Links 8/21/2020

Australia’s biggest bats fly thousands of kilometers a year—farther than wildebeest and caribou Science

Wildfire Smoke Shrouds the U.S. West Earth Observatory

‘My God, we’ve got nobody’: Strained firefighters struggle to stop Bay Area wildfires Mercury-News

How this recession is different Felix Salmon, Axios. This time:

Uber and Lyft shutdown in California averted as judge grants emergency stay The Verge

The Big Tech Extortion Racket Harpers


A Ship Off Course Sows Misery and Mystery in Mauritius Bloomberg. Not nuch about the mystery!

“There are many questions that need to be answered about how this incident was allowed to happen. Trust has been lost” Mauritius Times


Progress report on the coronavirus pandemic Nature

Humidity is a consistent climatic factor contributing to SARS‐CoV‐2 transmission Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. From the abstract: “Overall, a decrease in relative humidity of 1% was associated with an increase in cases of 7–8%. Overall, we found no relationship with between cases and temperature, rainfall or wind speed.”

An Overview on the Role of Relative Humidity in Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Indoor Environments Aerosol and Air Quality Research. From the abstract: “Based on earlier studies, a relative humidity of 40–60% was found to be optimal for human health in indoor places. Thus, it is extremely important to set a minimum relative humidity standard for indoor environments such as hospitals, offices and public transports for minimization of airborne spread of SARS-CoV-2.”

Pediatric SARS-CoV-2: Clinical Presentation, Infectivity, and Immune Responses Journal of Pediatrics. n = 192. From the Conclusion: “This study reveals that children may be a potential source of contagion in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in spite of milder disease or lack of symptoms.”

Covid-19 Data Will Once Again Be Collected by CDC, in Policy Reversal WSJ but:

If the CDC did in fact bring in the U.S. Digital service, that’s a smart move, albeit years late.

Tomgram: Belle Chesler, Will Public Schools Survive Covid-19? Tom DIspatch


The Pain of Divesting From China Will Be Shared Bloomberg. No doubt:

China’s Bank Regulator Warns Dollar Dominance Is Seed of Crisis Bloomberg

China’s Economy Needs Institutional Reform Rather Than Additional Capital Deepening Michael Pettis. From July, still germane.

China reluctant to hit back at US firms over Washington’s new Huawei ‘death sentence’ South China Morning Post

‘Drive the Blade In’: Xi Shakes Up China’s Law-and-Order Forces NYT

Quasi-Legal In China: Not the Place you Want to Be China Law Blog

After dining ban due to Covid-19, takeaway waste clogs Hong Kong’s pavements, parks and waterways Straits Times

Tiles to restore corals, designed and 3D printed in Hong Kong, may be key to saving the world’s threatened reefs South China Morning Post

A Rush is On to Mine the Seabed, But the Effects are Unknown The Maritime Executive

The Koreas

Fight With South Korea Outbreak Church Fuels Rebound for Moon Bloomberg

Endless first wave: how Indonesia failed to control coronavirus Lebanon


Ofqual exam results algorithm was unlawful, says Labour Guardian

Labour, the ‘red wall’, and the vicissitudes of Britain’s voting system OpenDemocracy

Tempers Flare Over German Mask Requirement Der Spiegel


Pessimism Returns to Brexit Talks as Hopes for Deal Slip Away Bloomberg

Will There Ever be Elections Again in Bolivia? Counterpunch

New Cold War

The Factory Joins the Square: Putin’s Nightmare Unfolds in Belarus The Nation

There’s Enough Blame to Go Around in Belarus Consortium News

COMMENT: Why Belarus is exceptional Intellinews. In humor, at least:

How Ukraine’s audacious secret service successfully scammed Putin and his mercenaries Business Insider


Matt Taibbi on the Origins of the Russiagate Hoax (inteview) Fascinating.

David C. Speedie and Krishen Mehta: Russiagate and the New “Conspiracism” American Commitee for East-West Accord

Trump Transition

PICTURED: Steve Bannon relaxing on fugitive Chinese billionaire’s 150-foot superyacht Lady May hours before his arrest for ‘ripping off hundreds of thousands of donors in We Build the Wall fundraiser scam’ Daily Mail

Democrat National Convention

Fact Check: Biden’s Address To The DNC, Annotated NPR. Biden et al. take the stage:

Joe Biden’s Most Unifying Message: Human Decency HuffPo. Not part of the message:

Nina Turner on Harris as VP: ‘Salute the history’ but ‘Wall Street has the ticket they want’ The Hill

Biden Has Nothing to Fear But Fear of Deficits Itself Eric Levitz, New York Magazine (Re Silc). Why are we even having this discussion.

Hunter Biden slated to speak at final night of DNC Axios


Anyone but Trump? Weighing Three Approaches for Social Justice Advocates in 2020 34 Justice. From April, still germane.

Kansas Democrat, 19, Who Admitted to Revenge Porn, Ekes Out Primary Win NYT. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton is a respected party elder.


Postmaster general eyes aggressive changes at Postal Service after election WaPo. Word doesn’t seem to have reached the troops:

Man says he bought New Hampshire postal sorting machine in auction, but wasn’t allowed to take it WCVB (PS).

USPS Policy: JP Morgan Chase in Talks with USPS to Provide Banking Services in U,S, Post Offices Capitol Forum

Health Care

Choice, Competition, And Flexibility, Part II: Market-Driven Alternatives To Single Payer Health Affairs (part one). The view from Johns Hopkins and the Heritage Foundation.

Police State Watch

Chicago protests, looting may be contributing to police retiring at rapid rate, officers say ABC7

From America to Zimbabwe, the world is taking to the streets FT

Plague and Protest Go Hand in Hand JSTOR Daily

Imperial Collapse Watch

AI wins flawless victory against human F-16 fighter pilot in DARPA dogfight Task and Purpose

A new kind of plastic that is able to maintain its original qualities when recycled (RM),

The Universe Has Made Almost All the Stars It Will Ever Make Nautilus

Nonconforming Harpers

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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. Doc Maarten's Soul

    For info, Australia’s caribou only fly a few hundred kilometers a year. And wildebeest can’t fly at all.

    1. CuriosityConcern

      We can put all those idle planes to work ferrying flightless wildebeest and caribou.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      It’s an outrage! that they’re charging now for the first two carry-on wildebeest. I suppose I’ll have to get my doctor certify them as emotional support wildebeest.

    3. rd

      Thousands of kilometers….that is a bit further than major leaguers’ bats flew when they broke hitting Mariano Rivera’s fastball.

    4. WobblyTelomeres

      I saw a mountain goat fly once. Several hundred feet if I recall correctly. But it was just the one time.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Labour, the ‘red wall’, and the vicissitudes of Britain’s voting system OpenDemocracy

    I don’t really know how anyone can read analyses like this and still defend the ‘first past the post’ electoral system, as many Labour supporters I know do. It quite literally makes choosing a government a throw of the dice, with so much dependent on the demographic vagaries of constituencies.

    Because the article is Labour oriented, what it doesn’t point out is that the UK system is very much rigged against parties such as the LibDems and the Greens (and, arguably, UKIP), which consistently get seat numbers well below their actual national support, while giving many additional seats to localist regional parties (SNP, PC, SF, DUP, UUP) out of all proportion to their real national support. It’s all about voter concentration, not absolute levels of support. This, of course, is accelerating the process of the UK breaking up.

    1. jackiebass

      In the US we call it Gerrymandering. In our presidential election it is the Electoral College that give the win to a candidate with fewer votes. It has happened several times.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Yes there’s gerrymandering in the UK too but PK’s point is different and even if we had “better” defined electoral constituencies FPTP would still do what PK is saying: namely penalise parties whose support is evenly spread across the country whilst rewarding regional ones.

        The most infamous case of the winning party getting fewer votes here in UK was the 1951 election (though it’s happened several times). If you take into account turnout (% of all eligible voters who actually did vote) then Labour achieved the most spectacular result (in terms of % of all voters) of any party in the 1945-1997 (inclusive) era. Wikipedia has slightly adjusted the turnout for that election since I did the calculations but the new figure doesn’t change the qualitative result. This was the ONLY general election in that era in which a party (whether “winning” or “losing”) got 40+% of ALL eligible voters to turn out and support it. Simply amazing. But Labour piled up the additional votes in the “wrong” constituencies relative to Churchill and so the Conservatives squeaked back into power.

        If Labour had won that election, British history might have been very different since Britain was in far less dire straits during the 1950s relative to the immediate post-war government. PK is correct that reform is needed.

      2. JBird4049

        Gerrymandering only applies to the “artful” creations of individual districts within states, counties, and cities. States cannot be gerrymandered. At least I don’t recall seeing individual districts within a state being allotted electoral votes as opposed to the whole state by that state. I guess that a state could do so.

        The Electoral College only affects the Presidental election as it is supposed to determine the States’ individual decisions on who gets what shares of their electoral votes. It is not up to Congress to decide what method to use. It could be apportion by the percentage or winner take all. For example, state x has ten electoral votes with Trump getting 40% and Biden getting of the general votes. The state can chose to give Trump four and Biden six or give all to ten to Biden. Most states have chosen the latter. To change it would require a constitutional amendment and a weakening of the individual states’, not provinces, independence.

        However, gerrymandering is very much something that strips voters of power and which there have been political fights since forever. The individual states and municipalities as well as Congress could all solve that problem in their area. However, both parties are fine with the system, regardless of what they say, so it doesn’t change enough. The courts have said that the districts are supposed to be “compact and continuous,” but a political or legal definition does not appear to match what most people would think it means.

      1. shtove

        From Charles Wood, a Whig MP in that parliament – what you’d call a partisan junkie:

        the reform is an efficient, substantial, anti-democratic, pro-property measure, but it sweeps away rotten boroughs and of course disgusts their proprietors. The main hope therefore of carrying it, is by the voice of the country, thus operating by deciding all wavering votes … The radicals, for which heaven be praised, support us …

        I think of FPTP as requiring formation of coalitions prior to the ballot, rather than after.

    2. David

      It’s interesting, and unsurprising, but unfortunately it’s not new. Historically, the biggest victims of this state of affairs have been the Liberals, who, for as long as I can remember, have been about to break through as a real third party, but whose support is too diffuse to actually get more than a handful of seats. Back in the 1970s and 80s, dear old Robert Mckenzie would pop up at every BBC Election Special with his Swingometer, a wooden contraption that showed that if the Liberals (later the Liberal Democrats) could just manage a few percentage points more, they would start to harvest large numbers of seats. But they never did.

