Links 8/26/2020

The End of Oil Is Near SIerra Club

Norway oil fund chief drama has exposed weaknesses in country’s model FT

Green swans: Why climate change is unlike any other financial risk In The Black (periol). The BIS and accounting standards material is interesting.

Will We Ever Listen To The Warnings? David Sirota, Too Much Information

UN-backed climate fund faces wave of abuse allegations from staff FT

How the shadow of slavery still hangs over global finance The Conversation

California Wildfires

California Fires Live Updates: Firefighters Make Progress in ‘Marathon’ Battle NYT

Yes, climate change is almost certainly fueling California’s massive fires MIT Technology Review

US Media Can’t Think How to Fight Fires Without $1-an-Hour Prison Labor FAIR

Caixin Reveals Details of Chinese Developers at Centre of LA Bribery Scandal Caixin

Lobbyist agrees to plea deal in L.A. City Hall corruption case LA Times


This Devastating Spill Is a Big Problem for Oil Bloomberg

Plages souillées: pas de baignade avant 6 mois? L’Express (Colonel Smithers). Google translation.


Four scenarios on how we might develop immunity to Covid-19 Stat

Two metres or one: what is the evidence for physical distancing in covid-19? British Medical Journal

Some people can get the pandemic virus twice, a study suggests. That is no reason to panic Science

The China Syndrome Part I: Outbreak Quillette. This looks very good.

‘Heinous!’: Coronavirus researcher shut down for Wuhan-lab link slams new funding restrictions Nature

Scientists Are Racing to Develop Paper-Based Tests for Covid-19 Smithsonian

Conservatives sue to knock down Tony Evers’ health emergency, mask mandate Journal-Sentinel. By contrast:

Articles of impeachment drawn up against Gov. Mike DeWine over coronavirus orders

Why the United States is having a coronavirus data crisis Nature

Lex in-depth: why rescue finance will slow recovery for businesses FT


Trump administration weighs accusing China of ‘genocide’ over Uighurs Politico

GM Sells 15,000 Low-Cost EVs For China In First 20 Days Jalopnik (Re Silc).

Our schools couldn’t afford that many basketballs:

Except the private ones, of course.


A Hidden Tycoon, African Explosives, and a Loan from a Notorious Bank: Questionable Connections Surround Beirut Explosion Shipment OCCRP

Palestine deleted Mondoweiss

Africa declared free of wild polio in ‘milestone’ BBC


Germany to Push Greece and Turkey to Resume Talks on Energy Clash Bloomberg

New Cold War

Might Belarus become the next Syria? The Saker

The Back And Forth About Navalny’s ‘Poisoning’ Moon of Alabama. If Putin poisoned Navalny, why on earth was Navalny allowed to leave Russia to be treated in a German hospital?

Trump and Putin’s Pandemic Duet: Trump’s America Is Far More out of Tune CSIS

Russia Just Declassified Footage of the Largest Nuke Ever Tested Vice (Re Silc).

Trump Transition

In reversal, Trump kills huge Alaskan gold mine. Here’s why Science

Terminating payroll tax could end Social Security benefits in 2023, chief actuary warns NBC

Republican National Convention

Republicans sought to strike a hopeful tone on Day 2 of their convention USA Today

Speaker removed from RNC program after tweeting anti-Semitic conspiracy theory CNN

Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins on QAnon and disinformation Columbia Journalism Review


Elites Yearn for a Restoration Abroad Under Biden WSJ

Big Brother Is Watching You

Customs and Border Protection Paid $476,000 to a Location Data Firm in New Deal Vice

Activists find camera inside mysterious box on power pole near union organizer’s home FOX13

Police State Watch

Inside The Seething White Heart Of The Blue Lives Matter Movement Gothamist

Health Care

Preparing for the Next Pandemic Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine

Black Injustice Tipping Point


The Burning House The Nation. “Rather than create a nation of homeowners, the housing programs of the Great Society, which relied on public-private ventures that almost always benefited the private interests, only helped to intensify racial disparities.” Oh, Lordie, public-private partnerships.

Failed State

The Case for Climate Action: Building a Clean Economy for the American People (PDF) Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. The final two paragraphs:

Imagine if the political polarities on climate change suddenly reversed. Imagine if the big trade associations were led by the science and the economics of climate change, not by fossil fuel money. Imagine how quickly Congress could act if powerful trade associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers became advocates for serious pro-climate policies. Imagine if the powerful banking, agricultural, financial services, technology, and consumer products lobbies came in and demanded real climate action.

Corporate America need not imagine this. Corporate America can make it happen. When it decides to show up.

Legal Interventions to Address US Reductions in Life Expectancy JAMA.

Age-based, geographic, and socioeconomic status disparities collectively diminish average life expectancy. Midlife “diseases of despair” (eg, suicides, drug overdoses, and alcohol-related conditions), firearm violence, and obesity also are contributing factors for reduced life expectancy, especially in rural counties, the industrial Midwest, and Appalachia. Life expectancy gaps among the richest and poorest 1% of the population are estimated to exceed 10 years for women and 14 years for men. Stated simply, poorer, less-educated individuals in the US live considerably shorter lives. This pattern of inequality has been highlighted further during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Complete, across-the-board failure by the political class in its entirety at the most basic, material level. Or overwhelming success, depending.

Class Warfare

America’s Terrible Internet Is Making Quarantine Worse The Atlantic

‘I am beside myself’: millions in the US face evictions amid looming crisis Guardian

‘You Couldn’t Swipe Fast Enough’: How the Pandemic Devastated Instacart Workers Vice (Re Silc).

Bullion funds strike it rich delivering gold to London vaults

Organizational Evolution at the Washington Free Health Clinic Grassroots Economic Organizing

How to End America’s Loneliness Epidemic Blloomberg

Antidote du jour (RM):

RM writes: “My daughter sent me this from Mesa Verde, Colorado where she works.”

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. zagonostra

    >GM Sells 15,000 Low-Cost EVs For China In First 20 Days

    My days in Shanghai were filled by spotting small, practical vans (made by GM-SAIC’s Wuling) and attractive all-electric and hybrid sedans, wagons, and minivans (made by Buick)…the Hong Guang MINI EV. It’s a four-seater city car, good for about 65 miles per hour and 75 miles of range. It looks good and it doesn’t cost much: …around $4,162 USD.

    First time I went to Italy I remember seeing stylish small cars that I would have loved to own. When I first went to Mexico there were thousands of air cooled VW Beetles. Now when I travel, I see more Ford Explorers and large SUV’s.

    I loved driving in motorized rickshaws (trucksters). I remember the thrill of my uncle letting me drive his on a winding rural Italian street, the steering was done by motorcycle handle bars and the back was like that of a small pick-up truck that we could load up with animal feed.

    I’m not sure that “practical” is what motivates the majority of American Consumers. I am sure that the profit margins on large/expensive cars is what motivates “Detroit.” I just wish we had more choices. But like politics in the U.S., the parameters of what you can buy is narrowly controlled.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      In 1989 I lived in Paris with a very wealthy family for four months and was lucky to drive one of their very tiny old(er) cars down to South of France. I can picture the car in my head but do not remember the make. It changed my mind forever about big cars. Until I needed to live in one.

      But “Will We Ever Listen To The Warnings?” throws a blanket of sadness over those memories. I knew enough about climate change back then but it was not until 2000 that I gave up owning a car. Until I needed to live in one.

      Now I cannot think of the drives I made up and down the California coast without imagining the trail of fire I have left in my wake.

      1. Winston Smith

        I assume that would not be the legendary Citroen deux chevaux? Not really tiny and certainly not for wealthy people

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Possibly the Renault 4, the main competitor to the Citroen ‘henhouse on wheels’.

        My uncle ran a mid sized mixed farm on a west of Ireland mountainside using a Zetor tractor and a Renault 4 for many years. The Renault hauled everything from fertilizer to chickens until it expired after about 2 decades. He never saw the need for anything bigger or more powerful. You can still see them all over the French countryside. Many actually are henhouses.

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          Oh no, I am pretty sure it was a Fiat or a Renault. Pretty sure it was a Renault 6.

          They were wealthy but humble. The father parents were killed in the holocaust but he escaped with some nuns to France from Poland when he was a child.

          1. Winston Smith

            I remember a memorable vacation with my brother with a Renault 4 (stick shift coming out of the dashboard) in the massif central where the roads are sinuous to say the least…we got a little seasick after a while. Stopping in an isolated little town cafe for breakfast, and the local laborers were having their big glass of “gros rouge”

          2. ChrisPacific

            Fiat Bambina (Fiat 500) is probably the smallest car I’ve seen. (You don’t find them in America). Good for parking tricks – if the spaces are reasonably wide you can get away with angle parking them between two normally-sized parallel parked cars, for example.

            Rumor had it that if you had a few strong friends to help you could pick them up and carry them, although I think that one is probably an exaggeration.

      3. David

        It may well have been the Renault 4 which was the standard town car of the time, with the slightly larger Renault 5. The Citroen 2CV was essentially a farmer’s car, not seen much in the towns.

    2. sd

      There isn’t much in the way of actual choice in the US – regardless of model most Chevrolet / Audi / Mercedes / Toyota / Honda / BMW / Ford / Dodge / Acura / Tesla etc [fill in the blank] pretty much looks the same. And all of their smallest bases models are still fairly large.

      Dodge once made a small truck, the D50, their smallest today is a 1500. If you want a small truck, the competitors don’t carry one, so you don’t get a choice unless you can find something’s used.

      Free market competition is a joke when everyone just provides the same product.

      1. Charger01

        True, but the midsize truck market is healthy. Colorado/Tacoma/Ranger/Frontier are all available to folks with normal sized garages. Actual small cars are pretty hard to come by, only a handful. IMHO, the real value right now is sedans. Malibus, Altimas and Fusions are very very good cars are excellent prices (especially as Hertz winds downs their inventory in bankruptcy)

        1. barefoot charley

          My 1999 Tacoma is two thirds the size of the smallest pickup one can buy in the US today. Detroit has communicated its longstanding bloat disease to all importers, and walled off the US against small cars as well. I have a very useful seat-shelf behind our front seats for groceries, tool chests, whatever, with no necessary door. Now all small pickups have full seats back there with back doors, they are all crew cabs, whether you have a crew to haul or not, which the overwhelming majority of users don’t. You can’t not buy what you don’t want, even from the Japanese–Detroit won’t let them be imported.

          1. Bill Smith

            I’ve noticed the same thing.

            The shortest 2020 Tacoma is 34 inches longer than then the 2003 model I have.

