Links 8/17/2020

New dinosaur closely related to the Tyrannosaurus rex discovered in England CBS

Women’s football squad surprise teammate with hearing impairment by learning their club song in sign language ABC Australia (KW).

Inside Art Garfunkel’s Bond with Blind College Roommate Who Says His Care Was ‘End of Hopelessness’ People (Furzy Mouse).

‘This Is Uncharted Territory’: Wall Street Weighs Prospect Of Contested Election Outcome Heisenberg Report (Re Van).

Bonds and syndicated loans during the Covid-19 crisis: decoupled again? Bank of International Settlements

Facebook algorithm found to ‘actively promote’ Holocaust denial Guardian

Pontifications: A330neo future bleak from COVID impact Leeham News and Analysis

The hidden dangers of a poorly handled pay-off FT


Scientists See Signs of Lasting Immunity to Covid-19, Even After Mild Infections NYT. “Protection against reinfection cannot be fully confirmed until there is proof that most people who encounter the virus a second time are actually able to keep it at bay, Dr. Pepper said. But the findings could help quell recent concerns over the virus’s ability to dupe the immune system into amnesia, leaving people vulnerable to repeat bouts of disease.”

Functional SARS-CoV-2-specific immune memory persists after mild COVID-19 (preprint) From the Abstract: “These findings demonstrate that mild COVID-19 elicits memory lymphocytes that persist and display functional hallmarks associated with antiviral protective immunity.”

Robust T cell immunity in convalescent individuals with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 Cell. From the Highlights: “Our collective dataset shows that SARS-CoV-2 elicits robust, broad and highly functional memory T cell responses, suggesting that natural exposure or infection may prevent recurrent episodes of severe COVID-19.”

San Quentin’s coronavirus outbreak shows why ‘herd immunity’ could mean disaster Los Angeles Times. On San Quentin, see NC here.

* * *
Some Duval teachers are prioritizing drafting wills along with lesson plans. One even penned her own obit. Florida Times-Union. So strike?

Meharry CEO Dr. James Hildreth says new research shows it’s not safe to open schools News Channel 5 (Nashville). Hildreth read the aerosol studies.

* * *
The U.S. is far behind other rich countries in coronavirus response Axios

Six Key Takeaways From Pandemic Data on American Households Bloomberg

For company behind coronavirus drug, sharp questions over pricing, potentially cheaper option ABC

Face masks: in 2020, ‘mask slacking’ is more partisan than in 1918, historians say CNN


China drought, heavy rains spark concern over grain supply as Xi Jinping launches campaign against food waste SCMP

China Feasts on Obscure Oil to Dodge Taxman Amid Demand Gain Bloomberg

Masks hold images of pandemic, Hong Kong protests (gallery) AP

On being continually doxxed, defamed and harassed by Communist Party allies Hong Kong Free Press

There’s No Cold War With China Foreign Policy

Is the Time Right for Japan to Become Five Eyes’ ‘Sixth Eye’? The Diplomat

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern delays election to Oct 17 over Covid-19 pandemic concerns Straits Times

The Koreas

Thousands of S. Korea church members quarantined over virus Agence France Presse


The annihilation of India’s political opposition is almost complete FT

Hair scavenged from Nairobi dump ends up in salon amid COVID-19 pandemic Reuters

New Cold War

Dealing with America in Decline Valdai Discussion Club

Sputnik V: The Geopolitics Surrounding Russia’s Coronavirus Vaccine The National Interest

* * *
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya ‘prepared to act as national leader’ in Belarus FT

Belarus: Mass protest eclipses defiant Belarus leader’s rally BBC

Belarus’s Workers Are Going on Strike Against the Election Fraud Jacobin

Trump Transition

Trump Oversees All-Time Low in White Collar Crime Enforcement Bloomberg (Re Silc). Re Silc: “Hard to beat Holder.” But that’s no reason not to try!

Shocking no one, not enough foreigners applied for H-1B visas this year so US govt ran a second lottery The Register

Trump eyes new unproven coronavirus “cure” Axios

How QAnon rode the pandemic to new heights — and fueled the viral anti-mask phenomenon NBC


‘I badly need you’: Biden makes impassioned plea to progressive conference NBC

Democratic National Convention Schedule: Who’s Speaking and How to Watch New York Magazine

Milwaukee misses Democratic convention: ‘It is a gut punch’ AP

Trump ‘failure’ on COVID-19 will be central message of Biden convention The Hill

The Biden/Harris campaign and the dead-end of “lesser evil” politics WSWS

4 Social Security Changes Joe Biden Wants to Make Motley Fool (Furzy Mouse).

Health care industry launches new ads against public option for convention The Hill


WH Chief Of Staff Won’t Say Whether USPS Machines Have Been Removed Forbes

Stop Panicking about the Post Office Nick Harper, Medium. This is the author.

Pelosi calls back House over Postal Service upheaval Politico

That’ll do it:


A Brief History Of Political Interference In The U.S. Postal Service NPR

3 Ways Postal Banking Could Help Save Our COVID-Ravaged Economy HuffPo. Oddly, there’s no mention of this policy from liberal Democrats (not even Sanders. Or Warren). On postal banking, see NC: 2014, 2015, 2019, and 2020.

Failed State Watch

The role of a Christian at the collapse of the first American Republic Alice Marshall. “Bernie Sanders thinks that we need a political revolution. I think that we are going to get one whether we want one or not.”

How Government Is Turning into Algoracy Tribune

Guillotine Watch

Rapid Testing Is the New Velvet Rope NYT. “While most of the country waits seven to 14 days for coronavirus test results, a privileged few have access to rapid tests.” Shocking. I mean, this is America, man.

Class Warfare

Dreams and Nightmares of the World’s Middle Classes New Left Review

Op-Ed: How the pandemic divided California in two Los Angeles Times

With Rolling Blackouts, California Power Grids Strained Amid Worst Heat Wave in 70 Years Time

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Amfortas the hippie

    was reading this while waiting for links:

    and my jaw was literally agape.
    i mean, i’ve wanted major cuts to the pentagon’s budget forever,lol.
    didn’t think it needed to be spelled out that caring for veterans wasn’t what i thought needed to be cut.
    just get’s crazier and crazier.
    it’s almost as if they want everything to fall into chaos.

    “Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine;
    Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine!
    Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restored;
    Light dies before thy uncreating word:
    Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
    And universal darkness buries all”

    1. mle detroit

      +100, Amfortas. Does anyone know how this is being received by the troops and their families?

      1. USDisVet

        I’m under the Miami VA system and have experienced very few problems in over 20 years. Cannot speak for other areas. My numerous health issues which would of cost $millions outside the VA and not paid for totally by Medicare would have bankrupted me and left me destitute and homeless. BTW, some of my doctors have been nationally recognized; the quality of care has been excellent.

        1. Will S.

          Last time I checked (and that was quite a while ago), the VA and the NHS were the two health systems highest-rated by their patients in the world, in spite of their occasional and highly-publicized failings.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Peace, brother.

      The line before the ones you quote is:

      And unawares Morality expires.

    3. Krystyn Podgajski

      “Esper and his deputies have argued that America’s private health system can pick up the slack.”


      Privatizing everything…it is the last money grab before the wave of socialism breaches over their heads.

      1. Wukchumni

        There was to be a second Bonus Army March in 1933, but FDR established the CCC and the first enlistees were WW1 vets.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Yeah, look what happened to the Bonus Marchers, in case the history is not familiar: Includes the details of how the bonus was to be paid- compare that to the CARES Act and other ‘coronavirus responses.’ The mechanisms of suppression have gotten a lot more competent than way back then, but still depend on the “legitimized use of force and violence.”

        Compare the original Bonus Army’s fate with what happened when FDR was president:

        Any bets what the Elite, whether Trump or Biden and the existing power structure, would do if a new bunch of destitute and desperate people dared to come to the Imperial Capital “petitioning for redress of grievances?” Here’s a nice description:

    4. ptb

      Hmm. Next generation of guys carrying the guns, PTSD etc, so lets take away their health benefits! Real smart.

      Flip side – M4A can become a grassroots issue within both parties. It’s been observed that ‘populist’ issues are more at home within Republicans than Democrats, due to the different education/class demographics of the two parties’ voters, and the effect that has on primaries. If working class Republican voters rediscover distributive issues, it would maybe encourage Dem leadership to wake up a little. (or else bring in a faux-socialist right winger, in which case DC Dems can go back to sleep)

      1. neo-realist

        I doubt you’ll see the republicans embrace M4A in spite of their rhetorical folksy use of populism in talking to their base. State administered anything for the common folk is anathema to republicans by and large (This is not to say that dems are much more willing to do it at this time.). After all freeloading welfare bums might take advantage of such largesse.

        Root and branch changes in the political system will have to take hold for such legislation to pass, which I suspect will be a long time coming if at all,

    5. jackiebass

      Unfortunately most veterans support those that want to screw them. Their military training teaches them to not question authority

      1. CarlH

        This is not true. Vets are as much a cross section of the poor and working classes as any other organization.

    6. fresno dan

      Amfortas the hippie
      August 17, 2020 at 7:06 am

      “He’s not a war hero,” said Trump. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

      Let me fix that for ya. “He’s not a war hero,” said Trump. “He was a war hero because he was captured wounded. I like people who weren’t captured wounded.”

      I am alive because I was treated at a veterans hospital after I got out of the air force. Back than, there was enough slack in the system, that even though it wasn’t a service connected condition, my lack of income was enough to get me admitted and treated – I had no other place to go. But it was a different era, where the idea that cost was a consideration in treating a veteran would have been repugnant.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        my stepdad is a miracle of medicine. shot in the back in a rice paddy outside danang in 68, the doctors all along his long route home to texas didn’t think he would live for another 10 years.
        but, thanks to the VA, he’s had a pretty good life, all things considering…grandkids, a pseudocareer as a knife maker/”rancher”, etc.
        he was also thus able to provide for his family…namely my mom, and me and my brother, and the 4 grandkids.
        this sort of nonsense will not go over well.

        the disconnect between “Support the Troops!” and “fuck ’em, they’re used up any way” could not be clearer.
        even with sleepy joe and the ringwraith at the helm, if the dems can’t beat trump, there’s something terribly wrong with them.
        add in the rest of the purposeful destruction, on top of the incompetence(Oleanders*? …Really?…)
        by all rights there shouldn’t even be a republican party any more.
        but they’re neck and neck…and it’ll be a photo-finish…everyone at the edge of their seats, clutching their betting stubs….


        (* as with certain other common plants(poison ivy), i learned at an early age that even the smoke from burning that stuff is toxic.)

        1. savebyirony

          “sleepy Joe and the ringwraith”!!! Brilliant! If it all was not so tragic, it would be utterly hilarious. (or is that insane?)

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            the only Nazgul actually named in the Tolkien universe was Kamal, the second in command to the Witch King of Angmar(and really, it’s Kamel, but shows up in the notes and such as Kamal)
            Kamal is like the Nazgul version of the Seabees…establishing the beachhead, whether at Dol Guldur, or Mordor, itself…preparing for Sauron’s return from the East.
            This is the first thing i thought of when she entered my field of vision.
            because I’m a Nerd Herd unto myself.

            1. farragut

              Come for the incisive political & economic analysis, stay for the esoteric Middle Earth lore. :-)

            2. savebyirony

              Don’t get me wrong, i have loved Tolkein since childhood when a favorite aunt gave me The Lord of the Rings and the Simmilarian for my twelfth birthday and I obsessively read them over a summer (to this day I still look to Gandolf’s imo wise swords to Frodo in the mines of Moria to help keep me going at times), but the first thing i thought of when I read that description was “what a great title for an early morning AM radio drive show”.

      2. hunkerdown

        McCain was a hero because he was captured… by the neocons. If he weren’t captured by the neocons, he would have been a case of bad luck and the butt of many “Ranger” jokes, to be given plenty of social distance before it was cool.

        In that sense, I too like people who weren’t captured.

    7. Wukchumni

      I noticed all the fawning over active military & vets pretty much went away once the virus hit, replaced by a similar strategy of elevating essential workers to heroes, despite not really doing anything for them aside from lip service.

      1. Oh

        Not to worry. The NFL games will play the national anthem with full regalia of flag unfurling, salutes and flyovers with military aircraft.

        1. Wukchumni

          We were at a Bills game in SD about 10 years ago and both teams were going nowhere fast late in the season, a couple of Palookas with 5-7 records.

          There was a military flyover and quite the military presence, with a couple of C-5’s circling overhead, and at one point I thought we might be in a sequel to Black Sunday, a really cheesy film from the late 70’s where a blimp takes out the crowd.

          1. ArcadiaMommy

            There is a constant thrum of military noise and activity in SD. We used to have a big family lunch or dinner once or twice a summer at the hotel Del but we gave up on it because of the noise from the military planes zooming around over our heads. Much quieter in north county but you still hear it.

    8. The Rev Kev

      Good luck getting troops to re-up when their time comes. Those troops are not stupid and they know that this is Esper saying that I will throw you to the wolves so I can buy another broken carrier. Brigades, ships and squadrons will literally bleed men & women until they kill this idea or they bring back the draft to make the numbers up.

      1. neo-realist

        They’re counting on a bad economy to strong arm those troops into re-upping, e.g., great depression draft. What opportunities do they have in the pandemic world? With police departments around the country defunding and disarming, a major employer of vets will be going away. What will they do, contact tracing? Census taking?

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          Well let us hope that the CCC, the TVA, PWA, WPA…… will be rebuilt to work on a broken nation.

          1. Wukchumni

            1930’s: The USA is the world’s largest manufacturer & largest creditor

            2020’s: Not so much

          1. JTMcPhee

            Where in North America is the best place to grow poppies? It’s a reaL economic engine in Afghanistan, I’m told, one the Empire has gone all out to foster and protect and collect protection money from. And social distancing is built right into the processes of growing, harvesting, converting and distributing the end product.

            Afghanistan has been the world’s leading illicit opium producer since 2001.[1] Afghanistan’s opium poppy harvest produces more than 90% of illicit heroin globally, and more than 95% of the European supply.[2][3] More land is used for opium in Afghanistan than is used for coca cultivation in Latin America. In 2007, 93% of the non-pharmaceutical-grade opiates on the world market originated in Afghanistan.[4] This amounts to an export value of about US$4 billion, with a quarter being earned by opium farmers and the rest going to district officials, insurgents, warlords, and drug traffickers.[5] In the seven years (1994–2000) prior to a Taliban opium ban, the Afghan farmers’ share of gross income from opium was divided among 200,000 families.[6] As of 2017, opium production provides about 400,000 jobs in Afghanistan, more than the Afghan National Security Forces.[7] The opium trade spiked in 2006 after the Taliban lost control of local warlords. In addition to opium, Afghanistan is also the world’s leading producer of hashish.

            But opium has always been one of the tools of statecraft in the playing of the Great Game…

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              poppies are pretty easy to grow, in my experience….so long as they get rain at the right time, in order to germinate .They easily become natives, given the right conditions.(dry is the limiting factor, out here…and they get crowded out by my grass)
              I have those seeds in reserve, because i figure that will be a much needed trade item with the healthcare folks in town(including the local witch doctor/herbalist/homeopath).

        2. HotFlash

          With police departments around the country defunding and disarming, a major employer of vets will be going away.

          Post office in another.

    9. Glen

      Cutting health care for people that have served? That’s just wrong. I seem to remember that we were spending about $2M per soldier per year in Afghanistan. How about we get out of the Middle East and save some real bucks?

      We dumped like six or seven TRILLION into losing wars in the Middle East after 9/11. Now, we lose the equivalent of 9/11 every couple of days at home because of a virus, how about we spend that kind of money doing Medicare For All to save people at home?

      1. jefemt

        No draft- Did They Serve? Miltary conversion to a transactional capitalist realtionship.

        Some classic Marxism in there.

        Reaping what we have sown— its a BIG garden!

        1. Synoia

          Yes, the Military claim their people “serve,” but is it just another Job with good beneits.?

          The US Military tip to tail ratio (shot at/not shot at) is about 1 to 10, which means 1 in 10 is at risk and the other 9 not so much.

          An example:

          Mike Pompeo:

          West Point – Paid by US Gov
          Active Service 4 years
          Harvard Law Degree – How did he pay the fees?
          A litany of Government Positions – Was this “service” or a “Career (Job)” with excellent benefits?

          How much of this was “service,” which brings the connotations of “sacrifice” and how much a good Career (Set of Job and Positions)?