      The other thing I found interesting I the analysis was the haemorrhage of Lib Dem votes to the Tories. Effectively, it’s this that has decided virtually every election since 1945 (I’m not sure offhand whether it was a factor in the 1951 election where Labour’s vote went up, but it lost power.) In the end, a political system that awards power to one of two big parties on the basis of how many votes the third, smaller, party gets, can’t be taken seriously.

      1. Terry Flynn

        The Liberals’ additional effect in benefiting the Tories over the 1950 election was probably marginal. It was the 1950 election, with the collapse of the 4th party (the Liberal National Party) that is arguably where the Conservatives were helped most. Most of the “shift to the Conservatives” happened in that election – Attlee felt bad about having to wheel in for votes some very old, sick MPs to govern (and who would probably have died within 4 years anyway) with his tiny majority.

        This is why Attlee felt he had to go back to the country in 1951. Churchill was wily and had been exploiting every problem Labour had encountered. He almost got there in 1950, when Britain effectively became a 3-party state from a 4-party one. Then “one more heave” got him over the line in 1951, arguably the closest we ever came to a genuinely 2-party country. I can’t remember if the Oxbridge Uni seats had been abolished by then (they existed in the 1945 election) but any of the anomalies of the constituencies remaining at that point were exploited by the Tories.

  3. CuriosityConcern

    California wildfires: we have a lot of idle hands and wildfires going unopposed, I wonder if there is a way to muster unemployed people(willing) to be trained to be volunteer firefighters?

      1. Brindle

        The Western U.S. forests have a huge need for thinning and fire-scapeing. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people could be employed doing this hard but necessary work. Unlikely to happen under a Biden or Trump administration.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and take a page from me…sell it as Exercise!
          Because such work most certainly is.
          I’ve had numerous coaches on-side, telling the boys the benefits of farm work, hewing wood, etc.

          there shouldn’t be unemployment in this country, there’s too much to do.

          1. jackiebass

            The quality of the jobs is the issue. Low paid part time jobs don’t pay the bills. We have millions of these that are not taken because of the pay.A few young adults would want the exercise but the vast majority have no interest in exercising. Just look at the physical appearance of young adults and you have to conclude most are allergic to exercise.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Not always their fault. At one time a military surgeon would assume that a recruit from California was fit, sight unseen. But then California dropped their high school fitness programs and fairly soon, recruits from California were no different than any other State. And let us not forget the crap that poses for food introduced over the past few decades. So not always the kid’s fault here.

        2. Billy

          Controlled burns in the winter are the solution. The American Indians knew about them as a way to keep healthy landscapes and to make hunting easier.

          The Bay Area Air Quality District, a tax sucking, executive salary and pension burden on citizens, prohibits controlled burns as ‘polluting’. Thanks a lot for the clean air. Meanwhile, every poor person has to smog their car every two years and the refineries are allowed massive burn offs in exchange for some fines to pay the salaries and pensions of the BAAQD officials.

        3. Oh

          There are 435 do nothings in DC who get paid big $$$$ to sit on their a$$es. Send them over to start digging fire breaks.

        4. orlbucfan

          Nope, that’s too forward thinking for the 2 wrinkled yahoos running for POTUS. Besides, what would the moneybag cartels who give them their orders think?

        5. periol

          “Western U.S. forests have a huge need for thinning and fire-scapeing.”

          The article posted further down by J.A. La Pietra claims otherwise, or at least that we need to be cautious when approaching our new normal of crazy fires…

          “For instance, the lands which the Camp Fire charred burned through private Sierra Pacific lands where there had been extensive clearcuts and post-fire logging. On US Forest Service lands, there had been additional logging and some “hazardous fuel reductions” meaning tree thinning. Finally, in the last ten years, there had been two other significant wildfires that also “reduced” fuels. To see a map of past logging in relation to the community go here. For photos of past logging go here.

          From the evidence, it appears that these “fuel reductions” rather than slowing the blaze, may have contributed to more rapid movement. How can that be?

          The answer has to do with what burns in a forest fire. It is not large trees or even snags from past blazes that are consumed, but the “flashy” fuels like grass, shrubs, tree needles and the like. The previous fuel reductions had increased the abundance of fine fuels and opened the forest to greater wind penetration and drying.”

      2. Glen

        Obviously the old CCC should be the role model for anything like this. So here goes:

        1) Good jobs with benefits heath, pension (use old CSRS as model).
        2) Start with low skills, but TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN
        3) Make a mobile work force to hand the HARD LOW SKILL work required for assisting states with fires, storms, pandemics, etc.
        4) Skills training used to capture and re-train industrial skills required for recreation of our industrial base.

        The needs for a jobs program are so obvious, but I can elaborate a bit. We need a mobile work crew to provide the hard work required for these emergencies. We are going to need something like this to rebuild our industrial base – start by ensuring we have base to CV test everybody in the US and get results in a timely fashion.

        But honestly, I see it as much more likely that the states just start throwing people in prison and turning them into corporate owned slaves, hm, I mean fire fighters.

        1. Wukchumni

          Only young men from 17 to 28 were allowed to join the CCC and $25 out of their $30 monthly salary was sent home to their family.

          Using constant gold value, that $30 in 1936 would be the equivalent of about $1700 in salary per month presently. Do you think you could convince anybody to give $1500 of it to their family every month?

          1. sd

            There was still a CCC when I was in high school in the 1970s. They only hired at most 2-3 high schoolers during the summer months, typically to clear brush and on par with raking leaves but it was outdoors, pay was ok, and there weren’t a lot of options in rural New England back then.

            I’d put my name on the list and of course finally got called a good month after I’d already found something else.

          2. periol

            “Do you think you could convince anybody to give $1500 of it to their family every month?”

            A significant portion of the immigrant population, illegal or otherwise, does pretty much exactly this. Circumstances may change, but people are people no matter where they’re from. I think you’d have no problem finding plenty of kids who’d sign up for this. I did some time on a farm working for room and board. Cash home to the rents would have been a huge cherry on top.

            No matter what anyone says, the kids are alright.

    1. Wukchumni

      It’d be akin to asking for unemployed people willing to suit up and be a linebacker in the 2nd half of a Super Bowl game, despite no experience.

      We missed a couple of golden opportunities in the past years to set up prescribed burns throughout the state which could’ve been ignited a few days before massive storms pummeled the state around Thanksgiving, creating defensive zones that left little fuel for future conflagrations passing by, and allowing Mother Nature to extinguish them with copious amounts of water from on high.

      Unemployed veterans would’ve been perfect for this gig, as they’re one of the few fit (or recently fit) segments of our society and able to follow orders.

      Preparing the land for a prescribed burn is time consuming and requires much physical labor, but you’re doing it on your terms, not at the demanding whim of an out of control wildfire.

      We could’ve done so much in this regard, but we did bupkis.

      1. CuriosityConcern

        I think I get your point, but at this point, even though I’m still employed, I would willingly be conscripted into building a fire line(far, but not too far from the active fire) using only an axe and shovel. Anything is better than nothing?

        1. Wukchumni

          Ever wear a Nomex suit in the midst of 100 degree temps while fighting a fire?

          Bet you’d pass out from heat exhaustion…

          1. CuriosityConcern

            I haven’t and I think you are right about passing out. Which in turn would probably be a drag on the pros and their support systems.
            Being ornery, I just would like to see jobless offered the chance if it is at all possible to be done safely. And those, like myself(however remote), with something to lose should also pitch in if possible.
            Also thinking about post-conflagration reforestation, burying burned vegetation for carbon sequestration, and preparatory fuel mitigation.

            1. Wukchumni

              I would daresay that if we are to train the unemployed how to do something, field work in agriculture would be more important, as fires only happen once in awhile, whereas food is grown year round in California.

              1. witters

                “as fires only happen once in awhile”

                Right. And who needs preparation and ongoing management?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          in my (considerable) experience, goats will eat whatever you don’t want them to eat, and studiously avoid whatever you really would prefer they eat.
          and if there’s a hole in the fence, they’ll find it.
          It’s certainly worth a shot, and if i’m not mistaken, there are success stories out there.
          maybe make room in the budget for goatherds.(added to the Essential Worker list, perhaps)

          1. furies

            Having goats requires excellent fences.

            Ask me how I know…

            Goat cheese was such a popular and trendy item when I lived in Mendocino County; everyone’s b.o. smelled of billy goat.

          2. a different chris

            Anybody you know who is a bit short in humility, give them a goat. That will set them straight.

            They aren’t stupid, they are crazy strong, and they don’t really care what you want. But weirdly enough, like cats they do have some surprisingly cuddly moments, at least if you can stay calm with a head like a cement block, sometimes (ours did) adorned with eviscerating horns, in your lap.

            However if you want an area cleared to bare dirt, they are god’s gift.


          3. Phacops

            My only experience with goats have been as pack animals. Last used American-French Alpine wethers in the Escalante and they seemed a bit kinder on the environment than other pack animals like horses or mules. They were excellent for traveling off trail and made good companions, though they always wanted to be out front. Once, in camp I shook out the tent’s ground cloth which made snapping sounds and found myself surrounded by a herd of curious goats.

            You can learn more from The Pack Goat by John Mionczynski.

        2. JP

          Most of the fire prone areas of the California wilds are a cane break of dead and dry oak and pine with various scrub and poison oak growing up through the impassable mess. Not something a goat could digest. Maybe a chipper then mixed with enough dirt to seed biologic decomposition. The problem in CA is the natural fire cycle was disrupted allowing the accumulation of this dense fuel in the understory that causes catastrophic crown fires. The natural pattern is smaller fires from lightening strikes that create a mosaic of burned and unburned areas. The smaller cooler fires tend to clean up the understory without killing the old growth.

          1. periol

            “The problem in CA is the natural fire cycle was disrupted allowing the accumulation of this dense fuel in the understory that causes catastrophic crown fires.”

            I’m really beginning to question this take on the fires.

            The problem is that it’s crazy hot, very dry, and there are unusual weather patterns (11,000 lightning strikes in NoCal, many if not most dry). Climate change and runaway CO2 is the problem. Forest management has a role, but it’s not the main driver.

            Same thing in Colorado. I was reading about the Grizzly Creek fire, and they were talking about how the forest has been managed as the town has grown. And the truth is that forest management does play a role, one that is more important with our new flaming reality. But these are unprecedented fires, and they have more to do with drought and dryness and heat than the intricacies of forest management.

