Links 8/8/2020

You swine! German nudist chases wild boar that stole laptop Guardian (resilc)

Genomic Study Reveals New Zealand’s Tuatara Is Like No Other Animal on The Planet ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

Canada’s Last Fully Intact Arctic Ice Shelf Collapses HuffPost (Bob H)


Coronavirus wasn’t bad enough, so now there’s a new virus outbreak in China BGR (David L)

Gates Foundation Teams Up With Vaccine Maker To Produce $3 Covid-19 Shots Wall Street Journal


Corona: Cutting Corners in the Race for a Vaccine Der Spiegel (resilc)

Revealed: UK’s rapid Covid test not yet approved by regulators Guardian (resilc)

COVID-19 Is Raging. How Safe Is Your Backyard Party? Quanta (David L)

Wildlife deaths from coronavirus disinfectant use alarm scientists National Geographic (David L)


US records over 2,000 deaths in 24 hours for first time since May as death toll surpasses 160,000 – and Dr Fauci warns there is ‘trouble ahead’ for cities like Boston, Chicago and Detroit if they don’t act now to stop COVID-19 spread Daily Mail

That Georgia Teen Who Outed Her Mask-Less Classmates Just Got Her Suspension Revoked Vice

‘It’s just madness’: bikers throng South Dakota town despite Covid threat Guardian (Kevin W)

New York schools get the greenlight to reopen Financial Times

‘It’s okay when it comes out of Chuck Schumer’s mouth?’ Democrat senator says schools must reopen or economy suffers RT (Kevin W). America is exceptional again! We expect to get results different from every other country in the world. Even most school districts in retrograde Alabama will be online only for what is hoped to be only an initial period. New York will prove to be a test as to how low infections have to be before school openings don’t wind up making matters worse.


Coronavirus digest: European nations see infection spike DW


Security guards hired for hotel quarantine in an attempt at social inclusion Sydney Morning Herald (DH)

Political Responses

Coronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal The Hill. This is beyond terrible.

Second Stimulus Package: Trump Didn’t Issue Executive Order Today, Here Is What He Said About Extending Unemployment Benefits, Payroll Tax Cut, Eviction Moratorium And Student Loans Forbes (Kevin W)


Trump escalates anti-China campaign with Hong Kong sanctions Financial Times

Trump Blew Up More Than Just TikTok and WeChat Bloomberg

Banning TikTok: Are We Reproducing the Chinese Internet in America? Matt Stoller (Chuck L)

Trump advisers urge delisting of U.S.-listed Chinese firms that fail to meet audit standards Reuters (resilc)

Old Blighty

Clive Ponting, Hero Craig Murray (Chuck L)

Lebanon: a nation brought to its knees Financial Times

Was there a conspiracy by the Swiss courts and Attorney General`s office? Lucy Komisar. Switzerland has laws that make even saying bad things about banks a crime. A friend who is a famous international tax expert will not go to Switzerland about of concern about facing arrest for having lecture about Swiss bank secrecy.

New Cold War

State Department: We’re responsible for Russian, Iranian text message campaign Reuters (Bill B)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

U.S. Government Contractor Embedded Software in Apps to Track Phones Wall Street Journal (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Could a World War II Shipwreck Cause the Next Beirut-Like Explosion? Popular Mechanics (resilc)

Government’s PACER Fees Are Too High, Federal Circuit Says Bloomberg. About time.


How South Korea Conducted Its Elections During the Pandemic: A Comparative Case Study Lawfare (David L)

If Biden Picks Rice as VP, It Strengthens His Worst Instincts Paul Jay

Susan Rice’s Considerable Past Fossil Fuel Investments Too Much Information

Turnout for Michigan’s August primary shatters records. What does that mean for November? Michigan Live

Police State Watch

George Floyd: US protesters charged as ‘gang’ face life sentence BBC (David L)

Coronavirus Clobbers Uber, Leading To $1.8 Billion Quarterly Loss ars technica

To Head Off Regulators, Google Makes Certain Words Taboo The Markup (DK)

Facebook Removes QAnon Conspiracy Group With 200,000 Members BBC

Private Equity Firm Bought Ancestry, and Its Trove of DNA, for $4.7B CNN. Blackstone.

Toshiba Formally and Finally Exits Laptop Business The Register. My first laptop was a Toshiba and it was a great machine by the standards of that day.

Guillotine Watch

Dan Gilbert’s Fortune Explodes to $34 Billion, Impoverished Region Still Paying for Arena Upgrades Cleveland Scene (Carla R)

After Elon Musk criticised Bernie Sanders’ brand of socialism, Sanders took him to task for taking billions of dollars in government support Business Insider (Kevin W)

‘Billionaire Wilderness’ author on inequality in Teton County, Wyoming Business Insider (resilc)

Class Warfare

America Is About To Feel Like A 3rd World Nation Ian Welsh (Bob K)

‘Stakeholder’ Capitalism Seems Mostly for Show Wall Street Journal (David L). Duh, but from an interesting source.

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. John A

    Re: Could a World War II Shipwreck Cause the Next Beirut-Like Explosion?

    The wreck is very close to where Boris Johnson, as mayor of London, wanted to build a massive new airport. Apart from this very precarious exposive filled shipwreck, the Thames estuary is also an important area for migrating waterfowl. In addition to a total lack of morals, Johnson really has no sense of judgement at all.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its nothing compared to what is lurking in Beauforts Dyke, between Ireland and Scotland. Something like a million tons of munitions were dumped there, usually in old Liberty shops. There was also a significant amount of phosgene and nuclear waste.

      Its the main reason why another of Johnsons bright ideas, the bridge/tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland will never get built.

    2. Jason Boxman

      Fun fact, England used to hang the bodies of dead pirates on the Thames as a warning. Interestingly, piracy was a popular activity between the east coast of Africa and India in the early 19th century.

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    Toshiba Formally and Finally Exits Laptop Business
    During the early to mid 90s Toshiba was a leader in the laptop market. That had slipped by the late 90s and, well, that was that. It was ever shrinking market share after that. There are a bunch of reasons for that fall, really too many to go into in a comment.
    Suffice it to say my reaction on reading this headline was “Wait…. Toshiba was still selling laptops ?”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I can remember when they were the number 1 choice for any outdoor worker, especially in construction, they were by far the most robust and reliable laptop.

      About 10 years ago I was staying with a friend in a little B&B in a remote part of Wales – the elderly couple who ran it asked us to help them set up their new (and first) laptop. We both congratulated on them on their good choice of a Toshiba, but then both of us struggled with getting it up and running in a mode suitable for someone with no pc experience. It had been loaded with Toshiba proprietary software which didn’t seem to have any purpose other than marketing and making Windows run even worse than it usually did back then. From what I recall, we eventually just bypassed it all by downloading Chrome for them to use (back before even that was crapified).

      1. David

        Yes, I think this was the downfall of a number of companies that tried to push things at the user, and, for that matter, seems to be a problem with cheap Android tablets as well. The worst example I can think of is an expensive Sony Vaio laptop that a friend bought about twenty years ago, and which was stuffed with proprietary crapware, but which more importantly played a trailer for (I think) a new James Bond film every time it booted up. It drove her mad and she asked me if I could get rid of it. It turned out that the trailer actually ran even before the operating system was loaded, and was effectively impossible to delete without special software. She eventually accepted my advice to buy a Mac (and I think has never regretted it) but it’s a shame in a way, because the Vaio was a good machine in itself.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘It turned out that the trailer actually ran even before the operating system was loaded’

          For a change, I am at a complete loss of words.

          1. Wukchumni

            I’ll tell you just how desperate the Fed is to buy stuff these days, they’ve been buying up all available copies of 007 in VHS format, investing in Bonds.

              1. Wukchumni

                Throw down that CAP gun mister and raise your arms to the sky where I can see em’, and no funny business either.

              1. Wukchumni

                The borderline between reality and absurd is so narrow, that there’s a perfect opening for a sit-down comedian.

        2. Toshiro_Mifune

          The worst example I can think of is an expensive Sony Vaio laptop
          Fun fact; There was much hullabaloo about Sony entering the PC market in all the varying tech press. I remember extensive write ups in Wired circa 95/96 before Sony had released anything with the typical headline being “Will Sony crush the PC market?”. One of those writes ups noted that there were a full 6 months of internal debates within Sony about if they should use a Sony developed proprietary O/S on these new PCs. Once again; 6 months & Sony developed O/S in `96. It was at that point I realized Sony really didn’t understand the market they were getting into.

        3. Olga

          Two friends have ancient Sony Vaio, and would not give them up for anything. Hard to believe. But a Toshiba I had around 2016 died within 2 yrs; seemed like a pretty useless piece of hardware.

          1. wilroncanada

            I’m typing this on a VA10 which I’ve had for about 9 years. a heavy brute, but everything still works.

          2. rtah100

            I think my first laptop was a Toshiba (c.1999) and then I got a Thinkpad and never looked back.

            I remember the first Vaio’s being things of beauty with metal cases but I bought one for my wife in 2010ish, maybe earlier, and it was a lousy consumer machine in glossy plastic with a glossy screen. Every part that could be specified in a cheap and compromised version had been.

            I have stuck to Thinkpads, which are not what they were (thanks, Lenovo) but still have the same edge over the rest of the market because it has got even worse. The one I am using now refuses to recognise its own OEM battery. Unfortunately, the battery is a sealed unit so, when it finally refuses to boot, I will need a new machine. The old scrapping the car when the ashtray is full joke comes to mind….

      2. heresy101

        Why Toshiba went down as an electronics company is their participation in “too cheap to meter nuclear” electricity in South Carolina. They bought Westinghouse and ended up selling their chip division to stay afloat.

        “For Toshiba, the filing will help keep the crisis-hit parent company afloat as it lines up buyers for its memory chip business, which could fetch $18 billion. Toshiba said Westinghouse-related liabilities totalled $9.8 billion as of December.”

    2. John Beech

      We had a T1000 (running MS DOS, of course, and equipped with 3.5″ floppy disk) and it was superb for writing (upwards of a million words produced). It possessed a great keyboard (regarding which, I remain convinced is unsurpassed). Note, for the retro amongst you, you can pick one of these up on eBay for pocket change.

      1. furies

        A Toshiba laptop is what I’ve been using since my MacBook (the second) screen went dark.

        Got it off ebay with Linux for $80.

        I’m very happy with it.

    3. David

      I did wonder at the time, perhaps absurdly, whether Toshiba suffered because the name sounded odd in English and was always mispronounced. Japanese has a very even stress, but in English the name usually came out as « To SHI ba », or even « Ter SHI ber. »

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It seems a long time ago, but I remember the ‘Oi tosh, got a Toshiba?’ adverts. I found them intensely irritating at the time (early 90’s?). I assumed that was because like most Irish people I find the Mockney accent harsh and grating, but I found out later that most English people north of Watford and west of Heathrow find it even more so.

        I’d guess this was some smartarse London based advertising copy writer’s idea of overcoming the pronunciation issue, but it may well have backfired for a lot of the market.

  3. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: U.S. Government Contractor Embedded Software in Apps to Track Phones

    I just do not get why people care so little about the data collection and tracking that is happening. But I kind of do as well. Having a cellphone helps me cope with my anxiety and OCD, and a smartphone helps even more. I have a close friend with ADHD and she struggles with the calming effect endless news scrolling has on her life. She knows it is not healthy but she struggles to stop. And when I bring this up to the average person it barely registers a concern. It seems that those of us with mental health issues are more aware of it all.

    But I guess all I can do is lead by example. I keep going back and forth on this, smartphone, dumbphone,…over and over. So now I go back to my dumb phone and facing my mood disorders again…

    And I just had a thought; In the 90’s, if I needed help I would call a friend, now, we all bring up google. And I hate that I feel like I am bothering people calling them for help. It is like we are all living in a huge library where we cannot speak to each other anymore.

    1. Ignacio

      My smartphone (mi latest is a Xiaomi) cannot understand why I have not installed some many apps and prompts me to do actualizations including a lot of crap I don’t need (for instance lots of stupid games). Apart from email, a browser –these days I am far from my computer– maps and WhatsApp (basically to coordinate with my family). I do not need anything else. The facebooks, tweets, and other social networks are not in my scope.

      1. Carla

        Ignacio — I imagine we can agree: Naked Capitalism is far superior to a social network — and yet you, an epidemiologist in Spain, and I, a writer in Ohio, have bumped into each other — and Krystyn and many, many others — and traded remarks in NC comments. A very great pleasure for me.

        1. dougie

          Agreed! I am not the sharpest knife in the six pack, but was always told that if I wanted to improve, say, my tennis game, that I needed to play superior players as much as possible.

          NC affords me the opportunity to do that on a daily basis, from the comfort of my quarantine. To afford it the respect it deserves, I always wear pants while reading…….

          1. Wukchumni

            I like how we pretty much all get along, and when somebody deserves a pummeling, usually the virtual shiv has a sharpened point which skewers but doesn’t mortally wound conversation.

            I like killing time on here, premeditated that is.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            I rarely wear pants while reading.
            because i rarely wear pants.
            at least when it’s warm.
            Kilts and towels and bathrobes, for me.

            on the ubiquitous tracking and bagging and tagging that the tech-averse like me would never be able to eradicate from our lives…
            Brother came up for 17.5 hours last week…long enough to ride around in the moonlight and starlight in the Falcon and get high and pee in a field and fail to talk about what he came up here for in the first place(our dad’s death, week before).
            we rode freight trains when we were young(me, beginning at 11, him(3 years younger) a little after.)
            side track next to our ex-ex-ex-urban neighborhood.
            and then all the sneaking around…stealing beer from barns…and then all my later outlawry, evading the cops, screwing with the cops, hiding from the cops…culturejamming the cops…
            none of it would be possible, today.
            too many cameras and sensors and lojacks embedded invisibly in yer car, your phone, your watch, your refrigerator….as well as a latent fortress state, where even the citizenry is often on edge, seeing blue helmeted—or white hooded—threats everywhere…
            and a whole lot more cops, of every description…
            and so many, many more people(texas pop has tripled in my lifetime, if not worse)

            my eldest and his buddies marvel at those stories…not only the audacity, but the “how did you get away with that?”.
            a year or so ago, i took my youngest the 48 miles to the doctor, and took the opportunity to Hold Forth about just how much we are scrutinised…then, everywhere we went in Fredericksburg, I’m pointing at cameras,lol.
            He was a basket case by the time he’s telling momma about this, but the lesson took.
            Now there’s even machines that sniff the air, and listen for gunshots.