      2. RMO

        sd: The D50 was built by Mitsubishi. The big three importing a small truck and rebranding it was common at the time. My family business had one as a delivery truck. 300,000KM before it had a real problem (cylinder head started leaking coolant to the combustion chamber and sump – a problem the 2600cc four became known for). The carburettor on it was kind of dodgy too, though only having to replace it once in our ownership wasn’t bad, especially compared to the GMC Safari van which seemed to need replacement fuel pumps as often as oil filters! The D50 got functionally replaced by the Dakota which at the time was sold as the first “mid-size” pickup. The original Dakota looks tiny by today’s standards.

        We have a 2013 Honda Ridgeline. Payload and towing capacity are good for our needs and the trunk is amazingly useful. I do wish the bed was lower though. That’s what I miss most about the small trucks that I used to use for paint deliveries (1990 Mazda B220, 1994 Nissan, 1998 Nissan Frontier). With the old trucks I could load a 200L drum with just one helper and unload them solo when I needed to. The last time I carried heavy cargo in the Ridgeline (an aircraft canopy in a wooden crate) it was loaded by forklift but had to be unloaded by hand – it was kind of dodgy.

        Sadly it seems like small cars just don’t sell well in North America. We still get a few here in Canada that have been (or are about to be) pulled from the US market but there still isn’t a lot of choice.

    3. Olga

      And then there is this:
      “With a virtual launch Tuesday, Texas became home to what’s promising to be the most affordable electric car to hit the U.S. market. Kandi America is now taking preorders for its K27 and K23 models with a delivery date before the end of the year. The smallest of the two is a compact model, while the larger is the size of a small SUV.”
      Not sure what virtual launch is, but I guess we’ll see.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      So much of car use and design is cultural rather than based on needs. I’m firmly convinced that the clear majority of car users do not need anything much bigger than a VW Golf, and yet the roads are full over oversized vehicles carrying one or two people. I despair sometimes at a friend of mine who is saving up for a brand new seven seater SUV. She has two small children. I simply can’t understand what she wants the space for, and she can only give me a vague ‘but the extra size is so useful!’ explanation.

      Incidentally, the Fiat 500 is one of the classic little cars of Europe, no doubt thats what you saw so much of. I can’t find the reference right now, but I read somewhere that for the US market it was increased in size and weight and the standard engine has 50% more CO2 emissions than the standard gasoline engine for the European versions.

      Here in Europe there is a very real problem with CO2 emissions from vehicles rising because of the popularity of the sub-SUV here. These are basically regular cars with over muscled bodies and jacked up suspensions to make them look bigger, to no obvious reason except to make them use more fuel to do the same job. I don’t own a car, but hire regularly, so I’ve experienced a wide range of different styles and types over the last couple of years. Despite stuffing the vehicle at times with my mountain bike and inflatable kayak and all sorts of other things, I’ve found very little difference in capacity between these fake SUV’s and the baseline hatchbacks they are based on. Its all marketing.

      Anyway, the only vague piece of good news in all this is that EV’s are getting quite fashionable – they seem (at least outside the US) to have hit a tipping point of acceptability with the consumer, despite the high prices so far. The car industry could potentially damage itself by having insufficient EV capacity for consumer demand, while having far too much legacy production capacity for IC cars. I won’t cry for them.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘but I read somewhere that for the US market it was increased in size and weight’

        I have come across this phenomena before when I was reading a brief history of the Ford Mustang. It started off as a solid car but then over the next few years grew in size as “enhancements” were added which did not actually mean that it got more powerful. After growing into an outsize monster, a second generation Mustang was built in the mid-70s which brought it back to its original size but once again this demand for increase in size cause it to grow-

      2. witters

        I despair sometimes at a friend of mine who is saving up for a brand new seven seater SUV. She has two small children. I simply can’t understand what she wants the space for, and she can only give me a vague ‘but the extra size is so useful!’ explanation.

        I think she plans on more than two.

      3. Clive

        Yes, the new car market here in Europe is truly bizarre. And not even in a good-bizarre way, certainly for CO2 emissions and use of resources (such as in manufacturing).

        My mother-in-law is getting serious MOT jitters (US readers, you really don’t want to know, but suffice to say this is a nonsensical reason often touted for replacing a perfectly good vehicle here in the UK) and looking to replace her Honda Jazz (sold as the Fit outside Europe). Aside from the fact this has grown with each new model (the current one isn’t what I’d call a small car any longer) it is ridiculously expensive for what it is.

        When my mother-in-law spoke to the dealership, leaving aside the problem of actually trying to buy a car (as in, for cash, not leased) which the salesman more-or-less did everything he could to dissuade her from doing, despite the fact my mother-in-law might have difficulty being accepted for a credit agreement at her age, the other issue was in trying to persuade the Honda agent to let her buy one in the first place. My mother-in-law was told repeatedly, why not buy a (much larger) CR-V which would, if only she’d lease it, be cheaper on the monthly payments (I think it’s on run-off as a new model is imminent so there’s hu-uu-ge dealer incentives, especially on finance).

        I’m going to have to accompany her to the dealer (don’t know about the US, but here in the UK, there’s still some rather Neanderthal attitudes towards women, especially older women, buying autos) to sort out a sensible price on the car she actually wants to drive..

        1. Olga

          At least in Central Eu, Jazz is now sold as a hybrid – if she really wants a new car, that’d be a step up. (Jazz/Fit is a good car, my 30+ yr mechanic bought a Fit for his wife, and says they rarely come in for repairs.) And yes, CR-V seems to be just a jazzed up Jazz.
          I think it is marketing – automakers make more $$ on the larger cars, so they push them.

          1. anonymous

            The Jazz/Fit has been discontinued in the US (alas). In my capacity as a car nut, I can pass along that its SUV counterpart is not the CR-V but the smaller HR-V. The poster who connected the CR-V to the next-size-up Civic is correct.

        2. Dr. John Carpenter

          Ask my partner, who is more knowledgeable about cars than most grease monkeys and used to drag race, about how women are treated in the US auto dealers and repair shops. She’s got stories she loves to tell.

          1. Foy

            There’s a lady, Patrice Banks, in Philadelphia who asked her female friends what is the one thing that they wished they could do that a man does or that always causes them consternation that a man generally doesn’t feel and they almost all said it was getting the car serviced/repaired.

            So she went and studied and became an auto mechanic and opened a shop appealing to women with female mechanics (called shecanics) and with an adjoining manicure-pedicure and blowout salon.

            Her logo is a red high heel with a spanner for the heel (and she has a good story about how that came to be).


            I heard her on interviewed on BBC radio the other, a very entertaining lady.

            Here’s her autoshop website


        3. Charger01

          The Jazz is an excellent vehicle. I hope she would consider repairing it to pass the MOT rather than buy a new rig.

        4. John Zelnicker

          August 26, 2020 at 8:54 am

          Your mother’s experience is widespread across the US.

          For some reason car salespeople seem to be so sexist that they think that women are incapable of knowing what they want and being able to close a deal. It’s truly disgusting.

          A close friend of mine, a widow, went to buy a car, for cash, like your mother, and was told she needed to bring her husband to the dealership so they could get his approval for her purchase with her money?!?! The fact that she was a widow did not deter them and they refused to sell her a car without a man being present. Subsequently, she had to get her brother to accompany her so she could buy the car she wanted.

          The Rev Kev’s link above is spot on. Women are indeed invisible to car salespeople. When I was buying a car for my last ex-wife, one salesman did the exact same thing. Suffice it to say he did not make a sale.

          1. George Phillies

            I am reminded of a local Toyota dealership. Their billboards — I do not recall seeing them recently, but I rarely drive on roads with billboards — featured a sketch of a young lady in a yoga pose in on a carpet in front of a laptop. Their policy on new car sales was ‘we do not bargain. On the other hand, we give you the price you would have had with good bargaining.’

        5. PlutoniumKun

          Its bizarre that they are trying to sell off CR-V’s to someone looking for a Jazz. There is nothing wrong with a CR-V – a friend of mine has had one for 12 years and its done huge mileage with minimal issues. But I just had a look at the Honda website here (you piqued my curiousity) and the base model is a third more than the Civic – and they are essentially the same car, the CR-V just has more metal on top. I had a rental Civic recently, the first time I’ve driven one, and I was very impressed, much nicer to drive than the CR-V and nicer even than VW’s I’ve recently driven. I can only assume that there is a much larger margin on the SUV, although of course if you believe economic theory, in a competitive market this sort of anomoly isn’t supposed to exist.

          But it does show the horrible distortions in the market that a dealer won’t just sell the car the customer wants. If he wants a bigger bonus, surely he should be upselling on accessories. I’d love to know the reasons for this.

        6. ambrit

          Late to this party, but one really good bit of advice I got was to never tell the dealer you are paying cash. Most dealers now make their main profit on the financing. Go in, deal like mad, get everything squared away and, at the actual signing ceremony, drop the bomb that you will pay cash. Seriously, several people I have known who deal in the auto sales world say that there is a higher initial price quoted for cash customers.
          Also, at least here in America, read every piece of paper you sign. Dealers are notorious for slipping in extras to the middle of the pile of documents. Things like “premium” undercarriage sealers. (All cars now have undercarriage sealant rated good enough for the region the car will be sold in.)
          Literally so; YMMV.
          Good luck!

      4. MT_Bill

        When I lived in the outskirts of Phoenix, I used to laugh at the soccer moms with three kids trying to park their Expedition or Suburban at the market. I considered them mormon assault vehicles and outlandishly large.

        Now that I have children, I have a much better realization of how quickly you run out of space. Two adults, two kids in car seats, two dogs, diaper bag, and a cooler is about all an Outback will hold. And I would not consider it a small vehicle.

        1. Arizona Slim

          To think that Mom drove me and my friends around in an Opel Kadette wagon. A small car if there ever was one.

          Our favorite thing about that car? The horn. We’d beg Mom to honk it, because it sounded so funny.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Went from El Paso to Socal, in the backseat of a VW bug, with my two little sisters, in July, with no ac. It would have been around 1970.
            Just brutal.

      5. Dr. John Carpenter

        I think you are 100% right about the change being cultural. Where I work, for instance, twenty years ago, the parking lot would have been filled with luxury cars, more of the fast and sporty variety. Think BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc. If you go by now, it’s bulging with over-sized luxury pickup trucks, whose beds show no signs of ever hauled anything. I think for especially the male yuppie demographic, these behemoths are the status symbol ride of the time.

        As for SUVs, there’s been a line from station wagon to mini van to SUV. Just as a small pickup truck is nearly impossible to find, so is an actual station wagon. We have our share of SUVs here too, all of which obscenely large. How many people would be caught dead in a station wagon, if you could even find one?

        I hate car shopping as I’m in that demographic where they desperately want to sell me one of these trucks or SUVs and I wouldn’t take one for free.

