Links 8/3/2020

PHOTOS: Living Tree Bridges In A Land Of Clouds NPR

Climate change: ‘Huge’ implications to Irish climate case across Europe BBC

How a PG&;E Contractor With a Sketchy Past Made Millions After California’s Deadliest Fire Pro Publica

Microsoft to press on with TikTok deal talks after call with Trump FT

Revisiting the White Swans of 2020 Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate

Big Tech, Anti-Trust & Kodak Investor Amnesia


The state of play:

Fatigue plagues thousands suffering post-coronavirus symptoms FT

* * *

‘I’m sorry, but it’s a fantasy’ WaPo. “We still haven’t received our order of Plexiglas barriers, so we’re cutting up shower curtains and trying to make do with that…. We got back two of those tests already — both positive. We’re still waiting on eight more. That makes 11 percent of my staff that’s gotten covid, and we haven’t had a single student in our buildings since March. Part of our facility is closed down for decontamination, but we don’t have anyone left to decontaminate it unless I want to put on my hazmat suit and go in there.”

What a day at school looks like in a pandemic Axios

USS University No Mercy / No Malice

SARS-CoV-2 Transmission and Infection Among Attendees of an Overnight Camp — Georgia, June 2020 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. “Test results were available for 344 (58%) attendees; among these, 260 (76%) were positive…. These findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups, despite efforts by camp officials to implement most recommended strategies to prevent transmission.” Except: “Measures not implemented were cloth masks for campers and opening windows and doors for increased ventilation in buildings. Cloth masks were required for staff members. Camp attendees were cohorted by cabin and engaged in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including daily vigorous singing and cheering.” So, I would urge that this spreading event is also a case study on how not to prevent aerosol transmission.

Association Between Statewide School Closure and COVID-19 Incidence and Mortality in the US JAMA. From the abstract: “There was a temporal association between statewide school closure and lower COVID-19 incidence and mortality, although some of the reductions may have been related to other concurrent nonpharmaceutical interventions.”

* * *

A coronavirus vaccine won’t change the world right away WaPo

When a Vaccine Arrives, People Will Ignore the Anti-Vaxxers The Atlantic. The URL is “people-are-suffering-too-much-refuse-vaccine”: TINA.

The Message of Measles The New Yorker

* * *

Delta flight returns to gate after two passengers refuse to wear masks The Hill

Bar Harbor hospital sounds warning on undetected COVID-infected visitors Kennebec Journal

Cramped workplaces, parties … the factors fuelling local Covid-19 spikes Guardian (Re Silc). Bat caves! Avoid the 3 C’s: Closed spaces, crowded spaces, close contact settings.

Global Remittances May Fall by $109 Billion, ADB Economists Say Bloomberg

Tourism’s collapse could trigger next stage of the crisis FT


Hong Kong Denies Mass Chinese Virus Tests Are Bid to Harvest DNA Bloomberg

‘Clean Up This Mess’: The Chinese Thinkers Behind Xi’s Hard Line NYT. “Many of them make respectful nods in their papers to Carl Schmitt.” I’d need to see the cites. But yikes.

Asia’s factory pain eases as China’s activity jumps Reuters

Vietnam virus outbreak hits factories employing thousands in Danang epicentre Reuters

Tests reveal increase in COVID-19 clusters in Jakarta’s houses of worship Jakarta Post

Philippine economy fears as COVID-19 curbs reintroduced Channel News Asia

What washerwomen would say on a webinar Africa is a Country


Gaddafi’s prophecy comes true as foreign powers battle for Libya’s oil Guardian

How Iran and Hezbollah trapped Israel into staring down 150,000 rockets on its border that it can only counter at a terrible cost Business Insider

MI6, the coup in Iran that changed the Middle East, and the cover-up Guardian


Greater Manchester declares major incident after rise in Covid-19 cases Guardian

Manchester After Engels Places Journal

Trump Transition

White House Not Optimistic On Near-Term Deal For Coronavirus Relief Bill HuffPo

Fed’s Kashkari suggests 4-6 week shutdown; says U.S. Congress can spend big on coronavirus relief Reuters

Two Ex-Fed Officials Have a Faster Way to Distribute Money in Recession Bloomberg

USPS reduces morning office time for letter carriers for ‘more consistent delivery’ Federal News Network (memo) and USPS warns staff of temporary mail delays as it cuts ‘soaring’ delivery costs Federal News Network (memo, nasty).

Mail delays are frustrating Philly residents, and a short-staffed Postal Service is struggling to keep up Philadelphia Inquirer


New Disclosures Confirm: Trump Himself Was the Target of Obama Administration’s Russia Probe Andrew McCarthy, National Review

Obama Legacy

Obama Spends Afternoon In Garage Restoring Classic Drone The Onion

Police State Watch

“He Chose His Poison”: Grandma Implicates Grandson As Bomb Thrower In Portland Attack Jonathan Turley

After Floyd’s killing, law enforcement wages PR battle on social media NBC

Failed State Watch

Weak State: How the Coronavirus Pandemic Exposed America’s Dysfunctional Democracy The Intercept. “Kinetic.”

Sports Desk

#WeAreUnited. Players of the Pac-12, The Players’ Tribune. Quite the bill of particulars:

And naturally:

Gettysburg National Military Park and July 4, 2020: Personal Reflections Journal of the Civil War Era

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Manhattan Beach was once home to Black beachgoers, but the city ran them out. Now it faces a reckoning Los Angeles Times

UPDATE: South Georgia prison on lockdown after riot Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Guillotine Watch

The Uber Eats card is the *chef’s kiss*:

‘Hey, You Free on Friday for a Meeting and a Bank Heist?’ NYT. A little too on-the-nose?

Class Warfare

Kill it with fire:

Kansas Should Go F— Itself Matt Taibbi. Review of Thomas Frank’s The People, No

The ‘Diversity’ Trap Tablet. We’ll see how it goes:

Lockdown worked for the rich, but not for the poor. The untold story of how COVID-19 spread across Toronto, in 7 graphics Toronto Star

These Are the World’s Richest Families Bloomberg

AI-Generated Text Is the Scariest Deepfake of All Wired

Ground-Breaking Method To Make Graphene From Garbage Is Modern-Day Alchemy Forbes (original).

Turning sunlight into water: New technology and old knowledge to stop Timor-Leste from running dry Channel News Asia

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote (CG):

CG writes: “Back in April 2020, Lucky didn’t appear particularly lucky. She flew into the windscreen of a vehicle and suffered various injuries, including a torn throat and concussion. Then luck took a turn: Nearby were State Game Warden Amanda Isett and Wildlife in Need transporter DM Sheeler-Kennedy who took the bald eagle to Centre Wildlife Care, and over the months Lucky made an excellent recovery. Robyn Graboski helped cure her from both lead poisoning and West Nile virus.” White swans and recovering eagles, hopefully…

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. lakecabs

    Post Office.

    Once again if you deliver packages below cost you will have the problems the Post Office is facing.

    Jeff Bezos is raking in money hand over foot and the back of the USPS.

    If Amazon pays market price for delivery the USPS could hire more workers and pay better.

    But when you lose money on every delivery for Amazon the writing is on the wall.

    1. flora

      When you are hobbled with a 2006 Congressional bill mandating pre-funding 75 years of pension costs your finances will tank, no matter what Amazon does. (Now some GOP Senators want to hobble and break SS with the same 75 year pre-funding scam.)

      T should instruct the DoJ or the FTC to file antitrust suit against the Amazon monopoly and break up Amazon.

      1. flora

        adding: Yesterday’s Links had this article Postmaster general pick probed – WaPo
        which suggests new Postmaster General DeJoy has a serious conflict of financial interest. He’s the one mandating all these changes on the Post Office slowing delivery.

        1. Olga

          Reminiscent of how public transportation was killed off in the US – to help cars take over. Reduce and degrade service to such a point that people themselves would call for abolishing it. Same playbook, it seems.

          1. Rod

            Or how Real Estate Developers in high growth areas push the addition of Property Tax Units to Local Planning without Road and Infrastructure in place.
            Contractors develop–Localities Tax–and everybody complains to the State to come in and fix the TRAFFIC–which they attempt to do in an effort to catch their tail while socializing the cost of that Local Expansion onto everyone of the States Tax base regardless of proximity to said unbridled development.

            the Carolina Panthers, with a Chorus of Yea from Local City and Bidness Leaders just extorted a Quarter Billion Dollar Interchange Exchange($250,000,000) from the Great State to inject their Practice Facility into our County without asking the Counties Population what they thought.

            FWIW–the rush hour congestion on the Interstate leading North into Charlotte NC (backing up steadily (with increased Development) South for 20 years) now starts a mere mile North of expected Facility.

            1. Carolinian

              Your taxpayer loss is our gain? When local guy Jerry Richardson sold the Panthers (due to a #metoo scandal) my town also lost said practice facility and tourist revenue. I for one was unmoved. Maybe Covid will put a stymie on sports subsidies.

              1. Wukchumni

                I think the entire system of spoils in the big $ world of pro sports will be subject to one heck of a reversal of fortune, with the funny thing being some player named Mookie signing for $30 million+ per year for a dozen years worth, what are the owners possibly thinking splashing dough in incredible amounts as it’s obvious this season will be aborted soon?

                1. a different chris

                  >some player named Mookie

                  Side note: this is unfortunate, I would no doubt also say “some player named Mookie signing…” but what Mookie gets as a part of the pie is at best fair and quite possibly a bit short.

                  So not fair to Mookie. It’s this subsidizing of billionaires playing games against each other is the problem. That particular pie is of unhealthy size for society at large.

                  1. chuck roast

                    Being your standard parochial New England knucklehead, I am a fan of all the local sports teams. And after having a standard New England education, I’m not so dumb that the fan-owned Green Bay Packers aren’t my second most favorite team.

    2. Skip


      My first clues were late fees for checks due in June and in July, both sent US Mail First Class. One check arrived in ten days. The other, twelve.
      Both traveled to a destination that was a mind-boggling distance of 2.4 miles, or less than an hour walk.
      The other afternoon I used UPS to send a package from DC to New Jersey, at the cheapest rate. It arrived the next morning.
      Sort of puts a new spin on “Forever” stamps.

      1. edmondo

        Isn’t a lot of the delay in first class mail a result of the airlines removing 90% of their flights? I believe the airlines have a special deal with USPS to move mail at a reduced cost on a “space available” basis. If there is no “space available,” the mail sits until a flight has room. I have received packages from Los Angeles that went by way of Chicago and then to Arizona. My sister got a package delivered to her in Philadelphia. It originated in Boston, then went to Miami, Atlanta then Cincinnati and finally to Philly in ten days.

        My mail has more options to travel than I do.