          1. CarlH

            You don’t know what you are talking about. On a day to day basis, not being deployed to a combat zone even, the average soldier works with countless deadly items/systems throughout his/her day. Whether or not you have been shot at is an absurd measure of danger in an institution where you can lose your limbs or life just being near the equipment and arms you work with. Pompeo’s resume is not the norm for military service.

            1. Janie

              I dunno; it’s anecdotal. Career servicemen (not any women) after Vietnam that I knew had it easy and said so themselves. Desk jobs in the main, excellent medical care, semi-permanent posts, space A vacation flights, the PX. Great retirement before fifty, then on to a civil service job that earned another pension. A lot of the RVers we met were retired military driving big deisel pushers.

              It’s different now, though.

              1. Janie

                PS. Husband and father were both on active duty during wartime, father-in-law was career Navy and brother-in-law was career Marine. I’ve lived in base housing.

        2. Glen

          Nothing so nefarious. It’s just important to align America’s spending with the needs and desires of “We, the People”, and do things that Make America Great Again.

    10. Pat

      The Trump administration has also been making massive changes to the USPS retirement program which includes healthcare for some retirees. Not entirely sure how many are dependent on government managed healthcare in retirement but apparently there is some segment.

      And on a private healthcare sucks as well note, SAG AFTRA just announced big changes for their health fund. Started a big hoopla because someone asked the pointed question, if the healthcare fund was in trouble before Covid 1, why wasn’t this part of recent negotiations. Oops

    11. Tomonthebeach

      What Esper (an infantry officer at one point) fails to realize is that the Defense healthcare system is not to cure dependent runny noses, nor to set broken ankles of soldiers hurt in training, nor for keeping grandpa alive after retirement from the Army. Its purpose is to keep the cadre of uniformed healthcare providers actively practicing medicine so they will be able to hit the decks running, as we say in Navy lingo, once the shooting starts. We need enough managers and clinicians to indoctrinate private sector providers quickly and smoothly in times of crisis and chaos.

      As Trump naively demonstrated when he argued that disbanding the Pandemic staff of NSA was justified because we (the government) could easily call these people back if ever needed turned out to be bullshit. He thinks doctors are gig workers! He called, only a few hacks and voodoo practitioners answered his call. Practicing medicine on warriors is different from private or even group practice because healthcare providers need to learn how the DOD healthcare system works well enough to use it in times of chaos.

      Footnote: Only really big military hospitals like Walter Reed at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, still actively treat retirees. The rest of us are already using private-sector medical care.

      1. Glenn S Olson

        As a Vietnam veteran, with 60% disability due to Agent Orange, I respectfully disagree in part. I’ve received treatment (of sorts) from California and Idaho VA hospitals. However, when I’ve asked if my symptoms could be service related the answer by two different VA doctors was ‘we don’t know anything about service related issues’ so I don’t know how they can “hit the decks running.” Not only that but they charge my health insurance company for any treatment making the VA hospital nothing more than an HMO service provider. And the service they’ve provided has been almost worthless so I’ve quit going to them. I’ve seen no uniformed healthcare providers at either location just locally hired doctors. I think we need a good VA hospital/medical system, I just haven’t seen it.

        1. CarlH

          I am thankfully now under the care of the Palo Alto VA system which is one of the best. I have been unfortunate to be served by less spectacular VA systems (looking at you West LA VA, though I understand you are over run), and my conclusion is that there exists a huge range of quality of care our veterans receive depending on their geographic location. It’s wrong. Everyone (not just vets) deserves the quality of care I receive from the Palo Alto VA. An important aside is that there is also a vast difference in care per veteran based solely on their VA disability rating. I am rated at 100%, but the road to getting there was a war of attrition. They are incredibly stingy with who gets higher ratings (feature, not a bug) and that is also a great inequity in the system.

      1. Wukchumni

        A F-35 flew over us @ Franklin Lake headed for Lemoore NAS, and we heard it coming about an hour away-the damned thing being so loud, so much for being stealthy.

        To it’s credit, it didn’t crash.

    12. rps

      What Politico unsurprisingly excludes are facts. 93 democrat and 0 republican Members Of The House and 23 Senators Voted To Cut The Pentagon Budget (dated 7/23/20). 93 members of the House agreed to an amendment Tuesday to reduce the size of the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The amendment failed. See final roll call votes. The amendment to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was offered by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI).

      Military Times: U.S. troops are all but guaranteed a 3% pay raise next year under legislation that passed the Senate Thursday.The Senate passed its version of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act Thursday. The $740 billion bill contains numerous personnel initiatives, including the second consecutive 3% pay raise for service members, and hazardous duty pay for troops responding to the COVID-19 pandemic… The measure also includes incentive pay to retain military health officers, increases funding for child care facilities, adds money for research on industrial chemicals used in firefighting foam and packaging and expands the list of diseases linked to Agent Orange exposure.
      See NDAA FY 2021

      Politico’s unnamed sources: ‘Pentagon officials,’ ‘two senior defense officials,’ a second senior official, with the money quote- “A lot of the decisions were made in dark, smoky rooms… said one senior defense official with knowledge of the process.” At the bottom of the ‘story’ is a clarification notation- This story has been updated to make clear that the cuts are part of a proposal to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Doesn’t say who sent the proposal to Esper. Fictional spy novels have more thoroughly annotated research and links than the 2 clowns at politico.

      1. newcatty

        Really tired of the military members being hailed as serving or having served their country. Especially since the draft ended, it is a volunteer military. The excuse that TINA is outdated and disingenuous. There are many young people who do not choose to join an institution that requires them to be willing to kill other People, especially knowing that many of those killed in any war or conflict would likely be civilians. These young people are working at jobs that do not have liveable wages. They often have, if lucky, health insurance that is a big part of their paycheck with deductibles, co-pays on top of that fact. They have no housing provided. They do not have a commissary to shop at for lower prices goods. Childcare is not a perk or else provided at low costs. Their families are not provided those healthcare benefits, either. War is a racket. If anyone wants to be a mercenary for the corporations and the federal government then let them stand up for their countrymen and women. M4All would be a good start. Voting for people who support social and economic justice. The whining that what will the kids do If They can’t be soldiers is pitiful. It’s like saying what will the gang dealers do If They can’t sell the opiates on the street. Or what will the pimps, from the low life to the Epstein’s, do If They can’t sell kids for profit or blackmail. Or what will the workers do who manufacture and the PMC do who sell poison, like roundup, do? The sellers of death and domination would have an interesting dilemma if the kids refused to go into the military. Have a war and nobody shows up. OK…this is a rant.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          And quite the rant it was.
          Ask any super-patriot, religious person, what part of,
          “Thou shalt not kill”
          doth thou not comprehend and watch their eyes roll back in their head.

        2. CarlH

          You brush off the naivete and hard backgrounds of the vast majority of our soldiers. Thank goodness we have better human beings like yourself to set everyone straight. But whatever, go on preaching.

  2. Justin Time

    Thanks for the article on Art Garfunkel and Sandy Greenberg.

    Sometimes I find the antidote du jour shows up at the top.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its a lovely story. I love their music of course, but I tend to avoid reading about artist heroes as so often you find out that they are not always very nice people off stage. But Garfunkel seems to be genuinely an inspiring and thoughtful person.

        1. a different chris

          Simon is apparently not just not as nice as Art Garfunkel but actually a world-class jerk, which is funny (since we mortals are at a distance), and which exactly underscores PlutoniumKun’s point.

    2. savebyirony

      Hearty thanks as well from me. What a lovely and inspiring story and i probably would have never run across it if not for your posting it here. Now i have Mr. Greenberg’s book on order from the library. I know many people act as Art Garfunkel has and many, many more have it in them to, but these times and this society’s general msm blitz…so often I forget, so thanks so much again.

  3. Krystyn Podgajski

    My local university is all over the news this morning (UNC Chapel Hill), lots of outbreaks only a week back to school, but the word on the street is a lot worse. All the isolation rooms (65!) are filled and they are sending kids to local hotels now. A friend who has the Neighborhood app says locals are back to hibernating, not to even going out to get takeout. And a lot of students are just going back home citing the stress of trying to navigate not getting sick (at least the more aware ones are). For the amount of foolishness you see from these kids on the news there are way more that are pissed off.

    I have to get a COVID test on Wednesday on the campus so I will let you know how that goes.

    1. jackiebass

      College students are probably the most difficult group to get to understand they need to be careful and follow safe practices. I don’t see how it is possible to have in person instruction knowing this.

    2. Stephen V.

      This a follow on to yesterday’s Yale story. One notes that the players / owners seem to have a better working relationship than any of the other big time sports. Then there’s the Collegiate oligarchy where Big 10 and Pac12 players started to organize and wham! Football season cancelled. The latter had the temerity to ask for $$. THAT would be a fun national conversation to have in this, the time of BLM.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        College and other civic arenas exist. And the logistics of organizing NBA players is easier than the other leagues. The players could run a barn storming league. Set up shop abroad.

        That 3 on 3 and other tournament drew big crowds. And the NBA is a players league. LeBron doesn’t need the Lakers, but Mike Trout is the best player in his generation and he might be recognized at a family barbecue. It would be different with the Yankees or Dodgers, but he would still be a Yankee or a Dodger as opposed to Mike Trout.

        The owners have to make nice.

    3. derechos

      Thank you for your comment. My son is at UNC Chapel Hill in a medical specialty. His wife works in an ICU in the Raleigh / Durham area specifically with COVID patients. They are under huge stress, far greater than I ever experienced as a (now retired) physician.

      Meanwhile, here in West Lafayette, Purdue students are returning for campus study. We will follow your trajectory within 2 weeks. My private bet is that Mitch Daniels will send students home by fall break and resume online courses only.

  4. Wukchumni

    A Brief History Of Political Interference In The U.S. Postal Service NPR

    Oh, somewhere in this tortured land the sun is shining bright,
    The far right hand is playing games, and everywhere postal deliveries are light
    And all the President’s men are scheming, and someone in the Donkey Show shouts,
    But there is DeJoy in Mudville—mighty USPS has struck out.

  5. Clive

    Re: QAnon (and Some Thoughts from Across the Pond)

    We don’t of course have the QAnon angle here in the UK. But that’s probably because in our civic discourse, we don’t pigeonhole unconventional viewpoints quite so much. When views which form the basis of phenomena like QAnon get excluded from national debates (and national debates become “you can discuss anything you like but only within these narrow-ish range of ‘acceptable’ views”), then that’s what gives rise to the likes of QAnon. Here, anything goes — mainly because we’re not a two-party state like the US and new political movements can get created when the prevailing conventional-left vs. conventional-right milieu eschews mutually disliked policy demands.

    Since the start of COVID-19, there’s been a fairly broad national consensus that sacrifices are necessary to control the virus. That consensus is now (as far as I can discern — and I’m certainly not infallible on these things, far from it) over. It happened suddenly last week. But of course, there was nothing “sudden” about it, it’s been — like many apparently whipsaw changes — brewing and bubbling beneath the surface for a month or so. Evidence for this comes from the unlikely appearance of Kier Starmer in the Daily Mail (the Daily Mail, for goodness’ sakes!) saying that schools must re-open for the new academic year in September.

    This signifies that the national debate is no longer willing to countenance a debate which is centred on trying to satisfy the demands of the group for whom there is no risk-tolerance, the only solution is complete elimination of the risk “no matter what the cost”. It’s worth it if it saves just one life… is, so far as I can tell from the national zeitgeist, viewed as being just as knuckleheaded as my rightz my freedumbz…

    What’s prompted this re-evaluation (and it’s probably not really a conscious thing that’s happened)? From what I can intuit, there’s a couple of key developments. One is that, for the UK, when looking around at the — as a fact — inability of other European (and even beyond our own backyard) countries which seemed to delude themselves into thinking that this- or that- country’s national exceptionalism and the power of smugness to produce a result of better containment of COVID-19 than any other lump of people thrown together in a particular geographic area. All countries are exhibiting increased infection rates, once the merest hint of relaxation of countermeasures is implemented. No-one has discovered some secret magic formula. Those that liked to think they had, hadn’t.

    And probably most influential, the slipping of Jacinda Ardern’s halo has had a salient effect. No country has been able to demonstrate an ability to eradicate COVID-19 in the medium term.

    And even in New Zealand, if I understand it correctly, the population (and the Ardern administration) isn’t any longer proposing another course of 2x 14 day lockdowns to suppress two rounds of viral infection and transmission. For one thing, it has demonstrably failed to eradicate the virus in the medium term, so there’s absolutely nothing to say that yet another try is going to work any better the second time around. And for another, it might not even work in the short term, let alone the medium term. And no-one really thinks repeated or rolling lockdowns is viable in the long term.

    So we’re all going to have to learn how to live with the virus. The national debate — and I must stress again, this is only speaking for the UK (and then probably only England) — is therefore now on the trade-offs. How much risk to whom, with what countermeasures, for how long.

    In their own cack-handed way, it is this ground that QAnon is trying to occupy. For those who variously in turn mock, ridicule and ignore QAnon (and its many variants), it’s worth asking yourself why has it emerged and what is activating and energising it. It would be better, in my view, to allow the matters it is debating (in its own particular echo chamber) to be brought into the mainstream — and treated in a similar manner to as you’d discuss the weather. Demonising it isn’t going to make it — or its aims and objectives — go away. No matter how much you might wish it were so.

    1. a different chris

      Clive, with all due respect I am sorry but I’ve read this three times and I’m not… I can’t find any sense in it.
      1) You don’t know what QAnon is “We of course don’t have QAnon” but you start and finish your post talking about it? What the heck? QAnon doesn’t want to “occupy ground”, they are at best a-holes that want attention but are too scared to actually show themselves because their Dad will yell at them. And I doubt there is even a “they”, at least Antifa apparently has shirts.

      2) “satisfy the demands of the group for whom there is no risk-tolerance,” – The only people in the world that have “no risk tolerance” are ex-people, as they have given up and committed suicide. The rest of us draw our lines in many different places (I know people terrified of germs that will nonchalantly go skydiving). I don’t feel you get to draw some arbitrary line for sure.

      3) “the slipping of Jacinda Ardern’s halo” – Huh? She seems pretty darn popular.

      4) “it has demonstrably failed to eradicate the virus in the medium term” – Ok, that’s “taking the goalposts, attaching them to a rocket and launching them into the sun”. NZ did great. If you had told me any country would accomplish a 100 day virus free window by the end of this year I would have been shocked.

      I will now return to mock, ridicule and ignoring QAnon despite your advice. Apologies.

      1. Clive

        1) Yes, you can ignore them. But that won’t make them go away. Name-calling your opponents is an adhominem response, not a winning one.

        2) Yes, that’s my point exactly. That is what QAnon is attempting to do — put forward their risk tolerances. Their risk tolerances certainly aren’t my risk tolerances. But if I have — as I do — a right to put forward my views on what is justified risk tolerance and what isn’t, then so they.

        3) Ardern may well win. I’m not versed in New Zealand politics to say one way or the other. But her notion that COVID-19 can be eradicated has, demonstrably, taken a big knock. There’s no un-ringing that particular bell. If even her government is now showing signs of being wary of promising to stuff that genie back into the bottle, then the inevitable consequence is there has to be a “Plan B”. Government’s whose Plan A has failed and don’t have a Plan B are not in a good position, regardless of polling.

        4) NZ did great. Then it didn’t. It’s up to the populations of each of our countries to determine how many iterations of Level 3 or Level 4 lockdowns is tolerable. For the UK, the answer is “probably no more”. For NZ, the answer might be “let’s give it another try then”. Or it might also be “no, we’re fatigued with that approach, it’s time for something else”. Or whatever. The same for the US. If you’re unwilling and unable to participate in that kind of national debate, especially if it involves the like of QAnon, don’t be too shocked (and you’ll have little in the way of the moral high ground to stand on) if the debate happens elsewhere, without you.

        1. a different chris

          Thanks for the thoughtful response. I do want to point out:

          > Name-calling your opponents is an adhominem response

          I don’t go up to QAnon (if that was even possible) and call them names. Among friends like here, my opinion is exactly that and why should I tiptoe around it? It wasn’t ad-hominim, it is literally what I think of them and I can elaborate if necessary.

          Also I wish I had even the slightest smidge of political power, I need that before I can even claim to have “opponents”. I have people on every side of and distance from the aisle ignoring me.

          Shorter me: maybe you don’t get what living in America is like, but the debate is most certainly “happening with out me” whether I like it or not.

          >Yes, that’s my point exactly.

          I am sure it was, so don’t say “no” when you mean “less”. And there isn’t much match between the risk level of say a 70 year old male and a 22 year old female, so broad statements about risk aren’t even that useful, I do not think.

