Links 9/1/2020

Man Draws Cartoon Faces On His Expressionless Cats Animal Rescue (David L). Better than the headline.

Humans’ construction ‘footprint’ on ocean quantified for first time PhysOrg (Kevin W)

Fossil Fuels Are Here To Stay OilPrice. Resilc: “People who think we’ll all drive Teslas soon haven’t been to Guatemala or Liberia.”

Interactive map lets you track the location of your hometown on the Earth as the planet changes over 750 million years Daily Mail


Coronavirus live news: India adds nearly 2m cases in August, France cases rise 50% in one month Guardian


Thailand Covid-19 vaccine proved successful in trials on monkeys Pattaya News (furzy)

Obese Patients at High Risk of Severe Covid Illness, Study Finds Bloomberg


How Trump Sowed Covid Supply Chaos Wall Street Journal. Important and I think not paywalled.

New York City teachers union holds strike authorization vote amidst mass opposition to school reopening WSWS

6 Million Stricken with Covid-19: Trump has turned the US into a Sh*thole Country Juan Cole (resilc)

The Real Reason Contact Tracing Is Doomed in the US: Spam Calls Vice (resilc). No, this is a second-order problem at this juncture. The infection is too prevalent for 1. contact tracing to have much impact and 2. To even be certain that a subsequent infection resulted from the contact chain, as opposed to an independent source. If we get the infection rate down, then contact tracing could be very productive… conjunction with testing.

Vermont Considers Flu Shot Mandate NCEN


Sink or swim: China’s ‘zero Covid’ strategy The Spectator

Political Responses

HHS bids $250 million contract meant to ‘defeat despair and inspire hope’ on coronavirus Politico (resilc). Everything is like CalPERS….

Berlin coronavirus protests trigger debate on basic rights DW

EU seeks to improve cross-border co-ordination as Covid-19 cases rise Financial Times

Plato’s Cave provides low-income housing in response to community shut down OzarksFirst

Heal the Country? Disease Specialists Running for Congress New York Times (Kevin C)

Japan’s Shinzō Abe Was an Uninspiring Leader Who Prospered by Default Jacobin. PlutoniumKun: “A very good take on Abe’s ultimate political failures (although it’s pretty bad on economics)”

France’s Macron calls on Lebanon to form new government BBC

New Cold War

Nord Stream 2 Troubles: An Uncertain Future for the German-Russian Pipeline Der Spiegel (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Andrew Yang Takes Lead Role In California Data Privacy Campaign Politico

FBI Worried Ring and Other Doorbell Cameras Could Tip Owners Off To Police Searches The Verge

Trump Transition

French justice minister supports prisoners rights group urging Trump to drop charges against Assange Lucy Komisar: “A French prisoners’ rights groups supporting Assange, may not be surprising, but the interesting part is that the French Justice Minister supports this.”

House Oversight Head Maloney Prepares to Issue Subpoena to Postmaster General DeJoy Wall Street Journal

The Uprising Decomplexified & the Madness of William Barr notesfromdisgraceland


That’s because this is what happens when they do talk about policy:

A Word Not Uttered by Republican Officials at the Convention: Obamacare New York Times (furzy)

Marko Kolanovic: Investors Should Position For Rising Odds Of Trump Victory Heisenberg Report (resilc)

Exclusive: Dem group warns of apparent Trump Election Day landslide Axios (David L)

The six political states of Florida Washington Post. Here I thought there were only four: retired Jews, DisneyWorld, drug dealers, and alligators. And please don’t get prissy. Any Borscht Belt comic could do a much better riff on this theme.

Kennedy-Markey race takes nasty turn in Massachusetts The Hill

This Massachusetts primary is everything wrong with the Democratic Party The Week (UserFriendly)

Trump at the RNC: Echoes of Saddam CounterPunch. Resilc: “I’m ready to tear down Trump statues with my John Deere tractor.”

Innocent Florida inmate released after 37 years Orlando Sentinel (UserFriendly)

Mob ‘justice’: How one feminist’s simple Tweet enraged transgender activists and saw her sacked from her dream job RT (MW)

America Divided

The Revolt of the Baristas Notes on Liberty

Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement Brennan Center for Justice

Trump defends Kenosha suspect as acting in self-defense The Hill

DHS Chief Chad Wolf Tells Tucker Carlson the Feds Are ‘Working On’ Corruption Charges Against BLM Leaders Daily Beast. UserFriendly: “LOL, charging imaginary people.”

Former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin remembers the police stop that made him sweat CNN (Kevin W)

Skyrocketing demolition costs for riot-damaged Minneapolis, St. Paul properties delay rebuilding Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Dan K)

What Apple’s landmark court win against the EU means for Ireland CNBC. UserFriendly: :-(

Facebook and Google Serve As Vectors For Misinformation While Hobbling Local Journalism and Collecting Taxpayer Subsidies, Group Says Axios

Facebook is threatening to block Australians from sharing news on its platforms if planned government regulation goes ahead Business Insider (Kevin W)

CalPERS board member calls for no new private equity investments until CIO probe over Axios

Hotel Industry Remains On Brink of Collapse AHLA. Read the boldfaced headers. Grim.

Tesla’s nickel quest highlights metal’s environmental burden Financial Times

Mission Creep at the Federal Reserve? Or Mission Focus? Nathan Tankus

Class Warfare

The Social Fabric of the U.S. Is Fraying Severely, if Not Unravelling Glenn Greenwald, Intercept (resilc)

The Loan Company That Sued Thousands of Low-Income Latinos During the Pandemic — ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour. Furzy: “My sister’s new llama, Harvey, on left, 10 months old”:

And a bonus (Samuel C). As a kid, I always liked raking leaves. But this sort of thing would motivate just about anyone:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. John A

    Re Nordstream 2 troubles:
    “Given the recent poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, calls for sanctions against Putin have grown louder.”

    Well that surely points the smoke from the gun in the direction of the Kremlin, does it not? Just as the Skripals were poisoned a few months before the soccer World Cup in Russia, obviously Putin wants to queer his own patch.

    1. AbyNormal

      Still, WTF! an Merkel’s been so gentle with Putin last few years…30 minute Treasuries here we come ¿

    2. The Rev Kev

      No real surprises from “Der Spiegel” as it has what one might call an Atlantasist viewpoint. Last I heard, the pipeline though delayed, is mostly complete with only a small section left to complete. I do not know if it true or not but I read that the port that Washington is threatening – Mukran Port – actually lies in Merkel’s electoral district so this is a real shot across the bows. But if Germany buckles, then they will have to accept a smaller economy due to energy restrictions. LPG from the US is not really that feasible or reliable, especially in contrast to Russian energy. And after the body blow their economy is experiencing through the pandemic, they will be keen for expansion and will need energy supplies to do it.

      1. Olga

        Spiegel now wants me to consent to being tracked, so cannot read the article.
        (This is a realistic picture:
        The problem for Germany is that there is little choice: the US LNG does not have adequate capacity, it will still be several yrs before additional LNG terminals are completed, the US gas would be more expensive, Germ would have to build new terminals to accept US LNG, and – as Hurricane Laura just showed us – existing US LNG terminals are in the path of not-infrequent hurricanes:
        In a normal world, this would not even be a discussion, alas…

  2. a different chris

    That’s actually not a bad article about “Fossil Fuels Are Here To Stay” – part of the reason it isn’t bad is that it doesn’t say anything anywhere in it that matches the headline.

    But even in the “better-than-the-headline”article you get this “crude oil’s share in total final energy consumption had fallen by a meager 8.6 percentage points to 40.8 percent”

    Meager? If Company Alpha had 48% of a market and it dropped to 40% everybody in the boardroom would be fired, or at least they would have been 20 years ago before the glass floor had taken on today’s nearly impermeable consistency. That’s simply an astonishing amount.

    Instead of making me gloomier, that kind of number actually perks me up slightly.

      1. John k

        Cost of renewables inexorably drops even as batteries improve and costs decline. E vehicles still cost more, but Europe and China are ramping up production fast. Trump trying to help his fossil donors, but he’s pissing into the wind.

    1. Bill

      UK in the 1970s was 90% dependent on oil for energy consumption. Fossil fuel dependency has plummeted. Most of that was due to changes to consumption behaviour in the 80s and 90s from high oil prices, people want to spend less on their energy needs and have looked for more efficient energy uses. With investment in renewables, oil is no longer the cheapest means of electric power.

      It may will be that we need some fossil resources, but not as fuels. For example, lubricants, plastics, coking coal etc. So mining and drilling will remain.

  3. dougie

    “FBI Worried Ring and Other Doorbell Cameras Could Tip Owners Off To Police Searches”

    Given enough R&D capital to burn through, I feel certain that Elon Musk could develop a “Law Enforcement Cloak Of Invisibility”

    Didja ever just wake up hating on Elon Musk? Today must be my day!

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah. cops don’t care for people having scanners, either.
      they’re really shy, it turns out.

      sad that irony is such a rarefied skill these days…how many times have i heard “if you’re not doing anything wrong, what are you worried about?”?

      (I have a little Pain Field Generator in the shop to discourage unauthorised access—and made certain the experience and therefore mythology of the thing entered the hivemind of the local criminal element, and thereby leo’s—-we the people can do this social engineering, too,lol*
      “makes ya sh&t yer pants and run away”…turns off with a keychain fob. anti-porch pirate and anti secret search. cost about $90, although i’d spring for the more expensive one in hindsight)

      (* apparently, “social engineering” is my theme for today,lol)

      1. Watt4Bob

        I read an article some time ago about controlling wild water buffalo in the Australian out-back.

        It seems the animals, thousands of them, caused problems and so they built a very long electric fence.