      2. flora

        So, after Trump appointed new Postmaster General DeJoy arrived and took over management. DeJoy has investments in alternate delivery services and mail logistics companies, the bulk of his holdings is in an alternal mail logistics company. The more he tanks the Post Office service, the more mailers will use alternate services, as you did. ( Isn’t that nice for DeJoy’s investment portfolio.)

        1. flora

          an aside: The UK’s Royal Mail was privatized in 2014, I think. Privatization hasn’t exactly improved service, if one judges by the complaints lodged. Maybe the USPS most recent problems of slow mail delivery stem from DeJoy trying to “run the Post Office like a business”, or “like his own business”. (You can find online info about law suits charging wage theft, worker mistreatment, and unsafe working conditions filed against his logistics company.) My 2 cents.

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            The intriguingly named Mr. DeJoy must be another one of the many who can’t or won’t distinguish between running something like a business and running it in a businesslike way.

    3. eg

      America and the UK appear to have lost sight of the purpose of public goods altogether, of which the USPS and the Royal Mail are merely object lessons.

      The assault on public education is no accident either.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Climate change: ‘Huge’ implications to Irish climate case across Europe BBC

    Just a few comments on this – I’m not sure if its correct to say that this case is relevant across Europe – My understanding of the decision is that it is very important in an Irish context – and arguably also across all Common Law jurisdictions – but as it was not made under the context of EU law I doubt it will be more than a peripheral reference case.

    The context of the decision is that the Irish government published a waffly ‘action plan’ for climate change in order to conform with an earlier law which stated that the government must take strong action to reduce emissions in line with international agreements. In short, the Irish supreme court said ‘its not enough to produce a plan, the plan must actually be serious and make sense, otherwise you are not following the law’. This is contrary to 100 years or so of Irish practice, whereby any BS document with the correct title could be seen as allowing a government to be in conformance with a law telling the executive to do something.

    I’ll paraphrase, but a lawyer friend once said to me more or less: ‘There are three legal traditions in Europe – the northern tradition which is ‘there are not many laws, but what the law says, it says clearly and it means it and you have to follow it’, the southern tradition is ‘have lots and lots of laws and lets pick and choose the ones that suit me and thee’, and the British tradition of ‘the law means what an old guy with a wig and a posh accent says it means’. Ireland has always found itself at an uncomfortable position in the middle of all three traditions, which is why the Irish government has a wretched history of losing court cases in both Europe and its own Supreme Court.

    However, it is very welcome and very significantly strengthens the hand of the Green Party in government here (its a junior partner) and may well force the government to actually take targets seriously. It also strengthens the hand of those campaigning for a post-Covid GND, as it can be argued that anything else may fail legal tests.

    1. a different chris

      >This is contrary to 100 years or so of Irish practice, whereby any BS document with the correct title could be seen as


      ….to be fair to the Irish, this is more widespread than just the Emerald Isles.

  3. Berto

    Can someone explain why a “populist” like Donald Trump (LOL), is giving Moderna $955 Million to develop and test a vaccine AND giving Moderna a patent monopoly that will allow it to charge prices that are more than 2000 percent above the cost of manufacturing and delivering the vaccine?

    I’ve been a good NCer, and ignored Trump’s cabinet picks and defense budget requests in order to see Trump as a threat to the Establishment and MIC, but I still can’t understand why he’s giving away so much to big pharma.
    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    1. praxis

      Trump ran as a populist yet governs like a career swamp oligarch. He is a threat to the establishment/MIC as so far as he is an uninvited guest that spoiled their party. I think NC and its commentariat have been honest in their coverage of Trump.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Bush II
        Throw a handful of junk like that in the face of the population and trump is what you get.
        Now they’ve doubled down and threw another retread out there in biden.
        The whole thing is nothing but a cllown show, enjoy accordingly.

        1. orlbucfan

          The real slow destruction for the working class cranked up after Goldwater was wasted in 1964. Far Right political power junkies Paul Weyrich and Richard Viguerie went into action. It took 50+ years but they were successful. The 1971 Powell Memo spells it out.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I’d just pull a quote from the sports thread above:

              “subsidizing of billionaires playing games against each other”

              The Trump crowd of billionaires is slightly different from the Team Blue crowd. They want their chew toy (the United States of America) back.

              I do find myself wanting to front run The New New Deal. No, not that one, the one they put in place with the CARES Act. Where The New York Federal Reserve Bank is the client of Blackrock, as attorney-in-fact “with full and complete authority to purchase, sell, exchange, and otherwise transact in any and all stocks, bonds, cash held for investment and other assets as Blackrock Financial Management may select”.

              Seems to me with the installation of The Biden there will be a whole new super-set of woke-y instructions guiding our national socialist future. (Maybe look for clues like a Kremlinologist, to see which Blackrock BOD members are airbrushed out?) I assume, like with the establishment of DHS, there will be a brand new DWC (Department of Woke Compliance). Would a #BLM stencil on an outbound Predator cruise missile meet DWC Standard 231-A-11J? Inquiring minds want to know.

    2. pjay

      The easy and obvious answer is that Trump, of course, is not a “populist” in any real sense (see recent discussions of Thomas Frank’s new book). He just plays one on TV. He is a demagogue and con man, as most, if not all “NCers” know. And like almost all politicians, he rewards his powerful friends and supporters (and perhaps his own economic interests). Not too hard to understand. He has supporters who fervently believe his “populist” rhetoric — but few if any of them are “NCers”. Why would you be afraid to address Trump’s miserable Cabinet picks and outlandish Defense budget requests here?

      There is a more complicated answer that would go into why the fake “populist” Trump is still a real threat to the Establishment and MIC, why they have tried to destroy him, and how their efforts help convince his supporters that he really is “anti-Establishment.” But that requires being able to hold these two seemingly contradictory ideas in your head at the same time.

        1. Mr. House

          “Why would you be afraid to address Trump’s miserable Cabinet picks and outlandish Defense budget requests here?”

          I found that strange also. And the Dems could have done something about his defense budget requests if they really wanted to, so i’m not sure what the poster was getting at.

          1. JBird4049

            Oh come on, just how on Earth can the Democratic Party be at all responsible for military spending?

            Just because all legislation must pass both Houses of Congress with the Democratic Party in control of one of them doesn’t mean that they are responsible, or anything, for President Trump’s military budget!

            Being serious here, both parties have been in control of both Houses of Congress and the White House sometimes all at once during the past twenty years of the Forever War as well as the ongoing hollowing out of the federal government and the economy during the preceding fifty years.

            Nobody in Congress or the Presidency gets a pass here.

      1. HotFlash

        Trump is still a real threat to the Establishment and MIC

        Totally. A President Bernie Sanders would have gotten the same treatment from The (Rep/Dem/entrenched) Establishment. Lincoln Project anyone? It’s a big club…

        1. km

          Absolutely. I wonder how many Sanders supporters would continue to support him, if for instance, Sanders were strongarmed into a full fledged war on Syria.

          For those who doubt, see, e.g., Clinton, Bill and Obama, Barack.

        2. Pookah Harvey

          The Lincoln Project is not due to policy but to incompetence.
          “Trump is still a real threat to the Establishment and MIC”. Really?

          Trump has jacked up the MIC budget to an all time high(with the help of both Republican and Democratic Establishment)
          Trump has been sabre rattling with both China and Iran, projecting military force which magnifies the military in the public mind making it easier for increased funding.
          Trump gave corporations their biggest tax cut in history, additionally giving oligarchs a huge surge in their wealth.
          Trump has cut regulations to the point where they are almost nonexistent
          Trump is getting rid of the US Post Office, a main objective of the Kochs.

          Now how about Trump’s so-called populist trade policy, that Saagar of Rising constantly points to.
          Trump changed the letters of the North American free trade treaty, without any real change in free trade.
          Trump started a trade war with China, but what was the main concern from his tweets : “they are stealing our intellectual property”
          1) It is not “our” intellectual property, it mostly belongs to international corporations.
          2 )China didn’t steal anything, the corporations willingly gave their IP away so they could use low cost Chinese labor and gain access to the Chinese market.
          3) So if Trump wins the trade war and China can no longer demand sharing intellectual property for access what happens? Is it an incentive or disincentive to have to share your intellectual property with a company that could easily soon become a competitor. If you had been reluctant to move to China because of this sharing what will be your response once that disincentive has disappeared? More American jobs?

          However Trump is a threat to our democracy. He is a demagogue with a large well armed following. If you don’t live in Trump country you may not feel it, but when a BLM protest takes place in a state capital and 3 times as many Trump supporters, many armed with assault weapons, show up as BLM protestors you have a tendency to get nervous.
          I have to agree with one of Roubini’s white swans: “A close (presidential election) outcome will almost certainly lead to accusations (by either side) of “election-rigging,” and potentially to civil disorder.”, which could easily become violent.

          1. a different chris

            >Trump started a trade war with China,

            And beyond that, the voters – including and maybe especially the MAGA ones – had said clearly and distinctly “we want our jobs back”.

            That doesn’t mean tariff China so Vietnam can now make the stuff. So obvious you would think even an economist could see it. Needed a plan to onshore* stuff, a plan that goes well beyond stupid economic tricks even if they were the right ones.

            *I came back to edit this to “re-onshore” stuff, but in reality we are technologically behind in a lot of places so there’s no “re” about it…

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Abolish Free Trade, Cancel all Free Trade Treaties, withdraw from all Free Trade Agreements.

              That would have to be the initial permitting predicate for any plan to “re-shore” production. If a candidate and/or whole party ran very clearly on the concept of Abolish Free Trade and Abolish Free Trade Agreements and Withdraw from all Free Trade Organizations . . . that candidate and/or party might do very well.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            The Lincoln Project is purely about one set of the courtier class trying to get back in when Trump disrupted the GOP established order. They don’t play the faux tough guy or Evangelical game well enough, so they are trying something else.

      2. Berto

        I’m not “afraid” to address Trump’s cabinet picks, his larger and larger defense budget requests, or even his expansion of Obama ‘s drone programs. I mentioned I ignored them, as most NCers do as they bash Democrats and claim Trump voters saw Trump as rejection of neoliberalism, and not a guy who got the Republican-base juiced-up in 2016 by wearing his bigotry on his sleeve. (I didn’t hear a peep from his voters about his cabinet, but they sure did get worked up about a football player pointing out police brutality against black people).

        Can you provide some examples of the Establishment and MIC trying to destroy Trump? Defense contractors seem pretty happy with their take, and I saw no complaints from the Establishment for the HUGE tax break he supported while they were sitting on piles of cash.