        2. S.V. Dáte

          Had to say it but, “Name-calling your opponents is an adhominem response, not a winning one.” Is in fact a winning response, it’s not logical from an analytical standpoint, but not all people operate on that wave length. Ever hear of mean-girls? Better, often in peer reviewed papers the amount of sniping is remarkable. Public shaming works very well. As to whether it is moral, no it isn’t, but neoliberalism isn’t either.

          1. Clive

            I’m reminded here of Margaret Thatcher and her approach to the IRA and Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland. Thatcher name-called and hissed and boo’ed at the Republican movement. Even going so far as to ban (certainly in the media in Great Britain) any broadcasting of any member of Sinn Féin.

            Did this bold and fearless running away and hiding from the substance of the argument — that both nationalists and loyalists had valid points and both, if any lasting mutually-accepted compromises were ever to be found and put into practice, had to reach an accommodation with the British government — end the matter? Did it make Sinn Féin disappear in a puff of foot-stomping Thatcherite smoke?

            No. Of course it didn’t. All parties had to reach some sort of common ground.

            You cannot stonewall, browbeat, harangue, disparage or harrumph your way out of this one. You either engage with QAnon or else see your hoped-for imposition of whatever public health policies you’d want to be in force systematically undermined right there, in front of you.

            Just as the British government found in Northern Ireland, when you decide to accept this reality is entirely your choice. But accept it you must. Eventually. If there is to be any peace (if not of the cessation of shooting variety, then at least of the peace of mind variety).

            1. Janie

              Hmmm. You are, in this 1.02 pm post, making me rethink my thoughts. Thanks for this thoughtful response.

          2. integer

            Public shaming works very well.

            Perhaps it works on (some) individuals, but the dynamic is totally different when one group tries to shame another group.

        3. Tom Bradford

          From NZ I’d point out that even during the days of no infections the PTB said repeatedly that re-appearance of the virus in the community was very likely if not inevitable and work went on during the hiatus to improve the mechanisms of response.

          As to Ardern’s halo slipping she’s responded hard and fast to this latest outbreak, which appears to be one still relatively small cluster with an unknown origin – its genome doesn’t appear to match any of the ones caught by quarantine at the border – when with a general election called only weeks away and her Govt. riding high in the polls the temptation to have a limited response so as to not ‘rock the boat’ too much to ride her laurels back into another term must have been high. Deferring the election in part because of the hard response she’s instituted, with the risk of the re-emergence getting out of control anyway and, yes, damaging the credit she presently has is real and I think a credit to her integrity.

          1. dcrane

            With the governor general looming in the background it’s not clear Ardern had any choice once her coalition partner Peters came out the night before saying the election had to be delayed. And fwiw some here have suggested that if Ardern had really intended to delay the election before that she would have done so during the weekend and not left rural MPs little time to make it back to WLG.

    2. cocomaan

      It would be better, in my view, to allow the matters it is debating (in its own particular echo chamber) to be brought into the mainstream — and treated in a similar manner to as you’d discuss the weather.

      Clive, back in grad school I remember reading some scholars who argued that the grievances of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda should be brought up and refuted. The scholars said that it could be tantamount to propaganda, but that the idea was to get those arguments refuted in the mainstream.

      It never happened. The reason it never happened is that those with the grievances have good points. Not all those points are fleshed out, not all of them are true, but there’s a lot of those points that hit too close to home. In the case of QAnon, a lot of those points have to do with an unequal justice system that doesn’t punish the powerful, a global American empire that feasts on secrecy, a media that is morally bankrupt, and a culture war that’s manufactured by various billionaires.

      QAnon goes about it in an obtuse, offensive way, but they have their points, amongst all the other garbage spewing out of places like 4chan. Much easier to write them all off as racist trolls.

      1. FriarTuck

        The reason it never happened is that those with the grievances have good points.

        The thing is, QAnon doesn’t have good points. QAnon has largely dreamed up a number of wild unproven allegations centered around various conspiracy theories (including heinous accusations of child abuse) because some random poster on an anonymous message board made obtuse posts obliquely mentioning people with money and power. QAnon feeds on people’s sense of powerlessness – instead of analyzing the powerlessness through the lens of the abuses of late capitalism, it posits a world of hidden occult knowledge with just enough of the day’s headlines sprinkled in to bypass people’s skepticism.

        It is self-destructive madness writ large.

        Further, QAnon assures its followers that those in power will be brought to justice, just a little bit in the future. A future that never comes.

        What is striking about the whole sheboggle is the the feedback loop between those that feel empowered by this “hidden knowledge” and the deranged nonsense coming out of QAnon’s mouths.

        Reflecting on the reasons for this suggests that people are hurting. Throughout history, periods of inequality and instability have given rise to these kinds of gatherings of occult knowledge, finding purchase on the very real pain people feel in response to being abused.

        If you want to know more (and perhaps laugh at a kind of black humor that can be found in such things) I suggest listening to the QAnon Anonymous podcast, which presents a fairly well researched documentation of the movement as a whole: Their podcast can be found here on soundcloud

        1. cocomaan

          It is self-destructive madness writ large.

          Have you ever asked anyone who follows QAnon how they feel about their “self destructive madness”? This attitude toward people forming their own conclusions about the world is the exactly the reason those people are looking for information sources outside the mainstream. The fact is that you can go and engage with those people right this moment and ask them questions about their worldview. Don’t even need a podcast to do it.

          1. FriarTuck

            I would push back on the assertion that people are “forming their own conclusions about the world”. These conclusions are not based on any firsthand experience, stories of firsthand testimony, or authoritative and confirmed evidence; it is based on the half-baked musings formed from reading a anonymous poster’s messages posted to 4-chan.

            Heck, they literally call deciphering Q’s messages baking.

            This is no different than the whispers of madmen or Greek Oracles – high as kites – being taken as objective fact.

            How do these things relate to reality?

            Answer: They don’t.

            People are hurting. They’re reaching out for reasons that they are in their position, and their core beliefs have ossified to the extent that instead of readdressing their beliefs based on their predicament, they reach for something that doesn’t challenge them.

            It doesn’t matter that its snake oil. The fact is that greed remains good. There is no such thing as society. The government is the problem.

            All hail the mighty dollar.

            So we go one, we go all.

          2. occasional anonymous

            Most of the QAnon types haven’t ‘formed their own conclusions about the world;, anymore than 9/11 ‘Truthers’ or antivaxxers have. These crowds are mostly zombie parrots.

            1. Aumua

              Yeah. Their opinions are strictly implants. There isn’t an original thought among the lot of them. There’s no point in ‘engaging’ them. This comes from significant personal experience of trying. There is no reasoning with them. They are a proto-fascist movement and are quite dangerous if they start to gain legitimacy. This will become clearer with time.

              1. integer

                So in other words, QAnon followers are pretty much the same as people who believe all the bs that the liberal media establishment peddles, just with different beliefs.

              2. Clive

                One person’s helpful, well-meaning, done-with-the-best-of-intentions responsible government is also another person’s proto-fascist movement.

                During the past six months, I’ve been told when I can leave my house and when I can’t, who I can see, when and where, where I can go and where I can’t, what I can buy, what I have to wear, what I need to do to “prove” any exemptions, what medical care I can get and what “isn’t urgent”, when I can leave the country, what I have to do when I return and what costs I must pay — and much more besides.

                Now, some of this may well be justified. Some it, however, was based on nothing more than un-peer-reviewed op-sciencey “research” in trashy discredited rags like The Lancet.

                Some of it may possibly have been necessary and appropriate in a time-limited kind of a way. However, some political actors, media and my fellow members of the general public seem very reluctant to relinquish their newly-acquired powers over me and their rationales. Quite a few even seem to be simply enjoying — and/or profiting from — the dramas of it all.

                I’ll keep my tin foil hat in the draw for now. But don’t expect me to suspend my critical-thinking faculties or stop reading widely even from “unconventional” sources and, especially, don’t expect me to determine who I should or shouldn’t listen to or what I can or can’t believe by mere application of self-declared labels. And I’ll be the judge of what — and who — I think is “dangerous” and “legitimate”.

                1. Aumua

                  You’re not necessarily who I am speaking to here Clive, and I don’t expect to change your mind or influence your behavior one bit. You’re talking about COVID restrictions and I’m talking about Qanon. Of course there is some overlap in that the Qanon fanatics do believe as you apparently do, that COVID-19 is ultimately not that big a deal. But there’s a whole lot more behind the Qanon world view than just that. It is a far right movement, make no mistake about that.

                  As far as your views on COVID, I agree that there are certainly one or multiple nefarious actors attempting to use the crises for various nefarious ends. That doesn’t mean that the crisis isn’t real though. I believe that it is.

        2. ambrit

          I work on the proposition “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
          The accusations of child sexual abuse are true. That is what Epstein et. al. did, for years, and so ‘serviced’ the depraved vices of the rich and powerful. No matter the eventual outcome, the fact of Epstein and the ‘Lolita Express’ is established.
          What else from the ‘Conspiracy Theory’ oeuvre is also true?
          Labeling something that is dangerous to one’s power and prestige as a ‘Conspiracy Theory’ is an old and honoured tactic. The essence of said tactic is not to refute the charges against one or one’s cohort, but to stymie any and all serious investigation into said charges.
          I think that one of the things that Clive, above, might not understand about American culture is it’s lack of tolerance for eccentricity. (He might, and if so, apologies.)

          1. Clive

            No, you’re spot-on. I have travelled to a limited extent in the USA and I at the time put the what I tried not to characterise as narrow-mindedness down to the peculiarities of the places I was staying in. I knew that Phoenix, Baton Rouge and their suburbia were not exactly Paris’ Left Bank. I was slightly more surprised that even liberal-reputation New York City was fairly tram-lined in what you could and could not discuss without people looking a little awkward. And Los Angeles — which I had imagined to be a twin-town of Sodom and Gomorrah until I got there — was full of nice, polite and mild-mannered people who were perfectly happy but always managed to steer any conversation to safe, sometimes intense but always unstartling topics.

            I put all this down to being a non-US citizen and not being allowed to cut loose as the natives do when not having to pussyfoot around outsiders.

            I wonder now if I didn’t stumble across something deeper — something that I really didn’t want to acknowledge. Which is: a deep rooted, vociferous but yet insecure conservatism in people in the US. That there are things going on behind the picket fences that everyone knows about but no-one can probe too deeply into. If you do, you’re shunned, lest you upset some apple-carts that, if upended, could never have all the apples put back on in their tidy but precarious piles again.

            When I wrote my original comment I toyed with the idea of adding that, for the U.K. (especially England) outside audiences will never — no matter hard they try — really understand what’s making up the British mindset. Not from afar. And certainly not from reading what is on BBC’s News pages, the Guardian or the Telegraph or Daily Mail. What you get from that is what you’d get from my mother-in-law if talking to her as a stranger. You’d get a perceived “safe” this-is-what-we’re-supposed-to-be-thinking version of what everyone is really thinking. Maybe after a few years, she’d start to tell you a little about how she really did, actually, think about the issues of the day. But just as likely, you won’t. You’d get what she saw on BBC last night.

            However, I do think that, generally, the U.K. is more willing to have eccentricity on view, at least, to a greater degree than the US is willing to. In the U.K. eccentricity and very-far-from-mainstream opinions can find outlets. I suspect that in the US, not only are there few if any such similar outlets (Naked Capitalism is one of a tiny handful), there is also much more self-censorship which means that, even if there is an outlet for them, not many are willing to stick their necks out.

            I hope all that makes some sort of sense. I wish I understood US culture better so I could better verbalise this all.

            1. Dan

              Eccentrics immediately become celebrities in the United States, thus pedastalizing them and superficializing their views. Anything decent gets swallowed up and spit out as something less than human, though it’s made out to be superhuman. Nothing remains substantive for long.

            2. Robert Gray

              Brits are also able to laugh at themselves in a way that Americans simply can’t. Cf. Monty Python.

            3. FriarTuck

              I wonder now if I didn’t stumble across something deeper — something that I really didn’t want to acknowledge. Which is: a deep rooted, vociferous but yet insecure conservatism in people in the US. That there are things going on behind the picket fences that everyone knows about but no-one can probe too deeply into. If you do, you’re shunned, lest you upset some apple-carts that, if upended, could never have all the apples put back on in their tidy but precarious piles again.

              I would argue that it isn’t conservatism per se, but the same kind of abject silence practiced by the British Empire during its occupation of the subcontinent. The truth of extractive power being exercised is so black and marred, that to allow its mention is to give name to the bare injustice practiced on the population by the political system in which everyone is complicit.

              Topics that invite criticism of the core way of life are verboten, and while jackbooted thugs won’t make you disappear a la the Jakarta Method, you’ll instead experience the sanitized version of becoming persona non grata.

              I can imagine that some day in the future our children’s children will be listening to podcasts or their equivalent marveling at the silence of today’s conditions in the same way we marvel at the silence of things like the starvation of India.

          2. FriarTuck

            I work on the proposition “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

            This is an absolutely absurd proposition to use as evidence. Yes, child abuse a la Epstein and friends is a major issue to look into (and one that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence and firsthand testimony to support), but to see everything conjured up by various QAnon conspiracists as true just by merely mentioning it seems absurd on its face.

            Let’s take a short sample of some of such absurdity:
            – the Q clock
            – Moloch worshippers
            – harvesting adrenochrome from children
            – the magical powers of adrenochrome
            – the Rothschilds
            – Kennedy LIves
            – Mudfossils
            – Starseeds

            Is any of the above really worth considering as true? Because there’s “smoke”?

            1. ambrit

              I use the aphorism, “Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” not as evidence, but as a starting point for an unfettered examination of the evidence available. As you can well complain, there is a lot of nonsense and plain old disinformation floating about in the noosphere. The filtering out of the obvious rubbish is the task of a reasonable and honest mind. This most definitely means holding the “official version” of events to scrutiny. No mindless acceptance, of anything, is the touchstone.
              So, to turn your argument on it’s head, not only is it absurd to take everything related to “Q” at face value, but it is equally absurd to take everything presented by the MSM and allied organs at face value.
              I have always marveled at the brash assertiveness of the “Q” team.
              In Biblical textual analysis, the term “Q” refers to some now lost original version of the Gospels from which much of the Canonical Gospels took their material.
              This alone marks, (no pun intended,) the originators of the “Q-anon” movement as savvy operators.

            2. Knative

              Maria Farmer says that Ghislaine told her the Rothschild’s protected her family, so that could be kind of real.

    3. km

      See, my experience in Europe has been that discourse is much more tightly constrained than in the US. “That’s not The Done Thing” is a common thought terminating cliche.

    4. ChrisPacific

      And even in New Zealand, if I understand it correctly, the population (and the Ardern administration) isn’t any longer proposing another course of 2x 14 day lockdowns to suppress two rounds of viral infection and transmission. For one thing, it has demonstrably failed to eradicate the virus in the medium term, so there’s absolutely nothing to say that yet another try is going to work any better the second time around. And for another, it might not even work in the short term, let alone the medium term. And no-one really thinks repeated or rolling lockdowns is viable in the long term.

      A few comments on this. Firstly, I don’t think it’s accurate to characterize the lockdown as a failure. It almost certainly did work in terms of eliminating the virus (there is a tiny chance that we’ll find that this is wrong and the virus has been in the community all along, but all the evidence – sentinel testing, genome sequencing – is saying so far that’s not the case). We were without Covid in the community for 100-odd days, and enjoyed a degree of freedom and economic activity that existed almost nowhere else in the world at that time.

      Secondly, the risk tradeoff you describe has pretty much always been in play, even if we sit at a different point on the scale to some countries. We have already deliberately accepted higher risk by allowing NZ citizens and residents travelling from high-risk countries back in, for example. Part of the problem is that the debate is missing nuance, so for example those who want a balanced approach are characterized as advocating for a Swedish or US model, while those that want to stick with elimination as a central strategy are framed as “if it saves one life” arguments (like you did!) In fact both sides are usually broadly in agreement overall and differ only in their risk tolerance.

      So while in NZ elimination is still the official strategy, in practice it translates to ‘no community transmission.’ There is still general agreement that if there are consistently cases out there you don’t know about, with unknown transmission vectors, then the only available control option is changing the susceptibility of your society as a whole (which until now has meant some form of lockdown). Right now the strategy, still unproven, is to get on top of any community transmission outbreaks, trace and isolate all contacts quickly, and return to the ‘elimination’ state (for the above definition of elimination) as soon as possible and with as little impact to broader society as possible. Can we do it? What level/frequency of lockdowns will be required? Will it be a net positive or negative to our economy once all that is taken into account? (Bearing in mind that we are already doing better than Sweden economically even when the hit from our lockdowns is taken into account). We don’t know yet. The next few days and weeks will tell us. It’s also a learning process and we are improving our controls and procedures all the time, so we might be able to expect some gains from improved execution even if nothing fundamental changes.

