Links 8/23/2020

Jerry Falwell Jr. and the Evangelical Redemption Story New York Review of Books

How to Raise an Environmentalist Yes!

Charles Darwin’s famous Galapagos Islands threatened by huge Chinese fishing fleet Mirror. Perhaps Ecuador should consider what Indonesia does. Seize the vessel, offload its crew, and sink the illegal fishing boat.

Is the Almighty Dollar Slipping? Project Syndicate. Nouriel Roubini.

Did they even hang bears? London Review of Books. Wha made the Vikings tick.

What to Stream: “Alexandria: Again and Forever,” a Masterpiece Hiding on Netflix New Yorker.  I spied this review as I was compiling today’s links and will watch the film after I upload my post for today. My brain is turning to mush during this lockdown; I need to get some more mental stimulus.

Hurricane Alley

Taken at the flood Times Literary Supplement. Hurricane Katrina, fifteen years on. I remember being riveted to the TV in an Istanbul hotel room, mesmerised by an awful disaster and ineffectual response that appears quaint a mere 15 years later.

Marco, Laura approach US packing double threat to Gulf Coast AccuWeather

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Donald Trump Should Pardon Edward Snowden American Conservative


“Helpless Means You Can’t Do Anything. There’s a Lot We Can Do.” Der Spiegel

Outdoor Dining Is a Hit, but Restaurants Face ‘Apocalyptic’ Times NYT

Trump Pressures the FDA, Claiming ‘Deep State’ Slowing Vaccine Bloomberg

Drug makers rebut Trump tweet that FDA ‘deep state’ is delaying Covid-19 vaccines and drugs Stat

The race to collect the pandemic’s history—as it unfolds Ars Technica

Miss Manners: Here’s the email I sent to explain why I hid from my guests Mercury News. I cop  to being an agony aunt addict. Well, not so much so as to seek them out, but enough so I rarely skip over their columns if I spot them during my reading of a dead tree paper.

Only Medicare For All Can Beat Covid Counterpunch

Coronavirus: Germany puts on crowded concerts to study risks BBC


What to Know About Covid-19 and Frozen Foods Gizmodo

COVID-19-associated hyperinflammation and escalation of patient care: a retrospective longitudinal cohort study Lancet

Class Warfare

Meatpacking Companies Dismissed Years of Warnings but Now Say Nobody Could Have Prepared for COVID-19 ProPublica

Monopolization as a Challenge for Both Parties American Compass. Matt Stoller.

Even With a Strong Crop This Year, U.S. Farmers Are Suffering WSJ

If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? Turns out it’s just chance. MIT Technology Review

Exclusive: Cyprus sold passports to criminals and fugitives Al Jazeera

California Burning

Northern California ‘drastically short’ of firefighters while an onslaught of blazes rages San Fran Chronicle

Hey, California: With wildfires, blackouts, bloody protests, pandemic, could 2020 get any worse? Mercury News

In just a week, wildfires burn 1 million acres in California AP


It may have nearly been forgotten – but Syria’s war is not over Independent. Robert Fisk.

US Sanctions Starve Syria Grayzone. Aaron Maté.

‘A choice between bread and masks’: Syrians face calamity as Trump’s new sanctions combine with surging coronavirus Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Media Show Little Interest in Israeli Bombing of Gaza FAIR.


Could Russia side with the US and India against China? SCMP

China planning high-speed rail freight network to help e-commerce sector SCMP


India’s Thar desert is turning green. That isn’t a good thing Scroll

The Coronavirus Lockdown Has Been a War on India’s Informal Labour The Wire

Cornering the Kiranas economic Times. I read this piece in a Sunday a.m. edition of the dead tree paper. Interesting for what it says about India’s kiranas, e.g, small Mom and Pop stores, resisting the blandishments of the technofix fairy, here tying to solve a non-existent problem. Worth either trying to see if there is w ay around the paywall – maybe registration? – or paying for the content. Although it’s trying to do so, Amazon has yet to bulldoze its way through the Indian small retail sector.

Fort Modi is impregnable despite China, Covid, job losses. Only one leader can defeat him The Print

The pandemic has thrown metro rail projects into disarray Economic Times


Carter Page: ‘I was a pawn in the Democrat crusade to bring down Trump’ New York Post. I’m of an age and sensibility that I reflexively distrust things that appear in the Post. And yes, I am well aware I should apply that skepticism to all that I read. Still, with the caveat that to link is not necessarily to endorse, I offer this up to the commentariat to chew over.

RAY McGOVERN: Catapulting Russian-Meddling Propaganda Consortium News

Trump Transition

Battered by Democrats, Trump fires back against ‘total anarchy, madness and chaos’ Reuters



Aaron Coleman, the 19-Year-Old Progressive Who Won His Kansas Primary, Speaks About His Troubled Past and Promising Present Intercept. Glenn Greenwald.

United States Postal Service

Mnuchin Paved Way for Postal Service Shake-Up NYT

House passes bill to reverse changes blamed for mail delays AP

Inside the Democratic Party’s plan to prevent vote-by-mail disaster Politico


Naufrage du Wakashio: de la drogue à bord ? L’ (Colonel Smithers).

Wakashio, quand tu nous tiens ! L’ (Colonel Smithers).

Antidote du Jour (via): The photo is a bit deceptive, given I expect readers will view it in the current California context. It’s an image of a controlled burn in Kazirango National Park (Assam, India) and one of the winners in this year’s Bird Photographer of the Year (BPOTY award).

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

And a bonus antidote (via):

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  1. zagonostra

    >Jerry Falwell Jr. and the Evangelical Redemption Story

    I have to take issue with the author’s comments on Trumps assertion that religion is under “seige.”

    Christianity is under tremendous siege, whether we want to talk about it or we don’t want to talk about it.”

    Christianity is, of course, under no such thing. At least, not in America, where it is the majority religion and is so freely practiced that it permeates even parts of the US—government offices, public schools, courtrooms—where it ought to be barred by the Constitution.

    It is under siege, it’s just more nuanced and diabolical than the author delves into in this article. There are quite a few Catholic folks, certainly not what I would call evangelical, though it has an evangelical tradition, who follow Taylor Marshall’s, author of “Infiltration”, on his Y-Tube video. And Bishop Barron has a huge audience. The recent letter by archbishop Vigano certainly caught many who take their religion seriously as a wake up call.

    My point is, if I have one, that the confluence of Capitalism and Christianity is more complicated than simply that presented by Max Weber. One author who looked a that dynamic was R.H. Tawney in his “Religion and the Rise of Capitalism” a work that made it clear that the role of relgion is uniquie in being one institution that can be a counterpoise to capitalism. If Capitalism can co-opt music, art, literature, science, and infect the culture with what is possible and real then yes, the Church and religion are under siege…we will see if it is up to the task of shoring up its crumbling walls…Hedges in his book the “Death of the Liberal Class” has concluded it’s not and he gives convincing evidence, such as that given in this article. I’m not so sure, it might be out for the count, but it has been down before…and I know some readers will wish it stays down.

  2. griffen

    Can you please include a warning got the Falwell link ? Perverse display of wealth, doubtless as a result of his tremendous smarts and can do spirit.

    Nearly spit out my coffee. Double standards for me, purity and divine standards for thee.

      1. Lee

        And yet , poor thing, she still suffers from low-grade depression. It’s a good thing she’s not a member of the precariat or she’d be really, really sad.

        1. edmondo

          She’s probably depressed because they spent $12 million on a house and they only got about 60 bucks worth of cheap furniture to put in it.

          1. Clive

            I’d get depressed if all I had to pick from was what US interior designers have to offer. They really are the domestic aesthetic version of what English cuisine was in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. A load of borrowed, badly executed stodgy bland knock-offs of international style and traditional homespun fare all repeatedly schlocked up in endless derivative reworkings.

            Then, artlessly overcooked.

            Michelle’s DNC speech took inspiration, so it seems, from her couch. Hideous and overstuffed.

            1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

              To me it looks like they’re trying too hard to choose THE BEST IN DESIGN and not at all concerned about living there. Plus they obviously don’t have any treasured family pieces – whether from their own families or from others. Alas, what they’ve chosen from the best of US interior designers is not all that good, as Clive observes. That house is just awful, and the furniture unspeakable.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Nouveau riche…its amazing they don’t get along better with Trump. Its not dissimilar to the white elephants in Rhode Island.

                Why did they even choose Martha’s Vineyard if this was the goal?

              2. The Rev Kev

                Good catch that. That was what was missing from those fotos. A personal touch in what was on display that spoke of the people that lived there.

              3. GettingTheBannedBack

                I don’t understand the fetish of “getting in” a “designer”.
                Don’t people know what colours they like, what furniture they like, what arrangement of household stuff says home to them?
                Are rich people so devoid of an inner core that they need someone to tell them how their home should look?

                1. Yves Smith

                  I have to tell you but decorators do add value. First, they have access to resources high end painters. The quality of the wall prep (plastering) makes a HUUGE amount of difference in how a paint jobs looks and how long it lasts. In my apt, even next to the steam heaters, where paint usually cracks in a year or two, my paint job looked great for 20 years.

                  Second, you can waste a lot of time and money and go through extra hassle if you go on your own. I had to stain and sand my living room floor 2x because the color I chose the first time didn’t work with the Art Deco furniture finishes of the furniture I bought and the color of the oriental rug I bought. The stain was too red and it fought with the other red undertones. The decorator also helped re-tuft and upholder the seats of the dining chairs. It wasn’t just the fabric choice, he changed the shape of the seat cushions to be more rounded and that made the chairs look better.

                  I could go on. If they are good, they make a huge difference. And I hate decorating, I hate shopping in general, so it’s worth it me to hire someone to get it done well. Choosing curtains? I’d rather have a root canal.


              1. Librarian Guy

                I don’t know a lot about home design, but after quick “tour” via the pics I was struck at the amount of blank WHITE whiteness. All the walls, and much of the furnishings, room after room after room.

                Not just ostentatious, a lot of aspirational white-displaying from the first “black” President and family, methinks.

              2. GettingTheBannedBack

                I don’t know why people want to live in a building that looks like a high class hotel. Sweeping, impersonal, hospital clean.
                I can have the same experience by staying in, say, a Hyatt, and for a lot less money. But after a while I’m always pleased to return home to a comfortable, lived in, family home with our clutter and our family mementos.
                Does the maid put a chocolate on their pillows each night and turn down the sheets? Are they trying to recapture the White House experience? Can’t they just move on?

              1. Darius

                Why do you defend the Obama’s? They don’t care about you, or people like you. Unless you happen to have succeeded in the meritocracy. Then you merit consideration. Or even ass kissing.