        1. pjay

          Examples of the Establishment and MIC trying to destroy Trump? Are you kidding me?? How about starting with a soft coup based on completely bogus claims about “colluding” with Putin and his Evil Rooskies, driven by top officials in the DOJ, FBI, CIA, etc., along with some of their intelligence pals in other Five Eyes countries? How about a “liberal” media that has been going insane over Trump for four years, aided by constant leaks from within the Executive branch and intelligence community? I like nothing about Trump; for me he proves his ignorance every time he opens his mouth. Nevertheless, the completely biased coverage of Trump in the mainstream media (excluding Fox News here) is a Wonder to behold – and I’ve been watching them for over 60 years now.

          I’m sure the MIC is happy with their take and the Establishment likes the fact that Trump has continued the redistributive economic policies of the previous six Presidents. But they are obviously disturbed about something. What might it be? There have been many suggestions already and I’ve gone on too long, so others can deal with that question. But in response to both your comment and Pookah’s above: I was born and raised in Trump country. After a decade or so in NY I moved back to the midwest where I lived until just a few months ago (back in upstate NY now). Yeah, Trump’s racism and xenophobia appeals to some. But if you want to know why a lot of fly-over “deplorables” voted for him and still support him, I suggest starting with Thomas Frank.

          1. Pookah Harvey

            “I like nothing about Trump; for me he proves his ignorance every time he opens his mouth.”
            So to be unbiased the media is required to ignore that.

          2. rob

            brier rabbit, not wanting to be thrown in the brier patch…… that trump.
            People talk as if there is a plan against him…? HOW?.
            All those things mentioned,above were more like cover fire. Trump has been allowed to do anything he wants. I know of nothing he actually wanted to do, he hasn’t been able to. His family gets their “deals”. patents from china,real estate bail outs with 666 5th ave and others. , protection from prosecution from all fraud committed /in the process of being committed; trump U, tax fraud,selling his wares to gov’t ,benefiting from those wishing proximity to power, the entrenchment of his family into the political class… this must be his real dream.
            Just like a reality tv show…. the editors make what “seems” to be.the angle allowed to be seen, supports the a magic trick.
            Trump knows the attacks were from the “team blue”.. and not likely to have “no way out”. The worst thing he has to deal with are the humiliating details of his pathetic need to surround himself with women who wouldn’t be sleeping with him were he not paying them. And then “tell all”… like there ain’t much to tell.. Which is probably at the seat if his infantile insecurity.

          3. Berto

            “Russiagate” is just one, of many, corporate-owned mainstream media excuses for Trump voters (remember when they tried “economic anxiety”?), so they won’t have to admit Trump was elected by energizing the Republican base through his bigotry.
            I read Thomas Frank, but haven’t read his latest book (but I’ve read some interviews). Does he address the lack of pushback from Trump voters regarding Trump’s cabinet picks?
            Pretending the Trump voters/ supporters have any problem at all with the corporate running of the country or the MIC, is a waste of time. If it was remotely true, they’d be huge supporters of BLM and the far Left.

        2. Geo

          “Can you provide some examples of the Establishment and MIC trying to destroy Trump?“

          Every time he even hints at withdrawing troops they shock doctrine the effort. Syria twice: he mentions withdrawing troops and gas attacks happen the next day. (Same thing happened when Obama suggested withdrawing troops from Syria). Afghanistan: mentions withdrawing troops and accusations of him ignoring bounties paid by Russia to kill US troops come out the next day.

          Sure, this is all interpretive since there’s no direct proof that these are connected but if you want direct proof that Intel or MIC are doing anything nefarious you’ll have to wait 50+ years for the docs to be unsealed.

          1. JBird4049

            Unless they are “misfiled” as, IIRC, military documents of Vietnam War were or how many inconvenient FBI and CIA documents during the 70s to 80s were.

    3. ptb

      Ya. As usual, check the Cabinet. A fine crew, no doubt – taking one for the team by putting up with Trump. So we have to have some sympathy if they should feel entitled to pocket a few million along the way. Er, make that a few billion. Oh wait, it’s over a trillion now. Funny how these things snowball.

      In this case, we got the Department of Health & Human Services, overseeing our magnificently profitable medical-pharma industry. Secretary Azar was a top US exec at Eli Lilly, as well as their chief lobbyist. Same concept as the Treasury Secretary always being a Morgan/Goldman guy.

      (aside: anyone want to know which vaccine will win the competition? keep yer eyes peeled for Lilly making an acquisition, I’d say.)
      (another: Lilly also said it is developing the monoclonal antibody therapies for the virus, quite expensive, and a certain moneymaker now that a large “market” has been established for it.)

      I still can’t understand why he’s giving away so much to big pharma.

      Who says he’s giving it away? He’s doing them a favor. Someday they will do him a favor.

      1. a different chris

        What’s comical is you read the descriptions of what’s going on – Pentagon flying test kits in, gummint money given to prime manufacturing sites, much much more – it’s socialism at a level that would make the French blanch.

        But nobody mentions that.

  4. Donald

    Re the piece about 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel—

    It’s called deterrence. The writer seems to think Israel should be able to strike other countries with impunity.

    1. The Rev Kev

      For Israel the situation is far worse than it was back in ’06. A lot of those missiles have been upgraded so now they are precision missiles which makes a world of difference. When Iran was sending precision missiles to those US bases in Iraq, they were hitting the targets that they wanted to hit whereas with older missiles you hope they hit in the area that you aim at. Israel has missile defence systems but Hezbollah only needs to make Israel use up their missiles first shooting down the older missiles and then following up with the guided ones. And unlike ’06. the newer missiles can hit not just the north of the country but all of Israel. Where is Israel’s Nuclear Research Center again?

      Another factor is that Hezbollah now has battle-hardened and experienced troops gained in Syria along with ATGMs and manpads to use against Israel where as Israel has to rely on part-timers with limited experience. And no, bashing up Palestinian grannies does not count as battle experience. Remember too that when Israeli forces were mauled in the ’06 war, that it was the Hezbollah second stringers that did that and not their elite. The Israeli doctrine is typically to kill a bunch of people in a neighbouring country and then telling them that if they retaliate, that they will kill even more of their people. Well that will not work with Hezbollah as they can hit back hard as well. The smart thing to do would be to negotiate some sort of peace but with the radicals running Israel at the moment, I do not think that this will happen.

      1. Oh

        Why would anybody negotiate with Israel when they know that their savior US will do an end around any agreement and attack them?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Israel or the US. Since Libya, there is no reason. The USA can’t be trusted. Israel is an apartheid state that works the refs, but they serve the interests of DC imperialists. After all, if the US wasn’t there bad things would happen to white people.

    2. Bill Smith

      Is there any proof that there are 150,000 rockets? There are clearly thousands, but 150,000?

      I remember back when the magic number was 100,000. Now it is magically 150,000. In a few years the claim will be 200,000?

  5. timbers

    How Iran and Hezbollah trapped Israel into staring down 150,000 rockets on its border that it can only counter at a terrible cost Business Insider

    From the article: “The Iranians and Hezbollah have laid a very dangerous trap for us in the north and I am not clear on how there can be a military solution to this crisis that would come at an acceptable cost,” said a former senior Israeli official who remains closely briefed on Iranian projects in the region.”

    Well golly Miss Molly, if there is no military solution, then no solution is possible. I’m sure the folks in Washington will agree. But there must be some mistake, somewhere. Have they considered destroying Israel in order to save her?

    It was depressing that Bernie was the only one who spoke of true, 2 sided peace in the ME. I don’t recall hearing that from politicians since…well decades, it’s a distant memory.

    1. Off The Street

      On the bright side, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been cooperating quite a lot quietly behind the scenes. That is after an eternity of enmity. They have a mutual enemy in Iran, and its minions in Hezbollah and similar organizations, and in their supporting states like Qatar. Combine Saudi money and Israel brains and that generates security technology, weaponry and will to get the GCC to focus across the Arab Gulf to the east instead of to the northwest.

      There are still, and always will be, foreign, domestic, security, et al problems because Middle East. Just the prospect of Israel-Saudi communication was unheard of until very recently. That may not be enough to overcome fractious blood sport local politics or messianic-ish policies and wishes in many of the countries, but it used to be worse. In ME terms, that should count as a type of progress. I still worry about some October or similar surprise(s) emanating from there or here.

      1. km

        That apartheid Israel and barbaric Saudi Arabia are cooperating is far from a positive.

        Like Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Or the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Yeah, it’s weird how Saudi Arabia has been dispatching religious fighters everywhere but Israel…or how they joined hands to applaud US foreign policy in the region…or how Israel “the only democracy in the region” tm never really denounces the Saudi plantation….yep, it’s just fantastic they are getting along.

          Of course, the orientalism of accusing the Middle East of being violent naturally without mentioning the colonial powers is very telling of “Off the Street” ‘s comment.

          1. Off The Street

            Not an orientalist, or an occidentalist, more of a humanist, just one hopeful that some progress on basic security, reduced tensions and lower chance for war would spill over into more benefits for the larger populations. Not a fan of colonialism, either.
            There are plenty of other problems for the average person to contend with after not having to worry daily about getting killed.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Right. What progress? An apartheid state and a plantation recognizing their mutual interests? Like killing poor people? They’ve basically gotten along for two decades now. It’s not new.

              Then you ascribe local violence to some regional flavor despite long term stable empires that have existed. How strange?

              Once upon a time the Saudi monarchy did provide a voice for Palestinians in the world. But now, oh well…what’s a few dead poor people?

            2. km

              So when apartheid Israel and the Saudi tyrants agree to chop up Syria, keep Lebanon divided, keep Jordan dependent, Egypt weak and the Palestinians left high and dry, you see that as progress because the Saudis and Israelis aren’t turning on each other (as if they were doing so beforehand).

            3. Donald

              How is the Saudi war on Yemen contributing to humanist goals? They justify it on the grounds that they see the Houthis as an Iranian ally.

              The Saudis are committing crimes against humanity with our help in Yemen. The contributed to the blood bath in Syria. The Israelis are practicing apartheid, but it hurts their feelings if anyone says so. There is nothing positive here.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                But the Israeli and Saudi ambassadors can enjoy Virginia ham in a diplomatic enclave in McLean and whine about how American cops are getting a bad rap. Isn’t that what peace is really about?

                Yes, I have nothing but contempt for Likud and the House of Saud and fully expect them to be hypocritical about every issue.

      2. Brian (another one they call)

        Perhaps we should weigh in on the effect of religions on violence and war. Anyone note how countries that aren’t involved in religion as a state don’t seem to go to war? I know this isn’t a panacea but wouldn’t it be a great place to start trying to figure out why religion is so divisive and put a stop to it?

        1. tegnost

          “Anyone note how countries that aren’t involved in religion as a state don’t seem to go to war?”
          The USA claims to separate church and state and we seem to have several wars going on persistently?
          Of course one could claim that the US religion is Tech, the preferred religion replacement for those I know who claim to be atheists…

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            This attitude about religion strikes me as a turn of the 20th century progressive Era explanation that entered the education system without much rhyme or reason and was just passed on. It’s not an attitude dissimilar to Gibbons and his views on Xianty. It’s not dissimilar to our current neoliberal “End of History” attitude endemic to our elites. Failures are the fault of the poor.