      As for whether repeated/rolling lockdowns are viable in the long term: I’d say it depends on how frequent they are, what alternatives are available, and how they compare economically to ‘soft’ lockdowns like Sweden (some restrictions all the time) or ‘de facto’ lockdowns like the USA (no/few restrictions, but widespread fear, voluntary isolation, reduced consumer activity etc.) Yes, they would be bad, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be the best of the options available to us for all that.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Thousands of S. Korea church members quarantined over virus Agence France Presse

    There are strong rumours going around that these church members are not ‘accidentally’ getting the virus. The right wing in South Korea has long been strongly associated with Christian churches and as they lose power are increasingly flying to the lunatic CT fringe. They see Moon’s success against Covid as his biggest strength so they actually want an outbreak in order to damage his image. Fortunately, they are not likely to succeed, they are politically a spent force.

    Under the radar, Moon has been pursuing a number of highly promising progressive policies in health and education and economics – for whatever reason, this doesn’t seem to get much attention in the media (including, it should be said, the left wing media, which seems to prefer focusing on charismatic losers to actual real policy gains made through hard political grind). If he succeeds, South Korea, along with Taiwan, could be the standard bearers of genuine social democratic popular reform in Asia.

    1. Wukchumni

      I was listening to LA news radio, and some evang church in the City of Angels held services yesterday sans masks and were packed tight as a can of sardines. Celebrate as if it’s 1348!

      …hope they sang a lot

      1. Wukchumni


        In the linked article on the role of a Christian, the author states that evangs ought to do these measures:

        general strikes
        PEACEFUL demonstrations

        Which is what they’re doing, to their detriment and that of society at large.

        I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s as if a small segment of Londoners in the summer/fall of 1940 decided that blackout curtains took away from their ability to see the Moon.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Slightly off topic, but Shisaku Endo’s book Silence (later made into a film I haven’t seen yet) is a brilliant exploration of the attractiveness of catholicism and christianity to pre-20th Century Asians, and why the authorities in Japan (similarly in Korea) were determined to stamp it out as an alternative to Buddhism, Confucianism or Shintoism.

            I think the popularity of the more lunatic evangelical churches in South Korea was more political – those churches successfully sold themselves to a battered South Korea as part and parcel of getting on board with a USA which was going to ‘save’ them from Communism.

            I can’t claim expertise in this, but it seems to me that there is almost no distinction in South Korea between membership of the evangelical churches and an association with the most extreme right wing pro-American politics. The heartland of these churches seems to be the inland industrial cities and small towns. When I was in Seoul last year they were doing daily rallies, tens of thousands of people, almost all elderly and clearly bussed in from the provinces. The Seoul and Busan people I talked to them all dismissed them with contempt.

          1. ambrit

            Oh man. This sounds like a festival of Hammer Horrors. (Maybe some early Roger Corman thrown in for ‘zest.’)

        1. JBird4049

          (slight rant here)

          Nah, it is not religion or faith that’s the problem. They wouldn’t discover one celled organisms until three centuries after 1348, or viruses just over three centuries after that.

          It’s the suicidal confidence caused by wilful ignorance. Today, we know what causes most diseases, and everyone gets sick from something including those worshipers. Just what does having faith makes one immune to this pandemic?

          While I have read plenty about cultivating your faith, I have yet to see anywhere that means being an idiotic fool. Reminds me of those worshipers who bring out the venomous snakes to handle during church service and then are surprise when occasionally someone actually dies.

  7. Dr. John Carpenter

    Biden ‘I badly need you’ to Netroots Nation. Gag. So he only spoke a few minutes and it doesn’t sound like he took any questions. Just another “vote for me because Trump bad” soundbite. Doesn’t sound like he gave any indication of what he would do for progressives, just that vote blue so “we govern as the most progressive administration since (President Franklin D. Roosevelt)”. Anyone who would believe that also believes Elizabeth Warren is “a darling of the progressive movement”. Of course, give the audience, these folks were all going to vote blue no matter who anyway.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Yearly kos, I mean netroots, has long been nothing but a jobs fair for sycophants disguised as progressives. I followed the articles link through to the youtube of Biden which has just over 2k views. That’s what I call good news. I suggest Biden start playing a one string banjo for better ratings.

              1. barefoot charley

                My favorite antique humorist S J Perelman expostulated on what happened to nice young ladies “when the saxophones start sobbing.”

                Bill Clinton knew.

    2. jackiebass

      I’m a progressive and I won’t vote for Biden. I also won’t vote for Trump. I probably will write in Bernie if possible. If not possible I will vote for a third party candidate.The last president candidate I voted for that won was John Kennedy. All democrat candidate sine Kennedy are really moderate republicans.

      1. Chas

        Please consider voting Green instead of writing in Bernie so as to help the Greens win 5% of the vote and major party status. I wrote in Bernie in ’16 and feel bad about it now because it wasn’t a constructive action.

        1. Wukchumni

          Please consider casting your vote for Wink Martindale, a heck of a game show host who got the nod in 2016 from yours truly.

        2. The Historian

          I voted Green last time but I won’t do it again. The Greens simply haven’t been creative enough to get their message out to the populace. Nobody says that it would be easy to do, but apparently the Greens aren’t even seriously trying. If they can’t even figure out how to be alternative party when so many people hate the Dems and the Repubs, how can I ever have faith that they could ever govern?

          1. a different chris

            The Greens certainly aren’t a viable political party and may never be.

            The point, to me, of voting Green is to try to get the parties that are viable to make some concessions in that direction that might get your vote when they need it.

            (note that I said “the parties” as there is no real pretense that the Dems are usefully better on the environment that the Rethugs. Better, arguably, but I don’t care about plans that take 50 years instead of 25 to destroy the planet.)

    3. timbers

      A bit surprising no link regarding Obama’s “grave concerns” about Biden being President. Next time Obama appears in the public, maybe a reporter could stir up trouble and shout a question “Mr President, based on recent reports are you planning to vote for Trump?”


      The film footage could be played at Netroots Nation as a moral booster.

    4. Glen

      Biden told you what he’s going to do – NOTHING. I believe him. I won’t vote for him.

      If he wants my vote, he can do all the super progressive stuff RIGHT NOW, at the convention. Otherwise, he can go “family blog” himself.

      1. allan

        Farmers Reject Biden’s Pro-Corporate Rural Advisers [American Prospect]

        … Standing up against farmer abuse from ag monopolies would be popular in battleground Midwest states with farm districts, like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa, and advocates for a prairie populist strategy are armed with polling that says so. One poll shows that over 80 percent of rural voters reject ag monopolies and factory farms. The Biden team, by toeing the corporate ag line, is “leaving votes on the table that perhaps they shouldn’t,” Maxwell says. …

        Never misunderestimate the ability of Team Dem to leave votes on the table.

        1. hunkerdown

          Never underestimate the ability of a professional wrestler to work an angle and take a fall when the script calls for it.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            aside from my moral objections to voting for D or R, the Green Platform on agriculture sold me.
            I could have written it(but with more cussing)
            point is, the D/R Duopoly left that choice on the table, there, figuring that most folks would leave it lay.
            I’ll use it.
            One more consistent green voter…saying yes to something besides “well…he’s not as bad as that other guy…i guess…”.
            what other method of communication is left to us, to speak to the managers?
            they apparently can’t hear me turning my back, otherwise.

        2. Skip Intro

          They sound like deplorables… Biden will have 72 Republican Soccer Moms for each one of them!

          1. ambrit

            I thought that ‘Soccer,’ football to the rest of the civilized world, was the Twee Democrat Helicopter Moms’ game of choice. ‘Moderate’ Republican suburbanites will still go all out for the ‘Friday Night Lights’ of High School (American) football.

            Skip Intro, was that an Islamic Paradise joke? Because, if so, I’m sorry to have to tell you that, since Epstein and his ‘handlers’ industrialized pedophilia, the supply of virgins is getting low.
            For another culture’s point of view, (always a salutary occurrence) :

            1. RMO

              We call it that in Canada too you know. But, since I’ve never held the concept of “civilization” as it is generally portrayed today in particularly high esteem I will take it as a compliment that it implies we aren’t part of the civilized world.

    5. Darthbobber

      I can dimly remember a time when I would have naively accepted a description of Netroots Nation as being some sort of “annual gathering of progressives”, but it’s been quite awhile. Though there’s been enough slippage of “Progressive” into the realm of malleable meaninglessness that I suppose the convention of the National Association of Manufacturers could be seen as such if you squinted your eyes just so and held your head at the correct angle.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Yeah, the first big one had everyone gushing about Mark Warner’s chocolate fountain, so…

        1. sd

          Was that at the party in the Stratosphere? I was there that first year with the e Pluribus Media citizen journalism group, really great people trying to do some heavy lifting on topics that the MSM just wasn’t touching.

          Eventually I gave up on Kos when he demanded everyone surrender to Clinton or get off his site. Showed his true colors as an authoritarian little d*****bag. [family blog]

          1. Jason Boxman

            Oddly he really is a trailblazer; as I recall he’s a former Republican, so he’s kind of shown the way for liberal Democrats, as they seek disaffected suburban Republicans. His authoritarianism and disgust of countervailing viewpoints also sits well with liberal Democrat dislike of true democracy. They don’t call it the Democrat party for nothing!

            Thanks for showing us The Way Kos!

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        is there evidence it wasn’t some animatronic magic show?
        or like that thing they did with Princess Leia?

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Just saw a biden commercial, they not only ghostwrite, but they photoshop heavily.
          Dude looked 40 years younger, very, very obvious.

        2. ambrit

          Now I have to wonder if both “Creepy” Joe and HRH HRC are Disney Animatronic robots, just like Ronald Reagan was from 1981 till his supposed ‘passing away.’
          With a “virtual” convention, (I dearly love the irony implicit and explicit in that word, “virtual,”) how are we going to tell anymore?

          Max Headroom for President?

      2. Darthbobber

        Candidates for many, many decades have been reading speeches that they did not write most of the time. The more adept sometimes familiarized themselves with the content sufficiently that they were able to confine themselves to glancing occasionally at the teleprompter or the stack of double-spaced letter-sized paper on the podium.

  8. jackiebass

    The suggestion that teachers go on strike sound good but is not very practical. In many states it is illegal for teachers to strike. In NYS the Taylor Law permits imposing a 2 days pay fine on teachers for each day they are on strike. Some states allow teachers to strike but it is hard to get teachers on board to strike. I’m a retired teacher so I am speaking from my personal experience. Our union president, a good friend, once said the union is only as good as its members. Where I taught is was even difficult to get many teachers to publicly protest. Teachers are probably the most divergent group of employees in any field. This make it hard to unite them.
    It isn’t new that privileged go to the front of the line. In the US money and influence goes hand in hand. The fact you have money means you are treated differently from those that are poor. That’s why certain people get tested and results quickly while others have to wait. Bill Gates, who I often disagree with, has it right when he says testing is ineffective because it take too long to get the results. Watch what happens if and when a vaccine is developed for Covid. The rich and connected will be at the front of the line.Even ahead of health care workers. Sadly being privileged isn’t new. It is part of our history from our beginning. The privileged designed our form of government. Unfortunately I don’t see this changing much in the future. The privileged upon feeling threatened will throw people a bone without much on it. This will in most cases squash any discontent.
    Our political system is a great example of what is wrong in our country. People actually think they choose their elected officials. That is a false belief. The party choose what candidate they present to voters and then people get to vote for the party choice. In a few cases you have a maverick like AOC that wins but it is rare. Those in power and privileged will go to any length stay in power.The present and last democrat presidential primary clearly confirms this. The behavior of the DNC boarders on being criminal.

      1. newcatty

        Edmond, thanks for your reporting from that going to Hell in a repug basket AZ. FWIW, we live in NAZ. And, yes, there really are “progressives”, and even some dems, in our sunshiny state. Agree, teachers, like all of the working class persons, have for too long wanted to ID as professional class. I knew many of them while in the city and the fact that they made lower middle income wages wasn’t too onerous, because cost of housing and living really was affordable. Almost all of them, men and women, had spouses who also had jobs. Many divorced women had some child support. The younger singles just lived like college kids in crappy apartments and enjoyed the sun nd fun. With the reality biting of the CV and no more cheap living, it’s a new game. Teachers in AZ were always on lower scale of pay compared to almost every other state. Teachers in AZ, except for elite and wealthier districts, always had to deal with some kids from some awful home environments. A lot of time, ESL was A joke or fell well short of being efficacious in a child learning to be bilingual. Obviously, this handicapped the child from being competent in their classes. Always exceptions, of course.

        The comments in your linked article are telling. The relentless push to undermine and end public education in this state is being highlighted by the teachers who are willing “to save their own skin.” Just like in any profession there are those with seniority who will retire or can afford to “quit” early. There are many mean girls and boys, too. And, really, if one is a person right out of college wanting to teach, would you choose AZ? Lots of newbies will because spouse or partner has a job in the city. Some will have a rude awakening of how they are really perceived as “professionals”.

    1. Ramon

      Trump is a candidate that was rejected strongly by both sides of organised politics in the US yet he got himself elected. We we will never hear the end of it.

      1. Tom Bradford

        Isn’t the fact that he was rejected by both sides of organised politics the reason he was elected?

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Pontifications: A330neo future bleak from COVID impact Leeham News and Analysis

    Whats not addressed of course if that the A330neo is struggling, what does that mean for Boeing – the A330NEO being aimed roughly at the long distance wide body market occupied by the 787. The A330 is an old design, so the NEO was a comparatively cheap upgrade designed to chip into the 787 market – its failure would not be fatal for Airbus.

    It’s hard not to conclude that most customers will fall back on the A320NEO as a cheaper alternative for a diminished long range market (assuming the Max keeps on struggling). Thats assuming there are any customers left standing. With most of the minor competitors falling by the wayside (the Mitsubishi and Sukhoi jets seem doomed, and nobody outside China seems to want any Comacs), and Boeing in deep trouble, Airbus might just be the only one left standing by default.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern delays election to Oct 17 over Covid-19 pandemic concerns”

    If Trump said that he was going to push the US elections back to December, this would be a real hair on fire moment. Pundits would go crazy, democrats would get repetitive stress injury from wagging their fingers so much, there would be riots in the streets, legalists would decry this as the end of democracy in America, newspapers would totally lose it and the Rachel Maddow show would simply show her doing a primeval screaming session for over half an hour.

    In New Zealand, they said ‘OK then.’

    1. Clive

      Yes, see my wider reflections above on Saint Jacinda. Our Lady of the Wokeishness == Good. Orange Man == Bad. Is it any wonder why the of-the-left media is a laughing stock?

      Of course, in NZ, the opposition gains (or it might do) from a delayed poll. In the US, the Democrats figure the opposite applies. But regardless, it’s in both instances politics in play. And yet our risible left-ish media is determined to make it some kind of morality test. As if no-one can see the mendicity of all of the actors…

      1. The Rev Kev

        To tell you the truth, I am not sure that we can live with the virus but here is the thing. You mentioned New Zealand in this context as an example but I cannot commit one way or another until I know how the damn thing appeared back again there after over three months. Some there were saying that it was a failure of the quarantine hotels like happened in Victoria but a DNA analysis has showed this not to be the same strain so it was not that. It cannot have been sitting on some surface as the time period is of by an order of magnitude at the very least. I will say this. There are so many countries and factions and corporations that are determined with a live-with-the-virus approach that if it came out that it was deliberately introduced into New Zealand to discredit the elimination approach, I would not be surprised. Tell me that countries have not done this in the past with pests and the like in agricultural crops for example before you dismiss this possibility. And think too how PlutoniumKun mentioned the rumour that that church spread the virus in South Korea for political purposes. Answers are needed to the origin of this new outbreak first.

        1. Clive

          It’s equally possible that the virus was never really eradicated; it was merely in very low level circulation the whole time but either in asymptomatic infections or symptomatic ones but people just convinced themselves the virus was eradicated so it was just a cold or the ‘flu.

          Even if it was imported cases, this just goes to show that — unless you’re North Korea (and even then…) — sooner or later you have to let someone into the country. It’s just a matter of time before quarantine arrangements fail.