            2. Yves Smith

              My old decorator who just retired complained bitterly about what has happened to decorators, and it is driven by the clients:

              It is so crazy how the years have slipped by. I have been in business 30 years this summer. Inconceivable Everyone wants beige and grey mid-century modern. So boring and expected. The good old days of interior design are over. Thank you Restoration Hardware and the like.

              I was lucky enough to get him to do what was a very small project because he started out in the early 1990s when Wall Street was coming out of a terrible recession so picking were relatively thin. And one some things, like what to do with the walls in my bedroom and entryway, he had to show me a lot of ideas before we agreed on something. But it was a stylish space with a decided look. It helped that the living room had great proportions and a lovely herringbone wood floor. But he was very good on what to do with an awkwardly shaped but biggish entryway.

          2. Billy

            Edmondo, don’t forget she’s undoubtedly agonizing over immenent sea level rise about to swamp both their Martha’s Vineyard and Hawaii private beach-side investments.

          3. Oh

            The link provided a series of puff pieces on the snake oil salesman. His house in Martha’s VIneyard, the one in DC and his “courting” of Michelle. Too bad they didn’t have something about his dumping of his Asian Girlfriend and a photo of his ogling the Danish PM along with his buddy the British PM at the summit in Europe several years ago.

      2. polar donkey

        Did you see the picture of 95 year old Jimmy Carter working a nail gun for habitat for humanity. He sure isn’t an ex-president with $40 million worth of mansions in 5 different states. The Democratic Party is a moral septic tank.

          1. hunkerdown

            They take turns, two full terms at a time. (h/t Oregoncharles, miss you buddy! Hope you’re just busy with ballot access stuff.)

          2. CarlH

            The Republicans are out front about who they are, while the Dems pretend to be our friend while being just as rabid and mendacious. So yeah, I feel the Dems are worse.

            1. neo-realist

              On the basis of very proactive republican opposition to voting rights and civil rights enforcement for people of color as well as reproductive choice for women , I tend to believe the republicans are worse.

              1. Late Introvert

                Only just, but I agree. My analogy is do you divorce your Dem Rat husband for beating you? Or are you glad he’s not as bad as the Repug and so stay with him?

                And since it means beatings either way, I will stay single for now.

                1. John Anthony La Pietra

                  Okay, but please stay open to the possibility that a better partner is out there. . . .

        1. polecat

          $40 mil/5 diff – Perhaps not .. but he still has that Doctrine Monkey (with a streaking neoliberal skeleton attached) on his back!

          Screw ‘by virtue of My position, I earned My primo healthcare’ Carter!

          I don’t care how many nails he drives .. he’s still a hypocrite!

        2. RepubAnon

          Jimmy Carter is a Democrat. Are you saying that working a nail gun for Habitat for Humanity makes one a fit resident of a moral septic tank? I’m afraid I’m not following your logic.

          Now, if you want to populate a moral septic tank, perhaps consider Dick Cheney and George W Bush, both of whom endorsed torturing prisoners. Last I heard, they’re not Democrats.

          1. judy2shoes

            “Are you saying that working a nail gun for Habitat for Humanity makes one a fit resident of a moral septic tank? I’m afraid I’m not following your logic.”

            Nope. That’s not what polar donkey was saying.

          2. Darius

            Wait. I thought Bush was rehabilitated and welcome Now among liberal good thinkers everywhere. It’s bipartisan! And bipartisan is good. At least that’s what Obama and every other good thinker told us.

            1. GettingTheBannedBack

              Obama always wanted to lead the one true integrated political party of America. Absolute power. Agreement from both sides for his neoliberal agenda for his neoliberal donors. Emperor of all he could see with the power to drone and jail with impunity because of the compliance of the compliant press.
              But now having a second crack at a government of national unity through Biden, the sock puppet.
              Where is Yertle the Turtle when you need him?

          1. Young

            Why stop at %95?

            Let’s call it %100, for accuracy’s sake.

            Most votes to “help American people” are unanimous. Remember?

            1. Procopius

              Well, the vote for the 2006 law that crippled the Post Office was. And a voice vote, at that.

        3. Rudolf

          +1, but please get the name right; the true descriptive name is Democrap Party and the true believers are Democraps. Nothing whatsoever about democracy. Same can be said about the Repugnants.

      3. John

        I like the McKinnon Harris handcrafted artisanal lawn furniture and the white on white interior. The corporate paymasters came thru. Ah, neoliberal excess on a Sunday morning.

      4. Romancing The Loan

        That house is like something from McMansion Hell and the praise in the article sounds delusional (although credit where credit is due the balcony jacuzzi is a nice touch). At least the elites of the last Gilded Age had something approaching taste.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The house is really too large, but the lines are fine. Its the paint job. The random silo is weird. And open lawn for the sake open lawn is really ugly. The stone floors and wood slat walls are awful. Random cement columns.

          This is like the interior of the house from Beetlejuice after the stepmom redecorates but incredibly sterile.

          I feel like the Obamas would be one of those couples on an HGTV show who complained about the paint as if it was a deal breaker and wound up doing some renovations to create an atmosphere only a sociopath could love.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I don’t even think its the lack of color, but the mish mash of materials and using the color to blend them for a bizarre reason. It has the same feel as his Mausoleum. Its just there to offend the senses.

              Its not dissimilar to Trump’s “style”. Its less about harmony and comfort than reminding you its there.

            2. marym

              Since the pictures are from a real estate agent’s website, would this mean they were taken before the house was sold? I don’t see a date on the photos but for their DC house in the following article they’re dated 2013.

          1. mpalomar

            “And open lawn for the sake open lawn is really ugly.”
            -Useful though; provides a clear line of fire.

      5. cripes

        The phrase “Martha’s Vineyard estate” appears 35 times–as if its a proper noun– in that unreadable mess of an “article” on, you guessed it; Obama’s beautiful Martha’s Vineyard estate.

        And its ugly as sin, especially on the inside, like the owners.

      6. flora

        If every roof tile represented a homeowner’s foreclosed home… (foam!)

        The paper finds that while President Obama had wide discretion and appropriated funds to relieve homeowners caught in the economic crisis, the policy design his administration chose for his housing program was a disaster. Instead of helping homeowners, at every turn the administration was obsessed with protecting the financial system — and so homeowners were left to drown.

        As a result, the percentage of black homeowners who were underwater on their mortgage exploded 20-fold from 2007 to 2013.

        But you knew that.

      7. Darius

        I was at FDR’s Little White House in Georgia once. Clear southern pine paneling everywhere. Aged to a brownish red. If I had money and it was available, I’d live there.

      8. elissa3

        The photos of the interior: OMG! Forget about taste, it feels so damn uncomfortable. Obama got his payoff, just like he was implicitly promised in 2009. It must burn Hilary that they got their fortune in a fraction of the time it took for the Clintons to grift theirs.

      9. Duck1

        Whaddaya call that with the cement pillars holding up the ceiling with a bunch of splayed wood, and then the similar with cables or somethin’? Sure busy looking and keep the help busy dusting. Sort of like livin’ under a bridge, which is probably appropriate as many of us end up there as we go die.

      10. crittermom

        RE: Obama’s newest acquisition

        But, but… they still didn’t get a mansion large enough to house the 9.5M of us who lost OUR homes under HAMP during his presidency.

    1. polar donkey

      Jerry Jr was a jerk when he came to the restaurant at which I work a couple weeks before the photo got posted. He didn’t want to wear a mask and when leaving didn’t put it back on to walk through restaurant. “I don’t wear masks.” He’s a douchebag in the extreme. This is the same guy that hired whoremonger Hugh Freeze as Liberty University football coach. Birds of a feather.

      1. Carolinian

        Billy Graham’s son was also a jerk who has now supposedly reformed (while still being a jerk).

        But the heavy emphasis on evangelicals ignores the large doses of hypocrisy in other religious groups and not just those that are Christian.

        1. Wukchumni

          I find it amusing that atheists are always included in lists of most despised religions, when they aren’t one.

          Of course, it allows evangs to be #2 on the list, so there’s some purpose to the chicanery.

          1. hunkerdown

            Of course they would define religion to necessitate a god, precisely to give themselves an out. This is the PMC at work, remember.

          2. Kurt Sperry

            As an agnostic, atheism seems perhaps closer to religion than my agnosticism is. Both rest on unprovable claims, although the atheist will tell you they don’t need to prove their negative.

            1. Wukchumni

              I don’t require invisible means of support, nor a payoff when I eventually take a dirt nap.

          3. Procopius

            Minor quibble: I consider atheism a religion. The are adamant in the belief there is no god. Not that there is no proof there is a god, the positive belief that there is no god. It is dogma. Richard Dawkins even stated somewhere that he has proven there is no god (I could be wrong about Dawkins, but Christopher Hitchens certainly did).

        2. periol

          “Ignores the large doses of hypocrisy in other religious groups and not just those that are Christian”

          Please share. I am an equal opportunity hypocrisy basher.

          1. Carolinian

            I think a debate on religion in general is pretty far afield for this financial blog. But I will give my personal view that all religions are based on irrational (faith based) beliefs and therefore prey to grifters and hypocrites seeking to take advantage of a willingness to believe the unprovable. IMO the notion that such hypocrisies are confined to Christianity would be another faith based belief.

            1. judy2shoes

              “I will give my personal view that all religions are based on irrational (faith based) beliefs and therefore prey to grifters and hypocrites seeking to take advantage of a willingness to believe..”

              The True Believers in the Democrat and Republican parties fit nicely into this view in my opinion.

              1. ambrit

                The danger inherent in both legacy parties being “faith based” movements is that “True Believers” are enthusiastically willing to make other people die for a belief.
                How many of the victims at the Jonestown “mass suicide” were coerced into drinking the Kool Aid? There were about three hundred children ‘killed’ at Jonestown.
                Read at least some of the above and then ask yourself; where have I seen this behaviour before?
                A common trope in disaster science fiction is “The Crazy Years.” We’re almost there.

                1. rowlf

                  Jonestown had enforcers. I worry about the legacy parties having their versions of the Red Guards and CSA Home Guard going after those of us who lack the proper spirit.

                  Watching the Peoples Temple and the Khmer Rouge in the news as a kid really reinforced my idea that groups of people and cults of personality were to be avoided. I always wondered how early European colonies in North America dealt with people that wanted to wander away from them.

                  1. ambrit

                    That’s a good question. I do remember that Massachusetts had Rhode Island as an escape valve.

                    1. Procopius

                      I don’t think they intended Rhode Island to be an escape valve, or an escape route. They really wanted to hang Quakers and others who believed heresies.

                    2. ambrit

                      Agreed that Rhode Island was not planned as an “escape valve” by the Massachusetts Colony. However, as it worked out, Rhode Island became something of a “faith accompli.”