            I feel like there is an element of punching down, blaming poor people and ignoring structural reasons. Were Europe’s religious wars about protestants and catholics or governments simultaneously becoming more stable moving from fiefdoms to proper states as the hoped for existing order of a renewed empire wasn’t happening or desired with the decline of Byzantium?

            Disclaimer: I’m an atheist, and tend to think theological arguments are distractions for the most part.

            1. Wukchumni

              It used to be that dogma required invisible means of support, but now it’s the entire economy.

              As things get worse, will there be a reversion to the mean, in terms of religiosity?

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                We went through a fairly public religious phase from Carter through Shrub. Obama kept a weirdo minister in the West Wing, but we really didn’t have to deal with much from that era. Team Blue fanatics tend not to advertise Obama’s expansion of the “Office of Faith Based Initiatives.” I think the religious discourse went on too long beyond what the population demanded, so I suspect open displays of religion to be meant with skepticism for quite some time even with a biblical plague upon us.

                When the kids of Zoomers are in their 30’s we might get a more public religiosity. Millenials and Zoomers have seen so much religious hypocrisy that…this is one aspect of the divide between the politics of various age groups. I don’t see religion in the public sphere catching on again for quite some time. They still have to deal with garbage stuff at sporting events.

                This is a US assessment of religious discourse. Other countries could leap out depending on how things go.

            2. Brian (another one they call)

              my biggest concern is the substitution of knowledge with religiousity. Science shouldn’t be denied, ignored, ridiculed, debased… like it is now in so many nations. But if science is going to lie like a preacher, then it is going to get worse before it gets better.
              It is the owners of religions that make a profit. The money laundering is alive and well. I wonder how much of the world GDP is derived from it?

              1. tegnost

                I think it was Jeremy Grimm 6:51pm 8/2 links who clarified to me that the god of the market determines what science gets produced…this is jbirds reply distilling the essence into quotable form, but worth going back and looking over the comment in long form.
                “As research becomes more expensive and the sources of funding become more limited, if for no other reason than because of the concentration of wealth, science is becoming more about wealth and ideology instead of knowledge.”
                The owners of science also make a tidy sum.

          2. Brian (another one they call)

            I was certainly including the US as a religion state, sorry if that wasn’t clear. Where other than in religious states can various “religions” pay to bribe every politician with impunity to eliminate taxes, fees, and give them handouts paid for by the rest of us. Some states have religions of their own. Go to the edges and atheism is the main course. I suspect much of the western migration was to free them from religious/cultural oppression in the east.
            When in Rome do like the Romans, Ave Maria, gee its good to see ya
            (Tom Lehrer)

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              So really you are labeling anything you disagree with as the result of religion? You can’t be wrong that way.

        2. Donald

          Are neoconservatism and liberal humanitarian interventionism considered to be religions? How about Western imperialism in general? If so, then you may be right.

          Seriously, I heard a lot of comments blaming religion from people like Hitchens, who of course thought that 9/11 gave us the justification needed for a holy secularist war in the Mideast. That worked out well.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Its fair to say there are state or civic religions. I would argue most economists are no different than the priest class that exists to uphold the power of an elite. If we spend money on social programs, the national debt gods will be angry and curse the land. Obama’s take on “American Exceptionalism” could be construed as religious in nature, but the original point was directed towards people who go to a traditional house of worship.

            Our failure to address climate change has nothing to do with Pat Robertson and everything (some hyperbole) to do with people who say things like “i’m an environmentalist and thats why I’m proud to point out those fracking wells are painted with lead free paint!” It doesn’t matter that Obama and Biden “believe in science” versus whether they believe in a 6,000 year old earth. They pursued a rapacious energy extraction policy.

        3. rl

          Why, you’re right! Just look at la belle France … the Fifth Republic is a dove! And Sweden (home of the Church of Sweden)? Still the “Lion of the North.” (Poland had better watch its back…!)

          Naturally, Operation Barkhane is not (exactly) a colonial war, just as Gaza is not (exactly) a camp.

    2. km

      For Israel, the preferred military solution is to run screaming to the United States and demand that American blood and treasure be expended again.

  6. pohzzer

    “Arctic sea ice could disappear completely within two months’ time”. If not COMPLETELY this year it’s a dead certainty to happen next year.

    This is a macro-life extinction event.

    What runaway abrupt global warming doesn’t take out, the hundreds of increasingly unattended nuclear reactors and spent fuel pools melting down will.

    In twenty years the surface of this planet will be a scorched radioactive hellscape.

      1. The Historian

        I don’t think people care that their sewer is overflowing when their house is on fire. We have to put out this Covid-19 fire first so that people can go back to thinking about other extremely important issues..

        1. Michael


          All fights against “extremely important issues” should proceed unabated.
          Plenty of experts on Covid.

      1. John k

        So let’s hope they’re located where a tsunami can’t take out both off site and on site backup power until the 30’s.
        I see nuclear as a low carbon transition to renewables. If the country was better run we would be there now, but it’s coming soon bc renewables are now the lowest cost and falling.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Pshaw, we’re Can-Do Americans and can use the best experience from Japan and Fukushima to mitigate any bad consequences.

        First we can flood the suckers with seawater to try and keep them from meltdown, that will mean we need to permanently sequester a few hundreds of millions of tons of water. To mitigate water table leakage we can install a complex of deep cooling tubes to freeze the surrounding soil solid. We’ll need to cart off permanently contaminated topsoil, a few cubic miles of the stuff. Locals won’t want that soil in their backyards, so we can ship it equally to all 50 states so the national level of elevated background radiation stays even, worked well for the clever Nipponese. Lastly we can reduce radiation monitoring and raise the allowable limits for food, Hilary did that quick-smart for the Japanese, after the newborn baby death spike passed in the Pacific NW everybody went back to their lives. At the height of the crisis TEPCO gave the workers instructions: “Flee!”, I’m happy they defied those orders and saved Tokyo by turning a few valves.

        (For the record I’m not sure that nuclear isn’t one of the best of bad answers for our energy dilemma but man you certainly do need to be on your toes).

    1. Plague Species

      Yep, we’re screwed and human extinction is just ahead. In the least, civilization as we knew it will be eviscerated by 2050 and maybe much sooner.

      Global dimming from industrial activity had been keeping the soaring temperature from climate chaos in check. COVID-19 is laying waste to industrial growth and thus the lessening of particle pollution. With it will come a tremendous spike in global temperatures and with that failed crops and locales becoming too hot to live like Arizona and New Mexico and Texas soon enough here in America not to mention the deserts of the Middle East and Africa and Asia.

      At this pace, my population prediction for 2050 will be at least half of what the population is now, maybe even less than half of what it is now. As the entire house of cards called civilization falls in on itself, the trans-global wealthy elite will suck up any and all remaining wealth before they too will perish because apparently like the royalty of ancient Egypt they believe they can take it with them into the afterlife. The response of America’s wealthy elite to the pandemic, exploiting it like good disaster capitalists to hoover up even more wealth with their multi-trillion dollar stimulus, naked theft by any other name, is an example of what the trans-global wealthy elite will do the entire stretch of collapse until civilization is no more.

      The Green New Deal is a joke and a farce in the face of what’s coming, especially if you earnestly evaluate the true Inconvenient Truth that is Michael Moore’s and Jeff Gibbs’ Planet of the Humans. The Democratic apparatchiks viciously attacked Moore and Gibbs for their incredibly forthright documentary. Not one of the unwarranted critiques of it deals with the FACTS presented in the documentary. We cannot grow our way of this existential crisis. Either we manage a global contraction as equitably as possible or we collapse chaotically. As far as I’m concerned, the choice has already been made and it is, and will be, the latter.

    2. HotFlash

      At 71, I am pretty sure that I will be dead before the GEE (Great extinction event). Nice for me, I suppose. OTOH, I have a step-son and (step) grand daughters, nieces, nephews, and even grand nieces/nephews. I fought as hard as I could back in the day, didn’t have kids, tried to be as responsible as I had the power to do, but but but …

      So, what are we gonna do now? Serious question.

      1. Wukchumni

        I was really hoping for another 15-20 years of the same it ever was before a long dirt nap, but realize life will be a series of greatly lessened expectations going forward, and have mentally readied myself for something wicked this way comes by spending even more time in the wilderness, in untrammeled Elysian fields.

  7. Winston Smith

    “Bar Harbor hospital sounds warning on undetected COVID-infected visitors Kennebec Journal”

    This story resonates with me as I see similarities with my native region further north in Quebec (Gaspésie). Gaspésie was mostly spared from COVID by prompt action from the provincial govt, sealing off the region for 2months. The checkpoints were lifted to save the tourist season and given that the US border is closed, people from the epicenter of COVID in Canada (Montreal) are fleeing the heat of the city for the cool sea breezes. The region is overrun with visitors unable to secure accommodation and eager to relax without the strictures of an urban environment. Cases are rising there and vulnerable aged population could be at risk.

  8. The Rev Kev

    Could someone explain please how a wild eagle manages to get lead poisoning at all without getting shot? Unless of course it is drinking from a river where a lot of fishing takes place and the lead weights poison the water like happened with swans once in England.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

      Just spitballing here, but what if it eats an unlucky fish that had been hooked, but escaped from the fisherfolk but not before ingesting the sinker – and then got eaten by the eagle?

      1. KB

        I was lucky enough to volunteer at the UofM Raptor Center…..Most of the raptors that came in had some degree of lead poisoning…..Some recover if lead levels not too terribly high and others die a terrible death and saw it in person…
        They do injest lead sinkers and from the carcass of deer and other carrion with hunters having left the remains in the area….

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Eagles are top of the food chain – lead concentrates up the chain. Eagles are high energy predators – they eat something like a pound of meat a day. So if they eat 3-400 lbs of fish in a year and the lead in each lb of fish lodges in their body fat, that can be a lot of lead, especially if they are eating fish or mammals that are themselves top of their local food chain.

    3. Phillip Allen

      Birds are usually poisoned by eating animals that have been killed by shotgun but for whatever reason not collected by the shooter. Shotgun pellets are mostly lead, and lead to lead poisoning if ingested. Like most raptors, eagles will feed on carrion if it’s available.

      1. ambrit

        States have begun to address this issue by mandating non-lead shot for game loads, such as steel shot.
        As with everything else today, the issue has become a political football.
        The neo-liberal hunter:
        NGOs to the rescue.