          I know cherished illusions are hard to relinquish, but “eradicate the virus” seems magical thinking to me.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Sorry Clive but I cannot buy the fact that t was in low circulation all this time. It is far too infectious. Look at how the virus boomed across Victoria and into New South Wales in only the past few weeks after getting out of two quarantine hotels. Our death toll was static at about 107 deaths for a very long time and now it has boomed to over 420 deaths in that time.

            People are still coming into New Zealand but they have to quarantine themselves first for a fortnight. And it may not be a someone that brought the virus in but a something. It’s not magical thinking but holding the line until a vaccine can be developed or the virus mutates to a milder, less-lethal form. So that makes me a believer in ‘the hammer and the dance’-


            1. Clive

              Many think the same way as you do. It’s possibly even a majority. But it’s not universal. In the absence of a democratic process to settle the matter, the matter is not settled.

              Some issues are amenable to the passage of time. COVID-19 responses is one such. There’s little practical difference to people’s lives if society has to be put on hold for three or six months or so. It might stretch to a year. But eventually, telling a society that there’s no schooling other than your child sitting in front of a Zoom screen for hours on end or that 50% of people can live on £2,500 a month of furlough income (because they are in “non essential” work) while the other half have to work harder than ever to keep the show on the road, take people’s trash away, make sure the water arrives when they turn on the tap, there’s food on the supermarket shelves when they go out to buy it then they can dink their piece of plastic on the card reader and the payment all just works as if by magic (and so on and so on) while someone else deliver their amazon purchases to their doors is going to produce societal tensions and societal pressures. There is a limit to how long the lid can be kept on that.

              I too would like a safe and effective vaccine, proven repeatable treatment and therapeutic approaches or a virus that mutates into something nicer. But then, I would also like a pony. Alas, I am guaranteed none of these things. Imposing my demands on society unchallenged — and especially, not expecting to have some pointed questions and push-backs thrown back in my direction — is not going to be a happening event.

              It (that kind of hope) really is over. Certainly in the UK. Other countries may vary, of course.

              1. The Rev Kev

                I have been thinking about this lately and what I will say is this. Some countries dropped the hammer hard and then did the dance to snuff out all sources of infection. The economy took a massive hit but it was only for several weeks and most people and businesses were supported by their governments. Until the past few weeks, people were going to packed football games in New Zealand.

                Contrast this with trying to live with the virus and what you have is an “accordion economy” where it opens, the virus swells again so you shut much of it down and you end up doing this again and again and again. How many companies could deal with this uncertainty and constantly opening and closing? I have always had a high regard for your thoughts and comments Clive but I guess that this is one thing that we may disagree on.

                1. Reaville

                  There is no living with a virus that infects exponentially.

                  Rev Kev is spot on.

                  This is just a mathematical reality.

                  The USA is the best lab experiment on “living with it” and the result is bad: open up and virus accelerates.

                  Best course is to keep society functioning until vaccine.

        2. Krystyn Podgajski

          “but I cannot commit one way or another until I know how the damn thing appeared back again”

          Could it be from cats and dogs??

          1. Ignacio

            For instance. Nobody knows very well which are the true reservoirs (the epidemiologically relevant reservoirs) of many seasonal respiratory diseases.

            SARS CoV 2 has shown ability to spread unnoticed. I imagine a never ending chain with very short branches that, from time to time explodes in super spreading events and then we notice. We have to assume that we cannot eradicate the disease.

            1. Jeotsu

              We sometimes darkly joke (here in NZ) that in five years time we’ll be on the shortwave calling out to a dark world to see if anyone is out there.

              In terms of a 103 day chain of transmission without detection… pull the other one. I could see a 10-20 day chain where we had a one or two of R1 person-to-person asymptomatic transmissions before the virus hit more effective spreading conditions and we got the family and cool-store outbreaks. What we’re seeing from the close-contact cases detected over the last 3 days is just how fast the exponential was blowing up since last Monday. Even a 48-72 hour delay on lockdown would have likely pushed the transmission totals up by an order of magnitude.

              1. rtah100

                If 40% of cases are asymptomatic and the serial interval between cases is 8 days [not necessarily the clinically most likely, just chosen for easy maths), there are 13 8-day periods in 104 days (which is one more than the actual 103 but who is counting). So a chain of transmission over 104 days has a probability of remaining occult of 0.4^13. You can play with the serial interval – say ten days for 0.4^10 or 13 days for 0.4^8.

                These are roughly seven in a million, one in ten thousand and seven in ten thousand chances respectively. Given also the unlikelihood of a complete chain of transmission without wider detection, it seems vanishingly unlikely it is silent community spread.

                The cold store where one of the patients worked seems plausible to me, after the report in China of the contaminated seafood warehouse in Beijing. From the reports, the virus likes is cold and (in relative humidity terms) dry.

                Keep washing your shopping!

                1. ChrisPacific

                  It’s actually a little more likely than that because symptomatic cases could have been confused with seasonal cold or flu, with the fear mostly gone (and Covid reportedly ‘eliminated’) getting tested was not a high priority for people. Still low, but higher than you quoted.,

                  The evidence that suggests to me it’s not the case is the lack of even a SINGLE case since the outbreak began that hasn’t been connected to the family in some way. The fear is well and truly back now and anybody with even a sniffle has been rushing to get tested. All, so far, have been negative with the exception of contacts traceable to the index case. What are the odds of that if the virus had been spreading in the community this whole time? Bear in mind that at the peak, our cases were doubling every 3 days. This was almost certainly an overestimate as it happened when testing was being ramped up, but even assuming a 7 day doubling, that’s 15 doubling cycles during the 100 day period. You want to tell me that’s compatible with no positives from community testing since the outbreak? I don’t see any way that it could be.

              2. Ignacio

                Talking about outbreaks you have to consider all possibilities. It could be the case the new outbreak was imported (this is always the preferred narrative) but it could be the case the virus remained silent for 103 days to resume spread later. How? There are various possible explanations. For instance some people can remain infected for longer than 103 days.

          2. Tom Bradford

            I’ve heard it posited that one possible vector was aircrew. There are still international flights into the country but I understand aircrew are not required to go into quarantine, whether just on turn-around for a day or so or going off duty. I would hope that each and every one of them is at least tested before they leave the airport off-duty but given the recent revelation of a certain ‘laxity’ regarding the testing of staff at quarantine facilities there must be doubts .

            1. Clive

              So, to summarise:

              No people entering the country other than citizens returning (which is a legal requirement — no citizen of a country can be rendered stateless by being prevented from returning) who must pay a return tax, sorry, quarantine fee.

              No importation of chilled or frozen foodstuffs (plus, presumably, liquids stored at ambient temperatures that haven’t been subject to UHT processing or similar) without rigorous and onerous decontaminations (which have never been practically demonstrated)

              No air travel (e.g. airfreight) without the quarantining of aircrew after every rotation (if they live in the country)

              And we’re not actually now “eradicating the virus”, we’re “preventing community transmission” — a feat which have never had a practical demonstration of proven effectiveness, either, much beyond 100 days in any large urban conurbation.

              Okay, then. What could possibly go wrong?

    2. a different chris

      It clearly says in the article “in consideration with the other parties”? Not the same thing as “President unilaterally declares” I wouldn’t think.

      And the article didn’t say and family blog if I understand the Parlimentary system, but was this even a required (5 year like in the UK) election or did Arden call it to strengthen an already strong hand?

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      If Trump actually did this, Pelosi would call for someone to write a sternly worded letter. Resist!

    4. HotFlash

      US Election Day is set by Congressional statute and changing it by executive order would be unconstitutional.

    5. John Anthony La Pietra

      If we read a previous story linked at this one:

      we can find out that other parties were asking for the delay — including the main opposition party and the deputy prime minister, whose party was a key to forming the current governing coalition.

      Mind you, if something doesn’t bring down Ardern’s public support soon, she and her party might win an outright majority and be able to govern without even Greens as partners.

    6. Tom Bradford

      In the US I understand the election date is fixed by the constitution, hence moving it is at least prima face unconstitutional. In NZ, as in other Parliamentary systems, the date is to some extent at the Prime Minister’s discretion so changing it within legal constraints is legitimate and generally accepted.

      However there is a legal cut-off date for that discretion and trying to finagle a date beyond that would raise a few eyebrows.

  11. Wukchumni

    With Rolling Blackouts, California Power Grids Strained Amid Worst Heat Wave in 70 Years Time
    There is no electricity here in Mineral King aside from landline phones and the Silver City* resort-which has a solar array and batteries for storage of same, along with a wi-fi connection.

    You might say we’re in the midst of an ongoing 147 year blackout, and so far-so good.

    It took awhile to get used to not having it at my beck and call, making do with propane powered lamps, refrigerator & heater, and has done wonders for my ability to read books again, as distractions are few and far between when off the grid.

    On account of the prolonged heat wave we’re in the midst of, an awful lot of agriculture will be adversely effected, combined with Hispanic workers in the field being the lions share of those affected by the Coronavirus, a double whammy.

    All of the water for every crop grown comes via electric pumps, by the way.

    * there was never any silver here, nor is it a city.

    1. sd

      Interesting. My old corded landline phone goes out when we lose power. That didn’t used to be the case, I was told it’s because the telephone system here is traveling over data lines.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Huh. I thought they were required to provide battery backup for the landlines, 4-6 hours, as a critical service. But it has been 18 years since I worked in telecom, so I’ve probably aged right-the-familyblog-out of useful and relevant knowledge. OTOH, our local ISP has battery backup on their phone service, even though it is carried over their cable plant iinfrastructure. Would guess that your public service commission has been taken over by termites.

          2. Anthony G Stegman

            You very likely have VOIP for your landline. AT&T made the switch a number of years ago. In a major emergency VOIP phones are largely useless.

            1. periol

              We have a 2-day battery backup that was given to us with our VOIP phone line through our fiber provider.

    2. Carolinian

      My AZ friend tells me they are having a record number of days over 110 degrees. She goes to walk at 5:30 in the morning and it’s 90.

      So weather yet another reason why this is the summer from hell.

    3. JCC

      We’re doing pretty well here in Kern Cnty on the east side of the Sierras and well north of L.A. County… so far. But the temps are pretty high and I don’t expect that things will remain as is.

      And the smoke haze is pretty bad.Everything smells like a Monday morning after a hard weekend of winter camping in the Adirondacks. Many are complaining of packed sinuses and low-grade headaches. At least no fires in the immediate area,

      Yesterday it was 118F on my front porch. Reminded me of a typical Iraqi summer day, minus the 30 extra pounds of body armour

  12. jackiebass

    If Trump though it would help his chance of being elected, he would delay the election.I don’t know if he has the authority but that wouldn’t matter for Trump. Laws and the constitution mean nothing to Trump.
    Trump claimed , from his golf resort, his brother was his best friend. Probably his only friend.

    1. a different chris

      He can tell everybody that voting day is Dec 4th if he so likes. Who is going to listen to him? Oh, his own idiot followers. Everybody else would show up in November.

      Trump is dumb but he isn’t stupid, as we always used to say.

      1. Geo

        “I think the protests are freaking people out.“

        Nothing scares us Americans more than actual democracy. Our founding fathers would be proud of how obedient we have become. Who doesn’t remember their chants of “Redcoats Lives Matter!” and denunciations of anti-British agitators whining about abuses.

        1. Carolinian

          By protests I mean looting etc. Painting on streets may not be that popular either. It’s all well and good to say fringe elements are taking advantage of peaceful protesters but that may be too subtle a distinction for the general public.

          In any case it is just one poll (and a post Kamela poll). I do think, though, that Dems shouldn’t assume they have it in the bag or that only Trump chicanery can deny them the prize. .

  13. dcblogger

    NALC submits postal workforce recommendations to White House
    In a meeting with the White House today, NALC President Fred Rolando delivered policy recommendations to the White House Task Force on the Postal Service. The Task Force, comprised of the heads of OPM, OMB and the Department of the Treasury, was established in April via executive order from President Trump. It has been charged with evaluating the finances of USPS — including its pricing, operations and workforce costs. (Find the Executive Order here).

    1. cnchal

      That is from 2018. Lots of water under the bridge since then.

      “NALC’s goal is to protect the interests of all its members, active and retired alike,” Rolando said. “We appreciate the opportunity to engage with the White House to find real solutions to the financial crisis caused by the 2006 mandate to prefund retiree health benefits,” he added. “Our shared goals should be to restore the USPS to financial stability while protecting its employees and strengthening the universal mail delivery network that is so critical to Americans and their businesses, large and small. NALC looks forward to working with the Postal Task Force in the weeks and months ahead,” he concluded.

      Actually small business was murdered by USPS with a near 400% rate increase for packages by implementing the biggest scam in the shipping business, dimensional weight, where one is charged by volume and the expenses incurred are by mass.My sense is they lose so much money servicing the biggest businesses that gouging the tiniest pin pricks of capitalism to make up for those losses was the plan. Instead, the actual message was phuck off and use UPS instead. When the infinity sign follows the dollar sign, sales go to zero.

      Here is the link to the task force report mentioned in the above article. Read it and weep. It is written in the language of Wall Street and several times mentions that the goal is to “extract value” from the dead carcass that is USPS.

      Mnuchin should be in prison for life for his bank’s fraud on the justice system by forging thousands of documents, which Harris, who was in a position to do something about did nothing, and let the frauds roll for a campaign donation. Now look where we are. Criminals in charge everywhere one looks.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        It would be supremely satisfying if the fraudster harris coddled to further her political ambitions fucked up her political ambitions.

        Just like hillary, seeing her forever wear the label “Couldn’t Even Beat Trump” isn’t enough punishment, but it’s a good start.

  14. zagonostra

    >Vote Preference/Vote Lesser Evil/Vote less Effective Evil/Don’t Vote

    Did I miss anything with respect to voting for President in November? I recently watched an interesting exchange between Jimmy Dore (not voting) and Aron Mate (voting lesser evil) and they both had reasons buttressing their standpoint. So if you were to distill the positions above it would be:

    – You like Trump or Biden so your vote is an expression of support
    – You think both candidates are bad, so you’ll vote for the one you think wants to do least damage
    – You think both candidates are bad, so you’ll vote for the one you think is able to do least damage
    – You think political election system itself is invalid and you think support for either candidate is supporting continuation of said system by legitimizing it

    1. Mark Gisleson

      There is good cause for standing up and saying you won’t take it anymore.

      1) You can always change your mind and vote
      2) The longer you insist you won’t vote this time, the more pressure you put on the Democrats
      3) The Democrats can pull the plug on Biden at any time and replace him
      4) If Biden steps down, Harris will not be elevated (for reasons that will be obvious)
      5) The longer you insist you won’t vote this time, the less likely Biden is to stay on the ballot
      6) You can always change your mind and vote

      I honestly do not see any reason for anyone to tell a pollster that Joe’s OK. He’s not and even if you’re planning on holding your nose to vote for him, there’s no reason to show public support before election day.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        “If Biden steps down, Harris will not be elevated (for reasons that will be obvious)”

        Not obvious enough. I think Harris is the candidate and even if I didn’t, I don’t think the Dems are clueless enough to bring another name in this late in the game, if Biden were to drop out before November.

        I’d be interest to hear why you think not, however. I don’t have any insider knowledge, but all the things I’ve read point me to believe Harris as VP was no accident.

        1. Ramon Z

          Being an irresponsible Nero type I can see a good deal of attraction in HRC stepping in at the last moment (sarc)

          1. sd

            Making for an epic Greek comedy that Aristophanes would be jealous of. “Under every stone lurks a politician…”

        2. Mark Gisleson

          The harder they try to sell Harris, the more painfully obvious it becomes that:

          • Culturally, she’s Canadian
          • Tamil mother and South Asian ID angle (which Dems are already pushing)
          • Dad’s a Jamaican Marxist but that’s OK because they don’t get along
          • Willie Brown (what would our system do to Monica Lewinsky if she ran for office?)
          • Something something AKA AA PMC and that’s what’s wrong with something something
          • Deep down inside, she’s a vindictive prick
          • America’s not ready for Trumpian levels of narcissism from a woman of color
          • She’s a ‘gotcha’ prosecutor, and the coasts don’t seem to appreciate how deeply resented gotcha capitalism/healthcare is right now

          You can spin any of these things as positives but bad positives don’t add up well. Whatever her popularity rating is at the end of this week, that’s the highest it will be . . . ever. Richard Nixon with charismatic aspirations drowned by ego. Lacks discipline, speaks to the room and not the cameras. If you haven’t seen the clip of her trash talking 18-24 year olds, you will.

