Links 8/13/2020

Painting Eyes on The Butts of Cattle Can Protect Them From Lions, Research Shows Science Alert (Chuck L). News you can use!

Tiger sightings increase in Thai forest BBC (David L)

Handmade nest lures golden eagles back to Highlands estate Guardian

Birds and reptiles cry similar tears to humans, says new research CNN

Dog Has Ridden The Bus To The Park By Herself Each Day For 5 Years Animal Rescue

Meet the ‘vampire’ parasite that masquerades as a living tongue Live Science. I wish I could unsee that headline.

Tropical Storm Josephine likely to form in Atlantic, posing little threat to land Yale Climate Connections. Bob Henson is baack!

Cities Lose Lawsuit Against FCC’s 5G Rules Axios. Now might those cities be pissed off enough to wink and nod at their cops, who will be over-busy due to Covid-19 cutbacks if they weren’t already, to severely deprioritize investigating accidents that involve 5G installations? After all, protecting life and limb is more important, especially of locals who vote for municipal authorities.

Forest Fires Are Setting Chernobyl’s Radiation Free Atlantic (David L)

Baghdad heat is world’s climate change future Washington Post (resilc)

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

This “Do’s and Don’t’s” List From the 1918 Pandemic Proves We’ve Learned Absolutely Nothing in 100 Years Distractify (David L)

‘AeroNabs’ Promise Powerful, Inhalable Protection Against COVID-19 UCSF (dougied). UCSF has been doing tons of work on existing drugs as treatments and prophylactics.

Covid Vaccine: Nationalism Will Only Make the Coronavirus Pandemic Much Worse Bloomberg

‘A Smoking Gun’: Infectious Coronavirus Retrieved From Hospital Air New York Times (David L)

Selective and cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes in unexposed humans Science (David L)

COVID-19 Could Increase Risk of Memory Loss. Here’s What We Know Science Alert (Chuck L)

US

Principals and Teachers Call on de Blasio to Delay the Start of In-Person School Chalkbeat

Tweet below has photo that goes with this story: Cherokee closes high school after district reports 900 in quarantine Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Grief in Florida Nation. One of my brothers just moved to Tampa. Big time denial. Everything is wonderful…

Annapolis receives donation of 40,000 surgical masks from Changsha, China Capital Gazette (furzy)

Americans give up citizenship in record-smashing numbers as expats find ‘pandemic & political climate too much to bear’ – report RT (Chuck L)

Europe

Brussels region makes masks mandatory Politico

Australia

Biggest Meatworks in Australian State Shut as Cases Multiply Bloomberg

Political Responses

A Government Too Broken to Write $600 Checks New Republic

Trump administration’s coronavirus hospital data reporting system leading to delays Axios (resilc)

Finance/Economy

Relief talks stumble again as Trump asserts a deal is ‘not going to happen’ Washington Post. UserFriendly: “And I thought Hillary surrounded herself with a wall of sycophants . Either that or he is trying to lose.”

NCAA Reminds Boosters That Full Bribes Still Due Even If Football Season Canceled Onion

San Francisco Fed chief says some jobs may never come back Financial Times. Two of my favorites top the list: gyms and movie theaters.

The Economy Is Mortally Wounded Charles Hugh Smith (Chuck L)

Old Blighty

We’re in recession, and worse than almost anyone else, which is this government’s fault Richard Murphy

100,000 A-Level Results Could Be Downgraded. Students Like These Are Most At Risk HuffPost UK

Ministers bid to quell revolt over England A-levels by allowing mock exam results Guardian

New Cold War

Putin and Russia are facing a very serious crisis in Belarus The Saker (Chuck L)

Summary executions and widespread repression under Bolivia’s interim government reports rights advocates from Harvard and University Network for Human Rights Human Rights@Harvard Law

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Homeland Security Details New Tools For Extracting Device Data at US Borders CNet. Enough to make one have an empty machine when traveling…but what do you do about e-mailing? Amusingly if you kept a short list of passwords on paper that was coded, it would never occur to them to look for that.

Trump Transition

Here’s More Evidence That Trump Is an Algorithm Bloomberg

Bob Woodward obtains Trump-Kim Jong-un letters for new book Rage Guardian (David L)

Congress Members Ask FBI to Investigate Trump-Adelson Phone Call Haaretz

2020

UserFriendly: “Literally the only thing Biden has going for him”:

Kamala Harris Is Biden’s VP Pick — Here’s What It Means For The Election And Beyond FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

How FiveThirtyEight’s 2020 Presidential Forecast Works — And What’s Different Because Of COVID-19 FiveThirtyEight (furzy). I hate that we are supposed to care. He was wrong the last time.

U.S. Politics: Odds to Win the Presidential Election BetOnline. Note these prediction markets are only as good as their bettors. The Brexit betting was famously off (showed Remain would win by ~6 points) due to the fact that the average amount of the Remain wager was 3x the Leave bet. In other words, the dollar weight obscured that far far more people were betting for Leave than Remain, and that was the better proxy. Nevertheless, from the e-mailed commentary:

Immediately following Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate — according to BetOnline’s Sportsbook Brand Manager Dave Mason — Trump’s odds to win the 2020 election improved from +135 (27/20; 42.55% implied probability) to +105 (21/20; 48.78% implied probability).

Joe Biden is still the favorite to win, however his odds have receded from as high as -160 (5/8) in June to -135 (20/27) today.

Progressives Didn’t Want Harris for V.P. They’re Backing Her Anyway. New York Times (UserFriendly)

The Case for Trump Claremont Review of Books. UserFriendly: “From the guy that called 2016 the ‘Flight 93 election.'”

QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia Republican primary BBC

Race to Replace Joe Kennedy in Congress Heats Up Intercept (resilc)

L’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell moans about conditions at ‘hell-hole’ Brooklyn jail Daily Mail (resilc)

Gunz

Zoom class interrupted when student’s mother fatally shot The Hill :-(

Rise in Covid-19 cases will weigh on demand for oil, warns IEA Financial Times

Diseased Chicken for Dinner? The USDA Is Considering It Bloomberg (Dr. Kevin)

Class Warfare

Uber CEO Says Its Service Will Probably Shut Down Temporarily in California if It’s Forced To Classify Drivers as Employees CNBC. And what happens when they are not missed?

Black Mothers in New York Are More Likely to Have Life-Threatening Complications in Childbirth Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour (CV, who worries the rich dudes moving into his area will ruin things, including his nature shots):

And a bonus video (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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262 comments

  1. Kevin C. Smith

    Galapagos Albatross Mating Dance
    er … actually those are blue-footed boobies [the blue color indicates how well nourished they are, a proxy for reproductive fitness]

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I must confess I am not a bird person. Once you get past about 20 basic types, like seagulls, chickens, cardinals, pigeons, canaries, hummingbirds, ducks, eagles, parrots, robins, crows, owls, cockatoos, geese, toucans, I’m useless. Oh, and cormorants.

      But is that another reason everyone loves blue footed boobies so much? They are good dancers!

      Reply
      1. Winston Smith

        How to become a bird person? Watch troops of northern gannets dive for fish “in the flesh”, not on a screen…

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          So my guess is that the one on the right is the male? That one seems to be leading the conversation, but just a little bit.

          While the one on the left gives me a bit more of the “I can have sex with anybody, why you?” impression.

          Not real obvious, though.

          Reply
        2. Nordberg

          Or Osprey. It is cool how they turn the fish forward. Luckily I grew up on the lower Chesapeake Bay and the numbers have been growing consistently since I was young.

          Reply
      2. Larry Y

        Fun exercise – other well known birds:
        Ostrich, kiwi, puffins, penguins, pelicans, flamingos, vultures, Blue jays, woodpecker, emus, peacock

        The thing is, I can’t always tell between osprey/falcon/hawk or various songbirds, corvids, or frigate/albatross/gull, or various wading birds like heron/stork

        Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Been seeing plenty of plovers the past fortnight here – just before they dive bomb you for getting too near their nests. Next door neighbour has them too and they are just a pest.

            Reply
        1. newcatty

          We have quail. Wonderful to watch crossing our driveway as they go into our wild backyard. Especially cute when little babies are hearded by adults with one in the lead and one in the back.

          Reply
      3. rd

        Focusing my garden on a complex ecosystem with diverse native species has gotten me much more interested in birds and insects because they are much more abundant and active. You get to see a lot of really interesting behaviors within 50 feet of your house.

        In May, I watched a pair of Baltimore orioles work diligently to strip fibers off of dead switchgrass leaves to use to build a nest a few houses down. They spent a week doing that.

        Lots of other birds doing many other nest-building, mating, and feeding activities. You can watch their flight patterns and figure out where their nests are hidden. They generally don’t take a straight line route to it so they don’t tip off predators. Pretty soon, the drupes and berries on many of the spring flowering shrubs will be ready for the picking and the birds will be feasting on those.

        The native plant species like Culver root, swamp milkweed, joe pye weed, boneset, silphiums etc. are crawling with numerous flies, wasps, bees, etc. Not just European honeybees, but numerous other native bee species. At night we get the lightning bugs, several species at different times of the summer.

        The “Sibley” books are really good for bird watching.
        https://www.amazon.com/Sibley-Guide-Birds-2nd/dp/030795790X

        https://www.amazon.com/What-Its-Like-Bird-Singing-What/dp/0307957896

        Reply
        1. anon in so cal

          That sounds wonderful! As far as migrators go, we have quite a few Hooded Orioles this year. They drain a medium-sized nectar feeder every day. Have also seen a Pacific-Slope Flycatcher but so far no Black-headed Grosbeaks. We’ve got a lot of native Holly Leaf Cherry trees in our yard and the cherries are ripening, so when the Grosbeaks head south shortly, they’ll have a snack.

          Reply
        2. lyman alpha blob

          The Culver root is my new favorite plant. Had some in the garden for a few years now and the bees love it. Too many different species to count on it sometimes.

          And Sibley just came out with a new book – it’s not a guide lie his others though. I think he started out to write a children’s book but it turned into something else. I bought it just for the beautiful illustrations he did – https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/215722/what-its-like-to-be-a-bird-by-david-allen-sibley/

          Reply
    2. Blargh

      These are not Blue footed boobies. I’ve been to Galapagos and seen a blue footed booby mating dance. They look like albatross to me, but I’m not sure.

      Reply
    3. MT_Bill

      Albatross always appear to have dark eyes with a little bit of a trailing “tear” coming from the corner.

      Sorta like the little beauty mark on most falcons.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        Honestly .. I’m surprised the IdPol c-o-gNO!$ainti aren’t ripping you’all a big ‘CANCEL*’ over .. “boobies!” ……

        ‘;]]

        *should a been in purge-atory by now ..

        Reply
  2. jr

    https://www.thecity.nyc/2020/8/12/21365895/evictions-on-hold-but-pre-pandemic-cases-forge-ahead

    “Cases filed in Housing Court before March 17 will proceed, both online and potentially in person, with a court ban on final warrants of eviction tenants’ only safeguard.”

    I don’t understand, what is the argument for saying before this date it’s ok to get booted but after this date we recognize your need? Does anyone even bother to justify these things anymore? I understand why they happen, I’m just wondering if anyone makes an effort to justify it.

