Links 8/28/2020

Raising orphaned baby wombats under lockdown National Geographic

Fed’s new inflation goal lifts stocks and dents bonds FT

Bank Capital in a Public Health Crisis: Reflecting on Twin Challenges Regulation Asia

Past world economic production constrains current energy demands: Persistent scaling with implications for economic growth and climate change mitigation PLOS One

Tax, economics, audit and accounting are all intimately theoretically related – but almost no one seems to notice Tax Research UK


SARS-CoV-2 infection of human iPSC-derived cardiac cells predicts novel cytopathic features in hearts of COVID-19 patients (preprint) bioRxiv. From the abstract: “COVID-19 causes cardiac dysfunction in up to 50% of patients, but the pathogenesis remains unclear…. These striking transcriptomic and cytopathic changes provide a roadmap to understand the mechanisms of COVID-19 cardiac damage, search for potential treatments, and determine the basis for prolonged cardiac morbidity observed in this pandemic.” Important!

97,000 People Got Convalescent Plasma. Who Knows if It Works? Wired

* * *

The latest in the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine AEI. And to be fair–

A Comprehensive COVID-19 Vaccine Plan Topher Spiro and Zeke Emanuel, Center for American Progress

Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine candidates require ultra-low temperatures, raising questions about storage, distribution MarketWatch (Re Silc).

* * *

France makes masks mandatory everywhere in Paris from Friday Reuters

LG’s battery-powered face mask will “make breathing effortless” Ars Technica (Re Silc). Somebody had to be first out of the gate, but the product spec only talks about inhalation, not exhalation. Also, hardly fashion-forward.

What’s the Korean for “maskhole“?

OK, OK, I know I’m shaming, which didn’t work to induce condom-wearing in the AIDS epidemic, but holy moley!

* * *

Workers and customers are catching COVID-19. Should businesses escape blame? LA Times

U.S. Buys Almost All Abbott’s $5 Rapid Tests Made This Year Bloomberg. I think we should budget societally for spontaneous daily testing. Hence, the price point should be 99¢ or less (assuming a market-based solution).

A dilemma for ‘long-haulers’: Many can’t prove they ever had Covid-19 STAT

Most Approve of National Response to COVID-19 in 14 Advanced Economies Pew Research (DG). Note the exceptions:

DG comments: “The distemper is mainly Anglo-American. The question may be put: Result of the delusions of Anglo-American capitalism that now are more than evident? Resentments at the end of Empire? Fear and anger at the collapse of the supply lines to the Royal Capitals, where the supplies of caviar, bottled fizzy water, cleaning ladies, and bespoke suits are running low? Or a very obvious indication that the rapacious class structure of Anglo-America has produced rotten fruit?” The difficulty here is that three of the other Anglo-capitalist Five Eyes (Australia, Canada, and, I suspect, New Zealand) do not suffer from this “distemper.” Perhaps being the Imperial heartland — once the U.K., now the U.S. — is uniquely debilitating.

Abe to resign due to health condition Japan Times

How possible successors stack up if Prime Minister Abe resigns Asahi Shimbun


China Built A Vast New Infrastructure To Imprison Uighurs Buzzfeed. Interesting methodology.

No escape:

US sanctions 24 Chinese companies over South China Sea island building CNN

Demand for Sand Sucks Life From China’s Largest Freshwater Lake Sixth Tone

Māo (猫), a thread of poems:

Pakistan army muscles in on Belt and Road project FT

Japan, India and Australia to Seek Supply Chain Pact Bloomberg

The Koreas

South Korea urges work from home as country reports most daily cases since March Reuters

Hanoi’s growing homeless population struggle with lockdown measures Globe_

Can yeast oil save rainforests from palm oil plantation pressure? Deutsche Welle


Syria war: American troops hurt as Russian and US military vehicles collide BBC


This is the bogus anti-Semitism report that sank Jeremy Corbyn Electronic Intifada vs. Labour official denies ‘grand plan’ to sabotage Corbyn’s 2017 election bid Guardian. Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

‘Stop this wetness!’: the roots of Boris Johnson’s watery contempt Guardian

British Army could axe ageing tanks as part of modernisation plans BBC

Peru passes Belgium as world’s deadliest Covid-19 hot spot Straits Times

New Cold War

Belarus protests stoke sea change at state media outlets Financial Times

Security strongmen take on key role in Russian Arctic policy The Barents Observer


America and Russia in the 1990s: This is what real meddling looks like Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon. Levine comments:

Musical interlude (lyrics).

Trump Transition

CDC director walks back testing guidance, but does not alter recommendations on website NBC

Republican National Convention

US election 2020 LIVE as it happened: Donald Trump accepts Republican nomination at the RNC and lashes Joe Biden, Democrats Sidney Morning Herald

3 takeaways from the final night of the Republican National Convention WaPo. “[Trump] added later: ‘We will have a safe and effective vaccine this year, and we will crush the virus.'” As I’ve been saying for some time.


Death Was the Theme of Both the RNC and the DNC The Nation

Democratic National Convention C-SPAN and Republican National Convention C-SPAN

O.C.’s bishop, a $12-million problem and a secret fight stretching to the Vatican LA Times

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Google wants to listen in to whatever you get up to in hotel rooms The Register


Julian Assange in ‘a lot of pain’ says partner after first prison visit in nearly six months Evening Standard

The Protests

Map of Minneapolis businesses damaged, looted after night of unrest Star-Tribune. No banks or payday lenders in the list of businesses.

‘Mostly Peaceful’ Rioting And Looting Is Helping Trump’s Campaign Moon of Alabama. This screenshot with chyron captures the contradictions among CNN listeners clearly clearly:

In a contest between justice and property values, property values have form, although punters would do well to remember that standard disclaimers apply (see Sports Desk).

‘MOMMAS BOY’ Who is Kyle’s mom Wendy Rittenhouse and did she drive him to Kenosha the night of the shooting? The Sun. Last night, there was a rash of tweets saying she did, but no evidence.

Blue Lives Matter Supporters Say Kyle Rittenhouse Not Reflective Of Most Peaceful Apologists For Police State The Onion

Our Famously Free Press

Facebook, Snapchat and the Dawn of the Post-Truth Era Wired. From 2018, still germane. The author comments:

Maybe Rashomon needs to go on our list of Favorite Political Movies.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Contested future: What next for the west? FT. A review of Thomas Frank’s The People, No.

COVID-19: Without Help, Low-Income Developing Countries Risk a Lost Decade IMFBlog

Sports Desk

Inside the hectic hours around a historic NBA boycott ESPN. Yo, Postal Workers, Teamsters, Flight Attendants, Longshore and Warehouse workers.

Three MLB games, including Dodgers-Giants, called off as teams protest Jacob Blake shooting CBS

Class Warfare

How Covid-19 Is Increasing Inequality Tribune

Congress left town and let jobless benefits lapse. Unemployed Americans say they won’t forget it. WaPo

Washington Postal Workers Defy USPS Orders And Reinstall Mail Sorting Machines Forbes

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Yves Smith

      Rashomon is terrific, but from a technique perspective, I think Kurosawa’s best sequence is the opening of Yojimbo. This Robert Ebert recap weirdly stops before what I regard as the brilliant part. So read this first

      So Kurosawa does lovely setting and character development: This Yojimbo as a free spirit despite being a saumuri, willing to follow signs or his own destiny. And notice the use of low angle shots from the start.

      Yojimobo walks into a village. The low shot is either at or just below the level of the first floor of houses, with are on little stilts and have a step or two up. The camera looks down a curiously empty street of houses, suggesting that the residents have left or are in hiding.

      In the distance, a small dog runs down the street towards the camera. As it gets closer, you see it is carrying something in its mouth. The viewer can suddenly work out what it is.

      A severed human hand.

      1. voteforno6

        My favorite sequence of his is the end of Ikiru. That whole movie also serves some good political commentary, I think.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I’m happy to see you are a fan too, Yves!

        Kurosawa of course was also an artist, his painted storyboards for later films are incredible. But as you say, his overall technique was unparalleled. His contemporaries, Ozu and Mizoguchi also had films where every single frame could count as a work of art, but Kurosawa did the combination of framing, blocking and editing better than anyone. You are right that Yojimbo was maybe the high point of Kurosawas virtuosity.

        I don’t know what film makers were smoking in that period in Japan, but the number of masterpieces churned out in just a few years just after the war is incredible. Even the very best flim makers around now can rarely match Kurosawa or Ozu for the ability to frame a moment in time. Sadly, the current Japanese film industry is just a shadow of that time.

        1. Winston Smith

          Love the last take of “Dreams”…desperately looking for a way to stream “Dersu Uzala” as it does not seem to be available

          1. JJ

            Dersu is available on Criterion Channel which is subscription and US (I believe) only. You can probably grab a 7 or 14 day trial. If you are not US based, I know some Europeans and Canadians who used a US IP address to subscribe but can still watch globally. Lot of work, but worth it; it’s one of my favorite Kurosawa’s.

          2. Lunker Walleye

            “Kitsune Wedding” — every time I see a sun shower, I think of the foxes getting married.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Woman of the Dunes was I think the first classic era Japanese film I’d seen, I caught it randomly at a film festival and set me on the trail of so many other films. It must count as one of the most genuinely unique films ever made.

          1. Winston Smith

            Yes indeed, I had the good fortune to see it on a big screen when I lived in Montreal which at the time was a cinéphile’s paradise with a plethora of repertory cinemas and university film depts.

      3. Basil Pesto

        The camera looks down a curiously empty street of houses, suggesting that the residents have left or are in hiding.

        In the distance, a small dog runs down the street towards the camera. As it gets closer, you see it is carrying something in its mouth. The viewer can suddenly work out what it is.

        A severed human hand.

        This is weird because I’ve long had an idea for a film – set in Japan, by another coincidence – that begins with a shot of almost this exact type (albeit with a less gruesome payoff). I’ve not yet seen Yojimbo (as I mention below)!

      4. Peerke

        I have not seen a lot of Kurosawa films but Kagemusha sticks in my mind as being visually brilliant particularly the scene where the camera follows a messenger as he runs along a path with exhausted soldiers lying on either side. As the messenger reaches them in turn they rouse themselves and gaze after him….

    2. paul

      The cake entrance in ‘the bad sleep well’, and the salaryman vulcano insurance scheme,and the subterranean wreckage of a post nuke japan.
      If kurosawa made a bad film, I haven’t seen it yet.