            2. periol

              I agree with you, but I think some groups are more susceptible to hypocrisy and grifters than others. Of course all the hypocrisy isn’t confined to xians, but many Evangelicals and Catholics are professional grifters. It is endemic in their organizations.

              I grew up in America, and I’m all for taking the plank out of our own eye before trying to find the speck in our neighbor’s eyes…

              1. Librarian Guy

                Once you’ve accepted the big J.C. into your life, you get to judge others (esp. dirty sluts and the poor and non-white) as deficient, & you need have no humility, much less kindness or consideration to others.

                That’s the American, Protestant Success Gospel. What’s not to love, for people of this ilk?

                Btw, when I clicked on the Korean Starbucks Covid Twitter link, it led me to Trump’s “We Want God!” tweet from earlier today while he’s out on the golf course. It’s a fun one for those who enjoy a little religious holier than thou posturing.


                1. The Rev Kev

                  ‘Once you’ve accepted the big J.C. into your life, you get to judge others (esp. dirty sluts and the poor and non-white) as deficient’

                  Oh ironies heaped upon ironies. The late J.C. used to have hookers and tax-collectors over to dinner which in India would be like a Brahmin having Untouchables over for dinner. And they don’t even try to circle the square of that little piece of history in those churches.

                  I heard that bible scholars found a new piece of text for the New Testament in a clay jar in Galilee and relates to the period after the Resurrection. Apparently his first words to his Disciples were-

                  ‘The Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated.’

            3. polecat

              Then there is the Holey religion of ”’PROGRE$$”’ .. with its many acolytes, both economic, scientific, and technical, covered in a heaping, slathered shell of star wishers .. promulgating the dream of reaching forever forward and upward – damn the externalities!

      2. Tomonthebeach

        The diagnosis of spoiled brat comes to mind. Daddy was so busy saving the world for Republicans that he had no time to raise his own son. I have a few cousins who are just like Falwell Jr.; raised in luxury they think the world owes them exceptional privileges. I do wonder why the Evangelical masses seem to lack BS detectors. At least the Catholics are now depriving their pederast clerics of re-re-redemption.

        1. savebyirony

          And when you poll the catholic laity, religious sisters and nuns tend to receive the highest regards while Bishops (the princes of the church) are often held in little regard. It’s not many who can get the Cardinals of the Office of the Inquisition (the CDF) to back down but that is what happened with the US sisters under investigation a few years age with the help of vast laity support.

    2. CitizenSissy

      Schadenfreude is a too light a term for this. Falwell and his ilk has given Christianity a bad name, particularly his cozying up to the epically corrupt Trump regime to enable a shiny de-facto theocracy. It’s sad that religious freedom, one of the principles on which the nation was founded, however imperfectly, now means a cudgel to force nonfollowers to bend to the will of an odious, cherry-picked faith.

      1. RepubAnon

        The far-right evangelicals took a look at Iran, and said “The Iranians are on to something – that’d be a great government structure if we use a global find/replace to change Koran to Bible, ayatollah to preacher, mosque to mega-church…”

        People forget that the US government was designed by people who remembered the Protestants and Catholics killing each other (or using the power of government to suppress other religions) for many years. (Look up the Vicar of Bray for a 17th Century satirical view on England’s Catholic – Protestant – Catholic – Protestant mandates).

        1. hunkerdown

          What, not a word about the neocon-evangelical alliance richly financed by Israel for the past 50 years?

      2. Tomonthebeach

        Christianity has been corrupt almost from the beginning. It is amazing that Luther showed up so late in its history. After watching the Medici Netflix series in a 3-day marathon sitting recently, it is impossible to miss the 15th-century corruption of the Church as a daily fact of life. But corruption dates way farther back in history than the 1490s. Christianity, since Catholicism, has been about the sturm un drang of power; not personal redemption. Popes were king-makers no less than the Billy Grahams and Jerry Falwells of today. It is amazing that people still find God almost in spite of Christianity. Maybe that is the real miracle.

          1. Bruno

            Y’shua Bar Abbas (“Jesus Christ”) was a Jew. He would have been as utterly horrified at the doctrines preached in his a.k.a.-name by “Paul” and the religion he invented as Lenin would have been by Stalin and the “socialism” he invented.

            1. JWP

              I had a theology teacher who rated Paul the Apostle as the second most important person in history behind Jesus. I’ve always been baffled by how ethno-centric the worldview is of the Church. As if time began with Jesus. It was teaching like this that pushed me away from being religious in the mainstream sense. Much like the political party labels and the economic -isms, I wish there was a broader acceptance of individual thoughts and beliefs so it is ok to be a part of your own belief system without being grouped into another one.

        1. notberlin

          I hear what you are saying, and agree, but also: There are lots of good Christians, and some transcendent ones that are part of ‘organized’ religion. I’m not one of them, btw :) Thomas Merton (author of New Seeds of Contemplation I & II), a lot of monks and nuns, in fact, I do believe do/did good work without judging or enforcing their views on the world. Some of the most radical political and social thought has come out of some of these traditions…. especially perhaps in Latin America. And in Chicago during the 60s-70s (and going on to this day), some of the Catholic nuns have been nothing short of revolutionary in thought and action. Not all of them are pedaphiles by any measure. Merton, in fact, many scholars feel was on his way to becoming a Buddhist before his untimely death. I usually say that I often feel spiritual until I enter a church…. but I do respect and honor the many so-called religious people who put their life on the line for genuine human and environmental causes; I care not a lick which ‘religion’ it is: if the outcome is serving light and goodness, so be it. Bring it on.

          Now, the Evangelicals….. that’s another animal altogether. For me this is not religion. In my opinion this breed has more in common with cults than any other element. Thus their massive and overwhelming support for Trump.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            “Southern Baptists” isn’t an accidental name. Guess why the split with the American Baptist Church!

            Though we probably should acknowledge “Evangelical” in some manner as there has often been serious divides based on region and time in the US. In the end, these are all just organizations of man and are prone to all of man’s normal problems. Is Joe Kennedy III joining a questionable fraternity and investing in oil money different from Jerry Jr.? Without consistent citizen engagement and confrontation, organizations produce people of this character. Despite Pelosi’s support for bloodlines, the whole premise of democracy is the fitness for authority is unrelated to blood.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            We have a winner! I especially like how Saul pitched himself as being endorsed by a dead guy he never met.

            1. ChrisPacific

              Toad the Wet Sprocket wrote a song on this theme called ‘Fly From Heaven.’

              It’s one of their best in my opinion, although it was never a hit in the US for obvious reasons.

    3. griffen

      Wow i’d no idea this little bit of trite commenting would strike a nerve. However for sake of discussion – I grew up in this world. All the way thru a completed bachelor’s degree

      It just galls me to think that man is a leader of a major Christian based higher learning institution. That is not what I recall learning in the New Testament. Easier for a camel thru the eye of a needle than a rich man in his yacht. That’s what I find galling.

      Perverse and really a horrid example. Its a wonder I’m not an atheist.

      1. kareninca

        Well, you certainly drew out the haters. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional but the anti-Christian loathing in most of the posts above is a great way drive a large chunk of the population from voting for whatever the website that carries them is in favor of.

        It’s like the Democratic party dumping the working class and thinking they will still have enough voters to win. Progressives despising and dumping Evangelicals and thinking they will still have a chance to win elections; hmmm. I guess we’ll see how that goes, since that seems to be how it is going. I hope that the fun of those posts outweighs disappointment in future voting patterns.

        1. Late Introvert

          I think the despising and dumping has gone both directions, from Evangelicals who vote on the one issue that will not be named, and demonize all who might take a more nuanced and sensitive position. I’ve long wished that the Lib Dems would fund private clinics so the topic could be de-weaponized. I am not a Lib Dem, I am a Dem Soc who is getting radicalized by the day.

          Agree with much else you said. Our shared class interests are ignored, and elections get lost to the exploiters.

          It’s so divisive karenica, and I wish both sides could agree to be kind and tolerant, but also agree to keep it separate from politics. As a younger man I was neither that kind or tolerant, so I’m speaking from experience.

        2. periol

          I grew up in the Evangelical church, and they are definitely the source of the divisiveness. But sure, blame it on the people who see through the charade.

          It was only when I left the church that I was able to find other people who value kindness and tolerance. I’m not saying all Christians are bad, far from it. But most churches in America have lost the plot, and their worship and community bears no resemblance to what their own holy texts say about what their worship and community should be like.

          I realize that people who are hypocrites don’t like being called out for being hypocrites. Not sure what you would rather do to sugarcoat this for them.

          1. kareninca

            You just completely ignored my point about the need for votes. That if you express loathing for a group of people, even if you are so very sure you are right that that they are loathsome, they are not going to vote for what you want.

            I know Evangelical Christians who are wonderful. But even if you have never met such a person, you might want to consider that they have the vote just as much as you do.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Northern California ‘drastically short’ of firefighters while an onslaught of blazes rages”

    There must be thousands of ex-prisoners that have firefighting experience. How about passing an emergency law that for the rest of the year – about four months – that California can take them on as firefighters at full wages as they have done their time and are free again. Lots of them must be unemployed through the pandemic at the moment. If this is not enough, then those prisoners that are in the last year of their sentence and are healthy can volunteer while being paid the poverty wages that they usually pay them. But Come Christmas time they get a full pardon. So, do the pragmatic thing and save the State being turned into toast, or else say that we don’t want to be seen to be soft on prisoners. It is California’s choice.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yep. And from Wikipedia-

        ‘In September 2014, attorneys for Harris argued unsuccessfully in a court filing against the early release of prisoners, citing the need for inmate firefighting labor.’

        She was deliberately fighting to keep people in jail when the law said they they had done their time and had to be released. The future Madame President Kamala the Cop.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Sadly, one K. Harris has money riding on the prisoners staying right where they are to make her bribes stay right where they are.

    2. MT_Bill

      If only it were that easy. Firefighting Crews and single resource units have been self isolating in pods since the beginning of the fire season. If that decision could be made right now, those teams would have to be rostered, and then they’d all have to start the 14-day quarantine before you’d want to bring them anywhere near the fire camps.

      As far as bringing in new inmate firefighters, what percentage of the prison population is suitable for that kind of work from physical health and mental health perspective? Best info I can find is that the California prison population has ranged between 100000 and almost 200,000 inmates over the past two decades, yet total inmate firefighter training capacity is that roughly 3,500 people. I assume at some level training capacity is based on potential availability of recruits.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        You sound like someone who might have an awareness of current wildland firefighting – I presume more advanced (i.e. hotshot) crews have far more experience/training, but I wonder what the most basic standard is these days?

        How long does it take from warm body sign-up to being on the fire?