    Reply
    1. Ford Prefect

      I think the rationale is that they were a deadbeat tenant BEFORE the coronavirus hit, so they are not being evicted because of impacts of the coronavirus.

      Reply
      1. jr

        Yeah, I guess I knew that, it’s just sometimes you see the same thing a million times and the millionth + it suddenly seems novel in it’s stupidity or callousness.

        Reply
        1. CarlH

          ” it’s just sometimes you see the same thing a million times and the millionth + it suddenly seems novel in it’s stupidity or callousness.”

          So true.

          Reply
  3. jackiebass

    I’m not an economist. That said I wonder how the stock market can continue to boom under the present economic conditions? Could someone please explain it to me? If we used a real measure of the economy instead of the present flawed system, I suspect the US and world economy are in a severe recession or perhaps a depression. I think there are measures of the US GPD that don’t give an accurate picture of the US economy.

    Reply
      1. a different chris

        Or is it? Just not in the expected sense.

        There is an incomprehensible transfer of wealth upward going on. The stock market* is probably flagging that. Actual make stuff/supply services value in those companies, no. But the owners of said companies are becoming more and more powerful (cough, Bezos, cough) in a very real way.

        *let’s also note that we actually aren’t talking about the market for stocks, but just the prices of the ones some unaccountable cabal has decided “represents” the market.

        Reply
          1. Olga

            Will read, but wonder if the s-market’s rise is due to too much money sloshing about (i.e., liquidity), and not enough places/areas/projects in the ‘real economy’ to invest it?

            Reply
            1. jsn

              Yes, this is the capitalist version of the communist end game, “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

              The difference is the capitalists have gotten rid of pretending to pay us to work. The Fed which makes money by giving it away continues to give enough of it to the bribing class to keep the bribes circulating in Washington and the mandarins employed while the balance of the real world collapses invisibly beyond the beltway.

              The irony of this is that the narcissism of what passes for media makes this a completely closed information system: those within the media bubble have all their priors constantly being reinforced as a sort of perpetual emotion machine.

              Because we gave up the pretense of anything but fiat money in 1971, this misinformation feedback loop is completely self sustaining until some real outside event intervenes, and by that I mean real, shockingly large outside inputs of real negative consequences for those inside the bubble. It’s only a matter of time, but I suspect politics can stay insane longer than I can stay alive, so I try to help things along.

              Reply
              1. Olga

                I know folks like to repeat that (first sentence), but it was never entirely true. Maybe some did little work, but most people I knew took their work quite seriously (I lived in 2 socialist countries). The situation in the US is far more dire, as so much of the wealth is built on vapors. One day, it will all crash.

                Reply
                1. jsn

                  I agree with you completely here. I picked up that line from a Croatian friend and I have to say Yugoslavia was set up socially for collapse an order of magnitude better than is the US!

                  They fell apart, civil war and all and have put themselves back together reasonably well. The Russians did too. Here, while I think we no longer have the operational competence to actually fight one another other than street looting, I also see nothing for society to collapse onto other than famine and disease.

                  I really thought ten years ago the collapse had started but the perpetual emotion machine that loops from the Fed through the media and the oligarchy into the beltway and then back to the Fed has sustained a political economy of pure Ponzi for over decade! There are a lot of smart and capable people in the US, but I don’t see any institutional structures available to them to engage with the political economy of Ponzi.

                  Reply
                2. Susan the other

                  That line is funny because it is too close to the truth. Basically it describes all human economies. Imo. I think we saw this coming back in the 80s and all the corporate raiders were the first to be scavengers. We have been implementing a slow, steady decline which demanded we keep the big bozo corporations alive and keep making them bigger (Amazon). A corporation is an asset that takes a long time to make successful and institutional. To let that domino fall (see above Charles Hugh Smith’s dominoes) is to let the 3-Gorges Dam just go ahead and fail. So all the fiat we can credit-out will be provided if there is a hope the corporations will come back and be useful. The moral obligation in the interim is to keep everyone fed, clothed and sheltered. That’s the part Mitch McConnell’s band of abject and ignorant rebels will sabotage. It will be the Great American Tragedy.

                  Reply
        1. L

          Keep in mind how much of the money in the stock market is not being invested by people who have little accountability or connection to the nominal owners. In theory I “own” a lot of stock through my retirement and someone gets paid to keep moving that around but takes little heed of my views on the economy when they do it. Likewise my savings at a bank are also invested by bankers to keep themselves going but again, not at my direction.

          The notion that the stock market transmits social information is predicated on the notion that everyone who invests in the market has a say. But that simply isn’t true. Instead we all have a massive amount in it, with a few hands that actually do the deciding. As a result we have an effective world of its own.

          Traders don’t get paid if they don’t trade.

          Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        The best definition of stock markets I’ve read is that they are ‘an external manifestation of what rich people are thinking about’ (I may have misremembered the precise wording, but you get the general gist).

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          For years now I have thought of them more as “popularity contests”. A stock market for a real economy is based on needs. The present stock market which has become detached from the actual economy appears to be based on wants.

          Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I think Keynes saw it even a step deeper. In the Beautiful Stock contest, each contestant would pick the stock which he thought a majority of the other contestants would think that a majority of the other contestants would think is the prettiest.

              But some of this stock market rise could be all the quasi-government money being emitted and directed strictly to the stock megablock-owing Upper Class.

              Reply
      3. eg

        Partly this, but also the sleight of hand which hides compositional change behind the apparent permanence of index names — this is not your father’s S&P500, nor will it represent your son’s …

        Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Think of it like a circle.

        The Fed prints money (well not exactly, they create bank reserves which gives banks the opportunity to print money).

        Apple Computers has +/- $100B in the bank. Yesterday however they issued bonds, borrowing money from investors. Why? So they can buy back more of their shares. If there are fewer shares out there then the amount of money you need to exchange in order to get your hands each remaining share mathematically goes up.

        Then the Apple bonds are purchased in turn by The Fed, in order to pretend that they no longer exist. The fancy name they invented to describe that is “quantitative easing”, or QE for short.

        Banks, hedge funds, and brokerages all make hefty fees along the way of course.

        Now picture an enormous fat guy, like maybe this guy:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agust%C3%ADn_Carstens#/media/File:Agustin_Carstens.jpg

        He’s in charge of painting the floor of the room he is in, but unfortunately he started along the wall with the door. He’s been very busy, but now he’s poised on his tippy tippy toes in the last corner of the last corner of the room.

        But this corpulent man is very clever, and very desperate. Do you remember the scene in The Poseidon Adventure, where Ernest Borgnine stacks up the furniture higher and higher as he tries to stay alive in the sinking ship? Our portly protagonist is kind of like that. He’s created all manner of step stools and rickety ladders to stay standing in his little corner. Like QE, he gives his step ladders all sorts of creative acronym names, like TALF, TAF, and TSLF. Currently there are 16 different step stools, and our heavyset hero is dreaming up new ones every day. We’re rooting for him!

        Q: What does any of this have to do with Apple’s sales, earnings, products, or market share? A: Nothing.

        Reply
      1. a different chris

        No. Well a fixed one, maybe, would be a good model. Nobody has to worry about the need to fling themselves out of their 40th story window (which doesn’t open anymore in any case) nowadays.

        Reply
      2. Count Zero

        Yes a casino in which you can’t pay your debts if you lose and the casino can’t pay you if you win. The chips are meaningless bits of plastic. So the game must never end. Keep that wheel spinning.

        Reply
    1. dave

      I think it’s a couple things:

      Faith that the central banks and major governments will continue to prop things up with nearly limitless supplies of cash.

      None of this so far is a surprise. The markets hate surprises.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Also the alternatives. Covid might change things in a few months, but a Trump or Harris presidency has to be reassuring for the parasite class.

        Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            She brutalized the poor and did things like not or one cute Steve Mnuchin who in turn donated to her campaign. Pedophile priests all over are breathing a sigh of relief. One of her first actions as California AG was to end an investigation in the priest abuse scandal. Given her record on drug enforcement, she made sure prisons were jam packed.

            There is a reason her polling collapsed.

            Don’t worry she promised tax credits for Pell grant recipients who started and ran a business for three years in a low income area on alternating leap years.

            Reply
            1. Stormcrow

              I found this to be a pretty good analysis, except for the usual ideological boilerplate at the end. It’s hard to see much hope on the political scene.


              The selection of Kamala Harris and the degradation of American politics

              https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/08/13/pers-a13.html

              The selection of Harris exposes the utterly reactionary character of politics that bases itself on race, gender and other forms of identity—anything but class. In response to the eruption of protests against police violence, the Democrats did everything they could to obscure the class issues, promote racial divisions and propagate the lie that the violence of the police is an expression of the oppression of “black America” by “white America.” The outcome of this racialist campaign is the selection as their vice-presidential candidate of a right-wing ex-prosecutor who once covered up evidence to keep an innocent man on death row and worked to tear immigrant children from their parents.

              Reply
              1. cnchal

                > . . . ex-prosecutor who once covered up evidence to keep an innocent man on death row . . .

                Disqualifying, right there. nnIn

                Reply
                  1. Stormcrow

                    Yes. Lisa Pease, whom I believe knows what she’s talking about, regards Kamala Harris as a CIA asset. (If you’re interested you can find Lisa on twitter.)

                    Reply
              2. anon in so cal

                It exposes how anti-democratic the DNC is. Harris was roundly rejected by voters during the primaries. She’s now a shoe-in for the presidency. Someone on here posted how she was always the Obama / DNC Plan A. It got derailed. So they had to use Plan B: Biden, with KH as VP. She got the filler a few weeks ago, no (during a pandemic, no less)? So, she knew then? Or more likely from the get go.

                Reply
              3. ObjectiveFunction

                Nailed it! Thanks for posting.

                The Democratic Party is a party of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus. The politics of race and gender identity, which it relentlessly promotes, gives expression to the interests of layers of the upper-middle class, which employ this right-wing ideology in their fight for positions of power and privilege in the state, academia and corporate boardrooms.

                Reply
              4. USdisabled vet

                Do not understand the Harris pick. She is obviously ineligible.(Article II, Section I). Under no definition is she a natural born citizen. Neither parent was a US citizen at the time of her birth and by Jamaican law she’s a dual citizen; a definite no-no to the founders

                Reply
                1. Phil in KC

                  Eligible. She was born in California in 1964. The 14th Amendment makes it clear that by virtue of her birth in the United State she is automatically granted citizenship and so meets the Constitutional test for Executive office. Jamaican law has no purchase in the US.

                  Enough of this birtherism business!

                  Reply
          2. Pat

            Well they are clearly sure she is, look at her donors past and present.

            I would say her history with both One West and Herbalife proves they have reason to believe that.

            Reply
          3. NotTimothyGeithner

            My other comment is in mod limbo, but the joke is already that she and Beau were every bit as tough on financial crime as Obama-Biden.

            Reply
          4. T

            Search for her name linked with Mnuchin, for starters.

            Unless you meant just good, not Tony Tiger Great for parasites.

            Reply
          5. Procopius

            Look at her record as attorney general in California. She protected the existing structure, e.g. corrupt prosecutors in Orange County. She refused to prosecute Mnuchin, for another example. They are reassured she is in the big club we are not in.