      1. Roady

        I was going to lament the lack of love for The Bad Sleep Well. Now I’ll just complain that no one else loves Red Beard :(

    3. maria gostrey

      rashomon was released in 1950 – 5 years after hiroshima & nagasaki with japan still under occupation. from 1945 to 1952, japanese cinema was subject to censorship & its fun to see kurosawa messing with the censors in films such as “drunken angel” released i think in 1948. “men who tread on the tigers tail” was released in 1945 & banned by the american censors for its positive depiction of feudal values. yet “rashomon”, with its relentless question “what is true?” slipped past the censors & went on to win international awards, introducing japanese cinema to the world. i like to think this amused kurosawa. anyway, i love both films & think i will watch a double feature this evening.

    4. Basil Pesto

      Not to be that guy but I feel like it’s worth pointing out that Rashomon is an adaptation of two short stories by Rynosuke Akutagawa: Rashomon and In A Grove (or maybe In A Bamboo Grove)

      I’ve read the stories (was studying law at the time and the conceit is inherently interesting to anyone who studies dispute resolution!) but haven’t yet seen the movie, though I have it, Sanjuro and Yojimbo in my DVD collection ready to watch. Even during a tight lockdown I can put off watching/reading that I know I’ll enjoy. Probably spend too much time here!

    5. David

      The Rashomon effect (great film, by the way) is essentially a way of saying that there’s no such thing as “the truth” about a given event, but there are only partial and often conflicting truths, and that it isn’t possible to find “middle ground” or some kind of compromise or consensus. The more stressful and controversial the event is, the less chance of “the truth” being revealed.
      There are shelves of psychological studies showing this, but it’s also familiar if you have ever been on a jury in a criminal trial. Essentially, a number of people can have perfectly honest, but completely divergent views of the same event. None of them are “lying”, but each has remembered some things and forgotten others, and interpreted what they saw differently in the light of their prior assumptions, and also what they have since read and seen in the media. Perceptions are highly malleable, and memories almost completely so. Stress, lack of sleep, fear and previous bad experiences all make the problem much worse.

      In theory, video should help to solve this problem, but in fact it doesn’t. Not only can images be manipulated, but they can mislead by inclusion, exclusion, juxtaposition, choice of angle and framing, and many other things. None of this is necessarily attempting to deliberately mislead, either. And in the end, we find some videos or images more convincing than others, simply because they correspond better to our presuppositions.

    6. ShamanicFallout

      So weird. Apropos of nothing, yesterday I put Rashomon on my watchlist and am watching this evening. Must of glanced at something talking about the 70th anniversary, or heard something without it really registering. Or I’m really dialed into the group mind ;)

    7. fresno dan

      August 28, 2020 at 7:21 am

      Late in the day, but no list of Japanese movies is complete without:
      Big Man Japan
      if for nothing else, answering the age old question of where do the pants of a giant come from…

  1. fresno dan

    DG comments: “The distemper is mainly Anglo-American. The question may be put: Result of the delusions of Anglo-American capitalism that now are more than evident? Resentments at the end of Empire? Fear and anger at the collapse of the supply lines to the Royal Capitals, where the supplies of caviar, bottled fizzy water, cleaning ladies, and bespoke suits are running low? Or a very obvious indication that the rapacious class structure of Anglo-America has produced rotten fruit?
    Why, yes

    1. Off The Street

      One can almost visualize the Zoom meeting preparations.
      Caviar – check
      Fizzy water – check
      Bespoke suit – hey, cleaning lady, did you pick up that suit from the cleaners?

      What do you mean, Not in your job description. Don’t you know that I have meetings to attend, profiles to maintain, caviar to slurp and fizzy water for my dyspepsia?

      Harrumph. Those cousins I hired just aren’t as good as the regular help.

      1. Wukchumni

        A 6 pack of Topo Chico is around $6, less than you’d pay for a 6 pack of beer. Fizzy water* is in no way in the same league as caviar or a $5k Italian suit.

        * Topo Chico is by far the fizziest

    2. David

      OK, can we have a moratorium on this “End of Empire” stuff, please? You have to be at least 70 to have much of a memory of even the last days of Empire. The Empire, in the sense that most people think of it, didn’t exist before 1880, didn’t reach its height until 1919, was already becoming prohibitively expensive by the 1950s and was effectively gone by 1965. It was always controversial politically, it was unpopular even within government (the Treasury thought it was too expensive, the military couldn’t defend it and the Foreign Office saw it as a threat and a diversion, as well as a source of potential conflict). Elites only ever appreciated it for helping to ensure Great Power status at a time when every major European power had an empire. But since the 1940s, that status has depended not on having an empire, but on the relationship with the US, permanent membership of the Security Council and the possession of nuclear weapons. The Empire has been a very dead parrot for a very long time, and popular awareness of it is almost non-existent today.
      Ironically, and for all its faults, the type of government and administrative machine that Britain had during the days of Empire, with its public service ethic and ability to attract good people, would have handled the epidemic a lot better than the present shambles. Comparison with the way the preparation and opening stages of WW2 were handled is enough to make you weep.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think much of the reason for public anger in the UK and US is that the response hasn’t met expectations. In plenty of countries people pretty much expect their governments to screw up and are pleasantly surprised when they don’t (thats certainly the case in Ireland). But the US and the UK had justifiably world leading systems for dealing with infectious diseases up to a few years ago. A lot of this was of course due to Empire and colonialism, which always requires high quality administration to work. I think its a sort of shock to the system to see that… well, nearly everyone, including so-called ‘third world’ countries are doing a better job.

        The huge problem facing both the UK and US I think is that they’ve floated for decades on the benefits of having excellent administrative structures, while allowing these structures to decay and rot. When you look at how, say, late 19th Century cities solved the problems of disease through massive water and waste investments, or waged total war when needed, or built huge highway systems over a matter of a few years, and then compare it to the chaos of today – as you say, it can only make you weep. Fixing it would take a massive effort, and to be honest, I don’t see anyone willing to take on that task.

        1. paul

          I cannot agree more with your addition.
          The rampant,aggressive destruction of institutional memory is the hallmark of the deadbeats that seek to change our lives.

          That dominic cumming’s ,quite rational, rejection by the civil service is going to shape other, more human lives, is grotesque,brutal and tragic.

          While nothing more than a glovepuppet, this nutcase will hopefully break the union, and westminster (not england) will never again waive the rules.

          1. Maff

            Nutcase? I think more accurate might be, “someone who disagrees with (your) political viewpoint”. He’s actually a very clever chap and very driven. I mean – the civil service *obviously* needs complete reform. The mothballing of all UK tanks also has Cummings fingerprints all over it. Another good idea, no doubt against great institutional opposition. Keep it up Dom!

      2. Olga

        I think Queen Victoria would take issue with the declaration that empire did not exist before 1880 – not to mention Elizabeth I (and I have no idea what it means “in the sense that most people think of it” – how do we ever know what “most people think”?).
        The British empire was functionally bankrupt right around the disastrous Boer wars (which is why it had to borrow heavily for WWI) – but that did not stop it from continuing and for Churchill to try to defend it – in spite of FDR’s opposition.
        The ‘days of empire’ (at least some) are well described in Dickens’ novels – and based on those, one could hardly have any optimism about how a pandemic would have been handled. (Call the Midwife is a good series – clearly documenting how concern for the lower classes emerged in late 1940s, as reflected in the creation of NHS, and as the empire was declining.)
        And as late as 1956, UK tried to project its empire… plus, in 1953 in Iran. Kenya was a colony until 1963… and HK until 1997. So not sure where this benign view of UK’s empire comes from…
        The hold of the City of London on world’s financial matters still remains… but yes, politically, UK now works in tandem with the US to get its way.

        1. Synoia

          Olga, I suggest you read Bertrand Russell’s autobiography. He had a similar view, up close and personal during the period you mention.

          “The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, by Bertrand Russell”

        2. David

          This is a common – dare I say – misunderstanding. Before 1880, the Empire consisted essentially of India (with its own Minister and for that matter its own government and army), Canada, Australia and New Zealand. There were a couple of toe-holds in Africa (Gold Coast and, to a degree the Cape Colony) but that was pretty much it. Even imperialists like JS Mill thought essentially of the Empire as what we now call the White Commonwealth, with emigration from the UK ultimately producing a kind of transnational Britain. This liberal conception of Empire largely excluded colonies, and privileged trade (see the work of Duncan Bell on this, for example). This changed in the 1880s with imperial competition, and produced a quite new, and very controversial, policy of Empire “on which the sun never set” in the famous formulation. That was the conception of Empire I grew up with, and which was then in the process of being rapidly abandoned. But it’s the concept that most people think of when somebody says “British Empire” today.

          The point, though, is that the Empire was a way of showing Great Power status, and, once it started to become too expensive, it was swiftly jettisoned in favour of other policies, as I outlined. Empire was never a means in itself, only an end – something which a lot of people forget. During all the time I worked in government, I never heard any nostalgia for Empire: indeed, it was seen as a series of onerous commitments from which, when I was a young civil servant, we had only just escaped. Likewise, the UK’s behaviour, for example in Iraq in 1953 was that of a Great Power, not an imperial one, unless you want to use “imperialist” just as an insult, as was done in the Cold War.

          1. Olga


            Well, I am sure that we all can learn something new… perhaps looking at this may give a more realistic view:

            “It was not until the reign of Elizabeth I that the idea of obtaining an empire was revived. In 1563 Francis Drake joined his cousin, John Hawkins, on a voyage to Africa. The two men started capturing people in Sierra Leone and selling them as slaves to Spanish settlers in the Caribbean. As it was illegal for the settlers to buy from foreigners, Hawkins and Drake soon came into conflict with the Spanish authorities.”

            There is a lot more at the second link.

            1. shtove

              David is referring to a late development, when the English conceived of a federational empire, to be administered along the lines of the USA. Earlier in the century, they preferred the model of ancient Greece, with ties of culture and comity between the mother country and the colonies. The emphasis switched to the Roman model, and then they thought, “Hang it! The ancient empires fell – we want to last forever.” The next item was an Anglo organisation, but events got in the way.

              As with many projections of English might, the journey starts and ends in Ireland. That’s a good reason for reaching back to the first Elizabeth, because you see how conquest comes unstuck.

      3. Billy

        Reruns my friend. Reruns.
        The average American knew plenty about our real and mythological past well into the 2000s. Youtube still has The Andy Griffith Show, Mister Ed and other things you can watch, not as a portrayal of reality, but rather as a reaction to the reality that there was for the average American, within which such intellectual and artistic fantasies could be promoted as a vehicle for adversing the bountiful harvest of cheap fantastic things spewed out of our domestic factories.

        Think if we had we not entered WWII, the world would be a different place and we Americans would be better off today, unless you subscribe to the hysterical pabulum about “Hitler invading America,” which was the Grandaddy of The “War on Terrorism.”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          rather as a reaction to the reality that there was for the average American

          Cheers was a sitcom about people hanging out at a bar while the commons was being eliminated where people escaped work.