        2. Alfred

          I think that NC counts as an ‘invisible college’, of which ‘social media’ can produce only inferior imitations, because they are artificial and in fact designed for purposes other than the advancement of a social good,

            1. Carla

              The Cleveland Public Library calls itself “The People’s University.” It definitely qualifies.

        3. Janie

          NC is my daily first read. Thanks to Yves for creating this site, which is both an education and a gathering of virtual friends whom I respect and care about.

    2. skippy

      Thank you Krystyn for sharing your experiences as they relate to your circumstances. My wife shares a similar experience and attended the same psychiatrist for over 30+ years. My involvement has been around 25 years, 4 kids and as many dogs plus two cats.

      Your thoughts on smart phones and I would add PC – Laptop to mirror her actions, prior to that other habits fill that need, per se working out, drinking, sex, fashion, and those she could engage in them with.

      Although her experience with ICH last nonmember has diametrically changed everything. I also find it interesting that as that event occurred I was working at a recently retired neurological ICU head nurses house. Upon informing her of it she said my wife must have a strong will to have survived – in her experience. I almost laughed.

      It reminds me of some years ago when the wife decided to see her psychologist after a prolonged period of abstinence. After the wife left the waiting room to she her doctor the life long receptionist that knew my wife over all those years looked at me and thanked me for looking after her. The effort it took to say nothing in a room filled with the well heeled was epic, urge to say “I’m just along for the ride” was an experience in its self.

      Even though we don’t have much contact these days I might suggest to her in a text [basic communication mode these days] that she look for your comments. She has been seeking out and interacting with others that share similar experiences to better understand, aghast at what she hears from those in the U.S. considering the PR.

      Wishing you well, Ta.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper slips up, says NATO should share burden to ‘deter Russia and avoid peace in Europe’ ”

    I think that Mark Esper’s Freudian slip was showing. Idjut!

    1. Olga

      And he says it with such conviction! Likely not a slip at all – that is what they really think.
      Gotta love veils falling off.

  5. lakecabs


    Prior to the pandemic, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was bullish about the company’s financial future. After reporting a $1.1 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2019, Khosrowshahi said in February that he expected Uber to start generating a profit by the end of 2020

    Why do writers keep writing this? He didn’t say Uber would be profitable using GAAP standards.

    He said they might be profitable using EBITDA. Which Warren Buffet called fake accounting.

    This is how info is distorted.

    1. RMO

      Last time I looked (a year ago perhaps) their best quarter had a billion dollar loss. $1.8 billion doesn’t seem too bad under the circumstances for this car-wreck of a company!

      I was so hoping they would fall apart before they made it to my part of the world but sadly there seem to be vast quantities of money available to fund terrible things like Uber.

  6. Amfortas the hippie

    “america is “(((ABOUT TO)))” feel like a third world nation”

    in lots of places i’ve been to and lived in, it already has been.

    “There’s a feel to the third world one becomes familiar with: beggars, infrastructure that doesn’t really work, people doing terrible menial jobs. There’s the huge disparity between the wealthy and everyone else, or even those who have managed to attach themselves in a semi-dignified way to the wealthy.”

    at least since the 80’s, when i started moving around in the world.
    both my hometowns in far northern exurban houston had numerous pockets of poverty…no, not somalia poverty…but relative to what we then called “Middle Class”, rather abject, regardless.
    water, lights cut off…bag of chips for dinner, with a package of hot dogs if they’re lucky.
    2-3 jobs, single mom….and that’s all in the more whitey parts of town. Go over the tracks(yeah, really) and it was a whole other world.

    superfluous people, even then.

    Maybe now we can have a talk about all that…how hard it is to be poor in america….now that so many of the “everything’s fine”/Bootstraps! Set have fallen on dark days.

    1. jefemt

      Watching Breathless pearl-clutching Judy Woodruff on PBS newshour last night…
      “But we are the richest nation in the world!!” and I thought, well, 65% of us don’t have $1K in the bank.
      Who exactly is this ‘we’? And many of them may be address-less and homeless this Autumn—
      will they/ can they vote? What will The Electoral College allow? Tweedle dumb and Tweedle Dumber. …

      1. a different chris

        Yes Judy Woodruff is an idiot, part of that “how could this happen, nobody I know voted for Trump?” group.

        Anyway what caught my eye was this:

        >Most third world nations, indeed, are handling Covid better than America.

        I believe that is because they at least understand that they are third world nations, and that you can’t prey on the underclass if they are dead. TPTB can’t even grasp the first fact. Maybe if they did they would at least do something about the second.

        Was it here we discussed that medieval quarantine of some group of peasants? I swear devolution in the overclass has really, really happened.

        1. ambrit

          Yes. During the 1600’s bubonic plague outbreaks, some villages did indeed refuse entry to outsiders for the duration of that pandemic. Those same regions also had a significant percentage of their population show full or partial immunity to the plague. Skip forward three hundred years and that same population showed up as fully or partially immune to HIV. The mutation that gave the ancestors resistance to bubonic plague also imparted a resistance to the HIV virus.
          I’m fully accepting of the idea of “Overclass Devolution” as long as it proceeds back to the blastocyst stage.

          1. Jessica

            This is fascinating. Do you have a reference for this?
            I was wondering how the population could have immunity to the plague if they successfully get the germ out (by banning outsiders).

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I remember seeing a Nova program about this years ago on PBS. What it amounted to was this: the Yersinia pestis bacterium and the HIV virus both happen to attach to the exact same projecting molecule on the target cells’ surface. And certain people in Europe happened through accidental mutation to be missing that particular projecting molecule on the surface of their cells.

              Philosophically speaking, it might not be quite right to say the possesors of this mutation are immune to plague and HIV . . . as in having immune systems able to completely defeat and repel these two diseases. Rather, the possesors of this mutation are invisible to these two diseases. The diseases can get “into” these people and not even “know” it is inside them because these two diseases “see” no point of entry.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        here’s a few regarding homeless people voting:

        the Texas Monthly article is depressing…in Texas, it’s technically possible to get registered, etc…but why are post office boxes still tied to physical addresses?
        and why doesn’t Camp Abbott have a mailbox?
        and this is fixing to get a whole lot worse…GOP will have goons…armed and not…”challenging” voters at polling places…because the law specifically gives them the right to.
        Of course, the Nuveau Homeless will likely have other priorities, come November.
        I’ve been homeless, throughout the South(76 VW Van, puke green, about 5 years, tapering into relative stability after that)
        it’s hard enough on just a normal day, pre-pandemic depression.
        Now… with what sure looks like is coming very soon…it’ll just deepen the disaster.

        1. Wukchumni

          Some time ago, I spied a newly homeless couple on the pudgy side ensconced on a loading dock of a failed business in Visalia. They had way too much stuff scattered about, perhaps 10 shopping carts full.

          The easy tell in hot climes is the suntan, those who’ve been out on the streets for some time in the Golden State tend to have tans that George Hamilton would aspire to. This couple was as pasty white as it gets.

          I think the nouveau needy will greatly resemble the aforementioned aspiring campers, it’s going to be something to glimpse, this not so brave world unfolding before our very eyes.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            Like Wall-E, but with shopping carts.
            I’ll bet it’s hard to get a used RV right now…or soon will be.

          2. howseth

            Been in California about 18 years. That suntanned – more than scruffy – look I see here on a daily basis in my neighborhood continues to surprise me… (and yet homes still cost a fortune in Santa Cruz.)
            I grew up in and around NYC, and Lived in Chicago 14 years but this West Coast Grapes of Wrath destitution is a revelation – like the geology in the South West laying the Earth bare – the poverty/addiction is laid bare around here. So many tents. People living in rusty RV’s and trucks. A suburban town though

      3. Donna

        Yes, Judy Woodruff is a current member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Says it all, doesn’t it?

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Ancient history here, but I still recall Woodruff’s look of dismay and disgust when some protestors momentarily disrupted the Iran-Contra hearings in the 1980’s. It was obvious she felt far more simpatico towards the NatSec types who were involved in that criminal racket than those who saw it for what it was.

          A consent- manufacturing automaton with dyed blonde hair, who only liberals could give credence to…

      4. orlbucfan

        I am so over “the richest nation in the world” line. I haven’t seen proof in decades. “Third World” is more accurate.

        1. savebyirony

          Do we have the largest number of billionaires? See the article on Dan Gilbert and how they treat and are treated by their fellow citizens. Oh my, lucky us. I think we all would be much better off being qualified as the most middle class nation in the world. But, god help us, the grotesquely rich will always be with us.

          1. Phillip Allen

            “the grotesquely rich will always be with us.”

            Why? There is no natural force at play which necessitates this outcome.

            I can easily imagine a social system wherein any person who amasses a fortune over, say, $100 million dollars (entirely arbitrary figure), is immediately qualified to be the next blood sacrifice to [insert divinity of choice]. (Elon Musk would make a smashing Wicker Man filling, wouldn’t he?) As many billionaires that infest the USA, we could sacrifice a dozen a month and still have years to look forward to. Becoming a sacrifice will be *entirely voluntary*. To avoid it, one need only divest oneself of obscene wealth.

            I look for inspiration in the Old Ways.

            1. savebyirony

              I meant it to be taken as no more or less true than that the poor must always be with us. (which I do not believe to be a necessity either)

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          Actually, Trump’s ascendance, and the #McResistance TM’s response – the scam and farce of Russiagate – takes us beyond Third World, and well into Banana Republic territory.

    2. TMoney

      Seconded. Driving through rural Ohio, it’s hollowed out town after town. Places the PMC never see. The places were you can see people living in the inner cities are also awful -also PMC free zones. It’s taken 30 years to catch up with Thatchers England.
      I was astonished at all the factories when I arrived on these shores and how every town seemed to have it’s own “company” of which to be proud. I understood on an instinctive level what NAFTA would do, having seen deindustialization ** before, but that put me in with Pat Buchannan and Marcy Kaptur way back when. Chris Arnade has given a small voice to these forgotten Americans.

      IF the pattern holds, you can follow the UK to get an idea of what happens next. It doesn’t look pretty. Actually at the rate of US “progress”, it will be leading the Brits before long.

      ** British 80s TV: Boys from the black stuff, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Prospects all give a good idea of the plight of the British working class under Thatcher. 1980s Britain also had a nasty heroin problem. Trainspotting was damn near a documentary.

      1. Sheldon

        Seen this re the “drug problem?”

        “Ucas, the British university admissions service, can provide unique insight into these issues: it is the only outfit in the world to gather detailed information on all university applicants, including their age, gender, neighborhood and school type. This is collected along with data on who applied for which courses and who was accepted, and it is renewed in huge detail every year.
        Much of the data shows predictable results: there is a gap between rich and poor, as you might expect in a UK state system where the best schools tend to be located in the most expensive areas. But there are surprising discoveries too: nearly half the children eligible for free school meals in inner London go on to higher education, but in the country outside London as a whole it is just 26 percent.”

      2. wilroncanada

        But something the British still had, even as it was beginning to be dismantled, which the US has never had, was a national healthcare system.
        Of course, the US has also never had a working class. It has always been a temporarily distressed but soon-to-be again billionaire class.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The US never had a working class? Who joined and formed all those Unions up through the 1950s then?

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      We certainly have a third world health care system…no wait, we are FIRST in the world for pandemic deaths

      1. Samuel Conner

        Singapore reports 27 deaths for 50,000+ reported cases. Their reported case incidence as a fraction of national population is similar to US, but their reported case fatality rate is 10s of times lower.

        And they don’t have a State-funded medical system.

        I’d say US and this country have switched their relative development status from decades ago.

        We are ruled by sociopaths.

    4. John Beech

      Menial jobs must be performed, wouldn’t you agree? Some beg by choice – around here I’d bet you a milkshake 100% do so. I have the impression you’ve traveled. I have and the favelas in Brazil make Appalachia and reservation life look good. Similar can be found throughout Latin America, including Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, heck even in Panama, one of the richest in the region!

      Not saying it’s good everywhere in the USA, definitely NOT saying that, but our poor are usually living in homes equipped with flat screen TVs, posses smart phones, electricity, cars, some wear $200 sneakers and ‘all’ make out better than virtually 100% of subcontinent dwellers, farm country Chinese, the aforementioned Somali, etc.

      Me? I don’t resent the rich. I do think it’s absurd we’re not taxing them like it was 1950 once again, but they’ve bought the system. Worse, the unwashed masses (I include myself amongst them) are generally too stupid to vote their own interests. Apparently can’t be helped. For my part, I did change voter registration to support Bernie, but he got gyped.

      1. flora

        Still wondering how to vote my interest when my choices are T or Biden. (The Dem estab made sure it wasn’t going to be Bernie.)

        1. jonboinAR

          3rd party? I plan to, again, but whenever I tell a “normie” about it, the response is “So, you’re going to throw away you’re vote?”

          1. Massinissa

            For me, its either vote third party or *literally* throw away my vote by not voting.

            I basically have to talk myself into voting these days, tell myself its worth at least voting down ballot.

            1. Janie

              The only way to vote “none of the above’ is to vote down ballot but not vote for president (electors).

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            I suppose one could always respond . . . ” well . . . I’m tired of throwing it away on the Mainstream. I’d rather throw it away on something new.”

            See if that gets a reaction.