        1. zagonostra

          You’re so right about small pick-up truck. I’m always on the look out to buy an old Toyota Tacoma from its early days, those trucks get +300k Miles.

          1. ambrit

            Yes. I drove an old Datsun pickup with a two litre four banger until it actually died on me on the I-12 outside of Hammond, Louisiana.

        2. WobblyTelomeres

          Perhaps the 25% tariff on imported trucks has something to do with margins and the nonstop 30 year marketing barage that has shaped consumer preference?

      6. ChrisPacific

        I lived in the US for a long time and never saw a Fiat 500 or anything resembling it. Even Minis were unheard of until the reissued model came out (and the new Mini isn’t anywhere near as ‘mini’ as the old one).

        Americans like things big, especially cars, and energy conservation often seemed like a foreign concept to them – in fact it often felt like they were being encouraged to be wasteful. I have a feeling that the consumer auto market serves as a demand generation engine for the oil industry in the same way that the Pentagon serves as a demand generation engine for the aerospace/security/military hardware industry. I can remember being surprised when I moved away at how much of a big deal green issues like recycling, conservation etc. were in the rest of the world. They barely even rated a whisper in the US at the time (I’m not sure if it’s still that way).

        1. michael99

          You mention recycling; do countries other than the US actually do recycling properly? It seems that a lot of US plastic recycling over the years got shipped to China or Indonesia, and much of it didn’t actually get recycled. And since 2018 China has been refusing to take it anymore. The public TV station in the US, PBS, has a news program called Frontline, with a recent episode about plastics and the fraud that is plastic recycling in the US. Infuriating.

      7. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the extra size is so useful!

        I can’t help thinking that the obesity epidemic and our bloated (and very hostile-looking) vehicles are somehow connected.

    5. jan

      Small cars.
      Well in the netherlands there were a few weird ones, in the 50s, like the goggomobil, the isetta, the messerschmitt kabinenroller, heinkel kabine.
      Real minis.

    6. Watt4Bob

      It was probably over ten years ago that I read about a Ford Motor Company exec in China who took it upon himself to produce a small van that IIRC got about 60 mpg and cost about $4500.

      At the time, there was no auto financing available in China and everyone saved to purchase with cash.

      The most popular vehicle at the time was a VW that cost $10,000, so this new Ford product immediately became the new favorite, and a great success right?

      Ford sent a team to China to take command away from the guy who created it, and sent him back to Detroit and stuck him in a dead-end job, putting an end to his career?

      What I wondered at the time was why can’t we have cheeper, more fuel efficient vehicles here?

      1. ambrit

        I remember when the early Mitsubishi cars came out. A co-worker had a hatchback model that he tested out and it gave him 45 miles per gallon when driven properly. Gas mileage is all about the transmission. The big car makers went all in for the “new” six speed automatic transmissions to get better gas mileage. It worked. If you can deal with a manual transmission, you’ve got ’em by the short and curlies!

      2. Tom Bradford

        On retirement we bought an almost-new small Toyota something-or-other. In the four years since we’ve clocked up around 1,600 km (1,000 miles), largely on trips to the doctor’s surgery or hospital out-patients. With the costs of actually owning a car being what they are before you even put it on the road it’d be cheaper to use a taxi when required but the possibility that we might need to get to hospital in a hurry militates against that – though I have to remember to put the battery on charge every month or so.

        Refilling the tank is an annual event – if I’ve done the conversions correctly a gallon of 91 octane unleaded here in NZ is the equivalent of US$5.78, which makes gas-guzzlers unattractive to anyone not wanting to compensate for penis-size.

    7. Billy

      U.S. safety requirements kill the opportunity to own one of those here.
      Vehicles sold here are incredibly safe. Some models sold here have less expensive versions sold in Eastern Europe, Asia, etc, with fewer, or no safety features.

      Nobody can sell a vehicle in the U.S. without passing dozens of crash tests which these vehicles would undoubtedly fail. Want to build your own? You can’t get it licensed without providing dozens of identical models to the Department of Transportation for crash testing. Cars and trucks are a monopoly. Live with it.

      1. hunkerdown

        If I wanted to hear the bourgeoisie’s talking points and neoliberal propaganda, I’d watch television.

      2. zagonostra

        Is it exclusively an issue of safety? Seems like a small car would be safer than a motorcycle. I know, different category of vehicles, just saying, I think safety is not the only factor at play here.

        1. ambrit

          Having been knocked down by a medium sized car that ran a stop sign, while
          driving a motorcycle on a New Orleans street, I heartily endorse your statement!
          What I want is an old Wehrmacht vintage BMW R-75 with sidecar. (This model has a side wheel power takeoff gear. Built for sand and snow!)

      3. periol

        I spent about a decade behind the wheel of a 90s Honda Civic DX hatchback. Small car, very safe, relatively low pollution levels compared to other cars manufactured at the time. Plus, it had the cargo space of a small truck. When push came to shove, I slept in it for 6 months.

        100% street legal. 100% reliable. 38 MPGs on the highway. Not really popular though.

        1. RMO

          EU and US safety tests are actually very similar. The EU system results in slightly better forward and side impact safety whereas the US results in slightly better rollover protection. In the US the manufacturer has to conduct the crash tests and use the results to get the car certified whereas the EU has a testing body that conducts the tests. Generally speaking, anything that can meet the EU safety standards can meet the US standards and vice versa.

        2. kareninca

          That’s what I had! A 1996 Honda Civic Dx hatchback. We bought it new and kept it 19 years; it was our only car. I still miss that car.

          I’m not sure it was really all that safe, however.

          1. RMO

            karenica: Compared to a car built before about the mid-80’s, that Civic would be much safer. Compared to a car designed and built in the last decade that Civic would be much less safe. Great car for its day though.

          2. periol

            My insurance company thought it was safe, at least for it’s class – I did look into that as well. It’s obviously less safe than, say, a Ford Expedition, if by safe you are only worried about the safety of oneself and one’s passengers…

            From a different safety perspective, I always prefer a small car that responds quickly. In my honest opinion, if you have good reflexes an agile small car is better at avoiding accidents altogether than some of the land frigates out there on the roads.

            *True Story* I was once involved in a multi-car accident caused by a drunk driver. The day before the accident my car had been hit while parked on the street (across from a frat – oops). Insurance got me a rental. The rental company gave me a big old sedan, comfy ride, all that jazz. I drove off the lot, about two miles, and turned around. Went back in and asked for a smaller car.

            That night, in the accident, the smaller car saved my life. I jerked the wheel last second, and broke the mirror and window, rather than driving into a stopped car at 65 MPH.

    1. crittermom

      Agreed. Eight minutes of peaceful joy. Much appreciated!

      A wonderful antidote to the few minutes I watched of Melania last evening, dressed in what immediately struck me as resembling a Russian military uniform.

      1. chuck roast

        If il douche gets re-elected I’m looking for four more years of Melania White House Christmas videos. I like sending them to my friends with TDS…they think I have lost my mind, when in fact they have lost their sense of humor.

  2. Eric Rabidoux

    “Our schools couldn’t afford that many basketballs:”

    Isn’t this a pivotal scene in Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time”

    1. coboarts

      “”That’s the little boy we saw this afternoon,” Calvin said sharply, “the little boy who wasn’t bouncing the ball like the others.”
      Charles Wallace giggled again “Yes. Every once in a while there’s a little trouble with cooperation, but it’s easily taken care of. After today he’ll never desire to deviate again…””

      1. periol

        I thought of that too, but honestly, it looks fun. I’d do it.

        Another key difference with American schools – I don’t see one kid in the video who is overweight.

  3. vlade

    Re Navalnyi : there was a pretty good article in Guardian (yes, of all places) on why it was unlikely that Putin ordered his poisoning.

    Can’t be bothered to find it now, but the long and short of it was that doing so would give Putin no immediate benefit and a lot of trouble, while there was a lot of other powerful regional players in Russia who did not have problems settling their scores in a similar way (assuming it was a poisoning).

    1. Olga

      I would hope that by this time “Putin did it” meme would be retired by most (if not all) sensible beings (not to mention, intelligent). It is simply laughable.
      If VVP really wanted to off someone (and he does not strike me as the type), you’d never know it.

      1. ambrit

        The “Putin did it” meme is continued because it is so valuable as a distraction for so many players in the western political “market.” [Everything and everyone is for sale.]
        Of course, the same thing works to Vlad Vladimirovitch’s benefit. If he really did want to ‘eliminate’ someone, there is so much “Wolf, Wolf” crying going on that it just might pass by under the radar.
        Talk about “useful idiots!”

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Not to worry, the same crowd that revealed to the world the evils of novichuk and luckily had the Chief Nurse of the UK show up in the park to “discover” the Skripals is all over this.

      1. jsn

        He did end the rising mortality.

        I guess we’ll have to wait for our silovik to take charge to get that kind of result.

        It won’t be any of the siloviki on CNN or in either parties nomenclature, someone still obscure with real Patriotism and a thirst for power.

    2. Jack Parsons

      One theory I’ve heard was that it was a fast-voiding poison and they were waiting for his body to flush out all of the traces.

  4. a different chris

    >why on earth was Navalny allowed to leave Russia to be treated in a German hospital?

    It’s eleventy-dimensional chess, comrade. (winks)

    1. Tomonthebeach

      I think it is more basic than that. Letting the guy live creates a mountain of useful propaganda. This is what happens to you if you even think about opposing Putin.

      Doubtless Lukashenko is thinking to himself; “Why didn’t I think of that?”

      1. occasional anonymous

        The guy is basically a Russian David Duke. He’s not ‘opposition’ in any meaningful sense.

        1. integer

          Navalny is like David Duke? What an odd comparison. I’d say he’s more like Guaido, albeit in a country that is much less susceptible to “regime change”.

          1. occasional anonymous

            Navalny polls at around 2%. He’s an exceptionally fringe figure whose most noteworthy attribute is how comically racist he is. The real opposition is the Communist Party, which regularly gets 15-20% of the vote

  5. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE “America’s Terrible Internet Is Making Quarantine Worse”

    It is not only the broadband and horrible latency from the provider, but the industry also makes it all sound so simple to set up and it is not simple at all. I have “educated” friends who complain about their Internet service and I look and find their WiFi router under a bunch of live power cords. But what they were told they from the provider was that they needed a higher tier of service, of course.

    1. Watt4Bob

      The very first time I set up a new network, I paid for some ‘expert’ help, they sent two guys for which we had to pay $1500 a day, plus travel and hotel expense.

      The day we fired up our first six PCs and a MS NT 4.0 server, the PCs couldn’t see the server, and the ‘experts’ were scratching their heads.

      I looked over their work and noticed that they had bundled the CAT5 cables with the AC power cords tied with zip ties on the wall. (Knew from audio production experience that running signal cables parallel to power cords was asking for interference.)