          Kids today still love “The Office” a comedy about characters who go to a stable work environment while the gig economy until Covid reigned supreme.

        2. The Historian

          The US didn’t ‘enter’ WWII – it was foisted upon us. In case you’ve forgotten, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and that is how the US ‘entered’ WWII. And Germany declared war on the US first – it wasn’t the other way around.

          Would we have been better off? With a NAZI controlled Europe? That needs sincere explanation from you. I’m waiting…….

          1. Yves Smith

            The US provoked Japan by impeding its access to essential supplies, above all oil. Pretty cheeky for a supposed non-combattant.

            In June 1940, Henry L. Stimson, who had been secretary of war under Taft and secretary of state under Hoover, became secretary of war again. Stimson was a lion of the Anglophile, northeastern upper crust and no friend of the Japanese. In support of the so-called Open Door Policy for China, Stimson favored the use of economic sanctions to obstruct Japan’s advance in Asia. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau and Interior Secretary Harold Ickes vigorously endorsed this policy. Roosevelt hoped that such sanctions would goad the Japanese into making a rash mistake by launching a war against the United States, which would bring in Germany because Japan and Germany were allied.

            Accordingly, the Roosevelt administration, while curtly dismissing Japanese diplomatic overtures to harmonize relations, imposed a series of increasingly stringent economic sanctions on Japan. In 1939 the United States terminated the 1911 commercial treaty with Japan. “On July 2, 1940, Roosevelt signed the Export Control Act, authorizing the President to license or prohibit the export of essential defense materials.” Under this authority, “[o]n July 31, exports of aviation motor fuels and lubricants and No. 1 heavy melting iron and steel scrap were restricted.” Next, in a move aimed at Japan, Roosevelt slapped an embargo, effective October 16, “on all exports of scrap iron and steel to destinations other than Britain and the nations of the Western Hemisphere.” Finally, on July 26, 1941, Roosevelt “froze Japanese assets in the United States, thus bringing commercial relations between the nations to an effective end. One week later Roosevelt embargoed the export of such grades of oil as still were in commercial flow to Japan.”[2] The British and the Dutch followed suit, embargoing exports to Japan from their colonies in southeast Asia.

            Roosevelt and his subordinates knew they were putting Japan in an untenable position and that the Japanese government might well try to escape the stranglehold by going to war…

            Because American cryptographers had also broken the Japanese naval code, the leaders in Washington knew as well that Japan’s “measures” would include an attack on Pearl Harbor.[4] Yet they withheld this critical information from the commanders in Hawaii, who might have headed off the attack or prepared themselves to defend against it. That Roosevelt and his chieftains did not ring the tocsin makes perfect sense: after all, the impending attack constituted precisely what they had been seeking for a long time. As Stimson confided to his diary after a meeting of the war cabinet on November 25, “The question was how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.”[5] After the attack, Stimson confessed that “my first feeling was of relief … that a crisis had come in a way which would unite all our people.[6]


            The significance of the asset seizure, which took place months before Pearl Harbor:

            President Roosevelt swung into action by freezing all Japanese assets in America. Britain and the Dutch East Indies followed suit. The result: Japan lost access to three-fourths of its overseas trade and 88 percent of its imported oil. Japan’s oil reserves were only sufficient to last three years, and only half that time if it went to war and consumed fuel at a more frenzied pace.


            1. The Historian

              May I add a slight rebuttal? I don’t disagree with everything you said, but Japan was not entirely innocent in starting World War II. I don’t have time to dig out all my books and reference material so I will go by my memory and what is commonly available online, i.e., Wikipedia.

              Japan was sorely aggrieved by the WWI treaty. As long as the major powers were divvying up the world, Japan, as an ally, thought it should have some of that loot too. But as usual, the major powers had little concern for their Asian partners. Japan felt betrayed by its partners in WWI.

              In 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria on trumped up pretexts. Note, that this was not what the civilian government in Japan wanted – it was done solely by Japan’s military, and this pretty much destroyed any civilian government in Japan until the war ended. It is also important to note that the Japanese military had an obsession with China, so much so, that they kept a million men on China throughout the war instead of using them to better advantage. In effect, China was to the US what the Soviet Union was to the Allies in WWII.

              Was this act of overt aggression toward China forgivable because Japan needed resources? If it was, then what the imperialists in Europe did to Africa and the Far East is also forgivable, not to mention the acts of aggression by Great Britain and the US in the Middle East. I don’t think history is going to look any more kindly on Japan that it will the US or Great Britain.

              Roosevelt was appalled by Japan’s actions as he should have been and did the only thing he could do at the time – he imposed sanctions. But as you mention, Roosevelt did not stop the sales of all oil to Japan – he stopped aviation fuel from being shipped to Japan but allowed other oil products to continue if Japan paid cash. It was Dean Acheson who, when Roosevelt was off the coast of Newfoundland meeting with Churchill, cut off Japan’s supply to cash that stopped Japan from getting oil. Roosevelt was not in favor of this but felt he could not override Acheson without appearing weak to Japan.

              The codebreakers had broken the Japanese diplomatic code, but they never entirely broke the Japanese Naval codes. They did break enough of the code so that two unsung heroes of that war were able to analyse and predict what Japan’s navy was going to do next. The story of the friendship of Rochefort, who reported to Washington and Layton who reported to Nimitz is one of those wonderful collaborations that make all the difference. Rochefort and Layton both spent time in Japan and used each other to bounce ideas off of. Although Rochefort was ordered not to collaborate with Layton, he did so anyway, and between the two of them, they were able to give meaning to the pieces of scraps that they could decipher.

              So, yes, it is true that Nimitz and those admirals at Pearl Harbor knew an attack was coming – they just could not figure out where. They assumed it would be the Philippines because it was the obvious target – it stood in the way of Japan’s aggression toward the orphaned Dutch islands and Singapore. But they didn’t understand Yamamoto. Yamamoto opposed the war with the US but when it was decided to hit the US, Yamamoto understood something that Great Britain and the US did not – that the coming war would be an air war, not a sea war. He knew he had to get the US’s air carriers – and because he thought the strike on Pearl Harbor was a failure, he planned the attack on Midway which had absolutely no strategic value to him but to draw out the American carrier fleet. If the Americans had understood Yamamoto better, they might not have discounted Pearl Harbor as possible site for Japanese bombing.

              The military was so convinced that the Philippines was the target that they ordered MacArthur to get enough supplies to Bataan so that they could hold out there for six months until a rescue mission could come for them. MacArthur disobeys that order, which led to the Bataan Death March. He wasn’t punished for this because Roosevelt feared his power and felt he could not relieve him of command.

              But the US military was partly right, because a few days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan did indeed invade the Philippines.

              I’m finding that history is never clear cut and that when wars start, no one is entirely innocent. I cannot hold Japan blameless simply because they wanted resources any more than I can hold Great Britain blameless for what they did in the Middle East to get oil resources so that Great Britain’s economy could grow.

              In short, I consider both sides equally responsible for the war.

          2. juno mas

            If you consider the friends of your enemy are also your enemy, the US Lend-Lease program (formalized March 1941) was instrumental in increasing hostility:

            Lend-Lease effectively ended the United States’ pretense of neutrality which had been enshrined in the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s. It was a decisive step away from non-interventionist policy and toward open support for the Allies. Roosevelt’s top foreign policy advisor Harry Hopkins had effective control over Lend-Lease, making sure it was in alignment with Roosevelt’s foreign policy goals (Wikipedia).

            Pearl Harbor (Dec. 1941, and a stupid move) made the US response more palatable to the US population.

  2. Kurtismayfield

    Re: Rashomon effect.

    It is amazing how both narratives are mostly true, but still contain one lie. The lefts narrative of “Peaceful protestor” does not stand up in the video, when he chases the kid with the rifle and throws the plastic bag with a bottle in it. The rights “throws a molotov cocktail” lie does not stand up with the physical evidence at the scene. The fact that in the twitter discussion it is still considered a “Left leaning source claiming its a plastic bag” when the plastic bag is at the scene of the shooting at caught on video being thrown is still just a troubling… it is actual physical evidence not up to interpretation. It is a change of physical reality to fit a narrative that the kid with the rifle was approached with deadly force. He was being chased and screamed at by the man, and he got a plastic bag thrown at him. That in my view is not deadly force.

    It will be interesting if the DA charges him with anything less that murder.. because then the DA might have a case. Manslaughter or wrongful death may be more befitting the first shooting.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The 17 hear old is already charged. My guess is they found his Internet tubes when he was picked up.

    2. Olga

      Another one for Rashomon effect:
      Syria war: American troops hurt as Russian and US military vehicles collide BBC
      Well Sputnik has different version
      “The Defence Ministry has shared its own account of the incident that took place on 26 August, saying that before the collision, the Russian patrol had been chased by two American Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles after entering a zone controlled by the international anti-ISIS coalition. Later, the Russian servicemen saw that their agreed patrol path had been blocked by two more coalition vehicles, which they tried to avoid colliding with.”
      Maybe make it a new category…

    3. Wukchumni

      I’d never heard of Kenosha before, but I know a little something about cops, as they are overwhelmingly conservative and skew hard right, so why wouldn’t the coppers align themselves with potential warlords, i.e. Rittenhouse et al.

      Now, how you tell the difference between factions is going to get really tricky for law enforcement officers.

      1. Janie

        “a little something about cops”. Some years ago a friend’s daughter went from working for the sheriff’s office to becoming a deputy. Friend was concerned about daughter’s new attitude. “I can’t wait for someone to try something with me. I have all these skills now, and I have to practice them to keep them sharp.”

        Wapo (?) had article saying police are becoming alarmed by armed conflict in streets. I would think they might be glad for a reason to hone their skills.

    4. MT_Bill

      I’m curious what will constitute an “impartial jury” in this case as well as others with non-stop partisan coverage.

      Seems like impartial jurors will be about as common as undecided voters.

    5. BinDenver

      Show me a plastic bag that sails through the air like a brick and I’ll show you a plastic bag with a brick in it.

      1. tegnost

        …unlike bringing a knife to a gunfight, a plastic bag containing some unknown object upends the parable… sure thing… the kid should have stayed with his pack, off by himself he’s going to have problems. He’s the one with the rifle. He did use it. The people chasing him had a good reason for doing so. The poor little snowflake, so close his white privilege, so far from those enforcing it…

      2. Kurtismayfield

        Ever thrown a plastic bag with a brick in it? Want to know what happens? It rips.

        Look at the original threat on twitter.. there are images of the plastic bag on the ground.

        1. tegnost

          It’s less lethal than a rifle. When you see someone walking down the street with a bag of groceries do you run the other way? Probably a good idea if you see someone walking around an urban area with a rifle. That someone responding to his threatening behavior is something worse than his threatening behavior is mind boggling.