      2. The Historian

        And I would say there is no such thing as a “menial” job. Those jobs you call “menial” are filled by people doing the survival work for our society. Where would be be without people picking up our garbage or cleaning our sewers or picking our vegetables? Shouldn’t they be rewarded for their contributions to our society?

        I’d be careful about slamming those people that you depend on for your lifestyle. People who do that just seem to me like people stabbing themselves in their own backs. Think of what your world would be like without them!

        As for countries who allow their citizens to be abused, like those that have sweatshops, is that the kind of life you really want for your fellow Americans? I don’t think you have really looked at how the poor in this country live. Smart phones and flat screen TV’s are now very cheap – they aren’t “luxury goods” any more. And if you looked closely at those sneakers, you’d see that they are usually cheap knock-offs – not the $200 sneakers you think they are.

        I agree with you that the unwashed masses are generally to ill-informed (not stupid) to vote in their own interests, but that is because the 1% want it that way. Why else would they have taken over the media?


        1. Michael Fiorillo

          If the poor and working poor were not so overwhelmed with the day-today demands of barely keeping body and soul together, they might have the time and energy for political engagement. Poverty is exhausting and debilitating, for individuals, families and the polity.

      3. tegnost

        “but our poor are usually living in homes equipped with flat screen TVs, posses smart phones, electricity, cars, some wear $200 sneakers and ‘all’ make out better than virtually 100% of subcontinent dwellers, farm country Chinese, the aforementioned Somali, etc.”
        I don’t know about that John. Except for the smartphone thing, you can’t dirtbag or stingray unless everyone has their tracking device. I get a lot of things from goodwill that cost a lot more new, but I’m not wearing a $100 carhartt, coat, it’s a basically brand new carhartt coat coat I got for $10. If there’s a flat screen and internet connection someone there has money, they don’t give it away, no money no service…so these people are the exact same you reference, i.e., the people who do the menial work, they shouldn’t buy something that makes them feel good?

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Yeah that “usually’ is doing a lot of work in that sentence.

          Friend of mine is a schoolteacher in rural Maine. During the school shutdown, her district wasn’t able to just get all the kids a laptop and have them do assignments from home (a surefire way to promote ignorance and stupidity, but that’s a whole other subject). Not only do they not have the money, some of the kids live in little Airstream trailers without electricity and running water, so they wouldn’t be able to use a laptop anyway. No 50″ flatscreens for these poor. It’s hard to believe that this king of poverty exists in America, but it does, even in those nice mostly liberal New England states, and not just in Appalachia. These people have already hit the Jackpot.

          And even if these people had inadequate nutrition, education, healthcare, etc but they had a flatscreen, that doesn’t mean they’re profligates who deserve no sympathy because they could have parlayed the $350 they spent on a TV into a Harvard education or a Cadillac healthcare plan. Really tired of this idea that the poor aren’t really poor if they own anything more than the rags on their backs. As you note tegnost, everybody deserves something that makes the feel good.

          1. Dr John Carpenter


            The “flat screen” TVs thing gets me. Try finding a non-flat screen TV these days. They’re not luxury items at all. “Smart phone” is kind of a similar situation. Not exactly a luxury item there either and almost an essential tool to get a job anymore to boot.

            It just feels like the Regan era wellfare mother’s with a Cadillac argument.

            1. Massinissa

              As someone who uses dumb phones, its hard to find dumb phones for sale still. Really hard.

              People who complain that poor people have ‘smart phones’ are basically complaining that poor people have phones.

            2. Sheldon

              And they have built in cameras and recording devices to allow marketing to the ‘owners’, Orwell would not be surprised.

              ” Smart TVs collect data about what you watch with a technology called automatic content recognition, or ACR.
              You can’t stop all data collection without disconnecting the set from the internet, but you can turn off ACR.
              Each smart TV company uses a different name for ACR, and the controls can be hard to find. But CR has directions below.

              Your TV may know—and share—a lot of information about you.

              That’s what CR has found repeatedly in recent years, including during a 2018 analysis of privacy and security in smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony, TCL (which uses the Roku TV smart TV platform), and Vizio.”


              1. pricklyone

                So, does flipping that switch off really disable the horror?
                History of Android apps would suggest…NO
                Once they have you, they never gonna give you up.
                You have all been Rickrolled…HA!

      4. Amfortas the hippie

        Geez, John.
        “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
        You can’t look at somebody sitting on a bench with a tall boy and determine his worth.
        Drive By Anthropology is limited…for sale signs…businesses or homes that were occupied 2 weeks ago that ain’t, now….unused parking capacity…
        An overgrown yard doesn’t equal criminal intent(here, feel the bumps on my skull…)
        Walk along with someone for a month(do not follow them around, please), and then make a judgement, if you must.
        It’s hard out there, and has been…and a lot of that hardness is totally unnecessary, and is there only due to the choices our “representatives” make. People do what they must, in often insanely difficult circumstances that will always be totally hidden from passerby.
        and, meanwhile, the Woke Robespierres have given “check your privilege” a bad name.

        Walk a mile, man.

        1. The Historian

          Beautifully said. “Drive By Anthropology” is a wonderful description – may I borrow it?

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            well sure,lol.
            that’s what i do when i go anywhere in a car…roadside economic indicators.
            you can tell a lot from this, but only if you’re familiar enough to notice changes over time…like our every two week trek the 130 miles to San Antonio and back.
            like counting campaign signs, but deeper and broader.

        2. Laputan


          The “at least they’re not in Somalia” is such a classic bootlicker trope.

          There are people suffering everywhere. Because here that suffering is housed in trailer parks and subsidized apartment complexes instead of favelas doesn’t diminish it one bit. Plus, it’s not like we aren’t trending in that direction. The only reason it’s not worse is because there are some remnants of functioning institutions. Neither party seems interested in keeping those going.

        3. EGrise

          Exactly this.

          Want to see how the lower half lives? Look out on the curb during evictions, and see all the expensive luxury goods not piled up there.

          Good grief. The lack of empathy is going to kill us all.

        1. savebyirony

          There is something about the criminal rich (oh so, so many to list) that oddly brings out more than resentment in me.

        2. jr

          “Resent” kind of casts a tone of childishness or smallness. The rich are trying to kill us. It’s ok to hate people who are trying to kill you. It’s even ok to be impolite.

        3. Janie

          Furies, 1.06: me too, bigly, and hugely bigly the snivelling politicos who enable them. Let’s make America great again by going back to Eisenhower tax rates.

      5. Jason Boxman

        It’s not clear why having stuff automatically invalidates any argument about the quality of life of the poor in this country that are fortunate enough to have some kind of housing. (What of those that do not?) A $200 pair of sneakers or a flatscreen TV doesn’t get you medical care. Nor safe working conditions, as we’re seeing with meatpacking plants.

        1. pricklyone

          Jason,absolutely. This crap is usually promoted by those who are forcing this way of life on the poor. The old yard sale TV only receives static, now. I got 2 flatscreen TVs free, when MIL won them at the indian casino drawing on 2 consecutive nights(!).She wouldn’t take any money. They are useless vestiges of my former life, as I live in the lowest lying part of my area, and OTA broadcasts don’t get down here. Cable? Gave it up for food. Haven’t had the TV on in 4 years.Laptop was purchased 8 years ago, because you cannot apply for work without interrnet any more,(just try it..). Goodwill is full of sneakers, if you don’t mind used. You cannot live in a building without electricity legally, in most places in the US. Nor water service, sewer service(both now AmericanWater owned here), or paid trash pickup(privatized here, now 25 USD/month and rising fast). These services cost more than I pay for food and clothing.
          I am without income, other than “early” reduced SS, some here spend that much on food…
          There is a ton of stuff thrown away, I can get a free 40″ class Non-smart LCD TV today, if I had any use for it, as it is destined for the dumpster.
          I am not homeless only because I bought and paid off my house in better times.(My house cost 36,000 USD in 1989. It aint much, but I can get out of the snow/rain/sun.
          John Beech(Birch?) seems to thick all poor were always poor. I had to live on my savings from age 52 until age 62 when I could get early SS (retirement, not disability, paid in just like John did.)Couldn’t find even menial work. My food budget is less than most people spend on coffee.
          If you do not resent those who are stomping on your head in their wild scramble to top their neighbor, there may be something wrong with you.

      6. Laughingsong

        From that Welsh article:

        “So much of American meanness, and the culture is mean in the details of its daily life, comes from this fear. Because it is so easy to slip into the underclass, even if one “does everything right”, Americans are scared, even terrified, all the time.”


      7. Laputan

        If your begging by choice theory were true, wouldn’t that support Welsh’s thesis? Since the prevailing wage for these menial tasks is so miniscule, there probably are several that don’t see much point in handing over most of their waking life for a flatscreen and smart phone, without a chance at saving up for a home and a serious illness away from having the little they can save wiped out.

        Me? I reserve my resentment for the rich rather than the people who have grown so desperate as to exit the system.

      8. jonboinAR

        I live in a small town in the mid-south. I’m a pest-control man, or exterminator. One of my clients is a local motel that serves partially as a quasi apartment building. For the past 10-12 years, at any given time, several of its tenants have been either single adults, usually white or black, or small, young families. These usually stay a few months, then they’re gone. The little families are kind of crammed up in there. They appear to be what, you know, we spoiled Americans would call “poor”. They have a few belongings in there with them such as family pictures or simple decorations. The “flatscreen” is the one the motel provides. Maybe they rent a storage unit in town as well. I don’t know. They usually seem to have one car. As I don’t usually recognize them as locals, my guess about their circumstances is that they’ve been moving around looking for work. The couple of small plants that operate here seem to attract some people from out of town. As I said, after a few months they’re usually gone. I don’t know if they have found a homier place to rent, or if they’ve come to realize that the low wage paid by the Plant will never get them out of the motel, so they’ve gone off looking for something better. I only know one thing: although they’re prospects may be better objectively than a family living in a South American “favela”, I don’t envy them one particle.

      9. drumlin woodchuckles

        Menial jobs should get a high wage commensurate with their importance and their unpleasantness.
        Garbage collectors, janitors, housecleaners, etc. should make at least a hundred thousand dollars a year. Part of that would be the ” pain, suffering and boredom” premium.

        1. Massinissa

          If our God and Savior, Mr. Market had his way, these jobs wouldn’t even pay minimum wage.

          Maybe we should find a better God than the Market.

      10. wilroncanada

        Sure, John
        Those US poors have flat-screen TVs in their shopping carts, smartphones in their pockets they can’t use because they haven’t paid the minimum “rent” on them, occasional electricity they steal from the public library to power the cellphones they can’t use, $200. sneakers underneath the plastic bags tied around them to keep the soles from falling completely off. You forgot to mention the tents they all have–surely a luxury!
        The thrift stores are sure offering great merchandise these days.

      11. Copeland

        So, John, Latin America is a collective shit-show, way worse than Appalachia and the reservation. Hmmm, I wonder how that all happened, exactly? They probably brought it on themselves, yeah that’s what happened, they chose their plight.

        Once again you win the tone-deaf award for the day.

      12. Janie

        John Beech at 10.56am, re 100 percent of beggars choosing that lifestyle. Check out percentages if mentally ill, PTSD cases, physically handicapped etc among those in the streets.

        One of the many sad examples I’ve seen: young man in wheelchair begging near the Seattle Space Needle. His type I diabetes complications put him there. I noticed him because he and a well-dressed woman were both crying, he because with her 20 dollars he could buy compression stockings and she because she had onl8e one twenty. He talked about how degraded he felt but there were no options. Just an anecdote…

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          The majority of homeless people are children.

          No doubt Mr. Beech is appalled at their lack of judgement and responsibility in choosing parents who are poor.

    5. anon in so cal

      >Third World?

      “Flaws in the Data

      The breakdown in California’s coronavirus test reporting system is disrupting pandemic response efforts across the state, leaving local officials in the dark about the spread of COVID-19 and blocking the ability of counties to get restrictions lifted until the system is fixed.

      State officials have not yet provided details on when fixes will be made to the electronic system that reports coronavirus test results to the state’s disease registry system. California, as a result, lacks an accurate count of coronavirus infections, leading health officials to freeze the state’s watchlist, with no counties added or removed.

      The flawed picture has cast into serious doubt California’s pandemic outlook. On Wednesday, the state counted 5,300 new coronavirus cases, down from a peak of nearly 13,000 reported about two weeks ago. But the steep drop relies on the underreported data, and health officials remain unsure about the actual caseloads….”

      —Los Angeles Times

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        so it’s a networking, computer related problem?
        isn’t California filled with people and billion dollar companies that do that sort of thing with some skill and alacrity?
        Sounds akin to an a$$hole shortage.
        Or a dearth of bad drivers.

        –stands arms akimbo, “welp…i don’ thank that there’s near ‘nough snakes in this wood pile”

        1. anon in so cal

          No idea. It’s all too dystopian. They apparently are “counting the testing results by hand to get accurate totals…” (LA Times)

          1. wilroncanada

            Counting by hand is really labour intensive. Each of us has only two. Now if they went digital they could get to ten (ish) at least. It might be more difficult around Los Angeles though. There, at least half the population counts on its legs.

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      America has felt like a third world country for a long time. But the country is still in that seemly endless Wiley Coyote moment flapping its arms like mad. I am very afraid of what will happen when Wiley Coyote hits the ground — because we live in real-life — not a cartoon.

      1. Wukchumni

        Let me throw in something else into our descent into 3rd world status…

        FDR was able to accomplish much because we were the largest creditor, the largest manufacturer, and the largest oil producer on the planet by a wide margin.

    7. Lupemax

      I think the US is going to go beyond a third world nation.

      We are about to enter the dark ages. Where very few own everything and the rest are just serfs, own nothing, earn nothing except scraps. It’s all being carefully set up. And, come to think of it, the select few also want to own the rest of the world. And it’s all happening very quickly, folks, as Obama might say. And everyone just watches, and does nothing.