      I took a pair of diagonal cutters and cut the zip ties, letting the cables fall loose from the wall, and voila, the network started communicating!

      I immediately took the two guys to the airport and sent them back to Detroit.

      Things got much better for about ten years, but have gradually gone backwards for the last 10 or 12 to the point that I expect that for the average person, nothing internet related to work at all in the relatively near future.

      I fear that one day I will arrive at work and find that there is nothing that can be done to make stuff work, like the recent update to the Adobe Lightroom app, that deleted users photos, and no they cannot be recovered;

      For the past two days, photographers have been posting in a panic across Twitter, Reddit, and the Photoshop feedback forums. They’d downloaded Adobe’s latest update for Lightroom’s iOS app, and suddenly their photos and presets were gone. Adobe has now confirmed the issue, and it’s also said that the data is gone for good.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        The lack of basic electromagnetic knowledge in the US is understandable from an economic standpoint. The problem is this..Who pays for it? I am guessing the boots on the ground in your example were making a small bit of that $1500 per diem. How many electrical engineers are being hired in this country anymore? A very small number probably.

        I have run into it a few times, and I feel like that I am the only one in the room that actually understands what is going on and I have to suggest a fix. I have ended up being the free tech support for friends and family on many occasions.

        1. hunkerdown

          You don’t need credentials to have a qualitative understanding of this stuff. Unfortunately, too many can’t afford productive hobbies or parenting time anymore.

        2. Milton

          Ah yes, that is such a common understanding that one does not bundle CAT 5 cables with AC power cords. We folks who are not woke to such basic knowledge are complete imbeciles.

          1. hunkerdown

            Knowing this stuff is part of a cable puller’s job, let alone a per-diem “expert”. The consequences of closely mingling signal and power wires, and the best practice of separation of signal and power wiring, have been known throughout the communications world for decades. Also, the National Electrical Code™ chapter 8, free to read on, covers communications circuits, and in particular sets spacing and separation requirements in section 800.133(A) (2017 edition).

            As for laypersons, these things are so prevalent in our society, and yet instead of disseminating the basic principles of living with them as common knowledge, we’re lining up on the side of one or the other oligarch to decide which one gets to s–t up the urban outdoors with millimeter-wave 5G emissions. How familyblogged are we, as the kids ask.

            1. LawnDart

              Hunkerdown, I just refused to do a job a few weeks ago after about a five-minute examination of a panel: wires not labeled or marked, motor not grounded, red for both 120VAC AND 24VDC control wiring, an unlanded hot off a relay just poking up near 480V– not even a wire nut or even tape covering the copper, and much, much more. Told them that if I so much as touched a wire in that panel, then I’d be assuming liability for that B(FamilyBlog)T, so not a chance in F(FamilyBlog)K am I going to do that– not killing myself or anyone else because of the spaghetti-monster… …get the guy who did that to clean up his own da(FB?)n mess.

              Anyway, since wiring’s your thing, you might appreciate this article (heck, you might even be the author, what do I know?).


              1. ambrit

                Right! It’s the idiot who went before you that will kill you.
                From something as simple as plumbing I learned that lesson.
                I was tasked with replacing a forty gallon water heater. I went to the electrical panel and switched off the circuit breaker marked “Water Heater.” Not being a complete fool, I checked to hot line into the heater for current, with an induction pen, and, hooray, no reading. I did not notice, stupid me, that that was just one hot leg to a 220 volt electrical appliance. The other wire was not a return but a second hot lead connected to another, unmarked, single pole breaker. I saw stars and other celestial objects that day. Why the house had not burned down before that, I never figured out.

              2. hunkerdown

                That article makes a fine checklist of basic workmanship when buying or having industrial panels, or starting work as a field installer or panel builder. Workmanship! Standards! “What in the heII is wrong with you people!” –Office Space Thanks for this — industrial automation isn’t where I’m at right now, but controls engineer has always been on my career shortlist and sometimes you need a little panel and box to clean up some mess.

                I see what you mean about his and my writing style, though. I got a bit uncomfortable after reading that for a few seconds. Needless to say I see and agree exactly where he is coming from and I like the way he thinks. But I am not the author. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a necktie, for example. :)

                I offer a silent prayer for those harder-up for work who might have since picked up the bok by touching that hot mess. I’ve never had to turn down work like that with hardware, but maintenance programming is marginally less hazardous… for the programmer, anyway.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      I will agree somewhat but, having worked in this area for quite some time, much of the public’s eyes glaze over when you try to explain anything that can help, no matter how simple. Unfortunately, there’s a perception among so many that this is a black magic when it’s really just science and there’s a lot of small things that would fix an issue long before needing to get into the complicated stuff.

      Now, I do think there’s a chicken and egg situation there. The industry has been more than happy to tell consumers “this is all too confusing for you to figure out. Just give us a bunch of money and we will manage it.” and consumers have been too happy to believe them. I get that people don’t want to have to go back to school just to use the internet. But to resist at least knowing enough to know you don’t put your router on top of the microwave or things like that has always bugged me.

      (Or maybe I’ve had one too many device tossed at me and ordered to “fix it!” with no indication of what the issue is. Of course I am expected to not only guess the issue, but insure it never happens again and not trouble the owner with any explanations of what happened or what they can do to prevent the issue in the future. This is why I don’t work with the public anymore. Heh.)

      1. a different chris

        Although everything you say is correct, I think it misses the underlying issue.

        >much of the public’s eyes glaze over when you try to explain anything that can help, no matter how simple

        And why shouldn’t they? If somebody tries to explain to me the workings of Chartered Public Accountancy my eyes would glaze over too. Just show me what to file and where to sign.

        Here is the real problem:

        Financial people, who run everything, want to rake in monthly charges. In order to do this, they need the customer to connect to their ‘net provider.

        However, this requires hardware. And hardware generally requires somebody knowledgeable to set it up. Since this isn’t dangerous stuff unlike say messing with the breaker box, they convince themselves they can fluff it off on the customer and thus minimize the headcount of the people they have to actually hire. Or even subcontract.

        Everybody in power in the US wants your money, none of them want to actually do anything for it.

  6. Noone from Nowheresville

    Sirota on climate change. The conversation we had over the weekend about “money” fiction and asking questions.

    I think Michael Hudson touched on this in a few of the videos I watched with his balance of payments research back in the day. It’s more of a global power issue. How does the US and its Machine benefit from the current fossil fuels system on a global power basis?

    Global reserve currency, “holds” international resources, can change political realities if the locals act up, can install “slave” reparation payments for the “slavers” via tribunals, other countries with wanted resources must buy US treasuries and be invested in and subject to The Machine. And that’s before we even get to fracking, rare earth mining and manufacturing sacrifice zones. Completely rigged global power game.

    I think if you really want to deal with climate change then you’ll have to deal with The Machine and its systems/tendrils. There would need to be a serious come to Jesus moment so to speak because it’s a lot more complicated than just keeping it in the ground. And “it” in this case is what exactly because Green Energy has its own sacrifice zones which we don’t seem to care much about.

    Are we willing to deal with the global sacrifice zones and The Machine in order to mitigate the coming climate change Jackpot? To do so would impact every part of our lives: food production, medical treatment, environmental quality, plastics, inequality, etc., etc, etc.

    Imagine a world where the global back-row kids and the front-row kids had equal footing and decisions were made with an honest discussion of the sacrifice zones required, taking life & death power game away from The Machine and its minions.

    1. a different chris

      I wonder how people in Colorado are going to react to the combination of the messages to “socially distance because of COVID!!!” and “build a recycled-air room where your whole family, young and old are stuck together cheek-to-jowl”. One person at least has to go out for food if not work, and then what happens when they come back?

      Are Americans stupid enough to not see how messed up this is? And to go find out why, and to do something about it? Sigh, I’m afraid that they are.

      And the rest of the world isn’t as much better as we would hope.

    2. rd

      I think a major driver in the US will be 30 year mortgage availability. I expect that FHA loans will be the last to become unavailable, but jumbo loans that upper middle class people rely on to buy homes for over $700k in value are likely to struggle to get funding down the road as flood risk becomes more evident. is now showing flood risk, including inland precipitation flooding, on their website. It is more comprehensive than the FEMA maps. I expect increasing flood risk over the next decade ot two is going to start to change home values and the abiltiy to get mortgages. A lot of property near the ocean will likely just be for the wealthy who can pay cash for the property and view infrastructure on it as disposable and replaceable.

  7. Carla

    Obviously, the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis needs a little help. So I re-wrote their two final paragraphs properly:

    “Imagine if the political priorities on climate change suddenly reversed. Imagine if Congress did its job and was led by the science and the economics of climate change, not by fossil fuel and other corporate money. Imagine how quickly Congress could act if it became an advocate for serious pro-climate policies. Imagine if Congress passed the 28th Amendment stating that only human beings, not corporate “persons,” have constitutional rights, and money is not speech.

    Congress need not imagine this. Congress can make it happen. When it decides to show up.”

    And for FREE, I’m throwing in a link. Because while the 28th Amendment has 74 co-sponsors in the U.S. House, this is the perfect time to introduce it in the U.S. Senate. Which courageous Senator will step up?

    1. a different chris

      Lots of them will step up. But as always, strangely just short of what is needed. But plenty of pork will be passed around, as Senator from Super-Blue who does stand up will get something from Senator from Quite Purple (cough, Manchin, cough) who then doesn’t have to.

      The idea, fortunately starting to fail it seems, is if Congress only has a few “obstacles” to whatever everybody wants then the focus is on those people. They are always in safe states (usually Rethugs in Red states, but not always) so they don’t get voted out, and the whole “throw all those bums out!” thing is avoided.

      It’s a big club and we ain’t in it.

  8. Basil Pesto

    That Tsar Bomba footage is unbelievable. I’ve read about the bomb a few times and just trying to get your head around the scale of it is difficult. These pictures, while they don’t paint a complete picture, certainly help. Awesome, in the amoral sense of the word.

    1. upstater

      Think of pulling Tsar Bomba off using nothing but analog technology, too. Now supercomputers do the work.

      I sleep easier, knowing that Nobel Peace Prize lauate Obama committed us (and the world) to a new generation of nuclear weapons that will be with us to the year 2100. Look forward, not back.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe that is why the Russians published the videos from that blast. To remind the nut jobs in Washington that those things do have an actual purpose.

        1. Wukchumni

          The video is from about a month before my coming out party, and the technology is wrenches, Morse code and morose code, not many smiles evident.

          Oh, and it blew up real good.

          1. RMO

            Keep in mind that the test yield was about half of the yield that they probably would have got had they used the U238 tamper that was part of the design.