        They were all wondering how many buffalo had to be shocked in order for the herd to get the message.

        IIRC, it turned out to be enough to count on one hand.

    2. jr

      He is a maniac. Did you catch the article about the cyborg pigs? He’s just blurting out claims that neurolinks will cure diseases like depression, etc. Totally unsubstantiated of course, it’s not even science fiction, it’s science fantasy. His fanboy cult online is a grotesque, an echo chamber of tech fetishism.

  4. a different chris

    >He was re-elected w/55% of the vote months later. He’s been sheriff for 18 yrs. A hideous would-be genocidaire leads law enforcement for Kenosha County.

    Yes… but who ran against him? What was the turnout? How much did this opposition spend, did anybody even hear of him/her?

    Anybody with any sort of serious ownership (property, business) who lives in Kenosha county would be scared to death about running against him and losing. Anybody who wears a badge would be in even worse shape, they would literally have to pick up and move.

    Which is another way fascism gets going.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      I’ve met Dave Beth briefly a couple of times while living in Kenosha County. I never picked up on any of this and, frankly, listening to the clip he sounds like someone repeating garbage told to him by others (sadly, probably other law enforcement).

      When I met him years ago he was in my opinion the most mellow sheriff I’d ever encountered. Whatever demons he had in him then were very well bottled up.

      I also met Kenosha Mayor Antaramian. He seemed like a hard-nosed politician but now on camera he looks like a kindly grandpa. Looks are deceiving.

  5. FreeMarketApologist

    The joy and fun of both the first link (cats) and the last bonus antidote (dogs), made the rest of the links sandwiched in between tolerable. Thank you!

    1. a different chris

      It’s not even a point of view, it’s Aunt Maude clutching her petticoats. I mean “marauders? Give me a break.

      >Withdraw the police long enough, and you get Kyle Rittenhouse.

      Who withdrew the police? They were so close Rittenhouse walked up to them?

      >“Any civil authority,” Andrew Sullivan wrote recently, “that permits, condones or dismisses violence, looting and mayhem in the streets disqualifies itself from any legitimacy.”

      Yes and the police are more and more seemingly the source, not the solution. Violence? Check?
      Looting? Hear about people having their property seized due to a “drug bust” when it wasn’t even their drugs?

      We’re not supposed to have to decide between Bad Actor A and Bad Actor B but here we are.

      And yeah, the carjacker’s life is worth more than your car. You didn’t do anything as a 20 year old that you are not proud of as a 40-something?

      The problem is gunz gunz gunz that makes it easier for the carjacker to get a drop on you and easier to cross that line, by either of you, in the heat of the moment.

      And now we have a new problem, suburban thugs hopping into their pickups and driving to where they simply do not belong.

      Nobody has a chance to recover once a bullet finds flesh. This whole thing is American, as usual we ignore the way the rest of the world acts. They don’t have these stories. They don’t have these problems. They don’t have this weird attitude towards guns, where a 17 year old from a different state walking around at night with an AK-47 is considered something just fine.

      1. Fireship

        How true. Where I come from, someone walking the street with an AR-15 would be treated as a possible terrorist. Not even the uniformed police are armed. I am grateful not to have the “freedoms” that Americans have. What is scary is that Rittenhouse would probably be a cop next year. How many more Kyles are there out there?

        1. RMO

          Fireship: Change the looks of the person holding the AR-15 and they would be regarded as a possible terrorist in the USA too. Remember John Crawford? He picked up a Crosman air rifle (that was designed to be cosmetically similar to an assault rifle – something fairly common) in Walmart and was taking it to the checkout. 911 was called on him, the police came, the police shot him dead. He was black. This was in an open-carry state where it would be legal to have the real thing in your hands. The surveillance videos don’t support the police version of events and there wasn’t any mayhem, confusion and violence going on in the store. Rittenhouse on the other hand was in the middle of a riot, many people had been assaulted, chaos all around and he was walking towards the police line – and then just kept on walking as the cops didn’t even bother to ask him any questions let alone try to take him into custody.

          1. Procopius

            I’ve seen one picture, probably taken from a video, of Rittenhouse walking, with his left hand raised high above his head, while his right hand is on the grip of his assault rifle. I couldn’t tell if his finger was outside the trigger guard or not. My speculation is the cops thought he was one of the militia, so was OK. One of theirs. They were looking for someone who looked to them like a shooter, an “other,” so of course they would ignore one of theirs.

      2. Laputan

        And now we have a new problem, suburban thugs hopping into their pickups and driving to where they simply do not belong.

        You made this same facile point yesterday but I suppose I’ll try again…:doesn’t this sound awfully similar to the message used against civil rights activists in the south during the 60’s? It certainly seems a little segregation-ish to tell a group of people they don’t belong somewhere, especially a major metropolitan area. And what if somebody from Portland ends up in the ‘burbs? Is it ok if they’re the recipient of violence since they’re not from around those parts?

        We should be able to entertain two thoughts at the same time: that police brutality is a serious issue and that looting and violence are only going to make things worse. Yet what should be easily condemned quickly devolves into this kind of whataboutism. A lot on the left refuse to admit any wrong-doing on the part of a bunch of keyed-up, extremely online losers. Frankly, it’s embarrassing and not addressing it plays directly into Trump’s hands.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Thank you.

          Segregated no-go zones to combat “racism,” or some other “-ism.” A winner of an idea. Thinking outside the box as some like to say.

          We’re all either sunnis or shiites now.

        2. pjay

          This seems an overly “facile” point on your part.

          I’ve been criticizing those “on the left” for ignoring or defending things like looting or (what I see as) counterproductive violence or destruction. But in this case, the intent of the caravan was clearly provocation. The two “defenders of freedom” involved had histories of right wing bullying. At least some evidence indicates that they were the aggressors in macing (or bear repelling?) some protesters (I’m not claiming certainty on this point yet, but…). I think a different chris is right that in this case they chose the wrong targets; one of them had a gun and was willing to use it.

          Now the alleged perpetrator has been ID’d online (again, not claiming certainty here). He may be a “trouble maker” as well who is doing more harm than good. As you say, we should be able to entertain two thoughts at the same time. But let’s not start comparing these right-wing a**holes with civil rights activists!

          1. Laputan

            I’m not condoning any acts of provocation by the MAGA chuds and I’m certainly comparing them to the Freedom Riding movement. I’m saying you don’t get to decide who “belongs” somewhere or not. That line of reasoning sounds a lot like something the Klan would say in Philadelphia.

            And if you’re not claiming certainty then why immediately assume that the guy who was killed was also the instigator? Again with the whataboutism.

          2. Medbh

            ‘”But in this case, the intent of the caravan was clearly provocation.”

            Who cares what their intent was? It shouldn’t make any difference regarding their right to protest. How is this not the left version of Bush’s free speech zones?

            One of the main reasons to protest is to be seen and heard, and to try and persuade others (even if the others are on TV). It makes no sense to do that on an empty country street.

            The clashing protests reminds me of the excuses of an abusive partner. No one ever says anything that “forces” another person to respond violently. It’s a choice.

            1. pjay

              The “right to protest”? Trying to “persuade others”? You’ve got to be kidding. Do you really think “free speech” is what these guys paraded into downtown Portland to defend? There is a whole history of the Patriot Prayer group in Portland. There is video, social media, etc.

              I’m not defending homicide by any means. As I said above, I’ve been critical of supposed “leftists” ignoring or defending looting or destructive violence. But to pretend that this caravan was about anything but courting confrontation is… let’s say disingenuous.

            2. Aumua

              But these aren’t “clashing protests”. One of them is a legitimate protest, and the other is not. What exactly are the right wingers protesting here? That the government is not cracking down hard enough? That’s not a protest, it’s a nationalist rally.

          1. Laputan

            Not sure if the mood of that sentence was declarative or imperative, but I’ll assume the latter.

            My view is that MAGA and ANTIFA (or whatever we’re calling the counter to the counter-protest movement) are in essence the same thing, each are politically incoherent movements based in opposition to the other politically incoherent movement. They have no affirmative function; their whole raison d’etre is just to troll (or physically combat) the other. Thus, I don’t view the left as the “good guys” here. In fact,since most are in the IDpol camp, I would say they’re an active hindrance to any real progress and the left should be a lot more vocal in disassociating from them.

            1. JWP

              Antifa is a minuscule organization, amplified by the right’s versions of cnn-like pundits. MAGA has millions of supporters,. Comparing them is like saying a mom and pop grocery store is to be held to the same standard as Walmart.

              1. JWP

                To clarify, the actions have the same result, but the scale and impact is vastly different, making the latter more dangerous.

                1. Laputan

                  One is undoubtedly larger and more organized. I’m not comparing the movements writ large but the die hards therein. Those that are willing to show up whenever the opposing side comes to town.

        3. Trogg

          “Driving where they don’t belong” in this context means a caravan of agro dudes looking for a fight, spraying pepper spray at people, shooting people with paintballs. It is sad it resulted in death, but pretty easy to condemn this exercise in provocation alongside looting if you can, in fact, entertain two thoughts at the same time. I don’t think I’m misunderstanding you.

          1. Laputan

            There were definitely those who had bad intentions. I’m not sure where I implied that was acceptable. I’m more concerned that, outside of right-wing rags like Daily Caller, there aren’t many news sources addressing the fact that there are also bad actors on the other side. And whenever someone like Lee Fang or Zaid Jiani brings this up, they’re dismissed as racists (in Lee’s case by his own colleague at the Intercept).

            1. JWP

              ” I’m more concerned that, outside of right-wing rags like Daily Caller, there aren’t many news sources addressing the fact that there are also bad actors on the other side.”