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          Has anyone noticed that a president appears to have the power to $#%& with everything and destroy what congress, the constitution, the states and the people fought and died for for?
          Why in the hell would the president be allowed to destroy existing laws and institutions that provide help for our land, sky, water and air?
          It has to end so that no future tool of the corporocraptic scum can ever effect us again. This has to end.

          1. furies

            It has always stuck me that appointing these cabinet members whose only goal is to hollow out that department…is treason, no??

            1. Pat

              It has always struck me that allowing jobs to be taken out of America is treason. Something encouraged by Presidents of both parties for three decades of my life.

              I recognize the former might have some question but I didn’t think there was any doubt that lying to get us into a war was treason, but have since been informed by no less than Speaker Pelosi that it wasn’t a high crime and by Senator Feinstein that they knew it was lies and still sent thousands of Americans to be killed, maimed, damaged not to mention killing over a hundred thousand innocent people from the country we invaded. Bygones.

      2. Alternate Delegate

        Fishing weights and shotgun pellets are major causes of lead poisoning. It is important to distinguish this from rifle ammunition, which isn’t.

        In the US, non-toxic shot (expensive alloys or cheap steel) is generally required to hunt waterfowl, but not to hunt upland game. It should be required for upland game as well. Steel is lighter, so you need #6 instead of #7-1/2 shot, you get less coverage, and it doesn’t go as far. But it still works.

        Rifle ammunition is a different story. The density and softness of lead are necessary for the accuracy and ballistic performance that makes a rifle do what it does. In the 1950’s there were attempts to use soft steel to save money, but it damages the barrels and doesn’t work.

        It’s important to recognize that attempts to ban lead rifle bullets are in fact covert attempts to ban rifles. This will not go over well in the US. And it’s not the same thing as the environmentally reasonable attempt to require non-toxic metals for upland game hunting and for fishing weights.

    4. allan

      You will pry my lead-contaminated wildlife out of my cold, dead cognitively impaired hands:

      National Rifle Association Enemies List Now Includes Scientists, Zoos
      [HuffPost, 2013]

      In a move bizarrely reminiscent of its “anti-gun” enemies list, the National Rifle Association announced a new plan Friday to target scientists, environmental groups, government regulators and individuals who favor banning the use of lead in gun ammunition.

      The targeted attacks are part of Hunt for, a newly revamped effort by the nation’s largest gun lobby to block attempts to regulate the use of lead in bullets. Regulations have been proposed in some states after studies have shown that millions of birds — most notably the highly endangered California condor — are dying of lead poisoning after ingesting lead bullet fragments.

      The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, estimates that hunters in the United States shoot more than 3,000 tons of lead into the outdoors every year, and that as many as 20 million birds die annually from lead poisoning.

      To the NRA, however, the proposed bans on lead in bullets represent an “assault” on “traditional” hunting and on hunters’ rights.

      “Anti-lead ammunition groups will not rest until all lead ammunition, and ultimately hunting, is banned,” the gun lobby claimed in a Friday press release. …

      According to the NRA, an “activist portion of the scientific community” has formed “a highly organized network of like minded researchers with an agenda to ban lead ammunition.” In order to thwart this looming threat, “Hunt for Truth will expose the researchers associated with ‘faulty science’ critical of lead ammunition,” the gun lobby says.

      Scientists aren’t the NRA’s only new targets. Nonprofits like the San Diego Zoo and the California Condor Recovery Team are also on the enemies list. …

      Tobacco denialism, climate denialism, lead denialism.
      It’s almost like there’s a pattern.

      1. JTMcPhee

        There’s a lot of “spent” uranium lying around. Would make a very effective lead substitute, quite a bit denser than lead so shot would go farther. How about it, Wayne LaPierre? You sure know how to get what you want:

      2. Wukchumni

        Obama could’ve vetoed the bill that allowed guns into our National Parks (if you discharge them you’ll be subject to arrest though) but did nothing of the sort, and here’s a recent victim of ‘lead poisoning’ of the do it yourself variety.

        A Missouri man shot himself in his leg when he set down his backpack, which was carrying a handgun, on a rock at Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park/NPS

        A hiker carrying a handgun in his pack shot himself at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado when the gun discharged when he set the pack down on a rock at Emerald Lake.

          1. Wukchumni

            There I was minding my own business when a Marmot Cong in full camo tried to sneak up on me in broad daylight, and I was sans hand cannon, what to do other than simply move away, I pondered?

      3. a different chris

        What is wrong with these f(amily blog)ers?

        Nobody is saying don’t shoot anything. They are saying don’t shoot lead. Why is that just so hard?

        Seems like they’ve been chomping on their own lead shot.

        It’s sad that liberals are incapable of reverse tactics. Just say over and over and over that the NRA “wants lead shot and this is proven dangerous, why can’t they use steel?”. Make them look as stupid as they actually are. Don’t negotiate, just keep repeating this one undeniable fact over and over again, casting doubt on everything the NRA says and does.

        PS: would be funny if, say the Gun Owners Of America were fine with getting rid of lead. They probably are.

        PPS: as stated below, it might well be mostly from other sources. But still this is a source and easily addressed.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>Nobody is saying don’t shoot anything. They are saying don’t shoot lead. Why is that just so hard?


          It is not a case of being stupid or stubborn. I am not a hunter, but from I understand, one can use steel shotgun pellets pretty well and a shotgun is a smoothbore. No rifling to damage.

          Steel bullets, not so much, unless you want to damage the rifling or have poor ballistics. You need something to grip the grooves without damaging them.

          I think one could use silver as it is close enough in characteristics (fairly soft for a metal and dense), but but that would be just a tad expensive and I don’t see any werewolves around.


    5. Val

      Most lead deposition arrives from the burning of coal, concentrating in aquatic food webs, atop which the mighty eagle soars. Using public funds, a vast literature has been generated on this very subject, some of which may even linger on this side of the paywall, if curiosity persists.

      1. Rod

        right on—-and the others co-factors:

        Coal itself isn’t a particularly toxic material. But after it’s burned, what remains in the ash includes lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, and selenium, all in levels that may threaten human health.May 16, 2018

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Scrubber technologies that can remove substantially 100% of fine particulates, SOX, NOX and even CO2 from stack emissions, emitting only water vapor, have been proven feasible in pilots for about 15 years now. But technologically feasible and economically viable aren’t the same thing, barring a subsidy.

          Between needing high grade stainless piping and sprayer stack systems the size of 737 fuselages, and a 15-20% energy penalty to operate the above, they’ve been hopelessly uneconomic to date, especially with coal plants under attack. The Chinese have deployed some quite large pilots but the cost is daunting even to them, so they elect to just keep fouling their air (heck, they don’t even turn on their regular ESP systems most of the time to crank out more electrons). And retrofits are always a beotch.

          Also, none of that solves for ripping forested tops off mountains (overburden), or the CO2 and pollutants (diesel) involved in mining and transporting the black stuff to the coal piles.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    ‘Clean Up This Mess’: The Chinese Thinkers Behind Xi’s Hard Line NYT. “Many of them make respectful nods in their papers to Carl Schmitt.” I’d need to see the cites. But yikes.

    I know its the NYT, and they have an agenda, but from a distance, I think this is substantially true.

    When I first started getting interested in China back in the late 1990’s it was taken as a truism that educated intellectuals in China were sympathetic to the West and wanted China to be more like the West, to be more open up to new ideas, and to support individual freedoms (not least, because it was believed that this was the key to economic development). On my first visit I met an elderly professor of hydrogeology – a brilliant researcher who had suffered terribly during the Cultural Revolution, but was still utterly dedicated to his science and generally non-political. Like most of his generation I think he was proud of being Chinese and steeped in Confucianism (which is very much at the core of modern CCP thought, despite what they say) and generally sceptical about what they saw as the selfishness of Western culture, but had also suffered too much under the CCP to view any official policy with anything other than cynicism. He was optimistic at the time that China could find a ‘middle way’ between Western openness and traditional Chinese virtues. This was a common belief at the time expressed by many Chinese educated I’ve met.

    But there has definitely been a change in tone over the past 8-10 years. Partly its a pretty justified view that much of what the West (especially the US and Britain) sells is, as we know, full of sh*t. As more Chinese travel and study, they see it, and they especially see the different forms of rot in the US and Europe and the utter hypocrisy of other first world countries. And they can’t help comparing it to the enormous progress and growth in China. But there is also what seems to me to be a huge problem that their very short term Sinocentric perspective (aided by censorship of information) means that they don’t always appreciate the limitations of the current economic and political model. Compare China to, say, Japan in the 1980’s, and they are likely to scoff at you.

    So its unsurprising to me that a younger generation of intellectuals and academics, in particular those too young to have suffered the horrors of the Cultural Revolution or the Great Leap Forward have an elevated sense of their own importance, and a disturbing ignorance of how it can all go wrong. One thing i’ve noticed from talking to educated Chinese is that they have a very narrow personal experience and reading. They have little more than a superficial knowledge of the recent history of their own country and a very selective knowledge of other countries – this is entirely down to censorship in schools, universities and the internet.The older generation of Chinese scholars must be in despair at what they see.

    While its kind of horrifying that Carl Schmitt is a model, its unsurprising. I can’t find a link right now, but a couple of years ago I read a fairly reputable source saying that there was a huge interest in senior circles in China on Palestine. Not in Palestinian rights, but in how the Israeli’s had ‘successfully’ solved the problem of a minority without compromising on their vision. The Chinese actually do see the occupied territories as a model for how to run regions where the original occupiers are less than happy with being ‘rescued’ from their poverty and feudalism. Anyone sceptical of the stories of what is happening to the Uigurs need to pay close attention to what Beijing actually thinks and does. The HKers are undoubtedly next in line. Just because Washington Neocons are suddenly keen on minority rights in China doesn’t mean they are wrong about the basic facts.

    The reality is that China is closing down the hatches politically, and it is shutting down intellectually. This is not good news, and anyone who thinks this will create a beneficial counterweight to US imperialism is delusional.

    1. David

      Perhaps this is as simple as the Chinese coming out of the other side of a phase of being impressed by the West. It’s almost universal, I think, that states which have “modernised” (from the Japanese in the nineteenth century onwards) have at some point also copied western “values” and “norms” as they have interpreted them. But whereas some traditional cultures (in parts of Africa for example) have been overwhelmed by western influence, at least among elites and the PMC, states with stronger cultures, like Japan and Korea, have taken what they found useful from the West and left the rest. There’s even been some push-back from those two cultures as they have caught up and surpassed the West. I suspect the Chinese are now in the same situation, and, as you say, they have a better and better idea now of the failings of the countries from which they have taken ideas for modernisation.
      For Carl Schmitt I don’t know:he’s too easily typecast as “Hitler’s philosopher”, and whilst it’s true that Schmitt was briefly a Nazi, he turned away from the Party quite quickly because it was anarchic and violent. Schmitt, remember, was Hobbes plus: the world is such a dangerous place that only absolute unity under the unaccountable rule of the Sovereign individual or group will keep the country safe. That doesn’t seem to me to go very well with traditional Confucianism, and it may be that, as before in recent Chinese history, individuals are using metaphors and examples from abroad which are intended to indicate by extensions what they think should change in China. After all, they don’t need to read Schmitt to understand what authoritarianism is. It may also be part of the continuing sensitivity abut not following the Soviet Union into oblivion: it was, after all, precisely the loosening of controls that Schmitt warned against, that blew that country apart.