    6. Goyo Marquez

      I wonder why the guy with the bag was chasing him? How would you determine if he fired at protestors before he was chased? I’d argue that taking a rifle to a riot is looking for trouble if not premeditation. But my guess is he’ll get off, he’s white, he’s on the “right” side, the local DA won’t want to prosecute. I’m going to bet the case is dismissed several months down the road. Hope not.

      Also the whole apparently Qanon angle is left out of the summary, i.e. that the men killed were all supposedly pedofiles.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        The guy chasing him had a confrontation with the militia people earlier in the night. It was caught on video.

  3. Another Scott

    It looks to me like there’s a mismatch between whether a country has done a good job addressing COVID-19 and whether their citizens think they have. Look at Sweden and Japan. Japan’s citizens are more critical of their government’s response than Sweden’s, but does anyone think that Sweden has done a better job handling the crisis than Japan? This reminds me of Cuomo’s sky-high approval ratings in April when his state was having more deaths than any other.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The issue in Japan though is that every single Japanese person I’ve talked to thinks their government lied repeatedly to (at least initially) keep open the hope of having the Olympics. Abe was mocked over his response in a way which is very unusual in Japan, where politics tends to be polite and deferential (in public anyway). The Japanese will accept almost any nonsense from their government, so long as there is a perception of competence and some truthfulness. The Japanese I’ve talked to attribute the relatively low levels of Covid within Japan more to culture and the responsible response of ordinary people (there is a lot of truth to this).

      Sweden – I don’t really know. The Swedes must be acutely aware that they’ve done a worse job than their Scandinavian neighbours, the figures don’t lie. But there still seems a strong sense of exceptionalism and that in some wierd way, they’ll be vindicated in the end.

      1. JTMcPhee

        What do Japanese think about Fukushima? Or about the presence and activities of the yakuza? Speaking of Rashomon, and public and private opinions.

        The links entry to me is worth a comment that looking to polls as guidance for anything, especially “policy,” is fraught with error.

        1. HotFlash

          I look to fiction. In every Japanese movie or anime, from Godzilla to Akira to The Mysterions to Bubble Gum Crisis and everything in between, the presumption that the government is lying it taken as a given and the plot goes from there.

  4. SOMK

    The Re: Rashamon effect: that post is laughable, the author just a few tweets in has to back track from stating a Molotov cocktail was thrown at Rittenhouse (something he claim “the left” edited from their narrative), another tweet in the sequence says something along the lines of “the left claims he was white when he was Hispanic”, sigh… nobody outside of America actually thinks ‘hispanics’ are not ‘white’. Rashomon had three perspectives, and clearly the perspective missing in this analysis is desperate centralist horseshoe theorists who in order to validate their delusions of objectivity (awareness of the existence of cognitive dissonance has no effect on your capacity to avoid it) tie themselves in knots justifying assault rifle equipped 17 year olds not only murdering unarmed police brutality protesters, but doing so with the tacit assistance of police (who he initially turned himself into and was told to “go home”).

    1. Aumua

      Yeah, ironically (and amusingly) the effect seems to be in place even in the author’s own “just the facts” section.

  5. Celtic Viking

    Long time lurker but feel compelled to comment as things are so bad.

    America is so screwed. I have been following NC since the Great Recession. The trend is ever downward. When people start talking about the need for a new sixties-style protest movement I have to laugh. How deluded. The police are handing out bottled water to armed right-wing vigilantes and militias. Almost functional fascism. To watch the world hyper-power disintegrating in real time is staggering. Wake up, people. Help is NOT coming. Look back on this day in a month, a year, a decade. Guaranteed it will get worse.

    People are getting so crazy. Even regular commentators on this site are saying crazy stuff like “kill them all”, referring to Antifa and BLM. WTF!?

    Good luck and take care everyone.

    1. vidimi

      yeah, i hate to be a doomer, but that seems like the realistic view, especially in light of the climate catastrophe outpacing even the worst-case climate change predictions.

      1. bassmule

        This was referenced in Water Cooler yesterday in a photo from twitter that doesn’t show the complete text. So….Ladies and gentleman, I give you Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, April 12, 2003:

        “Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things,” Rumsfeld said. “They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that’s what’s going to happen here.”
        Looting, he added, was not uncommon for countries that experience significant social upheaval. “Stuff happens,” Rumsfeld said.
        “Very often the pictures are pictures of people going into the symbols of the regime, into the palaces, into the boats and into the Baath Party headquarters and into the places that have been part of that repression,” Rumsfeld said. “And while no one condones looting, on the other hand one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression and people who’ve had members of their family killed by that regime, for them to be taking their feelings out on that regime.”

      2. urblintz

        “Now, faced with by far the most ominous sociopolitical disfunction of our modern history, and with the overlay of the unknown destructive potential of Coronavirus and the certainty of inexorable climate catastrophe already evident, we are given the Presidential election of 2020, hyped to the max by solemn, phony politicians and hysterical media flacks, packaged as if it addressed, in any way, the interlocking complex of impending disasters.

        The absurdist commedia del arte of two old, ridiculously inept, and grossly impaired buffoons heading two sick cadres of leased political whores who jointly serve the .0001%, is the memento mori of America. Regardless of the outcome of this sorry farce, the end of the country in any recognizable form will be accelerated, fast tracked to implosion.”

        Paul Edwards “American Recessional”

        1. vidimi

          but with it, potentially all of human civilisation. not because america is some sort of last bastion of civilisation – far from it, it’s more like the last remaining barbarian state – but because an inhospitable planet will be an insurmountable obstacle for human life and america had the greatest duty to stop it by virtue of being the greatest accelerator of it for most of the last 200 years.

    2. KevinD


      Facts, 360 B.C.-A.D. 2012

      “It’s very depressing,” said Mary Poovey, a professor of English at New York University and author of “A History of the Modern Fact.” “I think the thing Americans ought to miss most about facts is the lack of agreement that there are facts. This means we will never reach consensus about anything. Tax policies, presidential candidates. We’ll never agree on anything.”

      America has reached it’s Tower of Babel moment.

        1. periol

          I would argue it’s always been this way, but only now are people en masse are starting to figure that out. What makes it dangerous is the natural instinct many people have to fear the unknown.

    3. Wukchumni

      We’re clearly headed towards a variant of Chinese Warlordism circa 1910’s-1930’s, and I can easily swing from being hard right or far left in conversation if the situation warrants it, but what if I choose incorrectly?

      Comeuppance see me sometime…

    4. zagonostra

      -It depends on which America and the “people” you are referring to. It seems to me that those who have wealth, position, and power are not screwed and can weather upcoming storm.

      -To the dissolution of the “hyper-power” I can only say it’s not coming fast enough, though I fear the repercussions will escalate into war, as they often due, before a new interregnum.

      – Help has already arrived for those sitting at the top.

      – Not sure how you “wake up” the majority, there is a minority, like yourself and many on this site who hold views contrary to the accepted narrative spun out of corporate media.

      I agree fully that events are “guaranteed to get worse.”

      1. Grant

        “It depends on which America and the “people” you are referring to. It seems to me that those who have wealth, position, and power are not screwed and can weather upcoming storm.”

        No reason to assume this. I mean, there were plenty of very wealthy people in Russia in 1914 and 1915. There were plenty of powerful landowners in China in 1945. Not to say that there are radical movements that are comparable, but people have also been radicalized and it is obvious that the rich have led us to this point. The question is, as always, does the left have a coherent program to put in place? The answer is yes, such programs exist, but the left has to work more than anything on clarify what the particular program is, and get busy ASAP. There is movement with a number of leftist candidates winning office, but the pace needs to pick up, and if you ask me, we need more radicals in the form of Kshama Sawants than AOC. I like AOC, but we need radicals to fight in ways she hasn’t to this point, and neither have people like Bernie, who I also still respect.

        “Not sure how you “wake up” the majority, there is a minority, like yourself and many on this site who hold views contrary to the accepted narrative spun out of corporate media.”

        I would differentiate between those that vote versus the general public. The general public is aligned with people like Bernie on policy, on some policies (say supporting various forms of worker ownership, which Bernie supports but that isn’t central to his program) the public is often to the left of his current priorities. The problem, as multiple studies have shown, is that there is a huge gap between what people want on policy versus what the state does. The only major party that has the left active in it does all it can to make sure the left doesn’t win and is ultimately the most effective opponent of the left in the political system. The public agrees with the policies of the left, often for non-ideological reasons, but those policies are not often on the menu. Brings to mind the old Gramsci quote, “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born”. It is this that is causing societal collapse. The old policies and institutions cannot solve our problems, but those in power will not let new ideas, policies and people take the place of what exists. Again, I think that can be blamed on the Democrats more than the Republicans. The Democratic Party is the most effective opponent to the left in this system, they make it so that the leftist candidates are not allowed to even take part in the general election, more times than not. They also have no solutions to any of our problems, no plan, no police or ideological coherence.

        1. Joe Renter

          I agree. Kshama Sawant is a force. I remember seeing her during Occupy and realizing she is what we need more of.

    5. Romancing The Loan

      In that vein I’d like to share a blog post I ran across today gaming out a scenario of a contested US presidential election followed by the first shots of a civil war – would love our glorious commentariat’s take on it:

      The author is clearly a right-winger and his bias occasionally manifests (the idea that anyone but a tiny % of evangelicals gives a rat’s tuchus about “the unborn” is silly) as does the fact that he wrote it before the pandemic (I laughed out loud when he said the US disintegrated “without a plague”) but the procedural minutiae he goes into absurd detail on are, at least for me, fascinating, and it’s certainly interesting to see how such people think it might go down.

      Myself I think his scenario is unlikely and the series of events described would prematurely end in “stand down” calls from large financial backers to Biden’s side (mirroring Gore in 2000). But I’d love to hear what you guys think.

      1. Odysseus

        the idea that anyone but a tiny % of evangelicals gives a rat’s tuchus about “the unborn” is silly

        I guess it depends on what you mean by that. I have a number of relatives who are not evangelicals who are strongly opposed to abortion on the grounds that “babies are CUTE!! Save them all!!”. They are more than happy to use the language of “murder”.

        The idea that “every child should be a wanted child” is absolutely foreign to them.

        1. Andrew Thomas

          Unless seriously traditional/right wing Roman Catholics are included in your definition of ‘evangelical’, you have left out a very, very important group.

          1. Romancing The Loan

            Well clearly opinions differ on that point! But the contested election scenario is fascinating.

        2. RMO

          What really gets to me is that every person I’ve met personally who believes that abortion should be outlawed was also opposed to sex education, making contraception readily available or providing any support for the health of pregnant women and the birth and raising of those fetuses they are so concerned with.