      2. Stephen C.

        Recently read an article, I think in the Sacramento Bee, detailing the complicated regulatory hurdles fire departments must go through to do a controlled burn. Even after getting all the necessary permits, a local authority can decide against it even hours before start-time, and kill years of patient planning.

      3. td

        Most of the fires running away in various jurisdictions are happening in ecosystems where fire is the evolved method for clearing spaces for new growth. It has always amazed me that people would seek to live on lovely hillsides populated with pine or eucalyptus because of the great views, not to mention various forms of fuel-dense brush.

        The only way to allow human habitation is to do the maintenance with prescribed burns and thinning, and that activity usually is resisted because it spoils the scenery.

        1. JP

          The primary threat is from the unmaintained understory and especially grasses that will easily ignite and transmit fire across open areas. If I was emperor I would tax people in rural areas inversely to how good of stewards they were of the land.

    2. jackiebass

      Good luck with your suggestion being successful. There are many reasons why this won’t work. Probably the biggest is getting people to volunteer. Volunteer fire departments are struggling to get new young volunteers. At one time volunteer fire departments had to reject candidate because they didn’t need them. Now they can’t get volunteers. I could fill the page with reasons but will spare you. Attitude and life style sum it up.

      1. CuriosityConcern

        I used the term volunteer but meant compensated “temp”. Wuk right above makes a good point about lack of training of such a group and the lack of long term prep, but I can’t help but think a large group of otherwise unemployed people can’t be mobilized to help in a safe manner.

      2. Phillip Allen

        If by “life style” you mean scrambling so hard to make ends meet there is no time for civic volunteering, then sure. In my overwhelmingly working class small town in CT, the barriers to serving on our volunteer fire department are more due to not having free time than having a bad attitude and a selfish lifestyle. It may be different in PMC-land where leisure is more a thing.

        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          X100 In my area, where there is a mid-sized city with a professional force, the city reduces their force and then because of mutual aid agreements, the volunteers are call in more. Word gets around pretty fast about that. I was sitting at a town meeting about another matter and on the agenda was the town contributing to the purchase of fire equipment (the volunteers raise most of the money to pay for that as well) and in walked 3 volunteer firefighters smelling of smoke. They explained they were late to the meeting because they came from their 3rd call of the day.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          In much of PMC land they do, they still have professional departments. Without reliable hours, you can’t commit. Having been an organizer and had a mother who ran fairly large, local volunteer operations, half the people who show up need constant monitoring. That’s for easy stuff. Volunteer firefighters (ugh, cops have tanks) need to be competent or they can be dangerous. This means training.

          The other side is building codes and materials. Fire simply aren’t the threat they were.

          Then firefighters are supposed to have desired personality traits. The desired trait is supposed to be the person who stops and assesses the situation as opposed to normal fight or flight reaction.

        3. jackiebass

          That is exactly what I meant by life style. In CA the largest group of unemployed people are prisoners. The Covid virus has shut that source of fire fighters down. Another issue with new recruits is training. I personally know the Chief of one of the volunteer fire departments in our county.In talking with him I was amazed by the amount of training a person must go through before they are admitted to the department. It’s over 100 hours. Once admitted they frequently have to do additional training. Since most of them have jobs the recruits lack the time for training. Fighting fires is dangerous. Using untrained people is asking for a disaster. We have one paid fire department in my county. Even though they are paid they have a hard time filling vacancies when someone leaves or retires.

      3. notberlin

        Somewhat unrelated, but also sort of related: Where I lived in Pennsylvania…. school, county, and borough taxes are *super high if you owned a home. [Not kidding: my little self-restored farm-house (currently a rental property), assessed at $85,000, is taxed at roughly $4000 a year. Michael Bloomberg’s 25 million dollar mansion in London is taxed exactly the same amount: There was a *well-funded volunteer fire department in this little borough (perhaps from their annual fund drive and other sources). Great facilities, latest equipment, etc. Most of the volunteers drove huge new four wheel drive pickups to the job, and almost all had Confederate flag license plate holders, several them having in addition a pair of “Truck Nutz” fastened under the rear bumper. Aside from the super high property taxes we all paid, and then being asked to donate money to the volunteer Confederate fire department…. Something about it all I just always found annoying and cynical. And in addition there was always this sort of “Support the Troops” demand to all of it. Of course not all of the volunteers fit this description – and I applaud genuine community based volunteerism – but the majority in this particular demographic seemed to.

    3. Carolinian

      It’s not a job for couch potatoes though. You have to be super fit. It’s also, needless to say, somewhat dangerous at times.

    4. Glen

      This fire season is baked/done. Nobody is doing anything for next year.

      Biden is already signaling “gov is broke”, Trump is proposing further tax cuts which destroy SS (and Dems seem to be ok with that.)

      We are quite literally the guy watching his house burn down, and when somebody asks “why don’t you do something?”, the answer will be “too expensive”.

        1. periol

          That was a good read, thanks for that. The description of Paradise reminds of the towns of Wrightwood and Idyllwild in the mountains outside of LA. I’ve heard people are having a very hard time getting fire insurance there.

          One thing the article said is definitely troubling for the future:

          “Long term, the ultimate cure is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ”

          That’s real long-term, since even if we cut emissions to zero right now we’d be looking at decades of rising CO2 levels and temps and methane and whatever else that’s already baked in the cake. Kunstler may be a crotchety old fart now, but he was right 15 years ago or so when he was talking about the “Long Emergency”. We’re in the middle of it, and it’s only getting worse from here. Buckle up.

    1. dk

      It’s worth repeating though because the infinite universe is still taught in philosophies and religions and invades cultures. Limitless imagination and unbounded potential! This degrades our dignity and humility. The argument is used to dismiss caution and responsibility for the longer term, and ultimately to degrade science itself.

      There is no other heaven or hell, only this world and what we make of it.

        1. Bruno

          Your “inner space” is the outer space for every single one of the billions of bacteria in your digestive tract, without which you could not stay alive. Likewise, our “outer space” is the inner space for what Beelzebub calls “our uni-being endlessness”

  4. zagonostra

    >Joe Biden’s acceptance speech

    “You can define American in one word, possibility.” Yes, that’s right, hope and the possibility of getting healthcare similar to other civilized nations, hoping that the restaurant that closed down reopens so you can pay rent. Reality was defined by Aristotle as containing two principles, potentia and the actual. For the Dems, it’s just potentia that they draw on.

    In philosophy, potentiality and actuality are a pair of closely connected principles which Aristotle used to analyze motion, causality, ethics, and physiology in his Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics and De Anima, which is about the human psyche – Wikipedia

    There was no substance but there was plenty there to analysis from a dramaturgical/philisophical viewpoint.

        1. tegnost

          I think you two just crafted an excellent bumper sticker…
          Vote Biden 2020 for
          Means tested access to Hope!

    1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

      I find Obama’s post-prez persona as “rock star” to be completely offensive and revolting. But watching him and Michele this week they clearly view themselves as something much worse than just rockers and socialites. They think they are *royalty*. How does royalty act? They sit in their palace and tell the plebes what they must do. Or else. Not because of any reason or benefit. Because they say so.

      Kill it with fire.

  5. jr

    Re: The Biden Kids Family Fun Hour

    “Reality check: Hunter’s role with Ukrainian energy company Burisma did raise conflict-of-interest concerns at the time. But there is no evidence that the former vice president committed “corruption” of any kind in the country while his son worked at Burisma, as Trump and his allies have claimed.”

    Reality check: doesn’t the very fact that a credential free bumbling dope in the shape of a school bus stalker like Hunter gets a job at an energy company in a small country well within the sphere of his fathers figurative and possibly literal tentacles count as corruption? Or am I naive? The crumb of a link that purports to explain the conflicts of interest informs us that the State Department said it’s ok so no problem.

    1. Wukchumni

      In related news, Attorney Generalisimo Beau is still dead and spent another day @ rest, as is his custom.

    2. jackiebass

      People would be socked if they knew the number of people that get jobs in government or at a private business because the have a politician as their relative. This is one thing you cold call bipartisan.

    3. Jessica

      To ordinary folks, yes this is corruption. To our elites, unless there is an explicit quid pro quo, it is not.
      This is one of many reasons why we are so poorly led.

    4. Carolinian

      But there’s no “proof”–because the news media aren’t interested in finding it. Defeating Trump/Hitler is the higher priority.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Had the feeling for a long time that Hunter Biden was the son that was the second string. It was the older brother Beau that was the favoured son and was supposed to succeed old Joe. Well Beau is no longer here and Hunter has difficulty in being the ‘replacement’. Read about a similar dynamic in the billionaire Packer family in Oz decades ago.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        So Hunter will start hawking Biden Beer or Hunter’s Highballs. It would be the first honest job held by anyone in the Biden family.

        1. ambrit

          The one thing we can expect to not happen after the Biden Interregnum is over will be for the Biden clan to do anything at all for humanity’s habitat.

    6. anon in so cal

      To say nothing of Joe Biden, Nuland, McCain having to first topple Ukraine’s democratically-elected president…..

      Biden also helped Hunter get a lucrative position on the Amtrak board

      “Joe Biden’s son Hunter was arrested on Jersey Shore drug charges in 1988 and had his record expunged at a time when his father was pushing for the incarceration of drug offenders drawn disproportionately from minority groups….

      A year after the arrest, Joe Biden gave a speech in which he said the federal government needed to “hold every drug user accountable” because, “If there were no drug users, there would be no appetite for drugs, there would be no market for them.” He neglected to mention the drug use in his own family.
      At the time, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware was one of the leading advocates of the federal government’s war on drugs. He abandoned his 1988 presidential run, in which he stressed his law-and-order credentials, after a plagiarism scandal. He crafted the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which imposed significantly harsher sentences for possession of crack cocaine versus powder, a law that critics argue increased the racial disparity in prisons. He also wrote bills leading to the appointment of a national drug czar and increasing mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes….
      Five months after his son escaped a sentence and had his possession charge kept secret, Biden voted for the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which made crack cocaine, often used by poor, black offenders, the only drug with a mandatory minimum penalty for a first offense of simple possession.

      But while many minorities were imprisoned for minor drug offenses, the wealthy, white Hunter Biden was allowed to participate in a state diversionary program called pretrial intervention. The program allowed first offenders to “avoid a trial and having the stigma accompanying a guilty verdict,” according to the Rubinstein Law Firm in New Jersey….