              If that is your chief concern, I suggest you read up about the underpinning of anger from both sides. It might make these “bad actors” fit into the larger picture better and allow you to focus on working towards resolving systematic problems as opposed to complaining about fair coverage. The goal of both sides of the media is to cover these actor and fairness narratives to distract from creating real change.

              1. Laputan

                I’m more expressing my concern, rather. Quite a stretch to claim that’s my chief concern with so little context.

                I’m familiar with the anger that animates both sides. In both there is some claim to legitimacy, and both have a tendency towards the own goal when it comes to expressing it.
                Neither seems overly concerned about this “real change” you speak of.

                You’re awfully presumptuous about my political activism from a couple posts about one event. I assure you, I’ve done some on my end to contribute to structural change. Who’s to say if it’s been enough? But it’s sure been more than spoiling for a fight with the MAGA crowd.

            2. Aumua

              Nah the same narratives as the Daily Caller pushes are all over “conservative” media of all shades. And all they EVER focus on is bad actors of the other side.

        4. EoH

          It’s their behavior that should be reviled, not their presence. I would start with their parading around with semi-automatic rifles, psyched to use them against people they consider barely human. That’s also a big hole in your attempt to compare them with 1960s Freedom Riders.

          1. Laputan

            Right…because I don’t believe anyone should be barred from the right to assemble, that’s essentially equating some MAGA ghouls to SNCC.

            Along with the ability to entertain two thoughts concurrently, maybe some of us on this board ought to research how an analogy works.

      3. Duke of Prunes

        “from a different state”

        Interesting (to me at least). I keep seeing this “from a different state” being thrown around in every negative Rittenhouse article. Has anyone looked at a map? Kyle’s home town is ~30 miles from Kenosha. That’s closer than Milwaukee or Chicago (where, if rumors are true, many of the Kenosha protesters were bused in from). Closer than many suburban Chicago cities are to Chicago. Far northern IL and SE Wisconsin are quite similar demographically (at least from my unscientific observations over the last 30 years of living and traveling in this area).

        1. barefoot charley

          SE Wisconsin has despised Chicago-area motorist/tourists for at least a half-century. You had a longstanding younger drinking-age up north, legal ‘oleo-margarine’ down south undermining middle-class cows, a huge metropolitan area spilling idiots into the North country where they can drink like Germans–when I was a drinking tyke 40 years ago my frenemies in Wisconsin talked frequently about ‘FIBs’, which are F**cking Illinois B**tards. I guess it’s still is a thing, so oft-repeated even journalists heard it. Eh?

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Not to mention the bitter, decades-long animosity between Wisconsin and Chicagoland over public benefits, which familiarized many of us who grew up in the area with ancient terms like “AFDC” and “welfare.”

            From a 1985 Chicago Tribune article: (Note the prominence of Kenosha.)

            In May, 100 of the 260 new AFDC cases in Kenosha County were from out of state and 50 of those came from Illinois, according to N. Clark Earl, director of the Kenosha County Social Services Department. The influx has increased in the last six months, and welfare officials believe the higher welfare checks are the big draw, he said.

            Some of the poor say they come to Wisconsin for jobs, but that`s a hard line to sell in Kenosha, a troubled city that faces the possible loss of its biggest employer, the American Motors Corp. auto plant.

            ”These people have no intention of going to work,” says Lt. Michael Serpe, a Kenosha police detective. ”To believe them when they say they are coming here for jobs is to believe in the tooth fairy. There are no jobs. They are coming here for one reason: Welfare pays more.”
            “Higher welfare payments in Wisconsin contribute to our crime problem,” Father Roscioli said. ”If I were living in Illinois and on welfare, I`d be an idiot not to move to Wisconsin and get $200 to $300 a month more.”

            A family of five that is on AFDC and not receiving food stamps will receive $731 a month in Wisconsin, or $281 more than the Illinois allowance of $450. With food stamps, the total monthly benefits are $893 in Wisconsin and $696 in Illinois, a $197 difference. Illinois ranks 26th in the nation in the level of payments.


    2. Amfortas the hippie

      FTA:”“Any civil authority,” Andrew Sullivan wrote recently, “that permits, condones or dismisses violence, looting and mayhem in the streets disqualifies itself from any legitimacy.” The appearance of a makeshift militia in Kenosha, and MAGA truck caravans in Portland, suggests at least a few Americans agree. What happens when thousands more decide they agree, too? Absent courage on the part of elected officials to deploy police—and give them appropriate leeway to use violence against the violent—we will return to armed citizen militias. The Second Amendment will once again be justified for a purpose many thought antiquated.”

      there’s always a decided lack of “walk a mile” in the other guy’s shoes(from both ends).
      that twitter rant yesterday from the woman who grew up in the kenosha neighborhood in question shines a bit of light, i think.
      the Social Contract so valiantly defended by “conservatives” was broken long ago in many places within this country…and that abrogation has been ignored and even ridiculed as if it were nothing to worry about.
      You want people to respect laws and property? make the former fair and actually Just…and make the latter more equally shared. Neither is currently the case, especially in sacrifice zones like that part of kenosha.
      That Andy Sullivan quote could just as easily be applied to everything from cop impunity to slumlords to city ordinances about loitering or to rentier capitalism, itself.

      1. Mel

        Yes. Start with restoring Rule of Law. No executions without a trial, conviction, and sentence. Then move on to the next thing.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Geo Bush and Obama in The Hague for war crimes? Clapper and Brennan in the docket for their attempted coup? I’m all for it, believe me.

        Meantime we have a sitting Congressman trying to walk two blocks back to his hotel in heart of the nation’s capitol who does not get police protection from rioters because he did not vote for the right guy.

        If LEOs are ever told to stand down for purely political reasons then this is the society you get. Wanna build a business? Get your kids educated? Engage in civil society? Better get a different theory of change than people torching and looting the CVS on the corner because “police are killing more and more unarmed blacks” (they’re not).

        The aristocracy gets absolutely everything now, even the littlest crumbs. Raise your hand if you believe that (violently) promoting a switch to the other billionaire Wall St war monger team will change a single solitary thing about that. Where were they when Bernie, the guy who would actually do something to change their lives for the better, was castrated? When The Man Who Would Be King knifed every Dem except the “nothing will change” candidate?

    3. anEnt

      The author is not wrong, but also assumes that there is accountability applied to those in power in any meaningful way. If our leaders had busied themselves about gardening the law and policing the police (and regulators), we’d be at a far happier place.

      The author, oddly given AmCon’s anti-war history, fails to observe the corrosive effects on civil society of giving government and the military broad powers and immunity, and of failing to hold politicians accountable who ordered increasingly unhinged and immoral tactics in far off, and not so far off places.

      Interestingly, it is not only the rioters of the left who are freeloaders in civil society, but also objectivists anarchists, and some pretty (economically) powerful libertarians, as is frequently pointed out here.

  6. zagonostra

    >The Great Unraveling

    A good companion piece to Glen Greenwald’s.

    In truth, social democracies are successful precisely because they foment dynamic capitalist economies that just happen to benefit every tier of society. That social democracy will never take hold in the United States may well be true, but, if so, it is a stunning indictment…

    The checkout person may not share your level of affluence, but they know that you know that they are getting a living wage because of the unions. And they know that you know that their kids and yours most probably go to the same neighborhood public school. Third, and most essential, they know that you know that if their children get sick, they will get exactly the same level of medical care not only of your children but of those of the prime minister. These three strands woven together become the fabric of Canadian social democracy.

    1. AbyNormal

      In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else’s mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one’s own place and economy.
      In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks, and shares. And as our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced or placeless citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self-interested suppliers…
      Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else’s legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would be the point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed?
      The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth – that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community – and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means.
      ~Wendell Berry

    2. chuck roast

      Scary round-up of individuation and Pathological Capitalism by Greenwald. The 29 year-old son a very good friend of mine just took his own life. He had a particular musical genius. He was well liked by his peers and was well looked after by his parents. I’m sure that my friend is lashing himself continuously over what he could have done differently.

      What constitutes a public health crisis? The accumulation of firearms and consequent gun deaths? The obsession with tweet/face by American youth? And the list goes on. I have been insisting for decades that our need for and obsession with motor vehicles is itself a public health crisis. Global warming and deaths from air pollution aside, we have suffered 30, 40, 50,000 deaths per year from auto accidents…not to mention injuries and permanent disabilities. Why is this never mentioned as an ongoing public health crisis? How does a built environment designed specifically for automobile use not constitute and contribute to carceral growth? How does ignoring this not contribute to the fraying of the social fabric? How is living in “a geography of nowhere” (Kuntsler) not innately pathological?

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        “30, 40, 50,000 deaths per year from auto accidents”

        One of the many things that the Coronavirus pandemic has revealed is how often this society makes choices that prefer profit over human life. As the shifty proponents of the kamikaze approach argue over and over, we lose tens of thousands every year to things like auto accidents, opioid overdose, suicide, workplace accidents, etc. that would be preventable if we were not so devoted to serving Mammon and profit.

        So we shouldn’t be surprised that high governmental officials and most “money men” are pulling all the strings they can to choose profit over human life on a yet larger scale. Apparently, we’re so in thrall to profit and money that the deaths of hundreds of thousands are to be preferred over closing the restaurants and bars.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Meantime last weekend to absolutely no fanfare whatsoever the nation’s top disease management institution (the CDC) released data showing that fully 6% of “Covid deaths” had zero co-morbidities. The average number of co-morbidities is 2.6. 94% of those who died “were of an extreme advanced age”. If you leave in the co-morbidities that could be related (like pneumonia, diabetes, and obesity for example) but take out the causes that are clearly not related (Alzheimers, sepsis, dementia, cancer, suicides, and unintentional injury) then you arrive at: 50,000 Covid deaths. 2018 flu season? 80,000 deaths.