            Reply
        1. L

          Given stories like this where being cozy to Sheryl Sandberg is seen as a positive and threads like this which note how she received donations from Mnucin following a non-prosecution I would say yes.

          Even in the NYTimes story above there was a telling point on that when one Sanders allied group cited one of Harris’ biggest “accomplishments”:

          Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants union and a Sanders ally, said she was focusing on how Ms. Harris, as California attorney general, had helped secure a nationwide settlement with big banks.

          So now immunity for banks and political cover, which resulted in large donations later, counts as a positive accomplishment.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Jimmy Dore and Max Blumenthal dissect this pretty well. With an absolutely horrifying look at the amount of new wars we are in for once the Harris administration is sworn in. If you loved Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Libya then this is without a doubt the ticket for you. And real men, or should I say real women, go to Tehran!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzuA3fjTUg0

            Reply
      2. hunkerdown

        “The” Markets™ hate doing their job of price discovery.

        Time to fire them and hire Paul Cockshott’s neural nets to replace them. The only losers would be the leisure class, which frankly doesn’t deserve to exist.

        Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      Lots of financial engineering, aka grifting, going on with both government and corporations. Uncle Sugar did toss a few trillion dollars into corporate and bank coffers in a hurry in one of the bailout rounds earlier this year, whether those companies’ problems were covid-related or not. Then there are stock buyback programs within the companies themselves used to juice the share prices. And historically low interest rates mean that investors, aka gamblers these days, do not want to park their money in bonds that aren’t paying much of a return, so they look for higher returns in stocks (or other investments – low interest rates played a big role in the 2008 meltdown as big money flowed into dodgy real estate investment). And many can borrow large sums to invest due to those low interest rates. From what I understand some of the do-it-yourself online investment companies are strongly encouraging investors without a lot of savvy to do just that.

      In short, lots of smoke and mirrors. Mr. Market will keep flying high. Until one day they can no longer keep up the charade.

      Reply
    3. Samuel Conner

      I think that big institutional holders of shares (fund companies like Vanguard or Fidelity) are relying on the Fed to keep the market aloft. In past there was the Greenspan put, then the Bernanke put; today we may have a reliable Powell put.

      Back in the mid to mid-late ’00s, commentary at the weblog Calculated Risk (to which I am enduringly grateful for having pointed me to NC in its then ‘blog-roll) often referred to the Fed as the “Plunge Protection Team”, or “PPT”.

      The Fed has only indirect means by which to stimulate the economy. Interest rate policy and “wealth effect” manipulation of asset prices exert second-order and relatively small (“small” in terms of $ of GDP added per $ of intervention) effects on the real economy. Congress has the power to create direct large first-order effects with its spending decisions; one dollar of new spending will add more than one dollar of economic activity due to multiplier effects. But Congress seems reluctant to employ its powers in the public interest. So the Fed does what it can, constrained by past custom and certain laws limiting its freedom.

      I’m rooting for Fed purchases of State and Municipal General Obligation bonds. Congress seems likely to not help the lower levels of government, and the cutbacks there will add to the economic downdraft.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, no, no.

        Of all the people in the investment universe, retail fund managers are the last people to single out. Vanguard is an indexer. It has no point of view. Money comes it, it does index replication. Fidelity is not quite extreme in how much money it runs is indexed, but it is pretty similar.

        The people who move the markets on pricing are the algos (hedgies) and the companies themselves via buybacks.

        Reply
    4. timbers

      The stocks go up, because:

      1). QE (quantitative easing). This means the Fed buys up securities such as it’s own treasuries, thus giving those holders money. That money is highly likely to go into the stocks because:

      2). ZIRP (zero interest rate policy). This means no one can make money thru savings because the Fed has outlawed that, so a lot of the money the Fed injects into the economy via QE – which flows directly to investors and their extremely wealthy owners – goes towards the stocks.

      There are other contributors but these are the two most impactful. And, if you follow it, you’ll notice the Fed will always step in and increase free money to Wall Street (mostly QE) when ever the market goes down more than 10% and further.

      But more simply – the Fed is giving trillions of free money to the rich, who spend a much larger part of their income on stocks and assets.

      Reply
      1. Grant

        “But more simply – the Fed is giving trillions of free money to the rich, who spend a much larger part of their income on stocks and assets.”

        Banks create money too. Overall, more than the Fed. As far as I understand, the money the Fed is giving to private financial interests is money used by the banks to settle their debts with one another, the logic being that they will then start lending. Maybe I am wrong, this site is a great place to explain how. My reading of what the Fed has done is to create a type of money that is not itself supposed to circulate the wider economy and is used to clear balances among banks. Since the banks creating credit money rely on someone or something going into debt to the banks, systemic issues can arise when people cannot pay back the debt. When that happens, things start to break down, and the Fed is stepping in to inject money into the banks in the hope that they can get back to creating credit money. The question, if so, is whether or not there is someone willing to go into debt to them. Seems more likely, if we are talking about the real economy, if people feel they can sell actual goods and pay back the debt, depends on effective demand. When it comes to the financial sector, the idea seems to be to create credit money that inflates the value of investments of the financial sector, which can keep the whole game humming along…until of course the next crisis hits. Then the state steps in, as it did with the Mexican Peso crisis, and the East Asian Financial Crisis, and so on. Seems to also explain why so much money can be created by the Fed and yet inflation is not impacted much. The money isn’t circulating the economy in a way that results in things costing more money. If anything, to the extent that money is going to people to buy stuff, it is doing little more than keeping effective demand somewhat afloat, at least more than effective demand would be without it.

        Reply
        1. mike

          The money isn’t circulating because it is concentrated in relatively few hands. Inflation is occurring in financial assets instead of consumer goods as a result.

          Reply
          1. Grant

            Yes, but there are different types of money. Money that banks use to settle balances with one another are not supposed to circulate the economy. The money that does is overwhelmingly created by banks. So, the Fed buying stuff from banks and giving them money is then used by the banks to pay one another and to get them to create credit money. That is how I understand it at least.

            Of course, inflation is highly impacted by where the money goes once it enters the economy. If it sits in the savings account of Bill Gates or leaves when people buy imports, it won’t impact inflation.

            Reply
    5. allan

      The Shiller PE multiple index is back up to the level of Black Tuesday, 1929.
      It’s still down a little from where it was in February, and considerably lower than it was at the peak of
      the internet bubble of 1999-2000.
      But the index is based on the ratio of the S&P 500 to backwards looking earnings.
      You would think that anybody reading the news (or the anecdotes in the comments at NC)
      could see that the next few years are going to be tough on earnings for all but the lucky few predators,
      so the index is in much more bubbly territory than it looks. Look out below.

      Reply
    6. Grant

      Well, with the issue of externalities alone, many profit from the externalization of costs. We don’t take the non-market impacts into account, national income and product accounts don’t take ecosystem impacts into account. So, you could have a booming stock market and worsening environmental conditions, like now. But, if banks create most money and most of that money creation doesn’t go towards producing actual goods and services, you could see the market value of stocks increase for no other reason than private banks are creating money, which finds its way into the stock market and inflates the value of stocks. Given how concentrated stock market ownership is, and given who owns the banks, seems like a self-reinforcing loop.

      Many Marxist economists have long talked about stagnation within the capitalist system, Marx himself talked about that in Capital Volume 3. But, you could have stagnation in the part of the economy that involves producing things (the real economy) and not have stagnation overall because of the growth of the financial sector. You can realize profits within M-C-M’ transactions (money, which buys a commodity, which is sold for more money) or M-M’ transactions (money for money profits, what he called “fictitious capital”, or financialized profits). You can have less money being made as a result of M-C-M’ transactions and more money made with M-M’ transactions. The more you see M-M’ profit seeking, the more financialized the economy is. And, profits will increasingly then be based on someone going into debt to the private banks creating the credit money.

      Reply
    7. skippy

      It was post here at NC not long ago: M – E(i) – M

      Apple is a hedge fund et al, not that any business with sufficient cash flow eventually transitions to a more financial entity due to market forces. Know of a few industrial construction mobs that have taken that road for example. It completely changes the company’s mind set in how it operates near and far term in delivering a good or service.

      Additionally I think this falls under the Gates Fictionless Capitalism paradigm.

      Reply
  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Interesting piece on Resilience.org about how the Coronavirus is exposing the extent to which our environment-destroying economy is filled with non-essential churn:

    The vast majority of ‘goods’ produced for affluent lifestyles are ‘non-essentials’ that are not needed to live well. They are the result of the availability and the affordability of an artificial abundance, created by runaway globalisation of finance and trade, the expansionist logic inherent in capitalism (in whose logic is also the ‘metabolic rift’ between humans and nature, that Marx spoke about), aided by pliant states…

    Changing this requires fundamentally altering the way our economy runs, and who runs it; currently dominant neo-liberal ideology and practice, dictated by the powerful financial-military-industrial complex, promotes greed-based accumulation rather than need-based consumption. It justifies ever-increasing possession of goods, or consumerism, in the name of ‘development’ and ‘growth’. It hides the fact that such growth has no necessary connection to eradicating poverty and deprivation, and in fact may enhance it by undermining nature-based livelihoods and increasing inequality. In fact, what we need is an urgent discussion on, and moving to daily practice, what is really essential to be a human being, rather than a human wanting.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      But human beings can’t systematically, dependably, and maximally parasitize other human beings without creating and reproducing a class system. For those who desire to preserve the astronomical amount of human leisure spent developing the technology of enforced dependence as the basis of all human existence, it is necessary to maim the spirits and minds (and sometimes bodies) of other human beings so that class systems start to make sense.

      Of course, you know all that. :) Great excerpt, gotta go read that.

      Reply
      1. Rod

        This from the article to piggyback your comment;

        Crucial to all of the above are significant cultural and mental shifts. Capitalism and competitive modernity, with patriarchy or masculinity as a base, thrive on selfishness and individualism, driving the trend towards privatisation of every sector of life – in fact, of life itself, as we see in the patenting of plant and animal species. Struggles to re-common public spaces and goods – including water, air, land, forests and other ecosystems, and even information/knowledge, software, art and cultural heritage – are crucial for the reconceptualization of society that works for all.

        Reply
    2. Olga

      The excerpt is correct, of course, and would have ginormous consequences. I just don’t believe people realise what it would mean in the real world. The ‘fundamental altering of the economy’ is nothing short of a revolution. Everything upside down from how it is now. Being a total cynic, I don’t see the kind of energy needed for such a transformation anywhere on the horizon. Ironically, it seems, only an environmental disaster will save us from ourselves.
      (A socialist economy would have been much more sustainable long-term – particularly, given the environmental constraints. But when one knows the extent to which it was undone precisely because people clamoured for more fancy consumer goods (observed in the west), then one may begin to appreciate the obstacles to a potential transformation.)