      Hunter Biden’s arrest is contained in disclosures he made as part of his nomination to the Amtrak Reform Board. “In June 1988, I was cited for possession of a controlled substance in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. There was a pretrial intervention, and the record was expunged,” Hunter Biden acknowledged during a 2006 hearing before the Senate Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation on his nomination. He did not identify the controlled substance….”

    7. Procopius

      Joe didn’t have to do anything. The mere presence of Hunter was a warning to adversaries of Burisma that they had powerful connections. That was what they were paying for. It’s conceivable, although I don’t believe it, that Joe really didn’t know why Hunter was being paid so much. And it worked.

  6. Wukchumni

    Large banners spotted on Hwy 99 yesterday:

    ‘Say No To Socialism! Devin Nunes for Congress 2020’

    Yes, that is the most pressing issue in his district which is a hotbed for Coronavirus patients in hospital, the care of which is being paid for by the Feds.

    He’s essentially saying, ‘Kill my constituency’.

    Bet he wins by 6 points.

    1. jackiebass

      I bet he wins. Most people don’t know what socialism is. They in their mind think it’s Communism. This illustrates the attitude of our me only society. Something that is good for me shouldn’t be available to others. If you want an education talk to present and former prison guards. For many their main goal when working is to game the system so their retirement is more than what the make working. I’ve gotten more education by periodically spending an hour in a local bar than all of the years spent in higher education. Listen to people talk and you learn what society really is. Some of it isn’t pretty.

      1. mpalomar

        “Most people don’t know what socialism is. They in their mind think it’s Communism”
        – Of course if they don’t know what socialism is they probably don’t know what communism is.
        “…our me only society. Something that is good for me shouldn’t be available to others.”
        – A communist might call such as these the lumpenproletariat.

    2. tegnost

      To be fair that was Bloombergs pitch as well, just prior to
      the “Night of Knives”…
      Of course it’s BS as we have socialism for rich people, means tested socialism you might say.
      If you have enough money, you’ll get more
      if you have no money, you get nothing, otherwise
      you wouldn’t go to work.

    3. rhodium

      These strawman beating ideologues call all compassion socialism. Then they wonder why young people want socialism. Well since they got to define it, that is what they get. Also, even the poor podunk ones think that their taxes will be obscene, but then they’ll scream all the good jobs left the country. This was definitely not the fault of wealthy businessmen trying to extract more profits out of the system, it must have been unions. Better yet, it’s those dratted foreigners willing to work for lower wages. This is what makes sense to a conservative populist, but they will not and maybe cannot get the education and experience to compete in highly skilled jobs. Ultimately they should pity themselves but their egos won’t allow it.

  7. timbers

    Steve Bannon:

    So the Clinton’s did all the standard dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s when they set up the Clinton Foundation, yet I still believe a fair and equal application of the law would have them behind bars just like Bannon. Maybe they could share adjacent cells and trade professional tips.

    Legally there may be technical differences between the actions of Bannon and the Clinton’s, but it is still mostly the same to me. Al least on a moral and ethical level.

    But then, I do tend to be tougher on Dems because I expect bad things from Repubs as if it were part of their DNA..

      1. timbers

        Thx. And there is Jimmy Dore on the speaking list, who’s great. Though listening too much of him makes me mad so I watch in moderate doses.

        1. Dalepues

          I would like to send links of Jimmy Dore to friends and family but his constant use of the f word makes that impossible. That’s a real shame because I believe they would be receptive to his message, but if they heard him effing every time he spoke, it would confirm their belief that the left is just a bunch of foul mouthed wackos to be ignored.

          1. montanamaven

            Tell them that the “f” word is also a symbol for “freedom”. The freedom to stick it to the powerful and the puritans. He is a stand up comic. That’s what stand up is intended to do. Bless George Carlin, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle, Jimmy Dore, Joe Rogan… Pitch the “freedom” idea.

            1. rowlf

              Freedom the freedoming freedomers? The freedoming freedomer’s freedomed?

              (Just trying to test it out in mechanic speak. I’m not sure the transition from blue air to red-white-and-blue air works.)

              1. ShamanicFallout

                Ha! That reminds me ‘Being John Malkovich’ when John ‘goes inside his own mind’- the only words he hears from everyone when they speak is ‘Malkovich, Malkovich’

          2. zagonostra

            I just sent a JD clip to sibling who lives in Italy. She said she couldn’t understand his humor. WTF is there not to get? But then again, maybe I just don’t understand, she lives in the fb world, so maybe those folks who live there have a completely different frame of reference when it comes to politics.

            1. BillC

              Don’t know what clip you sent, but when I watch JD (almost always via a link from here), I don’t perceive it as humor, but rather as trenchant and perceptive analysis. An American living in Italy, I find many of my attempts at dry or ironic humor fall flat here (partly because my Italian probably isn’t as good as yours, but not solely), so perhaps your cousin, too, just doesn’t perceive it as humor. Does she “get” JD’s social/political commentary?

              Also, though Italians (especially those younger than, say, 50) use a fair amount of scatological profanity quite casually, I think most of them would find JD’s use of expletives gratuitous and unfunny. I agree with Dalepues it’s a shame, but like a killer instinct not being part of Bernie’s schtick, I guess JD just doesn’t have it in him to present his analysis with a professorial tone. Thank goodness not everyone sounds like a PMCer!

          3. mpalomar

            I feel for Jimmy these days, I don’t think he understood how thoroughly corrupt the system was.

            He’s so disheartened, he and many others thought Bernie Sanders had a chance in 2020. Watching the demise of that candidacy and the utter contempt shown by the DNC for the left wing of the party has left him often sputtering in helpless rage as it has many others.

            It is quite inconceivable that in the midst of a pandemic the Dems couldn’t get behind universal health care and now the convention and the Kasich-Powell appearances and the Tom Perez sleight of hand on the oil industry subsidies, I fear Jimmy is understandably going to blow a gasket.

            1. Foy

              Yep I think you are right, Jimmy has had to deal with cognitive dissonance of his old views of Bernie Sanders with the truth that’s come to the surface, like losing one’s religion, the anger and dejectedness and loss of hope is still raw. Disheartened is the right word, you can see it all over his face still.

        2. montanamaven

          Tucker Carlson had Jimmy Dore on Wednesday night to comment on John Kerry’s warmongering and the warmongering video that was shown on Tuesday night. Good to see Jimmy and pacifism having a home somewhere. Jimmy mentioned the MIC and how there is only one party and it is the “war party”. Good on Tucker for pushing back against senseless wars that are not fought by the children of the elite.

        3. Pookah Harvey

          I like Dore but I wish he would embrace the concluding statement from the above article “Anyone but Trump? Weighing Three Approaches for Social Justice Advocates in 2020”:
          “Vigorous debate about how to weigh the pros and cons of each of the above strategies and when to engage which strategy is healthy; joining corporate Democrats in pillorying Sanders supporters who adopt different general election strategies is not.”
          The left has always been exceptionally efficient at eating itself.

      2. jackiebass

        I clicked on the link and looked at the web site. To me it looks a lot like they stole most of their ideas from Bernie Sanders.

        1. hunkerdown

          Braña worked for Sanders in 2016 as national political outreach coordinator, which is a nice way of saying “my salary depends on the inside strategy.” From two years ago; does it still reflect his thinking?

          He makes an interesting argument for it, in terms of using the Party to get trained in electoral politics, then leave for an improved payoff considered in a different scope. I’m not surprised that he took a well-tested off-the-shelf platform such as Sanders’ 2016 platform whole, which leverages the work he himself has done on that campaign. I commend him for thinking in terms of imposing costs on the Party establishment in particular, and paying due attention to logistics in general.

          However, his dedication to progressivism (a code word for never completing a goal) and his attachment to reforming the D establishment as if it were a public utility let alone a governance agency or something, isn’t incompatible with existing D sheepdog doctrine. Especially after complaining in 2016 that the establishment campaign managers can’t be trusted to render honest service, it’s questionable whether to advise sending new leftists as feedstock into the machine, where they can be turned expertly by practiced operators. “Now do Jamaal Bowman…”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Came across mention of Bannon’s name which was interesting in what he said. As he is an advisor to Trump still, it might explain why Trump has been going so hard on China the past year or two. This was related by David P. Goldman-

      “In May 2018 we both spoke at a conference in Budapest on the Future of Europe. I stopped by his palatial hotel suite, and he tried to convince me that a ban on selling US computer chips to China’s ZTE Corporation would lead to 50,000 unemployed engineers marching on Communist Party headquarters in Beijing. Somehow Bannon had gotten it into his head that China was ready to crack apart, and that all it would take is a sharp knock from the Trump Administration. I told him he was out of his mind.”

      So perhaps Trump believes that if he pushes enough, that China will collapse and then he and his buddies can go in to reap the rewards. It would explain a lot.

      1. allan

        This is very believable. Part of Bannon’s schtick is to portray himself as deep reader of history and strategy.
        Those who think he’s a joke just roll their eyes and disengage, but those he convinces are then targeted
        for funding his schemes (and lifestyle). I highly recommend the documentary The Brink, which gives
        a fly on the wall view of the way Bannon operates.

      2. km

        Keep in mind that Goldman, aka “Spengler” has a “complicated” relationship with China and a yen for conspiracy and plotting, so when he is skeptical, that means that the scheme is well and truly crackpot.

        EDIT: autocorrect is trying to annoy me and it is succeeding at doing so.

      3. km

        Also, is it just me or is the amount at issue in the Bannon fraud indictment a chickenfeed sum?

        I would have thought that a Macher like Bannon would only play for larger stakes.

    2. pasha

      any factual basis for those allegations? or are they just uninformed opinion?

      seriously, i’d like some actual facts

    1. John Beech

      Carla, you’ve shared a superb article, which I hope Lambert spreads more widely. As far as I’m concerned, this effectively answers the HCQ vice COVID-19. Thanks!

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        Sadly, the evidence is in that upon taken when symptoms appear, in combination with Azithromycin and zinc prevents greater harm. Hoping it doesn’t work is bizarre, because it is proving to be very helpful all over the world where it is not treated as some type of poison. There is no harm caused by it, as billions of doses have been taken for decades. If a patient has other comorbidities, then it may not help them enough, but it can’t hurt them.
        It is the CDC that doesn’t like it because they are sponsored by Pharma Inc. The takeaway is they can’t make money on it.
        As a former medical professional, I would want to take this first as it is the only thing that has shown to reduce the damage and even prevent further harm.
        No money can be made on non patent pending drugs, hence you won’t be able to get it in the US. Pharma has told you it doesn’t work, and doctors worldwide have told you it does. Try to consider which of these two entities would have a responsibility to protect your health.