        In the late 80’s I did it for a summer job (I recall a table being setup in the student union of the Univ of OR…the year of or possibly the year before the big Yellowstone fires, there were similar shortages back then of warm bodies to do the work) and after signing up I had a grand total of 1 weekend of training.

        As i sort of recall: A step test Saturday morning to see what you started at, a morning of going over pamphlets and chalkboard scenarios of basic fire behavior, an afternoon seeing proper use of a pulaskai, piss bag, shovel, and wet/dry mopping and then safety. Sunday was a few more topics such as the shake and bake bags, more safety/fire behavior, some intro to the trucks and rigs we might see for wet-mopping….another afternoon step test ‘for real’ and then it was on to the ‘OK, you pass, where do we mail your check?’ table.

        By the next week or really soon thereafter…in a crummy on way to a fire in Eastern Oregon, and busy for some time afterwards. To be clear, this was the most basic of private-industry (Oregon) ‘ersatz’ wildland firefighting crews….that first year we only did mostly dry mopping of hillsides in areas that had been burned over some time before, and simply needed to be insured ember-free. Just grunt work, digging up roots and such, feeling around for hotspots to put out. …and lots of it.

        But it never struck me until I saw a docu on USFS Hotshot Crews some years later how little training was considered ‘enough’- in that era – to get us out there.

        1. Wukchumni

          The state did a grant to get rid of dead trees that expired 5-6 years ago, and a team of 6 ex-Hotshots did a lot of the work, and i’ve never seen anybody take down 5 foot wide trees as quick as they could, and land them perfectly where they wanted to.

          That’s where their skill was, being Class-C fallers (the highest rating) which is of the highest importance in battling fires in forests, getting rid of upright firewood in harm’s way, in a hurry.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Several decades ago in rural America when there was a forest fire, you could have a truck go by the bar at the bottom end of town and the bar-flies would jump aboard to go fight that fire. Their training was from fighting fires in the past. No, I am not making this up. I have it from a book that I have on firefighting in the US.

          1. Pat

            My father worked briefly for the park service, and that started his fire fighting. He ended up in a completely different government agency. But I remember him going and fighting fires in NM forests every summer, until we moved out of the state. I don’t know if it was the new state regulations or that he was in his forties and couldn’t dig a fire break as well as he used to be able to do but it ended.

            I think that was because growing up the scattered people around my grandparents place knew everyone had to fight the rare fire because it could take out any and all of their homes and livelihood.

          2. JacobiteInTraining

            That’s very true, can confirm truthiness – I heard same from Grampa, in Oregon c.1920s-30s, particularly in the Tillamook Burns: Local fire authority or timber Boss rolls up to the bar, or dance hall, conscripts the lot of ’em, hands out tools, and boom….drive to the fire and get to work.

            No training, except like you said – if they had experience from the past.

            Then again, in this area, the folks as were in the bars/dance halls would have almost certainly been loggers, ex-loggers, or from logging families and thus no stranger to saws, forests, slash burning, and hard hard work on steep hillsides in the blazing summer sun.

            I don’t think safety standards were too much of an obstacle back then. :)

            1. GettingTheBannedBack

              Where I am, unpaid volunteers are mostly relied on to fight fires. Once upon a time there would have been minimal training, so they would bring their farm skills to the firefront. I personally know of a farmer who was caught in a fire and whose pump died at the wrong moment and so he got life threatening burns to his body.
              These days the volunteers have to do a lot of training, but they are still volunteers and this last summer ran the risk of death to fight the fires and save homes.
              I find it incredible, if true, that the US relies a lot on jail inmates to fight fires. Is this the new chain gang?

          3. DJ Greenfire

            That’s correct. The existing emergency hiring authority called “AD” short for “administratively determined” has wages for all the different firefighting positions. It is the remnant of the days you could walk in a bar and sign folks up. As you would expect, the paperwork is considerably more exhaustive nowadays. That’s one of the problems with big bureaucracies, they grow artificially more complex over time – that goes for private and government.

          4. JCC

            When I was a kid, the older Boy Scouts strong enough to carry an “indian tank” (full of water and a pump spray), a large belt pack and a shovel were recruited.

            I was on a couple of firefights back then.

        3. DJ Greenfire

          Minimum training is roughly two weeks, called “Basic 32” and includes a suite of very basic coursework regarding handtool use, wildland fire vocabulary, and basic fire behavior (e.g. head, heel, flank, backing fire, crown fire, etc). Then you have to go out and dig some line in a field exercise. If you can pass the arduous level work capacity test (3-mile hike with 45 lb pack in 45 minutes. No jogging or running), you’re good to go.

        4. Alex Cox

          There is a lot more training now – even for volunteers. But the professional firefighters are still divided into full and part timers. Full timers get health care, overtime and pension. Part timers get zilch.

          Several of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were part timers: their families received nothing when they died.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I’m sure that at the moment even 1,000 trained firefighter would be more than welcome on the fire front. You were talking about those infected with the virus but statistically there must be more than a few regular firefighters who are infected at the moment so you may have cases of regular firefighters infecting prisoner firefighters.

      3. Michael

        It’s hard to comment on how to attack a “fire pandemic” from outside without the required expertise.
        That said, imagine if we approached Covid on the same timeline as Calif used for fires or racism. Lot’s of people saying I can’t breathe these days!

        Now imagine if Calif officials had attacked this head on years ago and began training people outside the prison system to do this work. Allow selective logging to pay for it. Would you rather have soldiers or firefighters for your fellow citizens?

        I’ve lived in this state for over 50 years and been to all of the State parks dedicated to preserving the majestic redwood over and over. Its heart breaking to see Big Basin burning, but is this going to be excused as just Mother Nature at work?

        Its time our state legislature was routed en masse and accepted responsibility for their pitiful foresight and planning to confront the obvious problems of over population and celebrity run government.

    3. periol

      If only we put the same resources into fighting fires that we put into the police. Millions for riot gear? Check. Time to fight fires? Prison slave labor.

      Oh no, no prison slave labor due to Covid? Guess we’ll throw our hands up in exasperation. No one could have seen *this* coming.

        1. periol

          I’m sorry are you saying that the reason we don’t devote more resources to fighting fires is environmental? The reason we do not have more paid firefighters is “nimby”?

          Come on. The people with the money do not want to use that money to fund public safety, unless it defends them. The Kardashians had no problem paying for private firefighters in the past when it was their house in danger. So nimby of them.

          1. Keith

            Environmental issues can hinder fire prevention measures, such as controlled burns, brush clearing and creating fire breaks, which some view as environmentally destabilizing.

            NIMBY was a poor choice of shorthand for people moving into heavily wooded areas. CA, along with big chunks of the west like my eastern WA, are prone to wildland fires; they have been part of the landscape since before we arrived. They choose to build their homes among the forests without doing the necessary clearing of the wood to aid in the control of the wildfire, because it is not as pretty at that point. Or more succinctly, they moved to the hazard without mitigating for it.

            The thing with wildfires is it is about prevention, once they pick up in earnest, it is too late. You are just trying to mitigate damage at that point.

            1. lordkoos

              I also live in eastern WA. US forest service practices in this area seem to be somewhat controversial. Some think the reason we have so many fires lately is because of forest mismanagement and that lightning strikes should be allowed to burn as they did before humans were “managing” forests… but these are often the same people who don’t believe in climate change. Here they are building houses in the NW part of the county at a rapid rate to house wealthy Seattle refugees and for summer homes. These aren’t cabins, they are large, expensive houses right in the woods. A couple of years ago fires near Lake Cle Elum burned right up to people’s back yards. One of these future fire seasons will the fires be fierce and they won’t be able to save those houses and that will be the end of it.

              1. Keith

                And when they burn, they play the pity card and want a bailout, similar to people that live on the coast or riverside with known flood risks.

                1. Wukchumni

                  A neighbor in our cabin community with the same insurance company that we have was dropped a few months ago, and no reason why we shouldn’t be either.

                  I’m a little tired of living in interesting times…

            2. periol

              It is very hot and very dry. All the forest management in the world can’t make up for that. Throw in climate weirdness, and you have a sufficient explanation for the massive, unprecedented wildfires everywhere. These fires are starting and raging in places where no one or very few people have ever lived, and quickly moving into areas where people live.

              These fires are much larger than the fires we have dealt with on this continent in our history, and the fault is not because people aren’t clearing trees from their homes or the government isn’t doing enough fire prevention. These are fires in areas where fires don’t happen!

              At least no one can claim the fires in Siberia are due to lack of forest management.

      1. Oh

        Let’s send the millions of policement trained to kill people to put out the fire. It’d solve two problems in one fell swoop.

    4. Keith

      I believe they already use prison labor. There is a lot of trench digging in fighting them. No experience with a shovel is needed. Put them on a line and tell them to dig at direction of a fire fighter with a deputy or two to keep them motivated.

      1. Alex Cox

        Firefighting is not done like this. Prison firefighters are trained to do the same jobs as the pros. The only different is the uniform. Prisoners wear red turnouts; the rest of us wear yellow.

        1. Keith

          That’s fine, but in my training for wildland firefighting, albeit back in the 90s in the military, it is about digging fire breaks, clearing areas out so the “pros” can do a controlled burn to deprive the fire of fuel. For that, regular prison labor is ideal, as you can bring in cheap strong backs to do the grunt work.

      2. polecat

        Let’s volunteer all those hundreds of *Murican Billionaires to man the backfiring lines!
        I mean, they’re ALL FELONS in the making, am I right?
        Imagine Bill G. and Warren B. .. duking it out over who gets the sharper mattock!

        *though it might muss their C-suite empty suits a bit …

    5. Geo

      But that would mean we’d have to reframe prison as a form of rehabilitation for criminals instead of retribution by society. Where’s the fun in that? If we have to suffer too in our desire to perpetually punish criminals for their entire lives then that is the sacrifice we will make so we can continue feeling morally superior to the “bad people”.

    1. barefoot charley

      Talking to Russians for the CIA, Page was committing treason for the FBI’s lying filing so Trump could be bugged directly. ‘It is what it is,’ even in the Post.

  4. a different chris

    Aaron Coleman – my god I hope he wins.

    However, one thing

    for the fact that deprived childhoods often produce aberrant behavior as a child that are not common among those from more privileged backgrounds

    Actually I think it’s just as common, the issue is the more privileged the background is the more the stuff gets buried if possible.

    For example, look at the flip side where it couldn’t be buried: the MAGA hat kid facing off with the Native American on every TV in America- even if his side of the story is completely true in every detail, my dad would have punished me every day I swear until my 30s just for getting into that sort of situation and into my 40s for the details of it…

    1. Late Introvert

      My parents punished me with guilt because they knew it would be devastating to me. It still is all these years later.