      Reply
    3. caucus99percenter

      A Hawaiian perspective (PDF):

      http://www.futures.hawaii.edu/publications/half-fried-ideas/J5/lynette.pdf

      A new nation of Hawai’i will be one as far-removed as possible from democracy as it is practiced in America. The new nation of Hawai’i will be based on the Hawaiian concept of ka mea pono, absolute integrity. It is not possible to meld Hawaiian cultural concepts with capitalist/democratic thinking without tainting our Hawaiianness; we cannot take on capitalist thinking unless we are willing to compromise by giving away part of ourselves. Because the issue of profit or personal gain is part and parcel of democratic, capitalist thinking, compromise means that we must accept the fact that it is okay to make a profit on someone else’s labor. In other words, we would need to lie to sell a product as being worth more than it is in order to make money on the transaction. And in telling that lie, we would immediately become less Hawaiian and more American — more profit, more lies, more successful, more American. The cost is too high.

      Reply
      1. eg

        I believe to our great shame in Canada a similar indigenous tradition, the potlatch, was banned as part of the assimilation process.

        Reply
  5. Jeff W

    Dog Has Ridden The Bus To The Park By Herself Each Day For 5 Years Animal Rescue

    If you’re wondering, as I did, if this is a different bus-riding dog, nope—it’s the same one you read about in the Links previously—so I guess this story is kind of a demi-decadanal update. (Hope to see ya’ in 2026, Eclipse!)

    Reply
  6. zagonostra

    >NYT/Harris/Progressives

    Such utter malarkey, to be kind. “ideologically undefined?” She’s a tool of Wall Street, Big Pharma, MIC, and her big donors. “Progressives are hoping” for an “opening?” Horseships, true progressives know the score. Some on the comments yesterday suggested that Harris was the pick of the Dem Establishment from the beginning, and once Obama/Clintonites got Bernie out of the way, their initial pick, Harris, even when she was resoundingly defeated and rejected by the people, found a way to re-insert her to the top of the ticket. I think this hypothesis is convincing.

    Ms. Harris remains somewhat ideologically undefined. In treading lightly, some progressives are hoping that it allows them to make inroads in her circle of influence and create openings that may not exist with Mr. Biden.

    Jimmy Dore has some good clips that tell it like it is, not the way it’s being manufactured by corporate media. One such clip illustrates just how correct Gore Vidal was in describing the U.S. as United States of Amnesia.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlDXJbdkOas

    Reply
    1. Plague Species

      Spot on analysis of her. She is politically undefined because she is a political opportunist every bit as much as Trump is. She blows with the political wind of the day. She will do whatever it takes from a political expediency perspective to advance her career and attain & consolidate power. This explains why she threw the book at, zealously went along with the framing of, Trulove and yet seemingly contradictorily went light on Edwin Ramos. It’s not a contradiction when you drill deeper and realize that she is a political animal and in any given situation she doesn’t act according to her conscience and what is right and wrong, because she doesn’t have one — a conscience, but instead she acts according to what is most politically advantageous to her political career. Willie Brown mentored her well.

      I refuse to be pigeon-holed on the political spectrum. I transcend it. I will not be voting in this election. It is illegitimate from top to bottom. The electoral process in America is a sham. A farce. A ruse. A travesty. A mockery. A travesty of a mockery of a sham.

      Joe Biden is right. America is about possibilities and one strong possibility is that America is collapsing as we speak and no one will stop it, not Joe, not Kamala, not nobody no how.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        > I will not be voting in this election.

        And thus your outrage will then be ignored. Actually, that’s giving it too much credit, it will be invisible.

        Congrats, at least if becoming irrelevant was your goal.

        Reply
      2. zagonostra

        I will not be voting in this election. It is illegitimate from top to bottom. The electoral process in America is a sham. A farce. A ruse. A travesty. A mockery. A travesty of a mockery of a sham.

        Completely concur. I’ve arrived at the exact same place as you have, I will not be voting for the first time since I was eligible over 40 years ago.

        Reply
        1. flora

          I’ll be voting for down ticket and local races.

          Biden/Harris?
          Even less appealing than Gore/Lieberman or Kerry/Edwards.

          Reply
      3. tegnost

        If you don’t vote, you’re not counted. In the event that you don’t like biden or trump, then leave it blank and vote down ballot or vote third party.

        Reply
        1. jsn

          The voter participation rate has been monitored for the last century. Not voting is counted.

          It is the withdrawal of the consent of the governed and it’s been advancing nicely through the neoliberal era.

          Reply
          1. marcyincny

            That’s pretty much where I am at the moment. The act of voting only serves to legitimize a vicious, rapacious system and I already have enough on my conscience because I don’t have the courage to stop paying taxes.

            Reply
            1. BobW

              What I have been saying for years! When voting participation reaches 20% the tumbrils will not be far behind. There is no legitimate government in this country, above the county level… if even that.

              Reply
              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Well then, one can still vote about the Mayor, County Supervisors, School Board members, the County Drain Commissioner, etc.

                Reply
          2. amfortas the hippie

            ill be voting in person
            small isolated town and i’m always the first one there
            never more than me and 4-6 poll workers in the building

            i have 2 choices:
            1- green for preznit and as left as possible down ballot (like the last 30+years)
            2- get a ballot…. and tear that f&$ker up and ask where the round file is

            f&$k america
            sooner the collapse happens, the sooner we can start over and try to do better

            Reply
            1. jsn

              How “good” would you say the local government is in Mason County?

              My experience is that there remains a fair amount of decent governance outside population centers, but maybe that’s nostalgia. I grew up between Kerr, Kendal and Travis counties and to the extent that I understood what was going on they all worked pretty well, but that was back in the 70s-80s.

              Here in Brooklyn, it’s completely hopeless except for the occasional insurgent like AOC (within biking distance!).

              Reply
              1. neo-realist

                As far as NYC and the boroughs, what about Jumaane Williams – the nyc public advocate? From what I understand, he’s been involved in fighting for affordable housing, covid-19 tax relief, and accountability and transparency in city government. Not the national spotlight of AOC, but appears to be doing good work on the local level.

                As far as collapse, I’m not absolutely sure if what follows is starting over and doing better. I’m worried that rather than doing better it may end up with the elites still keeping the policies and their wealth in place and using police power on a more vicious level to destroy opponents to the “program”.

                Reply
              2. amfortas the hippie

                except for the mask thing and a few immigrants from the OC getting themselves elected, i think we’re a model of pretty good government
                i’ve taken issue with many things over the years
                and even had influence enough to change some things
                the problem,as i see it, is facebook and twitter, inserting “foreign ” influence and acrimony(dems = commies) that distracts from local and even state problems
                that’s what those OC folks are about, stirring up unnecessary shit in order to discredit government democracy etc
                on my fone more later
                this is important

                Reply
                  1. Amfortas the hippie

                    i hasten to add my usual caveat: this ain’t some hillbilly Woebegon…we have our issues like anywhere else.
                    and i question whether the good parts of this isolated community can be scaled all that much.
                    too much of the personal for larger polities.
                    I know the county judge(met him at the dump), the mayor(been in office forever. evenhanded. unexcitable. guided the city though major upgrades for the electricity, water, sewer systems…a new dump…a recycling center(now moot))…on down the line.
                    everyone knows where the bank president lives, where he comes from, who his people are.
                    and there’s only 44oo people in the whole county.
                    before the current state of exception, i rarely went to town…and still manage to know about half of them…at least enough to say hi, to.
                    perhaps by neighborhood…if that’s even a meaningful word any more in a lot of places i’ve been…but i don’t really understand cities…organisation-wise.
                    I’d bet that the closest to the ground polity is likely too large.

                    Reply
                    1. Amfortas the hippie

                      as far as fall-back…or backup drive…for civilisation…I think it’s there, buried under the bullshit.
                      but it’s gonna take nurturing…which would be a hard thing in “normal” times…but might, counterintuitively, be an easier sell, post-pandemic….when all the myths are broken.
                      i reckon that the Boss Class is working that problem right this minute.
                      we should be, too.

        2. Eureka Springs

          I think they are saying the entire system is a con and illegitimate. And I wholeheartedly agree.

          Down ballot only encourages them.

          #VoteStrike2020

          Reply
        3. km

          I normally would agree, but I can’t find a third party ticket that doesn’t make me wanna barf.

          And I am not voting for the russiagate conspiracy theorist Howie Hawkins.

          Maybe just vote for whatever third party seems closest to breaking the lock of the legacy party duopoly?

          Reply
      4. John Beech

        Not voting, eh? Reminds me of the George Carlin routine regarding not voting. OK by me, of course, because what you do is none of my business. Anyway, I sincerely hope you’re mistaken about an America in collapse. What saddens me are the weak mind being told how to vote who will. After all, ‘orange man bad’, right? And in this hand . . .

        Reply
        1. CitizenSissy

          Totally get the disgust with the election runup, but, since this is the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment ratification, I’m reminded of the struggle required to start the imperfect process toward universal suffrage. The choice to not vote isn’t the issue in many nations; it’s being prevented from voting, which is becoming more a practical reality here.

          Also reminded of an African-American former colleague who told the stories of neighbor ladies on his block, many of whom were involved with the Civil Rights movement.
          When anyone on the block turned eighteen, they would be at the door with a voter registration form, Any pushback was met with “people died so you could vote.” I suspect they wouldn’t appreciate many of the earlier comments.

          Reply
      5. Samuel Conner

        re: KH as political opportunist —

        Today I saw an item asserting that KH had supported a “for duration of pandemic” $2,000 per month per household stipend. IIRC Sanders proposed something like this back in the early days of the first lock-down.

        I have no love for KH, but flexibility could be a good thing in a crisis. Perhaps political opportunism could lead an intelligent person to become the kind of “class traitor” that FDR turned out to be.

        I don’t predict that, but perhaps it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

        Reply
        1. flora

          KH reminds me of a woman I once worked with, a real operator, a real don’t-turn-your-back-on this person. If Little Shop of Horrors plant Audrey had been a politician, so cute and charming when little but growing drop by drop into monstrous “Feed Me Power!” proportions, that would have been the woman I worked with.

          Wonder what Willie’s nickname for KH was.

          Reply
          1. Jeff W

            …a real operator, a real don’t-turn-your-back-on this person…

            Sure there’s Kamala Harris’s record—prisoners as a source of cheap labor, Mnuchin, etc.—but there are also, for me, those qualities of calculation, opportunism, transactionalism and patent inauthenticity (surpassed, perhaps, only by those of Pete Buttigieg) that make me not want to watch her, much less vote for her. It’s like a form of anti-leadership in my book.

            Reply
        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          …And swine may achieve heavier-than-air flight after exiting from the lower end of my gastro-intestinal tract. Again, not “beyond the realm of possibility”.

          Object lesson: Harris support for M4A. “I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Medicare for All bill in the Senate. We are the only major industrialized nation in the world to not guarantee health care to all people – that’s wrong. Add your time if you agree it’s time for Medicare for All.

          It took her approximately 2 weeks after publicly proclaiming that to turn 180 degrees and oppose it. The Biden may be very, very slow as he approaches his final reward but The Harris is very very fast indeed!

          https://www.facebook.com/ads/library/?active_status=all&ad_type=political_and_issue_ads&country=US&impression_search_field=has_impressions_lifetime&q=harris%20%22medicare%20for%20all%22%20%22original%20co-sponsor%22

          Reply
      6. Vichy Chicago

        In Illinois there’s always at least 4 candidates running for President.
        Plus the option of writing in your own name.
        And voting in all the down ballot races which impact us far more than the President.
        I always vote.
        And I haven’t voted for a major party candidate for President since Dukakis in 1988.