      Thems that want wars may screw it all up but most of those who have the obscene much just want it all.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I think it’s been happening since at least 1972(
        They knew, then, and chose balls to the wall and big ostentatious cars, champagne fountains,becoming the first truly cosmopolitan cohort of humans… and damn the torpedoes, we deserve to be richer than god…
        the decades between now and then make a lot more sense if viewed through that lens, I think.
        They knew, then…and faced with a choice between driving us off the cliff within 50 years, and channeling Bucky Fuller or Roddenberry and attempting to work the problem in a more Humanist and rational manner…they chose the former.

        1. jonboinAR

          Over at Ian’s blog-site, in the comments for the post that started everyone here talking about the US as a 3rd-world nation, naturally they’re on the same topic, if anyone’s interested.

      2. Massinissa

        What you are describing is usually called ‘cyberpunk’.

        Unfortunately, our future is not Star Trek but Cyberpunk.

        1. ambrit

          Alas, I’m leaning to the idea that our ‘future’ is going to be JG Ballard’s “The Drowned World.”

          1. Wukchumni

            JG Ballard could really spin a tale, and yes The Drowned World reads like our immediate future, pretty nervy of him to write it in the early 60’s

        2. Janie

          The Archdruid posted a serialized dystopian novel set a couple of centuries ahead. Hero was a ruinman, who extracted materials from the ruins of industry. It had interesting insights into the regions the US might splinter into and what sort of society we might have. Sample: as modern transportation deteriorates, it moves back to rivers (but bridges have collapsed).

      3. jr

        Carl Sagan said as much, I think he was speaking of an intellectual dark age but that goes hand in hand with the political economy.

        1. Wukchumni

          If we keep on with business as usual, the Earth will be warmed more every year; drought and floods both will be endemic; many more cities, provinces, and whole nations will be submerged beneath the waves—unless heroic worldwide engineering countermeasures are taken. In the longer run, still more dire consequences may follow, including the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, its surge into the sea, a major global rise in sea level, and the inundation of almost all the coastal cities on the planet.

          Carl Sagan in 1995

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          Lewis Mumford wrote of the coming Electronic Dark Age in his 1970 masterpiece, The Pentagon of Power.

      4. km

        Like Brazil, but with worse weather, less attractive women and a more omnibelligerent foreign policy.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “COVID-19 Is Raging. How Safe Is Your Backyard Party?”

    Back in the 80s there was an AIDS ad on TV in Oz that was saying that you had to be careful when you went to bed with someone as you had to think who they went to bed previously and so on-

    So if you were going to have a backyard party, you have to ask yourself how many people that each of your guests had contact with in the previous two weeks in stores, buses, malls, elevators etc. In that chain of casual or otherwise contacts, you would need only one person that had the virus that could have infected your backyard guest. Those are not good odds. If you live in an area where this virus is running rampant, then forget it.

    1. Keith

      There is a difference between hooking up with random strangers and the current backyard party issues. Backyard parties, at least where I live, are typically close friends, neighbors and family/relatives. It is much harder to get people to avoid those groups, especially for an extended time during grilling season. It is a reality. I think it is just better to accept these festivities will happen and focus on limiting exposure. Encourage folks to keep the party outdoors, wash hands and try to maintain a little distance between each other, and all should be fine.

      The other factor is the scare campaign. People have the authorities raining doom and gloom down on them constantly, but in their reality, they are not seeing mass infections, and the people who do get sick only have mild cases. This brings us back to the first part of what I said. I think working with how people will actually respond is a smarter idea than the scaremongering, which to a great extent, most people ignore now a days as the tactic has been abused so much for so many reasons, it is useless.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I agree.
        My eldest moved into the library/trailerhouse…since he couldn’t go to his first college semester in person.
        we allowed him a socially distanced outdoor campfire party with 5 of his buddies.
        the only problem, is that it’s common practice(or was) for at least a couple of them to stay over…generally so they don’t have to do the whole designated driver thing(which they started doing before we could even mention it, long ago)
        so one of the guys who slept on the library couch had been pretty careful for a young man, because his mom has cancer in remission….but he rode with a guy to the store who ended up testing positive, just as town was blowing up with cases…so my eldest quarantined for 2 weeks.
        I’m all for the Pod thing…where you pick some folks and you all agree to hunker down as far as socialising goes, and limit interactions to within the group.
        but in practice, this is hard as hell to enforce.
        they try…but if just one slacks off for a ride to get chips and dip, it undoes whatever sacrifices the rest have made.

        1. JWP

          Personal experience to add ATH,
          There is a real social aspect to this I have trouble coping with at age 21. With a cancer stricken relative living at home, my social life is further complicated seeing as I am in the minority of people my age who take extreme precautions. Starting a Pod is even a bit scary even as i am for it. Requiring a negative test to go camping or spend substantial time with friends is a mental slugfest when this is normally a time in life of peak socializing.

          i suspect my less cautious peers simply cannot cope with sacrificing such a huge part of their lives and refuse to adjust, leading to mass spread. Until the long term and asymptomatic effects are brought to light, it will be impossible to keep young people from being the big spreaders.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            the only ones we allow out here for these distanced around the fire things are his closest friends.
            one of them…a month or more ago, who is himself immunocompromised,….went to a concert maskless.
            wife told him, “well…we’ll see you when you wise up”.
            but it’s hard and it’s heartbreaking.
            my eldest will be 19 in january…so his HS graduation year/first semester in college is a bust as far as he’s concerned.
            I think it’s a testament to his character that he’s taking it as well as he is.
            we’re a very close knit bunch…and wife and i monitor his perfectly understandable depressive moods. Who wouldn’t be depressed? and girls? and the things guys his age get up to with girls in more normal times?
            I’m damned glad i ain’t 18 right now.
            Youngest hasn’t seen any of his friends since march, save for one experimental party at the river before the virus had been detected out here. It was obvious from that that his age group(entering freshmen) cannot be trusted as yet with this kind of responsibility…and none of his closest friends have sick people in their worlds, and are not generally serious enough about it for our comfort.(and their parents are the more moderate version of “it can’t happen to me, if it’s real at all”-type.
            Youngest expresses frustration, but is accepting….and he has fortnite to hang with his buds( i hear them yelling right now).
            I worry about what both of them are missing…just as much as i’ve long worried about what kind of frelled up world we’re leaving them.
            all of this sucks in myriad ways.

            1. JWP

              Long term consequences for us? who knows. Becoming a curmudgeon at younger ages, hypertension and increased aggression from sexual and social deprival. All seem possible.
              My best to your kids as I fully empathize with their experience and applaud their restraint.

              1. Janie

                I sympathize. I can’t imagine myself isolated at 21. Kudos for your maturity and good sense, but it must be so hard.

      2. furies

        My brother died Thursday from complications from Covid.

        I am sad beyond belief. 59 years old.

        So it’s real, it’s out there and I am continuing my campaign to refute the idiocy so prevalent in my community.
        (and apparently on here!)

        1. Sid

          Me too. You may struggle to both believe and disbelieve that this could have happened to you. It has happened. It is real. Recognize that a loss has taken place. You may wonder if you are strong enough to bear such a loss. You are strong enough. You are alive. You will survive. It time remember the good.

          there is nothing to be

          only accept it. . .

          and hurt.

        2. ambrit

          Oh, that’s so saddening to read. I’m sorry it happened to your family.
          You are on the front line of this. Please vent here and give us inside information on how it all went down. Solid information about how this process works out is almost impossible to find.
          Sorry if I come across as a ghoul.
          A lot of the readers of this site are squarely in the most at risk for the Covid-19 demographic. We here certainly are.
          [There is no nice way to make the above request. I feel ashamed, but want the information to try and protect the homefolks.]

        3. Wukchumni

          I’m so sorry furies, the maelstrom is zeroing in on all of us, found out yesterday my b-i-l’s sister isn’t long for the world.

        4. The Rev Kev

          So sorry to hear about this furies. My condolences. I knew a few months ago at the beginning of the pandemic that people here would be talking about losing friends and relatives and maybe even regular commenters themselves but you are never ready when you actually hear it happen. I wish you and your family well.

    2. John Beech

      Re: “COVID-19 Is Raging. How Safe Is Your Backyard Party?”, The Rev Kev in part . . . “If you live in an area where this virus is running rampant, then forget it.”

      What he said! His analogy is excellent. First thought that flashed through my head when dear friends said they were going to have a barbecue a few Saturdays ago and did we want to come. What we did instead was coordinate our grilling and sit-down time, and set up our respective Facetime equipped iPads and chatted as if we were in person. Just as good? No, not quite . . . but a damned sight safer!

    3. anon in so cal

      Yes, you’re interacting with your guests and with everyone each guest interacted with during the past 14 days…..

      1. J

        It’s that doubling thingie. If each person has interacted with only a few people and each of those few with another few, etc.

    4. Jeff W

      Dr Scott Morrow, the county health officer for San Mateo [California] (where I live), is very explicit about it:

      Many, many of our infections are related to fairly small gatherings of family and friends: birthday parties, picnics, eating at restaurants with mixed households, etc., without the basic precautions being taken. Most of these gatherings are innocent, no doubt, not intending to spread the virus, but they do spread it, and with far reaching implications. Please note, your seemingly innocuous get-togethers are driving the spread and are a major reason why you can’t go to a restaurant, why you can’t go to the gym, why you can’t go get your hair cut, why kids can’t go to school. Until, or unless more people get this fact, we will continue to be stuck in the situation we are in. To get out of this situation depends on all of us. Our collective best course of action: No gatherings outside of immediate households, use facial coverings extensively, and social distancing.

      [emphasis added]

  8. timbers

    Coronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal The Hill. This is beyond terrible.

    Putting on my Bipartisan Hat, one possible solution would be for Dems to tweak their stimulus package to include a hundred or so additional billions for the military. With lots of potential wars on the horizon, maybe it be classified as an “infrastructure” line item in the bill. That would help with making it sound good. Everyone knows military spending doesn’t add to the deficit that the Republicans are pretending to care about. Corporate tax cuts or tax cuts for the rich also might work but we already had those recently and they don’t add to deficits, either.

    1. Mel

      Or for Trump to just spend the money. Get John Yoo to tell him it’s OK, and be useful for once in his life. Legislation can catch up later, as usual for President things.

      1. timbers

        Yep. I mean, everyone knows we have to pass the bill first to know what’s in it (ACA, TPP). So why not just do it. Because that way, by doing it first, we know what needs to be in the bill that we can pass later. So much easier.

        And eventually, we can do away with passing laws all together and save everyone a lot of time and effort.

        1. Samuel Conner

          Given how ineffective the national legislature has become, one could be tempted to speculate that at some point the Executive Branch, which has the machinery of money creation, will cite exigent circumstances and simply circumvent the constitutional assignment of appropriations power to Congress.

            1. Wukchumni

              For what it’s worth dept:

              The only country ever to issue monetized platinum coins was Czarist Russia~

            2. John k

              The current issue is getting a bill from congress to spend money. Dems want 3 trillion including relief for states, likely most of that would go to blue states with large cities. It’s this spending, afaik, that reps object to, not support for individuals. Trump is threatening to unilaterally spend to continue unemployment benefits etc, but is not authorized to do so.
              The platinum coin would be useful to avoid the need, given the debt ceiling that must occasionally be increased, for borrowing in order to spend, remembering that all spending was previously directed by congress.
              Of course using the coins exposes the fiction the gov ever had any need to borrow, bearing in mind it is the wealthy that are able to take advantage of risk free guaranteed income. We could obviously simply buy back all treasuries, and forgo ever borrowing in the future, with a kilo or two of platinum.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                I should think that state-city-county-etc. relief would go to whatever budgeting authorities need the relief. Would I be wrong about that?

      2. Keith

        I don’t see why Trump doesn’t do it. Whether or not it is legal is moot, because if he does it, do the Democrats want to got to court and say these people cannot get their unemployment and also need to be evicted? The Dems fighting it would be even better optics for him.

    2. Samuel Conner

      I wonder to what extent the Fed would be willing to accommodate relief initiatives. I’ve long thought that the Fed could conduct fiscal-like policy by purchasing state and local infrastructure bonds. Perhaps the Fed could lend to states to fund their UI programs (and, come to think of it, general operations), with Treasury catching up later, in a more sympathetic Administration, to pay the loans on behalf of the States. Of course, Fed loans don’t actually have to be repaid; could be rolled forever, but the prospect of future repayment by Treasury could be a useful fiction for those who find Fed money creation to be unpalatable.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        The Fed is already buying up all kinds of worthless paper. They just need to expand the kinds of assets they’re willing to buy. I have a 2003 Mitsubishi in the back yard that doesn’t want to run anymore. The Fed can have it for original sticker price, kind of like they do for those bonds of zombie companies.

        1. Wukchumni

          I have a strand of recently used dental floss i’m hoping the Fed will consider buying from me, in the vicinity of seven figures.

          It’s still useful, you could garrote a gnat with it…

        2. JWP

          Instead of waiting for a stimulus bill, why doesn’t every person form a shell company, buy one thing with it, and a website domain, then apply for a loan. An easy million for everyone.

        3. Sheldon

          How about your outstanding credit card and Pacific Gas & Electric bills? Next up, property taxes, mortgages and rent payments. Pay taxes? The Fed can pay those too!

          What would Trump/Congress and the Fed do if say, 20% of Americans just refused to pay any bills whatsoever, owed to institutions, or to file tax returns?

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            they would probably try mightily to cover such a phenomenon up as quickly and completely as possible, and then pretend real hard that it never happened….it wouldn’t make the news, unless they could find some reprehensible mascot for the movement….preferably a white redneck with boundary issues.

            i reckon that is what a “general strike” would most reasonably look like, in this day and age…rather than sepia toned imagery from the 30’s(or last month) of thousands of people out in the street.
            and aside from black and white and gay and straight and male and female, innie and outtie and astros and phillies fans getting together in unified opposition to the boss class…such a general payments strike is probably what the bosses fear the most…because it could easily lead to that whole Actual Unified Opposition thing.
            then is when things get real.