      1. pjay

        “It may also be part of the continuing sensitivity about not following the Soviet Union into oblivion: it was, after all, precisely the loosening of controls that Schmitt warned against, that blew that country apart.”

        I think this is an important observation. And the forces that blew the USSR apart were not just internal pressures; “loosening” allowed the external predators in as well. Without getting into a debate about what’s “really” going on in Xinjaing, Tibet, Hong Kong, or elsewhere in China, it appears obvious that the CCP is quite concerned about precisely this outcome. It also appears obvious, to me anyway, that these concerns are justified. So if we don’t like China’s “authoritarian” aspects (and I’m not a particular fan), then what alternative should we hope for? I’m sure Pompeo’s “pro-democracy” declarations are as sincere as can be. But I’d like to get a few more opinions.

        1. Olga

          I would just sat that complaining about “authoritarian” China is a bit rich. Like the folks in the west aren’t under a definite form of authoritarianism – it’s just got a few veneers. But even those are fast coming off.

          1. Oh

            We always have to point to a large (non caucasian) country to distract from own behavior and feel good, don’t we?
            USA! USA!

      2. Maxwell Johnston

        I don’t want to hijack this thread about China, but: in December 1991 Yeltsin went hunting with his Ukrainian and Belarussian counterparts (while allegedly vast amounts of vodka were consumed), and at some point the trio signed an agreement to end the USSR. The sudden ‘collapse’ of the USSR had little to do with loosening controls or mass uprisings or anything of that sort. It happened because Gorby and Yeltsin despised each other, and when Yeltsin saw the opportunity to take his revenge on Gorby for having fired him back in 1987, he stuck the knife in. The USSR had many problems and would probably have started breaking apart anyway, but its abrupt implosion was purely due to the human factor. Without this personal clash between Gorby and Yeltsin, the USSR (or at least a shrunken version of it) might have dragged on for a very long time.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          I’m not expert on this region, but I think there’s a *lot* of hindsight revisionism in this interpretation of events.

          In 1991, the Red Army and the various Ministry forces were neither capable nor inclined to conduct a crackdown on the non-Russian majority republics. The elites in these states were agitating for independence, making their own alliances with foreign actors (state and private), and had enough arms and men to make serious trouble.

          Recall, the Caucasus and Moldova were already aflame, and the Afghan debacle had badly eroded the elite professional core of the Red Army (VDV airborne, spetsnaz, etc.). And many of those lads were non-Russian. They weren’t up for more savage, open-ended COIN fighting outside the Russian motherland.

          The CPSU apparatchiks were either drunken bumblers (like Yeltsin), or else getting busy looting the commons.

          So I see zero likelihood that the USSR was going to remain together in a federation under Moscow’s authority. Also, nobody knew yet just how horribly the Harvard Boys, the kleptocrats and mafiyas were going to mangle economy and society in the Russian heartland. Had they known, yes, it might have gone a bit differently.

          1. Maxwell Johnston

            You’re right in that there was already unrest on the margins (Caucasus, Moldova, and Baltics), and the authorities had no appetite for a bloody crackdown. But the core USSR (Ru-Ukr-Bel plus Central Asia) was quite calm. Of course there’s also the ‘follow-the-money’ view of events: that Russia had long been subsidizing the other republics and the Russian elites (the oligarchs-in-waiting) wanted to end the subsidies and get rich by selling Russia’s resources on int’l markets. They saw Yeltsin as their ticket to wealth and used him accordingly. In any case, I don’t see that an overnight collapse (from 1 USSR to 15 states) was inevitable, and I don’t think the USSR’s situation 30 years ago offers much useful guidance to China’s situation today.

    2. DJG

      Plutonium Kun: Hmmm. “Narrow personal experience and reading.” As an American, I am finding the contraction in breadth of thought and experience in the U S of A to be one of the reasons for the current failure at so many levels in response to COVID. Further, U.S. culture may not be Confucian, but hierarchy matters here–it is central to conservative thinking (one heeds one’s superiors) and liberals (endless means testing by experts) as well as in U.S. puritanism and unending Calvinism–the elect will show us the way.

      Also, besides being skeptical of Chinese “influence” on the Uigurs, we should all be reminded that one of the reasons the Chinese may have been interested in Palestine is to see how much land can be confiscated and how many settlers can be brought in without causing too much of an international scandal. The Israelis are masters at encroachment and ripping up olive trees.

      It is also important to recall what the Chinese have done in Tibet. It is the same “model” as is now being applied to the Uigurs.

    3. CT

      “One thing i’ve noticed from talking to educated Chinese is that they have a very narrow personal experience and reading. They have little more than a superficial knowledge of the recent history of their own country and a very selective knowledge of other countries – this is entirely down to censorship in schools, universities and the internet.”

      The above is outrageously arrogant.

      “…in how the Israeli’s had ‘successfully’ solved the problem of a minority without compromising on their vision.”

      The Chinese strategy is opposite of the Israeli.

      1. Massinissa

        “The Chinese strategy is opposite of the Israeli”

        That’s certainly possible: Why don’t you enlighten us on how that is so, rather than simply stating it without supporting evidence?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The ChinaGov tactic of building illegal military islands in the South China Sea certainly seems similar to the IsraelGov tactic of buiilding illegal settlements in the West Bank.

          And pro-ChinaGov spokesmouths are showing up more and more often in more and more places to do more and more hasbara, just like pro-IsraelGov spokesmouths. Another similarity?

        2. CT

          The Israeli strategy w/r/t Palestinians is permanent segregation and apartheid. The Chinese strategy w/r/t Uighurs is permanent assimilation.

          1. JBird4049

            Both the Israeli and Chinese strategies are remarkably like the shameful ones used at different times by my country, the United States with the natives. Physical genocide with the remnants shoved into reservations consisting of the worst land, or slightly less physical genocide with the starving, beaten, and brutalized remnants stripped at gunpoint of everything that made them, them to be replaced by the most lifeless, intellectually anodyne, least threatening version of the dominant culture to the oligarchic, authoritarian or totalitarian rule of the Elites.

            And the Americans, Israelis, and the Chinese have done this because of greed.

            You can also look at what the English did to the Scots and the Irish for much of the same tactics.

      2. Oh

        Except for a small percentage of people, most follow “go away, I feel warm and comfortable in the water” while it’s heating up. Like frogs.

  10. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the tweet that says “It has brought us the worst pandemic in more than 100 years.”

    Not trying to downplay the seriousness of this pandemic (wear your mask, be nice to each other, etc.), but let’s have a little perspective, because that statement is flat out wrong if we’re using the number of deaths as a metric. This pandemic has a ways to go before it is even as bad as the 1968-9 pandemic that is barely a blip in the history books, one that occurred during the lifetimes of many people alive today and killed an estimated 1-4 million worldwide.

    This is interesting too:

    But the differences between how the world responded to two pandemics, separated by 50 years, is more complicated than any single explanation.

    “If I were 48 in 1968, I would have most likely served in World War II,” said Moir. “I would have had a little brother who served in Korea, and possibly might have a son or daughter fighting in Vietnam.” Death, he said, was a bigger and in some ways more accepted part of American life.

    The Hong Kong flu also arrived at a particularly volatile moment in history. There was the race to land a man on the moon and political assassinations and sexual liberation and the civil rights movement. Without 24/7 news coverage and social media vying for our attention, a new strain of flu could hardly compete for the public’s attention.

    But, even if people in 1968 had been told to stay home, it’s unlikely they would’ve protested, Moir said. Dining out, for instance, was a rare indulgence for most American families then. Today, “we spend as much eating out as we do preparing food at home,” Moir said. A 2013 study by market research firm NPD Group found that between the mid-1960s and the late 2000s, middle-income households went from eating at home 92 percent of the time to 69 percent of the time.

    In 2020, we feel that being denied music festivals and restaurants is an egregious attack on our liberty. “A big part of our freakout over COVID-19 is a reaction to everything in this country that we’ve taken for granted,” Moir said. “When it’s taken away, we lose our minds.”

    Time to ban social media and bring back the draft. Now get off my lawn. ;)

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        May I suggest; a “Homeland Security Victory Garden” Because if it doesn’t go along with the gestapo, it is going to be raided, dug up, the veggies stolen and you put on trial for using organic methods alone.

    1. DJG

      lyman alpha blob: Not so much social media. What you are describing is a culture of consumerism, in which citizens think of themselves only as consumers. On subway trains now, the overhead speaker blares messages to “customers,” not passengers. This reduction of citizen to a vector for consumption goes across all of U.S. society. You have college students rating professors, as if life were one big focus group. People get coffee in a to-go cup every morning at the local Starbucks or equivalent and then throw the empty on the sidewalk. Consume and waste. Consume and waste. Because, as we all know, there are no consequences to a culture of waste…

      We are frittering away our time and our viability. So many of the “essential industries” in the epidemic are neither essential nor industries. Yet we are seeing fistfights and Karen-ish meltdowns at Trader Joe’s (a store for those who can’t cook) and inside / outside restaurants. The emperor has no clothes–but who knew that there are so many, many emperors?

      And it isn’t just that people eat out more now than they once did. Many people simply don’t know how to cook even the simplest thing for themselves. We’ve all heard stories of condominiums being sold with the “guarantee” that the last owner never turned on the oven.

      Neither social media nor the draft will address the fact that millions of Americans are incompetent. It isn’t just Trump! It isn’t just Hillary and Bill Clinton!

      So: Rather than chasing people off your lawn, my suggestion is that you make a big dish of pastitsio.

      If you can set up dinner in a safety-distanced way–tables nine feet apart in the backyard–I’ll bring the retsina.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Man, I agree with so much that you say in your comment. The only thing that I would add is that how every relationship has been reduced to being contract-based these days. Contracts are everywhere.

        1. Olga

          Well said both, DJG and TRK.
          And add to it west’s foreign policy that is run like an extortion racket.
          And then someone calls nature evil?!