        1. Foy

          Yep, I’m amazed that people still don’t understand that it’s HCQ + Zinc + antibiotic that does the trick. Why do we keep getting comments like John Beech’s? His comment is technically correct, HCQ doesn’t appear to work by itself, but it’s not the way HCQ is suggested to be used with COVID, it’s suggested to be used as part of a combination therapy.

        2. Cuibono

          please do share some good evidence to back these specious claims. Like a RCT for example?
          I for one would be delighted to know of them

      2. The Rev Kev

        I saw a chart recently which showed how hard a country was being hit to how much they used HCQ. Those countries which used it had a relatively easy time of the virus while those countries that were too advanced to use it are being absolutely hammered. And as Foy mentions, it works best in combination with zinc and azithromycin. What is so hard to understand about that? And yet study after study comes out that only considers HCQ by itself or is only given when patients are on a ventilator to “prove” that it does not work.

    2. Carolinian

      I used to love that show when I still listened to public radio. They are based in North Carolina.

      And they don’t claim the lupus study is definitive. Also my understanding is that the drug has been recommended as a way of lessening the disease symptoms rather than for outright prevention.

  8. Amfortas the hippie

    Dems haven’t a leg to stand on regarding election shenanigans:

    “State and national Democrats are waging a legal offensive to kick Green Party candidates off the ballot in some of Texas’ highest-profile races this fall — and they are seeing success.”

    at issue are filing fees that the Texas Lege invented last session, that are currently subject to legal challenges…the Greens have been forthcoming that they ain’t paying up until the court cases are settled.
    and there’s the usual assumption that Green Party votes actually belong to the Dems, and were somehow “siphoned” off…like a meth head stealing gas from grandma’s Lexus.

    1. rowlf

      Over the years I have run across comments from organizers from the Ross Perot campaigns on how the two major parties tried to restrict ballot access in several states, and that was back when the democracy BS VU meter needle only bounced a bit in the red zone, unlike now where the needle is wrapped around the high stop.

    2. nippersdad

      In Wisconsin as well, over an untimely address change.

      I thought this was good:

      “Hawkins rejected the idea that his candidacy in 2020 could pull votes away from Biden and help Trump win Wisconsin for a second time, saying Trump was running at a time when tens of thousands of people were dying from the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation’s economy was mired in a severe recession.

      “If the Democrats can’t beat that, it’s not the Green Party’s fault,” Hawkins said.”

      You tell ’em, Howie!

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. wandered through Mom’s, getting ready for a dump run.
        Mndnc is on as always.
        her: “biden and kamala are about bringing us all together”…(makes hand gesture, bringing hands together like 2 basket halves.)…and how remarkably diverse the dem convention was.
        me: brief thing about Kaufman’s “Empty Cupboard” and how Cindy McCain got more time to speak than AOC….and a Black CEO doesn’t trickle down, and if diversity means inviting Kasich and Hugh Hewitt into the party, i want no part of it…
        she got angry with me.
        I mentioned the Texdems suing to keep the Greens off the ballot…but there was nothing untoward,lol…since the Greens didn’t follow the rules.
        as i was leaving, i said, “mark my words, if biden wins, we’ll be in Caracas by next summer, and all Msdnc will be talking about is the new Catfood Commission.”
        we’re gonna hafta literally plumb the depths of collapse and despair before we can start talking sensibly about policy and the needs of non-rich folks.
        Biden and the cop are gonna save us all.

        1. montanamaven

          Colin Powell is a war criminal. He helped lies us into the Iraq War at the UN. Biden badgered people into voting for the Iraq War. “C’Mon Man”. Of course, we will invade Venezuela and get the White Helmets going again in Syria.
          But my liberal friends actually say that they like living in a bubble and they just want their nice comfy blankie.

  9. The Rev Kev

    ” ‘My God, we’ve got nobody’: Strained firefighters struggle to stop Bay Area wildfires”

    Would it be too crass to mention that without the Democrat-slash-Republican Convention going on at the moment, the Californian fires would be getting far more coverage than they have been? Come to think of it, this may be good for the Democrats. California is a Democrat State and if the main story was that they no longer had the manpower to fight them because their cheap prisoners were no longer available, it might serve to embarrass the Democrats.

    If Trump was half smart, he would be flying to California to offer federal aid to not only help them but to show Californians that Republicans care for California even if Democrats are too busy with their Convention. But Trump is not wired that way as he only believes in punishing Democrats so he went to Pennsylvania instead.

    1. Wukchumni

      The skies above hundreds of miles from the fires are an ugly beige, some might say taupe. The smoke is much thicker than in the midst of the 151,000 acre Rough Fire 5 years ago, only 30 miles away.

      Trump has nothing to gain by showing that he has any empathy for California, it would be perceived as a sign of weakness by his adoring fans.

    2. hunkerdown

      “The trouble with capitalism is that eventually you run out of everyone else’s free labor.” -Caitlin Johnstone

      Kamala Harris has an app for that.

  10. John Beech

    The Factory Joins the Square: Putin’s Nightmare Unfolds in Belarus, The Nation
    This is our future if socialist demands are met. Yet we have a different nightmare if unfettered capitalist continues to hold sway. Frankly, I find neither especially palatable, but don’t have answers. Sigh.

    1. farragut

      Reading this article, reminded me of another former superpower facing similar concerns: loss of trust in government & other institutions, rapacious and oligarchic leadership class, economic malaise due to–not neglect–but to actively and enthusiastically shipping manufacturing jobs overseas, stagnant or even steadily declining wages, fraying social fabric, etc.

      Due to my advancing age, I can’t quite seem to recall which former superpower it was.

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      And this, my friends, is why we can try and convince the Jacobite Successor – Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Herzog von Bayern – to take up the mantle of leadership.

      A benevolent Jacobite King. I mean, could it possibly be worse? :)

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you. As a descendant of clan Farquharson of Aberdeenshire, I support the return of the Stuarts. Let’s toast the king over the water and kick them back to Hannover.

        We have a virtual gathering soon. This will be addressed by the chief of the name and arms, 101 year old Alwyn Farquharson. He lives In Norfolk.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Goodness, thanks – really interesting info available online for Clan Farquharson!! — Fide et Fortitudine (“By Faith and Fortitude”)

          I have to admit, I am majority Finn/Swede, but my sainted Gramma came from a Scottish lineage, by way of Kansas, by way of West Virginia, and thence back to tidewater Virginia…and finally…ancestors arrived there (so says the lore) ahead of death sentences after the Battle of Culloden.

          It may be something I personally do not really know a lot about…but the germ of the history remains ingrained in us after centuries of ‘passing it down’ from the elders. :)

    3. diptherio

      Huh? You mean “socialist demands” like what? Medicare for All? Taxing the rich? What are you talking about?

      1. Billy

        “The trouble with market driven medicine is that eventually you run out of solvent sick people to parasitize.”

        1. rd

          The US health care industry figured out the solution to that. They parasitize the employers that are anti-socialist corporations. Since socialized medicine would be executed by the same people that would increase their taxes, it is clearly a no on both fronts.

          So the primary socialized medicine in the US is Medicare (unemployed elderly) and VA (prior conditions the companies don’t want to have on their tab).

  11. hemeantwell

    Re the convention, a neighbor’s shock that we weren’t willing to submit ourselves to its seductive orations brought this bit from Richard Grunberger’s A Social History of the Third Reich to mind:

    “Orchestration [of meeting behavior] was indeed the operative term. The stage managers of the Nazi Party had their own decibel scale for the volume of applause to be achieved on ritual occasions: when the U-boat hero Gunther Prien and his crew were feted, the Berlin political Party leadership was ordered to produce ‘NS-Jubel dritter Stufe’ (peak volume National Socialist jubilation).”

    So next door is in DP-Jubel dritter Stufe mode.

  12. zagonostra

    “This is our future if socialist demands are met.”

    What might those be, M4A, a MinWage that can support a life, education that won’t put you in bankruptcy, public investment in renewals and environmental restoration, public works a-la FDR? Is that what you mean?

    1. nippersdad

      Hope for actual change is so six months ago, and ongoing grief amongst the little people is best expressed in private. I got the memo from the DNC in my inbox last week, along with the opportunity to send them a dollar to get my picture put into the Biden campaign literature; one of those pictures of Beau Biden made up of millions of faces you cannot quite see. No bumper sticker, I’m afraid. I’m hoping to be in the left nostril.

      Let not the mediocrity of the American middle class lifestyle be breached!

      President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

      Updated and translated into a potential Bidenese stump speech: “My son Beau used to always say, just moments before he died so tragically of a brain cancer caused by his Mother and brothers death at the hands of that trucker whose life I ruined…………, that saving up for the gas to put in your Uber lawn mower builds character, and one always needs to have someone to look down upon for having to save up for a Uber mower to put gas into.

      I used to take Beau to the mean streets of Scranton, where I grew up with people like Corn-pop over there (waves), a lot when he was a kid. It was there that he imbibed much of his preternatural insights into American life directly from the hard working middle-American public teat. He truly was a wise and gentle soul who was taken from us by Lord far too early for us to fully benefit from his superior working knowledge of the Indonesian trucking industry.

      Thank you, you fat lying faced pony soldiers, for your full appreciation of my empathy with your plights in life. You can drop your campaign donations in the, you know, the thing, by the door as you leave. Beau’s Mom would have loved you all for your incredible generosity (sob), had she only lived…long….enough…to….” Jill, warmly embracing him, then leads him off stage to fully engage with his eternal grief by stoking the hair of the backstage janitor’s uncomfortable daughter…….

      Wait for it, he is the new LBJ! More of the same with just a smidge less overt racism, because Kamala might bludgeon him with her pet nightstick.

      I’m chuffed!

  13. John Beech

    Matt Taibbi on the Origins of the Russiagate Hoax – big nothingburgur because the media won’t report it. Wouldn’t matter regardless because the fix is in for Biden. After all, orange man bad!

    1. Carolinian

      In Russiagate they constructed a conspiracy so obscure and boring that who would want to read about it? It was only useful insofar as they could get the legal system to cooperate and the TV pundits to talk about it. Now we’re on Post Office gate.