        Reply
      7. The Historian

        I too understand where you are coming from. I know Trump is going to do incalculable damage to the bottom 20% if he gets elected – he’s already said as much. I had hoped that the progressives might blunt the DNC’s race to the bottom, but after seeing them decide to have John Kasich speak at their convention, I see that they not only are not going to allow progressives any say, but they are going to actively try to go after and destroy any progressive ideas in their party. So exactly who do I vote for?

        I’ve been reading a lot about the fall of Rome and the late antiquity period. It is interesting that when Octavian took power, he didn’t stop Roman citizens from voting, but they could only vote for candidates hand chosen by him. Basically voting was just an act to appease the populace – to keep them from understanding what had happened to their Republic. Sound familiar?

        Reply
        1. neo-realist

          John Kasich will be giving his 2024 de-facto campaign speech to neoliberal dems who may end up disappointed in a Biden administration if it comes to pass.

          Reply
        2. Massinissa

          I mean, that would explain, maybe, why North Korea of all places has voting.

          ANd with four major parties, they have more major parties than we do! (Three of them are fake, but eh)

          (I think you’re basically supposed to vote for the party that represents your ethnic group, so maybe it works sort of like an informal census?)

          Reply
        3. Anonymous2

          In the UK the people are allowed to vote but Murdoch gets to choose which party wins. He is the modern Augustus in both the UK and Australia as far as I can tell. The US?

          Reply
    2. a different chris

      Meanwhile the term “radical leftist” is being brandished by the (completely retarded, seriously) right wing commenters that are always infesting the Post Gazette comments section under the Harris pick story. It’s like they just got a new toy from under the Christmas tree.

      They wouldn’t know a radical leftest if Che Guevera fell from the sky onto the hood of their car, but they are really that stupid.

      And I have no doubt they live in the ‘burbs.

      Anyway my point, insofar as I have one, is that picking a “centrist” (American style) gets you nothing with these people. And you may agree or not (I really don’t know) but I do find it hard to believe the Dem Party is just doing it because they stupidly think they are going to get those nimrod’s votes.

      They are doing it because Biden/Harris is who they are. Jail people. Lip service to the Climate Crisis. And etc.

      So depressing.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        Honestly, if the Democrats asked Pence to be VP, he’d in that fact become a “radical leftist” through no volition of his own.

        Reply
    3. Olga

      Yes, Jimmy and Max offer a bit of sanity (and remind us of the past deeds) in an otherwise love-fest environment. The story about “I’m that girl” is sooo funny, and betrays the cynicism/opportunism of Ms. KH. And to be super modern, let’s just say that KH strikes me as ‘inauthentic’ every time I hear her speak.

      Reply
    4. cnchal

      That the Wall Street criminals and the rest of the venal establishment approves is the peasant’s signal to lift the middle finger in salute.

      Reply
      1. John Beech

        I’ll take the over regarding 99% of NC-readers vote left and despite dismay about Joe’s faculties and/or Harris’ opportunism, will hold their nose and vote for Biden/Harris because a) orange man bad, b) unceasing news about Trump informs them because they’re too stupid to look at actual results, c) they’ve been continuously outraged for four years and are exhausted and will vote change. Me? I think the Democrats are going to take the helm as the economy stalls and snap rolls into the ground . . . as usual.

        A pox on both houses but my vote isn’t informed by ‘watch the birdie in this hand’ levels of media reporting and opinion. I will vote my interests. As should you and everybody else who bothers to exercise their franchise.

        Reply
          1. JP

            Now we’re a club?

            Give me a break. I will vote for Biden/Harris because the alternative is Trump.
            Most posters on this should move to France where Le Grave is a way of life

            Reply
        1. furies

          It matters not who I vote for this fall…austerity/the poor on the menu.

          I didn’t vote in 2016. I can’t say I will this time, either. As someone above said, voting only legitimizes the whole corrupt shebang.

          There is no one running looking out for *my* interests. Why the hell should I vote?

          Reply
        2. Massinissa

          Pretty sure its about even between third party and duopoly voters, with the duopoly voters split between Trump and Biden.

          I myself vote third party at the top.

          Honestly, I sort of hope Trump wins: He helped create this mess, he should lie in it. Also I don’t like the idea of Harris being the future of the party. Better her wings get clipped now.

          But as you do, I vote my interests, which doesn’t lie with Trump or Biden. I guess that means Hawkins for me… Hes a russiagater, but whats my alternative? A vote for Kanye? Or the LIbertarian lady whose top goal is to slash social security, as if Trump and Biden weren’t going to do that anyway?

          Reply
          1. Phil in KC

            Trump created a mess and he should indeed lie in it, but you know he won’t. He will retreat to his Florida estate and his golf resorts and live off room service until the big one brings him low. We the People will get more mess to live in if Trump is re-elected.

            I will vote for Biden and Harris simply to rid the nation of Trump and his gang of thugs.

            The thuggery of Biden and his henchmen is more my style. At least they leave a few crusts behind on the plate.

            Reply
            1. Pat

              They do?

              You did see the story of the woman with Covid being evicted because of a dead partner’s medical debt. Not even her own debts, someone else’s. Such collections enabled and made legal by Senator MBNA himself, good old Joe. I won’t even get into making usury legal.

              Then there were all the illegal foreclosures that the Obama administration ignored, and when uppity ambitious state AGs went after it, they organized a settlement that was a joke and dangled advancements to get them to sign on. I do give Harris credit she held out longer and got more than the others. Anyone remember Schneiderman? I am sure all those people who lost their homes illegally appreciate that they didn’t deserve the crumbs. Same with those who went through HAMP hoops only to pay a few more blood from a stone payments to the bank before that failed them as planned and they lost their home anyway.

              Then there are those who attempted to learn medical coding as suggested after their jobs were off shored because of Clinton and Democrats like Biden’s support of globalization deals mislabeled Trade deals. Finishing only to find out those jobs were overseas as well.

              Cutting SNAP funding is bipartisan. There was a line of cars for miles in Texas last week hoping to pick up a small box of groceries from a food bank.

              Biden bragged about wanting to cut Social Security for years until he found out the seniors whose votes he depends on hate that.

              Tell me again about leaving crumbs on the table.

              Reply
              1. Phil in KC

                Good points, all. I said crusts, I should have said specks. Our realistic choices are narrowed down to a fecal sandwich or a fecal sandwich with a lettuce leaf. Given these options, one can only vote for the lesser of two evils, but good luck trying to figure out which is which.

                One political party will make you angry, and the other will disappoint.

                Reply
      2. antidlc

        https://www.wsj.com/articles/kamala-harris-has-taken-on-wall-street-wall-street-doesnt-seem-to-mind-11597254609

        When Joe Biden announced California Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential pick, he pointed to her tough-on-banks record. Much of Wall Street cheered anyway.

        The warm welcome reflects some relief that in choosing Ms. Harris, Mr. Biden has—for now at least—fended off the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party that has called for tougher financial regulation.

        Reply
    5. hunkerdown

      It’s the NYT’s job, along with the entire rest of the ruling class, to force the meme of centrist neoliberal hegemony by denying that it’s an ideology. That’s how being ruled works.

      Reply
    6. Otis B Driftwoo

      Harris launched her campaign with much fanfare and favorable support from institutional media, then flopped so badly that she had to withdraw in humiliation after sinking below Andrew Yang in polling in her home state of California. That she has now been “selected” as the de facto next president of the United States by Obama (I have no doubts he directed Biden to select her), is significant. There is no real democratic process at this level of politics.

      Reply
      1. John Beech

        The question is; will you nevertheless vote for her? I’m suspecting you (and virtually everyone else reading NC) will because orange man bad.

        Reply
        1. km

          I detest both Trump and Biden. Not sure whom I detest more, happy?

          I also have the luxury of living in a very safe state.

          Reply
        2. Anthony G Stegman

          A few months back, perhaps pre-pandemic, Ted Rall wrote an opinion piece saying a second Trump term may not be the disaster everyone fears. Ted pointed out that historically not much is accomplished during a second presidential term for a variety of reasons. Fears of a Trump “dictatorship” are overblown as Trump is an old and sick man. On the other hand, a Biden/Harris/Obama administration may do grave harm to this nation. Trump may be bad, but the alternative is conceivably worse.

          Reply
        3. HotFlash

          I will not vote for Biden, and Mr HotFlash, who was waiting to see the VP pick, says no way either. I do not vote for war criminals. Or the more effective evil. Medicare for All is dead and no hope for a Green New Deal under either candidate, but Trump will only dismantle SS if one of the golf course cabinet can convince him it’s his idea — he doesn’t really care.

          Meanwhile, the banks and hedgies would *love* to be managing *everyone’s* retirement portfolio, and that’s who Joe and KH have worked for for years.

          Reply
      2. Pat

        I think the announcement delay was the Obama half of the Democratic leadership didn’t want Harris, that was the Clinton half. Unfortunately the gay white guy didn’t match the current Id Pol requirements and those requirements didn’t fade as the BLM protests continue. We still wouldn’t have a name for the V.P. slot if the convention was still weeks away.

        Reply
        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          I think there was definitely some horse trading going on. Kamala was anointed by the money that had backed Clinton as far back as 2017 and I am of the opinion it was supposed to be her turn this year. except she did so poorly, they couldn’t even tilt it to her.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Though, I could see Obama desperate enough to try to stop the pick. Harris is ambitious, and it wouldn’t be too hard to do more than Obama even as Vice President.

            There is a noticeable lack of Obama era accomplishments being bandied about because…you know.

            Reply
    7. O Society

      I will be voting for Howie Hawkins of the Green Party. His VP is Angela Walker. She’s a black woman, BTW.

      Therefore, anyone who claims to vote for Joe Biden because Kamala Harris is an identity fetish has some ‘splaining to do. Why?

      Because Hawkins/ Walker has identity covered too and their platform is much closer to the economic ideology of the average Naked Capitalism reader than is the latest incarnation of right-wing Democratic Party neoliberal/ incarceration tag team.

      Speaking of, here’s a real economics platform for the people:

      https://www.blackagendareport.com/green-party-presidential-candidate-howie-hawkins-says-real-solutions-cant-wait

      Reply
      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        FWIW, of the nine women on the seven Green Party Presidential tickets so far, six have been women of color: Winona LaDuke in 1996 and 2000, Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente in 2008, Cheri Honkala in 2012, and now Angela Walker this year.

        Reply
        1. O Society

          Indeed, John. Winona LaDuke is even a Native American Indian, which trumps any other identity card as far as difficult to find minority obscureness.

          Hey, Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel in 1960-something. Wilma Mankiller was head of the Cherokee last century. Angela Merkel may be the best world leader planet Earth has at the moment. So a female head of state is long over due in the US.

          We get it.

          But don’t try to shame me into voting for Hillary or Kamala the Jailer just because they’re female. Neither one represents my interests. They’re both assholes to regular people and reps for the oligarchs. Nothing new there.