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Are we up to 2% of global deaths from that other recent virus (HIV)? Nah, at about 1.6%. (I know, I know, HIV is mostly transmitted by yucky sex, the sufferers mostly are not hetero, and you can’t flavour it Orange…)

      2. Rod

        Consume and waste. Consume and waste. Because, as we all know, there are no consequences to a culture of waste…

        finger on the pulse of america doing what it has been told

      3. lyman alpha blob

        Yes, that’s pretty much it. On a related note, I was talking to a friend yesterday about the IdPol of today vs. what it was a generation ago. Then, it was about equal marriage rights for all people, to name one example. It was about “we”. Today, it’s all about me Me ME!! As you say, lots of little Napoleon’s these days.

        And not sure if I mentioned it before, but I do love the pastitsio – it is my favorite Greek dish! I haven’t made it myself for a while though – I really need to work on my bechamel to get it just right. I have just about perfected my recipe for dolmades over the last couple years though, flavored with some fresh herbs growing in the pots on my back porch.

        Καλή όρεξη!

      4. Foy

        Yep exactly lyman alpha, everyone has their own “brand” “my brand” (had a CFO friend talk about his personal ‘brand’ the other day, a serious WTF moment for me), everyone is trying to build their own empire (physically impossible for everyone to do but everyone feels compelled to do it!), everyone is on some sort of hustle, the corporatespeak which results in everyone bullshitting everyone else, it’s infected everything.

        But I guess if you have your own “brand” surely you aren’t expected to cook for yourself are you?!

    2. Harold

      Um, weren’t there were riots world-wide in ’68? I never connected them with the Hong Kong Flu, though.

    3. ShamanicFallout

      That’s funny- I was just watching the Wadleigh director’s cut of Woodstock last night, smack dab in the middle of ’69. I didn’t see a mask anywhere. Plenty of unruly beards, but no masks!

  11. Olga

    MI6, the coup in Iran that changed the Middle East, and the cover-up Guardian
    Wonder why this is coming out now – 67 yrs too late. And no mention of the estimable Kermit Roosevelt.
    I spoke with folks who were in Tehran, when this happened. They said that the young hoodlums were all pro-Mossadegh in the morning, and suddenly pro-Shah in the afternoon (after receiving bribes). The Brits just could not accept having to pay little bit for “their” oil.
    And Mossadegh was Time’s Man of the Year (1950 or 1951).
    “On Aug. 19, 2013, the CIA publicly admitted for the first time its involvement in the 1953 coup against Iran’s elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.”

    1. pjay

      “Wonder why this is coming out now – 67 yrs too late.”

      Hey, this is the Guardian. It’s never too late for its intrepid reporters to expose the Truth!

      In fairness, they did publish stories like this about contemporary events once upon a time.

  12. JacobiteInTraining

    Has anyone who is lucky enough to still have their job – and had the need to move apartments in the last couple weeks, or just research values in their neighborhoods – gotten a feel for whether rents are declining in your area, and by how much if so? (or, god forbid…still rising?)

    Our little collective (~15-20 miles north of Seattle proper) just finished up a move from 3-bedroom to similarly-equipped 3 bedroom, which is 100 sq feet larger in new apt, and a savings of ~300/mo less in rent for new place vs. old. New place is closer to the local Community College (online only at the moment…may have some in person classes someday but the kids wanted to be close) and is in *slightly* worse neighborhood, but comparable to old so not much of an adjustment for ‘crime rate’ needed.

    The old place had like 10% rent increases last lease period 12 mo ago, maybe 8% year before that, and only offered ‘no rent increase’ as an inducement to stay this year. I tried to negotiate but ‘its corporate, our hands are tied, no rent decreases’ so we left.

    I have the feeling we would have done waaaaay better if our lease had been up in, say, 1-2 more months.

    1. The Historian

      Here’s what we are seeing in Boise: Rents did go up early in the pandemic but may be decreasing somewhat now:

      But what is worse is that evictions in Idaho have about doubled during the pandemic – so much for that moratorium. God knows what is going to happen now that the moratorium may be over.

      1. Mr. House

        Last week in Pittsburgh i noticed lots of Uhauls and mattresses out for the garbage to pick up. Service industry exodus? Perhaps college students who stayed the summer but don’t want to pay rent to live in a city with no night life or friends to do stuff with?

    2. Tom Stone

      Jacobitein Training, here in Sonoma County rents are down 1-2% so far, at a time of year they usually increase.
      I also watch the San Francisco rental market because my Daughter Rosetta is attending USF on an academic scholarship.
      SF rents are down anywhere from 8% to 19% and change depending on the neighborhood.
      And they are likely to drop a lot more over the next year due to both the pandemic reducing international travel and the economic changes that are occurring.
      Work from home and the very strong likelihood that the homeless population will explode are significant factors as is the vast number of expensive (90% are $1MM plus) condo’s that have come on the market recently, with more coming.

      1. Mr. House

        My landlord called me in april or march to check and make sure i still had a job because she suspected we were in a financial crisis. After i told her i was still employed and not to worry she started to talk about a rent increase. Which i immediatley squashed and said that if she could come up with a fair argument as to why the rent should increase i’d be willing to listen. Then around May (my lease expired May 15th) she texts me and says same lease terms, she’ll drop off the lease in my mailbox for me to sign. Oh and she tells me she likes to do things via text so she has a record of it, which makes it all the funnier that she called to ask if you still have a job instead of text. Great i think, about 10 mins after i take the lease out of the mailbox she texts to ask if i have renters insurance. I’ve been renting 12 years and never once had renters insurance. I tell her this, she says she has a new policy and all renters will be required to get renters insurance. She then wanted to discuss it, and i’m thinking well what is to discuss, either you get it or you dont. She goes radio silence for a few days, then asks if i’d be available to meet at my apartment on wednesday at 8 pm. I said sure thats fine, the date and time roles around and i hear nothing from her. I figured it would be hard for her to forget because she was showing the 1st floor apartment. 8:20 comes and goes so i head down to the front porch and the guys who will be moving out are hanging out. I ask was the landlord here? Yes and she left an hour ago. I texted her then asking if she was coming and she said she forgot and blah blah blah. She lives 10 mins away by the way, not oh i’m sorry i’ll be right over to discuss this thing i should have told you months before your lease expired. Long story short, she was doing everything in her power to make me want to move out, so she could raise the rent for someone new to move in. I have absolutely no trust in her at this point and consider her a small time shyster. I do have a lease renewal and i did get renters insurance, but it took until the end of july before i finally had it in my hands.

    3. crittermom

      I’m ‘retired’, but here in Colorado (with already outrageous housing costs), on the news this morning they said rents have increased & there’s a housing shortage.
      Perusing the local paper, I noted that just renting a room in someone’s house starts out around $650 month in rural areas with no local ‘attractions’.
      That’s just for a bedroom!

    4. JacobiteInTraining

      Thanks to all who replied – also I just noticed Lambert gots us covered with a comprehensive new post on precisely this topic. Prob want to re-locate any further responses to that post, i didnt realize rents would be a topic-de-jeure! :p

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Good stuff! What faces…..charming fellows all. I hope he continues beyond 285 AD; would love to see his renditions of Julian the Apostate and Valentinian I.

    2. Olga

      Interesting… but perhaps someone has been reading too much NYT? Those faces do not look at all Slavic.

      1. shtove

        Surely Augustus ran a KGB desk in upper Germania. Vittelius looks like he inherited an oil field on retiring from the Red Army. And the Gordian brothers played a game of chess to settle ownership of Siberia’s natural gas deposits.

      2. Maxwell Johnston

        Lots of Russian oligarchs aren’t Slavic. Elagabalus could be a young tycoon from Dagestan.

  13. allan

    Google to buy 6.6% stake in ADT in home security push [Reuters]

    Alphabet Inc’s Google is buying a 6.6% stake in home security firm ADT Inc for $450 million
    in a deal that will allow it to provide service to customers of its Nest home security devices.

    ADT said on Monday the companies will work to combine Nest products like cameras, thermostats, doorbells and alarm systems with ADT’s installation, service and professional monitoring network.

    ADT expects to offer certain Google devices to its customers beginning this year and to expand the integration in 2021. …

    For some definitions of `offer’ and `integration’.
    How long will it be before you need to use Chrome to log on to ADT?

    So, even for those ADT customers who have tried to steer clear
    of the Alphaborg – using DDG for search, no Android phone, no Nest – resistance is futile.

    1. Olga

      I thought you were going to say… how long before you need Chrome to log into your house. Goog would like that, no doubt.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Delta flight returns to gate after two passengers refuse to wear masks”

    That’s nothing that. There was a flight from Amsterdam to Ibiza on a KLM airliner and two English guys refused to wear masks and got physical about it. Why yes, they had been drinking. Vodka in fact. A fight broke out and the other passengers piled on top of them and they were put into handcuffs. When they reached Ibiza the cops took them away and so I imagine their holiday is over before it even had a chance to begin-

  15. William Hunter Duncan

    “Nature can be beautiful but also evil.
    It has brought us the worst pandemic in more than 100 years.
    What is it about #SARSCoV2 that makes it so nefarious?”

    Thinking “nature” is capable of “evil” and being “nefarious” is one side of the coin of human arrogance and ignorance of ecology that gives rise to such a pandemic.

    The more accurate question is, what is evil and nefarious in our presumptions about nature that has made such a mess of the earth.

    1. Olga

      It is the height of human hubris and folly to perceive nature as “evil.” Nature just is… Though I do wonder about a phenomenon that occurs, when some species multiply too much. It seems like sometimes a disease breaks out to cull their numbers and restore balance. Maybe we humans, at over 6 bil., are at that point. in which case our dear nature is just cleaning house – disposing of guests, who overstayed their welcome.

    2. Maritimer

      Nature did not invent international air travel which is a technological invention of Humanity. I don’t think this pandemic exists without international air travel.

      All the romance surrounding Flight and the wonders/desirability of Tourism and Travel now come back to bite us. A wonderful example of Technology having a downside to the upside. But we never consider that and just move ahead. Progress.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Weak State: How the Coronavirus Pandemic Exposed America’s Dysfunctional Democracy”

    Groan! I recognize that supposed military expert David Kilcullen. He is another of Oz’s exports – like Rupert Murdoch. Sorry about that. I refreshed my memory on him at Wikipedia as it has been years since I have heard his name. Not since the Iraq Occupation days in fact. And there he was mixing with people like David Petraeus, Condoleezza Rice and H. R. McMaster. So he stationed himself at Neocon Central. There is so much I disagree with what he says in this interview but I will just state one or two basic things.

    He seems to think that the US’s loss of power stems from the US being unable to win an actual war after twenty years of fighting. Well Napoleon Bonaparte once said that ‘You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war’ and that is what happened with the US military. So now there is a growing list of countries that the US cannot simply attack anymore. If Kilcullen really wants to know about the collapse in the US of confidence, then he should really read that terrible, gut-wrenching article called “I’m sorry, but it’s a fantasy” in today’s links. That will tell him a lot-

    1. Carla

      Sure wish I could read “I’m sorry, but it’s a fantasy” BUT WaPo is behind a paywall for me. If I subscribed to all the news sources linked here that I would like to be able to read, I’d be broke by tomorrow…

      1. Oh

        Screw the WaPo, NYT and FT who want too much money to subscribe to read their clickbaited biased stories. I don’t miss them.