      The MAGA kid is a product of his parents. Hopefully he learned something, but I’m sure it was all the wrong things.

  5. The Historian

    Re: Trump pressures the FDA….

    If Trump does announce a vaccine as his ‘October Surprise’, how many of you would be willing to take it? I wouldn’t.

    1. Ella

      Nope. I believe in vaccines but not on warp speed. I’ll sit back and wait and see what happens. As I’m doing with much of this pandemic.

      1. Librarian Guy

        I’m not an MD, but back in the early 90s, a friend of my friend was a Gulf War I vet who’d been immunized with something especially filthy and harmful to “protect” against other “threats” in the area. I think he was posted mostly in KSA near the fighting but not on the front lines.

        He showed us the purplish lesions growing on his stomach a couple years later, which came and went, and which he attributed to the military vaccines. I believe his pathology was called “Gulf War Syndrome.”

        I would definitely not play Russian Roulette with such a hastily made vaccine.

    2. Phacops

      While I recognize the profound benefit to public health that vaccines have created, I also recognize that even with successful Phase III INDs, the full knowledge of population effects isn’t frequently apparent until widespread use and reporting through postmarketing surveillance.

      So, perhaps I will not be an immediate adopter, but once I get information on choices for mode of action and immunologic response as well as contraindications and identified side effects, I will probably be an early adopter.

      And, influenza vaccine is already being distributed, so I plan to get that early. As much as people slam that seasonal vaccine, I am still amazed that the level of surveillance is such that when the decision must be made by March to begin production, that vaccine is as effective as it is.

      1. urblintz

        good link.

        “Philosophically, and psychologically, it is a fantastic spectacle to behold, a reversal, the magnitude and the chutzpah of which must inspire awe: a public health establishment, showing extraordinary risk aversion to medications and treatments that are extremely well known, and had been used by billions, suddenly throwing caution to the wind and endorsing the rollout of treatments that are entirely novel—and about which we literally can’t possibly know anything, as regards to their long-term effects. Their manufacturers know this well themselves, which is why they have aimed for, insisted on, and have already been granted indemnification—guaranteed, by those same public health officials and government that they will not be held legally accountable should their product cause injury.”

      2. lordkoos

        When we were travelling to SE Asia we were prescribed courses of Hydroxychloroquine to take with us in case we should happen to contract malaria. I looked up the side effects and thought, I hope I never need to take this stuff. Luckily we did not need it, but I would only take that drug as a last resort.

        1. Procopius

          I seem to remember vaguely that in Vietnam we were given a hydroxychloroquine pill once a week as prophylaxis. I was in the highlands, Pleiku, so malaria wasn’t really much of a danger there, but it was “in-country,” so we had the same as if we were down in the Delta.

      3. VietnamVet

        This article is the tip of the iceberg. Purported to be about the politicization of science and HCQ, in particular; yet, it doesn’t have the word “zinc” anywhere in it. Either it is incompetence or the publication of information of the effectiveness of cheap HCQ plus Zinc has been forbidden. A likely culprit, the pharmaceutical industry, a major media advertiser. Billions of dollars of profit await a safe and effective vaccine, next year.

        The US federal government purposefully placed public health responsibility onto the fifty states and reengaged on its obligation to coordinate and fund the fight against the virus. This is not one President alone. It is the whole corrupt system that decided the projected deaths of 300,000 Americans this year is of no concern. All that matters is the future billions in profits for the wealthy starting in 2021.

    3. bassmule

      I can’t find it, but there was a comment about Trump needing a September Surprise, since so many citizens are voting by mail. If the surprise is to be a vaccine, he’ll need to announce it then. Given how things have been going for Bad Orange Man, there may not be enough of the Credulous out there willing to have it go over as anything but a stunt. Here’s hoping, anyway.

    4. HotFlash

      My daughter-in-law is an anti-vaxxer and I think she’s an idiot and guilty of child abuse. That said, I would not take a for-profit vaccine where the patients is quality control.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Could Russia side with the US and India against China?”

    Ummmm, no. For a start, that would mean putting their trust in a country that they wrote off four years ago as being agreement-incapable. And that was under Obama. How good would Donald’s Trump word be and how much trust could they put in him? And Biden is no better. During his coronation (coronanation?) he specifically told the bs story of how the Russians were putting bounties on US troops in Afghanistan. That story was modified a week later to say that it was Iran that was putting bounties on US troops but old Joe went with Russia so he announced that he wants to go after Russia when he is President with this. There will always be disputes between two countries that neighbour each other. I just read today that Lichtenstein is demanding that the Czech Republic hand over a chunk of their country to them because history. But it’s not going to happen with Vladivostok with China nor the Kuriles with Japan. And I am pretty sure that the US won’t be handing Texas back to Mexico anytime soon either.

    1. km

      Similar scenarios have been a staple US foreign policy fantasy for at least ten years now.

      The Russian leadership may be many things, but gullible enough to take that particular bait, they are not.

      1. Olga

        I recall this is Kissinger’s wet dream… He of all people should know Russians aren’t that dumb.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Kissinger is evil, but he wasn’t stupid. The Russians were eager to be junior partners. Lavrov’s remarks about the US only having vassals and enemies was part of this. DC is far too corrupt and parasitical to have tolerated a world of junior partners.

          Since orientalism is still the guiding light of US foreign policy, there must be people who believe the can now con the slavs after failing to con the Chinese.

          1. Wukchumni

            Like Kissinger, my late father never lost his European accent, and daddy-o detested HK.

            To make matters worse, my mom told me recently that at parties, people that met him would always compare him to Henry as he sounded similar, unintentionally sliding a metaphorical shiv into his belly.

          2. rowlf

            I still like a comment from a older parishioner at a church I was at a few years ago: “Why can’t the US have someone like Lavrov?”

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Defense, Treasury, and the U.S.’s own sheer size handle all of our important relationships. A Lavrov type will come out of a non-militarized, diplomatic outfit, and the US simply doesn’t have it. The State Department since 1947 is the payoff for political donation and helping college kids who lost their passports. This is why the US can’t get a Lavrov type. I tend to think most people can be replaced by legions, but getting them there is a different matter.

              What Think Tank is going to produce a reasonably intelligent and non-compromised person in the US? My natural inclination is for a more “vigorous” foreign policy than what I would advocate for, but the US fp establishment has no system to promote responsible people except by the occasional chance a President will bring a random person along who isn’t insane.

              1. rowlf

                How about Chas Freeman? I thought he had would be good, considering how he made certain so called allies have kittens when he was suggested for the chair of the National Intelligence Council.

            2. LifelongLib

              I wonder if the real U.S. exceptionalism is the fact that for almost 200 years we have been by far the major power on two isolated continents. We’ve never had the European/Russian experience of having to deal with many other nations that are more or less equally powerful and more or less nearby. We seldom have the need for actual diplomacy….

              1. lordkoos

                With the exception of 911, the US has never been attacked by an outside force, and we have never been invaded. Unlike Europeans, Americans have no idea what that might be like.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Wonder who burned the White House almost to the day 206 years ago, hmmmmm?

                  Or how about Columbus NM and Pancho Villa a little over a century ago?

                2. The Rev Kev

                  Actually the US was invaded – back in the War of 1812 and with the Capital burnt but that was over too hundred years ago and remains mostly forgotten. You could say that the southern States of the old Confederacy were invaded in the Civil war and they have never, ever forgotten that event.

              2. Jack

                Hasn’t our “diplomacy” always had as its purpose to keep wars away from our homeland? And if that really is/was the strategy haven’t we been eminently successful? We have two big oceans and occupying forces in a whole bunch of countries other than our own. By that standard our defense and foreign policies have done their jobs well. We have not been invaded, occupied (oops, War of 1812) or sustained significant civilian war losses. That’s what made 9/11 the traumatic shock to our psyche.

                1. VietnamVet

                  Ken Burns “Civil War” had a quote of the aftermath that I remember as “In the South after the Civil War so many men were maimed that women redefine the meaning of handsome”. All the statues of Confederates now being torn down were built by later generations of the ruling elite who did not experience the war or the invasion of the Union Army.

                  All forgotten.

    2. Darthbobber

      That basic article seems to be written every few weeks these days, with the author and publication varying.

  7. Wukchumni

    No idea what the ‘ major therapeutic breakthrough’ the President announced is gonna be, but i’m guessing that it involves smothering a sufferer with a ‘My Pillow’.

  8. Wukchumni

    Hey, California: With wildfires, blackouts, bloody protests, pandemic, could 2020 get any worse? Mercury News
    There’s been a spate of earthquakes encircling SoCal as of late, a 7.77 might hit the jackpot.

    1. periol

      Thankfully that 10-day period where the San Andreas had better than 1% odds of going off with a 7+ expired last week.

  9. flora

    More about the ( bi-partisan, Dems have a hand in this) destruction of the Post Office from David Sirota.

    The Goodfellas Scheme To Destroy The Post Office

    Lawmakers deliberately manufactured a USPS financial crisis and now Trump is using the turmoil to justify burning the whole place down.

    If you’re confused and overwhelmed by all the political news about the U.S. Postal Service, here’s the key thing to know: At its core, this scandal is not new or innovative. It is the standard government version of the Goodfellas scheme: Deliberately make life impossible for an agency while using it to enrich big campaign donors, “and then finally, when there’s nothing left, when you can’t borrow another buck from the bank or buy another case of booze, you bust the joint out — you light a match.”

      1. Jack

        There are no innocents in the USPS clusterf**k. Stupidity, venality, hubris – shit ALL the deadly sins were involved.

  10. Olga

    On that ‘peeling Russia away from China’ (first, good luck with; I think both learnt their lessons), there is this from Mr. Bhadrakumar:
    He thinks there may be a DT/VVP summit – I’ll believe it, when I see it
    Also, has some links on the recent Iran fiasco
    And there is this little gem: “Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner appealed through Voice of America to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to engage with Washington.“
    Can’t make this stuff up!

  11. anon in so cal

    >Postal Service…As many have pointed out, the years-long attack on the USPS has been bi-partisan.
    As one of many examples where Democrats are at fault, Diane Feinstein’s husband’s commercial real estate corporation CBRE cost the postal service millions per year in lease over-payments.

    Democrats are hyping the notion that Republicans are fraudulently newly attacking the USPS to limit the November vote. That is rich coming from Democrats who watched as voters in Bernie Sanders’ demographic stood on interminably long lines in Texas and other states on the night of Super Tuesday (in addition to Obama’s pre-Super Tuesday “night of the long knives”).

    When Democrats allege something, more and more it seems like projection. Maybe the only way they could push Biden over the finish line is through skulduggery. This article provides a pretty balanced look at the situation. It is from a right-wing site but maybe those are the only sources of balanced information?