          Reply
  7. Nordberg

    “Two of my favorites top the list: gyms and movie theaters.” Yves I thought you liked to pump the old iron. Have you been able to order the required equipment online and set up a home gym? I have not been able to find barbells, plates, nor dumbells myself.

    Reply
      1. Frobisher

        Totally agree about concessions. As a 6th grader in 1961, my buddy and I set up a projector in the basement and charged a dime to watch 16 mm cartoons I’d got hold of. We sold candy. I was stunned to watch the cash roll in for the candy.

        Reply
      2. Keith

        Walmart is starting the drive to bring back drive in theaters, which for one, I would love. I remember going to one when I lived in 29 Palms, CA.

        I am more concerned about the quality of the movies. Saw a headline for an article mentioning that social distancing rules and masking will affect movie and TV scenes. On the plus side, they were mostly doing remakes, anyway, so bring back the oldies.

        Reply
        1. Glen

          The drive-in theaters never really closed where I live. Theyare open and seem to be doing ok.

          What was interesting to me when we drove past, was they seem to be running some really old movies like Jaws and ET.

          Reply
          1. Keith

            When I went many many moons ago, they played older movies, too. I wonder if it is a copyright thing, where studios are afraid people will more easily record the movie in their car as opposed to doing it in a theater.

            Reply
    1. John Beech

      In a word, craigslist . . . I just checked to see what’s available locally and there are tons, literally tons, of cast iron bits available. Me? I have my own home gym for 15 years plus I ride my bike every morning, as well. Anyway, the only other bit of unsolicited ‘advice’ I’ll offer (and, which is worth every penny you pay me), is don’t get in a hurry to buy. Why not? Simple, it’s because all these commercial gyms that will begin folding will strive to sell, probably all at about the same time, which bodes well for it being a buyer’s market. Do you take my meaning about a buyer’s market? Me? May be a good time to go long cash as the Fed’s efforts to pump and dump begin to be less and less effective.

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Haha thanks for asking!

      Got a weight rack, some dumbbells, a bench, pads for the floor, and a chin bar. Lots of resistance bands but I’m not using them effectively. So no plates or Olympic bars.

      Not enough room for much more than that. Theres is a lot of gym stuff I like, such as bench presses, various pulley exercises, and leg machines (since I am injured, I do about half of my leg exercises with machines, not free weights).

      Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Scores of Georgia high school seniors, mask-less, posed close together for photos on Aug. 3.”

    Excuse me for saying so but considering the fact that there are seventy-odd people in that school foto, do they not look melanin-challenged at all? I mean, about a third of Georgia is black but I cannot see any evidence of that in this foto. Maybe when the call came for every student to crowd together in the middle of a pandemic for a foto, the black students looked at each other and said-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZKRkAKVyig

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Ain’t that America…

      But yeah, it’s a county by county kind of place. This particular high school is in a suburb of Atlanta near, probably a reservoir, a lake with neighborhood names such as “heritage place.” These are the White Flight Republicans that Team Blue wants to win over. Not one non white face in the South…I imagine there are stories about this place.

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        Ain’t that America, we’re something to see baby

        Well there’s a young woman in a skirt
        Listenin’ to a rock ‘n’ roll station
        She’s got a straight hair, pretty smile
        She says: “Lord, this must be my destination”
        ‘Cause they told me, when I was younger
        Sayin’ “Girl, you’re gonna be president”
        But just like everything else,…

        Ain’t that America, we’re something to see baby
        Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah
        Little pink slips for you and me, oh for you and me

        Reply
        1. Brian (another one they call)

          they recognize socialism for the rich, as that is how our government works. Of course it has a different name than socialism, and yet it continues to remain unsaid.
          The money printing is to make up for the falling value of financial assets. To maintain their socialism for the rich, they must print more and more money to feed into their friends hands to enhance the stock market so that the one thing they can control appears to be doing well. It is designed for looting of all remaining assets.
          It is your money that is going down in value every day. A dollar would buy what a hundred buys today, back before WW1.
          The name for our current system is Facism. Corporate controlled government, dictating terms by which they would support the elected government. They would not participate unless they own that government and it acts as they demand.
          Money printing has another name to lessen the horror of depression, collapse and devaluation of the currency, obfuscate the reality of the situation. It is called,
          MMT. Modern Monetary Theory. You can bet it will continue until it collapses, just like every time before that it has been tried.
          Protect the things you hold dear, divest from the insanity of trying to keep up with the Jones’s. The Jone’s are broke too.

          Reply
    2. Carolinian

      The northern part of the state, and in this case the northern Atlanta suburbs, tends to be notably whiter.

      But perhaps one shouldn’t go overboard with the “blame it on the rednecks” genre (as in Grief in Florida). Both Georgia and Florida (and for that matter second wavey South Carolina) have death rates that are still one quarter those of New York, New Jersey and one third those of Connecticut and Massachusetts.

      Reply
      1. MT_Bill

        Also good to remember that many of those kids are from Yankee families that either moved to Atlanta directly or are “half-backs” that decided Florida was not to their liking.

        Reply
      2. USdisabled vet

        Cobb County, just north if the city and I-285, may be the whitest in the US. At one point in the late 70s, the population included less than 50 AAs; and half of those were live-in help

        Reply
  9. O Society

    Asked my black friends for some feedback on Kamala Harris. They do not like her, Sam I am!

    Here’s an example:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/01/kamala-harris-truths-we-hold-review/579430/

    Recounting her years as a district attorney, for instance, she tells a fairly cringeworthy story in which she responded to colleagues’ racist assumptions about an arrested man—his music taste was deemed evidence of his gang involvement—by interjecting that she, too, had a “tape of that Tupac rapper.”

    It’s the kind of ostensibly anti-racist gotcha! that might easily earn a “yass!” gif in response if it were a tweet, but doesn’t translate to any substantive shift in either policy or perception.

    Reply
    1. barefoot charley

      I checked with my black friends too–and was denounced for presuming to speak for the POCs whom I cannot fathom and who my white privilege makes me think I can understand, just because I’ve known them since high school and their views are important to me, and even more to Biden.

      The message was, oddly enough, well though lengthily expressed in this Politico piece, and gingerly alluded to even by NYT’s Blow: many blacks know Harris is a phony, a glam cop, and big numbers of black men won’t vote for a proud imprisonator. Trump’s odd just bumped up, and I’m appalled 538 mostly misses this.

      https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/06/24/letter-to-washington-grosse-pointe-woods-325641?fbclid=IwAR0uCp5UNlzoAKAwIn6lyDpbCYdOsMdBaHMKStSMf28MdHWuPQT-MDDKU1w

      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/12/opinion/kamala-harris-vice-president.html

      Reply
      1. barefoot charley

        Harris is a gratuitous knee on the neck of the Dems’ most reliable base. It’s dumb enough to kneecap the left, it may be suicidal (or suicidally stupid) to think Harris will ramp black votes. What fools these PMCs be . . .

        Reply
      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        “I checked with my black friends too–and was denounced for presuming to speak for the POC. . . .”

        May I presume that the denouncers were other friends and acquaintances — not the friends you’d been speaking with? Had any of the denouncers done anything similar with their friends?

        Reply
  10. a different chris

    Ah and here it starts:

    for ending the pandemic has led to 16 million people without jobs, “a crisis of poverty, of homelessness” that is “afflicting Black, brown, and indigenous people the most”

    Why, oh why, did she have to say that (just a rhetorical question, of course)? It’s affecting everybody, the “the most” part is virtue signaling and a real turnoff for struggling white people. It reinforces the “blacks get everything” BS. Do minorities really need a (pseudo) black woman to tell them that their Administration would help them more than Trump?

    I mean that black woman in Alabama must have stood up from her couch and said “oh, the Democrats are going to help me? Well I couldn’t decide between the parties but now hey I’ve figured it out”.

    A lot of us make fun of Trump playing harder and harder to, and therefore shrinking, his base but this is the exact same thing.

    I’m starting to envy the Covid dead.

    Reply
    1. John Beech

      Why do you say pseudo black? Her father’s Jamaican and of the black race while her mother is born in India, and of a dark skin tone herself (absolutely nothing wrong with either, in my opinion). That she’s accurately described as being a mixed race and identifies as black is her business, not mine, and I’ll go so far as to suggest you’re mistaken in assigning ‘pseudo’ to any aspect of her race. And why does it matter?

      Now, if you want to say something about her ideas, and that’s she’s ‘flexible’ in her politics, then you may well have something there. Then again, can you name any current politicians who aren’t flexible? Moreover, she’s frequently tagged as ‘ambitious’. Me? I think that’s code for her being a) a woman, b) black, and c) an unflattering portrayal for this characteristic because she’s no more, nor less, ambitious as any man regardless of race. Maybe it’s just me, but my point is; she strikes me as ambitious to earn a living without actually performing any ‘work’ beyond flapping her gums. Something I suspect she has in common with 100% of her cohort in office, and beyond.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        FWIW, I can’t call her a Black or African American because she’s more Jamaican and Indian. Most important though is the virtue signalling by the DNC and the woke people being entralled with this shyster.

        Reply
        1. Anthony G Stegman

          Kamala Harris is the black version of Rudy Giuliani – ambitious prosecutor who employed controversial means in prosecuting crimes, a failed presidential candidate, a lightening rod for criticism, arguably corrupt, and likely to babble incoherently in her senescence.

          Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “Diseased Chicken for Dinner? The USDA Is Considering It”

    I have a great deal of trouble deciding which is the worst story on today’s Links. This one or the one about the vampire parasite that eats the tongue out of a host and puts itself in the tongue’s place. Are they gunna cut back on salmonella testing as well? As Trump says, the less you test the less you find. Are all the good chickens going for export? Nancy Pelosi’s freezer perhaps? If you knew that this was happening with a company you would either organize a boycott of their chickens until they change their procedures or start building a chicken coop in your backyard – or give up chicken altogether.

    Reply
    1. Plague Species

      More irony for the irony mill. Trump is so many “In Chiefs” I can’t keep track of them all. One such “In Chief” is the Deregulator In Chief. This is yet another example of it.

      In a previous thread, a commenter remarked that many Bernie supporters voted for Trump because he opposed the TPP. The same commenter added that the TPP was evil because, amongst many other reasons, it prmoted deregulation. According to the logic of the decision to vote for Trump, the vote was a protest against deregulation. In effect, a vote for deregulation to protest deregulation. The insanity. The insanity.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        It could be argued that a multilateral international agreement would be much harder to revive than it would be to reregulate an industry gone off the chain, most clearly because there are fewer hands and fewer conflicting interests at the table in the latter case.

        Also, voters are actually free from any responsibility for the choices they made, them having been tightly and unwantedly constrained by the private corporations that own the political system and mostly operate it to their own benefit. I’m curious whether you have an argument that someone who limits my options to those who benefit the few shouldn’t be driven out of public life by pitchfork mobs, forever.

        Reply
      2. tegnost

        TPP was evil primarily because of ISDS, not sure how that fits in with deregulation. If anything it is a re regulation but with the new regulators being a small pack of hyenas…oops I mean corporate lawyers. To bernie supporters voting trump in 2016, this article says 12% of his primary voters went to trump. I’d say that’s not a real huge number so meh.
        https://www.npr.org/2017/08/24/545812242/1-in-10-sanders-primary-voters-ended-up-supporting-trump-survey-finds

        Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      When I read that about the tongue parasite, I couldn’t help wondering if it has a scientific name yet. I’d offer up ‘Kamalacus’ if they want a suggestion.

