioning that Trump is a symptom and not a cause.” I agree. I often refer to Trump as “The Obama Legacy”.

    Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    I’ve been hearing of really boorish behavior by some visitors to Sequoia NP, disrespecting laws and acting badly, and its not just here it would appear.

    After the park was closed from March until June because of the virus, visitation has since exploded, with staff calling the surge “like spring break on steroids.” Visitation figures aren’t available for July, but Ackerman said rooms at the Crater Lake Lodge and Mazama Village cabins are booked through the rest of the summer.

    Park staffing levels are 60% to 70% below normal because of housing shortages stemming from the pandemic.

    Private boats are not allowed on the lake, but there have been reports of visitors using water rings, inflatable kayaks, inner tubes, small rafts, snorkeling and scuba gear and even an eight-person raft in the lake. Many people also take dogs, which are banned because they might unknowingly transmit invasive species that could irreversibly contaminate the water.

    Several incidents of illegal climbing in the caldera have been reported, with rangers and outside crews sometimes dispatched in time-consuming, costly rescues. Seven people were cited Friday after illegally climbing inside the caldera and triggering a large search effort.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crowds-illegal-gear-threaten-oregons-pristine-crater-lake/

    Reply
    1. rd

      Possibly a sign that says

      “You have the freedom to get lost. That comes with the freedom to get a $50,000 invoice to be found.”

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Get with the neo-liberal game plan! That should be; “You have the freedom to get lost, and stay lost forever.”

        Reply
  21. zagonostra

    >Verizonification/unemployment claims

    I’ve have been on hold for 90 minutes waiting to get a hold of a Verizon human after running the gauntlet of saccharin computer generated voices in order to get assistance on new internet service. I can only imagine if this were a more important call like Unemployment insurance.

    Only a monopoly could get away with such s*&ty customer service. I remember a book with the the Title Exit, Voice, and Loyalty I had to read in a polsci class that made a great deal of sense. If you had a choice in the matter, you would simply exit. Having no choice, you can complain, knowing nothing will change and that it is only provided as a token measure. Then there is loyalty, when you’ve been with a service/company and they’ve provided good service before and you’re willing to stick with them through a bad time.

    It seems that these large tech companies have figured out that you have to put up with sh&t service, otherwise I don’t see how people would stick with them. And I guess that’s the problem with gov’t provided service, where are you gonna go? Too late to emigrate. Political process is unresponsive. The crapification of everything, that’s what we are in the middle of…and I won’t even bother describing a high tech washing machine (Maytag – don’t buy one) that I used a dozen times and now won’t drain/spin…is it too early for a drink.

    Reply
    1. zagonostra

      Well it’s getting near Water Cooler time and my phone is still on hold. I figured I’d try “myverizon” to see if I can do something online in the meanwhile and it says “Just one moment while we look up your details….” Must be some details since it’s been trying to retrieve them for over an hour.

      Makes you wonder what kind of country we’ve devolved into. My niece spent a year teaching in Korea and says the internet there is vastly superior to Canada’s, where she lives. Can’t imagine what order of magnitude it is above the U.S’s.

      At least they’ve switched music. It staggers the mind when you realize that folks out there are going through this trying to fill out an unemployment claim…what a sick, Kafkaesque country I live in. When your very rent payment and ability to get food on the table for your kids depends on a company like this to even pick up the phone so you can go online and fill out a form makes you realize just how dysfunctional the U.S has become. That the “private sector” is better than the public sector is, in this case, obviously false…It doesn’t cost Verizon a penny to understaff their staffing needs because there aren’t many alternatives and they’ve calculated how many customer’s they will lose by providing sh&ty service. All the talk of the wonders of the free market place and efficiency, yeah right.

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        Well, I give up. I’ve been on hold since around 10:00 AM, a little past 3:30 PM as of this message. No phone support, no internet support, no live chat. Crapification wins, the blob has taken over the world…

        This is Ground Control to Major Tom
        You’ve really made the grade
        And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
        Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare
        “This is Major Tom to Ground Control
        I’m stepping through the door
        And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
        And the stars look very different today
        For here
        Am I sitting in a tin can
        Far above the world
        Planet Earth is blue
        And there’s nothing I can do

        Reply
  22. Wukchumni

    This just in, Elizabeth Warren has agreed to get race change surgery so as to be viable as a potential veepstakes winner.

    Reply
  23. Milton

    Really, these are the people who need to be cancelled. Their behavior is exponentially more abhorent than those that may have posted racial or sexually insensitive comments in their youth.

    Reply
  24. Wukchumni

    Going postal today in a bit of an experiment of how long it will take a letter to get to my mom a couple hundred miles away.

    I’ll put the over/under @ 6 days~

    Reply
  25. Jason Boxman

    For anyone that was concerned that AirBnb wouldn’t survive to hate on, not so fast:

    The home-rental company Airbnb, which initially lost more than $1 billion in revenue from travel cancellations, has also seen bookings improve to pre-pandemic levels as people look for getaways within driving distance of their homes.

    In a recent virtual meeting with employees, Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive, expressed surprise at the rebound.