    “Opinion: PATEL: The Truth About The Post Office Controversy”

    “…At the same time, there are legitimate concerns about universal mail-in voting. Absentee voting is different. With absentee voting, a specific voter requests his or her specific ballot to vote by mail. That system has been used for years and — especially in the states doing it best — it works pretty well….

    …Universal mail-in voting is different. With universal mail-in voting, the government would mail ballots to everyone, regardless of whether they request them. Some places even allow for “ballot harvesting,” where a third party can collect ballots for many people and file them in bulk. This system has not traditionally been used widely, and it raises legitimate concerns over voter fraud. A 2018 North Carolina congressional election was in fact overturned after a state probe found that a Republican operative illegally collected ballots with forged signatures and filled in votes….

    …The Postal Service — which is supposed to operate independently based on funding from the postal fees it charges — has been losing money for years. Due to email and other forms of communication, we send about 30% fewer letters each year than we did just a decade ago. To combat this, the Postal Service has been reducing its operating costs….The Postal Service — which is supposed to operate independently based on funding from the postal fees it charges — has been losing money for years. Due to email and other forms of communication, we send about 30% fewer letters each year than we did just a decade ago. To combat this, the Postal Service has been reducing its operating costs….

    ….Trump did not do himself any favors with his comments on the matter. Trump said he opposed more money for the Postal Service because without that money, “You can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.” The president is not wrong to question universal mail-in voting, but his statement that he was going to unilaterally in effect stop it through a holdup of postal funds only added fire to Democrats’ claims that he was against taking steps to have a fair election during the pandemic….

    Finally, in the aftermath of the president’s misstatement and the Postal Service’s mistake in not foreseeing this issue, Democrats, postal unions and their allies in the media have pounced to demagogue this issue into a full-blown election-stealing conspiracy. Claims that mail sorting is being reduced and postboxes are being removed to disenfranchise voters are not backed by the facts. The cuts were in place for years — going back to the Obama years, in fact. But that’s not stopping the demagoguery. Pictures of mailboxes with locks on them — found, ironically, to be many years old — are going viral all over social media.
    Activists, celebrities, some media outlets and even our leaders who should know better are fueling the fire of this conspiracy theory. They are posting pictures of locked boxes from years ago and trying to stir up a frenzy….”

  12. Elrond Hubbard

    The bonus could be an anti-antidote, if you take the point of view of the little fishies…

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘My brain is turning to mush during this lockdown; I need to give some more mental stimulus.’

    Jerri-Lynn – if i may be bold as to suggest a few film titles for mental stimulus? The “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (mostly set in India), “The Big Chill” and “Gattaca” – a much under-rated film.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Should be get and I have corrected accordingly — mushy brain = even more typos than usual!

      1. Basil Pesto

        I was pleased to see that film available on Australian Netflix, which usually has a much more limited selection compared to USA Netflix. My maternal grandmother grew up in Alexandria which adds some further interest.

        In what sounds like a similar vein, last year I saw ‘This Must Be Heaven’ by Elia Suleiman, where the protagonist is also the film’s director playing himself (with only maybe two or three lines of dialogue). It’s truly wonderful, with dare I say a rather Jewish sensibility to its humour. In any case, it’s very funny and very charming.

        1. urblintz

          Thanks for that… I thought I knew every Helen Mirren film ever made… and directed by Hallstrom too, how did I miss it?!

          1. Lee

            I too am a Mirren fan and missed this film. Must correct that. I’ve been a fan since Prime Suspect. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of European crime and detective shows. Where Mirren’s character was confronted with sexism throughout her career, the current contemporary European fare has female cops acting and treated for the most part as respected peers and superiors.

            The most recent example I watched is the Italian series Thou Shalt Not Kill (Non Uccidere). I am not sure if these productions depict the reality of contemporary European workplaces or are aspirational examples of how things should be.

            1. ambrit

              You owe yourself to see some of her early work. I’d suggest “Age of Consent,” where she co-stars with James Mason.
              If you want to investigate the subject of European women and sexism, this film is a good place to start. It represents the sensibility of the 1920s and 1930s. Double standard? Hah! Go for multi standard!

          1. furies

            I picked up “Lust, Caution” at the library some years ago. Have watched it many times…very well done. Ang Lee director. I recommend it.

            Takes place in Shanghai during the Japanese invasion/occupation. My dad fled Shanghai to Brazil with his mother on a flight just as the airport was being bombed, so I loved the international atmosphere portrayed.

            Or that’s the story he told…

      1. Phacops

        Love that film! And another from a few years later, Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua para Chocolate). Two quite different stories but both deal with perseverence and love.

    2. Phacops

      GATTACA i found to be wonderfully stylized adult SciFi. Not much of that around with that genre being increasingly taken over by action packed CGI (but sometimes fun to watch). The last one I saw which was as good, with internal tensions and character driving the story, was Arrival. A tip of the hat to Vonnegut and Billy Pilgrim

    3. savebyirony

      This is an oldie but if you have never seen it I highly recommend the British mini series “The Jewel in the Crown” for both some mental stimulus and entertainment escapism. It has a phenomenal cast and beautiful production.

    4. Michael Fiorillo

      “The Battle of Chile,” an epic documentary on the coup d’etat against Salvador Allende in 1973, smuggled out of the country via the Swedish embassy during the coup, while its director was being hunted by the secret police. It’s on YouTube.

      I dare you to listen to Allende’s address to the Chilean people while the presidential palace was being strafed and bombed by fighter jets, and not choke up…

    5. Martin Oline

      Ten years ago I read a list of the ten best comedies ever made and The Dinner game was around seven. Made in France and only available sub-titled, it is hilarious. It was copied by Hollywood with a script that was tasteless, crass, juvenile, and crude, they titled it Dinner For Schmucks. See the real thing if you can find it. Here is a clip from ewe-tube: The Dinner Game<

      1. DJG

        What I consider the best U.S. film: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, in which Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell are luminous on camera (along with the U.S. Olympic swim team), based on the book by the estimable Anita Loos. The book is a hoot and definitely worth reading.

        My favorite film happens to be Children of Paradise by Marcel Carné, filmed during WWII. Riveting performance by Arletty. And there’s this mime–and I can’t stand mime–but what a film about sentimental education.

        The director Ferzan Ozpetek was born in Turkey but educated in Italy. I believe that all of his films were made in Italian. Try: Mine Vaganti (Loose Cannons), a wonderful comedy about what happens when two sons of a solid bourgeois family in Puglia, heirs to a pasta-making empire, try to come out as gay. Also, more recent: Napoli Velata (Naples in Veils / Veiled Naples), moody and insightful study of sexual obsession. Or is it an obsession?

  14. Mike

    RE: Inside the Democratic Party’s plan to prevent vote-by-mail disaster – Politico

    A speculation here on this very late response from the DNC… Could it be that the Dems did not know what Mnuchin and Co. had in mind when these changes planned by the incoming government were first made? I think they knew. In fact, I will speculate further that they were on board with it, to the degree that they saw savings in the budget and that fit with the Dems “austerity for you, graft for us” philosophy. So, to close the barn door now, and offer “opposition” in the form of mail-in vote protection only, is a sham and furtherance of a crime against the populace. The privitization of the service will continue. I could be wrong, having no direct evidence, but the principle I work on is if it smells like a fish…

  15. Wukchumni


    For the first time in more than a century a female wolverine and her two kits have been confirmed to be roaming Mount Rainier National Park.

    Another wolverine, a male, also has been spotted in the park recently, but the discovery of the female with kits was hailed as evidence that the park once again can be a breeding ground for the species.

    “It’s really, really exciting,” said Mount Rainier Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “It tells us something about the condition of the park — that when we have such large-ranging carnivores present on the landscape that we’re doing a good job of managing our wilderness.”

    1. Lee

      Another rare critter I’ve not seen in the wilds of Yellowstone or elsewhere. Based on what I’ve read about them and having observed grizzlies in action I’m not sure which I’d rather not have a surprise encounter with in spite of the wolverine’s being so much the smaller of the two. “Though she be little she be fierce.”

  16. gnatt

    aaron coleman, who glenn greenwald thinks, rightly, should not be persecuted for the very nasty stuff he did to girls when he was 12 and 13, is still nasty. now he says he would “laugh and giggle,” if a particular local republican politician who doesn’t wear a mask, would die. he finds herman cain’s death comical for the same reason.

    i agree with all of his political positions, but he has an anger problem and a nastiness problem. his politics are fine but his psyche is not. is he still too young to be held responsible for his attitudes? will he ever be old enough?

    my understanding of human nature is that the personality outlasts the political positions one takes (see orban in hungary for an example. see reagan, who started on the left, for an example closer to home.

    i admire greenwald greatly but this time he’s been had.

    1. hunkerdown

      No, neoliberals deserve every single bit of anger, spittle, rotten food, and whatever else directed at them. They believe we are theirs to capture and manipulate, exactly as you are coming in here telling people how to feel, as if bourgeois propriety were something to be rightly respected, not humiliated, defaced and desecrated.

      If you’re not angry at that, then you are probably complicit and in denial.

    2. anon4this


      Do young people do stupid, mean things? Sure. Does the average junior high boy bully a girl to the point of almost suicide, and extort/revenge porn (which is criminal in many places) another girl? Hell no! Greenwald is trying to give him a pass, and he’s doing a disservice to kids in general and males in particular. None of my junior high male friends would have EVER done those things or thought they were acceptable. Coleman has a problem, big time. The only thing that changed is that he realized he’ll get more of what he wants by taking a different tack.

  17. SomeGuyinAZ

    re:Meat Packers and “hoocouldanode”. Worked extremely well for the housing and financial experts as well as economists during the housing bubble/bank crashes so they might as well trot it out now I guess… I miss Tanta.

    1. Wukchumni

      I miss Tanta, don’t miss the cheerleader for housing that our host became and still is to this day.

  18. Wukchumni

    Price points out that the Vikings decorated everything that had a surface, including themselves. Ibn Fadlan, the Arab traveller who met a party of the blond ‘Rus’ somewhere in Eastern Europe in the 920s – and whose horrifying account of a Viking funeral has been largely confirmed by archaeological finds – said that they were covered in what must have been tattoos. ‘Each man, from the tip of his toes to his neck, is covered in dark green lines, pictures and such like.’ No Viking skin has survived, but their teeth have. It seems there was a male fashion for filing horizontal grooves along the upper incisors, which were probably filled with coloured resin. A Viking smile must have looked very odd. But what the point of this fashion was, we don’t know.

    There’s no way of knowing of course, but could said tats have been inked in pidgin nonsensical Chinese, as is the custom here?