            The fact that the world didn’t get rid of nuclear weapons after the (first) cold war astounds and terrifies me. Even at my most cynical though I wouldn’t have predicted the creation of a second cold war along with enthusiastic plans to build more and “more usable” nuclear weapons and near constant ratcheting up of tensions with Russia and China was going to be a near universal thing among the mainstream media and the Democrat party.

  9. LawnDart

    Wisconsin DOC video: I believe that this was one of the targets that actually make sense.

    I dare not come up with a list of suggestions, but I’d really prefer that small businesses not get toasted by Molotovs– that’s just wrong.

    1. Louis Fyne

      destroying public property is wrong– (yes, i am an old fogey)

      kenosha has a Dem. mayor. A Dem. elected county sheriff. A Dem. state governor. Live in a state deindustrialized by NAFTA and outsourcing.

      people should take out their anger in the primaries.


      1. The Historian

        Ah, yes. Let’s blame the Democrats and forget all the damage imposed on Wisconsin cities by Scott Walker..

        1. Louis Fyne

          the attitude of ‘don’t hold Democrats accountable because GOP bad’ is going to give Trump another 4 years with 300+ electoral college votes.

          just saying, nothing personal ymmv.

          check back on this prediction in 7 weeks

          1. edmondo

            It’s already happening.

            These polls are from this morning. Mr. Electable is starting to tank. Now all the vote shaming is understandable – his internals aren’t very pretty.

            Arizona: Biden 49%, Trump 47%
            Florida: Biden 49%, Trump 46%
            Michigan: Biden 50%, Trump 44%
            North Carolina: Biden 48%, Trump 47%
            Pennsylvania: Biden 49%, Trump 46%
            Wisconsin: Biden 49%, Trump 44%

            I can’t wait for Trump to spring “should black people get reparations” on Uncle Joe.


            1. a different chris

              This just emphasizes, if you still want to believe polls*, that Trump’s in real trouble.

              He’s the incumbent now, these are bad polls for an incumbent in the middle of a convention this close to an election. Ask Don Jr.

              *”The swing-state poll surveyed 4,904 people across the six states”.. Florida alone has 21 million people, and how can a Republican incumbent be 3 points behind in the Land of Electing Bad Republicans?

              1. edmondo

                Believe what you want – if you think that Joe Biden – who can’t get to 50% in any poll in the middle of a pandemic and a depression – “looks good” here then I have no words.

          2. The Historian

            I’m all for holding Democrats responsible for their actions. But don’t you think that a lot of what is going in Wisconsin these days is just Scott Walker’s chickens coming home to roost?


            Scott Walker was no friend to the working poor or to minorities in his state and I think his ‘austerity for the poor’ policies created a situation that was going to explode sooner or later.. Sometimes it is just the small straws that break the camel’s back. I think that the shooting of that man in the back was just the last straw.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              More likely “what is going on in Wisconsin” will be seen as just part of “what is going on” in the rest of democrat country–part of obama / biden’s “chickens coming home to roost.”

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              The people in these parts already know this. The major problem we have is Democratic voters who consistantly protect the ilk of Nancy Pelosi and so forth. We’ve known Republicans are bad since any of us started paying attention. Even then 2006 and 2008, taught one lesson, we don’t effin’ need Republican votes, and non voters already know this. Yes, non voters are smarter than Nancy Pelosi.

              If people need to know why Scott Walker is bad, the Daily Show, Sam Bee, every tv show, news outlet, and etc already explains it. The Democratic elites who say, “we need the ‘good republicans’ and more bipartisanship’,” are the great stumbling block. The problem is they don’t drool quite as much.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Maybe you weren’t online in 2004, but trust me, even Markos of DailyKult said Republicans were bad. As a result John Kerry was the 44th President of the United States!

                When Democrats say here are good ideas, they do a much better job than simply proclaiming their innate goodness. The GOP will continue to dominate the national discussion while Team Blue remains Team Blue.

        1. hunkerdown

          I doubt you’d be so sanguine about impairing the enemy’s capacities if you were still laboring under Louis and Marie’s franchise. Where you stand depends on where you sit, of course.

          1. occasional anonymous

            Spare us. This isn’t a burgeoning revolution, it’s a bunch of angry idiots setting easy targets on fire. At least this one was actually related to the police, unlike the family furniture store and the half dozen other small businesses they set on fire.

            The police and their supporters are going to come out of this stronger than ever. It’s hard to even make a ‘most of the protests are peaceful; it’s just some lone anarchists’ argument here, given how things instantly and at scale went to pointless arson.

            Looks like the latest is that some ‘revolutionary’ broke on old man’s jaw after he chased rioters away from a mattress store. If you want a 101 guide on how to completely discredit a movement, look no further than Kenosha.

            Part of me is grimly looking forward to Wisconsin going Trump in a couple months.

      2. Buckeye

        Well, Mr. Fyne, I’m sure you are “fine” with all the burning, looting, shooting and general treason that went on to give us independence from the tyranny of the British Crown, am I right?

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Not answering for Mr. Fyne…

          but If you were to ask me if I support armed revolution today the answer is a resounding no.

          But just out of curiosity, who (or what) would be analogous to the British Crown in today’s America? The government…past, current or future? The rich? Republicans? White people? Democrats?

          Who (or what) are you suggesting needs to be revolted against?

          I certainly think there’s a need for a political and economic “revolution” but I’m pretty sure the best way to LOSE that fight is to alienate a huge part of the population thru race riots. I can imagine a backlash in swing states that throws just enough support to Trump to gain re-election.

          Wouldn’t that be a kick in the ass?

          1. barefoot charley

            Fiery Hunt, your question should be, Who is France for today’s America? Because our ‘revolution’ would have been squashed like a bedbug without state support from France and Spain.

            The answer? RussiaRussiaRussia? Hmm, China? I don’t think so. In other words the time for an analogous revolution is not ripe. The analogy I’d prepare for (for lack of a better one) is the New Deal–which of course will require a new party or two. To me that’s step one, not to say we can do it.

        2. Louis Fyne


          imo, the US/colonies would have been better off if we took the Canada approach to independence.

          but i imagine that would’ve meant that slavery would still be around post-1865 in that timeline.

          now w/the non sequitor over….wth? the Left is all about violent revolution now?

          open tbe history books, violent revolution usually ends badly for all sides! 1775-1783 was a historical fluke…and there were many exits that would have led to South American style despotism

          just saying. YMMV. nothing personal

          1. ook

            Slavery was abolished everywhere in the British Empire in 1834, and severely restricted in most of Canada much earlier than that.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              When slavery was abolished un the British Empire, how many slaves were freed? Then of course, they had exceptions to places where they still had slavery…so yeah, you would have to take that into account.

            2. Louis Fyne

              b/c the British (essentially English) elites were not getting rich from the slave trade—they just wanted a reliable source of cheap cotton.

              slavery got outsourced to the American elites. convenient moral handwashing by the English elite

              if the US remained directly controlled by the Crown, London would have a different set of incentives. imo

            3. Louis Fyne

              should also note while the British “freed” the slaves, conditions for essential serfs in places like Caribbean sugar plantations were horrific. nevermind places like India.

              but ya…the history books can keep being smug about that abolition of slavery by the Crown

              1. td

                Speaking of essential serfs, the freed slaves in the US in 1865 came under a new system of Jim Crow that reduced them to near serfdom within 20 years, something that lasted until the latter part of the 20th Century.

                Meanwhile, in Canada in the 1820’s, the Attorney-General of Quebec, then Lower Canada, expressed a legal opinion that slavery was so in disuse within any part of British North America that any slave who arrived there would be considered automatically freed without requiring any legal action of any kind. It took a lot of politics to arrive there, but the result was worth it.

              2. td

                Further detail:


                However, it is entirely likely that freeing the slaves in the south in the 1830’s would have required military action by the Crown and the outcome of that is unpredictable. An 1834 American Revolution to preserve slavery would be one of the weirder alternate histories.

                Slavery in Brazil lasted into the 1880’s and the politics there were truly complex.

                1. Michaelmas

                  An 1834 American Revolution to preserve slavery would be one of the weirder alternate histories.

                  As opposed to the one in 1776 to preserve it? Because what do you that was in large measure about? The U.K. had just had the Somerset vs. Stewart case in 1772.


                  England had never condoned slavery in the home islands. Rich colonials were bringing their wealth and their slaves back to the home country. One slave escaped; there was a test case. Lord Mansfield ruled: –

                  “The state of slavery is of such a nature that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political, but only by positive law [statute], which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasions, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory. It is so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law. Whatever inconveniences, therefore, may follow from the decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the black must be discharged.”

                  Yes. slavery continued throughout the British empire till 1834. But it was very clear which way the wind was blowing.

                  Thus, you can for instance, read Benjamin Franklin’s writings from the 1860s crowing about how great it was to be an Englishman and how all of North America would one day soon be English. And then something changed. If you dig into the primary sources, you can find many of the Founding Fathers post-1772 and pre-1776 complaining and raging about Mansfield’s ruling.

                  This is a fairly decent book on the subject —
                  The Counter-Revolution of 1776:
                  Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America
                  by Gerald Horne

                  1. Michaelmas

                    Doh. Typo …

                    -Thus, you can for instance, read Benjamin Franklin’s writings from the 1760s ….’


                  2. Janie

                    Movie about this, “Belle”. Belle was a mixed race relative raised by judge Murray. It’s a lovely period piece made in 2013, inspired by a painting in Lord Mansfield’s estate north of Edinburgh

          2. Buckeye

            I have degrees in History and Strategic Studies, thank you. I know what the books show. They also show that non-violent revolutions end just as badly. Eastern Europe had non-violent revolution 30 years ago, and now authoritarian tyranny is back in power using non-violent democratic means.

            Gandhi’s non-violence is actually the “historical blip”.

            Read this book: “The Great Leveler” by Walter Scheidel

            And when did the Right-wing become peacenik hippies? Are they disavowing the 2nd Amendment and confiscating guns? I didn’t think so.

            Crikey. Just saying. Nothing personal.
            Truthfully, nothing personal.

            1. a different chris

              Thanks for this.

              Given say the Chinese perspective on history, where 100years is basically the tick of the minute hand, the American Revolution seems to be ending badly.

              1. occasional anonymous

                The fetishization of the idea that the Chinese have some sort of more enlightened, long-term view of history is very hard to square with the reality that they’re running headlong towards a climate cliff,and that Xi keeps making possibly short-sighted power grabs.

            2. hunkerdown

              The right-wing became peacenik hippies when the bill collectors came for the fruits of their psychotic ideology.