    “This is something I never would have imagined telling you even eight weeks ago,” he said. “It kind of defies logic in a way.”

    And apparently, start-ups are now doing just fine.

    Reply
    1. Tom Stone

      There’s a vacation rental next door, the latest group was there a week and left last evening.
      It’s a 3/2 of about 1,800 Sq Ft and 17 people and two dogs were there for the last week.
      The couple that clean the place took 90 minutes to do the job before this group showed up and there was one day between the time the prior group left and this group showed up.
      They were nice enough to invite me to the party Saturday, which I politely declined.
      Masks?
      Nope.
      BTW, the County requires that vacation rentals be cleaned to CDC standards between rentals and that properties be left empty for a minimum of 3 days between rentals…

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Nobody is following the CDC standards here either for short term rentals, they’re chomping at the bit to make up for lost income.

        Reply
  26. NotTimothyGeithner

    And down goes college football. Immediate Covid concerns aside, I’m not sure how many of these schools can restart programs. Theno there is fallout to athletic departments and non revenue sports. It’s okay though. UVA beat VPISU in their last meeting.

    Reply
    1. JWP

      I think the programs will make it so the schools can’t restart. Football revenue is such a massive cash cow for these schools, I’m not sure they’ll be able to stay open, especially private ones with medium to small endowments.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Alabama Football might be bigger than the University of Alabama, but there are maybe a dozen schools who can get a critical mass of the alumni on board with this. Half the Big Ten and Big 12 and most of the ACC and PAC 12 are out with no school.

        Reply
  27. Wukchumni

    We’re kind of in the Phony War period of the Covid-19 fight, with the germ’ans mounting a multi-pronged attack using idiotskrieg tactics.

    What if this debacle lasted as long as WW2?

    Capitalism would be dead and gone well before the endgame.

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        Now, were that to be “Observant absurdist,” oh damn, it’s already an oxymoron. I’ll wager there is already a department in the Ministry of Hasbara covering that subject.

        Reply
  28. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Trump’s Threat to Press Freedom Is Global

    More Trump Derangement Syndrome –

    The appointment of Pack to this vast international media agency has stoked fears in journalists and activists that the Trump administration might use this confirmation to recast the federal agency, and the media networks it operates, into a consolidated right-wing mouthpiece for the president…

    So the problem is not that the US government has a global propaganda network to begin with, which thanks to Obama can now be used against US citizens, it’s that it might start spewing right wing propaganda (you mean it hasn’t been already?!?!?) instead of the good kind of liberal-approved propaganda.

    No mention in the article of Obama’s move to legalize US-based propaganda, and only near the end of the piece does it occur to the author that maybe we just might possibly have been using this network for propaganda already just a little bit and that may not have been the best idea –

    Whether you believe these U.S.-backed media outlets are trusted and authoritative independent global news sources soft-pedaling democratic values for the good of all, or that they are part of our national security infrastructure delivering overt propaganda, the fact is the U.S. has been in the worldwide propaganda business for more than 80 years. It might be time to reassess that strategy.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      ” the fact is the U.S. has been in the worldwide propaganda business for more than 80 years. It might be time to reassess that strategy”

      Because prior to the evil orange Troll Doll getting into the White House this strategy was good and right of course! Just like how fomenting aggressive war, kidnapping and torturing people to death, reducing thousands of people to bloody messes via drone strikes based on secret information, reviewed in secret, prosecuting journalists under the espionage act for committing the crime of journalism etc. were all fine and dandy as long as it was, you know, nice normal polite people such as Bush and Obama that were doing it.

      Reply
    1. JWP

      B of A has now twice, in a month made withdrawing cash and writing checks impossible for my grandparents by messing up their account information, they’ve been with them for 50 years. How does that even happen?

      Reply
  29. Aumua

    I assume your first post appeared to vanish.

    Yes, we love to poo poo the recent rise of multiple proto-fascist movements in the U.S. around here, but this isn’t the 90’s and these things really are at a more serious level today. Ideologues such as Sean Hannity and Mark Levine brag about having the President’s ear and I don’t doubt it because they are in lock step in the rhetoric they are pushing. And that rhetoric is pretty much openly calling for a one party system in the U.S. I mean we already have that in some sense of course, and I’m not advocate for Democrats, but this is more like saying all Democrats should be removed from all levels of government (and tried and hung for treason is on the tips of their tongues), and the GOP can then morph into the America Patriot Freedom party or whatever. And a lot of people are listening. There is definitely cause for concern.

    Reply
    1. Aumua

      Edit: I don’t know what happened to the thread I was responding to, but this was supposed to be a response to NotTimothyGeithner about how the GOP has always pushed fringey stuff.

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Its different because a FoxNew host has the ear of the President. The President of ABC was out to get Carter and cooked up Nightline to spread disinformation to help Reagan.

      As far as the right wing militias, stairs can stop them.

      I do know one difference is sometimes people who didn’t pay attention and are seeing this behavior for the first time. I don’t think they aren’t rabid dogs, but there is nothing new by American standards or recent American standards.

      Reply

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