  19. JacobiteInTraining

    Meanwhile, back in Portland, we are doing our best to simulate Spain c.1936. Informative series of videos from the QAnon/Trumpalo vs. AntiFacist conflicts the other day:

    Shield walls. Competing shield walls no less. I know which side I am on, — — but regardless….I can’t but expect this is going to include gunfire and casualties at any moment.

    Crispus Attucks, please stay safe.

    1. JWP

      This is the second “competing protest” in less than a year in Portland that has gained way too much attention. Neither sides of these protests have a goal beyond making the other side mad. It becomes a d**k measuring contest with zero purpose or meaning beyond looks. Here’s hoping the BLM and general strikes are able to hold the local and national headlines as protests such as these merely distract from the gutting of our country-which is probably why they get so much coverage!

    2. martell

      Wasn’t there a guy in Portland a few years back who would ride a unicycle in a Darth Vader mask while operating a leaf blower? I ask because this is what those protesters, both sets, remind me of. It’s fun dress-up time for thirty-year-old boys. Zombie apocalypse training (there’s a group in town doing that) must not have had much appeal to this bunch. And clown school was clearly out. Too much structure. So they settled on playing Viking vs Saxon at what has become the downtown arena, the place to see and, more importantly, be seen. All that said, I think you are right that there is likely to be a shooting in the near future. But not intentionally. It’ll probably be an accident. Someone not knowing how to properly use the weapon.

  20. Carolinian

    Re that MIT reported study–while it’s nice to have a scientific seal of approval on the injustice of much wealth disparity, aren’t they simply stating something that was already rather obvious? Clearly anyone who inherits a million dollars from their rich uncle is merely lucky rather than meritorious, and that has been the justification for inheritance taxes. And also clearly, people competing with each other in the same money making field often succeed or fail through sheer chance.

    But it’s also clear that to have a great deal of money you have to–most of the time–be interested in having a lot of money. So the drive, the ruthlessness, the whatever it takes to make that happen is a distinguishing characteristic among individuals–even what one might call a talent. The study defines talent as IQ and points out that this is evenly, bell curve style, distributed throughout the population. But that other talent or drive obviously isn’t and has to be accounted for. It may be more in the realm of psychology rather than economics or statistics. Indeed some of us feel we’d make more progress if we put our societies on the couch for a good head shrink rather than trying to enforce better outcomes through laws that so rarely get enforced (on the rich).

    The study sounds way too narrow for what it is studying.

    1. jm

      About thirty years ago, I thought I would teach my daughters that gamblers are sure to end up broke in the long run at any casino game, because the casino always takes a cut of at least a few percent of the wagers. So I constructed a large Excel spreadsheet to simulate such a game, with hundreds of gamblers as rows, and rounds of the game as columns (to the Excel max). To my surprise (and embarrassment), I found that there was always a “Mr. Lucky” row that not only did not go broke, but won on nearly every round and ended rich. Embarrassing, because I realized it should have been obvious to me that the results of such an experiment naturally are expressed by a Gaussian distribution in which, without the casino’s “take”, half the gamblers would end up on the losing side of the median and the other half on the winning side, and the effect of the casino’s “take” is just to skew the median down into the losing range. And of course in a Gaussian distribution there are always cases out at the high and low end “tails”.

      Thinking about those results, I also realized that this phenomenon must also be at work in all areas of competitive human endeavor where there is any element of chance, and that a great may businessmen, generals and admirals praised by historians as geniuses were in fact probably just Mr. Luckies.

  21. Ignacio

    RAY McGOVERN: Catapulting Russian-Meddling Propaganda Consortium News

    You can easily detect when someone is engaged in propaganda when she/he/they feed on black legends to support their claims. Here the black legend is of course the maligne Russia always involved in antidemocratic activities all around the world. You can count on this as s given. It is in the “nature” of Russians to meddle against democracies (they do it everywhere according to the black legend and we have been given “proof” they are actively engaged in such meddling in Catalonia, Scotland and of course any Easter Europe country.

    Because the NYT recoursed to the Russian Black legend it doesn’t matter if Mueller didn’t found any proof. It is just it: Russians just meddle even with the pristine US democracy (How dare!). This is a fact that cannot be challenged because it is what the propaganda has been saying for a century and we are not going to change such a long standing tradition

      1. ambrit

        Indeed, at one time, the Communist Revolution was presented as being a Zionist Plot. Two for one special! I am very surprised that the DoJ hasn’t tried to put the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” into the ‘official’ record.
        The old calumnies are the best.
        (Dear moderator……stay safe out there!)

  22. Jason Boxman

    From Fisk; (and I actually created an account to read these from him, an exertion heretofore never made for any other columnist, interestingly)

    In Damascus, there are rumours that the US has asked an American company to operate the Syrian oil fields – which would not only deprive the Assad government of fuel but effectively steal the oil from the sovereign territory of Syria itself, land which the Russians have insisted must all be returned to Damascus.

    It seems this is an example of our nuclear arsenal working as expected; Assad can’t recover this territory presumably without Russian help, and I doubt Russia wants to start a war, even though the desire for such a war is bi-partisan in Washington. In any case, international law only applies to other countries, not the US; truly we are the world’s exceptional nation.

  23. Michael

    But Republicans countered that complaints about mail delivery disruptions are overblown, and no emergency funding is needed right now.

    “It’s a silly, silly bill,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.

    Let’s do a little experiment and route all of OK’s mail to the senator’s front yard or the local football field and just let people come and get it themselves. We can study the results and apply them nationwide.

    1. lordkoos

      I do a lot of mail order biz both buying and selling, and I have definitely seen the mail service become degraded, starting last year long before the pandemic. Things that once took 3 or 4 days now can take a week, and the lowest-rate parcel post stuff is handled very poorly now, I often see boxes that are beat to hell. At the moment I still have not received a parcel that was shipped on July 23 inside the continental USA.

      1. JTMcPhee

        it’s a wonder that Postal Service employees don’t do more monkey-wrenching. Yes, it has been a fairly comfortable place to make a career, though ever less so as the screws get turned. I think of all those videos of UPS delivery people, who are all “independent contractors” doing ever more oppressive gig work, losing it and taking it out on packages in various unique ways.

        On the USPS side, of course, there are instances of employees just trashing mail or hoarding it, along with the inevitable pilfering of mail for valuables. Amazing to me that there’s not a lot more of it. And got to remember that there are humans involved, so there’s lots of ways it can go wrong:

  24. Steve Kachur

    I recommend this very long interesting piece about actual political organizing on the ground in LA, file it under class warfare, tactical
    Grab a gallon of coffee or whatever you need to stay hydrated for this marathon. While you may not agree with everything, this piece is an important and impassioned explanation of what it takes to get somewhere politically.

    1. hunkerdown

      This one is a must-read. All sorts of dense, chewy goodness and scintillating insight. What’s especially interesting is they’ve sort of turned idpol against the hegemon, with a focus on the qualitative aspects of identity and the similarity of alliance members’ collective past experiences, not just the quantitative tick-box collecting and history erasure we usually hear about.

  25. Zagonostra

    -Jerry Falwell

    The Republicans may have a problem with evangelicals but the Democrats have a bigger one with Cardi B. The religious-cultural tensions will never completely resolve. They are forever in conflict with Capitalism making use of both.

    1. lordkoos

      Yes, please do elaborate. Equating Cardi B with evangelicals? You may not care for her nasty lyrics or whatever but unlike the evangelical movement, Cardi B has little to no political power.

  26. Susan the other

    I’m not sure where Nouriel Roubini stands. His famous quip that gold is a barbaric relic still holds true, yet he talks like fiat needs to keep the budget under control as if there were some unspoken gold standard still being used. He doesn’t seem to be worried we will run out of resources. Not quite MMT. No mention of direct fiscal spending. But several sentences to the effect that the dollar is safe internationally because it is a “stable store of value” – because it is accepted and trusted. And liquidity will be provided? Theory and practice are diverging. The Fed is providing dollars as fast as it can. The whole theory is to save capitalism, of course. And no other currency is as trusted as the dollar. But the underlying truth is that any symbolic store of value is past its sell date. We need a new value system.

    1. Wukchumni

      The fiat system of unlimited money is clearly on the ropes, why not replace it with something that worked for thousands of years?

      The slight problem being that in no way shape or form is there enough of all that glitters to satisfy the demand for said unlimited funds, unless the spot price was say $1 million per oz?

      That said, Argentina is a fine example of a busted economy (the Peso has lost over 98% of it’s value against other currencies since 2000) and here’s how it played out there, so it can be done.

      2000: 1 oz = 400 Pesos

      2020: 1 oz = 140,000 Pesos

      1. hunkerdown

        Imparting value to the product of slave labor, environmental pollution, and human-on-human predation “works fine”. The violent lack of historical memory concerns me greatly, especially the late 19th century. Besides, grain worked even better as money.

        With only a little cheek I suggest it might be time for anti-MMT posters to add those portfolio disclosure disclaimers to their comments…

      2. Grant

        With all of our societal problems, with the environmental crisis, it makes zero logical sense to expand or contract the money supply based on a commodity. And there are huge issues with private investment since markets not and can not take into account non market information, which is huge relative to the things we measure in markets. To me, you are proposing a 19th century solution to a 21st century problem. In fact, we are going to have to move away from markets entirely if we want to get serious about the environmental crisis.

        The gold standard outlived its usefulness, which is why it was scrapped. We might as well call for a return to feudalism.

    2. lordkoos

      I have price sticker shock whenever I have to make a purchase of something that I last had to buy 10 or more years ago, so just from personal experience I would say the dollar is a pretty crappy store of wealth.

    3. jm

      The US is about the only nation in the world whose leaders and citizens think a strong currency is a good thing. In the 1993-1994 time frame, Japan issued IIRC about $400 billion worth of yen to buy dollars and keep the yen from rising (i.e., keep it weak against the dollar), and publicly committed to having about a trillion dollars worth ready as ammunition against anyone who might be tempted to emulate George Soros’ 1992 coup against the British pound. The reason was, of course, that the strong yen was threatening Japan’s trade surplus with the US ( At the time I was a free-lance translator of technical Japanese, a regular reader of the Japanese economics monthly 東洋経済 (Toyo Keizai), and occasional traveler to Japan, and was well aware that the strong yen was encouraging Japanese entrepreneurs to begin aggressively importing goods from the US. Needless to say, Japan’s business-government oligarchy weren’t going to stand for that.

      But they were pikers compared to the Chinese, who printed about $3 trillion worth of yuan to conjure up apparent “comparative advantage” in manufactured goods trade.

      1. Acacia

        Thanks for this! Out of curiosity, what’s your take on Richard Werner’s reading of Japanese monetary policy?