            1. The Rev Kev

              The Federal government was strained for manpower dealing with a few city blocks in Portland recently. What happens if things go off in about forty or fifty cities at the same time?

              1. Mel

                Jack London wrote a novella, The Strength of the Strong, about a 1930s-kind of General Strike. In it, the labor organization behind the strike, the ILW, had stockpiled food for the long haul. Working class families occasionally sold soup to members of the destitute upper class for such trinkets as the DUC people still had.

          2. ambrit

            Like something that the .01% do when they ‘offshore’ their income and avoid paying taxes on it?
            As above, so below.

    3. CuriosityConcern

      How to get a coronavirus deal in record time: assemble Congress, the Senate, and the president all in Senate chambers, no PPE allowed. Then have a choir start singing, no one can leave till a deal is reached.

    4. flora

      There should be more than 4 or 5 people deciding the fate of the country. Try bringing both houses back into session, or at least the relevant committees, to hash out the terms? Get everyone on record. Too messy? Can’t be any worse than what we’ve got now. Might even get a result. But Mitch doesn’t want to deal with it and Nancy has ice cream to console her. So they’re OK.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and weeks of “behind closed doors” and “in private”?
        video, or it never happened.
        and you’re gd right it’s Our Business.
        it’s still a “smoke filled room”, even if it’s a smoke free room.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      I wonder what really went on in the negotiations. The link talked about total amounts in trillions and other articles I’ve seen talk about $200 versus $600 and the obvious Republican offer to compromise to $400 … but both bills contain other stuff and I doubt the Democrats have a lot of heartburn over $400. What were the negotiations really about? I am too lazy to try to make sense of two more Congressional bills hardly written for clarity of content or clarity of motives and impacts. One explanation I’ve seen — that the Democrats want to anger the public toward the Republicans before the election — seems inadequate.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        The state aid has to be a huge sticking point. Billions to corporations are just fine, a Billion to the Catholic Church is no problem! If you dare send 3 billion to liberal Massachusetts for health and unemployment funding the entire Republican caucus might faint.

    6. John Beech

      My understanding is Dems tried to slip in money to prop up failed states like IL. No offense but I find it abhorrent, at a time a teacher’s starting wage is $30k and those retiring after 40 years are earning but $60k, that there are IL firefighters and police retired on $150k/year. Dangerous work? Maybe so, but I didn’t force them into it. Those states have put their taxpayers in hock due to the largess of corrupt politicians and dealings with unions, and bailing them out on my dime isn’t in the cards.

        1. marym

          Adding: All states face lost revenue and extraordinary expenses due to the pandemic. If it were appropriate (it is not) to punish the people in those states for some perceived bad behavior of state governments, pandemic aid would be based on which state governments (like IL) have taken the pandemic seriously and tried to implement public health and economic measures to deal with it, in some cases (like IL) in the face of resistance from state Republican officials, Trump, and their followers.

          1. Laughingsong

            Yup. The stimulus will keep everyone’s state from cutting essential services. Our state was relatively healthy and yet faces holes, as currency users.

            I I am not surprised that JB has an apparent list of worthy and unworthy states, just like people. Many comments point to a pretty small circle of those who should be saved and those who should feel the full press of The Two Rules of Neoliberalism ™.

            1. juno mas

              Yes, and one of those essential services is sanitary treatment plants (that consume humungus amounts of electricity). Most cities would be unlivable without water, power, sanitation services, and traffic control.

            2. JBird4049

              Even the most stingy American state does essential services for its citizens and even the richest state is likely to go broke. I don’t what denying aid to them would do Congress any political good.

              1. pricklyone

                I’m on the ground in IL, pasha, are you? This has given the no-maskers, and bar-goers a big boost. They think they’ve won…
                August 5:
                I agree it all needs to play out, but members of the state leg. are telling business owners to go ahead as if there was no danger, whatsoever. Lawyers egging them on. That qualifies as an effect, to me.
                What is that the Libertarian types say? Better to ask forgiveness, than permission?
                They will do as they please, people will get sick, and thenthey will back off, maybe…

        2. LawnDart

          Speaking as a former State of Illinois employee, the state is an easy target for detractors: a lot of corruption and little accountability, both very true.

          I feel that Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot are somewhat of an improvement over their predecessors (Governor Quinn did well-deservedly take the axe to the necks of some snakes, though not nearly enough), they’re still pilot and copilot of a 737-MAX whose flight control system has been thoroughly taken over by gremlins, but hasn’t crashed, yet. Lightfoot has let up a bit on the extraction of revenue in the form of fines from the citizens of Chicago. Perhaps recent marijuana legalization has something to do with that.

          In Illinois, I was happy to have a militant union work on my behalf, but I must to admit that the pension benefits that were secured would be considered by normal standards rather lavish, especially in contrast to those of another government entity that I worked for in another state, whose benefits could be considered paltry.

          It’s too bad that Trump let Blago out of prison, but birds of a feather…

      1. flora

        I usually agree with a lot of your arguments. This one, however, falls into the those people form of argument (or excuse). I can’t agree with a those people argument; that argument form is too often used either to ignore what needs to be done or to do what ought not to be done.

      2. barefoot charley

        Illinois deserves its rep as the worst of the worst, but the explanation for it is interesting. At the apex of middle-class Americking, in 1970, a bright young reformer managed to convene a state constitutional convention, where the new constitution was written by more or less real representatives of society, including unions, teachers and suchlike. The state constitution ordains that “membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

        Funding crises have persisted for decades but lawyers and judges haven’t found a way around this crystal-clear language, yet. And that bright young reformer decades later became another failed Illinois governor, Pat Quinn.

        1. LawnDart

          The road to hell…

          I will give Quinn credit for trying to clean up some of the mess Blagojevich made, especially from his practice of selling positions in state government to unqualified and corrupt individuals in exchange for campaign contributions.

          There was a lot more than what hit the headlines to the investigation that was initiated well before Hot Rod tried to sell off Obama’s senate seat, but that was certainly the most arrogant and audacious move that caused Fitzgerald to pull the plug on his governorship.

      3. Darthbobber

        “My understanding”- so you don’t claim to know. Newsflash. Every state and city is seeing large shortfalls in revenue for obvious reasons, whether or not they are managed precisely in accordance with your personal preferences, and unlike the federal government they can’t just create more money.
        This is what puts them under pressure to push reopening regardless of health consequences. And without help they will be starting to cut vital services even as the need for those services skyrockets.

        Doing nothing about this is absolutely insane, regardless of your opinion of the retirement benefits of a relative handful of Illinois cops.

      4. Jeremy Grimm

        The Democrats could have countered the Republican abhorrence for state aid by adding some harsh means testing provisions to make sure only deserving states get aid.

  9. ptb

    Re: TikTok, Wechat, Tencent

    Going after WeChat ups the ante. At this point it’s unclear whether it is a defensive move or an offensive move.

    If defensive, the Trump admin is just locking them out of the US. That takes us in the direction of building our very own Great Firewall (can’t say it’s a surprise). The reasoning is to shut down channels of group communication outside of Uncle Sam’s control.

    If offensive, as usual the Chinese market is large enough and advanced enough to stand on its own without breaking a sweat, so what will depart the Chinese market isn’t the ecosystem of apps, but the imported platforms those apps currently use — i.e. iOS and Android. Their replacement was already underway after Huawei, sanctions against WeChat or similar would simply pull that trigger.

    For the rest of the world, it should be noted that there is WeChat pay, and more such technologies are threatening to make commerce easier more frictionless for much of the world.

    1. Olga

      It is clearly both – offense and defense. Either way, it is a very stupid/desperate move. Locking the barn, after cows have fled.
      Even NPR (which admitted to getting $$ from ByteDance) yesterday had someone on, who said it is all done because the US has lost a competitive edge. Another one described the functionalities of WeChat – it was amazing. Seemed like the only thing it would not do is wash dishes.
      The thing that strikes me as very funny, though, is that the west (mainly US) spent years preventing the socialist world from getting the latest technology.
      Now, the US is cutting itself off from technological development (considering that very little innovation goes on now in the country, as the tech giants are happy just to gobble up new stuff that comes up, usually from other countries, but otherwise sit on their laurels).

      1. ptb

        After the way Trump got punked by kids coordinating on social media (i.e. actual interference in election, although domestic in origin), building a Great Firewall seems like a prudent action. Trying to dictate comm platforms used by countries who are not core allies / clients is beyond what US can do now, and trying to do it for the sake of a superficial entertainment app will just make the state dept look like idiots.

        1. Olga

          This is not about building a firewall – prudent or not. This is economic extortion to undo a fast-developing rival.

          1. JWP

            I doubt trump or his advisors would know how to effectively do that. Pending a currency crisis or major infrastructure failure, China’s population and productive capacity plus ties in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East all but ensure it will surpass the US as the economic powerhouse of the world. It high time the US is usurped so it can focus on fixing itself rather than a financial arms race to nowhere. It would be foolish to try and outspend and outproduce China with a gutted and faltering economy such as ours.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              “…It high time the US is usurped so it can focus on fixing itself…”
              …should be plank one of the platform for any serious party in this country.
              call me isolationist, but “we’ve” botched the supposed role of indefensible nation(ha!), and allowed our own country to descend into hell.
              but everybody that I’ve been told that i really, really needed to vote for in my time just wants to keep on playing Empire.
              Basta! and Fie!
              How bad will it hafta get before a sufficient number look up from their fondleslabs and say, screw this?
              I’d rather not do the whole Burning Times thing.
              America needs a time out.

          2. hunkerdown

            One function for the international arena in the short term, another function for the internal arena in the medium term, solves multiple problems with a single move and increases pressure on multiple fronts in hopes of provoking a reaction. The cliché “4D chess” is apt.

            (JWP, in one of his last free blog posts, 4GW expert John Robb strategized rear-guard, spoiler actions as the best response to OBOR, in the spirit of the US, the world’s abusive boyfriend, trying to save its relative stature by keeping the other crabs in the bucket.)

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I remember John Robb. I remember Global Guerillas used to have a comments section.

              When John Robb found out his commenters were seriously “not into” his form of Libertarianism, he shut the comments section down.

              I haven’t gone back there to see if the legacy archives preserve the comments which piled up before comments were abolished.

      2. pricklyone

        The last thing anyone should want is an app that ” Seemed like the only thing it would not do is wash dishes”.
        Adding features to software apps is not really “technology”, it’s just bloat…
        Huawei have a microkernel OS, “Harmony” which could replace IOS/Android in Asia markets, but it seems they would all have to buy new phones at this juncture, and all the apps would need rewriting (may have already happened, Huawei is the big player).
        Opinions vary. YMMV.
        I am not one of those enthralled with being reachable at all moments on a pocket device, as you can probably tell. I can wait until I get home to read email, look stuff up, and make phone calls. Others have given up this ability, giving in to the rush to instant gratification and surveillance by employers, and social networks. Good Luck to ya.

  10. Brindle

    The GOP hates the poor and working class and they seemingly derive pleasure from grinding them into dust–on the other hand the Dems don’t hate them, they just don’t give a rat’s a** about workers/poor.
    We have two conservative parties.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Back in the last economy-only disaster, someone–maybe Taibbi–wrote about the Sane Rich and the Insane Rich. The Insane want to kill the poor and eat them right now. The Sane would rather wait, fatten them up a bit, then chow down.

      That sums up the difference between the political parties as well.

  11. JTMcPhee

    How are people who are beyond broke going to ever be able to “march on Washington”?

    And that “Dems willing to meet halfway at $2 trillion:” got a cite for that? And other than billions for their lobbyists who write their legislation for them, what is in their must-have list?

  12. The Rev Kev

    Is it just me or does today’s Antidote du jour have the look of a very satisfied predator?

    1. Wukchumni

      Our catiphate has been very active in the middle east of the state, and the body count keeps piling up, a beheaded vole here, only organs left of a mouse there, and somebody has to clean up after their masters, me.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: State Department: We’re responsible for Russian, Iranian text message campaign Reuters (Bill B)

    In an email, a spokesperson for the department said the unsolicited text messages – which promoted a multimillion dollar bounty for information about cyber threats to the upcoming U.S. election were aimed at building awareness internationally.

    As if there’s a person on planet earth who’s unaware that the mighty u.s. feels “threatened.” TPTB have only been shrieking about it for four years, like one gigantic national Karen.

    This is pretty pathetic. Walk softly and carry a big “text message.” I don’t blame anyone for snickering.

    1. Olga

      Yesterday, there was a VERY serious announcement about how Russia, China, and Iran are undermining the US elections.
      I liked the division of labour – Russia is after Biden, China is after Trump, and Iran… well, it’s just malevolent. So they got all angles covered – whatever the outcome, there is a ready-made enemy, who will be blamed. Gotta appreciate blob’s creativity!
      And then, after a long list of nefarious actions, the person said “we haven’t seen it yet,” but it’s there, trust me.
      Does the blob not have a sense of humour? Or at least a mirror?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Certain actors are obsessed with certain countries, but going back to Brzezinki, the goal was to simultaneously get China be cheap labor but keep it isolated, potentially fragmented. A Moscow-Beijing axis (maybe Tehran, Ankara etc) would be the worst situation. I’m convinced an aspect of “OMG Russia” has been to make Russia embarrassing for the Chinese to keep around. Orientalism is the guiding light of US foreign policy, so the idea the Chinese would fall for this is part of the Western strategy.

        Though these states aren’t inherently natural allies, they don’t really have bad blood despite conflicts, the have enough independent interests any potential conflict can be addressed, and US imperialism is against all their interests as demonstrated by Shrub and solidified by Obama.