      Reply
    3. Oh

      My dinner menu for the politicians (Dims and Pigs) is diseased rubber chicken with salmonella onions and rancid coconut.

      Reply
  12. Tom Stone

    IdPol works.
    I informally polled six women I know about the choice of Kamala Harris yesterday, all of them with college degrees and four of them with advanced degrees (Master’s, JD and PHD’s)
    All of them were thrilled that Biden has chosen not just a Woman, but a Woman of Color.
    I also talked to a male friend who is very sharp indeed and non tribal in his thinking, his take was simple, Wall Street Money.
    I don’t see the choice of Harris as a plus for the Biden Campaign.
    The bottom line is that the American people are screwed.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Did you sense any unspoken “but I know she’ll whack the n—— that try to come into my subdivision” from any of them? As PMC they know how and when to lie, and have no compunctions about doing so in their class interest, regardless of gender.

      Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Democrats always complain how they need better messaging, but they are right. They can’t handle slogans.

          Reply
    2. lovevt

      Biden is a “flawed candidate” to be president given his legislative history. A supporter of NAFTA and the TPP, legislation to increase blacks serving prison time, voted for Iraq invasion and throwing Anita Hill under the bus to name just a few flawed decisions. He an unprincipled politician and as dishonest as the current occupant of the White House. Could someone share with me why Biden and Harris are so popular with the black community. I’m over 70, white with post-graduate degree voting for Jo Jorgensen.

      Reply
      1. km

        *Sigh*, I’ll go there. I have heard two theories.

        One is that Biden is seen as less likely than Trump to get black people killed.

        The other is that Biden served eight years under Obama, whom many black people still view as a near-deity.

        Obviously, not all black people are voting for Biden. Not all black people subscribe, in whole or in part, to either theory. Some assembly required. tax title and license not included. Batteries not included. Offer void where prohibited.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Also, there was virtually no coverage of Biden beyond his front runner status. The large debates were good for him as they took coverage off of his record when there has to be a biography for every doofus jr. Biden.

          Realistically, only Warren, Harris (perhaps fantasy, but she had a fantasy path), Sanders, and Biden ever could entertain winning paths. Every second given to Ratboy, Beta, Gillenbrand, Klob, and so forth was simply a waste of time. Bloomberg too.

          Reply
    3. zagonostra

      I’ve noticed in my own informal polling that education as measured by advanced degrees and a keen understanding of politics do not necessarily correlate, and, as usual, the Ancient Greeks pinned it down long ago.,

      Aristotle recognized long ago, the political animal is political with very nearly the whole of his being; his zealous will to power, his secret resentments, his twisted ego drives, his noblest aspirations…and perhaps least of all with his weighing and measuring intellect. (pg 223) Thodore Roszak’s “Where the Wasteland Ends.”

      Reply
      1. Dan

        It’s not just the political animal. That short paragraph describes most people in power. It’s an incredibly accurate description of, say, Michael Jordan – as any sports fans who follow such things would know. I could go on…

        Reply
  13. jsn

    Claremont Review:
    “More populism. More nationalism. More patriotism. More law and order. More full-throated advocacy for the neglected American people, for the working class, for the Rust Belt and rural America, for religious believers and law-abiding gun owners. More defense of free speech against tech and corporate censorship and suppression, more support for his voters when they or their interests are viciously attacked. In short, more adherence to the 2016 agenda.”

    and,

    “In the speech, Lamm laid out what he called—tongue firmly in cheek—his “secret plan to destroy America.” All of his eight points focused on deliberately fostering disunity: encouraging multiculturalism, multilingualism, dual citizenship, “diversity,” the politics of victimization and resentment, and so on.”

    What will it take to get conservative voters to see that the moneyed elite they idealize, particularly the globalist corporate and financial elites, are exactly who have been playing Jay Gould for the last two generations. Paying half of the working class to kill the other half, whether its police, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, insurance companies or foreclosure mills, working class stiffs are being paid to make life non-viable for other working class stiffs.

    It’s encouraging to find “class” in this right wing publication, but otherwise Jay Gould is winning. If the author’s likes could be encouraged to include minority populations in their vision of exploited classes, the populism, patriotism and nationalism would look a lot like that on the defenestrated left.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      What will it take to get conservative voters to see that the moneyed elite they idealize, particularly the globalist corporate and financial elites, are exactly who have been playing Jay Gould for the last two generations.

      Well, it’s fer damn sure a divisive, terminally flawed biden / harris ticket won’t do it.

      But, despite its being written in a “right wing publication” by a Trump advocate, this might:

      Let’s also be clear that saving the Republican Party will require, in no small measure, moving it to the left economically. Note well: moving it leftward, not making it a leftwing party. A Trumpist party—whether Republican or something else—will still be the party of property rights and of basic economic freedom, and will be the party opposed to “reparations” and other forms of unjust redistribution and expropriation. But it will be a party much friendlier to the interests of workers: the party of tight labor markets and rising wages, of reasonable worker safety and environmental regulations, of far-sighted government spending on infrastructure, and, above all, of industrial and trade policies that favor and encourage domestic manufacturing. Republican free-trade, low-tax, no-regulation dogma stopped serving the interests of at least half of the Republican voting base decades ago. The wing of the party that still sings from that hymnal today is nothing but a controlled-opposition adjunct of the ruling class. Its dogma will have to be smashed.

      Since the democrats seem to be following Lamm’s (a three-term democrat Colorado governor) plan to the letter and it seems to be yielding the results he predicted, I’m sticking with the republicans. It’s a lot easier to demand abortion rights or make sure my granddaughter only has to compete against other actual girls in her chosen sport, when I’m sure everyone I care about can pay next month’s rent.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        If I saw any real danger of Trump taking the Republicans in the direction this author sees, I’d agree with you.

        Personally I’m preparing myself for the party neutral Neo-Cons to start a war with China & or Russia prior to the election.

        That would do for the Blob, consolidating Trump with them, what Trump delivering M4A would do for the populists, consolidating him with them. War would be much, much worse for everyone in the world, but strikes me as more likely than the Republicans actually moving left on policy.

        Reply
      2. amfortas the hippie

        ill have stuff to say about that article later, when i’m not sweltering in a parking lot at the chemo place
        what he’s pointing to is exactly what i’ve been warning team blue about for 20 years
        if such creatures are sincere and willing to abandon so much of their hateful culture war nonsense, i’m all for it
        of course, i don’t expect anything of the sort, lol

        Reply
      3. jsn

        And, I do think if he’d been left to his own devices Trump would have pursued a policy course more in line with this article.

        But that could never have happened. The Blob has hampered a great deal of his intent, but I think more important has been the social relations within the sphere of American Oligarchs, of which he considers himself an important one, where recognition or antagonism personally matters to him in ways the TV feed never will.

        His world is a turbocharged mix of The Apprentice and Survivor and while he hosted the former, temperamentally he is the latter with his survival in his position in the Oligarchy his number one concern.

        Reply
        1. neo-realist

          I think some of us seriously overrate Trump as one who would work for a fairer deal for the American people. Left to his own devices, we would have gotten into a hot and very bloody war with North Korea. I guess the people like more graves then? Promising to permanently cut the payroll tax to destroy social security as well as promising, for the FT 2021 budget to cut social security 25 percent and spend 55 percent of the federal budget on the military. Yep, along with cutting funding to the post office as well as to other regulatory agencies that protect our food, water and air he is certainly a man of the people.

          Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia Republican primary”

    I have read a bit about her and she seems to put it mildly, a whack-job. She puts out videos saying that black people “are held slaves to the Democratic Party” and I won’t say what she says about George Soros as it will kick this comment into moderation. The funny thing is, when you see her she looks like she came out of the same cookie-cutter as Kamala Harris. Check out her foto at the top of this article to see what I mean-

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/09/republicans-marjorie-taylor-greene-392735

    Reply
  15. WobblyTelomeres

    Will Trump panic and dump Pence for fear his little pet mouse will get chewed up and spit out by the nasty nasty Harris? Is Nikki Haley still in good graces?

    Reply
      1. flora

        Pence is an Evangelical. All Pence has to do is point out, as Tulsi did, Harris’s abuse of prisoners and defendants when she was AG.

        When asked by Anderson Cooper after that debate about Tulsi’s attack Kamela had no answer. She couldn’t answer for her own record. All she could do was resort to smearing Tulsi as a so-called Assad apologist.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          I just watched a clip from The Hill, and if Saagar is to be believed, the Republicans are going to try to label her as a hard leftist, which as he says is pretty lame. Her record is littered with ammo for a smart debater, but if Saagar is to be believed, the Republicans are incapable of seeing this. If the the Republican strategists are unable to develop a coherent damaging line of attack on her, they simply don’t deserve to win. But then again, so far the Biden campaign seems equally inept.

          I’ve a feeling the election will be like watching a soccer match where both sides have been told by their coaches to hang on for a 0-0 draw.

          Reply
          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            +100 It seems like both sides have written 2020 off and are trying to do as little as possible just to keep the grift going.

            And the republicans want to paint Kamala as a hard leftist. The dems are trying to sell her as progressive. Feels to me like the ratchet theory striking again.

            Reply
            1. Jason Boxman

              Indeed, I made this point recently myself, with regard to Pelosi; Republicans love to brand her as a socialist, and I’m sure being a capitalist hack, she loves the assist.

              If Trump wants to win, he ought to call out Harris for what she really is to depress turnout for what passes as The Left in this country. But maybe suburban Republicans are more afraid of socialism and getting them back onboard the Trump train is a better approach?

              Reply
              1. Donna

                I thought about this after listening to Saagar. I agree with Jason. Trump team’s ploy is to win back the soccer Mom’s by pinning socialism to Biden/Harris. Since their home is truly with the Republicans, these suburban voters may take this framing to justify voting for their true party of choice, the Republicans. Is it all about the suburbans for both parties? Who knows what Trump and his guys really are thinking. But as good a guess as any.

                Reply
          2. Keith

            Paint her as hard left so that the GOP and Democrats can battle over the ‘burbs. I suspect the thought is that Progressives/Hard Left are a lost cause and will likely go for Biden, so better paint Harris as a hard left loon, part and parcel of the BLM protests/riots/calls to defund the police.

            It may be the better option, too. The Biden ticket is very middle, and if they compete with the GOP for a more law and order approach with reform, it may also turn off the hard left, letting them sit at home.

            Reply
            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              This is the natural GOP default position. The Clinton neo-clan’s whole message is how right wing they are and how desperate they are for GOP approval. The GOP is simply taking a giant dump on the front stoop of the DNC, and the DNC will predictably run to even further right to get the GOP to love them.

              Reply
            2. hunkerdown

              The hard left I know of, the left that is interested in not having the entire world under oligarch jackboots and is interested in material (i.e. hard) sufficiency and none of this speculative radical re-engineering of the Western world’s interpersonal (i.e. soft) sphere, has no reason to vote for Biden when Hawkins is *right there* and pays us the same nothing Biden pays us to vote for him!