          1. JBird4049

            I find that many proponents of both often are weirdly similar in their conclusions, if you take their positions to the logical conclusions, not that they would admit it.

            The “conservative” Pro-life view often translates as pro dark age as contraception and sex education should be de facto illegal. Hello Darkest Dark Age. “Liberal” Pro-choice as well because being able to afford anything like this beyond having “access” is also de facto illegal. Hello Neo-Liberalism.

            One takes a twisted inhuman morality based on a flawed, draconian reading of the Bible and often based on the Prosperity Gospel and the other also takes a twisted inhuman morality based on Neo-darwinist Free Market Capitalism.

            Again both would refute this, but if you drill into their positions backwards and forwards their conclusions are very alike by using possible truths, facts, or beliefs by distorting them into lies. The Elect either by God or a Meritocracy. The fact that while God or merit might actually exist, neither faith nor merit is the answer to this apparently Existential Joke of an existence we are in.

    6. diptherio

      Even regular commentators on this site are saying crazy stuff like “kill them all”, referring to Antifa and BLM.

      Really? I haven’t seen this sentiment here, thankfully. Who was that? When was that? Link?

      1. Janie

        A few days ago, I think watercooler. Someone made reference to ‘kill them all and God will know his own.” I took it as a sardonic historical reference, not an exhortation, but I don’t know. (Suposedly said by an archbishop (?) before massacre of Cathars)

    7. Bazarov

      I’ve been reading Naked Capitalism daily for years. I’m an occasional-commenter and often-lurker.

      I agree. The United States is clearly falling apart.

      On a walk with my partner yesterday, we were discussing the possibility of the sort of chaos and breakdown that could bring something like revolution/realignment or balkanization.

      Ultimately, we decided that things will have to get much worse, with tens of millions of additional people (as in: additional to those created by the COVID crisis) accustomed to the “good life” suddenly finding themselves immiserated via homelessness and hunger–so immiserated that they turn away from the government and toward new authorities for salvation.

      In the event of a national political realignment, the new authorities will be those in true national political opposition who can galvanize an effective movement for reform (likely via a new party that replaces one of the two ruling parties).

      In the event of balkanization, people will look toward local authorities who can provide basic goods and services in return for loyalty (service in the militia?).

      Though anything’s possible, I don’t think we’re likely to see a national revolution–there’s not enough of an organized political element to carry one out, at least not yet.

      But I believe that before any of these eventualities happen, conditions will need to deteriorate further. Sadly, further deterioration seems like a certainty.

      1. Grant

        I remember hearing Zizek talk about Walter Benjamin’s divine violence, which is violence that is more an expression of anger than it is a means towards a revolutionary end, or any clear end really. Violence for the sake of violence. An uprising of that sort is near certain if things don’t change quickly. And if there is no direction, who knows where it goes. The left’s policies are popular, the left has actual solutions. What it doesn’t have is the power to carry it out right now in government, and it isn’t organized. The left needs to solidify a coherent economic program and to organize around it. Not just policies, but institutional alternatives (worker cooperatives, public sector enterprises, etc.). If that doesn’t happen, you can have people rioting out of sheer rage, and for it to do little more than lead to a backlash. If those reacting to that do in fact have a coherent (reactionary, undemocratic and authoritarian) program, which they in fact do have, then the reaction can get very ugly very quickly. Things can get better, and the progress can be rapid of outside the rotten, corrupt political system. But, the left better get serious, organize, come up with a coherent program that it is all on board organizing towards, and it better organize immediately. Cause as of now, were are resembling Yugoslavia in the 80s and 90s, or maybe Germany in the early 1920s.

        On a side note, lots of monetary and financial chaos could very well happen, but it would be caused by massive disruptions in the real economy, with a collapse in effective demand and unrest itself causing problems in regards to production and distribution. And then the monetary cranks come out, with their drivel on fiat currencies and all that. Placing blame on the fiat currency, state money creation and the like is totally missing the point, but I see this claim everywhere. The cryptocurrency folks in particular.

          1. Aumua

            You’re confusing the left with Democrats and/or liberals. We’re talking about policies like true universal health care, significant regulation of an out of control financial sector, de-privatization of public utilities and getting money out of politics by repealing things like Citizen’s United. Things that provide material benefits to working class people. And these are just the upper level of easy-to-swallow policies. We can go much deeper of course.

            You’ll notice I didn’t mention Trump at all there.

          2. Grant

            Sorry, the left has no policies? How can anyone say the left has no policies? The actual left has the only solutions to the environmental crisis. I said left, not the neoliberal Democratic Party. I don’t care how the center of gravity has shifted to the right, the Democrats are in no way shape or form on the left. They may have been for a few decades after WWII, would have been more so if FDR got his second bill of rights through.

    8. Jason Boxman

      Wait, didn’t W. Bush say “help is on the way”? Just wait patiently. Oops, someone just stole your wallet. But keep waiting patiently now.

  6. John Beech

    Rearing orphaned wombats; the young woman in the article expands my faith in humanity. I’m sure her mother is proud . . . as well she should be. Nice read!

    1. nycTerrierist

      Yes, that was great:

      ““When they’re happy and when they’re playing, it’s the best thing that I’ve been exposed to,” she says.

      “Anyone who can’t smile or laugh at them when they’re doing that can’t be human.”

      1. a different chris

        On the flip side, Hitler clearly loved his dogs.

        The most human thing in the world is the ability to compartmentalize, I guess.

  7. Geo

    “This ingenious juxtaposition lays it bare for those who don’t live simultaneously in the two bubbles.”

    Long meandering rant ahead… not sure why this simple “two bubbles” thing set me off. For those who want the TL;DR version: The bubbles are multiple, not just two. They are becoming completely different realities suspicious of each other and unable to communicate anymore.

    Here’s the long form rant:

    I try to mix up my news from all sides and everything in between. Also seems my personal social circle is pretty varied regarding political views. There are numerous gulfs I’ve been noticing get wider almost by the day lately. Ones that have existed for some time but have gone from divisions of info awareness to alternative realities.

    It’s not just left/right. I don’t know the proper labels but the MSNBC/CNN vs. Fox News crowds are the most commonly discussed ones (probably because they have the most media focusing on them). But just as religions have factional branches so are the left and right. The splits between MSNBC crowds and TYT crowds, TYT to Jimmy Dore, Dore to outer fringes. All have some crossover but also seem to be in their own bubbles.

    Similarly on the right there is the split between Fox and OANN, then the InfoWars, evangelical end timers, etc.

    Again, the splits have been there as far back as I can remember though the “brands” I’ve associated them with have changed as online media has emerged – back in the old days it was harder to get the “fringe” info as you had to seek out Indy print media, bootleg VHS tapes, and pirate radio shows. Or just get it from my kookie buddy in the trailer on the edge of town.

    So many people I know are currently going down some deep dark rabbit holes into various alternative realities. Can’t blame them much since the mainstream rabbit hole has proven time and again to be completely fictional (Iraq war lies, bank bailouts, etc) but it’s getting harder and harder to have rational conversations with the various groups. I used to be able to hold conversations with rightwing militia guys, end times cults, anarchists, and many of the other groups I found myself mingling with. Now, even “mainstream” groups seem beyond conversation. I try to reflect on myself to make sure it’s not just me losing the ability (when everyone else is the problem, maybe it’s me?) but the “facts” they are all dealing with are disconnected from reality as I know it. Whether it’s Russiagate hysteria, QAnon fantasies… everything is a false flag, every person of a different opinion is an enemy combatant, every deviation from orthodoxy is treason.

    Makes me miss the days of New World Order paranoia. I seriously have no idea how this can resolve in any positive way. We’ve absorbed news media sensationalism to the point where everything slight is an assault. And all of it helps keep us from uniting to ever accomplish any actual change.

    See it all the time. Recent examples like “Bernie/AOC is a traitor” to “Cancel Krystal Ball and Rising because of Saagar” to whatever other party has offended for not fixing everything singlehandedly or making a choice we disagree with. Maybe it’s because we all feel impotent so must tear down those we once looked up to?

    “To the primitive mind all evil comes from outside” – J.G. Frazier

    “Evil is life turning against itself.” – Erich Fromm

    Are we turning against each other because we see each other as evil and turning ourselves evil in the process? How do we come back from this?

    1. Watt4Bob

      This may not help, but it’s pretty well-focused;


      Once you step back far enough though to experience the sheer SCALE of this ongoing and unlimited propaganda WAR on us, it grows a bit easier to see why so few are able to escape the media’s influence. Oh, for a while perhaps, you can rise above it… but eventually, you will get pulled back down into the muck. Even if you kill your TV, unplug yourself from your media feeds, and turn off the Wi-Fi, each of us, at some point, will relapse and fall off the wagon.

      We’ve been endlessly propagandized to be at each other’s throats, and we seem to pretty much accept that as a ‘natural‘ situation.

      It’s anything but natural.

      1. a different chris

        >Even if you kill your TV, unplug yourself from your media feeds, and turn off the Wi-Fi,

        And you know, doing that for example this month might seem like a good idea especially with the horrific Dem/Rethug conventions… but not so much if you live in Louisiana.

        “Hey honey, looks like some rain is coming?”

        1. fwe'zy

          Good point. Somebody here recently mentioned how atomized we are. By all means, cultivate and participate in meatspace relationships. But don’t compartmentalize ourselves away from the big action, with multiplier/ watershed effects. Don’t let local resilience become penny wise, pound foolish.

    2. Eureka Springs

      You remind me of this quote:

      “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
      -CIA Director William Casey

      1. David

        Alas, there is no evidence that he ever said such a thing, appealing as it might seem. See this very thorough discussion on the usually reliable Metabunk.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Who knows, and isn’t that the whole point? Ha! I found this long ago when first reading the quote. See second comment in this thread.

          On Sep 21, 2014, at 8:59 PM, Barbara Honegger wrote:

          > Seriously — I personally was the Source
          > for that William Casey quote. He said it
          > at an early Feb. 1981 meeting in the
          > Roosevelt Room in the West Wing of
          > the White House which I attended, and
          > I immediately told my close friend and
          > political godmother Senior White House
          > Correspondent Sarah McClendon, who
          > then went public with it without naming
          > the source

          1. David

            See the above link, which demonstrates fairly clearly I think, that the story is false, or at least unsupported by any evidence.

    3. Pookah Harvey

      You’re right, it won’t be easy. Would a good first step be to get rid of the nation’s leader who fuels the fire of divisiveness? A President whose main philosophy is: “I love pitting people against each other. My whole life is based on that.” (from The Art of the Deal.)

      1. JTMcPhee

        And of course Joe “LawnOrder” is now all about wanting everybody to “unite behind him.”