          Team Apocalypse really does not want you to learn this but Dr. Ron Paul is trying to get this perspective into the debate. He’s gotten wordy as he advances in years but you can skip to the analysis at 4:36:

          I’m happy to take any and all incoming fire for this…but I’m pretty sure global economic and societal Armageddon Was_And_Is_Not_Justified

          1. wilroncanada

            OH Hal
            Did you take out the co-morbidities which are important factors in deaths from flu also? I’m not willing to look up statistics, if there are any meaningful ones in, the US, but just anecdotally, far and away the most consistent factor in flu deaths are age and its infirmities. Add in the the other illnesses of all those younger victims.
            C’mon man! apples to apples.

          2. Aumua

            This link mentions a QAnon group as the source of the meme. So congratulations, you are now a mouthpiece for QAnon propaganda.

            (sorry, you did say you didn’t mind taking some fire)

            We could go further, into the claims themselves. But I wonder if you even really want to do that at this point.

          3. vidimi

            i checked this information on the CDC website and it seems to be true, but all it means is that this disease is a culling force for people with health problems: a huge and growing demographic.

            and as wilroncanada points out below, the flu is only dangerous to the extremely frail as well. it doesn’t decimate frontline medical staff like covid has in many countries.

  7. Winston Smith

    Mass primary. Maddening and totally useless. Kennedy is jus another entitled “Kennedy” driven by his ego. Apparently “endorsed” by Pelosi, not that this has any weight in MA.

    1. a different chris

      That person “sacked from her dream job” is, like most 25 year olds, an idiot. Not stupid, just unable to put a harness between her brain and her mouth.

      >For one so young, she has both wisdom and moral courage.

      No, you don’t have wisdom at 25 otherwise you would not have lost your job tweeting to a conversation for which you had about nothing to offer. I mean, what is she even trying to say:

      The reason i think pronouns suck is because thinking of people as “they/them” and pretending they’re not male or female is like color/race blindness for gender. It won’t help sexism or toxic masculinity. Men and women have unique and distinct experiences…

      Is she saying if you were born a man you have those experiences regardless of later identification (bad), or was she saying that if you do identify as a man you have those “unique” manly I guess experiences which I would think would be OK (why else would you come out?). Really who the hell knows what she is saying and anyway, what did she add to the conversation?

      She just wanted to participate like some eager puppy but without the endearing qualities. She needs to just shut up for the next 15 years or so.

      1. Donald

        Your hostility towards this young woman seems wildly over the top. I don’t understand it at all. She lost her job because of one confused tweet and your response is that she should keep her mouth shut for the next 15 years.

        1. CitizenSissy

          Sounds like she was on the receiving end of an “at Will” employment relationship. If you’re a youngun posting under your name, keep in mind that’s likely the first thing hiring managers look at.

      2. Laputan

        She’s pretty clearly saying that there should be a distinction between people who were born women and trans women. I don’t care enough about the topic to agree or disagree, but there certainly wasn’t anything incendiary enough to warrant her getting fired. Did you also happen note the identity of the author?

        And if you’re going to try and make a case against someone’s lack of maturity, maybe rethink lines like,”She needs to just shut up for the next 15 years or so”? Because it doesn’t sound like she’s the immature one here…..

      3. The Rev Kev

        In all fairness Chris, think of the hypersensitivity of social media these days and how easily you can find yourself under attack and cancelled because somebody wants to make an issue of something you said. And not for what you said but for what somebody else thought that you meant. As an experiment, go over to the Daily Kos and leave a comment saying that Joe Biden appears to be suffering from dementia and watch the reaction. I just thank god that there was no social media when I was 25 watching everything that I said and recording everything that I did. It would be like living in a word-wide panopticon and would crush any free spirit that you had.

        1. barefoot charley


          She thought she had a right to a reasoned perspective. She didn’t.

          (I’ll admit in this safe space that I agree with what she said, which I found perfectly clear. Rowling got the same treatment for similar self-evident thinking. We are so fooked.)

        2. hunkerdown

          How am I supposed to have sympathy for someone who can afford to uphold the institution of the unpaid internship? She had decided to play the woke game, not understanding its predatory, capricious nature, or believing that she was immune to its attacks. Play predatory woke games, win predatory woke prizes.

          * By no means do I believe she deserved it. Nonetheless, by petitioning to however entry-level an elite class position, she accepted all that world entails, including the zero-sum politics and the risk of being done to by a competitor.

          1. ArvidMartensen

            Well, I think that is an unfair comment. You know, we are all born in a society and none us choose the circumstances we are born in.
            Nobody gets to choose whether they are born poor or rich, black, brown, white etc. Nobody gets to choose the society they are born into, whether it be mostly a civil society(lucky some) or a predatory society (unlucky most).
            So if you are unlucky enough to be born into a society that feeds on predatory practices such as unpaid internships as the road to a possible job, and you are unlucky enough to need to have a paid job, then that is the society you are in and that is your position.
            More and more, unpaid internships are the only path to a job. In publishing. In the law. In hospitality.
            I cannot see the difference between this lady taking an unpaid internship, or poor people choosing to work for less than the minimum wage because they have no other choice and they have to eat.
            The real issue is, how do we put in place rules that make such predatory practices unattractive? That’s what unions did, and government regulation. But the predators have dismantled these protections for us, and it’s all a survival game now in a world where predators rule.

      4. Randy G.

        Wow, Chris, if only this young woman had consulted with you first then she would have known what she is allowed to say and what not to say.

        So she deserved to lose her job? And now she just needs to shut-up for “15 years or so” on your orders?

        “Stifle yourself, Edith!” At least Archie Bunker was funny.

        To me you come across as a pompous jerk without a shred of empathy — but I certainly don’t think you should lose your job over it because a mob of deranged ‘virtue signalers’ are hassling your boss.

        Ordering a 25-year old woman to shut-up for 15 years until their opinions fall in line with yours seems a little stifling, don’t you think?

      5. Katniss Everdeen

        So, this woman tweets her feelings on “pronouns” and gets canned, J. K. Rowling does the same and gets character assassinated on twitter, and Elon Musk does the same and not only gets to keep the 1000% increase in stock price over the past year, but remains the uncriticized darling of wall street and the Tesla cult.

        I’m pretty sure I don’t know all the “rules” defining the way this game is played.

      6. Tom Bradford

        Whatever happened to:

        ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,’

        (attributed to Voltaire.)

        And isn’t there something about this in the First Amendment?

      7. integer

        I just read a comment of yours in today’s Water Cooler in which you described yourself as a “normal human male”. Seems to me like that description could be interpreted as you saying that men who are not like you are “abnormal human males”. Imagine someone took offense and started a campaign against you that ultimately resulted in you losing your job.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Could you imagine a debate between Ed Markey and Joe Kennedy III and in the middle of it Ed Markey turns to Joe Kennedy and says-

      “Congressman, I served with Robert Kennedy, I knew Robert Kennedy, Robert Kennedy was a friend of mine. Congressman, you are no Robert Kennedy.”

      1. EoH

        How delightful that a princeling who was bored being a member of the House will lose his seat in it for trying to replace a perfectly good mildly progressive Senator. Shame on Ms. Pelosi for backing him. At least she exposed establishment Dems’ hypocrisy: they oppose primary challenges only when they are against a member of the Dems’ right wing.

      2. pasha

        markey, in a recent ad mentioning kennedy’s lukewarm support for a number of progressive policies, ended it: “with all due respect, it is time to ask what your country can do for you!”

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s mildly amusing to see the full on embrace of the Kennedys as neo Boston Brahman though.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s not like Joe III’s the only Irish Catholic with questionable past associations (the frat he regretted being in last year) in the area.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Fossil Fuels Are Here To Stay OilPrice.

    A key factor that’s missing from this type of linear projection is that as demand falls for oil and gas, there will be massive surpluses in the system as the marginal cost of producing from an existing well is generally very low, and the incentive is always there for producers to accept low profits in order to maintain market share (just look at Saudi Arabia’s response to the Covid crash in prices). This will also meet another factor rarely mentioned – the world is not running out of oil or gas, but it is running out of oil and gas that is cheap to produce. There will never be another Ghawar field.

    This will likely lead to a world of wildly fluctuating oil prices as producers struggle to match demand. You might even find governments forced to subsidise oil and gas in order to maintain supplies. This is likely to be enormously destructive to all but futures traders. Periods of extremely low prices could also be as destructive to renewables investors as it is to the fossil fuel industry.

    1. Lost in OR

      Right on. Seems to me the oscillation of oil prices and demand was one of the outcomes predicted by the Peak Oil crowd at least a couple of decades ago.

      Actually, not much of what we are going through should be much of a surprise if you’ve been paying attention.

    1. timbers

      “This past week Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave a major speech where he announced that the Federal Reserve will no longer tighten monetary policy without first seeing signs of inflation.”

      Find it hard to believe the Fed can be so clueless, so am more inclined towards deliberately deceptive. Inflation is right in front of Jerome’s face. It’s called the stock market and financial assets. That is where all the free money he is passing out is going into.

      If Jerome hadn’t printed and handed out all this free money for his friends on Wall Street, the markets might be less than half of what they are today. That alone would cut inequality by about 50%. The Fed does this via QE. QE should be outlawed.

      When Jerome decided to print $3 trillion and give it to his friends on Wall Street, he know they weren’t going to buy food, gasoline, a house, rent another apartment, buy clothes and trade in their car for a new own. Jerome knew they would buy assets and inflate asset prices.

      What to know the real rate inflation caused by the Fed? Just follow asset markets. Maybe we should peg Social Security cost of living adjustments to stock markets. Wouldn’t that raise some howls of protest?