              I mean, it’s good that you’re interested in holding control fraudists to account, but it’s kinda telling that you need other people under control of an extremist micromanaging ideology such as neoliberalism so much that you’re willing to see actively evil people doing it. Communities that survive tend to shun, reject, and erase people who are so proud of their vicious need for vicarious dominance.

              Reply
              1. JBird4049

                >>>Communities that survive tend to shun, reject, and erase people who are so proud of their vicious need for vicarious dominance.

                Which is why TPTB have inculcated that need into the American populace especially the lower level PMC. We have a nation filled with socially created psychopaths making the whole nation easier to control.

                Reply
          3. barefoot charley

            And ghastlier, with Biden’s choice managing to insult both leftists and blacks (while the PMCs in charge say and maybe even think she checks both boxes because they’re that awful) the race will tighten, no blowout will mean weeks of mail-in ballot-diddling while Trump blows up the Post Office, uncertainty mounts and Twitter isn’t disabled–what a cluster of [family blogs].

            Reply
          4. Glen

            It seems like both the Democrats and the Republicans have one message this year – stuff that helps Americans BAD.

            Here we are in the middle of a world wide pandemic and new Great Depression and both left and right are saying:

            Fix Healthcare? Medicare For All – NO WAY!
            Jobs program, fix infrastructure? New Deal – forget about it!

            Looks like we will get out of these problems the same way we got into these problems (which defies logic, but whatever): deregulate, cut taxes, give trillions to Wall St, spend trillions to start wars, move jobs, factories, technology out of the country. After all, it’s worked so well for the last forty years.

            Easy to predict the loser in the coming election since Wall St already bought all the candidates:

            Real Americans – LOSERS!

            Reply
              1. Glen

                Biden has said he will VETO Medicare For All if the bill shows up on his desk as President.

                So it is both the LEFT and the RIGHT.

                Reply
        1. Late Introvert

          Well, it is pretty amazing from a nature perspective, and if you’re stinking rich it’s easier than the locals to navigate. Add in low taxes and Cheney’s yer Uncle.

          Reply
    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      I think the assumption of Harris dominating a debate is a bit overstated. Harris is only effective when she’s on her prepared talking points (I was that girl, for instance.) The only time her record was called into any serious question (by Tulsi), she was only saved by the overstuffed debate stage which allowed her weak dodge of the issue to go unchallenged. But the damage had been done.

      I don’t think Pence is some great debater, but all he needs to do is get in a few jabs like that (and Kamala is rather target rich) and she won’t get her footing back.

      Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Sure, but in the midst of the pandemic and a new depression, the decadence of the American upper classes will mean the debates will be so out there its hard to believe.

          Moderator (probably Wolf Blitzer) Topic. Peanut butter.Crunchy or smooth. The first response goes to Senator Harris.

          Harris: I like all natural peanut butter.

          Wolf: Why do you hate Israel?

          Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Agreed.

        Her brand of passive-aggressive nasty really only works when the other person is being nasty back, and that’s not Pence. She strikes me as the type of person who gets pissed when she’s trying to get a rise out of someone who won’t take the bait.

        See the video in Glenn Greenwald’s tweet above for what happens when someone presses an “advantage” that they don’t know they don’t have.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          hell, all she has to do is show a little ankle, and it’s frelling over.
          stoop to conquer.
          I’ve never seen a man that wound up in real life, and I’m from East Texas.

          Reply
  16. Maxwell Johnston

    Re “Americans give up citizenship in record-smashing numbers”: technically true, but misleading. Most of these ‘Americans’ are foreign nationals living abroad who happen to have USA citizenship (maybe they were born there or had an American parent) and are separating themselves from the absurd American tax system (which is based on citizenship rather than residency). Very few ‘Americans’ living in the USA actually get up and leave for tax reasons. Just take a look at any of the lists of renunciants which is published quarterly in the Federal Register (search terms “federal register americans renouncing”): you’ll see a lot of exotic names, not exactly members of the Jim Smith Society.

    Reply
    1. jsn

      I have god children with an American mother and French father who are all getting French passports now because the American ones are useless and look likely to stay that way for some time. I suspect this issue is a practical one driving much of the change over.

      If people were going to do it for tax reasons, they would have done it long ago.

      Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yeah, its a bit of a click-bait headline, but I’d be really interested to see if there is any research on this. Anecdotally, I’ve heard quite a few stories of US citizens who have decided to settle in Europe, just deciding that its a better option for their kids (this is particularly so with a number I know who are non-white). But of course there will always be people who prefer to move country permanently for all sorts of reasons. Go to expat bars in any city on the planet and you’ll meet people from all sorts of places who will happily badmouth their home of birth for economic/political/religious/social reasons.

      What may be more significant for the long term, is that my perception is that a US citizenship is no longer the ‘gold standard’ for most people from anywhere but very wealthy other countries. When I was growing up in Ireland, plenty of my peers lusted after a Green Card. Around eastern Europe and Asia and Latin America, it was always highly prized, with a passport for Canada, Australia or a wealthy European country seen as a bit of a runners-up prize. Again, this is anecdotal, but I think that time has passed, and an EU or Canadian passport is seen as something significantly more useful and valuable, especially for people with kids (i.e. the cost of education).

      Reply
      1. Winston Smith

        Indeed, I was having dinner with a fellow Canadian and US permanent resident and we were musing about our most important piece of good fortune. Our passport was the first item on the list.

        Reply
      2. Maxwell Johnston

        You’re right: tax considerations aside, a USA passport is not the gold standard anymore. Of course if the USA adopts universal health care and free university education, then perceptions could change. Then again, the sun might rise in the west tomorrow, and the moon could spin out of orbit…..

        Reply
  17. Ella

    Wanted to run this by the good folks on here. I heard that one of the local school districts (Boston area) had a reopening plan that starts online, then opens hybrid starting in Oct for “at risk” children. (Read: homeless, food insecure, etc ). Then, the plan is to open hybrid to everyone else.

    This reeks to me of test how it goes with the poor, underprivileged. Am I just completely jaded and cynical in old-ish age?

    Reply
    1. Lost in OR

      Same basic plan here in Oregon. Like so many issues confronting us, the schools don’t have any *good* options.

      Online learning is tough on all parties on lots of fronts. It was easy for a kid to fall through the cracks before the pandemic and is more so now. The sooner we can get back to some sense of normalcy the better. There are some wild cards though… increased homelessness, poverty, and hunger; cold and flu season.

      As a parent, I’m doing my best to cut the schools some slack.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        me, too…for all of it.
        schools are in a hard place, due to the way the funding and such is set up. the statutes and rules don’t contemplate this kind of situation.
        and that absence is being wielded like a club.
        to paraphrase Rham the Impaler, “never let a natural experiment go to waste”.

        Reply
  18. flora

    Taibbi article today in Rolling Stone:

    Big Pharma’s Covid-19 Profiteers

    How the race to develop treatments and a vaccine will create a historic windfall for the industry — and everyone else will pay the price

    What Americans need to understand about the race to find vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 is that in the U.S., even when companies appear to downshift from maximum greed levels — and it’s not at all clear they’ve done this with coronavirus treatments — the production of pharmaceutical drugs is still a nearly riskless, subsidy-laden scam.

    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/big-pharma-covid-19-profits-1041185/

    I remember when one of the biggest US talking points about the superiority of capitalism and democracy over the USSR’s communism and totalitarianism system was the US system offered so much better concrete, material benefits for its citizens. Whatever happened to regarding ‘concrete, material benefits to citizens’ as important for national security, as an important part of US soft power? …

    Reply
  19. Maxwell Johnston

    “Putin and Russia are facing a very serious crisis in Belarus”: Saker is entertaining, but he goes too far. The harsh reality is that Russia doesn’t need Belarus (which is an economic basket case). VVP tried for many years to convince Lukashenko to ‘unite’ with Russia (which would have required a new constitution, thereby enabling VVP to evade term limits and to run again for president). Lukashenko played coy (delusions of grandeur), so VVP finally said “finito” and went to plan B in early 2020. Now the Russians have a shiny new constitution which enables VVP to stay in power legally. Lukashenko is toast. I hope the violence doesn’t spiral out of control.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      I think you miss the point of the article – it’s not the B economy Russia needs – it’s all about geography and the ability to defend Russia. If B were absorbed into the Nato world, Russia will be surrounded by enemies.

      Reply
      1. Maxwell Johnston

        And then what? An expensive NATO base near Minsk, complete with Burger King and KFC? Polish panzers racing towards Smolensk, supported by Lithuanian mech infantry and the remnants of the Luftwaffe? And perhaps backed up by a crack squad of Luxembourg-Montenegrin paratroopers (communicating in Esperanto)? Oh, please, LOL. If the Yankees and the EU want to subsidize Belarus, let them. Russians have had enough of this nonsense.

        Reply
        1. garden breads

          Today it’s not infantry and tanks that are important. Short and intermediate range ballistic missiles based so close to Russia’s western border could hit Moscow and other key sites with essentially no warning – first strike capability.
          They don’t have to be nuclear – just high precision to take out Russia’s strategic assets before they can react.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Which is probably why last week the Russians announced that any missiles that go in Russia’s direction will be assumed to be nuclear-tipped and will have a nuclear counter-strike as a response. The US has assured Russia that the missiles they have in Europe near the Russian borders are not nuclear-tipped but the Russians aren’t buying it.

            Reply
  20. NotTimothyGeithner

    Don’t worry. The GOP Convention will now feature John Kasich and Mike Bloomberg. They are even going to let Joe Biden speak.

    Reply
  21. ChrisPacific

    I didn’t find the hotel video satisfying at all. Yes, I’m glad the guy was able to prevail and it could have been a lot worse, but seeing someone cornered like that and forced into a physical confrontation was uncomfortable regardless of the outcome. He was clearly very upset and agitated by the end of it.

    Reply
  22. spro

    I’ll be honest, I don’t get the “nate silver was wrong in 2016” narrative. Iirc he had it at 80/20 odds Hillary would win based on his poll aggregating. If the polls were bad because Trumpers weren’t honest in them, how does that make him so wrong? It’s all dealing in margins of error, and Trump won by so few votes in the states that mattered, that the 1/5 chance he would win makes total sense.

    Reply
    1. pasha

      precisely! he reminds us that his day-before-2016-election odds were 29% for trump. coincidentally, that is his model’s projection for this election, three months out.

      Reply
  23. The Rev Kev

    “US government official in response to the explosion that devastated much of Beirut and killed dozens of people: “I don’t see how you can react to this kind of event with anything but ‘maximum pressure'”

    If you dig into the twitter feed, you will find one by Macron where he says

    ‘French President Emmanuel Macron Wednesday warned Iran against any interference in Lebanon after the gigantic blast last week that has prompted a political crisis in the country.’

    In reply Rania Khalek, who was in yesterday’s Water Cooler, shot back at him-

    ‘French colonial daddy says stay away from his property’

    Reply
  24. juno mas

    How come no mea culpa from Kevin C. Smith on misidentifying Albatross as Blue-Footed Booby?

    Identifications have consequences.

    Reply

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