      I like Taibbi but have trouble following him into the weeds on this one. The accusation was always ridiculous on its face. If Trump is some sort of spy or Manchurian Candidate it would be of the Maxwell Smart shoe phone variety.,

      1. km

        Good point. Anyone with half the intelligence that is routinely ascribed to V.V. Putin would make sure to choose a patsy with the following minimum characteristics:
        1. one that actually is capable of being blackmailed.
        2. one that actually is capable of shutting up.

      2. Bruno

        Lambert want’s us to discuss the failure of the Sanders campaign. No neeed to. It was politically dead from long befotre it began, dead from the moment he swallowed the Russia-Russia-Russia swindle hook-line-and-sinker.

      3. mpalomar

        “The accusation was always ridiculous on its face.”
        – Precisely, much like the case for the Iraqi war, that is the imminent threat Iraq posed to the US. Never made a whit of sense.

    2. jef

      Haven’t read Matt’s piece yet but anyone paying attention at the time saw what was happening. The US has been encircling Russia for ever, ramping it up over the last few POTUS’s. Toward the end of Obama it was really getting ridiculous and Trump said on several occasions that Russia didn’t need to worry because when he becomes Prez he will work to end that behavior and normalise ties with them. This goes against everything that TPTB/deep state have been working for for the last 4 or 5 POTUS’s so they put an end to it. Now Trump follows the script we all can get back to Russia bashing.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I read a quite sarcastic column by a Russian journalist, where she said Russia seems to be already interfering in the US presidential election whether Russia wants to or not.
        So much energy is wasted on thinking and arguing which candidate one is worse for Russia. It’s like the any policy in USA is examined if it benefits Russia or not.

        Because there can be no mutual interests or gains for USA and Russia. What’s good for Russia must be bad for USA. QED.

    3. flora

      It made me chuckle at the aburdities of our supposedly Intellegence agencies.

      This bit
      ” Horton:…The recent revelations just in the last few weeks about declassified testimony from the House and Senate hearings on this stuff, where we found out finally who Christopher Steele’s sources were after being told they were high-level Russian government employees and people who work for powerful oligarchs and all this stuff this whole time. It turns out that what now? Where did he get this stuff?

      Taibbi: From a Washington-based analysts from the Brookings Institution named Igor Danchenko, who didn’t live in-country. He did travel to Russia for the story, but in an affidavit the FBI released where they interview him, he says he didn’t have any contact with any senior intelligence or any intelligence officials, …”

      Igor Danchecko as a ‘source’and as a useful idiot in Russiagate reminds me of Ahmad Chalabi’s roll as a useful idiot in an earlier intel agencies fiasco.

  14. Judith

    Lambert, You might like this article in LRB.

    “Here are some snapshots of Italy. Long ago, when you were still almost young enough to have a use for one, I promised you a proper picture book. Sorry I didn’t cough up; take these as a kind of apology.

    You would take different pictures and see different things in them. These notes are about what I looked at and noticed. Looking and noticing are not, of course, the only reasons for making pictures. There are all sorts of makers and lookers – that is clear in the number of words we have for kinds of picture: icon, view, diagram, altarpiece, portrait, conversation piece, still life, perspective and so on and so on.

    If a botanist or architect had taken the pictures she might have been noticing kinds of plant and kinds of building. I was more interested in the way the world offers itself up as a series of ready-made pictures. It does this because whatever I, or anyone else, sees is shaped by pictures which I have already seen. All makers of images borrow from each other.”

  15. The Rev Kev

    “A Ship Off Course Sows Misery and Mystery in Mauritius”

    I thought that Bloomberg was laying it on a bit thick on behalf of the ship owners. Where they say ‘Just as in the 16th century, shipping routes nowadays tend to stick close to land. Satellite navigation may make it easier to pinpoint ships in distress, but if a stricken vessel is thousands of miles from shore, specialized help in an emergency can take days to arrive.’ I think that they may be trying to polish the turd a little too much. A ship may want to be near land but never on land. Captain Francesco Schettino, late of the “Costa Concordia”, will confirm this point for me. Ships should always be aware of where land is-

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Rev.

      Funnily enough, the Italian line visits Mauritius regularly and recruits crew from the island. Mauritian crew are trapped overseas.

      If you remember Port-Louis, the terminal is mile down the road from the square where Parliament is located.

    1. allan

      Thanks for the links. I really hope that the House Oversight Committee gives Porter extra time
      so that she can nail DeJoy. Or just gives all of the time to a staff lawyer instead of letting
      the members each preen for 5 minutes.
      The level of preparation for this morning’s Senate hearing seemed minimal.

  16. allan

    Now the VP nominee, Harris won’t interrogate DeJoy at hearing [CNN]

    Fresh off the Democratic National Convention, vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is back to her day job as a US senator for a high-profile showdown with the embattled head of the US Postal Service over changes that could impact the 2020 vote.

    But Harris, who attracted national attention as a fierce participant in Senate proceedings, doesn’t plan to ask questions during Friday’s virtual hearing.

    The former California prosecutor will instead submit a “lengthy list of questions” in writing to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, an aide told CNN.

    Harris’ decision not to verbally participate in the hearing appears to be a sign of her new role as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, a position often seen as one where it’s most important to “do no harm” to the top of the ticket. It also could be an indicator of how the Biden camp plans to deploy Harris in the homestretch of a campaign where Biden’s team has worked to make a referendum on President Donald Trump. …

    “You want to have people continue to see her in the environment that they’re used to. But they also want her to be seen not just as the senator of California and instead the vice president of the United States,” a source familiar with Harris told CNN. …

    The aide says post-DNC convention, Harris will appear before a “variety of important audiences,” including battleground states, suburban women and other key constituencies for the party. …

    [ sound of head banging repeatedly on table ]

      1. a different chris

        The one thing where she’s worth a s(family blog)t and they won’t let her do it. Why?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          They probably didn’t grasp the “hillary didn’t go to Wisconsin” critique isnt about HRC not going but campaign resources being spent on the MSNBC choir and running up the score in safe districts instead of winning.

          And they don’t want to address the Adam Schiff clown show mess when investigating what Trump does actually would matter.

          1. Pat

            Still making up your mind whether they are deliberately trying to lose or are just showing their general incompetence in situations they cannot “fix”?

            1. hunkerdown

              The social job of the PMC is, in its essence, convincing other people to expend resources to turn the PMC’s personal conceits into manifest reality. There’s always enough resources to make whole any casualty incurred by the loyal operator.

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              They do cross into both. Mussolini didn’t improve train service. He made it worse. He just threatened to shoot people who said otherwise. Once you abandon empathy, incompetence is the next phase.

        2. Pat

          Because they actually admire what he is doing, but right now need the Post Office. They want all this to start again in November. But people are surprisingly angry about this so they also can’t have her doing her thing but pulling her punches. So they make it about playing fair in the election and not using it.

          But that isn’t working either.

          That’s my theory.

    1. Billy

      Her fellow senior senator’s husband, Richard Blum, a war profiteer BTW, married to Diane Feinstein, has too many ghosts in his closet
      regarding dismantling the Post Office for profits.

      Funny how the “activists” who are doing good work to help save the post office never get around to mentioning this connection:

      “the husband of powerful Sen. Diane Feinstein, Richard Blum, is feeding at the Postal Service privatization trough. Blum is the chairman of C.B. Richard Ellis (CBRE) which has the exclusive contract to handle sales for the Post Office’s $85 billion of property.”

      Feinstein’s political fortunes rest not on representing the human rights values of her base in San Francisco, but on the considerable fortune of her husband, investment banker Richard Blum. This fortune, although technically separated from hers by various trusts, has been greatly enhanced by the war on terror. Blum’s war profiteering is anchored by his Blum Capital group, which owns major defense contractor URS. Blum also has ownership interest in a defunct cargo airline with defense department contracts, Astar Cargo, and a major construction firm with major contracts for the military as well as civilian reconstruction contracts with Iraq.

      URS’s position as a major defense contractor was secured by its purchase of EG&G from the Carlyle Group in 2002 and re-branding the company URS Federal Services. The Free Press has a list of all the DoD contracts that URS is party to as a prime or subcontractor.

  17. edmondo

    “Don’t lie to us. Nobody voted for him” they said. Classic dark Communist-time humor

    I have a feeling they will be saying the same thing here in capitalist America by January.

    1. rowlf

      An uncle of mine loved anekdoty and even wrote a book about them. While they make Dilbert look like a piker I often wonder how far the US is from enforcing thought and word crime.

      …and if you find my missing parrot, I want to let you know I don’t agree with his political views.

      1. ambrit

        America already has a ‘Ministry of Truth.’ It is difficult to see because it is hiding in plain sight as a Public Private enterprise.
        “We have always been at war with East Working Class.” Attributed to Jed Bartlet.

      2. maria gostrey

        is that book “hammer & tickle”? my son & i still laugh at the “i am karl radek” joke.

  18. Carolinian

    Re humidity and Covid–since the disease appears to mostly transmit indoors this would point the finger at air conditioning as well as low humidity indoor environments during the winter. After all the whole point of air conditioning is to make summer feel more like winter (the usual flu season). Nixon used to crank up the White House AC so he could have a fire in the summer.

    Don’t be like Nixon?

    1. Clive

      I’ve often mused — no real data to do much more than that — about whether regions which have very warm summer climates but also a propensity to employ pretty intense A/C may be distorting the perhaps inherently benign or even helpful environment for the reduction of viral transmission and viral dwell times which might otherwise result.

      Certainly the US regions with warm / hot summers (Florida, Texas, California, Arizona) are also those where, from what I’ve seen certainly, citizens seem determined to recreate the Arctic Circle in their homes, stores and offices in July. And of course, in terms of “good” i.e. warm weather, you can have too much of a good thing — no-one wants to spend time outside in the open air in 90F+ for any length of time, usually. The lure of the indoor environment, promising mild temperatures (and reduced humidity for areas which are plagued by it) tends to pull people back into the enclosed indoors.

      The same is true to a lesser degree of Spain and France in Europe (currently experiencing some of the biggest rises in infections) — although nothing like the US, where June, July and August are considered the “low” season in the sunbelt.

      Compared this with the UK, where comparatively few residential buildings have central (or multiroom, as would be more usual with the equipment here) A/C — the best you can hope for is a portable room A/C or a window-rattler, usually just in the master bedroom. During last week’s heatwave (95F or more for five or six days), everyone here for the most part just sat in their gardens or went to the parks. They went back home and indoors only reluctantly and to try to get some sleep (or a few fitful hours trying).