      1. Kurtismayfield

        Median house price US 1997 ( inflation adjusted ) 180k

        Median house price US 2019 ( inflation adjusted). 270k


        Previous to the mid 90’s the median house price did not increase above 190k inflation adjusted.

        ZIRP policies started in the mid 90’s correct?

        1. Pat

          My guess is it was more likely the the loosening of bank regulations that started in the nineties. That started the securitization scam. A scam that should have been but was not in 2009. Banks having to keep the mortgages they issued listed accurately on their books limited what the average joe would be loaned to pay for a house. Too many failures do not look good. When that ended, and the mortgages could be sliced and diced and sold, people who shouldn’t have been able to get a loan for more than a hundred thousand could get double and triple that. Average Joe could now “afford” the granite countertops and extra bathrooms.

  9. Mark P.

    Re: interactive map. This website is a good learning opportunity about data privacy. It provides some geologic information and there’s a cool google earth globe that shows the landmasses moving over time. But there is no info provided specifically about your hometown. What it does get you to do is provide your birth location to an unknown entity with no limitation in how that’s used. With all the other info that’s collected on us, this is likely just another price of information about us for the corporations to record, to better track preferences and direct all the more subtle advertising at us. The guy who created the website used to work for Google. Think about data privacy, and do what you’re comfortable with (false data?). But, hey, the site does provide SCIENCE!

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      meh. in this case, i reckon the panopticon already knows where i live.
      as well as much else about me and mine. ship=sailed.
      regardless,it’s a neat tool for visualising geologic processes…although i wish it had, for instance, uplifts and subsidence, changing verticality,etc.. Explaining the shallow sea that used to be right here, and the Llano Uplift that drained it and made all these hills, to a kindergartener, is challenging, to say the least.
      still. Neat.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    What Apple’s landmark court win against the EU means for Ireland CNBC.

    I confess not to be as informed on the intricacies of international tax laws than I should be, but from what I’ve heard this article and similar others are overstating the wider relevance of the Apple decision. The original EU action was not relevant to current Irish tax law, but to a legacy from the 1980’s, when Apple was a small upstart company and the Irish FDA authorities took a gamble in giving them a very favourable deal to establish themselves in Ireland. Apple’s deal is very much sui generis and is not particularly relevant to the other IT giants. In fact, the article implies Amazon is HQ’d in Ireland for this reason, but its actually got its tax HQ in Luxembourg. The big issue in the case was that the Irish tax authorities turned a blind eye to Apples massive growth for years and allowed it to maintain its original very sweet deal.

    The primary reason the Irish government was determined to defend its right to say no to billions is that Apple is a very important employer in Irelands second city Cork (not just in numbers, they are generally highly paid jobs), plus its seen as important to be defending ‘its’ FDA winners, which is of course exactly what the multinationals want.

  11. Amfortas the hippie

    re: politico on HHS social engineering contracts:

    “The HHS document also says that market research will be used to slice up the American population and “target specific audiences with tailored communications.”
    HHS said that among the targets of this information will be businesses and workplaces, colleges and other schools, faith organizations, child care programs and people in law enforcement.”

    Might have worked, in earlier days, when more of our large institutions and leadership(sic) enjoyed the trust of a larger portion of the population.
    I reckon Alex Jones has a woody just thinking about this endeavor.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Hotel Industry Remains On Brink of Collapse AHLA.

    I was passing a building site in Dublin yesterday where a budget hotel is under construction – they are still going full speed ahead. After an inordinately long construction period (about 3 years), a new Hard Rock Hotel also opened in the last few weeks. I wonder if some are gambling that they can survive on the basis of having a strong ‘brand’, while weaker operators fail and AirBnB goes into retreat.

    I suspect that the damage to the hotel industry will not be generalised. Some hotels here in Ireland have been booked solid for months, and at very high rates. Its almost entirely staycationers (yes, horrible word, I’ll try not to use it too much). In the right location with the right facilities, some seem to be doing very well. At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve heard stories here that some newly built hotels are desperately trying to do deals with local authorities and housing co-ops to act as temporary housing facilities. In other words, they are relying on the government trying to kill two birds with one stone by bailing out the industry while providing more homeless accommodation. That makes sense temporarily, but most of those hotels are simply not suitable for long term residents and I suspect could cause all sorts of problems if they become a housing ‘solution’.

    The big losers I think are the business and hotel conference facilities. I can’t see many surviving, at least not in their current form. I suspect casual travellers and holidaymakers will return much faster than business and conference travel.

    1. 430 MLK

      Agreed on the convention center industry and its related business ecosystems. This will be short-term bad for many small to midsize cities that have devoted so many resources to maintaining them. My city, for example, is in the midst of finishing a $250 million expansion (not counting related investments like bike trails and hotel construction surrounding it). That cost represents roughly 75% of our entire General Fund annual budget on one urban block.

      Long term, though, it may be a good thing. Convo failures may open up new urban areas for the development of less super-sized carbon-era relationships…cheaper buildings to maintain and promote that also lessen the city’s dependence/insistence on super-sizing those otherwise good or innocuous human interests in things like sports, music, education, tourism, food, business.

      Yes…-may- is doing a lot of work there.

  13. jr

    Re: Teachers Strike

    I texted my teacher sister this morning and asked her about it, she replied with an emphatic “I don’t know!” I think it’s safe to assume none of the rank and file are being told jack. When that changes I’ll post what I learn here.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    Japan’s Shinzō Abe Was an Uninspiring Leader Who Prospered by Default Jacobin.

    Yves commented in another context yesterday that Japanese PM’s have far less power than is usually thought. The real decisions are made through sharp edged manoeuvrings among grandees in the various factions that operate below the more serene cabinet level. But things do seem to have changed in the Abe years:

    Traditionally, change in government hasn’t come through the alternation of parties in power, but though changes within the LDP as different grandees vie for control. But Abe was effective at neutralizing opposition to him. His bulldog-like chief of staff, Yoshihide Suga, whipped much of the party into line, and then masterminded a retooling of the prime minister’s office to centralize power. This included, importantly, a shift that enabled the PM to appoint 600 key positions within the bureaucracy.

    The result was that leading figures within the traditionally all-powerful civil service were indebted to the PM, which had the effect of reining them in. Abe also neutered his strongest LDP challenger, Shigeru Ishiba, by continuously handing him the most difficult ministerial portfolios to manage. It wasn’t so much Abe’s popularity that kept him in power — his opinion poll ratings have swung wildly — but the lack of alternatives.

    Apparently, Suga is now favourite to come to power (despite his apparent unpopularity with grassroots LDP members (or what passes for a grassroots in the LDP). This is likely to mean absolutely no change in government policy, just a new face.

    Abe was an unrepentant nationalist, and his insistence on maintaining a narrative rejecting Korean claims for war reparations was a major problem for Japans relations with other Asian countries. This doesn’t seem likely to change. He was also, more quietly, a champion of privatisation and increasing neoliberalism within the Japanese economy. In particular, Japanese universities are being slowly subject to the same forces that have done so much damage in the Anglosphere.

    Japan desperately needs a genuinely new type of leader, like Moon in South Korea or Tsai Ing-Wen of Taiwan, both of whom showed the merits of real leadership during Covid, and both are quietly constructing more progressive welfare structures within their countries and more independent foreign policies. But any type of genuinely new government for Japan seems a long way off.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I know that this may sound unfair to Japan but after reading this article and your comment I am beginning to wonder if Japan has the characteristics of a failed state. The political situation does not sound crash hot, the economy in some ways has been stalled for decades, it is alienated not only from it neighbours but the government itself seems to be alienated from the people. You add in the botched response to that major earthquake years ago, the shambolic response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the losing of control of the present pandemic and refusing to recognize that not only were the 2020 Olympics a bust but likely the 2021 Olympics as well and I can only conclude that yes, perhaps Japan does have the characteristic of a failed state. It is only the economy that masks this.

      1. km

        I would say that Japan is not a failed state, because, no matter how dysfunctional the politics at the top are, the line bureaucrats still do their actual jobs.

      2. Olga

        Well, let’s not forget that, just like Germany, Japan is still also an occupied country. No matter the leader, it cannot really act completely in its self-interest. Makes a big difference… Now, there are discussions on adding it to the 5-eye spy ring. Not sure how that would benefit the Japanese public, other than further to antagonise themt vis-a-vis the neighbourhood. And then there is the population decline.
        I’d think that at some point, all the inconsistencies and conflicting goals would just bubble up to the surface.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Whatever the reality, the Japanese (at least, their establishment) have never seen themselves as an occupied country. For pretty much three quarters of a century now, they’ve followed the Yoshida Doctrine, which has been described as a sort of Judo move – use the US’s military strength as an umbrella, while building up an unbeatable economic powerhouse. The more cynical would say that accepting US ‘dominance’ was really a way of continuing the war by other means, the culmination being in the 1980’s when it seemed for a short while like Japan could just buy every bit of America they liked. Japan could have succeeded had it not been for a mix of hubris and the (American inspired) macronomic changes in the 1980’s that Yves has written about here before in more detail.

          In many ways, Abe, in trying to ‘normalise’ things by creating a more formal alliance with the US, was exposing Japans own weakness. The South Koreans have, I think, been more successful at using US occupation as a means of achieving their own strategic objectives, something all well-run small countries do when finding a large military machine on their doorstep.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I certainly wouldn’t consider it anywhere near a failed state, but there is a sense within Japan and elsewhere that it is underperforming with something of a sense of rot.