      3. JTMcPhee

        No one except Dem centrists thinks (or pretends) that Dem city and state governments are in any way different in degree of corruption and failed governance from Rep peers.
        But it gives the Reps a nice talking point and whipping boy to keep the rest of us in line. Rahm Emanuel is a sterling example, I’d forgotten the part about him being a nimble dancer in the flesh as well as in the political and economic realm:

      4. hunkerdown

        But the US Constitutional government has been privatized from day one, by design and intent.

        And primaries can’t be trusted to be taken freely and counted correctly. The electioneer has total freedom to gather (or not) any votes they wish in order to create a specific result.

    2. Wukchumni

      This was the more important video from Kenosha, and by the way as much a turning point as was Kent State a half a century ago.

      When was the last time you ever saw massed armed citizenry holding a police vehicle at gunpoint, and not just any ride-one of the gifted $600k msrp MRAP jobs ex taxpayer, and a crew member had to open the hatch and let out a smoke bomb, that was very reminiscent of the closing scene of Animal House not that there was anything funny about it, other than we’ve come full circle this century in our cycle of violence, first perpetrated against others, now coming back to haunt us. Like most of you, i’d never heard of Kenosha heretofore, similar to similar beginnings of Kent State.

      Watching these unorganized clowns clad in AR-15’s and the like is just a taste, as we’re very much a copycat culture-coming soon to unrest near you.

      1. Billy

        “People don’t need guns, we have the police to protect us.”

        “We need to defund and disarm the police.”

        “We’re coming to the suburbs to take what is ours”

        See why people are buying firearms in the millions?

        The Second Amendment isn’t about militias, it’s about self defense.

        1. Wukchumni

          I can’t wait for the first kangaroo court proceedings issued by authority of high velocity, yeah that’s the ticket.

        2. km

          “The Second Amendment isn’t about militias, it’s about self defense.”

          Where in the Second Amendment does it say that, and why does it specifically mention militias?

          FWIW, I’m not particularly spooked by guns, any more than I am by any other tool.

        3. a different chris

          >See why people are buying firearms in the millions?

          Yes I do. Because they are children who need a adult-looking teddy bear to clutch.

          1) Insurrectionists clash with authority, not citizens in general. Criminals are the ones that threaten random others with guns.

          2) Said insurrectionists have really no hope. Your gun fetish seems to have you convinced that the Bear Cat could actually be taken down by people with pop-guns? The point of the tear gas is not to open fire and clear the street.

          We save that type of response for brown people in Afghanistan, at least so far.

        4. hunkerdown

          Actually, it was about protecting property, including slaves. If the 2A were about self-defense, the first bill passed under its authority wouldn’t have been about collective defense.

          Stop watching/reading the MSM. It’s rotting your mind.

      2. marym

        I would be cautious in drawing conclusions from video at this point. There’s also video circulating purporting to be an armed counter-protester who shot 2 protesters and who was apparently coordinating with the cops, and eventually arrested without being harmed (cops can do this!) .

        1. Oso_in_Oakland

          +++ thank you marym. some of those NC commenters from yesterday who approved of KPD shooting Mr Blake (basically he didn’t comply thus asked for it) should compare it with an armed white murderer taken in safely. for most readers here, this is an academic point, something to discuss. for black and indigenous people its daily life.

          1. integer

            What do you suggest the police should’ve done? If I was a cop, I imagine I’d be pretty nervous that whatever it was that Blake was attempting to retrieve from his car was going to be a gun, and I’d know that if that turned out to be the case, once he was had it in his hand it would only take a split second for him to turn around and shoot. Again, I’d really like to know, in detail, how you think the police should’ve handled that particular situation.

            As I’ve said from the beginning, this is not going to end well.

            1. witters

              Like they do in countries where the police do not carry guns and use them at the drop of a hat. (Ask PlutoniumKun how it goes in Ireland, for instance.)

              1. integer

                What you wrote sounds good in theory but IMO it is unrealistic in a country that is awash with guns.

            2. marym

              The local cops let the visibly armed [alleged] shooter walk away from the protest, and cops in IL subsequently arrested him without harm. Maybe the cops that shot Blake should ask them how it’s done.

            3. Oso_in_Oakland

              Integer, appreciate the response.
              Blake’s behavior was typical of someone who had done nothing that gave the police a reason to detain him. his three kids were in the vehicle. possibly he was getting his ID or another legal document. possibly he was just gonna drive away. as of this writing i’m not aware of any charges yet. If he’d done something warranting arrest they’d have dogpiled him. also, since the cop had his gun drawn and aimed had Blake reached for a weapon the outcome would have been the same – seven bullets into Blake’s body and the cop unharmed.
              Blake exhibited the exact type of behavior most of us have seen multiple times in videos when the individual will not speak to police and asks if he/she is being detained then responding am i free to go. And the cop chooses not to shoot them. no mention of race here, but we know its always a factor.
              When i have had a cop draw a weapon on me i freeze and keep my mouth shut and answer any questions asked of me. You probably would too. Blake chose to not respond to their commands, none of which were “you are under arrest”. the police have finally decided upon their story apparently, after three days to get it right. watching the film again, this has to be viewed as one more unarmed black man shot by overzealous/in their feelings/terrified cops who investigate themselves and never find anything wrong.
              my opinion only. again, thank you for responding in an understanding manner.

    3. Oso_in_Oakland

      +++ LawnDart agree, as i guess Lambert said, it was impressive. those whose situation forces/allows them to sit on the sidelines critiquing things with an eye on personal comfort disagree tho.

  10. zagonostra

    >Sky Blot

    Along with the Chem/Con trails you see in the daytime, I fear my children will no longer be able to experience the miracle/majesty/splendor of a cerulean blue sky or get an unadulterated view of the night sky. Sad, and I wish I had the ability/courage to give up my car and smart devices if the result of having them is to blot out the sky.

    Clear, unobstructed images of the stars above will “no longer be the norm,” a group of US scientists warned, thanks to Elon Musk’s network of Starlink satellites. But Musk is not the only businessman who may blot out the sky.

    …Richard Branson’s OneWeb project – which went bankrupt this year and was bought by the UK government and an Indian telecommunications consortium – plans on launching 48,000 satellites into orbit at 1,200 kilometers (750 miles). At this height, the report states that they will be illuminated by sunlight “all night long.”

    1. mary jensen

      The night of August 13/14 out star-gazing with my cat, hedgehogs, pine martens and urban foxes in Suisse I was witness to ‘Starlink’. No need for my binoculars, perfectly visible with the naked eye, the queue of satellites known as “string of pearls” was travelling West to East. When I finally realized what I was seeing I began counting the seemingly perfectly spaced white dots: 23. Then it was over. The local church tower chimed the 05:00 hour.

    2. Maritimer

      I find the fact that Musk can do this to be a complete failure of human governance. Dante should revise his book.

      However, our society allows anyone who has resources, mainly money, to do whatever they want with that money as long as it is not illegal. Elon Musk is just one, yes very major, offender. But anyone can take their money and do anything with it that is not illegal.

      Donald Trump might be another, buy the Presidency. Or Michael Bloomberg with the same idea.

      Thus money is put to damaging uses each and every day by both the Low and the Mighty. Your neighbor might take some of his money and do something very damaging with it but it is permitted if not against the law.

      What surprises me is that our great economists and philosophers, to my knowledge, never figured out that this was a bad idea and could very well lead to the End of Humanity.

      We have 2100 billionaires alone who can do whatever they want with their money as long as it is not illegal, and, in most cases, even if it is. One hopes they have no interest in biotech, nanotech, GI/AI, etc.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > We have 2100 billionaires alone who can do whatever they want with their money as long as it is not illegal, and, in most cases, even if it is.

        It they can budget for it, it’s not illegal. And they can budget for it.

    1. Wukchumni

      One of the eateries* in town which just changed hands in the fall with the owner being of far right persuasion has a sign with their mask policy, which has earned a rash of 1-star reviews, but they don’t seem to care.

      Said signage:

      About The Masks
      If you want to wear a mask, that’s okay.
      If you can’t wear a mask because of a health reason, also okay.
      If you are not comfortable with people not wearing masks, this might not be the place for you, that’s okay too.
      We’ll see you soon

      A recent review from a customer:

      “Covid-19, not only do they not require their customers to wear a mask, but the servers don’t wear masks either. There is a sign at the entrance that is very clear but we were given side eyes and judgemental looks from most people there when we walked in with our masks on. This was off putting but honestly the food is the main reason for the one star.

      We were starving and still couldn’t enjoy our meal.”

      * it’s got really the only bar in town, and the usual suspects can be found on the back deck, watching the river go by, earning it the sobriquet: A Liver Runs Through It.

    2. Maritimer

      In my jurisdiction and in a few others I am familiar with the Masking rules are murky, inexact, contradictory, enforced or unenforced. There may or may not be exemptions. How you get an exemption is unclear particularly a health exemption which puts people’s health at risk. Ironic, since Masking is supposedly about health.

      The above leads to lawlessness and vigilantism which we have already seen. The governments involved could have clearly enacted masking laws and made it very clear what the law is, how it is enforced, what exemptions might be, etc. They have chosen not to do so but decided to create a lawless situation. That speaks a lot to possible intention and motives other than Public Health.

      As I say, my observations about the jurisdictions with which I am familiar.

  11. HomoSapiensWannaBe

    “Our schools couldn’t afford that many basketballs”

    Those basketballs were made in a Chinese factory nearby and sold for the Yuan equivalent of a couple of bucks each.

    In the good ‘ol USA, those same basketballs, but with an orange/brown color, are imported from the same or similar Chinese factory and marked up to $30 or so each.

    Oh, and the kids are taught to throw them at each other in an elimination match.

    Gotta support the Middle Men!! Go team USA!

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      That video is fascinating, but the commentary is even more so.

      The kids not only need to successfully bounce two basketballs themselves, but leave them bouncing so that the next person can be successful, while depending on the person ahead of them to do the same. Can you imagine the effect of that kind of educational “indoctrination” on some of the thornier problems we’re trying to solve now like….oh, I don’t know….climate change?

      But the commentary from the american peanut gallery goes immediately to the “affordability” of basketballs, their color and import status, and “middle men.”

      Since you could probably buy 500 basketballs for the cost of one of the laptops that school districts and parents are buying hand over fist in an effort to digitally degrade the already dismal american “education” system, ostensibly because of “covid,” this country has far bigger problems than the “affordability” of basketballs.

      I’ll bet those Chinese kindergarteners will wind up being able to click and swipe with the best of the american kids, but, unlike those american kids, that’s not ALL they’ll be able to think about.

      1. periol

        Can’t speak to everywhere, but the local school district in California is handing out ~$100 Chromebooks to students without computers, thanks to a grant from Google. They are also giving out hot spots to families without internet, again through a grant. Most of the computers in the schools were provided through grants as well.