      The UK currently has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in Europe — and that’s with a government which is hopeless, incompetent and if there’s a right way to manage COVID-19, would find a way to do the diametric opposite of it. So there must be some environmental or external factor at work here.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for the reply although I should point out that Arizona is never any version of humid. You can put a pair of washed jeans on a chair in the backyard and they will be dry in thirty minutes.

        They do depend on AC though because even a dry heat is unendurable when it’s 112 F.

        1. Carolinian

          Just to add I know by anecdote that some Arizonans in the past got by with something called a Swamp Cooler which would hang from the ceiling and cool the air by blowing a fan across an evaporator of some type full of water. This only works in the desert as otherwise it would add too much humidity to the air. But if humidity is what you want then could be the ticket.

          1. ambrit

            Evaporative cooling is basic Green Tech. When the old family drove across America in the very early sixties, in the desert Southwest, we had the obligatory canvas bag of water slung in front of the automobile radiator to promote a non overheating engine while driving.
            Here in the NADS, high temperature and high humidity equals “fricasseeing weather.”

            1. Wukchumni

              Must have passed about a dozen circa 1900 homes in the Central Valley yesterday with 10×10 foot square sided ‘cooling towers’ about 30 foot tall and around 10 feet away from the home.

              The way they work is there is a tunnel from the low point of the tower that goes into the house supplying cool air, while the hot ascends to the top of the tower.

              Probably would get you 80 degree temps inside, instead of 105 outside.

                1. Laura in So Cal

                  Here in So Cal at the edge of the high desert, my house is at 78F. It still has been running even at night for the last week since we haven’t been opening the windows due to heat/smoke. Normally, in the summer, we open the windows at night to cool the house down and then close up in the morning. AC comes on at maybe 2:00pm to keep the house at the 78F. Also, I’ve lived in a house with a swamp cooler on the roof which was standard here before central AC. Cheap, although you had to keep an eye on your roof for leaks, and great for your skin and wood furniture when the normal humidity is 10%.

            2. rtah100

              Ambrit, what does NADS stand for? There are just too many possibilities! North American Desert Sands? Nevada Arizona Dust Strip?

              The only thing I can rule out is the British schoolboy slang for testicles (short for gonads).

              1. ambrit

                Sorry to be too obscure. It is a sidereal play on the English slang for testicles, but is essentially an acronym for ‘North American Deep South.’ This came into being several years ago when I had a ‘back and forth’ with RabidGhandi, who lives, if I remember correctly, in Uruguay. I used to say “Deep South,” which did not conceptually include South America. As such, that usage was extremely arrogant and thoughtless. The basic complaint was that using Deep South to describe the southeastern quadrant of the United States made the implied statement that there was nothing of worth below the US Mexico border. So, I modified the description to North American Deep South, which still is parochial and offensive, but at least throws in a factor of obscurantism to leaven the mix.
                Add the two memes, shake but do not stir, and we come up with a fairly precise locational description of a particular region that also doubles as a traducement of it’s character.
                For extra fun, it is where I live, and a low level self denigration is to be ascertained.

                1. td

                  Even NADS is too parochial in a different way. About half of the land area of North America is Canada and all of the US is our Deep South, in more ways than one. Also, a good chunk is Mexico and NADS is mostly to their north. To toss Canada into the term Norte Americano is silly at best when it really means US for all practical purposes.

          2. rowlf

            Air Force base housing I lived in as a kid in the Texas and California deserts had swampers for cooling. I think they worked ok but I am not completely sure due to my mom’s no-kids-in-the-house-during-daylight-hours policy. The units were about 5′ cubed and about three to five feet off the ground behind each house.

    2. a different chris

      It’s so weird:

      1) the A/C is cranked up the most (set to the lowest temperatures) in the hot parts of America
      2) the furnace is set highest in the cold parts of America

      In the temperate parts of America it’s just like you said, they make winter feel like summer and summer feel like winter and I don’t get it. It’s not comfort per se (although they get used to it and complain when it isn’t like that) but instead I think compensation for the subconscious realization that they are small and petty in front of Mother Nature.

      Coldest I’ve ever been was in a trailer in Bakersfield, California. Thank god since it was a work site I had jeans on, instead of shorts.

      1. Carolinian

        I’m not a big air conditioning fan myself and at home mostly use older tech–windows. I do have lots of trees.

        But I believe you almost have to have a car air conditioner in the South in the summer. On the highway you can roll down the windows (while hurting the gas mileage) but around town with the sun baking the inside of the car it is punishing.

        1. ambrit

          Plus, ‘modern’ cars are designed to be run using air conditioning. Example, there used to be small triangular windows at the front of the forward doors that could be positioned so as to force air inside to cool the passengers while at speed. I wish we still had those tiny windows. They worked reasonably well on the road. We used to quip; “Put the air on fifty.” That meant to open the wing windows and run the car as fast as you could get away with, say, fifty miles an hour.
          If energy does end up becoming much more expensive in the future, expect a return of passive cooling regimes, such as were the norm for the last few thousand years. Never forget that our “modern” technological civilization is only a few hundred years old. We’re still ironing out the kinks.

      2. rd

        I am used to seeing women huddled under blankets and parkas in offices in the summer time due to the building AC. I have even seen some turn on space heaters in August when it is 90 degrees outside.

        My understanding is that office building AC protocols were set when men still wore wool suits to the office, even in the summer and so the AC is often set to 68. I almost never see people in wool suits anymore, so it is clearly something the women should rise up and protest about.

    3. polecat

      This is one reason that we prefer winter heat from our woodstove – the entire house is not heated so thoroughly as to remove all humidity, as our electric force-air furnace would .. even with selected heat registers closed, the forced dry air still escapes. Plus we put atop the stove an old copper ladle filled will water for extra humidity.

  19. Amfortas the hippie

    another Texas link:

    “The hope is that if enough bars reopen, the TABC will be overwhelmed and unable to enforce the shutdown order, Polone said.

    Polone said he will be selling small ownership stakes of his business instead of tickets to his customers — since he says owners of the bars are still allowed to be inside.
    “We’re not selling cover charges,” he said.“We’re making everybody an owner.””

    Both of these tactics sound a lot like things i’ve seen in Lefty/Anarchist circles.
    attempting to overwhelm the “cops”…in this case TABC…is akin to various 4-20/ Marley Fests, where there’s so much open pot smoking that the cops sit still…and it even nudges up close to a general strike tactic.
    And selling shares, converting Customers into “Owners”, is right out of the organic ag movement, “Community Supported Agriculture”…and farmer’s facing nowhere to legally slaughter and butcher selling “shares” of the cow.
    Of course, the economic impact on the owners, musicians, wait staff, bouncers, and everyone in the supply line of these places are effected, too.
    But i think the tactics are interesting….like back in the day, when the John Birch Society was so obviously studying Alinsky.

    1. rd

      This is the type fo thing the PPP really should be used for. Most bars are clearly a Covid disaster waiting to happen. So keeping them closed as a public good makes a lot of sense. As a taxpayer, I have zero issue with that as a public policy and then some of my tax dollars going to the owners of those bars so they can pay the rent and get some reasonable percentage of their income for the duration. Staff should also be covered to the extent that there is no obvious alternate employment for them. I would expect to be paying enhanced unemployment benefits to many restaurant and bar staff for a long time.

      The goal would be for entities that were viable the month before the pandemic started would be in a position to restart quite quickly when the all clear siren wails. Landlords would have had rent paid and people would have been able to put food on their table. The federal government can also provide some funding to the local and state government as a stopgap for the lost sales tax revenue.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “AI wins flawless victory against human F-16 fighter pilot in DARPA dogfight”

    Interesting this. I’m not sure that pilots would feel comfortable turning their ships over to AIs and turning themselves into a passenger during a dogfight. And this is only the first days of human pilots fighting an AI so the equation may change as they work out new tactics to deal with them. There is certainly need to have an AI be a co-pilot to take off some of the load from a pilot aka a Star Wars droid unit in an X-wing but they do have vulnerabilities. They can be hacked. They may have undiscovered buggy code. And I keep on thinking of an episode of “Battlestar Galactica” where the enemy tuned off all of the pilot’s ships-

  21. cocomaan

    A local university is prohibiting n95 masks because of the danger of spray from the valve present on many of those masks, but allows weak or counterproductive masks like bandanas. Disinfecting protocols are still most of what they talk about.

    There’s been a wave of university presidents trashing students for daring to gather in groups, as well.

    It’s bizarre.

    1. jackiebass

      Syracuse and Penn State are two of them. If you have the slightest clue about most college students behavior you wold know on campus in person instruction is asking for a disaster. Un fortunately adults running the show are clueless.

      1. JWP

        A month max before students are sent home. I would argue the adults possess fully knowledge of what is and will happen with mass spread and it seeping into college towns. they just needed to collect the tuition money at any cost. Then from there leave it to everyone else to deal with the fallout once they get to campus and into classrooms. If someone could find proof of that, maybe some internal memos or something, similar to the shell and exxon climate docs, these administrators and presidents can be sent to jail.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “How Ukraine’s audacious secret service successfully scammed Putin and his mercenaries”

    I’m calling bs on Mitch Prothero’s account of what went down. More likely it was an op to put a schism between Russia and Belarus by the Ukrainian secret service. The Russian spooks worked all the details out within 24 hours of the arrests and now all those guys are back home in Russia. If you go through his Twitter account, you will see what he really wanted to say, namely-

    ‘Ukraine picked 32 Russian gunthugs they wanted to arrest for Dombass crimes including Malaysia Air shoot down. Got them all to send their CVs and confirm all their crimes in interviews they thought was for a job in Libya.’

    So if you went to the Donbass to defend fellow Russians against mass slaughter by neo-nasties, you were a criminal gunthug. And if you read the articles over at Task & Purpose, that will give you the gist of what he is all about-

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Prothero is putting positive spin on a failed operation. It was a fiasco, as usually happens with devious schemes with too many moving parts. Moon of Alabama covered this on 7 August.

      1. chuck roast

        So what? Prothero has now developed “The Official Narrative.” All western agit/prop organs take notice! The only hole that I can see in the story is that the Ukeies actually completed a successful spy/diplomatic operation. Worry not…the great unwashed will eat the dog food.

  23. Matthew Saroff

    That “Australia’s biggest bats fly thousands of kilometers a year—farther than wildebeest and caribou,” is not a surprise?

    Well, wildebeest and caribou are not known for their flying ability. ;)

  24. a different chris

    Quick crapification of America story (still in progress, actually)

    Ordered a smaller (one I could physically handle, aka not a refrigerator) item from Lowe’s. Free Delivery! Yea!