        By most standards, its an outstandingly well run country – pretty much everything works efficiently and local and national government is competent at the levels that matter, although there have been worrying signs at time of rot in the system. To a large extent, those problems have always existed in Japan, its just that years without growth have made them more obvious. As you say, the failures of the Kobe earthquake response really rocked the self confidence of Japan, and Fukushima made things worse. But probably for the Japanese, the spectacular successes of South Korea have hit their own self confidence as a country. The South Koreans are increasingly making Japan look second rate.

        The Japanese political system is rotten, and always has been. The current system was designed in the post war years to put in place a more or less permanent pro-business, pro-landowning governing class, while keeping working people well away from the levers of government. The quid quo pro for ordinary Japanese was a relatively equal and peaceful society, plentiful jobs, and a basic welfare system.

        The system is very stable, and in many respects works very well, but it is also increasingly scloretic, and the attempts to jazz things up have amounted to the half hearted application of neo-liberal cliches. I would never, every underestimate the ability of Japan, and the Japanese people, to do whats needed to succeed in a changing world. The worrying thing (especially for Japans neighbours) is the question what exactly they they will decide on that needs to be done.

        One writer on Japan said that the great strength of Japan is that when a concensus builds up on a direction for the society, they all pull in that direction with great determination. The great weakness of Japan is that once they set off in that direction, they forget to bring any brakes.

        1. Cuibono

          The current system was designed in the post war years by their overlords, the US. it included a prominent role for war criminals and yakuza.

        2. Pelham

          I miss having around a confident Japan. Maybe the Olympics this year would’ve helped a bit. I’ll look forward to anything else you have to say on the subject.

  15. Dita

    Three dimensional chess for Biden would be to let Trump’s ads about ending fracking in PA run uncorrected I guess.

      1. John k

        Yeah, the imaginary guy. Certainly no relation to Biden or anybody in the dnc.
        Two wings of the ultra Conservative Republican Party hurling lying epithets at each other.
        You cause the riots! Or the ultimate insult, ‘you’re a socialist!’

  16. Wukchumni

    More than 100 protesters gathered for hours Monday night in response to the shooting death of a Black man by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies in the Westmont area near South LA.

    The shooting occurred at about 3:15 p.m. during a fight between deputies and the man near West 109th Place and South Budlong Avenue, according to sheriff’s Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez. Deputies initially stopped the man because he was on a bicycle in violation of vehicle codes, according Deputy Brandon Dean of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.

    The City of Angles is going to be hot hot hot this Labor Day weekend with temps hitting 105 on Sunday, and could another Watts Riot be coming down the pike?

    Killing a black man on a bicycle on account of violation of vehicle codes seems like a recipe for disaster.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Shades of Peter Pitchess, former sheriff of the Kingdom of Lost Angeles, where any one not white feared to tread. Brother of Darryl Gates, the police chief revered by law enforcement for his color war and a climate of extreme prejudice against anything not white.
      As a famous comedy team once opined; “Deputy Dan Has No Friends”

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah, and the comments below the politico treatment of this episode are just what we’d expect…”gun on the ground”=”shoot him!”…justified by implicit “black dude with gun”=”criminal”.
      we just got back from a town run…redneck on a riding lawnmower riding down the side of the highway…to gas up, and get beer(drivers lic suspended due to drunk driving) with a deer rifle on his back.
      leaves the gun on the mower to go in the store.
      nobody bats an eye, even though he’s a well known nutter.(this is his daily routine)

      …and here i thought everybody being armed to the teeth and fighting the oppressive state was what the Right has been agitating for….
      silly me.

    3. EoH

      Whatever happened to issuing a warning and telling someone to fix a problem? It’s a long hot summer and we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Dominating the battle space is neither a safe nor productive goal for domestic policing.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Has China really beaten Covid?”

    I’m not sure where this article is going. She talks about the success of China’s response and how they did it and are still doing it. She talks about how the people of the city in the middle of the pandemic got their lives back and can lead normal lives again and not as she says a ‘new normal.’ But then ends the whole thing with saying that the whole thing is a gamble that may not pay off. Is this the result of the heavy hand of an editor?

    The biggest price that the Chinese had to pay was no tourists at the moment. Big business may love tourists but I am sure that there are lots of places that will not miss them. As an example, the citizens of Florence, Italy were protesting about the masses of tourist last year so here they got their wish. No more ocean cruises sailing down their canals to wreck the sea life and undermine the foundations. No more swarms of rude strangers. Maybe the Chinese are on to something.

  18. jr

    Some observations of the homeless/troubled in the West Village:

    This morning while walking my dog I noticed a tent set up next to one of the advertising pylons that has USB ports for charging phones. It’s not uncommon for people to hang out around them, one old timer sits on an office chair playing music. But a tent is a first…

    Last Saturday there was a shouting match between a homeless man and the cops early in the morning. They were apparently telling him to move on, to which he screamed “I’m homeless! I ain’t got no where to f-ing go!” This went on for a minute.

    At coffee the other morning, a man came to the corner obviously in some state of withdrawal. He was trembling uncontrollably and clawing, not scratching, at his skin. He ran through the intersection into the smoke shop/drug dealer front. A friend has spoken to the cops about the place and they told him the guy who owns them has some of the brass in his pocket. They shut one down and he’s open the next day.

    A homeless woman, who I assumed was disabled in some way, was pushing herself backwards up the sidewalk in a baby stroller. She was obviously not all there or maybe just exhausted. She was staring ahead (backwards) not really looking where she was going, bumping along.

    At an early dinner the other night, I noticed a slightly shabbily dressed woman approach the waitress to ask her if they had any specials. If this had been me, I would have got a professional smile and a sorry. This woman received an aggrieved look and a no. I know it’s cruel but I get the waitress’s reaction. The woman is looking for an affordable evening; the waitress needs money. She knows she won’t be getting a tip from this person. They are called “deadbeats” or “free lunch” seekers if you offer some kind of bar food special. I could tell the woman is hard pressed and I know the waitress is because the place is rarely fully seated. Anger and resentment all around.

    1. Eclair

      Thank you for your testimony and witness, jr. I will add a bit from a piece I wrote about a cold and rainy late December afternoon on the E Bus that travels from downtown Seattle, north along Route 99. Every time I ride this bus, there are heart-breaking stories to tell. This is just one trip. Apologies for the length.

      “I had boarded at downtown Pioneer Square, the south end of the route. The bus route crawls along Third Avenue, through the shopping area, making frequent stops to take on passengers. I sat, as usual, at the front of the bus, on one of the 4 or 5 seats that run lengthwise on each side. Signs admonish riders to vacate these seats for Seniors, Disabled People and People in Wheelchairs. (At 80 my next birthday, I qualify.)

      The bus stops, and the driver walks in front of me, down towards the rear of the bus, then turns and halts in the middle of the aisle. I pay no attention; I am focused on the passenger who has squeezed into the seat next to me. She had skittered in, perched on the edge of the seat, shoulders hunched, head down, like a small animal low on the predator chain who knows she is lunch for the sharp-toothed carnivores in her neighborhood. Avoiding eye contact, she snakes one skinny hand out in front of me. It clutches a crumpled piece of yellow, lined paper, grease-stained, with the barely legible message: “I am deaf and dumb. Can you give me bus fare.” A powerful odor wafts from her fragile body. I reach into my pocket, where I had stashed a roll of small bills, peel off a dollar, and press it into her hand. She turns away from me, and busies herself with a meticulous folding and fitting of the bill into a small orange plastic prescription pill container.

      This transaction completed, I realize the driver is still standing patiently in the aisle, a few seats up from me. The sharp beeps that accompanied the wheelchair ramp being lowered had ceased and he is waiting … for what. We wait a bit longer. He returns to his seat, presses a button, and the entire bus lurches sideways toward the curb, like a sailboat heeling into the wind. A massive shape lumbers through the bus door, resolving into an enormously obese woman, hanging on to all available handles and rails, backing slowly and painfully into the bus. On foot. She moves cautiously a few more feet. Had she been walking about downtown Seattle? But no, her motorized wheel chair appears at the door, pushed by a slim young man, who, like hundreds his age in the City, was clad in black, from wool cap, to skinny jeans. The woman turns herself around, with difficulty, and sinks into the chair. She and the driver, who has moved in to fasten her chair into the space reserved for wheel chairs right across from my seat, thank the young man. He had stepped up to unplug the bottleneck at the door, helped the woman extricate herself from the chair, and then move onto the bus. He smiles bashfully, and waves his hands. His mama, or nonna, has taught him well. I catch his eye as he goes by and give him a big grin and a “thumbs-up.” Well done!

      Everyone settles in and we are off to the next stop. The big man sprawled in the seat across from me, well-wrapped in a puffy black parka, sleeps on. His tiny dog, encased in a blanket, pokes her nose out from her duffle bag peers around, then withdraws into her little shelter.

      At the next stop, more passengers enter, including a tired-looking young mom pushing a stroller with a toddler. She is not going to make it to the back of the bus, so, filled with light from the joyous young man’s smile, I get up and motion to her to sit down. She does not argue. I move toward the back of the bus, and sink into the first available seat, next to a slumbering man wearing a short-sleeved tee shirt topped by a light-weight vest . He jerks awake as I wedge myself next to him and mutters about smiling happy faces. I try to oblige. He wraps his arms more tightly about himself and shivers … it is cold even on the bus and he is definitely underdressed for December weather. He mumbles about cold and no jacket and I feel helpless. My jacket is many sizes too small to fit him. So I gave him a warm smile, and he sinks back into .. what … sleep …. unconsciousness? Whatever temporary oblivion his drug of choice provides him.
      As an individual, I can’t fix it all. I can give a few dollars here and there. I can volunteer at a homeless shelter. But these actions are a paper wall against a tsunami of despair, against tattered tents and blue tarps that huddle behind bus stops and along the no-man’s land of the I-5, against the figures curled up in sleeping bags in store doorways. Against the favelas that spring up in vacant lots in multiple cities. Until the police, ordered by municipal authorities who are badgered by angry constituents fearful of property devaluation and crime, tear them down and hurl their inhabitants’ meager belongings into dumpsters. “

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        well written.
        like being there.
        which i have…many times, for 35 years of being adult enough to be loose in the world…from I-35 all the way to the Florida Panhandle.
        we call ourselves civilised and exceptional and the best the world has ever known…a shining city on a hill…when what you describe is ongoing and present literally all around us.
        and again, Collapse Trickles Up.
        ignore a problem in the proverbial sewer for long enough, and that problem will come for you, eventually.
        “But what about the plate glass?!…will no one think about the plate glass?”
        “as ye sow…”

      2. Katiebird

        Thanks for posting this, Eclair. My brother is a Seattle bus driver and I am grateful to have a little view of what a day might be like for him.