        1. Darthbobber

          Our policy has actually created the Moscow-Beijing nexus by making it obviously necessary for both of them. I think a big chunk of Trump failing to get what he naively hoped for from Putin is that he deluded himself that Putin would of course throw the China connection under the bus in return for little more than a slackening of US rhetoric against him. Na ga happen.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              They know this, but Western foreign policy institutions are largely run by Orientalists who love the smell of their own farts and see the world as divided into the whites, vassals, and enemies. Western FP types will always try to deploy strategies to fool the “enemy” countries.

              1. Olga

                Yeah, they do, and their creativity in inventing disruptions of all kinds is enormous. Which is why I think there are entire depts. in Ch, Ru, and Ir devoted just to one task – sniffing out western subterfuge. All three have learnt how to spot a doodoo – at least, let’s hope (for our sake).

          1. km

            Putin would have to be an idiot to abandon China, since he has to be aware of the history of Eastern European countries trying to make deals with Hitler, only to be betrayed every single time.

            We all know that the United States is no more trustworthy.

      2. rob

        nobody has seen the evidence because the deep state has hidden it in Venezuela. only an invading army could find these weapons of mass deception….. obviously.

      3. Massinissa

        Im wondering how many years it will take to get to the point where the PTB tell us that the only way to prevent foreign interference in our elections is to cancel all future elections

  14. Tom Stone

    Congressional inaction has guaranteed we will have a few Million Homeless by the time the election rolls around and quite a few Million more by the time the next President is inaugurated.
    21 Million Americans are facing eviction, Trump is making noises about extending UI by Fiat and if he actually does so his chances of re election go up substantially.
    And with “each” party blaming the other, increasing an already volatile situation it is going to get right lively.
    When TPTB look around for a tool to deal with this mess they are likely to pick up that convenient hammer provided by the Patriot Act and similar legislation that was put in place to ensure our freedoms.
    Bosnia writ large is the likely outcome.

    1. Darthbobber

      I’m still not ready to read the tea leaves on this. Theatrically walking away from the table and hoping the other side panics has been one of a handful of tricks in the Trump playbook at least as far back as his efforts to renegotiate with his crreditors over the first round of casino failures. Sometimes it means nothing at all. The turtle remains present in DC I believe, so the Senate is available o short notice if there comes to be something to vote on.

      McConnell’s pretence of resigning any agency of his own leaving it between democratic leadership and the White House is the oddity here. I suspect he doesn’t want to put his senators on public display except for the minimum needed to seal an already done deal.

      And are we not due yet another exciting debt ceiling vote sometime in September? That should really be fun.

    2. Sheldon

      Tom Stone,
      As long as we don’t punch down and take benefits, housing, medical care and social assistance from refugees and migrants fleeing homophobia in Honduras, gangs in Guatamala and the potentially hundreds of millions seeking a better life here with their families. Let’s keep our priorities straight.

  15. WobblyTelomeres

    Expecting Tea Party/Freedom Causus Mark Meadows to act humanely is a stretch (based upon how my Tea Party/Freedom Caucus congressman acts).

    I suspect Trump wants savior status for himself, hence executive orders. Applause and cheers and outpourings of genuine affection (snark). Which is why negotiations never had a chance and why Turtleman is absent.

    1. The Historian

      Very astute of you! It is obvious that the White House is sabotaging the talks for one reason – to allow Trump to earn some political capital – and it seems to be working as he is rising in the polls. For all the talk about what a brilliant negotiator Pelosi is, I cannot imagine why she allowed herself to get into this position. She should have insisted that the compromising be done with the Republicans in Congress (after all they are the ones who will be voting on this) and cut the White House out and made them work through their Republican counterparts in Congress

      1. edmondo

        The Republicans in Congress won’t negotiate with Nancy. They don’t want a bill. When one passes, it will be 47 Dems and 4 Republicans voting for it. If Trump wasn’t facing elections in three months, he wouldn’t be for it either. Every relief effort I have seen so far end on December 31st of 2020.Whichever one of these idiots wins the election is facing a pandemic, a depression, massive homelessness and possibly a revolution. Still think Uncle Joe is up to the task?

        1. The Historian

          I never ever thought Uncle Joe was up to the task. I only want him as a seat warmer until we can get more progressives elected. I know many of you don’t think there is a difference between what Trump will do and what Uncle Joe will do, but that is because you have enough safety and security that you can survive no matter who gets elected. That just isn’t so for the bottom 20% who depend on government programs like food stamps, disability, Medicaid and Social Security. Uncle Joe won’t cut into those deeply right now but Trump, if given what he thinks of as a mandate, just might!

          1. tegnost

            but that is because you have enough safety and security that you can survive no matter who gets elected.
            That’s painting with a rather broad brush…
            Any thoughts on the Catfood Commission?
            But then you did say
            Uncle Joe won’t cut into those deeply right now

          2. anon in so cal

            Uncle Joe has been itching to slash Social Security for decades. And SNAP? Obama signed the 2014 Farm Bill that cut $8.7 billion in food stamp benefits: 850,000 households to lose an average of $90 per month. At the time, Obama said the bill will “give more Americans a shot at opportunity”

            Dems would likely be warming the seat for 12 long years—of NeoLiberalism and regime change wars. IMHO, no chance of progressive policies. The DNC has invited Ohio’s GOP Kasich as a convention speaker, while apparently planning to bar AOC….

            1. The Historian

              No, Uncle Joe is on a serious downhill slide and it is becoming more obvious every day. Even if he should get elected, I doubt that he will be there for more than four years – if that long – time enough for progressives to get our act together and field a strong candidate, like AOC maybe? She will be old enough then.

              As for cutting social services, that would take a lot of chutzpah on the part of Democrats right now – remember times are different now. I don’t think the Democrats have that kind of chutzpah.

              1. John Wright

                If Biden is elected, it is a strong possibility that we will have an unelected woman in the White House (Jill Biden) with great influence, perhaps even much indirect control.

                She could be a Democratic version of Nancy Reagan.

                If that is the case, can anyone hazard an opinion about Jill Biden’s political leanings (and of those who influence her)?

                1. The Historian

                  I don’t think Jill Biden will have that much power. A Biden Presidency means that the elitists of the DNC will rule the country no matter what happens to Uncle Joe. It is why they chose him. I may be wrong, but I never saw Joe Biden as a leader in his own right – he just took orders and used his personal (i.e., good ole boy) charisma to carry them out. I am sure he will keep doing that.

                  1. Darthbobber

                    They “chose” him because none of the idpol flavors of the month they hoped might get traction did so, and because they discovered Bloomberg also wouldn’t float, leaving Biden as effectively the only option when it was time to break the emergency glass and stop Sanders at any cost.

                    They always had misgivings about Biden, which is precisely why so much puffery was invested in trying to float Harris or Mayo Pete, and even flirting briefly with the idea of Warren.

                2. Katniss Everdeen

                  I don’t think it’s dr. jill you need to be worried about. She’ll be too busy wiping dribble off joe’s chin.

                  It’s his work wives, pelosi and schumer, who’ll be running the place and we all know exactly where they stand.

                  “Seat warmer” is a euphemism for power vacuum, and it’s no secret how much permanent washington abhors one of those.

                  1. Massinissa

                    I don’t know, I wouldn’t mind astrologers being brought back to the White House. I feel like using divination would produce more clear headed decisions than those provided by either neoliberal duopoly candidate.

            2. Katniss Everdeen

              And don’t forget “chained CPI” where tube steak is still “steak,” and, according to the commercials, there are vegetables in cat food. Oh, and old / poor people can’t afford to get their teeth fixed so they can’t chew the real stuff anywayzzzzzz.

              1. The Historian

                And after all the recalls on human food lately, I’m beginning to think my cat’s food might be better for me!

          3. ambrit

            I’m not so sanguine since the last Democrat president had such a mandate, and fell down, more properly, took a dive in the first round, and sold everyone out to the corporations and financiers.
            When HRH HRC lost in the electoral college to Trump, Trump still seems to have taken that as a “mandate.” He has governed roughly as a standard Neo-liberal Republican. Trickle down economics and ‘stay the course’ foreign policies predominate. I’ll suggest that if Trump squeaks out another win, he will consider it as being a major mandate, and act accordingly.
            Counter intuitively, I would rate the chances of a successful “progressive” resurgence inside the Democrat Party as being much better if the Democrat Party loses this November. Such would be a clear repudiation of Idpol and Triangulation. Recent history involving the American Democrat Party has shown the top echelon of the Party to be tone deaf and exhibiting the symptoms of tunnel vision. If they win this November, all it will do is reinforce their reactionary beliefs. We would get a “Grand Bargain” from the Democrat Party rather than from the Republicans.
            If a ‘progressive’ wave was to be proposed inside the Democrat Party, the “Old Guard” would have to be extirpated, root and branch from positions of power and influence.
            Barring the above, the Democrat Party would have to split. Such has happened in the past in American politics. Who said that today’s politicos are exceptional? History has not ended, change is constant.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              yes. both sides will see winning the white house as a mandate.
              crap choices all around and all, but if dems lose to trump, that’s handing a hammer to the Actually Existing Left within the party.
              Hillary losing to trump was bad enough…Corpsedems losing to trump after the year we’ve had so far?
              which can so easily be hung around his neck?
              to lose to this guy, now, means destruction of the Corporate/Multinational wing of the demparty.
              If they win, they’ll cue the heavenly choir and talk about the Mandate of Heaven and lead us into what they will sell as the status quo ante/pretrumpian paradice of Obamatime, and try to freeze time, right there.
              It will be harder to dislodge them if that happens.

              If biden wins…no matter what idpol box check warmonger he picks for VP…I’ll be seriously considering taking over the local gop party….infiltrate and disturb in the most reasonable hillfolk terms i can muster.
              They at least have debates of a sort at that level, and adhere more rigorously to democratic decision-making than the dems have in my lifetime(a low bar, i admit).
              I’ll bone up on my sermon on the mount and charlie kirk and wendell barry (and likely Hawleyism), and get to nudging.
              aside from the local gop leadership(majority 70+), the rank and file are amenable to new new dealism, according to my surveys, eavesdropping and symposia.

              1. ambrit

                Agreed about the future trajectory of the GOP at the ‘lower’ levels. The ‘Top Dogs’ of both parties are bought and paid for. The lower levels is where the action will be going forward. to that point, the Republican Party already has a history of first, the Evangelical Ascension, and second, the Tea Party. Both movements began as true grassroots programs. To one degree or another, both were co-opted, but still have that stubborn lower layer of potential ‘sturmptruppen’ which could be turned out if the need can be demonstrated.
                I do indeed wonder if the Republican Party can be reimagined as a ‘Party of the Workers.’ [That could go either way. Serious planning will be needed to shepherd this transformation.]
                Keep the faith baby!
                Adam Clayton Powell, back in the day:

              2. newcatty

                Regarding a “paradise of Obamatime” , if Biden wins the election. I have used my crystal ball and so have stated before on NC that the VP candidate will be just that, Obama time, again! It’s been said that Michelle says no Way! Think she does protest too much. Harris or Rice have lots of beat up baggage to be an asset for the crown. Not only would Michelle, their belle, carry on Obama/Clinton power elitism for DNC, she would be a uniter. A clue was given when she hugged baby Bush and giggled when he gave her candy at a state funeral. She is being more humanized, as already mentioned, that she is depressed just thinking about current president. Not too debilitating, just “low grade”. She is attractive and can be charmingly “smart” when talking points. She and Jill Biden seemed to get along swimmingly. She has experience in white house hosting “dignitaries”. She can bring back the garden. Look for her to jump out of the cake at the convention, if not before next week. If I am right , then I will refrain from being smug. Uh, huh. Really. If wrong, I will eat a hat made from Pelosi endorsed gelato.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  the teabillies out here…at least the more rabid ones(who still are teabillies, when that ship has sunk) loathed Michele.
                  I never really understood why…i don’t remember her doing anything besides promoting gardens and eating yer veggies(which, itself, caused an insane overreaction in some quarters(heartattack burger, etc))…and maybe being an educated and articulate black woman, i guess(i don’t know how real such sentiments were with these folks, or how much was posturing and “virtue signalling” to their herdmates.)
                  her arrival on scene will be used by the wurlitzer operators to pump up former teabilly hangers on, and she’ll be cast as the second coming of the hated Hillary.(remember how utterly vile some of the FB memes were about her?)
                  I’d bet a six that that scenario has been gamed out and that the plan is sitting in a drawer somewhere at Heritage.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Banning TikTok: Are We Reproducing the Chinese Internet in America?”

    If Trump starts to go after Tencent, then this can have all sorts of ramifications for the gaming industry. I was reading the list of companies that it has stakes in and that includes games like Fortnite, PUBG and League of Legends for a start. Does Trump really want to make war on gaming Americans in an election year? They know how to use a computer and how to network. Lots of them even know how to hack computer networks. Hmmm.

    Trump is going on about how China is such a threat to national security through *check notes* Tik Tok but the CIA has already said that they found no evidence that China accessed people’s data. So it is what it is. A smash and grab of a foreign company that is too successful and that is not controlled by Silicon Valley – with the Feds wanting a cut of the action for making it happen. It has not escaped my notice that the countries that Microsoft wants to buy up Tik Tok in – New Zealand, Australia, and Canada – are all Five Eyes members. I don’t know what the Chinese will do in retaliation but we will find out in the next 45 days.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Are you sure Trump isn’t (simply, Occam’s razor) still pouting over his Tulsa rally and the K-Pop Rebellion?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        What’s his history of grudges? I mean I don’t think he has much of an attention span and that was 6 weeks ago.

        Though my gut is Republicans simply plan to label Biden as a CCP loyalist win or lose. Biden’s record on trade will be brought up in the future in the next 3 monthso or 6 months depending on how much of the GOP is looking to 2022 and 2024. Foxnews will make Russiagate look like Maddow’s drivel was a love letter to Trump.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Foxnews: my 87yo father-in-law got kicked out by his much younger girlfriend in Miami, drove 1,000 miles, overnight, with everything he owns stuffed in his car, and has settled in here. [“How the hell did you do that? Are you f#*king Keith Richards?”] Two days ago, I found him staring at the remote trying to find Foxnews. “Uh, we don’t get that.”