        Yah, that’l fix things.

        Nothing to choose. Getting rid of Trump will not change the structures that profit from splitting the polity into disaffected fragments that are even smaller than individual citizens. The prevalence, the apotheosis, of cognitive dissonance proves that for me.

        1. Pookah Harvey

          I agree, Biden won’t change the economic structure that has created today’s social tensions. But the immediate problem is that Trump is using those tensions to change our social structure. How do you get constructive change when a President is pitting half of the population against the other half with demagogic rhetoric and advocating violence? You need an engaged population to make constructive change, not an enraged one.

          1. JTMcPhee

            “Deplorables?” I guess the rhetoric of the CorpoDems is just maybe more genteel and condescending, less visceral and confrontational? Granted, Obama kept it all suave and sophisticated, but still…

            How about that Khive jive? Which of course will go away just like the BernieBro rumbling.

            TDS comes in many kinds of packaging and behind many facades…

            1. Pookah Harvey

              I guess I might be deranged but I don’t remember armed right-wing militias roaming the streets of US cities across the entire country during the Obama years,as bad as they were. Do we need more “visceral and confrontational” rhetoric right now? I would find it preferential to fight “genteel and condescending” attitudes than engage in armed conflict

              Nina Turner pointed out we have 2 dragons to slay, neo-liberalism and neo-fascism. I can’t do much about neo-liberalism in the next 90 days but maybe I can do something about neo-fascism.

              In the last 3 days a reporter had his hand broken by club wielding Proud Boys in Portland, a BLM caravan was shot at with one person wounded in rural Pennsylvania while caravaning to a demonstration from Ill to Washington DC, and the deaths in Wisconsin. I think we need a cooling off period. Who gives us the best chance for that?

              1. KevinD

                Your point is not lost on me Pookah. We do not need a hate monger with a megaphone who’s sole objective it to cause chaos. I’d vote for the local dead possum alongside the road before i would vote for Trump. One can point out all the bad in Biden till the cows come home, but trump has to go.

            2. Andrew Thomas

              “Deplorables.” Once. Contrast the entire Trump persona, every day of his life of which anything is known, 24/7. I am utterly done with Hillary and all of the bought and paid-for Dems. But…you cannot find more frigging snowflakes per capita than at a Trump event. Apparently, Hil hit a nerve with that. If the shoe fits….

      2. urblintz

        “The corporate Democrats are once again running as the Not-Trump Party, the second consecutive election in which they have succeeded in suppressing every issue except the fitness for office of one very wretched man. The only way a party wholly-owned by oligarchs can deflect attention from its own culpability in dragooning its constituents into a Race to the Bottom amid never ending war, is to set up a straw man to be knocked down, leaving the machinery of racial capitalism and armed-to-the-teeth imperialism intact — Hillary Clinton’s gambit in 2016.

        …the oligarch-aligned Democrats and their media chose Joe Biden as front man: a political hack with impeccable corporate credentials and an architect of the “New Jim Crow” and white northern massive resistance to Black urban intrusion. His Black female running mate is a pure product of the corporate Democratic machine, who launched her electoral career with the endorsement of police unions. “

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          It’s funny. I don’t see them as wholly owned, I see them as minions AND believers. Not only that but for those who have been in political power or part of the rolodex crowd for so long it’s rather like The Alliance and The Reavers, they created the Oligarchs and find them useful even.

        2. LawnDart

          Glen Ford and Margaret Kimberly served it cold this week– loved it!

          Black Agenda Report is one of my favorite websites.

      3. vidimi

        that’s only a good first step if it was trump that was the problem, but he is a symptom only.

    4. Fiery Hunt

      Was just discussing this with my significant other this morning.
      Absolutely agree and it’s a righteous rant. I’ve always believed that with enough self-doubt and an honest curiosity, one can get relatively close to understanding. I just don’t see that self-doubt and curiosity in most people.
      That said…

      Naked Capitalism is an extraordinary place. Thank you Yves, Lambert, Jerri-Lynn, Jules et al for creating and keeping it so.

      There are many firmly-held perspectives here and I deeply appreciate the commentariat here for aiding in the search for understanding and truth in this Roshomon world.

    5. Henry Moon Pie

      Part of this inability to communicate may be related to the fact that we’ve been piling upon enough thesis/antithesis pairs in the cultural arena over that past 50 years to make Hegel dizzy. Now, thanks to narrative managers and their media buddies, all those different antithetical pairs are coming into alignment like tumblers in a lock. It will be pretty ugly what comes out of that opened door first, but something new and better may emerge before long. It’s not like we were headed anywhere good.

  8. Alex morfesis

    Googoylemonstyr big brother mind meld arbitrage is too funny…helping and listening in to your hotel needs and wants with that hubnest thingee…humans are not that precise but algos imagine a world which can be measured…and predicted…said algos written by folks who love to code…as if most carbon based life forms with measurable communication skills think coding…is fun….

  9. The Rev Kev

    “LG’s battery-powered face mask will “make breathing effortless”

    Why stop there? I saw one variation of this that not only included a powered mask but cover for the eyes as well. In fact, it protected the whole head but the only problem is that it tends to be a bit loud which can be off putting-

      1. a different chris

        It stuns me, I technically knew it but didn’t really, how messed up the US is as far a human health.

        I mean, watch that video of the fight in Korea. The one guy never takes his mask off. It’s not a problem for him, when fighting is the time when your body demands you suck in as much oxygen as quickly as possible.

        Yet here in America people can’t push a shopping cart with a mask? This is actually a problem that needs a technological solution?

        My god.

        1. vidimi

          on the other hand, i was apalled that nobody intervened when the madman started hitting the woman with his shoe.

  10. timbers

    In my dreams if I were FDR today and in the White House, I would:

    1).Make the Fed sell it’s $7 trillion balance sheet within 30 days (mostly treasuries) and disperse the proceeds to those most in need. Since the Fed can not “spend” money but can lend, I would classify the spending as “loans” which would never have to be paid back. You know, like what we do for politically connected corporations.

    2).Raise interest rates to 3% immediately to further normalize equity prices to their true socially useful value (meaning the value they would have w/o the Fed giving them $7 trillion in free money plus the constant subsidy of 0% interest rates forever and ever, which is money taken from those who save).

    3). Announce the Fed will issue whatever treasuries are needed to fund government (the Fed can buy it’s own treasuries meaning the Federal Government has no fiscal spending limit). This will help to banish the idea of austerity, budget constraints, etc.

    This alone would do more to address inequality than any other actions I can think of, and also this is not a complete list.

    Note: I don’t believe the Fed is independent. I believe it can be made to do things and the independence thing is just a deflection.

    That is my dream.

    1. Will

      Very interesting Point #2.

      Eric Janzsen made a point (on his now almost defunct itulip site) some 10 years ago that in the future we would recognize that having interest rates below a threshold of 3 to 5 percent causes terrible mutations in an economy. The way back is painful and will only be done under the most intense pressure but it will need to be done.

      There are so many policies that one could say the same thing about though aren’t there?

        1. Anonymous

          You mean you want welfare proportional to account balance? And you’re qualitatively different than bigger crooks how?

          Me, I’d take an ethical money creation system, the equal Citizen’s Dividend that would go with it, low interest rates, a clear conscience and hope for this country.

    2. JTMcPhee

      I’d add a transaction tax on all the equity and debt exchanges, and sending special forces into the conduits between Goldman Sux and the exchanges to blow up the hyper speed links that enable (front-running) HST. Also a mandate to unwind all derivative transactions and make all such wagering illegal going forward. Cue the explanation of how derivatives are “necessary to the operation of the financial system,” which kind of proves my point.

      Oh, and of course leave a line item for the proponents of return to the Gold Standard to stick their oars in….

    3. Milton

      The Fed does not need to sell Treasuries. The gov’t does not need to raise taxes. All that is needed is for congress to pass spending bills. (I’m screaming this by the way.) The last 4 Fed chairs have made it clear that they are ready to backstop any additional fiscal expansion that is incured to put the economy on a positive track.

    4. Charger01

      #1 would rapidily destabilize the entire global economy. You need a buyer for everything (including the mutant toxic spawn) that the fed would be selling. 12-18 months would be a better time frame to ingest the poison from the feds balance sheet.
      #2 you would have immense stress in zombie companies and more importantly, TBTF banks. If they have to pay interest, they will suddenly be put on the spot to relinquish their gravy train from Treasury. It would be bad, fast.
      #3 As Dylan Ratigan has noted, we have a limited window to enact and execute these policies before everyone starts doing it. Faith and credit only lasts as long as the counterparty or the buyer believes you’re good.

      1. Grant

        Well, if we marry ourselves entirely to private banks and allow private banks to create most of the money, we don’t have many options. But, what if we don’t tie ourselves to private banking? I mean, private banks will not, and cannot, take non-market impacts into account when making investment decisions, and the environmental crisis is very much a non-market crisis. You can monetize some ecosystem impacts, but not most. So, if we allow banks to create most money, and they cannot take into account most non-market impacts, we’re toast. I see no other option that a public sector institution being responsible for most money creation, and having public sector institutions making a large chunk of investment decisions (if the public sector institutions aren’t under popular control, it could be just as dysfunctional as the system now). I find the cryptocurrency types to be really silly and not serious. The ecological economist Herman Daly has called for a 100% reserve requirement, which would in effect socialize money creation and change the nature of what banks do and don’t do.

        If we just stick though to private banks and private banks creating most money, I don’t have tons of faith things will get better. Given the complexity of the issue and given the fact that groups on the left (I say this as someone that has been active here in there in the DSA here in San Diego) largely don’t have much knowledge of things like money creation, what banks do, public deficits and debt, I am losing a bit of hope.

  11. zagonostra

    >America and Russia in the 1990s: This is what real meddling looks like – Yasha Levine

    I had no knowledge of this as it was happening, perhaps understandable since I was still fairly young and not very political. To ignore what happened now, in retrospect,seems inexcusable and lacking the ability to reflect on the nature of the polity under which you live.

    Providing this information to Rachael Madow admirers and friends/family who still look upon Clinton and Obama as good presidents is to watch cognitive dissonance in real time.

    “We created a virtual open shop for thievery at a national level and for capital flight in terms of hundreds of billions of dollars, and the raping of natural resources and industries on a scale which I doubt has ever taken place in human history.

    …at a moment when it could have done pretty much anything in Russia — went with the scummiest, most barbaric option possible. It callously oversaw mass murder and theft and plunder only seen in times of war. And forget taking responsibility for it, no one in power has even acknowledged that it happened. In fact, all that America’s done is blame the victim: The Russians are too primitive and too asiatic. They’re too slavish for democracy. It’s in their DNA. It’s their fault that everything went bad.