          But mostly she’s a narcissist and easily exposed. Like Trump but — unlike Trump — no one will ever vote for Kamala Harris as a middle finger to the establishment.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            While I agree that many of these points would likely be negatives for Harris in an election, I can’t see any of these points troubling the donor class running the Democrat party. In fact, several of these related to IdPol would be positives to them. These are the people who still haven’t accepted that the voters rejected Hillary, after all.

    2. divadab

      Yes – how about this – you are disgusted by both the D and R candidates so you vote third party.

      I say – Joe Biden v. Donald Trump is our choice? Eff you! Not buying your crap, ever.

      That either is a candidate is simply an insult – to the citizenry.

      I extend this to the entire edifice – no Teevee – complete crap; no chemical food – complete crap; no new car, esp “self-driving” car – complete crap; colonizing mars – complete crap; profiteers in charge of the medical system – complete crap and I better figure out how to doctor myself and avoid the complete crap they prescribe, The crap is systematic and the only solution is to turn our backs on it and DON’T BUY THEIR CRAP! The sad fact is we have a hostile elite and they are long past their off with their heads point.

    3. HotFlash

      zag, another possibility is

      — I think that our poor choice of candidate is *squarely* the fault of the Dem establishment, which is now whining that we have to “swallow and vote for Joe,” as per Jill Biden. We could have had a *real* candidate, they put their thumb heavily on the scale (again). Since if the Dems manage to beat Trump, it is the Dem Establishment who are going to rule since Joe is clearly incapable of presidentin’. I doubt if he can dress himself.

      So the choice is betw the Dem establishment, which does not have our best interestes at heart but can be very effective, and the Repub president who is *not* controlled by the Republican establishment and who does not have any actual political agenda. So to me, it comes down to whether whether the Dem establishment is worse than Trump. And that’s a difficult question. As I have said before, lawful evil vs chaotic neutral.

  15. cocomaan

    Testing is the new velvet rope

    I was listening to the Joe Rogan Experience the other day and he’s testing everyone who comes into the studio. Most of his podcasts are starting with thanks so much for the covid test, man. You can tell it makes Joe uncomfortable. They must have some kind of rapid testing capability there.

    Tests for me, but not for thee.

    1. Dan

      You can tell it makes Joe uncomfortable.

      Poor Joe. I imagine it was hard grabbing that $100 mil as well, being just a regular old Joe.

      1. cocomaan

        He built his podcast on his own, starting it on his iPhone with Brian Redban of all people, so I can’t fault the guy for cashing out. Can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing.

    2. divadab

      IN Washington State testing is generally available and you only have to wait two days for the result. I’m not sure why the wait is three weeks in AZ but maybe it has to do with government incompetence – if you think government is bad as fundamental to your political “philosophy” then why would you want to be in charge of the government unless to destroy it? Forty years of Reaganism/Thatcherism and we are reaping the “rewards” – public goods in the hands of profiteers and any program that benefits all citizens equally starved and wrecked.

  16. John Beech

    On being continually doxxed, defamed and harassed by Communist Party allies Hong Kong Free Press

    Me? I hope Trump wins just to see MSM’s screeching harpies keel over from a stroke. Honestly, I’m so fed up with being berated for my choice that by now, wild horses could not keep me from voting for the orange man. Somehow I suspect this is not the effect they were hoping for – but – by showing their bias they’ve certainly got the stubbornness within me fully aroused.

    1. The Historian

      I think that what you are doing is called biting off your nose to spite your face. When you let MSM influence the way you vote, either with them or against them, they’ve won!

      1. Ramon Z

        Biting off your nose to spite your face, is not to be challenged, it’s an unstoppable human trait (sadly)

        1. Wukchumni

          Biting off your nose to spite your face is right up there with pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, as neither task is actually possible to accomplish.

          1. Ramon Z

            I guess that is why neither is a good option. The sheer frustration of not being able to do either leads nowhere good.

    2. Tom Bradford

      Yeah. Vote for your right-wing candidate because your left-wing candidate isn’t far enough left for you.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Svetlana Tikhanovskaya ‘prepared to act as national leader’ in Belarus”

    Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has less qualifications to lead than Venezuela’s Greedo. Here is her extensive biography on Wikipedia-

    ‘Before running for president, Tsikhanouskaya was an English teacher and interpreter. She spent many summers in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, as part of a Chernobyl children’s programme. She is married to arrested YouTuber, blogger, and activist Siarhei Tsikhanouski. The couple have a son and a daughter.’

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Many years ago, as a young backpacker enjoying beer and the inevitable banana pancake in a bar in SE Asia, I overheard a conversation from the next table where two young lads from Roscrea successfully persuaded a table full of Israelis that Roscrea was not just the home of Irelands nuclear power industry, it was the birthplace of three nobel prizewinners, 8 olympic gold medalists, and had a three star michelin restaurant called Luigi’s which served the traditional spicy batterburger. Now they can add something else to the list.

    2. Count Zero

      So what should she do to be qualified? A can’t think of a better qualification than to have done a real job. In a democracy everybody is qualified to share in government. In a serious democracy there isn’t an obsession with “leaders” — I believe the word is “fuhrer” in German. Isn’t a government a team of people cooperating, sharing their knowledge and expertise and consulting the electorate. In English we have a prime minister — “first among equals.” Neoliberalism seems obsessed with leaders in every sphere — I suppose it justifies exorbitant incomes and arbitrary power.

    3. Olga

      Even NPR in first reports said that two months ago, she had no idea that she’d run. Wonder who put her up to it. (And those weird spellings of her name betray Ukrainian involvement. Siarhei Tsikhanouski – is more Ukr. or Latvian spelling than Belorussian (which is basically Russian, with a few Polish words thrown in.)
      A colour revolution if I’ve ever seen one – Russia should have known this would happen.

    1. Anonymous

      Together, we can create a fair banking system for all. Post offices would offer basic checking Bernie Sanders

      Good – since this is just allowing citizens to use fiat in account form, an obvious inherent right. And those accounts should be free up to reasonable limits.

      and savings accounts, ibid

      Bad – if those accounts pay interest since that corresponds to welfare proportional to account balance.

      debit cards, direct deposit, online banking services, ibid


      and low-interest, small dollar loans. ibid [bold added]

      But here’s the poison pill since such loans constitute fiat creation for private interests which violates equal protection under the law in favor of the so-called credit worthy. (Not that our current system does not violate equal protection under the law in favor of the banks and rich).

      1. sd

        Even the poor need access to credit. And their only option currently is thru highly usurious pay day lenders.

        1. Anonymous

          An equal Citizen’s Dividend, to replace all fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending for the general welfare, would greatly reduce the need for citizens to borrow in the first place by increasing their equity, not their debt.

          Please consider that it’s a fatal blunder to think the banks can be defeated by adopting their methods – even if for good intentions.

    2. Grant

      He does support this. The issue is why he isn’t forcing this issue into the conversation. The right doesn’t miss an opportunity to push for its policies, no matter how destructive or unpopular. Warren supported this, but I don’t believe she was serious about many of the structural changes she mentioned. She also supported creating a state owned enterprise that would produce some drugs at cost. Not a bad idea, but ideas like that have to be forced into the conversation by a committed person. Bernie is that, but maybe he is taking a step back to allow space for Biden? Who knows, cause Biden has no ideas worth a damn, is not running an issues focused campaign, hasn’t really campaigned at all in fact.

      1. Dan

        He does support this. The issue is why he isn’t forcing this issue into the conversation. The right doesn’t miss an opportunity to push for its policies, no matter how destructive or unpopular.

        I just watched a clip of Jamaal Bowman on Rising. I sense absolutely no anger, no urgency, nothing in his tone or demeanor that suggests he’s in any way concerned with what’s happening in this country. He doesn’t even seem to be aware of how bad things are and how much worse they’re going to get. When “The Squad” (god I’m sick of that *family blog* name) is brought up, he immediately mentions Ayanna Pressley, who is the least “progressive” of any of the members, and as most NC readers know, all of them are essentially sell-outs. When asked if he’ll vote for Pelosi for speaker, he laughed and said “We’ll see, I’m not sure who’s running.” What.The.F***. I’m supposed to be excited about this guy? If you want to make changes in this country, you obviously need to know what’s up with one of the most powerful positions in the world. But to progressive Jamaal Bowman, it rates a laugh and a “we’ll see.” He’s a joke.

        The fear of god needs to be put into all these people or nothing is going to change.

          1. Dan

            Hopes? How about mixing it up. You know, like doing politics. Incidentally, what is he hoping for? That Shahid Buttar might win? Buttar is another “left” faux pas. Yasha Levine did a nice write-up on him recently:

            Which brings us to Shahid Buttar, the guy running as a “left-wing” alternative to Nancy Pelosi, the They Live Congresswoman from San Francisco: He’s been working for EFF since 2015. And not just in any capacity, but as a “Director of Grassroots Advocacy.”

            If you translate that from lobbyist jargon, it means his job has been to take the outfit’s pro-corporate campaigns and dress them up as grassroots “for the people, by the people” movements. His job has been to trick people — to astroturf. Which is what he did in 2016, when he ran a ridiculous astroturf campaign that convinced people to protest in front of Apple stores around the country in defense of Apple. That’s right: in defense of Apple, one of the richest and most powerful corporations in the world. (For more info on this EFF “protest,” check out the first part of my Baffler story.)

            I use the present perfect here not by mistake. According to recent reporting, Shahid hasn’t quit EFF. He’s simply taken a break to run his campaign. Technically, he’s still a lobbyist. A lobbyist on leave.

            Imagine if someone took a leave of absence from, I dunno, say, Charles Koch’s Cato Institute or FreedomWorks to run as a “left-wing” candidate and got nothing but praise from left-leaning journalists?

            That’s what been happening here.


        1. Grant

          To be fair, it isn’t impossible that the alternative is more right wing and equally corrupt. Last time, the challenge to Pelosi came from the right in that party, not the left. The left has to take her on though, enough is enough.

      2. a different chris

        >The right doesn’t miss an opportunity to push for its policies, no matter how destructive or unpopular.

        No, the right has grokked the difference between politics and genteel debate.

        When you lose an argument, in the genteel world you do not make that argument anymore. But in the political world, you just ignore that. When the camera comes on again, you start right where you left off like nothing every happened.

        “What I tell you three times is true” is what you are going for here.

        1. Grant

          Among those in power, this is true of policies that benefit capital. This doesn’t apply to policies that benefit labor, undermine capitalism or markets. Whenever there has been a crisis, the right has stepped in to push for things they otherwise couldn’t get away with, openly at times, but often behind the scenes. Naomi Klein wrote a whole book on this, which has occurred here and abroad. I mean, the IMF shortly after the crash in 2007/2008 was close to going away. It had one client, Turkey I believe, and that client wanted to pay off its debt and be done with the IMF. But, after the crash, the developed countries gave the IMF a ton of money and it was back in the ballgame. When COVID 19 hit, there was a collapse in effective demand, the system itself was and is breaking down. So, what did the right in both parties do? The largest upward transfer of wealth in some time. All happened in the open, and behind the scenes. There is no left equivalent. The notion that you fight regardless of political victories is a constant in left circles and the labor movement historically. Not so among those on the left, or that identify with the left, in power. There have been more defeats than victories. But, those movements pushed on, even with electoral losses, jailtime for leaders, state repression, etc. As we have seen in Latin America, doesn’t matter how much social movements push at times, as you need someone with power to push things through, short of a revolution. Right now, the horrible nature of this system is on full display, the system itself is the best argument against the system, the left has actual solutions, and yet the people with these solutions are silent. Beyond that, I don’t see tons from them behind the scenes on these issues. Lots of activism going on though. I think the lesson learned from Bernie, or one of them, is that if you talk the language of revolution, you should push to govern as a revolutionary. Which means you should be dead serious about pushing though policies, and use systemic crises as an opportunity to explain why structural changes are called for. With the left, the failure of the system itself is half the argument, and this system has been progressively failing for decades and is driving us to environmental collapse.

          But, one side has lots of money in a system dying from corruption. That buys a lot of power, and air time in the corporate media.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Pishaw! 2000 is like ancient history. Besides, W. Bush is a good guy now! We’d much rather have a beer with him than that boring old Al Gore. And it was all Ralph Nader’s fault anyway.

      This time it’s different because Orange Man is an existential threat and RUSSIARUSSIARUSSIA and we just discovered the post office too!

        1. nippersmom

          Another site I frequent uses a tilda to indicate sarcasm when it might not be completely obvious to all.

      1. Grant

        There is little, or no, difference on policy between Bush and Trump. To the extent that there are differences, Trump may be slightly less bad (say on foreign policy). But, on domestic policy, the environment, healthcare, both are horrific. The big difference is that we are now 20 years on with neoliberal policies and, because of this, things are breaking down. I don’t think Bush would govern at all differently, and the far right has long hated democracy anyway, endless examples in foreign and domestic policy to prove this. The question was always whether or not the far right would allow people to change course when it became apparent that the trajectory we have been on for decades has been a disaster. Do they allow people to decide to change course or not? The answer has always been an obvious no, but it was impolite to ever mention this on networks owned by large corporations that are also opposed to changing course. There is no chance that Bush or Reagan would do anything differently at this point, they would probably just not be so obvious and dumb as Trump while doing it. The Democrats hate democracy just as much. They prove it with their corruption, them refusing to also move on from neoliberalism, and how utterly undemocratic they are internally.

  18. MCB

    Re: Rapid Testing
    My husband, a physician in Maine, has access to rapid testing because he’s an essential healthcare worker. My sister, a physical therapy doctoral student in Arizona, missed her entire first clinical rotation because she was symtomatic one day (turned out to be a sinus infection) but the lab lost her first test but didn’t tell her for two weeks, and she had to wait an additional week for the second test. All while paying insane tuition to train to do essential healthcare work. This. Is. Insanity.

    1. RMO

      It is insanity. I live in the suburbs outside Vancouver. Last Wednesday I started coming down with some flu/cold like symptoms (no breathing difficulties or fever though). The province online self-assessment tool said isolate and get a test. Called at 11:00 Thursday and got an appointment at 2:45 the same day at the Fraser Health test center which turned out to be about ten minutes away. I was given the “deep nose” test while in my car and was told that if I was positive they would call me as soon as the result came in. Otherwise the procedure was to call them after 48 hours to confirm the negative results. Turns out I was negative. I’m not a high priority person or anything – not in any situations which would make it more likely for me to pick the virus up and certainly not in any situation which would make a danger for extensive spreading of the disease but I was still able to call up out of the blue and get a test within a few hours and the results within two days.

      Compare that to my friend in San Fransisco. Her husband has come down with a still mysterious illness which has him in the hospital on IV’s (he developed sepsis but they still haven’t found the cause of the problem). Since it started with a high fever they went for a Covid test. Nearly two weeks later they finally got the result. Of course by this time he had already gotten sick enough for one trip to ER and some tests, discharge back home and then a return to the hospital, ER and ICU as his condition worsened. Once he was admitted they did the Covid test in the hospital itself (twice for redundancy) and it came back negative so it was kind of academic when the original test came back later on. Fortunately it turns out that his insurance has covered everything which is yet another thing they were worried about when it all started.

      The baffling thing to me is how I caught anything considering the Andromeda Strain levels of precautions we’ve been taking since this started.

  19. Amfortas the hippie

    on Algocracy, or Cass Invades England.

    “A further issue underpinning the narrative that data is objective concerns what it means for modern politics. Cybernetic systems view disagreement and intellectual conflict as unnecessary. For algorithmic optimisation problems, disputes are seen as a form of inefficiency that could be solved through aggregation of further data.
    The notion of the politicised ‘self’ will therefore be far less prevalent, replaced by dividuals; the breaking of individuals into sub-units such as your healthcare data or credit score.
    Coupled with the nudge techniques, this form of governance reduces deviation from the ‘objective truth’ to an outlier that can be shaped to fit the code required. “(bold, mine)

    This is a terrible idea.
    The problem is that the people pushing it as an Answer seem rather isolated in their little lab-setting, and unaware of the world outside of it, aside from some ill-defined idealistic assumption matrix.
    and the other people, namely, politicians…are lapping it up because it feeds their now apparent aversion to governing…due to their even stronger aversion to taking responsibility for whatever governing they are forced by necessity to do.
    when the inevitable problems arise, the AI gets the blame…which the governing AI will see, per this article at least, as necessitating more data collection to smooth the stochastic curves…while failing utterly to “understand” whatever may be actually occurring.
    if the AI sees…say…third party votes in the us as statistical outliers…based on the hyperreductionist lens said AI has been provided, what then?
    hurry the apocalypse, i guess.