    Crapification 1: It wasn’t going to be in stock for 3 weeks. Fine. Three weeks has passed, and actually as promised it did come and they tried to deliver it yesterday.

    Crapification 2: The delivery guy was a third party contractor whose phone, whether it is a company or ugh likely his own, has a Florida area code. So I’m working away in my room, my phone rings regularly with weird numbers andI just ignore them. Including his.

    Later I notice two actual voice mails from this number, comically labeled Spam. The only good thing is that the iPhone now makes a horrid but useful-for-screening text translation and oops it manages to get enough of the wording right that I realize it was the delivery guy, not Spam at all. I would have never listened to the message.

    I call him back and he tells me he had to return it to the store.

    Crapification 3: So I call Lowes. Ok I tried to call Lowes. I select “delivery” from the usual nightmare menu, get somebody who isn’t delivery, they transfer me to Delivery. And nobody picks up the phone.

    I have done this three times. Never had anybody answer the Delivery phone. I called back the Florida area code guy at some point…. he can’t help me but suggests I go to Lowes myself.

    I have a 3/4 ton truck. Like I said, it isn’t a big appliance, I can chuck in in the truck myself. So if I go to freaking Lowes in said truck that defeats the whole purpose of having it delivered.

    White people problems, I know, but Jesus.

    Ok rant over, now going to call Lowes again.

    1. cocomaan

      Chris, there’s definitely crapification going on. Over the past week, I feel like I’m noticing a slowdown in everything. I know, this is all anecdote, but it’s like everyone has stopped believing in doing quality work. Projects that I’ve been working on for weeks are getting sidelined by weird clerical errors and avoidable mistakes. The mail isnt arriving. I have orders lost in space. People are claiming that emails aren’t being received. I find that I sent them but that they haven’t gone anywhere.

      What’s going on out there!?!

      1. Arthur Dent

        I tell my young staff that 40 years ago, we used to do engineering design and generate reports in the same time or less as today, depsite the fact that we did not have all of the rapid communications and labor-reducing technology. They don’t believe me.

        1. ambrit

          If you really want to freak the young’ns out, bring a slide rule to work and show them how some mathematical jobs were done before personal computers. I have lost track of my old K&E slide rule, but I remember them being taken away from us all before math tests. The teachers wanted to see us do the problems in our heads, or on paper with pencils, which would prove that we understood the processes.

    2. Laputan

      These are the stories I think about whenever I hear or read some establishment toadie extol the efficiency of corporations as opposed to government. The only difference between the two is that you can maybe complain loud enough to get some poor shlub at the bottom fired in the private sector.

    3. fresno dan

      a different chris
      August 21, 2020 at 11:32 am

      I completely empathize with you. Having people call before deliveries or arriving or to confirm appointments is the greatest scourge of the age (OK, maybe not, but its pretty darn annoying). I get calls that stop ringing before I can reach the phone (and I mean the phone is attached to ME!!!!). And the same darn people calling you have their phone set up so that you can’t immediately call them right back. Arrrggggghhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! Its like quick draw – I fee like I’m on the Ponderosa or something.

      The thing that annoys me most is just the big lie that stores go out of their way to satisfy customers. I don’t care if there are a million people in the check out line with a human clerk, they will not open up another human line, even if they have 2 dozen “assistants” to help people use those obnoxious scanners.

      AND this is just bizarre. After 30 or so years of faithful service, my faberware chef knife – the handle just broke off. Time to get a new knife. NO chef knives at Target, or at least none I wanted. Neither at Walmart. Each place had dozens of empty hooks with no knives. What is going on???

      1. periol

        “What is going on???”

        In answer to your specific issue, those knives at Target and Walmart are definitely made in China.

        As to the rest, it sure feels like senior spring in high school, or the last two weeks on the job when I’ve already given notice. Everyone is acting like this is the calm before the storm.

      2. a different chris

        Final story – drove there with my enormous-not-supposed-to-leave-the-driveway-without-a-horse-trailer truck.

        Stood in line for quite a while.

        They don’t have it, and the poor girl even went back to try to physically find it. They don’t know where it went. They had automatically rescheduled my delivery for Sept 21!!!.

        This thing was in my driveway yesterday and nobody knows what happened to it.

        I cancelled, of course. WTF.

        >even if they have 2 dozen “assistants” to help people use those obnoxious scanners.

        Preach. Thanks everybody, I needed the support and the laugh.

  25. chuck roast

    For years I have found Michael Pettis to be illuminating. That is to say that he has shined the light on areas of the Chinese political economy that I knew nothing about. Now we have a case of Pettis commenting on Chinese GDP, and he opines that, “…GDP growth cannot be used in the same way as a meaningful measure of output with respect to China.” He goes on to say, ”…GDP isn’t a perfect measure of value creation in China. It isn’t a perfect measure anywhere in the world.” He should have stopped there and gone and put air in his tires or brushed the hairs off his cat.

    Indeed, measuring GDP is a “perilous” process. Witness the USAians who add over $700B annually to the G function of the equation in the form of “defense spending”. How the production of a battle tank or a gas mask can constitute “value” has escaped me in the half-century since my first macro course. It’s a complete waste of productive capacity…but of course that’s the point.

    If the Chinese wish to build “ghost cities” or the Japanese add “bells & whistles” then that is what chose to do. Aggregate demand must be served and scarcity must be preserved. Including “large amounts of unproductive activity in the data” is what Economists do. It is their objective function in the greater scheme of things.

    I, an erstwhile failed economist, sit here tapping away on my lounge-a-rama while Michael Pettis and his colleagues politely argue over the number, color and sexual persuasion of the angels on the head of a pin.

    Do you really want to measure national “value” Michael? Do as they do in Bhutan and measure Gross National Happiness (GNH). Add up the Four Pillars: good governance, sustainable development, preservation and promotion of culture and environmental conservation. Oh, and expect to spend a lot of time on your lounge-a-rama because you won’t have a job.

  26. McWatt

    Re: Post Office. Just had a brief conversation with my mailman. He confirmed lots of multi-million dollar sorting machines being removed from local post offices. Some are having their parts ripped out and separated from the machines so they can not be put back together again. Others are being removed then ruined with bleach being poured over strategic parts so they can’t be used again.

    The people doing this are completely evil and need to be prosecuted.

    1. Wukchumni

      A letter I posted 2 Tuesdays ago to my mom 200 miles away has not yet arrived yet-the new normal.

      1. hunkerdown

        I just got a check today… intended for my PO box number in a post office exactly 10000 ZIP codes away. #newnormal

    2. hunkerdown

      Who’s pulling and destroying the machines? It sounds like these are people who need to be identified and have a really bad night at the bar. You know, rip out some parts and add bleach. Do unto others amirite?

      1. Michaelmas

        hunkerdown wrote: ‘It sounds like these are people who need to be identified and have a really bad night at the bar.’

        You won’t meet these people down the bar. These are Koch network people and this is their revolution. The post office was the first thing Charles Koch wanted to privatize when he started his project a half-century ago.

        The Trump administration is now comprised of these radicals from top to bottom, with the non-reassuring exceptions of Mnuchin and Chao. So, while their incompetent glove puppet boss watches Fox TV and tweets idiocies — and the MSM bleats about him — these folks who are nominally in the Trump administration but who actually work for and with the Koch network are very competently, consistently, and effectively doing their best to gut any effective Federal government regulations or response to anything.

        And that includes the coronavirus. If this means a quarter-million Americans die because of that, they’re fine with that. They’re radicals, on a mission to destroy the government and privatize everything.


  27. Laputan

    Everybody remember that warm, feel-good story about billionaire vulture capitalist, Robert Smith, paying off the student debt of the Morehouse graduating class? Well, it just so happens that the performative act of generosity might have been in effort to generate a little PR goodwill to influence prosecutors who were looking into him for tax fraud.

    Of course, those of us who were accused of being wet blankets at the time were aware that it was a completely symbolic gesture, amounting to another piece of cheesily sentimental propaganda pushed by the MSM. But even we couldn’t see something as cynical as this coming.

    1. Maritimer

      One Bill damaged, 2100 Bills (Forbes) to go. Bannon hobnobbing with rogue Chinese Bill on yacht. Most of these up to no good. 200 or so, sociopaths or psychopaths. Imagine even just tracking 2100 Bills, let alone investigating what Evil they are conjuring. See for example Jeff Epstein, MIT Media Lab (highly esteemed, respected, revered, etc.) eugenics, New Mexico.

      But, wait, someone in Aisle 3, not wearing a mask!

  28. howseth

    Report from Santa Cruz. Foul smelling air – ugly yellow skies – our bags are packed waiting for evacuation orders, been here in the County 18 years – fire season has gotten worse over the last 10 years. the last 5 years more so – it seems much worse all over California. Somethings changing.
    How can one keep – afford to keep – house in the beautiful woods any longer? (we are in an apartment complex at the edge of city limit) – just south of an evacuation zone.

    A thousand lightening strikes in the region Sunday! What the hell. Nature bombing.

    1. flora

      increasing and longer lasting droughts in California,

      combined with increasing draw downs of the ground water for ag and city water purposes, lowering the water table making surface soils drier to a depth of several feet and trees/shrubs and undergrowth drier and more water stressed,

      combined with heat waves

      is a terrible confluence of natural (drought) and man made (groundwater pumping) forces.

      1. Wukchumni


        I reckon that if our recent 5 year drought had gone a few more years, a good amount of the state would’ve emptied out…

        Now imagine a 243 year long drought from 832 to 1074, or a mere 178 year stanza of dry from 1122 to 1299?

  29. rd

    Investment advice from people who clearly don’t read novels.

    The chapter where the Bolshevik removes all of the wine labels from the bottles in the wine cellar in “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles clearly showed that investing in fine wine and other collectibles can be problematic if society is unstable. The fine wines from all over Europe were reduced to “white” and “red” to avoid elitism.

    The scene in Casablanca where jewelry is being appraised for sale by refugees is another example. In times of crisis, all correlations can go to 1.0.

    1. Wukchumni

      The stamp market isn’t exactly much of one in the USA, not very liquid and probably the average age of a collector is pushing 77.

      Virtually every mint-never used US stamp since say 1935 is worth just the face value, nobody cares.

      It’s not uncommon for stamps to sell for a small fraction of ‘catalog value’ for the older stuff, there’s just no interest.

    2. chuck roast

      I just started “A Gentleman…”. The perfect aesthete. What’s not to like? Keep your head down bro’.

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