    1. km

      Jeffrey Sachs, who was one of the principal architects of American policy in Russia at the time, has said much the same thing.

      It’s rare to see a genuine mea culpa, rather than blaming others for not doing more.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The msm coverage and reality of Yeltsin firing on the Duma was wildly different. We were subjected to stories about the bread maker opening a shop when the place was going to hell. There is a reason Russians like Putin. Though I think P@ssy Riot’s more criticisms of Putin (they disappeared when they realized what neoliberals were and criticized Frau Clinton) are probably correct.

      It’s astonishing Russians haven’t changed their national motto to “death to America.”

  12. Olga

    America and Russia in the 1990s: This is what real meddling looks like Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon. Levine comments:
    This is a pretty detailed post, describing how the US almost literally sc***ed Russia in the 1990s. I wish these guys would get to write their book (Kickstarter or funding by VVP?) – it would go a long toward understanding how the US ‘lost’ Russia (and also, how it lost Iran, with its 1953 coup d’etat).
    The US always stumbles over its short-term thinking (not to mention its total disregard for other nations).
    Knowing this history makes it easy to comprehend that the words ‘western values’ have very dark connotations in the Russian context.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that one of the most important aspects of this story is the semi-censorship in operation and thus people never hear of this stories like this. I believe that authors like Thomas Frank have even had to have some of their work published in European publications because of this. Washington’s treatment of Russia back in the 90s was done under the shock doctrine but when you compare Russia back then and America at the moment, the parallels are starting to get very uncomfortable indeed – but done at a slower pace.

      One thing that I can never make up my mind about is Boris Yeltsin choosing Putin to succeed him. Boris knew that he had brought Russia down to a low point and near the end of his life, I wonder if selecting Putin was a way to make amends to all the damage that he had done. if so, he could not have picked a better man to drag Russia back from the brink again. otherwise I think that by now we would have seen NATO bases in the Crimea and Siberia it’s own ‘western-friendly’ republic – along with all its oil.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        In the end, Yeltsin understood that he had made some terrible blunders; hence, his choice of VVP. The NATO attack on Serbia in spring 1999 was a key turning point. Literally. Yeltsin’s PM at the time was Yevgeny Primakov, who was flying to the USA for a state visit in late March when the bombing started. His jet actually turned around mid-flight and returned to Moscow. Visit cancelled. Relations have gone steadily downhill ever since. Oh, and then in June 1999 there was the memorable incident at Pristina airport, when the Yankee general (and CNN talking head) Wesley Clark almost attacked the Russian troops there. He was overruled by UK general Mike Jackson, who told Clark “I’m not going to start WW3 for you.” It was a close call, that one.

      2. Bruno

        ” Boris Yeltsin choosing Putin to succeed him”???
        There was no choice. Yeltsin, already obviously an incompetent drunkard, was put into office
        through a coup staged by the KGB nomenklatura (the direct continuers, under various initials, of Stalin’s OGPU secret police). Colonel Putin, then in charge of their money-laundering operations in Germany, quickly assumed open command of the KGB. Once Yeltsin had done his work, Putin made Yeltsin an “offer he could not refuse”–a get-out-of-jail card for himself, his whole crooked family, and the US-backed “oligarchs” who, with KGB connivance of course, had stolen the country blind–in return for a speedy exit. Stalin’s personal regime held sole power for 25 years. Putin’s “presidential” tsardom is likely soon to eclipse in duration that long nightmare.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          Yes, maybe Yeltsin’s ‘choice’ was an offer he couldn’t refuse. But it’s the first time I hear that VVP was washing money in Germany during Soviet times; if you have any links (even if not in English), I would enjoy reading them. The Soviets had banking operations in London (Moscow Narodny Bank) and in Frankfurt (Ost-West Handelsbank), and IIRC also in Paris and Zurich (don’t remember the names of those branches). Why would they have used Dresden?

          1. Bruno

            Why would they have used Dresden? Security. In Dresden there was STASI protection plus the whole Russian “fraternal” mission in the GDR. Much less so in London, Frankfurt, Zurich, or Paris.

            1. urblintz

              i believe MJ asked for a link to back up your assertions… I’d like some verification as well. Thanks.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Putin wasn’t in a position to ice Yeltsin and seize power. Yeltsin had to put an anti-Yeltsin voice in the VP slot. It was being demanded too loudly. The nationalists and communists could entertain ideas about seizing power.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Look for Anne Williamson: Rape of Russia. Never published, but lots of information comes out of the search.

      Lately I’ve seen quite a lot of disappointment in “western oriented” circles in Russia. Especially the Russiagate idiocy has forced many people to face the uncomfortable fact that to US media all Russians are guilty of being Russians.

      Medvedev was sort of figurehead of the pro-western clique, now being sidetracked from the halls of power after all the sanctions, shunning and other failures. Although his final demise was failure with Turkey, pushing for diplomacy while the Army assured that Erdogan wont leave Syria without fight.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Putin is a small c conservative by nature. Medvedev is/was his creature, but I do believe Putin saw his legacy could be undone with anyone too Western after seeing Medvedev acquiesce to NATO’s Libyan misadventures. Libya demonstrated the US was a reckless child power, committed to breaking things because it can.

        1. Polar Socialist

          I wouldn’t go as far as to say Medvedev is/was Putin’s creature. They were both Sobtsak’s creatures. And apparently it was Putin’s loyalty to Sobtsak that got Yeltsin’s interest at the time he needed somebody he could eventually trust to let him retire in peace and without indictments.

          Putin brought many others besides Medvedev from Sobtsak’s St. Petersburg to Russian government, so I’d venture a guess it was a bunch of people that was loyal to each other, and trusted each other at the time of turbulence in Russia.

          Trusted not get backstabbed by others, but they still have their own opinions, agendas and priorities to push. Just like Pompeo, Pence or Bolton, albeit slightly more thigthly knitted together.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Query: If they did get to “publish their book” laying out what was done and who profited from it, what possible difference would it make to the trajectory of the US political economy? Are the masses going to “read, learn and inwardly digest” such revelations? And “do something” about them?

      It’s not the Age of Aquarius, it’s the Age of Impunity.

  13. jonboinAR

    Just what I want (don’t), a pet alligator. Here in SW AR we’re in ‘gator country. I’ve yet to see one, although I’ve lived here for a number of years and seen red foxes, coyotes, bobcats, turkeys, bob-whites, bald eagles, snapping turtles, red-eared sliders, box turtles, water moccasins, copperheads, (no rattlesnakes), some kind of long black snake (We had one in the attic for a long time. My son-in-law and I had the wisdom not to tell the women). But as to the alligators, my son-in-law took my nephew out into a swamp at night to see ‘gators. I refuse to go, too ‘askeert. Of ‘gators, no. ‘Skeeters!

    1. Eureka Springs

      Got a permit to hunt them this year. My friends place (10k acres) down in Arkansas county near the Arkansas Post is loaded with them. AR and White river bottom cypress swamp. We’ve seen a few upwards of 14 feet and lots in all sizes below that. Sure makes one think differently about walking in and out of all the old favorite duck, deer and crappie hot spots.

      1. jonboinAR

        I’ll bet! No, I don’t care to see one “up close and personal”, at all. I fish several tail-waters for trout, but they’re a little more like canyons, rocky and bluff-y, than bottoms. I try to stay out of bottoms. Oh, yeah, to add to my list of wild-life spotted: beavers and otters. I was once wade-fishing a small river and a beaver worked the other side of the stream for several minutes. We sort of studiously ignored each other (Well, I was surreptitiously looking at him). It is heartening to see how several previously scarce species such as alligators, turkeys, bald eagles and beavers have made quite a come back. It makes one hope it’s not too late in general.

    1. Olga

      Particularly applicable to our times:
      “Think of the earth as a living organism that is being attacked by billions of bacteria whose numbers double every forty years. Either the host dies, or the virus dies, or both die.”

        1. JTMcPhee

          Pretty narrow vision, to partisan-limit the wishful thinking to Team R. I worked for the US EPA when the Reaganauts took over and began dismantling the functioning parts of the Agency, especially enforcement of the existing legislation intended to protect human health and the environment. The Clintonistas brought the destruction forward, and “Clean Coal” Obamanites did their share too. Don’t lay it all at the feet of the Trump people — it is corporatists and financial elites, which happily dump bribe money into both parties’ pockets and help stuff the agencies and government generally with like-minded insurgents. Bezos is a fitting target, but of course he is well insulated from the rabble in the streets, and no doubt gets a laugh at the performative erection of that non-functional papier-mâché guillotine.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Syria war: American troops hurt as Russian and US military vehicles collide”

    Stuff like this has been happening for months now as American and Russian forces go Mad Max over each other in the Syrian deserts. I believe that the Russians call it ‘boysi wid toyski.’ Sometimes it goes the Americans way and sometimes it goes the Russians way but both sides are smart enough not to go getting into a firefight. Here is another example of one I saw recently but which the Pentagon never kicked up a fuss about-

  15. bob

    Sports desk-

    There is a picket line now. No sports. Who is going to cross that line?

    Of course, no one in the media is calling it that. I read a story about the NBA yesterday with the headline that they post season would be finished. Within the story they couldn’t even get a source on the “consensus” that the NBA would play again…someday…

    The sports media’ing of america is really going to come to the front now. The only part of the media that still gets paid something is going to have a tough time walking this line…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The sports media reporting was egregious about baseball players not wanting to play. If NFL players make noise, they will go nuts. The threat of a barn storming league or players going to Europe or China has been the only thing keeping their reporting of the NBA and NHL (euro leagues) in line.

      The NBA players iced an owner in the recent oats while guys like Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones are loose upon the world.

      1. Wukchumni

        NFL players could conceivably go to Canada and play there, but A #1, Canada doesn’t allow Americans in.

        Other than that, it looks good.

      2. bob

        The sports media can’t even call it a strike. If they do, they don’t have anything to media anymore. The owners won’t call it a strike, again, nothing more to sell if they do that. It’s a ‘walkout’. Anything but call it a strike.

        The rules of kabuki no longer apply, the kayfabe just got real, and it’s the worst possible show ever – silence

      3. voteforno6

        I heard that some NFL teams had already canceled practices, presumably in sympathy with the other professional sports leagues. It’ll be interesting to see what happens once the season starts.

        1. savebyirony

          It depends on when and what the next heinous killing captured on video reveals. An ESPN commentator observed Tuesday that between G. Floyd’s killing and the shooting of J.Blake 36 black Americans had died at the hands of police. It is not much of a question of “if” but “when”. I think it is a stretch that NFL players will boycott games, but I certainly would not rule it out, especially since some key star players have been speaking out, including last years SuperBowl star quarterback. Plus, at least on ESPN, which employs many black American journalists and ex-players, there is a great deal of very articulate support from their commentators (black and white) for the protests by athletes right now. I wonder how much organization there might even be (or might develop) between the players and some members of the press in these actions. A “black out” Sunday of NFL games in this environment, it could happen. And I do wonder how much communication is going on not only between the football players but between them and the NBA’s?