  20. zagonostra

    >Jack London – The People of the Abyss

    In trying to understand how bad things can get here/now, and seeing homeless people at intersections with Placards asking for money, anticipating evictions when UI runs out, and seeing desperation in the eyes of people that a short time ago were carefree, I’ve been drawn to reading Jack London. It wasn’t until recently that I stumbled on his book “The Iron Heel” (1907). My knowledge of him was limited to “Call of the Wild” and “White Fang.”

    I remember a professor who I admired accused him of antisemitism and bias against “Asiatics.” But over the past couple of months I have come to admire him. He was willing to sleep in lice invested abodes or on the streets in order understand how the detritus of Captialism live, what they think, and connect with them on a human level.

    There seems very little interest in turning one’s gaze to the downtrodden, rather it is reserved to the glamore of the wealthy and monied , diversions and titillations, capturing a momentary respite and relaxing so you can go back the next day and slog threw the miasma once again. I am no less guilty. I have to wait a spell before taking on another book like “The People of the Abyss.”

    The People of the Abyss (1903) is a book by Jack London about life in the East End of London in 1902. He wrote this first-hand account after living in the East End for several weeks, sometimes staying in workhouses or sleeping on the streets. In his attempt to understand the working-class of this deprived area of London the author stayed as a lodger with a poor family. The conditions he experienced and wrote about were the same as those endured by an estimated 500,000 of the contemporary London poor.

    There had been several previous accounts of slum conditions in England, most notably The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845) by Friedrich Engels. However, most of these were based on secondhand sources. Jack London’s account was based on the firsthand experience of the writer

    George Orwell was inspired by The People of the Abyss, which he read in his teens, and in the 1930s he began disguising himself as a derelict and made tramping expeditions into the poor section of London himself, in emulation of Jack London.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. That’s a chilling read, indeed.
      especially with all this going on.
      I like Jack London a lot…no matter his failings(Miles Davis was a misogynist, and i still like him, too).
      “To Build a Fire” is required reading around here.
      and “South Sea Tales” is my youngest’s favorite Dad-Book.

      1. Late Introvert

        I disagree that Miles Davis was misogynist. He was violent though, which is probably worse. His former ladies are clear on both points I think.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          in my first really egregious encounter with what would come to be called #metoo and “cancel culture”, a woman on FB went nuts on me about me quoting Jefferson…and the ensuing “discourse”(me defending myself; she, tossing firebombs), she had rummaged in my feed and discovered my love of Miles(Kind of Blue is my favorite album, and i can’t listen to one song only).
          she threw the misogynist…and i did a cursory search, just to confirm his assholeishness…because i really didn’t care about anything but the music.
          I remember thinking, “if we must reject Jefferson, Gandhi(sleeping with little girls to test his resolve), and Miles Davis…just erase them…what remains?”
          that was at least 8 years ago.

    2. Robert Gray

      It’s been a good few decades since I read TPotA but I remember it as being very powerful, as too of course is The Iron Heel. But doesn’t London admit somewhere in the text, just in passing as it were, that he had a gold sovereign sewn into the lining of his coat, as a ‘just in case’? That doesn’t necessarily diminish his observational acumen or the punch of his prose, but unfortunately it does smack of slum-tourism.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        no different than Jane Goodall periodically returning to camp for a hot shower.
        That’s how i’ve approached living in Texas all my life as a smartypants weirdo…Jane Goodall, embedded with the hostile tribe.
        Never would have survived Jr High and High School otherwise.

        1. newcatty

          Relate, Amfortas. I survived Junior and Senior High School as a nerd weirdo in two different small towns. I liked to read. I chose as an oral book report in my junior year of English: “Grapes of Wrath”. My teacher’s face went stark white when I gave my presentation. We were asked to volunteer to be first to present, and I was excited to share my love for the story. Turns out she thought it was an “evil and immoral book that was written by a communist.” After that, she insisted that all books be run by her approval for reports. It was also true that most of that first semester’s curriculum were oral reports by the kids. She sat back and let us teach ourselves literature. I did get away with Little Women as a choice. But, with my admiration for Jo, apparent, got more scowling from the teach. I also did not give a fig about trying out for cheer, skipped Girls Athletics (PE credit) to go work on school newspaper, liked chorus, was in drama club( never a star) and was shy and introverted. Then came liberation! Ahh, first year at university.

        2. Robert Gray

          > no different than Jane Goodall periodically returning to camp for a hot shower.

          Really? I must have misunderstood all these years what it is Jane Goodall is doing out there in the bush. Does she pretend to be a gorilla? Does she try to trick the gorillas into believing that she is one of them? (And are the gorillas really not clever enough to see that she isn’t?!?) I thought a big part of Dr Goodall’s schtick was Interspecies Communication. Now, you might argue that Jack London tried that, metaphorically, in Martin Eden — but during his few weeks in the East End he was, I’m sorry to say, merely play-acting.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            but to get to that interspecies communication, she had to hang out with them for years and years, until they more or less accepted her as one of their own…or at least as non-threatening.
            and anyway, i use her because she was my first exposure to field anthropology(primatology can be thought of as a sub-discipline of that…or not…it’s how i think of it, whether or not anyone else does,lol. We are, after all, primates.)
            …due to natgeo/PBS when i was a kid. I didn’t gain access to actual human anthropology til much later…and Margaret Meade just doesn’t have the same heft as Jane(one of my very favorite people).
            her subjects being comfortable enough with her just sitting there so that they went about their business…that’s the part i’m talking about….and that’s how i made it through east texas kid-hood.
            the rednecks and the jocks(which cliques overlapped a lot) were at first afraid of me…because i was smart and read all the time…this manifested in aggressive behaviour…mostly Display, like waving a branch.
            Then i started giving them treats(helping them pass science or history), until i faded into their background(unless needed for a test).
            Dr Jane was the inspiration for this approach(which worked, btw…and works to this day. it’s become habit).

    3. Maritimer

      London also wrote “John Barleycorn”, a more or less biographical tale of his wrasslin’ with Ole Demon Rum. In the book, he predicted the formation of what became Alcoholics Anonymous. Paradoxically and fittingly given the nature of the alcoholic affliction, at the end of JB, London concludes he is NOT an alcoholic.

  21. Wukchumni

    I read that if college football doesn’t play this year, there will be a $7 billion loss of revenue, oh the gridirony!

    Now contrast that with any old trailhead into the wilderness you’d like, where money is merely ballast and won’t buy you a thing, nor is there a special trail for billionaires, everybody has to walk their own walk.

    I see a vast sea change coming with moneyed sports dying away, and it’s worth noting that long distance walking contests were quite popular in the Great Depression

    1. The Rev Kev

      From what you said in previous comments, that may also include casino and ski-resorts with them not coming back any time soon.

      1. Wukchumni

        From what you said in previous comments, that may also include casino and ski-resorts with them not coming back any time soon.

        Yes, they’re all going away. I’ll shed not one tear for casinos, although i’ll miss being on piste with lift chairs. The end of an era to be replaced by doing all the heavy lifting myself with skins attached to the bottom of my parallel planks.

        One stand alone ski resort might’ve been able to survive, but seeing as one company owns 15 high end resorts, they get to lose 15x as much money. That combined with being quite the vector for the virus, you can kiss em’ goodbye.

      2. MT_Bill

        My brother works at an east coast resort. The resort management is still hoping that if they limp along through summer and fall, a good 2020-2021 season can dig them out of their grave.

        His take is there is not a snowball’s chance in Hell that it’s going to work. He’s already switching gears and interviewing with more exclusive sporting resorts (100k to join, 50k+ per year to stay) which are booming right now.

        Can’t imagine anyone wants to stand in a lift line watching everyone’s breath swirl around them. Never mind the enclosed spaces.

        There’s several ski resorts that I can think of that could go to a private membership model and possibly survive. But I assume the mega-resort model that is built on cramming as many people as possible on high-speed quads is dead.

        1. newcatty

          No offense at all to your brother, but is the survival of ski resorts, even the ones not “exclusive” or private membership important, in the grand scheme of the survival of the planet’s ecosystems and humans? The tone death attitudes of some people who can afford going to ski resorts, playing golf or tennis at high end country clubs, taking lux vacations, etc. Is kind of sad. It would be ironic, if not a signal that things are falling apart.

          1. ambrit

            I don’t know about that. I understand from “reading between the lines” that one of the temptations the Devil put to Yeshua ben Yusuf was in the saying: “The Rich we shall always have with us.”

            1. periol

              We can still tell them to stop destroying the planet. Perhaps Yeshua ben Yusuf was referring to Rich in character rather than Rich in property.

          2. Wukchumni

            Usually a day of skiing at one of the finest resorts ran me around $30 based on 20 days of using a season pass per year. The circa 1972 rental condo worked out to about $40 a day when we squeezed 7 or 8 into the narrow confines. We cooked breakfast & dinner there and brought our lunches to the slopes in a few zip-lock bags.

            By driving a car, you contribute vastly more to the destruction of the planet’s ecosystem, than me going skiing occasionally, if we really want to talk in regards to ‘tone death attitudes’.

  22. Darthbobber

    CNN up today with polling showing a significant tightening of the Trump/Biden race, for whatever that’s worth.

    1. Keith


      A tightening race will help keep people glued to their TV sets. Because, as always, “This is the most important election of our time,” again…

    2. anon in so cal

      Is this why Nancy Pelosi demanded the House cut short its vacay and rush back to DC to:

      “block recent cost-cutting measures at the Postal Service amid growing concern that delivery delays are an attempt by President Trump to suppress voting by mail during the pandemic.”?

      You’d think she would have rushed the House back to DC to free up funds for the suffering 90%. Instead, it’s all about Dems’ hopes of regaining full power.

      1. sd

        I hope she’ll use the time to press for extending the $600 in stimulus funds that was attached to unemployment benefits. The lack of urgency is sadistic.

      2. rd

        Her view is that the House passed a bill on stimulus in May that the Senate hasn’t even voted on yet.

        USPS is a “new” issue.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “‘I badly need you’: Biden makes impassioned plea to progressive conference”

    Next headline-

    ‘Biden asks that progressives climb into a wooden barrel after removing the bunghole stopper first.’

    1. Off The Street

      Biden getting campaign money via royalties from mentions in The Onion? Hey, it could happen!

    2. Pat

      I am reminded of a commercial playing where two head guys are on a platform by a volcano. The third guy comes up and suggests an irrigation type system to deal with the water shortage for the crops. Asked if he has that with him, and is told everyone climbed up here when he says no. They then urge him in. And follow that where one says he liked him, and the other says because he likes everyone. Then a voice over about a better idea.*

      In this scenario the head guys are Biden and the DNC, the sacrificial guy are progressives. And I hope the Lefty Hippie old school Democrats of the FDR school are waiting for the perfect time to push head guys into the volcano. I admit I keep wishing that sacrificial guy would go “you first, this is your idea” to the head guys.

      *While I clearly enjoy the commercial it doesn’t really work because I honestly cannot tell you what is being advertised.

    3. tegnost

      I badly need policies…
      and speaking of which the motley fool on Social Security, well it all sounds ok but for the donut hole? Who comes up with these things. It’s bizarro, anyway…four things to strengthen, eliminate the cutoff of 137k, but donut hole it,, minimum payout to 125% of poverty,, 5% increase if you live to 82, and a new CPI adjustment from CPI-W for wage earners to CPI-E for elderly All of this sounds ok but the article closes with…
      “Once again, a lot could happen between now and Election Day. But if Biden were to get the nod as Commander in Chief, he’d be angling to implement a sweeping direct overhaul of the Social Security program — and would face numerous hurdles in the process.”
      Which to my cynical mind makes it look like a trojan horse, just to get the ball rolling at which point the smart people can say OMG!!! it’s worse than we thought, we’ll have to kill the program in order to save it! or something equally breathless. It does appear on the screen as red meat for bidens base so we’ll see how this story unfolds…

      1. hamstak

        The “donut hole” roughly occupies the income space of the PMC, which coincides with congressional salaries, if I am not mistaken.

        There may be an electoral angle as well, courting suburban Republicans, as it were. “Stick it” to the upper crust (whom they resent, mostly because they are not members of that class, which they aspire to) without being personally affected. A counter-argument however could be a reflexive antipathy towards taxation of any sort.

  24. Darthbobber

    Hong Kong Free Press article. No apologia here for the government here, but this seems to make it clear that the authorities, both Hong Kong and PRC, have known exactly who he was for quite some time. So Blumenthal’s not terribly connected “let’s play espionage” site were doxxing him only to the westerners. (And may well have gotten their breathlessly revealed information ultimately from the authorities, though almost certainly with a cutout interposed.)

    It seems to be implied in the article that he has left Hong Kong, but that is not directly stated.

  25. Frank Little

    RE: Trump eyes new unproven coronavirus “cure”

    The claim for this cure originates with a guy mentioned in the article named Andrew Whitney, who has a bio that is probably of interest to NC readers. From the about page of his company Phoenix Biotechnology:

    Ex-Bain & Co consulting, ex-Bain Leveraged Buyout practice, and with private equity turnaround experience at management board level. He has 20 years’ experience as an entrepreneur, CEO, Founder and private equity investor in the bioinformatics, materials, energy, automotive, cleantech, digital media, blockchain and defense/aerospace sectors. Andrew also has 25 years’ experience in the licensing and management of IP rights, and developed initiatives with value of in excess of $350M for one particular client.

    Of course none of that should give him any credibility when discussing cures for covid or any other virus, but he’s rich so in America that means he must be right.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Thousands of S. Korea church members quarantined over virus”

    I was just reflecting that if this christian church was actually spreading the virus while hiding the evidence and hindering investigators, but all the while South Korea was in a state of war, then this church and its leader would be rounded up and charged with not only treason but sabotage as well.

    1. Olga

      Yup, she gets it… because it is so predictable:
      “There’s really never anything new. It’s the exact same formula with the exact same depraved imperialists spouting the exact same script about nations which rotate in and out of their crosshairs from day to day. And what makes it even more tedious is the fact that everyone’s expected to treat each new “OMG this unabsorbed government must be opposed!” narrative cycle like it’s something new and different.
      It isn’t new, and it isn’t different. It’s gotten to the point where it’s the exact same international political news story every single day, and that news story reads as follows:
      “US-centralized empire tries to grow larger by absorbing a nation which is fighting to maintain its military, financial, economic and/or resource sovereignty.””

      Oh, and Sputnik has something on events 67 yrs ago:

      A documentary to be aired on 8/19/20: Granada has now produced a new documentary, Coup 53, which will be broadcast on Wednesday 19 August.

  27. Keith

    Interesting, all the hoopla about the Post Office requires Congress to return and have hearings. Issues related to people being able to put food on their table, not so important.

    1. Wukchumni

      Going Postal last century: Disgruntled U.S. Mail employee

      Going Postal this century: Gruntled politician

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The pension issue was passed in a lame duck session in 2006 and Obama’s appointees were so ugly that this like gay marriage is an optics problem for Pelosi and et al. Its not like they weren’t there all along.

    3. Darthbobber

      Since Pelosi, Schumer and McConnell are by no means willing to let the stimulus onto the floor absent a deal at leadership level, they have nothing for the “mere” members of those bodies to do on that issue. In fact, I suspect they’d prefer to have those people absent until time to rubber stamp whatever fait accompli emerges in the hypothetical deal.

      1. anon in so cal

        >Postal Service

        Al Gore and WJC initiated attacks on the USPS, as part of Gore’s “Reinventing Government (REGO) program, according to Counterpunch’s Jeffrey St. Clair.

        ” U.S. Postal Service. … “As the organization shrinks, it all shrinks, not just the part that delivers the mail.” … Vice President Al Gore….”

  28. allan

    Why Is John Kasich Speaking At The Democratic Convention? [BuzzFeed]

    Executive summary:

    To have a former Lehman looter turned Teabagger turned “Biden Republican”
    bad mouth the most charismatic Dem of her generation.

    Longer version:

    … Kasich will be featured in primetime during the opening night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday. When word of his appearance first spread, it wasn’t lost on faithful Democrats that a onetime tea party conservative and Fox News host had scored one of the precious few speaking assignments during an event that has been scaled down heavily for television because of the coronavirus pandemic. “Maybe,” one veteran Democratic operative who has experience in Ohio reacted upon hearing the news, “we shouldn’t have guys who tried to break unions and put gag orders on rape crisis counselors speak at our convention?” …

    “I think both parties have to have new ideas, and I think this country is moderate,” said Kasich … “People on the extreme, whether they’re on the left or on the right, they get outsized publicity that tends to define their party. You know, I listen to people all the time make these statements, and because AOC gets outsized publicity doesn’t mean she represents the Democratic Party. She’s just a part, just some member of it. And it’s on both sides, whether it’s the Republicans or whether it’s the Democrats.” …

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Even shorter version: John Kasich is the future of the Democratic party, not AOC.