        1. furies

          Bus drivers are another example of the unsung American heros…ya need to be a psychologist along with driving/mechanic skills. Bus drivers don’t nearly get paid enough!

          I have nothing but admiration for them.

        2. Eclair

          Katiebird, so many Seattle bus drivers are saints. I have witnessed them extending amazing acts of kindness and compassion towards the dispossessed population who ride the buses to find a bit of warmth and relaxation.

      3. kareninca

        Eclair, what I observe, people in your generation are pretty healthy (yes, I know there is some survivor bias, but still). The next generation down, in their 60s, not so much. My generation, in our 50s, is a mess. And the younger the worse. And it is not all economic; I see it with well off people too. It is incredible that an 80 year old would give up her seat, and that it would make sense for her to.

      4. jr

        Thank you for this. Your last paragraph captured my quandary. I carry loose singles for the homeless. I have and will buy them food. I listen to their stories as long as I can.

        But I also don’t let my girlfriend walk the dog alone anymore. At any hour. She ran out for a bottle of wine the other night, around 9. We had a serious talk about running around the neighborhood after dark with bottles of wine in our hands. For that matter, we avoid going out after dark at all.

        It’s horrible to watch myself harden up, to think of people on the street as opponents. I’ve helped them whenever I can. But Chaos is coming and it cares naught a whit for all that.

    2. shtove

      A homeless woman, who I assumed was disabled in some way, was pushing herself backwards up the sidewalk in a baby stroller. She was obviously not all there or maybe just exhausted. She was staring ahead (backwards) not really looking where she was going, bumping along.

      No words.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Skyrocketing demolition costs for riot-damaged Minneapolis, St. Paul properties delay rebuilding”

    There is a solution but it would make a lot of vested interests very unhappy. Taking a leaf out of the past, St. Paul could charter a corporation to do the demolition work. Those who want the demolition work done could put in money along with the city. Perhaps the city could lease the equipment and provide the oversight and administrative services while those who own the razed sites could provide decent wages to local workers. When the work has been completed, the corporation is wound up and any money left over divvied up between the site owners and the city. Or perhaps the city will forgo is share so long as any money returned is spent on new construction of the same site. Better yet, give the money back as tax credits if new business are built on those sites to give the owners a financial break.

  20. Kurt Sperry

    I was thinking, what happens if and when a reasonably effective Covid vaccine is widely available? Do we drop all the restrictions at once or do we keep many or some them in place to protect those who are understandably leery of being beta testers for a vaccine that probably hasn’t been through the usual long-form safety testing protocols? There are also be a lot of anti-vaxxers who will never assent to being vaccinated. At what point after vaccines are available for everyone in our countries do we drop all the mandatory restrictions?

    Me personally, once I am convinced there is a reasonably effective vaccine and get vaccinated, my patience with lockdowns and social distancing restrictions will very, very quickly wear off. The vaccine and Covid skeptics will probably be mown down pretty quickly anywhere they gather at that point. Are we OK with that?

  21. Dorie Kavan

    The use of they/them when referring to a person whose gender is unknown to the speaker, or as a substitute for gender-specific pronouns, is well-established in English with centuries of usage. Sasha White’s tweet was disingenuous but not transmisic and did not justify the over-reaction.
    I use she/her and he/him as a default but I will use they/them if that is the preferred pronoun of the subject.

    1. Bruno

      In nearly 90 years of reading, IFIC, I had never until the present nonsense epidemic seen that usage–discrepancy in number between subject-noun and pronoun–which certainly would have been a shock to my eyes. To be regarded as really “well-established” more than one example is imperative, None was provided.

      1. caucus99percenter

        Well, nobody, not even the best-educated, seasoned professionals and writers, seems to bother with keeping correct use of “its” (possessive of “it”) and “it’s” (contraction of “it is”) straight anymore, so…

        And in informal writing, where “lose” would be right, nowadays I see “loose” much more often than the correct version.

    1. furies

      Llamas–way less damaging to pasture than sheep, not as obnoxious as goats and as a plus, an excellent guard animals for all the above.

      But bad llamas spit nasty green loogies…Harvey is in ‘pissed off’ mode in the photo. Look out when the ears are back!

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yup. i fed for a woman who had a whole flock of them, for some reason(lol)…they bite, too…but the spitting is in many ways worse.
        a lot of that, for me, was the novelty…i had never been around them, and didn’t have insight into their body language, etc like i do with donkeys or goats or sheep(or geese).
        i learned pretty quick, though.
        she was off somewhere for a month and a half, and indicated that it was cool(and probably necessary) for me to hang out with them. so i’d sit out there with some beer and share cigarettes with them…which is my time-honored method of befriending a donkey.
        (they eat the tobacco and paper…i keep the filter. this works with deer, too, that have been rescued as orphans)
        by the time she came back, the spitting and biting had ceased, and the llamas and i were best buddies.
        of course, she now had to go through the process all over again, after being gone so long.
        i’m currently in need of a guard animal…and i’d prolly settle for a llama, if that’s what i found first.
        I’ve heard numerous stories around here of llamas and alpacas stomping coyotes to death, such that the local coyotes are now afraid of them.

        1. furies

          Never had any predation (my spell check says that isn’t a word!) when I had llamas.

          My llamas, fancy ones from Chile also grew some gorgeous wool. But what are really impressive in the llama world are the pack llamas. Beautiful big strong beasts of burden. Would love to have one now since I’m surrounded by wilderness and carrying my own sh*t gets old.

      2. Jeotsu

        Interpreting ears-back as aggression/unhappiness in camelids is unfair — I think it comes from our transference of horse body language. They say lots with their ears, and ears back does not necessarily mean impending aggression.

        When ears go back and the nose goes up, camelids are threatening to spit. In day to day interactions (squabbling over a bowel of treats) you’ll often see two animals facing off while each flicks their nose up at the other.

        When the spitting starts there are three levels of violence:
        lvl 1: they just blow air at each other
        lvl 2: they expel whatever they were chewing. So you’ll see one llama/alpaca with flecks of grass on its head/face/neck
        lvl 3: War. Total War. They regurgitate their rumen in a green sticky firehose of doom. They hate the smell of it to, and afterwards will be standing around with mouths hanging open and lower lip drooping. One our place we’ve noticed them seeking out eucalyptus leaves to have a breath-mint equivalent afterwards.

        Well socialised camelids shouldn’t spit on you. Unless you do something to deserve it. This has happened when shoving a thermometer up their bum. :)

  22. tegnost

    Re Biden ” no reason you can’t have those things” from yesterdays cooler…
    He’s talking to the incrementalists that I know. And since he’s a “decent person” ( not in my opinion, in the opinion of the incrementalist) he’s a shoe in the door to these great possibilities which can then be super slowly and smartly especially be implemented and so Progress! At the same time and in the standard manner of disassociation, they excuse amazoid, fraktbook gaggle and with uncommon vigor that Super ride share grift who have gotten their ill gains through non incremental power grabs…but consistency is the hob goblin of little minds, or so I’ve heard…

    1. Pat

      My response to those “incremental” change believers is how much change have you seen to ACA? Remember it was just the beginning.

      The healthcare reform stopped with the insurance company bailout. Hell Democrats helped stop the bill to end surprise billing, the bipartisan bill.

      There is a point where people have to recognize the bait and switch. And the sad part is that Biden isn’t even offering much “bait”.

      1. Mel

        :-/ Line ’em up word-for-word and you see that “bait and switch” and “hope and change” mean the same thing.

  23. Laputan

    RE: A Word Not Uttered by Republican Officials at the Convention: Obamacare

    I was halfway expecting this article to end with, “For more information, check out Joe Biden’s official campaign website at Joe30330”

    No wonder Greenwald and Taibbi constantly lament the state of journalism when NYT sanctions something this poorly-written that reads like it came straight from some state organ. Do they honestly think that the Republicans didn’t mention Obamacare because of its popularity? Or do they not realize that political talking points consist of mainly squirrel-chasing ephemera? Hard to believe somebody was paid to write that.

  24. Billy

    Spam calls doom contact tracing ability…

    If Europe can ban them, so can we. The technology exists. The will to do so at the federal level does not. Some amateur detectives have managed to locate who is behind “Hi, this is Rachel from cardholder services…”, where his business is located, his house etc.

    16,000 refund checks for $43 were sent to suckers who clicked through and gave their credit card numbers and lost money, as punishment to “Rachel”.

    However, had federal marshalls arrested the guy, seized his property and fined every one working for him, this kind of business B.S. would end. As far as overseas call centers used by spammers, might be an appropriate use for the U.S. military’s Hellfire missiles.

    Don’t see why RICO can’t be sicced on any residential point of delivery service provider that uses these calls to elicit business. In other words, if federal Do Not Call laws are broken, the people agree to have a housekeeping service or paint company show up based on those calls, the housekeeping service or paint company might lose their state or local business license. If mail fraud can be prosecuted, why can’t robocalls?