          Also happening today, 100 or so NBA headquarters employees walked out (i think just for the day), demanding the leagues owners do more politically to create substantive change.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      If the milwaukee bucks won’t play, do the Milwaukee taxpayers have to keep making the payments on the new stadium they bought for ’em?

      On Wisconsin!

    3. Shleep

      It’s a bit easier for the leagues to acquiesce when 18-80 thousand ticket holders are not heading to the arenas/stadia, else the games would go on, methinks.

  16. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: “SARS-CoV-2 infection of human iPSC-derived cardiac cells predicts novel cytopathic features in hearts of COVID-19 patients”

    Just here to talk about my old friend zinc again. I see it still has not appeared in their overly complicated minds to think of it as a vector of comorbidity. So I will add another bullet point for them here:

    The Relationship Between Serum Zinc Levels, Cardiac Markers and the Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction by Zinc Quartiles

    Conclusions: The present study revealed a relationship between serum zinc levels in that zinc levels were significantly inversely correlated with serum creatine kinase (CK), creatine kinase-MB (CKMB) and cardiac troponin T (cTnT) levels. Furthermore, we found that the prevalence rate of acute myocardial infarction decreased with increasing zinc quartiles


    And from a recent NIH study:

    Zinc Supplementation and COVID-19

    Patients who received zinc had higher absolute lymphocyte count and lower troponin and procalcitonin levels at baseline than those who did not receive zinc.

    And no, it is not a disease of the heart. The assumption that in mild cases there is heart damage? Sorry, but no. Troponin levels alone cannot be used to diagnose heart attacks or heart issues since they can be elevated simply from cardiac cell death (apoptosis) which does not lead to long term heart damage.

    1. Winston Smith

      I hope I haven’t asked you this before and promptly forgotten the answer: what is the best way to boost zinc through diet and what is the form of zinc for supplements

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        If you are concerned about this you should get your serum zinc, copper, and ceuroplasmin tested if you can first. Taking zinc alone will cause a copper deficiency after a while but only at high doses (50mg).

        Highest source is Oysters for both zinc and copper. Optizinc is good as well.

    2. Synoia

      Patients who received zinc had higher absolute lymphocyte count and lower troponin and procalcitonin levels at baseline than those who did not receive zinc.

      Umm, that’s good?

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        It shows that zinc lowers Troponin, which is higher in COVID19 patients. So yes, I will make that assumption.

        It might be that the increase in troponin (Cardiac Cell Death) after getting COVID is related to a decrease in cytoplasmic zinc levels that might have already been low.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “‘Mostly Peaceful’ Rioting And Looting Is Helping Trump’s Campaign”

    We saw something similar several weeks ago which was featured here. It was a reporter saying how peaceful the protesters were while behind him were the roaring flames coming from a building, possibly a police station. Maybe the reporters are under orders to report them as ‘peaceful’ but this is the reporters way at rebelling at these orders.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Seems to me the most likely violence begins with cops / agents provocateurs. In a world with so much surveillance it’s amazing how few are arrested for arson during protests. Curious that.

      1. Carolinian

        That the cops may be “standing down” can’t be ruled out, but then they are, if not perfectly under the control of elected officials, at least subject to the public complaints of elected officials and you’d think they’d be complaining if the cops are not following orders. I’d say it is those elected officials who are ill serving their voters. What the voters think is the crux, and we have an election coming up to find out.

      2. lordkoos

        I always found it odd that with all the surveillance tech at their disposal, law enforcement agencies are unable to detect mass shootings before they happen, even when the perp’s intentions are made clear on social media, 4chan etc.

  18. Carolinian

    Re Rashomon–I’ve been reading an interesting book called Fallout about how The New Yorker and John Hersey managed to evade the censorship of the US military regime in post war Japan and report–graphically–the effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. What strikes one living in our current climate is the elaborate fact checking process that Ross and Shawn put Hersey through once back in the US. They knew the story would be attacked and even one incorrect factual assertion would be used to discredit it. And in fact much of the intended impact of the article was to show how the military itself had been lying and covering up the full horrors of the bomb for fear the public would turn against the bomb and the use of it at the end of the war.

    Which is to say it was an era where newspapers and magazines were still dependent on advertisers and wealthy owners like now but nevertheless thought their very existence would be threatened by inaccuracy and that carelessness with the facts would disgrace them among their elite peers.

    Here’s suggesting that something has changed among the “elites” and that may be worth exploring. Yves has talked about how even as late as the ’90s financial institutions depended on trust and “your word is your bond” to function. Now it seems as though lying is acceptable in almost every phase of life. Perhaps it’s the Ivy League breeding grounds for these elites that have changed (Hersey went to Yale, even joined Skull and Bones). But if that’s true it’s very short sighted and our current mess seems to have more than a little to do with the decay of trust.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Thanks for that book mention!! I’ll be looking into it (I posted a long belated comment on the Hiroshima anniversary post this month and I mentioned Hersey’s work.)

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Japan, India and Australia to Seek Supply Chain Pact”

    These are three of the four countries of the so-called Quad. It looks like they want to give some economic underpinnings to this military alliance.

    1. Olga

      Perhaps, given the well-known characteristics of each country (i.e., declining, small, chaotic, respectively), the operative word here is “seek.”

  20. The Rev Kev

    “British Army could axe ageing tanks as part of modernisation plans”

    My own guess how this is playing out. The British have concluded that the Russians will never invade Europe, like in never, so why have all those tanks? But to stay relevant with Washington, they have bet the house on those two new Queen Elizabeth class carriers which will fly American lard buckets, errr, F-35s. But to pay for that, they have cut their manpower to pre-WW2 days and have gotten rid of tanks vehicles, etc. The cupboard is getting bare. The only forces that they are retaining are those for expeditionary purposes to places like Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever. So their armed forces will be configured to really only be the auxiliary forces of the US. But again, this is only my take.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Maybe the British Army could ship their ageing tanks to the US. They would find welcome at US police departments as they gear up to protect demockracy and the merkan way.

  21. semiconscious

    ‘What’s the Korean for “maskhole“?


    — 똥현이 (@D0nghyuny) August 27, 2020

    OK, OK, I know I’m shaming, which didn’t work to induce condom-wearing in the AIDS epidemic, but holy moley!’

    am i really on naked capitalism?…

  22. Billy

    Washington Postal Workers Defy USPS Orders And Reinstall Mail Sorting Machines

    Maybe, just maybe, USPS workers will be the vanguard of an American revolution?
    I used to thing that a resurgent labor movement, political awakening was most likely from the ranks of Teachers, Not their corrupt union, or nurses, but every town has a post office, a mail carrier who is in semi direct communication with citizens and who has a pulse on local news, local conditions and through whose hands much of the nation’s commerce passes.

    Get to know your mailman, hot and cold drinks in extreme weather, a little Christmas gift etc. They control more of your life than you might suspect and they are a valuable source of local real world reporting.

    1. Bazarov

      Is a small act this the beginning of balkanization? Perhaps in the US it will start with seemingly insignificant moves that decouple local nodes from the central “body,” gradually shrinking that body over years until the center itself is merely another local node.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      It’s not that difficult to ignore or ‘misunderstand’ orders from a distant higher command. I am surprised that so many stupid orders are followed at this time when our highers are so out of touch with the mission of the organization they command, and so many of our organizations are commanded by replicas of Captain Queeg.

  23. JWP

    Here’s the manifesting of the socialism for me austerity for thee economy we have. Housing market functioning as two separate economies. Of course one is leeching on the other with wealthier homebuyers gobbling up the homes people can no longer afford. Early in the crisis and there’s already a huge transfer of property and power under way. Been hearing reports the markets in Boise, Bozeman, Reno, and similar cities are hot as they come in terms of wealthy people scooping up homes and big plots of land.

  24. Maritimer

    “The latest in the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine AEI. And to be fair–”

    So, why do many assume that Big Pharma is raccccing to find a solution? That is not necessarily in their interest. I imagine some of them are even holding back, minimizing their costs, and just pocketing their subsidies and other favors. The beancounters and quants drive the process not the coopted/neutered researchers. This is just like Bailouts, the quants work every angle to maximize profit, not the benefit to humanity.

    In addition, if there is a clear winner as time passes, then even more incentive to game the system.

    I would love to see an expert, contrarian financial analyst get in and take a hard, skeptical look at all this. Better yet that financial analyst teamed up with a researcher who knows all the ways to game the research.

  25. Jeremy Grimm

    I’ve been following NakedCapitalism for a long time. I don’t recall ever seeing so much pessimism expressed in the comments. I grow frightened.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I don’t recall ever seeing so much pessimism expressed in the comments. I grow frightened.

      If one accepts that emotions are adaptive because they move us, then fear is worth listening to.

      Speaking only for myself, I don’t think I’m a pessimist. I think I’m a realist, in the sense that one looks out the window of one’s aircraft and sees flames, it’s best to brace for impact. The word I would use is chiaroscuro, great contrasts between light and darkness (as in one of those wild Caravaggio paintings). A Marxist would, I think, say that I’m responding to sharpening contradictions. On the bright side I would put “science” (definitely popping), the cultural aspects of globalization in terms of food, music, art, and general spiciness, highly creative intellectual work on the left (with all that the word “intellectual” implies in class terms), the resurgence of podcasting as a relatively unfiltered medium (cf. blogging 2003-2006), the evident courage of protesters (and, heck, rioters) agree or disagree with tactics and leadership….

      The cliché, which is a cliché because it expresses certain truths, is from Gramsci: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” Yep! (Although “new” is not necessarily good; see the recent interview with Thomas Ferguson, even if the horrid machine transcript doesn’t do him justice.)

      I don’t identify pessimism with depression, but others may, and for those experiencing it, I would recommend giving consideration to the idea that immobility is not the best tactic for survival (curling up into a ball works for pangolins versus most predators. Except for humans). At all costs, get moving. The direction and the distance don’t matter. Just move. More strategically, just as in the last Crash, things like gardening, neighborly connections, and even (gasp) local politics are all ways of getting moving that can redound to your benefit and those (if any) that you care for. So hunkering down (bracing for impact) is motion…

  26. Duck1

    Not trying to minimize the problems the Uighurs are having, but was that new information? Seems like the same analysis was presented some months ago, maybe not on NC.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I believe that the satellite photo methodology is new. It’s clever to work from what Baidu (?) erases from its map results. Google, of course, would never do such a thing…

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