      I liked this Rising bit about the DNC speakers, it was a rare occasion where they had a party strategist on and took them to task: She straight up says AOC shouldn’t be speaking at all. And while I think Yang is overrated, I was glad they didn’t let her get away with the lie that all the candidates were offered a speaking slot if they wanted, as Yang has made it clear he was not offered and did want to speak.

      1. a different chris

        Wow this ties perfectly with my comment earlier about politics vs genteel debate:

        His first major act stripped public employees of their collective bargaining power — a measure that voters overturned at the ballot box by a margin embarrassing to Kasich. Even so, Republicans gave Kasich a primetime slot at their 2012 convention,

        It wasn’t “even so”, Mr. Gomez. It was because of his stance. Losing is always just temporary to the Republicans. Which is actually proper politics, I’m not even criticizing. I’m criticizing pretty much the entire Democratic Party for not understanding that.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Exactly. Things like this simply do not happen by accident or luck. And yeah, the Repubs don’t seem to suffer from learned helplessness like the Dems do.

  29. anon in so cal

    >Empathic or Evil?

    A Hampton Inn in Phoenix, where some migrants have been detained. Matt York/Associated Press

    “The Trump administration is using major hotel chains to detain children and families taken into custody at the border, a practice that has ballooned in recent months under an aggressive border closure policy related to the pandemic.

    Because the hotels exist outside the formal detention system, they are not subject to policies requiring that migrants be provided access to medical care and healthy food. For children who arrived at the border alone, parents and lawyers often have no way of finding them or monitoring their well-being.”

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Shocking no one, not enough foreigners applied for H-1B visas this year so US govt ran a second lottery”

    There may be another factor in play. How many are worried about not only getting sick in a foreign country but perhaps are worried about finding themselves accused of spying on behalf of another country while there. This is – mostly – happening with Chinese but you would always have to watch your step or you would have a knock at the door by the FBI. And then they could give you the Maria Butina treatment. Accept a guilty plea for a few years in prison, even if you are not guilty, or risk going to prison for several decades. Happens all the time with police.

    1. hunkerdown

      According to the NLR article today, India is safely neoliberal and there won’t be those kinds of problems in practice.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I don’t think that the NLR article was supposed to be comedy, but i found myself laughing out loud, nevertheless…such that wife came to see. So well done, Goran!(seriously)
        it’s also hilarious…i mean in addition to the billion definitions of “middle class”…that i have known maybe 3 people in my whole life who DIDN’T self-identify as “middle class”…from the lowliest pauper, to the most wealthy people i’ve run across(including my dad), all of them reckoned they were in the middle class.
        I, on the other hand, never thought of myself that way….all the while considering myself rather “rich” by other, less quantifiable metrics.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Meanwhile, I decided to go and look:

          all but one of the Political Indicators are fulfilled…unless you believe Russiax3!.
          All of the Economic conditions are fulfilled.
          and several of the Social…

          and then there’s this:

          the only example considered is the USA!, due to current events.
          The Naysayers included there…while admitting to “some problems”… rely on elton john style rose colored glasses…with a lot of mud on them. Following the links, they appear to be engaged in a form of “self care”…whispering affirmations to themselves, and trying real hard not to look out the window.
          The Links embedded in both…at least the one’s i could follow…fill it out even more, and place our moment in a pretty unflattering context.

          I’ll be interested to see what happens.
          Watching all this from afar, from under the Big Oak, as it were…or from the Cattleguard, depending on time of day…is my own version of self-care. I put on my Lay Anthropologist Hat…or my Historian Hat…and can’t wait to see what the creation of 20-50 million additional homeless people does to social relations, the legitimacy of the state, and whether or not anyone pays any mind to the election.
          The Little Vulcan in my head is absorbed with such things….and it provides a distraction to sort of academicise it in this way…treat it as a Cartesian Subject, under a glass, as it were…lest I despair.

          At least it appears that infection confers immunity…at long last, a light in the tunnel. But if they cured the damned bug today, it wouldn’t matter to what’s been unleashed, at least in the short term.
          On my list of “Things to Do If We Come Into Money”, which I’ve maintained as a fanciful exercise and discussion starter, I’ve added “purchase a sufficient seed bank for my county”.
          This is an expression of hope…and not as far fetched as you might think….there’s only 4500 people out here.
          when we blow the bridges crossing the county line, we’ll prolly be alright.
          (and yes, I’m into the brownies, again,lol. waiting out the heat(106 yesterday), and the machinations of life insurance and probate.)

  31. Winston Smith

    Just heard that 50% of families who rent don’t think they can make the payment next month…will try to pin down source

    1. marym

      Here’s his Wiki

      Here’s the authority he cites in the Medium post: Government Accountability Institute
      “The Government Accountability Institute (GAI) is a conservative nonprofit think-tank[3] located in Tallahassee, Florida.[4][5] GAI was founded in 2012[6] by Peter Schweizer and Steve Bannon with funding from Robert Mercer and family.[7] Schweizer serves as the group’s president.”

      He’s a Democrat. Whatever that means.

  32. Wukchumni

    Heisenberg Uncertainty of Principal?

    ‘This Is Uncharted Territory’: Wall Street Weighs Prospect Of Contested Election Outcome Heisenberg Report

  33. Wukchumni

    Facebook algorithm found to ‘actively promote’ Holocaust denial Guardian
    I asked my 13 and 15 year old nephews if they knew what Nazis were, and they both gave me blank looks, having no idea whatsoever.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I caused my eldest to watch things like The Pianist and Das Unterganger(The Downfall) when he hit 13, after he started asking questions about that.
      My youngest was scheduled for the same treatment this summer, but we were waylaid by pandemic response(accelerated farm activity).

      1. ambrit

        Now you’ll have to modify his syllabus to include “The Grapes of Wrath,” both film and book versions, and Studs Turkel’s “Hard Times.”

  34. anon in so cal

    >”First night of Democratic convention to feature group of Republican speakers”

    “The first night of the Democratic National Convention will feature several Republican speakers.

    Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman and former Rep. Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.) are among former GOP lawmakers that will speak as part of Democrats’ virtual programming, organizers announced Monday.

    Meg Whitman, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, will also speak during the programming, as will former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who the DNC had previously announced as a speaker.”

  35. Tom Stone

    IMO, the USA lacks the capacity to conduct a legitimate Election in November.
    And I don’t think a 5/4 decision by the Supremes will cut it, the US has become a low trust society.
    21 Million Americans are facing eviction, nothing has been done at the federal level to help them and there is no “Safety Net”, it has been dismantled.
    Cities, Counties and States are already hard hit due to the economic downturn and that’s just going to get worse for the foreseeable future.
    We are in the middle of a Pandemic with winter and ‘flu season rapidly approaching.
    “failed state” is not hyperbole, it is our reality and the consequences are about to show up.
    Bosnia writ large is the likely outcome, starting within a year.

    1. rd

      Basis for first statement?

      Elections are run at the state and local level. So it is not a problem with the “USA”. It is an issue with each county and each state. Many are fairly competent at running an election. The results have to be certified by each state Secretary of State, so that is 50 individuals and their organizations.

      The US has a history of voter suppression since Reconstruction, so the same problem today has been going on for 150 years. Prior to that it was only a small percentage of the population that were permitted to vote, but even then there was hanky panky with voting in the town square.

      So it is not a new problem, but effectively goes back 150 years or more. I don’t think it has gotten markedly worse over the past few months than it has been through US history. It is actually disorganized enough with the county and state election boards that it would be hard to organize ballot rigging across the entire country. The main challenge is protecting the few dozen counties in a handful of states that are really the swing votes that decide the electoral college result.

      1. ambrit

        I beg to differ. The advent of electronic voting machines has “weaponized” the field of vote rigging.
        Until America goes to the NC favourite of “paper ballots hand counted in public,” American elections will never be generally thought of as legitimate.

  36. remmer

    A Brief History Of Political Interference In The U.S. Postal Service

    Suspicion of partisan interference in the post office goes back to the eighteenth century. But a confirmed case of such interference had one big benefit: it gave us the secret ballot. In the 1888 election, RNC treasurer W.W. Dudley wrote down instructions for how to handle bribed voters (called floaters), and mailed them in a letter to the Indiana GOP. Voter bribery was as old as elections and Indiana’s elections were notoriously corrupt, but there had never been any proof. That changed when a Democratic mail clerk opened Dudley’s letter and sent it to the DNC, which released it to the press. It was too late to change the result of the election – incumbent Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote. But Dudley’s letter pushed Massachusetts and New York to make voter bribery nearly impossible by passing the first secret ballot laws. By the end of the century all but six states had passed similar laws.

  37. DJG

    I believe that it was alpha lyman blob who hipped me to the legislative history of the law governing the post office and the manufactured mess that it is.

    In understanding how the U.S. Postal Service has come to this financial disaster, I discovered these facts about who voted for the PAEA: Here, we see the brave opposition in action: >

    Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006

    • Passed the House on December 8, 2006 (voice vote)
    • Passed the Senate on December 9, 2006 (unanimous consent)

    Oh. No opposition. It was the usual bipartisan looting and pillaging. What a surprise.

    I’m with Krystal Ball on this: Fire them all.

    1. pasha

      don’t blame this on pelosi: in february, the house passed the usps fairness act, effectively repealing the retirement and healthcare prepayments of the 2006 law. it has been sitting in the hopper in the senate since then, along with 400 other house bills mitch refuses to call up for a vote

      1. Pat

        Wasn’t Pelosi Speaker in 2009? Wasn’t the Senate overwhelmingly Democratic in 2009? Weren’t the problems of the PAEA and other legal bindings on the USPS already apparent in 2009?

        If the answers to the above are yes, and they are, you don’t get a pass for waiting Ten years to act.

        Pelosi, and most of the Democratic leadership, are just realizing that they didn’t think this through. Nobody who mattered was supposed to need the Post Office. It was just spoils to be split. Oops

        She absolutely deserves to be blamed.

      2. Late Introvert

        More LULZ from pasha the paid TR0LL from the DNC. And if you’re not getting paid? Well, yer a suckerz.

        Saint Nancy of Freezers

  38. DJG

    Esteemed commenter Pavel posted this yesterday:

    Alex Cockburn reminded us:
    “Another shining moment in Biden’s progress in the current presidential term was his conduct in the hearings on Judge Alito’s nomination to the US Supreme Court. From the opening moments of the Judiciary Committee’s sessions in January, 2006, it became clear that Alito faced no serious opposition. On that first ludicrous morning Senator Pat Leahy sank his head into his hands, shaking it in unbelieving despair as Biden blathered out a self-serving and inane monologue lasting a full twenty minutes before he even asked Alito one question. In his allotted half hour Biden managed to pose only five questions, all of them ineptly phrased. He did pose two questions about Alito’s membership of a racist society at Princeton, but had already undercut them in his monologue by calling Alito “a man of integrity”, not once but twice, and further trivialized the interrogation by reaching under the dais to pull out a Princeton cap and put it on.”

    Question: Where is the famous stammer? Or was the recent spate of disquisitions on Biden’s stammer a temporary invention to (1) give him a disability, making him somehow more acceptable or (2) cover up the cognitive decline?

    Biden’s problem has always been logorrhea and blurting—as when he went on during the debates about how countries with so-called socialized medicine wouldn’t be able to handle COVID19, unlike the U S of A, blessed with Obamacare and for-profit medicine.

    The man isn’t exactly a deep thinker, although after years of Obama and Hillary Clinton, let alone Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, it has become difficult to discern who is more hollow and self-serving. The “stammer,” though, is likely a stammer of convenience.

    Well, at least he isn’t attacking the interns like Bill Clinton. Oh, wait…

    1. Alex Cox

      Based on Biden’s recent interactions with members of the public and journalists, he also seems to have anger-management issues.

    2. rtah100

      Logorrhoea and inappropriateness are classical hallmarks of prodromal dementia, especially dementia relate to Alzheimer’s disease.

  39. antidlc

    Biden: “I badly need you.”

    A battle within the Democratic Party is looming on health care if presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins and the Senate flips.

    In the primary earlier this year, Biden’s plan for a government-run public option for health insurance was seen as the moderate choice, compared with Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) “Medicare for All.”

    But once the arena shifts away from the campaign trail to Congress, where the proposal would have to pass via a narrow margin in the Senate and despite fierce opposition from well-funded industry groups, Biden’s plan would become a daunting challenge to enact.

    Surveying this landscape, some Democratic congressional aides and outside health care advisers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they expected the party would start next year with a more modest package of fixes to ObamaCare that did not include a public option in an effort to get some early points on the board.

    Ah, yes, nothing will fundamentally change.

    1. marym

      That was quick. It took months of pretending during Obama’s first year to get from “robust” public option, to smoke-and-mirrors public option to no public option.

      The latest Lincoln Project ad is completely about Biden’s tragic personal losses interspersed with pictures of him hugging other people, saying how we have to elect someone with compassion and decency. Well, I’m sure he loves his family, but he’s never had a “compassionate” and “decent” (toward the non-.01%) policy in his entire public life. Which is no doubt just fine with the LP.

    2. rd

      Complexity keeps the campaign contribuitions flowing. Canadian health insurers aren’t big contributors to political campaigns.

  40. rd

    Three major pandemics of the 20th century:

    A notable thing about all three of these is how silent the press and future literature was about these. I think there are a few reasons for this.

    1. 1918-19 flu occurred against the backdrop of WW I so censorship meant it wasn’t officially happening and was generally unreported in the press. Also, so many people were horrificly dying in WW I, that this was just another way to go. By 1920-21, it had effectively vanished from the public record and is virtually unremarked on by some of the great novelists and short story writers of the time. 1918-20 had two major plunges in the stock market, but that was generally fairly common in that era even in the absence of pandemics (e.g. Panic of 1908).

    2. 1957 and 1968 flus were occurring in the Cold War, space race etc. Lots of stuff going on. Vaccines were starting to be introduced for major diseases like measles, polio, smallpox etc. I have a recollection of lining up in the school library in the mid-60s to get my sugar cube with the polio vaccine as well as getting the multiple pricks for the smallpox vaccine at the doctor office. So there were lots of bad diseases hitting people of all ages, but slowly they were being eliminated through vaccination but that process was just starting at the time of those two pandemics.

    The diseases of the young and middle-aged have largely been prevented or cured by 2020. So it is rare to meet somebody with measles, polio, or whooping cough unless they come from a family that doesn’t believei n vaccination. Smallpox has been wiped out. The flu has vaccines available, so many people either don’t catch it or get a mild version. Even nasty diseases like Lyme disease are treatable with antibiotics and AIDS is no longer an immediate death sentence with the various drug regimes. So to come across a disease with little or natural immunity so effectively 100% of the population is susceptible while having case fatality rates on the order of or worse than a very bad flu is a pretty scary proposition to a population that is largely not thinking about disease other than heart disease or cancer in later life.

    My guess is that a Covid-19 vaccine will be something like the flu vaccine where it prvents it in much of the population or leads to a mild case. These people may still eb able to trasnmit it, but it should die out quickly in a population if many people have had it or been vaccinated. Even if you catch it, hopefully previous exposure (disease or vaccine) will relegate it to common cold level symptoms.

  41. Mark H.

    Both parties are responsible for the Post Office mess, says a former Democratic congressman who voted in 2006 along with most of his Democratic colleagues for what he now calls “one of the worst pieces of legislation Congress has passed in a generation.”

    Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer both voted for this bill, which has devastated the Postal Service by making it look insolvent when it’s not.

    Congress Is Sabotaging Your Post Office

    Quotes from the article:

    To argue that the Postal Service needs to be privatized, conservatives need to show that it is dysfunctional, and there’s no better way to do that than by weighing the agency down with impossible financial obligations. It continues a generation-long pattern of institutional vandalism by Republicans across government. But ultimately, both parties bear responsibility. I should know: I was in Congress when we passed the 2006 bill. And, along with all my colleagues, I made the mistake of voting for it….

    But the most destructive change of all was the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA). The bill has an unfortunate history. It was hurried to the floor during a lame-duck Congress weeks after Republicans were routed from their twelve-year congressional majority in the 2006 midterms. Committee leaders told us that the legislation was critical to “saving” the post, and we were rushed into voting for the bill without fully considering its motivations or long-term impacts. The legislation was passed by voice vote—without objection. It was a blunder, one of the worst pieces of legislation Congress has passed in a generation.

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