        1. jm

          Sorry, haven’t been following Japanese economics lately. Have been paying more attention to China (esp. Michael Pettis’ work). Semi-retired now, so won’t buy Werner’s expensive book. Might read it when Covid-19 situation allows UofC library to re-open.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I don’t know much detail about Werners work (although I’m sure the Chinese pay attention, as they always do to Japan’s economic history), but I like that he looks at what Central Banks do, not what they say. As you suggest, Pettis is an incredibly interesting writer on China’s policy, I learn a lot just following him on Twitter.

            I’m no expert in the topic, just a casual observer, but it has always seemed to me that most Asian central banks consider interest rates to be a minor tool, they are far more interested in direct micro interventions in the economy. They’ve never believed in the magical market fairy, and have always believed that manufacturing matters.

  27. edmondo

    I usually find MoDo tiresome but am always amazed at the readers’ comments. Are the readers of the NYT the most fragile people ever? And I love the way The Resistance has washed away all Joe Biden’s sins. “Vote for Biden and we’ll figure it out later” is the rallying cry. If Trump is re-elected (not an outrageous possibility considering who is his opponent) they suicide rate will go exponential just among readers of the New York Times. I almost want to vote for Trump to watch Jonestown-on-the-Hudson if Joe goes down to defeat.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Surprising that no one is mentioning The Biden’s statement “I would shut the nation down if that’s what the scientists say”.

      I think this is so bad and so wrong, so totally ba-dong.

      How about this instead: “If scientists say so (still totally frought), and my economic advisors tell me the nation and our finances can withstand another complete meltdown, and my mental health advisors say the additional suicide deaths are fewer than Covid deaths, and my medical advisors say deaths from missed checkups and procedures will be less than Covid deaths, and my social advisors say the missed school and university terms will not completely upend students’ lives and destroy the school and university systems, and my business advisors say if we act to open now many small businesses can still be saved, and we have examined the learnings from other nations that protected the vulnerable and simply limited large social gatherings then I would weigh all those factors together and make a decision based on all of the critical inputs across the board“.

      Instead true to form we get a totally political and totally ideological statement about this matter of life and death, a statement designed to feed on ignorance. Dems!

  28. fresno dan

    So, as described in a previous posting, my Faber kitchen knife had broken (the handle broke right off the knife – but it gave good service for 30 years), and in which my foray for a new kitchen knife at both Target and Walmart were unsuccessful in finding a new kitchen knife. So I ventured out to the mall for the first time since the pandemic. This is the Fresno Fashion Fair Mall.
    I started at the end of the mall at Macy’s, and found that the kitchen wares section, although I think I had only bought one or two items from Macy’s housewares in 30 years, I recall it as being quite extensive. Alas, not now, at least not at this store. A sum total of 3 knives (not 3 kinds of knives, 3 knives) were available, all more expensive than I was willing to pay. I was than surprised to learn that I could not walk through the mall from Macy’s to JC Penney, because none of the interior stores were open. So I drove over to JC Penney, and although their selection of knives was very sparse as well, there was a pair of knives with a cutting board that was suitable as a price that was satisfactory.
    The day itself was surreal, the overcast air from the smoke from CA fires gives the sky a gray caste, the customers all masked, the mall parking lot vacant except for groups of cars in front of the anchor stores.
    Driving around, it seemed traffic was less, but not extremely so, than a regular Sunday. So with bars, restaurants, and some retail still closed, were where all these people going?

    1. Oh

      It’s because the Dim Party took all the knives in “Obama’s night of the Long Knives”!

      On a serious note, Macy’s is getting ready to close down and therefore they’re not replenishing their inventory. Another brick and mortar store bites the dust!

    2. Wukchumni

      We’re getting hit with a double whammy now, the overwhelming smoke from the Bay Area fires, and a quick growing new fire about 40 miles away, the Castle Fire, which is dropping ash ever so slightly in Mineral King. It was 4,000 acres as of yesterday and is growing.

      My hiking summer is over, not worth the effort and dangerous to breathe in all that gunk.

    3. Jason Boxman

      Possibly outside your desired price range, but I’ve enjoyed my MAC Japanese steel chef’s knife over the last 6 years. There are several different types of steel, so I had no idea of the choices available. It was recommended by a family member. But it has done well enough for me so far. I only hone it with a ceramic rod; I haven’t had it sharped yet. (It’s time to hone again, been awhile!)

      1. Yves Smith

        You can get very good knives, but to your point, you now have to get high end “chef’s” knives when a mere upper mid range knife used to hold an edge just as well and be similarly durable.

        And you are doing the right thing whetting it yourself. Unless you go a place that knows what it is doing (Sur La Table before its BK was one), they’ll just sharpen it in a cheap grinding machine. You’ll get a sharper edge short term but it basically ruins the knife. It’s a manual process to properly edge a good knife and it is hard to find.

        This is analogous to the organic food scam. Mind you, I eat organic food as much as I can but I am not religious. But the point is it costs only 5% to 10% more to produce than factory farm food, but it’s 30% to 50% more at retail because the affluenza will pay and the hell with ordinary people who want to avoid pesticides.

    4. ambrit

      Not to sound all twee or anything like that but, I get all our knives, and some good ones at that, from the local thrift stores. In fact, there are too many decent knives to chose from. Our knife drawer has in it, knives ranging from little one and a half inch blade apple paring knives, several Ginsu style blades, on up to my Prepper Carry blade, a five and a half inch edge heavy Bowie style blade by someone called Chefco, full tang, five sixteenths inch thick. Heavy bugger too.
      Forget all about that ‘mystique’ of the knife wielding “self reliant loner.” Get blades to fit the use. Who cares what they look like or what brand they are. If they do the intended job, they are perfect.

      1. jm

        Amen. The most important thing is to know how to sharpen. You don’t need expensive sharpening stones to do it. Wet-dry sandpaper on a smooth counter top, a sheet of plate glass, or a flat ceramic tile from a DIY store will suffice. Start at 180 grit for a knife in really bad condition, work up to 600 grit. Watch

        1. ambrit

          I’ve got a couple of old style electrical “insulator tubes.” Very old electric wires were run bare in the attic and walls. So, to avoid grounding, every penetration of wood had to be insulated. The solution used was unglazed ceramic tubes, looking like opium den cigarette holders. I used to find them and retrieve them from very old house remodeling jobs.
          As to sand paper; Dad was trained as a draftsman in the age of pencils. He always sharpened his pencils on a small sheet of fine grit sandpaper he kept on his desk.

  29. Jason Boxman

    You know, you can’t escape capitalism, either. Lately buying a house somewhere out of the way and planting a vegetable garden and just cooking stuff sounds appealing; but I’d need so much passive income to cover health insurance, it’s not even possible. And I’ve a ways to go before Medicare, if I live that long.

    And that’s how you discipline labour. No choices, you work or you die. You can’t opt out in the United States without putting yourself at grave risk if you ever get sick. (Or there’s a natural diaster, ect.)

    Happy Sunday!

    1. JWP

      Now we can’t opt out of the US! Something like 150 countries are completely banning US citizens until the virus is under control. I imagine that will continue when political and social tensions turn this place into the very country we sanction- until the economic damage fully destroys it.

      1. lordkoos

        That one hurt, as in the back of my mind I always figured if worst came to worse we could GTFO of the USA. Now we’re trapped as who can say when the virus will be under control, around here there are a ton of anti-maskers and I’m sure that is the case all over the USA.

        1. Jason Boxman

          True. It doesn’t really matter for me, as I’m not of a class that can leave this country. I don’t draw Social Security checks. I don’t have desirable advanced education. I’m not rich. I’m not young.

          Kind of out of luck on the whole emigration bit.

          And that’s pre-COVID-19.

  30. Dirk77

    Re: “Charles Darwin’s famous Galapagos Islands threatened by huge Chinese fishing fleet.” Jerry-Lynn I totally agree with your recommendation. Another example that there are too many people in this world and the ones who aren’t vegetarians need to go first. Which includes myself but that’s the breaks.

    1. Dirk77

      The problem about posting to blogs are the ones you later wish you could delete. The above is one.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Ha. But you don’t post with your real name. Some day I might find myself unemployable, given my posting here. That’s gonna be fun. Not sure why it didn’t occur to me until about 6 months ago; I’ve been posting here for probably 10 years. If there’s an obliviousness award, I win.

        1. ambrit

          Don’t worry JB! The geeks at Langley can backtrack the internet connection and get an “address” to go with any ‘handle.’
          I always post with the understanding that, on the Internet, there are no secrets.
          Besides, if we were to freak out over everything we were told to worry about by all and sundry today, we would be nervous wrecks. [That could actually be a game plan.]

      2. Late Introvert

        Heh. Don’t feel bad Dirk77. We’ve all been there. But I’m a vegetarian so of course I will speak up in support of your policy. And now I regret posting this also….

  31. JWP

    From the personal Groves of Academe:
    At Wake Forest, 300 freshman decided to throw a part on the lower quad complete with no masks, open container alcohol, and plenty of bumpin and grinding. Immediately broken up by police. (a Darwin Award nominee perhaps) Then the thrill of three frats already under investigation for hosting parties 2 days into the semester. Lots of mask wearing around campus, but when the sun goes down, all bets are off.

    I am not on campus, but through the various channels, it looks like its going just as bad as expected.

    To cap it off the President sent an email “urging” students to be “vigilant” in their adhering to protocol and even told parents to talk to their kids about safety. Here’s to the generation to “save us”

      1. JWP

        Stats were not released for pre class testing results. I’ve heard of at least 3 people i know testing positive once on campus. Seeing as it’s a wealthier private school I will have to do some digging to get official numbers.

        1. Late Introvert

          Cases doubled overnight in Johnson County, Iowa. Where dorm move-ins have been ocurring without any testing or tracing at the land grant University of Iowa, long time bastion of reason reduced to a neoliberal skid mark in the underpants of Amerika.

          Because, you know, capitalism and profits and stuff, that might get challenged in some way, and we can’t have that now can we?

  32. LifelongLib

    IIRC the last U.S. president to propose universal health care and a guaranteed income was (wait for it) Richard Nixon. Never thought I’d be nostalgic for that guy…

  33. allan

    The Trump-Navarro mind meld on the FDA [Axios]

    Senior health officials in the Trump administration were taken aback last Monday when the president’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, accused them of being part of the “Deep State” during a meeting that was supposed to be about COVID-19 and the Strategic National Stockpile. …

    According to two sources in the Monday meeting, Navarro had aggressively confronted FDA officials, saying, “You are all Deep State and you need to get on Trump Time.” (That’s the expression Navarro uses to describe the speed that he says Trump demands.)

    Sources familiar with the situation said Navarro has been venting at the FDA for weeks at what he perceives as its slowness to approve therapeutics to fight COVID-19 …

    Another Kodak Moment™ for economist Navarro’s biomedical expertise.

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