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          He held a grudge against Obama ever since Obama humiliated him at that Washington Correspondents Dinner. He held that grudge long enough to tear down the JCPOA with Iran because it was one of few positive Obama accomplishments and so Trump wanted to wipe it off the books.

          That doesn’t seem like short-attention-span to me. Not where insults and grudges are concerned.

          1. The Rev Kev

            It is true that Trump had a grudge against Obama and spent most of his first term destroying anything that he had ever done. Wasn’t that hard as he never did much in any case but at most Trump would have a enemies list. It took the Clintons to ramp it up to the max with an extensive spreadsheet of enemies list. I was always hoping that that had been downloaded off her closet server for publication-


          2. neo-realist

            He took down JCPOA, primarily, because one of his top donors, Sheldon Adelson, who wants to wipe Iran off the map, told him to.

            Sure, he hates Obama, but he was just carrying out the standard GOP practices of destroying the policies of the previous democratic president, or at least any policies that don’t service private wealthy interests.

  17. David

    I haven’t been able to batter my way through the FT paywall to the story on Lebanon, but I suspect it closely resembles all the others being published in the western media today, including this one from the Guardian which isn’t bad.
    If you’re following this story (and you should because it has enormous international political implications), here are a few nuggets.

    The prevailing mood in all of the reports of an outburst of anger against a political class that is not just corrupt and incompetent, but was itself responsible for the civil war which devastated the country for fifteen years. No more, people are saying. They must all go. Hang the lot (photographs of nooses are appearing on social media). Nobody seems to believe the system can be reformed, and most people seem to want to tear it down, perhaps literally. As you’d expect, there’s a lot of coverage in the French media, and if you read French or just use Google Translate, this article by the playwright Wajdi Mouawad gives you an indication of how the articulate, professional middle class feels, without whom no progress is really possible. Like a lot of the comments, Mouawad’s is apocalyptic : this is it, he says, the explosion is the symbol of the end of an era, the long crucifixion of the country since 1975, finally (he hopes) blowing away the old guard who fought the civil war and have profited from the peace. The trouble is, there’s no New Guard to take over.

    Unfortunately, the Lebanese political class is living down to expectations: blaming each other or mysterious foreign powers for the explosion, and arguing now about whether the inevitable investigation should be national or international. Unsurprisingly, the President, Aoun, and Hassan Nasrallah the Hezbollah leader, want a purely national enquiry (they are in power, after all) whilst the opposition want an international one. Signs are that donors will demand the latter at a meeting tomorrow, but the controversy will, of course, neatly divert attention from more important issues. Meanwhile, Nasrallah has had to formally deny that Hezbollah had stocked weapons and explosives in the port, and that that was the source of the explosion. (An extreme form of this conspiracy theory, going round in the region, is that an Israeli missile destroyed Hezbollah’s stockpile and set the explosives off).

    And finally, today is a “day of anger” with mass demonstrations in Beirut near Martyr’s Square, the traditional venue for such protests. L’Orient-Le Jour, the main French-language newspaper has live coverage on its site, including videos. So far, the Police are in the front line, using lots of tear gas, but the Army are also there. It would actually be sensible to use the Army, since they are better trained and led, and are the one national institution in which anyone has any confidence. But the commanders won’t be happy, because they risk getting embroiled in the political controversies. The Army have a good record in calming down and dispersing violent protests in the past, but they won’t want to be seen as protecting a regime which many of them despise as much as any other Lebanese. The real fear is that the Army will split, as it did 1975,in which case there will be nothing holding the country together.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I love that NC has such a broad stable of embedded reporters all over the world.
      Thanks, David.
      I wish my French was better.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for this update – Lebanese politics is such an infernal mess, and has been for decades. Ironically, it took the Syrians to straighten things out for a while, but obviously they have other things on their mind now. In so many ways, it could be a fantastic country – amazing landscapes (as my Lebanese friend used to say ‘you can ski in the morning and sunbathe on a beach in the afternoon’), great food and culture, fascinating cities, and a history of trading and wealth generation, and more open and liberal culture than most of the rest of the region.

      The sad thing is that most Lebanese with any resources have their ready escape hatches. They’ll leave everyone else behind to deal with the consequences. I suspect this is one reason why it’s been so bad for so long – as NN Taleb might say, too many players in the Lebanon don’t have skin in the game.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Security guards hired for hotel quarantine in an attempt at social inclusion”

    Gawd, it is much worse than I thought. And because they screwed up, there are an extra 170 odd dead people with the number ticking up constantly. Yeah, I know that this is small beer compared to other places but what gets me is that this was absolutely and totally unnecessary. So now the Victoria is under extreme lockdown, my own State has just closed the border with Victoria, New South Wales & Canberra, tens of billions are being spent all over again and we are back in March once again. I notice that there are serious signs of strain between the Victorian Premier and the federal government and lots of bickering as the national plans for ‘recovery’- whatever the hell that was going to look like – are now only second-hand toilet paper. And I would not be surprised to learn that what the origin of this debacle was ‘mates taking care of mates’ as far as contracts were concerned. We have been lucky in Oz fighting the pandemic but we have had some massive screw-ups like the SS Ruby Princess. This virus just seems to have a talent for hitting all the weak spots of people’s behaviours and governmental responses.

    1. Chris

      The virus is a bit like the public health/effective government version of Warren Buffet’s receding tide – we get to see which countries have been swimming naked.

    2. Jeff W

      This virus just seems to have a talent for hitting all the weak spots of people’s behaviours and governmental responses.

      The virus is like water, seeping in to the littlest crack.

      It’s not even surprising. As the mathematician Vladimir Arnold said “It seems that in good situations a number of requirements must hold simultaneously, while to call a situation bad even one failure suffices.”

    3. Foy

      I think the hotel quarantine thing has even more hairs on it. If you remember back at the start of the second outbreak there were newspapers reports of an extended family cluster that had come from a large family Eid celebration, an Islamic holiday at the end of Ramadan. The get together was not allowed under the distancing rules at that time but the family ignored those rules.

      The extended family is spread between Melbourne’s North and South East where the second outbreak took off. Various members of this family had managed to get work as security guards at the quarantine centres. This extended family is also, ah, “well known to police”. Not unusual to see these types as providing security, but more in a bouncer/nightclub setting, and lets say don’t usually operate with the best interests of society at heart. Can’t be a surprise what happened and no surprise after they didn’t follow the rules at the family religious celebration.

      The Al-Taqwa Islamic school had a big outbreak at the same time with now 183 cases amongst teachers and students. Biggest outbreak at any school by a mile. Coincidence? I think not.

      Get ready for community anger and blowback when this all comes out, things are primed to go off. (hate to use the dailymail, but they always have good pics).

      Also they said on Insiders this morning that Dan Andrews had to push Scotty from Marketing on setting up quarantine centres. Scotty didn’t want to do it initially, it was Dan’s suggestion to do it. Hate to think what it would have looked like if that hadn’t been done. Things are getting frayed politically with Treasurer Josh Frydenburg throwing some grenades Dan’s way yesterday, but Josh and Scotty are walking a lot of stuff back as well, like prior insistence on opening state borders. And Aged Care problems is the millstone for their necks.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Notice how Scotty from Marketing withdrew from the lawsuit by billionaire Clive Palmer to open up all the borders because of the Constitution? And I saw Josh Frydenburg going after Andrews. Hilarious that as States like Victoria & NSW were in lockstep with Scotty to open up all the borders and have all the schools going again. I actually heard Scotty say that come January 1st, that he wanted to open up Australia’s borders to international tourists.

        Well all his plans are in the bin now because of this outbreak. If he had any brains, he would realize that it is impossible to “live with the virus”, no matter what those health departments are telling him. It will be interesting to see what he does next. He is all about the economy but what sort of economy is it when companies, schools, etc. are constantly opening and closing, opening and closing as each gets hit by this virus.

        1. Foy

          Yep and apparently 95% of West Australians support their Premier on locking the down the borders, so suddenly the Federal Liberals were getting massively on the nose over there. No wonder they saw the light. Everything the Federal Liberals wanted to do is getting rolled back and looking like it would have been a big mistake had they done it.

          And I see Spotless Laundry, an industrial scale laundry, tried to force its staff back to work through an appeal to the Fair Work Commission, after some staff tested positive and the staff were getting worried about getting sick and said controls were poor and 35 refused to go back to work. It’s a very hands on operation with multiple people handling sheets etc. Interestingly the two workers who caught it were working in different parts of the cleaning process.

          The DHHS shut down the laundry following an inspection, so the cluster would probably have been a lot worse if the staff hadn’t refused to go to work.

          And this is an essential business as it cleans the sheets for hospitals. This is the big problem, if essential businesses/processes have big cluster outbreaks then no one will want to work there, esp if they have elderly people living at home which often these essential workers do. When critical processes stop then you have a big problem.

  19. Wukchumni

    ‘Hex Angels’

    ‘It’s just madness’: bikers throng South Dakota town despite Covid threat Guardian (Kevin W)

  20. Wukchumni

    Private Equity Firm Bought Ancestry, and Its Trove of DNA, for $4.7B CNN. Blackstone.

    How does private equity strip out the value of your DNA*, leaving a corpse in it’s wake, as per the usual way they transact business?

    * something like: ‘If you don’t pony up the money, the whole world will know that you’re 1.47% African by heritage’

    1. Jason Boxman

      You could lease it exclusively to a pharmaceutical company, for example. Sort of like criminals selling your PII on the dark web, I think. They’re both in the same line of business, anyway.

    1. chuck roast

      Nice. I dimly recall from my own student days that the first universities in Italy were formed as guilds. Todd Wolfson says, “We have a vision of a different university, the classic model of which includes “faculty governance.” Being a lazy geezer, I Wikied “Italy guild universities” and found that the University of Bologna is the oldest U in the world founded in 1088 by “…an organised guild of students (hence studiorum).” Sounds like winner to me, but can we include the students please!

      Imagine the PMC from all over the world conversing in the universal language of latin. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Who knows. How do you say, “Deans out” in Latin?

  21. allan

    Biden risks alienating young Black voters after race remarks [AP]

    … Black voters as a whole delivered the Democratic nomination to Biden, powering his commanding win in the South Carolina primary, which rescued his floundering campaign. But that success was heavily dependent on older Black voters. In a general election where Democrats say no vote can be taken for granted, young Black activists and elected officials say this week’s missteps could make it harder to get their vote. …

    Across 17 states where AP VoteCast surveyed Democratic voters during the primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders Sanders won 60% of voters under 30 overall, to Biden’s 19%. And while Biden was strongly supported by African American voters overall, Black voters under age 30 were slightly more likely to support Sanders than Biden, 44% to 38%. …

    Surely won’t be a problem if Biden deploys as surrogates some hip young AA activists with street cred,
    like James Clyburn or Bobby Rush.

    1. Darthbobber

      Not only the Democrats, but the traditional black leadership have been ignoring actual poor blacks and young blacks for years. They rely on the churches, the traditional civil rights organizations and to some extent the mob of NGO grifters who live to suck up the grant money, whether here in beautiful Germantown, Philadelphia or in any other city of your choice. Not a single black coworker or acquaintance of mine under 40 is connected at any of those points.

      1. Darthbobber

        Nationally, the only significant organization for years that seriously attempted to organize poor urban dwellers was ACORN. And we saw what a full-throated defense they got from the Democratic establishment.

        1. Massinissa

          I only know what ACORN is because Republicans used to whinge about it back in the day.

          Actually, I don’t know what ACORN actually did or was intended to do. I just know Republicans thought it was some secret communist plot.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            same here…i didn’t really know about them until the knives were in and twisted.
            maybe a rural thing, this being unaware of Acorn(ive generally avoided big cities)
            when all that blew up, i went looking…and man, what a loss that was!
            they did a lot of really good work over the years.

          2. Olga

            ACORN was best at organising people for various causes – mostly too progressive for tptb. They would bring busloads of folks to protest whenever a utility wanted to raise el prices. They did a lot of voter organising (sign-up to vote, etc.). Were quite effective. After they were undone, the voter repression efforts got going in earnest.
            Actually, I believe that knowing how they were undone is a very important lesson – in how to suppress democracy.

            1. neo-realist

              Yes, I do agree that a big priority of destroying ACORN on the part of the republicans was to prevent black voter registration, as well to prevent broader black political activism……and Obama folded like a house of cards to them.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        ACORN disappeared so fast after the fake investigative video and the Dem cutoff of public funds to it that I wondered and still wonder how inherently and internally strong and organized group it ever really was.

        A strong group with a strong group culture would have reconstituted itself in some way. Did any ACORNians even keep in touch with eachother after the collapse events?

  22. Darthbobber

    I’m still not ready to read the tea leaves on this. Theatrically walking away from the table and hoping the other side panics has been one of a handful of tricks in the Trump playbook at least as far back as his efforts to renegotiate with his crreditors over the first round of casino failures. Sometimes it means nothing at all. The turtle remains present in DC I believe, so the Senate is available o short notice if there comes to be something to vote on.

    McConnell’s pretence of resigning any agency of his own leaving it between democratic leadership and the White House is the oddity here. I suspect he doesn’t want to put his senators on public display except for the minimum needed to seal an already done deal.

    And are we not due yet another exciting debt ceiling vote sometime in September? That should really be fun.

  23. Darthbobber

    Missed the Friday night massacre at the post office, seems not to have garnered huge media attention yet.