    Crapification of the post office, for whatever bipartisan greed reasons, might also mean that people start ignoring jury summons, tax filings and other things done through the mail. “Never got here, must be the failed post office.”

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      for us, it’s almost universally the robocalls about “we’ve been trying to reach you regarding your car’s warranty”.
      like we’ve ever had a car warranty.
      if i’m not otherwise engaged, i generally immediately call those numbers back…usually get an opt out(that apparently does not function)…but sometimes, i manage to randomly push the right code in and get a person, and ask for their boss.
      got a supervisor exactly twice this way, and let the guy have it…had zero real effect, but it made me feel better.

      1. Katiebird

        We’ve been answering the phone, “Gramma??!! Gramma, are you OK??!!” Then my husband runs a recording of a baby crying hysterically and I hang up.

        Well. It gives us a laugh.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          we very rarely get actual humans scamcalling us any more.
          sad, really, as it was often a welcome diversion.
          i’d talk to them…flirt…ask them about the weather wherever they were at(Jamaica, one time…asked about HedonismII)…what their boss was like…on and on.
          the people actually on the phone in those instances were not the crooks…they merely worked for the crooks, and often in quite tenuous/desperate circumstances.
          and it seems that they got credit for keeping me on the phone, somehow…although i doubt the boss would be pleased with what we’d actually be talking about.

          1. jr

            I use Straight Talk phone service and it’s amazing the crazy texts/emails I receive. No scammers but plenty of:

            Cadillac sales teams alerting me to the fact that my, judging from the fact two different dealerships have called me a dozen times each, two Cadillacs are over warranty.

            Texts in fluent Mandarin.

            Robo-calls in fluent Mandarin. (Maybe they were the scammers! Good thing I never took up Mandarin!)

            Text/calls in fluent Spanish.(Good thing I bombed Spanish!)

            Now here is the weirdness. Every two months or so I get a call asking why I have called this number. I’m like huh? The last lady was like I got your number right here, why did you call? I explained and she said this had happened to her before with other numbers. I wonder who my phone number alter ego is? A Caddy driving Spanish-Chinese international diamond thief?

  25. allan

    US Chamber of Commerce set to endorse 23 House freshman Democrats [The Hill]

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is endorsing 23 House freshman Democrats this election cycle, according to a memo first obtained by The Hill. The pro-business advocacy group is also endorsing 29 freshman Republicans. …

    Those members include Democratic Reps. Joe Cunningham (S.C.), Abigail Spanberger (Va.), Sharice Davids (Kan.), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.), Kendra Horn (Okla.), Colin Allred (Texas), Andy Kim (N.J.), Antonio Delgado (N.Y.), and Abby Finkenauer (Iowa) … Reps. Elaine Luria (Va.), Lizzie Fletcher (Texas), Haley Stevens (Mich.), David Trone (Md.), Cindy Axne (Iowa), Angie Craig (Minn.), Dean Phillips (Minn.), Greg Stanton (Ariz.), Josh Harder (Calif.), TJ Cox (Calif.), Harley Rouda (Calif.), Susie Lee (Nev.), Ben McAdams (Utah) and Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.).

    There are some names missing there. Can’t quite put my finger on them.

    The USCC should be thanked for not only proving the insanity of identity politics,
    but also providing a helpful list for 2022 challenges.

  26. jr

    Re: Greenwald and mental health

    I’ve noted here in the past that I am bipolar. As a vet, I have free care; one of the reasons I live in Manhattan is the the VA here is much better than one’s I’ve been to elsewhere. Philly’s had wires hanging out of missing panels in the dropped ceiling.

    I never go off my meds but occasionally I push it, through absentmindedness mostly. I’ve been told by my doctors that the meds last in my body at least a day or so after I was supposed to take them but I can feel it when they are wearing off long before that. I am, after spending two years in a semi stupor, on a very light dosage. It keeps me grounded but not comatose.

    I’ve done really well over the last few months, better than many “sane” people around me, but a few times I’ve been nearly overwhelmed by an existential dread that freezes my insides. It’s not me, it’s the reality, but I know where this would lead were I unable to medicate. Those who are losing theirs are not only watching their lives melt down, they are literally losing their minds. A lot of people don’t know they have a problem until they are diagnosed but when you do and you build a life, you know exactly what you are losing when it goes away.

    1. Kevin DeNardo

      Thank you for sharing.
      My elderly mother has completely withdrawn, she is a phenomenal cook and no longer bothers, she quit choir and meeting with friends and has pretty much stopped eating. She’s always been a news junky – it’ always going in the background. She’s admitted she is deeply depressed by what is going on.

      Going up this weekend to try to help. Turning off the TV is #1. The only goal of the media (insert Fox,CNN, MSNBC) is to keep you frantic and worried. I would love to see a movement promoting we go back to when news was actually news and propaganda of the worst kind.

      best to you Jr.

      1. jr

        Thanks Kevin, and my best to you and your mother. Yeah, get that TV off, it’s a soul sucker. Setting aside the spin and dazzle, the news these days is a constant artillery barrage of grim tidings. Even info-junkies like us have to take a break…

        1. newcatty

          Kevin and Jr, best to you both. I just received an email from a woman, who in my opinion, is a wise and open minded soul. It was regarding this very subject. Her short essay’s theme was about how to stay content, or happy, in these troubled times. She gave the advice that she thinks it’s important to feel gratitude every day. Huh? She laughed and said , yes, it sure seems like a strange way to keep mentally sane or not sunk in dread form the now or the future. She explained that by focusingon things that you do have that you perceive as good in your life, then you attract more goodness in your life. So, totally agree turn off the tv for most of the day, or all day. Take a break from reading the news or even interesting info about what is what or predicted to be. This is not psycho pablum about just” think positive”. It is concrete methods of being and choosing to create your state of mind and spirit. It is also not about denial or just being happy about the real world and all of its wonders. Those wonders can be something to be grateful for, of course.

          It is hard for a lot of people to have the joy of being with your friends and the chior members, when the anxiety of the virus is just the message of the days and weeks. Hope your mom can get relief and peace in her life. Does she like to listen to music? Maybe you can take something in what ever genre you think would be appreciated. We, a long time ago, bought spouse’s mom a good CD player and a stack of music. It was fun to pick out stuff we knew she would like: Sinatra, Cole, Belafonte, Christmas music, Williams, Cash and some classical.

          1. jr

            newcatty, thanks, I don’t find that notion to be foo foo New Age bunk. I meditate, almost daily, and I monitor my thoughts closely. Through focused meditation, I have been able to, a times, improve my mood and sense of self control. It’s been tough doing so with COVID though.

              1. jr

                I’m trying to get my GF to play a role playing game and I use videos from YouScrewed for sound effects. This is great for a clandestine meeting at the docks!

  27. EoH

    A $250 million “feel good” PR campaign? Under and like Trump, HHS has concluded that its only problem is better message management.

  28. tiebie66

    Re flu shot: anecdotal report from the Southern Hemisphere is that doctors are struggling to make ends meet as there are very few people ill with the flu and with colds. Ascribed to widespread use of masks.

  29. flora

    re: America divided.

    “The Revolt of the Baristas. ” Sorry, blaming the kids for some ‘entitlement theory’ doesn’t cut it. Where are the decent jobs – wages, benefits, job security? Oh, right, outsourced away. Neoliberalism has destroyed their future. I don’t blame them for their anger.

    “The Social Fabric of the U.S. Is Fraying Severely, if Not Unravelling “. Same as above.

    Sherrilyn Ifill tweet. Same comment as above. I have young black relatives who’ve been stopped for “driving while black” and they would never stoop to this mindless mob nonsense. ( And all are doing economically well now. ymmv.) It’s fine for Oliver to play to his audience, ratings and all that, keeping his job, etc. Does this, my comment, make me a bad person, anathema to the woke-sters? What was it FDR said? “I welcome their hatred.” /heh

    CalPERS board member calls for no new private equity investments until CIO probe over Axios

    Hurray for Margaret Brown. No wonder the Calpers staff hate her. /;)

  30. drumlin woodchuckles

    It looks like the Trump forces may have found a way to get Dead Joe Walking to set his own self on fire over and over again.

    All they have to do is find a problem where Biden’s approach to the problem would upset and offend progressives. Then they run ads “seemingly” to their own base lying about how Biden will do the exact opposite of what Biden really would do. And then just wait for Biden to learn about the ad and get offended and go public saying ” Trump lying again. HERE is what I WILL do about the problem”.

    So Trump just has to run ads in Michigan saying Biden wants to destroy the car industry with European-level fuel efficiency standards. Biden will run counter-ads and give interviews saying its all a lie and he is really aGAINST fuel efficiency standards for cars. This is all the Trumpers have to do to keep giving Joe
    the gas can and the cigarette lighter again and again and again.

    Hopefully some Trump operatives are reading these threads.

  31. John Anthony La Pietra

    DHS Chief Chad Wolf Tells Tucker Carlson the Feds Are ‘Working On’ Corruption Charges Against BLM Leaders Daily Beast. UserFriendly: “LOL, charging imaginary people.”

    I can see it now . . . unfortunately. “I hold in my hand a list of over 270 known BLM Antifa terrorists!” . . .

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Nah, we already had our McCarthy Era revival, and it was run by the other team. It was a rich tapestry of lies upon lies, and blanketed the airwaves for three whole years. You may notice, by contrast, that in this case quite a few actual crimes, including the crimes of theft and arson, may have been committed. Pretending that someone torched The White House because your candidate lost is not the same as people actually torching streets and shops around the nation.

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