        I would guess even a cheap basketball at a sporting goods store is at least $15 these days, if not $20. No way could the current district budget handle buying the basketballs or the computers or the hot spots. And we are definitely not talking about computers that cost the same as 500 basketballs – even if they were $5 per.

        In fairness, this is a poor district.

        1. Oso_in_Oakland

          ++++ ty Periol my granddaughter’s the recipient of one of the Chromebooks, would have been difficult without that grant.

  12. rd

    Re: internet

    My wife teaches in an inner city school. This spring when it switched to remote learning: one-third of the class had good internet and good devices; one-third of the class had decent internet but no good devices (we personally bought a bunch of inepxensive tablets for them); and one-third of the class had no internet other than expensive cellular on a smartphone.

    Much of an entire generation is going to have their education set back a year. This is going to cost us a fortune in economic growth over the next 3-4 decades.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My sister is in her first year teaching and doing AP at an effectively segregated school. The rich whites and poor blacks. The other high school is more middle class and less poor and mixed, it’s 60/40 black white but it’s integrated. She’s the only member in her department with close to 100% participation.

      The mental/emotional strain is going to be a disaster.

      1. Charger01

        I remember this clearly back in 1998-1999 framed as the “digital divide”, as poor people would not have the computer skills/access to compete in the 21st century. Back then, it was the wild west for new companies installing fiber optic cable and communications gear to accommodate the expected demand. Then the bottom fell out of their business model, the big companies bought out the upstarts and retrenched their positions.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Besides the digital divide, there is the at home care divide. How many have two working parents? Grandparents thrust into the role of child care? Or are simply watching younger children? Then there is the breakfast divide.

          1. rd

            The inner city poor are voting with their feet and keeping their kids home from school. They have born the brunt of the disease so far and don’t trust the schools to keep their kids safe. Very few urban schools can get anywhere close to MERV-13 filtration and have few air changes per hour on top of that. The kids are also going to different schools on buses while the parents are going to jobs, so they are trying to reduce the risk of people getting sick from the numerous potential contacts and then passing it around inside their families.


            The white collar suburbs have more money for the schools and many of the parents are working from home and can drive their kids to school, so they are more likely to send their kids to school as they will be much safer.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      I worked IT in a rural school district about 5 years ago. We had a grant to provide all the students with a device, but they were nearing the end of their lifecycle by the time I got there and I spent much of my time Frankensteining computers so the students had something to use (they’d gone to digital textbooks and mostly computer use for everything.)

      As for the Internet, we had a good number of students who lived in an area with no service, if they could have afforded it anyway. There might have been a flip phone in the house, maybe. Coincidentally, I ended up working for the ISP in that area and saw how much it would have cost to run fiber to these areas where you had one house way back on some land and nothing else near it. That’s why the rollout had been so slow going. (While I worked at that ISP, they canceled their last dial-up customers. We still had about 18, IIRC.)

      The big push when I was at the school was e-learning days to make up snow days. We had one while I was there. It was a poorly planned disaster. Students had hardware issues, there were issues with overtaxed services and of course, the kids with no internet were just SOL. I’m not even claiming to be insightful, but these were all issues I saw coming and everyone seemed to ignore them until they were happening.

      Even back then, I could see a lot of people in the district were really enamored of the idea of distance learning but seemed to think we could just make it happen as we went along rather than actually planning things out and identifying issues (and hopefully doing something about them!) I know money was tight, that’s the mantra we always heard, but that never struck me as a valid reason for trying to plan anything ahead!

      I mention this because I still hear things through the grapevine about that place. They tried to open and shut down after day one due to COVID. On the IT front, it seems nothing has changed. They’re still limping along with those same computers that were already out of date when I was there. And I heard their switch to e-learning was a disaster I still don’t think they have figured out.

      I feel for the students. I always did when I worked there, but even more so now. And I don’t mean to dump on the schools as a whole. I come from a long line of educators and I know there are plenty of people working hard to do the right thing. I worked with them. But I also know how this district specifically was a perfect storm of lack of resources, local politics (not the government type) and people in the administration office being entirely too impressed with themselves. Like the COVID response in general, I’m not even sure there was a way things could have worked as you are up against years of crapification, but I’m sure this isn’t atypical and so many of these students just don’t have a chance.

      1. rd

        I think more actual learning occurs with a real book, real pencil and pen, and real paper. The science is out there that shows this creates real knowledge retention. But it also requires an environment where there can be real interaction with a real teacher.

        1. pasha

          spot on. writing by hand 1) improves learning, 2) promotes brain development, 3) makes for better composition, 4) helps those with dyslexia, 5) keeps older brains sharper, 6) soothes the nerves, and 7) helps in formalized thinking and organization.

          1. RMO

            It has been demonstrated in experiments that taking down notes by hand gets better results than typing them in on a computer. It certainly works better for me. I found that for many of the classes I took (ranging from music to computer science to business/accounting to aircraft maintenance) that the act of taking down notes in class was enough for me to learn and retain the subject matter well enough that with minimal studying I almost never completed a class with less than an “A” grade.

      2. KT

        I have two young kids doing distance learning in a school district about an hour from the Live Oak schools spotlighted in the article and can empathize with these problems. Our district is predominantly low income, and in a rural area with very spotty internet.

        I have a computer engineering degree and my career has been spent doing software and hardware development for advanced technology. All that to say that #1 my family is comparatively well off vs. other families in our area in the sense that my wife can be with our kids all day to help with school, and #2 I’m built in tech support for all the crap that comes up with our internet connection, the kids’ chromebooks, etc. while at home. And with all of this, it’s a nightmare so you can imagine what other families are going through.

        Our district is trying the same approaches as the article. They hand out hot spots that are unreliable (I’ve tried them all over the years to accommodate remote work) and park WiFi buses around the district that, if they can even get there, require the kids to sit outside in what has been 100+ degree weather recently.

        Nobody in my world, socially or professionally, ever talks about the FCC solving this problem. Everyone is hoping Elon’s StarLink saves the day.

    3. Medbh

      Even “good” internet is insufficient. I live in a midwest city with a population over 250K. We live in the city and have the highest internet speed available. Our school district is online only this fall, and the plan is to have grade K-5 on zoom in the mornings, and 6-12 grades online all day.

      Last spring, whenever my husband plus a kid was online, the connection would get choppy and my kids would have to log off in order to protect my husband’s ability to work.

      For this fall, the district is requiring attendance for every class period. There is no way our internet will support 5 people on video conferencing all day long. I’ve talked to the district about it and they acknowledge that other people had the same issue last spring, and said that we should talk to our teachers if we encounter problems.

      I don’t blame the district, as I don’t have a better plan. But I suspect there are actually very few families/cities with the necessary finances, hardware, and infrastructure to support online education.

  13. Maxwell Johnston

    ‘Trump and Putin’s Pandemic Duet’: the authors obviously detest both presidents, but they go out of their way to crucify Donald while faint-praising VVP (though of course inserting the ritual denunciations about ‘abhorrent behavior in Ukraine’, ‘election interference in U.S.’, ‘assassinations of political opponents’, etc.) I guess they’re trying to say that Donald is–gasp!–even worse than that unspeakably evil but at least somewhat competent VVP. Which makes me wonder what will happen in the USA come November if Donald wins, and if educated elites and their deep state backers refuse to accept Donald’s repeat victory. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The democrats are making it abundantly clear that they will flat out contest the election results if biden loses. I suppose how that shakes out will depend on what happens in congressional elections.

      I don’t think that the official reaction will be as vehement if Trump loses, since many, if not most, republican elites want him gone as badly as democrat elites do.

      When you consider that all of official washington has been content to let the nation flounder for the past four years in a massive temper tantrum over the voters’ refusal to obey its electoral commands, you do have to be trepidatious about what the punishment will be if voters disobey again.

      And how the population will react if the pressure is ramped up even further as punishment for its continued disobedience. To quote Saagar Enjeti, “At some point, the dam is gonna break.”

          1. Late Introvert

            I advise to disengage with pasha. Sock puppet paid to provoke and distract, which is the Dem Rat playbook in a nutshell. Not unlike the Xtian Science freaks.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Some people can get the pandemic virus twice, a study suggests. That is no reason to panic”

    Maybe someone should tell that to the increasingly large number of ‘long-haulers.’ I am sure that they would be comforted at this sentiment.

    1. rd

      Long-hauler is different from getting it a second time. The second timers tend to have no or few symptoms which indicates their immune systems can handle it well.

      To my mind, a best case scenario for this disease is it ends up being another version of the common cold. Annoying but rarely threatening.

    2. Late Introvert

      It may be true that these were low symptom cases the 1st time and no symptom cases the 2nd. More to learn on this for sure….

  15. Wukchumni

    The End of Oil Is Near SIerra Club
    Going from canceling out John Muir to killing oil in a fortnight is no mean feat, and kind of evens things out I suppose.

    In happier news…

    My friend who started a quest with his wife to visit the 40 largest living trees are now addicted, having stretched the search to the largest 75, which should take them about 5 years to figure out, as they’re are a lot of competitors in the not quite big enough crowd, and every suspect has to be visited and given a perp walk with a measuring tape, and more sophisticated digital measuring gear to judge height from afar.

    There’s around 70 groves of Giant Sequoias spread on the western slope of the Sierra, and most of them have a tree/s of size, so like any adventure-there’s a method to having to visit all of them in search of various grails.

    1. Dirk77

      Thanks for the tree link. I hope the Sequoias are as insulated from pine beetles as the board of the Sierra Club is from its members.

  16. steve

    Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis: Imagine, imagine, imagine…

    This would use up my entire stock of pharmaceuticals.

    Antidote du jour, Horned Lizard: Just on the other side of Sunrise Mtn outside Las Vegas, in the “Free World’s 2nd largest nuclear storage facility” we had these by the hundreds.

    1. edmondo

      Just on the other side of Sunrise Mtn outside Las Vegas, in the “Free World’s 2nd largest nuclear storage facility” we had these by the hundreds.

      True, but the one’s who lived closest to the nuclear dump were 48 feet tall.

    1. Late Introvert

      Don’t forget the great purge of any critical commentary on Israel not that long ago. Skynet is 3vil.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Trump administration weighs accusing China of ‘genocide’ over Uighurs”

    The Trump administration might want to reconsider that idea because of possible blowback. Suppose that they went ahead and did this and made a big thing about it at the UN in order to attack China. Now the Chinese might attack America on the treatment of blacks in America which lead to BLM. They might also go after the treatment of native Americans too. But I would assume that Washington would just shrug this off. But what if the Chinese did a flank attack? They might go after the Israeli treatment of Palestinians in the UN. Now that would send Washington ballistic, especially Pompeo. Criticizing Israel in America might be a bit of a third rail but not internationally. With China backing the Palestinians, this could lead to a split between Arab Street and the Gulf regimes who want to suck up to Israel under Pompeo’s prompting. Actually there is decades of evidence of a semi-genocidal attack on Palestinians where there is not that much for Chinese treatment of the Uighurs. And just to put the boot in, the Chinese could say to Washington ‘What are you complaining about? We are not attacking you? Why are you so upset?’