        1. newcatty

          Agree with the fact that there is too much paywalled sources of news. I read “I’m sorry, but it’s a fantasy” article. It may have a clickbait title, but it is right on from the superintendent/principal’s pov. His small, poor and largely Hispanic population district in a former mining town in the middle of nowhere in AZ is a heartbreaking and “canary in the old copper mine” story. His governor, Ducy, threatens to with hold federal monies for his schools, if he doesn’t open them this month.

          A beloved master teacher died this summer with no students in the room where she and two other teachers were prepping online curricula. They did practice all of the guidelines for preventing infection from the virus. She died from it and other two were infected and survived. Other members of her family got infected, survived or died. Now, he has more infected staff and school is not even filled with children. Believe he stated that about half of the kids live with grandparents at risk of illness. He is quite aware that kids can benefit from being in school both academically and for social development. He and staff have been taking meals to children’s families. He is cleaning the classrooms himself. He doesn’t have much staff left. He will not blame any teacher who will quit or retires. It’s a nightmare of a situation. He has nothing to be sorry about, except for his town and it’s people. Compare that to the link to story about wealthy ***h**** who will pay for the “best teacher” to teach their darlings in their own backyard. A reckoning is coming our way.

          1. tegnost

            Compare that to the link to story about wealthy ***h**** who will pay for the “best teacher” to teach their darlings in their own backyard.

            I smell a startup! Super teachers! or maybe some translation of super to something smart sounding! What a bunch of menschens they are, seeing the teachers in a bind and trying to help, and get a nanny at the same time! It’s Genius! They should probably teach their own kids, being all smart and everything. But they care…about themselves of course and maybe you can help if it’s not too expensive because wow times are tough you should see my amazon bill…Oh and I;ll be working from home so try to ignore the unwanted (what?) sexual advances /innuendo and you can cook lunch for all of us right? We’ll have a menu here and you’ll only need to pick up 1 or 2 things on your way over/back home, or you could rent the MIL in back…you don’t have kids, pets, a boyfriend or a dog do you? that could be problematic…What’s that? A cat? oh no that will never do, too independent sorry…

      2. The Rev Kev

        @ Carla
        Hi. Just google the term “I’m sorry, but it’s a fantasy” with the inverted commas and when you see it listed, click on it and it should open up for you.

    2. Foy

      Yep, I heard him on BBC radio the other night crapping on about Crimea and Russia, remembered that him from the Iraq days, couldn’t believe it. Amazing how they keep bobbing up, they just refuse to go away. He’s worked out how to keep his bread buttered

  17. Carolinian

    Re Gettysburg–there was a Confederate monument protest in nearby Greenville, SC over the weekend. Here’s the local coverage.

    The objectors to the monument were outnumbered three to one by defenders so obviously there are still defenders even if now they tend to talk more about “heritage” than Lost Cause. But even the defenders only numbered one hundred or so and I have to say while I’m quite familiar with the town I’m not even sure where this Confederate monument is. You wonder if some of the objectors had to look it up in a guide book as well. A sidebar to the story says there are 175 Confederate monuments in SC alone. The Daughters of the Confederacy was busy.

    But surely this battle over an anachronism is greatly irrelevant and one could say that goes for NPS military parks as well. The grandiose monuments in these speak to a different age of propaganda and communication that didn’t involve pixels or screens and that to modern eyes can seem a bit bizarre.. It must of occurred to more than a few driving that endless Vicksburg battlefield road (and in steamy South no less) that it would be easier to look it up on Youtube. If BLM takes it down the pixels will persist.

    1. Mr. House

      I read the blog post. I’m not sure what kind of reaction the gentleman actually expected to get. I could have predicted it without going myself.

    2. Wukchumni

      Humorodor was trying to kill us in it’s sweatmosphere one trip, so we decided to go Civil War battlefielding instead, and it struck me that there were more memorials @ Gettysburg than actual blue & grey soldiers on the field of battle way back when, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “‘Hey, You Free on Friday for a Meeting and a Bank Heist?’”

    What’s not to like? Game-playing & interplay on the boss’s dime, social distancing, not having to put up with long-distance traveling and if you are better player than the guy that you are trying to get to know, you can help carry them to the win for brownie points. Hell, you may be even able to write off your internet bills and the cost of the games on your taxes as a necessary business expenditure.

  19. Laputan

    Bizarre story about MeTooStem founder masquerading as a fake Native American Anthropology professor on Twitter:

    This is not imply any sort of referendum on MeToo in STEM. Being familiar with the sausage-making in academia, I have no doubt that misogyny, harassment, etc. happen in the hard sciences. But it’s an instructive lesson in how those who aspire to power in the new #movements are often opportunistic, sociopathic cranks, exploiting a trendy cause to try and push out the old guard while, in all probability, being even worse.

  20. Wukchumni

    Wrapped around her torso
    Pythonic conversion only more so
    A furtive hand wave
    The only signal she gave

    Burma Slave

    Five-thousand is a big number, particularly when you’re counting Burmese pythons. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the South Florida Water Management District, along with outside support, say they have removed 5,000 of the pythons from the Everglades ecosystem, according to a news release from the Conservation Commission.

    That number represents an incredible improvement in capturing the snakes, as it was just last September when officials said the running tally of removed pythons reached 900.

    1. HotFlash

      That number represents an incredible improvement in capturing the snakes, as it was just last September when officials said the running tally of removed pythons reached 900.

      I see.

  21. Samuel Conner

    related to the “graphene from garbage” item; I’m a little anxious about advanced nanostructured materials in small particle form (solid macro forms strike me as considerably safer). Carbon nanotubes are particularly unease-inducing. It seems to me that they would be similar to or worse than asbestos in terms of their ability to penetrate cell membrane and damage nucleus function. CNTs have been a “hot” research topic because of their mechanical strength and exceptional electronic properties, but I’m kind of hoping that it will be difficult to make widespread applications of them until there is better understanding of the risks of human exposure to them. Hoping without a lot of “hope”, as it seems that precautionary principles are just not important when profit is in view.

    1. chuck roast

      All chemical bonds are broken, forcing all the other elements to escape as gases…what could go wrong!

  22. Wukchumni

    Revisiting the White Swans of 2020 Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate
    Wow, Count Formaldehyde is in fine form, i’d almost got the noose slung over the rafter when fortunately I ran out of article to read, and was able to go on living.

  23. Pelham

    Re the Diversity Trap: Having read a great deal on this subject, I’ve identified one common thread that points to the essence of the problem: education. Executives and officers in various organizations overseeing diversity all tend to have advanced degrees, leading ineluctably to absurd outcomes.

    To address this, I propose that organizations of all kinds bar anyone with more than a high school education from any office overseeing diversity policies or initiatives, or, for that matter, from any HR position. This should set everyone’s heads back on straight, as Mom would say.

  24. Jason Boxman

    Over 2 million Americans, already hit economically, recently lost their health insurance, an analysis finds.

    (NY Times)

    Or as Barack Obama once said, if you like your insurance, you can keep it… until you get kicked off because your employer went out of business. Oops.

  25. Amfortas the hippie

    adjacent to one of the links:

    i’ve always had a soft spot for recluses and hermits…known many in my time.
    regardless of the apparently tragic circumstances that drove this guy into the woods, i think it’s almost a palliative that he was able to so thoroughly disappear in this day and age.
    and for 5 years.
    the continuing totalisation and hyperabstraction of the current phase of the Enclosures ( 13th century-present) makes such a withdrawal harder and harder.

    1. Harold

      It sounds like he was a “vulnerable” person, who had been enslaved (in connection with the agriculture industry), and may still be, if really alive.

    2. a different chris

      I’m sorry but no matter how bad it was I could never leave a job at “Nightlayer Leek Company” just because man what a conversation starter.

  26. Jessica

    From “Tourism’s collapse could trigger next stage of the crisis”
    “Back then, a bubble in wheat subsidised by easy credit led to overproduction and sharply falling prices, which ricocheted throughout the rest of the economy and eventually triggered an equity sell-off as investors saw the dominoes falling.”
    That overproduction was also the proximate trigger of the Dust Bowl in the US. In the last phase of overproduction, speculators tore up prairie that everyone at the time understood would cause dust bowl conditions, but with prices falling, the only way they saw to rescue their investments was to raise production, which drove prices farther down and triggered ecological disaster. It was only the introduction of irrigation using pumps tapping into the Oglala aquifer that stopped the Dust Bowl.

    1. a different chris

      Isn’t that brilliant. Overproduction of a food item, you know the most important thing to humanity after water, not only caused a financial crisis but somehow managed to cause major environmental damage as people tried to grow more of what was already too much.

      But Mr. Market is the best decider evah, yessirree.

  27. Maritimer

    When a Vaccine Arrives, People Will Ignore the Anti-Vaxxers The Atlantic. The URL is “people-are-suffering-too-much-refuse-vaccine”: TINA.

    From the above anti-anti-vaxxer story complaining that: “In a recent CBS News poll, half the respondents said they would wait before getting a vaccine; 20 percent said they would refuse it altogether.”

    Imagine that 50% of herd members polled indicated that they might do DUE DILIGENCE before having a medical procedure. Outrageous!

    1. a different chris

      That brings up a (darkly) funny take on the idiocracy we live in. So people are told to “research” everything their doctor wants to do, because otherwise “it will waste money” and this is enforced thru co-pays and deductibles. Ignoring the fact that people know doo-doo about medicine, of course.

      Now people are doing that, thus won’t take their vaccine, and TPTB are mad about it. Go look in a mirror, guys.

  28. Chauncey Gardiner

    Appreciated the “Sports Desk” link to the WeAreUnited webpage, and the marvelous pregame illustration by Rebecca Estrella that so captured the moment and primacy of the team. Like many universities, it appears to me that WSU is confronting the harsh reality of inadequate revenues and financial resources from its football business model to meet the school’s debt service obligations on money that was borrowed for football stadium expansion, new training and meeting facilities, coaches and administrators’ salaries and offices; and conference membership requirements; and the legitimate demands and grievances of student athletes expressed at the links. Substantial athletic department budget shortfalls at many universities have existed for years preceding the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, including at this one and at some of its conference rivals. Given the magnitude of the shortfalls, it is difficult to see where the money will come from to address them. In addition to consideration of the student athletes, it is time to rethink the structures of institutions and networks whose fragility and inequities have been revealed by this invisible virus.

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