      1. pricklyone

        DeJoy is always referred to as a “logistics” company head. What he was, in actuality, was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Post Office privatization efforts. His company, New Breed, ran trucking routes for the USPS, displacing union employees, and later ran MTESC facilities (Mail Transport equipment Service Centers) in many states, as well as other outsourced facilities. They all replaced postal employees with lower paid, no benefits jobs with no representation.
        I know this because I worked for a competing privatizing company at one of the same type of facility. Our wages were slightly better than New Breed’s, but paid ALL of my health insurance benefits out of pocket. No employer contribution. Ours was taken over by none other than Pitney Bowes, one of the all time biggest sucker at the Government teat, and they will tell you how much better private industry can do the job…

          1. flora

            adding: the word “analytics” is a big tell. It’s a buzz word. It’s designed to sound “serious and engaged with new tech to increase efficiency” to the pols, but in reality usually means the person using the term is only window dressing their talk.

            1. flora

              adding: I could write long paras about the way climbers use the word “analytics” to intimidate their audiences, whom they assume know almost nothing about computers and databases and computerized coordinations, and who will be dazzled, (or afraid to ask questions), of the speaker. It’s the magic “bow before my IT understanding, you clueless pols” incantation bs.

              Franz Mesmer comes to mind. ;)

          2. WobblyTelomeres

            Does the President or Post Master General have the power to cancel contracts negotiated and signed by a previous administration?

            Asking as DeJoy may see a ticking clock…

        1. Jason Boxman

          The management at Pitney Bowes is diseased. Before I rescued him, my father had an account with them for postage. By default, they floated him a monthly loan, which he paid 20+% interest on every month, for whatever postage he used that month or some such evil arrangement. It’s not clear why anyone would ever willingly borrow money at mobster rates to mail letters. And this was for a 3 figure postage spend in a typical month; not the sort of thing where you’d ever borrow money in the first place.

          It’s a perfect example of the degenerate capitalist class in America.

  24. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Re: America Is About To Feel Like A 3rd World Nation by Ian Welsh. I just had a Facebook conversation with a woman I went to High School with 40 years ago. She was complaining that the U.S. has fat poor people. The only fat poor people in the world, according to her. I guessing she’d only be happy about the poor if they were actually starving.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      They are fat because the only food they can afford is low-priced often-subsidized fatogenic sh*tfood. Middle-class people and above can afford higher priced often-NOT-subsidized thinogenic shinola food.

  25. ambrit

    At he bottom of the BBC piece on Qanon and Facebook, it identified the pair comprising the writers of the informational bit, “Who is Qanon?” as members of the “BBC anti-disinformation team.”
    George Orwell is alive and well in the 21st Century!

  26. Pelham

    Re Covid in general: I just finished watching Hitchcock’s “The Birds” for about the 20th time and noted some enchanting parallels:

    1) After the initial attacks and even one elderly death, the sheriff (legal authority) is dismissive.

    2) So are the local average Joes.

    3) So is the local ornithologist (the elite expert).

    4) School is opened.

    5) After another attack in town that blows up a gas station, authorities (the fire department) finally respond but ineffectively, almost clownishly.

    6) When the still-open school is struck by a second attack, some kids are hurt but the teacher is killed.

    7) The media (a San Francisco radio station) are no help.

    8) The only effective solution appears to be isolation at home.

    9) But even this (with windows boarded up) is compromised. The menace keeps finding ways in.

    10) The birds finally quiet down, allowing an ominous escape from town, but the peace appears to be only temporary (as we await the second wave.)

    11) In the end, nothing is resolved, and the future is bleak.

    On another note and just my 2 cents, “The Birds” is well regarded but not considered Hitchcock’s best. I’d place it at the same supreme level as that of “Psycho” and “Vertigo” while also elevating to the same status “Rear Window” and “North by Northwest.” If I were limited to just 5 DVD movies for the remainder of my time on this planet, it would be hard to resist selecting at least 4 Hitchcocks.

    1. Wukchumni

      Back when we used to go to restaurants and there was a wait, i’d always give my name as: Roger O. Thornhill, and not one person ever got the reference.

      1. Pelham

        Yes. I made a point of visiting the place when I was out there about 30 years ago. I think the town had somehow become more picturesque since the movie was made.

    2. Jeff W

      11) In the end, nothing is resolved, and the future is bleak.

      The alternative ending that Alfred Hitchcock considered was even bleaker: Mitch and family drive off to (what we hope is) safety and we see the Golden Gate Bridge covered in birds. That idea was shelved, unfortunately, as being too expensive.

      (And, for me, nothing beats Notorious for utter economy (not a word or shot is wasted) and sheer perversity so it would definitely be in my top five.)

  27. NotTimothyGeithner

    C’mon now, people are making fun of Maureen Dowd for forgetting about Hillary’s running mate, but how many people really remember?

    1. Jason Boxman

      Wow. I just realized, I have no idea who it was either. After Sanders got hosed in 2016, I stopped paying attention to the race.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Don’t worry. In a Commonwealth where Mark Warner is a Senator, Timmy is still the worst statewide elected.

  28. super extra

    Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri have recently voted to expand their state Medicaid programs. In OK, this was done by ballot initiative about a month ago. I went hunting for more details and thought some of the FAQs were very interesting, for ex:

    Why is expansion only available for individuals with income up to 133% FPL (Federal Poverty Level, just under 17k per year)?

    This is the income limit allowed for the adult expansion population in the Affordable Care Act.

    OK looks to be implementing some very mild means-testing with this as a requirement (requiring a percentage of recipients to be employed and pay monthly premiums of $10). I wonder if we have any readers from MO or KS who know more about their local expansion programs?

  29. savebyirony

    Dan Gilbert, picture of an American Oligarch, but hey he brought Cleveland a Banner – well, actually Lebron James did that.

  30. allan

    With a tweet, status of Kodak deal put in question [D&C]

    With a single after-hours tweet on Friday, the federal agency working with Eastman Kodak Co. on a $765 million pharmaceutical deal appeared to put the whole project on hold.

    “On July 28, we signed a Letter of Interest with Eastman Kodak. Recent allegations of wrongdoing raise serious concerns. We will not proceed any further unless these allegations are cleared,” the U.S. International Development Finance Corp. wrote in the tweet posted at 5:49 p.m. Friday. …

    Just as a harmless intellectual exercise, maybe the SEC should look into who purchased KODK puts on Friday.

  31. Wukchumni

    Alvarado had worked at Primex for almost two years, cleaning both the facility and the produce. When people stopped showing up for their shifts, management would say they were on vacation, Alvarado said. On 23 June, the company admitted that it had 31 confirmed cases – although UFW says the real number of infections around that time was closer to 76.

    By then, Alvarado had brought the virus home to Bakersfield, where she lived with her husband and two children. Her five-month-old baby tested positive.

    “They took away my right to choose whether to expose my family and myself to Covid when they didn’t inform us what was going on,” Alvarado said. “If I had known there was Covid, I would have made the difficult decision to not go to work because I never would have put my family at risk.”

    Most workers don’t qualify for federally guaranteed emergency leave, and if they are undocumented, they do not qualify for unemployment. From these tenuous circumstances, they go on to live in households that rank as the largest in the state

    1. Daryl

      > management would say they were on vacation

      That was probably the first tip off that something was wrong. Somehow guessing that “Primex” doesn’t have a generous paid leave policy.

  32. Alex Cox

    Thank you for the tuatara link! I was fascinated to read about their functioning third eye, when I was a kid. The links within the link provide a lot more interesting information. Tuataras live 100 years or more, can survive extremes of temperature. Perhaps the most advanced creatures on earth?

  33. Maritimer

    “Corona: Cutting Corners in the Race for a Vaccine Der Spiegel (resilc)”

    And, in the USA, Joe Biden throws US vaccine under the Bus:

    “Joe Biden is preemptively doubting whether a coronavirus vaccine will be “real,” and has cast doubt on whether the vaccine would be distributed with “any degree of equity and realization” — seemingly contradicting public health experts even as the White House touts vaccine progress….

    “How are you going to distribute the vaccine when it arrives, when it arrives, when it’s there?” Biden asked Tuesday. “And the question of whether it’s real, when it’s there, that requires enormous transparency. You got to make all of it available to other experts across the nation, so they can look and see. So there’s consensus, this is a safe vaccine.”

    Transparency, yes! “…experts…so they can look and see.” Is there a Doctor Harry Markopolos in the house?

  34. Chris

    Looks like Trump is crossing the Rubicon of relief by executive order.

    I wonder how people will react to this? I mean, if I hear about the president trying to do something because Congress won’t or can’t, and then Congress comes back and throws a hissy fit – advantage Trump, right?

    If Congress comes back and cuts or reduces whatever aid Trump tried to provide – advantage Trump.

    If Congress comes back and gives more aid than what Trump proposed, Trump still gets to claim he broke the gridlock – advantage Trump.

    I’m scared for what comes next if people let the executive define what is effectively new funded legislation in this manner. I’m scared for what happens if people throw this into the legal hopper and we don’t have timely relief.

    Check please. I’d like to leave this 2020 establishment before I get a double helping of anarchy for free… :/

    1. voteforno6

      Trump can claim whatever he wants to claim, like he always does. That still doesn’t change the fact that he has no actual authority to do this stuff. The Trumpsters are already acting like this is some sort of masterstroke on his part. It’s not – it’s just more bluster from an unhinged lunatic.

      1. edmondo

        Exactly. Ask Trump to knight me while he out making empty gestures. Empty gestures? Advantage: Not Trump.

        1. Chris

          Spoken like a person who’s not in danger of being evicted…

          Biden is MIA and Nancy was last seen getting testy with Ms. woodruff. Schumer is saying some pretty awful things lately too. We ignore the perception of what trump just did at our own peril.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      “Trump said Americans earning less than $100,000 would be eligible for a payroll tax holiday through the end of this year, after which they would be required to pay the deferred taxes. But he said that if he is reelected in November, he would “forgive” the deferred taxes and make the cut permanent.”

      so he’s “helping” by holding back on some payroll taxes(not a lot of jack, iirc) for whomever still has a jawb, but theyll owe all that whenever this is over(just like iraq,lol–what’s “victory” look like?)…unless they vote for him.
      reads like a chapter in the Triumph(Galbraith)…some tinpot dictator waving his arms.
      Or maybe Baghdad Bob…

      1. flora

        Make the cut permanent? At $100,000. ?

        Well, since the payroll tax is capped at $137,700. me thinks he means to starve SS going forward. Now, if Mitt Romney’s idea (agreed to by Dem Sen Manchin) to prefund SS for the next 75 years comes into play, (see the Post Office),why then, say bu-bye to SS, boys and girls.

        1. flora

          adding: too bad the Dems are running a guy who’s been trying to cut SS for decades, as he himself brags. Jeebus. Tell me how I’m supposed to vote for my interest in this situation.

          Is my choice between a guy and party who promises to whack me fast (T/GOP) and a guy and party who promises to whack me slow (B/Dem)? Some choice.

          1. Chris

            Yes it is. Remember, there may be two parties, but it’s one system. And that system doesn’t work for you and me :(

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well .. . there are Vanity Third Parties to vote for. And there is leaving the President line blank while voting about other people and things.

  35. Riverboat Grambler

    Was closing down the convenience store last night and some poor boo-boo didn’t like that they needed to buy a mask to be in the store so they spiked their used mask on the public door handle outside. For freedom, I assume.

    It’s been a few weeks since the mandate here in Madison WI and most people have been cool about it. The last people who hassled me about it were a couple of old dudes who I asked to cover their faces with the bandanas they already had on(!) around their necks.

    “Wow you guys are really into this mask thing huh?”

    “Sorry sir, it’s the law.”

    “Yeah yeah, you’re young, you’ll change when you get older. You won’t believe everything the government says.”

    Oh yeah? Which government? The one that says we should wear a mask, or the one that says we should just ignore all the dead people?

      1. skippy

        First thing that came to my mind.

        So many things will be a blur under all the covid confusion E.g Citgo corruption case. Imagine a nation prosecuting executives, barbaric.

  36. VietnamVet

    The USA has had third world equivalent regions for years. I know. I lived in Southeast Asia for three years. The rising middle class due to the New Deal reached its peak in the late 1970s. Generations later Americans have lost their coping skills and family farms. They have no way to deal with the loss of a job, no money and lack of a purpose in life. From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people died from a drug overdoses.

    US coronavirus deaths are predicted to hit 300,000 by December. Due to the lack of coordination, the testing debacle, ignoring antigen tests, and billions in funding given to vaccine corporations that won’t be available into next year, the virus will have spread everywhere to enough people so that it will never go away even if the vaccine works.

    Without change, the USA will be much worse off than Singapore, Thailand, or Vietnam who are keeping the virus at bay. Unless democracy is restored in American soon, North America will be filled with sick, broke, splintered, failed states like Lebanon.

  37. Cuibono

    Half of voters in a recent WSJ/NBC News poll say there is no chance they will support President Trump, and 37% say they would never back Joe Biden.

    Maybe americans are not so stoopid after all

  38. oliverks

    I want to make a few comments on UK’s rapid COVID tests

    This article clears up a couple mysteries. The original article I saw seem to imply the two companies were somehow collaborating.

    Let me start with DnaNudge. I will start by saying I know very little about this company, other than to say the BS meter is ringing off the hook. Other people might be able to provide more info.

    The other company, Oxford Nanopore, which “has not yet gained a CE mark” I know quite a bit about. First of all it is not some new start up, it has been around for quite a bit of time. Second it’s technology has been validated by a number of independent researchers. As a DNA / RNA sequencing machine it is a remarkably clever insight.

    The main concern I would have about Oxford Nanopore’s use in a clinical setting is have they solve the gunking up of the nanopore. The key technology is a tiny hole (a nanopore) that the DNA or RNA sequence slips through. The problem is if the tiny hole gunks up the system fails. The good news is if it does fail, it is obvious it has failed.

    So while the article is dismissive of Oxford Nanopore, I would actual trust the devices results.

    As a disclaimer, I have worked on competitive technology to Oxford Nanopore, but I have no relationship with the company.

Comments are closed.