    1. edmondo

      Tomorrow’s headline:

      China weighs accusing USA of “genocide” over handling of Puerto Rico hurricane.

      1. MK

        huh? We’re rounding up PRs and putting them in concentration camps? Not to defend the nothing we did, but come on, attitudes like this TDS will only fuel his victory in November.

        1. Pat

          Well it is true that our despicable treatment of PR is something that is bipartisan and can laid at the feet of multiple Presidential administrations.

          China does have multiple routes to embarrass the US in response to something that is clearly Just an easy and meaningless* shot. I also think that whatever they choose will probably hurt the “liberal” opposition and help Trump with his base. Only because China throwing shots at Trumps administration will always help.

          *If I thought for a moment that American foreign policy of the last three decades gave a damn about genocide, oppressive treatment of various groups or human rights I might consider it more, but we haven’t and we don’t so…

    2. hunkerdown

      Despite the ugliness of their living situation, Israel has a lot of toys, a lot of original technology China might not be able to get directly from Uncle Sam, and strong and well-developed expertise dealing with uppity underclasses. I don’t see China as having a very negative attitude toward them. I also don’t see them wanting to antagonize the GOP government during an election they’re likely to win, especially with the Lobby being more or less the USA’s policy gatekeeper.

      But holy molé it would be cute if they did.

  18. Wukchumni

    Skied @ Squaw Valley this January, and we were on Thanksgiving piste leftovers and there wasn’t a lot of it on the ground, making skiing seem more like ice skating-not that there’s anything wrong with that, you go with the conditions you have-not the ones you want.

    I see the name got cancelled yesterday by the owner of 15 ski resorts in the west including Squaw, er name to be determined later, and never will be heard a discouraging word, which are all p.c., oh by the way.

    No new moniker as of late, but i’d suggest :Squawk Valley

    easy peasy name change-while sending a message about the which hunt.

    1. Buckeye

      Well, if you are so anti-political correctness, they can replace “Squaw” with “White Trash”!

      ADVERT: “Come ski the new White Trash Valley, where we cater to the over-privileged who have
      massive amounts of time and money to waste falling down a snowy mountainside!”

      1. newcatty

        Don’t you love the smell of hypocritical snobbery in the afternoon. It is a “which hunt” if the owner of 15 ski resorts, including Squaw Valley, decides to change a name of said resort to something that isn’t considered by many native peoples as disrespectful or a slur to native women, but commenter who goes by “Wukchumni”, a name of a native nation in the area in which he lives, thinks that is just cool. I believe I am correct that “Wuk” is not a member of the nation, or has claimed to have any heritage.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Identarian rubbish.

          That Wuk saw fit to celebrate some of the original inhabitants of the region he lives in and now receives the full incoherent blows of the “cultural appropriation” police is laughable.

          Talk to your pal Pocahantas Liz, whose personal pronouns are “she” and “her”, about her speaking on behalf of all Native peoples.

          Or talk to your hero Joe, telling an African-American “you ain’t black!” if you’re not for him.

          Go back under that rock with your dead-end divisive and nihilist views, your “philosophy” is the enemy of class revolution.

    2. petal

      Interesting, Wuk. Thanks. Will look to read more about it.
      Eastern loud powder? Yuck, sorry. Tough on the knees. Was spoiled by near-daily lake effect snow growing up.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Why the United States is having a coronavirus data crisis”

    If only there was some area in America which had the technical expertise to do large scale data crunching. One that had tens of thousands of people working in computers and networking whose skills could be tapped for such a project. (sarc mode disengaged). Seriously, has Silicon Valley gone missing since the start of the pandemic? What have they come up with to help their country out? Apart from a lousy app that is. They are seriously missing in action and are at the moment the dog that is not barking.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      Our Public Health infrastructure is as rusted and crumbling as any US bridge, highway, or train tracks. Congress as bemoaned the fact and presidents have run on reversing that trend. So far, nothing has changed. The only public health agency not castrated by politicians since the turn of the century is my former employer – NIH (Big Pharma wants its new drugs). CDC was neutered over a decade ago, and FDA has had a series of directors who turned out out be more politician and Big Pharma shills than public health guardians. Drugs in the US today is a legalized extortion racket – “Give us all your money or die!” Case in point; my arthritis medication costs $123,000/year (which fortunately does not come out of my pocket.

      My favorite example of Public Health corrupt neglect is exemplified by the US response to teen vaping. Since 2007 when they were introduced, Americns have died from defective e-cigarettes and contaminated vaping fluids. It is an established fact that most vaping fluids contain twice the nicotine that cigarettes deliver per puff (thereby hastening addictive use). We have also seen a slight uptick in teen vaping experimentation (not surprising to any ex-teenager like yourself). Yet in the 13 years since e-cigarettes were introduced in the US, the public health response by FDA, CDC, and the Congress has been public pearl-clutching over concerns that vaping might lead teenagers to abuse tobacco and hard drugs (for which the evidence is dubious) – i.e., nothing! Although FDA has the authority to regulate vaping safety there are zero quality standards for devices or fluids. Aspirin has more regulation than e-cigarettes.

  20. Wukchumni

    A letter to my mom a few hundred miles away sent a fortnight ago just arrived yesterday. To put things in perspective, the Pony Express in 1860 could go halfway across the country in 10 days on horse.

    1. marieann

      I came to Canada in the late 60’s. My Mum and I communicated by mail. I could send her a letter and get a reply within the same week…..this was from Scotland. I have watched all sorts of things get worse instead of better as time goes on. I have no hope for a bright and glorious future

  21. Billy

    ‘I am beside myself’: millions in the US face evictions amid looming crisis

    “My clients are overwhelmingly single black women with children,” Paluzzi said. “My client today was and my client yesterday was. And all of my clients last week were single black females with children.”

    We need welfare reform to stop punishing families financially when a father lives in the household.

    “Welfare programs penalize marriage and reward single parenthood because of the inherent design of all means-tested programs such as food stamps or TANF, where the benefits are reduced as nonwelfare income rises. Thus, under any means-tested system, a mother receives greater benefits if she remains single than she would if she were married to a working husband.”

    What do the Democrats offer us? “Immigration reform?” That’s would put tens of millions more on welfare and to compete for low cost housing.

  22. Tom Stone

    The world may be going to hell in a handbasket, but at least I was able to return to my home, which still stands.
    Ash every where and it’s smoky as hell, but I’m glad to be here.

      1. wilroncanada

        Whew! Relief! Now, would that person please refrain from calling you Tomb Stone/ punishable bad humour.

  23. flora

    Rick Perlstein in conversation talking about his new book “Reaganland and the Rise of the New Right”.

    from beginning up to the 5 minute mark is about the Carter loss to Reagan.

    Interesting bit at the beginning about Carter and Carter’s belief that sacrifice and suffering were moral virtues, so he felt no hesitation about austerity and calling on Americans to sacrifice to ‘wring out inflation’.

    This makes me think a Biden presidency will be a rerun of the Carter years. More austerity (cupboard is bare), more sacrifice demanded from Main Street, and calling that moral virtue.

    1. flora

      For the last 45 years the Dem party has run on New Deal campaign talk but delivered only austerity and sacrifice to Main Street. They “feel your pain.” Biden looks like more of the same. “Nothing will fundamentally change.”

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden will repeat all of Obama’s “mistakes” but do it with none of the charisma and in a much more decayed society. Ferguson and now the Democratic cities police departments have happened. The Carter era will be a relative golden age.

      Without Trump, the “liberals” will be screaming about how the left just wants Barron to win.

  24. Steve from CT

    The Burning House article in The Atlantic has some misleading and inaccurate information. I would guess the Taylor book is the source but haven’t read it and won’t

    Blaming LBJ for the failure of federal housing policy is way off the mark. The creation of the Urban Renewal program had a good intention which was clearance of bad housing to be replaced with good housing. It was never a public private partnership. The Redevelopment Agency took land by eminent domain and then demolished the buildings then sold them at a reduced price to a private developer or non-profit to build new. Of course politics played a huge role in which properties were bought and who got to purchase them. Not public private partnerships.

    The FHA homeownership program provided mortgages to low and moderate income families. There was no public private partnership built into the program. The lending standards for FHA was better than what existed before. I headed a non-profit that used these mortgages for almost 40 yrs. it was misused by some but the intent was good. I also used most of the rental housing programs offered by the feds.

    The public private partnerships came in in the 80’s with the genuises in Washington ditching the HUD multifamily programs under Section 236 and 221d4. Admittedly these programs as designed were faulty because they only subsidized the interest rate and many became unaffordable to low Income tenants. The substitution for them was low income housing tax credits which did require a public private partnership to work. This came about in the 1980’s and not under LBJ or Nixon.

    The problem with all federal Rental housing programs including public housing is that the subsidies were not Sufficient to get to realistically affordable rents that could cover the maintenance costs Necessary to operate the units. The reality is that the neediest families could not afford to live in them. The partial, at best, answer was Section 8 rental subsidies for the occupant. But there was never enough money for all needy families and the rents were set by HUD.

    The article presents a much too simplified explanation much of which is not true. At the same time, I am very aware that there was much corruption in all of it. No wonder there is a serious housing problem in most cities and that some of the housing developed under the federal Programs did not work.

    1. Adam Eran

      Speaking as a former loan officer, I can tell you that FHA is a mortgage insurance program. Private companies (or Wall St. or FNMA securitization) comes up with the mortgage money, and FHA charges a few thousand dollars to allow the loan-to-value to be higher (lower down payment). If the borrower defaults, FHA pays the lender. It’s private/public all the way. At its inception, the program was also was full of redlining (excluding people of color from financing), so racist, and fueled white flight.

      Reagan cut the HUD affordable housing budget by 75%, following Nixon initiating a moratorium on federally-funded affordable housing. Used to be the government built homes. It’s not as though we don’t have the resources: I’m told that in San Francisco there are five times as many vacant homes as homeless people.

  25. dk

    The Log 3: Tranquility Amidst the Chaos.

    I think “tranquility” need to be understood for its deeper meaning, and not for an implication of careless dreaminess. These creatures are engaging in their constant tasks for survival, they do it simply with aplomb and some grace. They’re foragers, not farmers, and foragers fully engage in the world around them. It is all, and therefor it is enough, and even tranquil in its time.

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