Links 9/12/2020

How Will the Fashion Industry Ever Recover? Treehugger

Chiefs, Texans booed as racial justice stand sparks outrage AP

A Line of Fire South of Portland and a Yearlong Recover Ahead NYT

Oregon officials concerned wildfires could be a ‘mass fatality incident’ after they burn more than a million acres San Francisco Chronicle

Officials battle online misinformation along with wildfires AP

The Crisis in the Skies of San Francisco New Yorker

Trump Is Conveniently Ignoring the Climate-Fueled Fires Raging in the West Truthout

California Can’t Afford to Wait for Climate Action New York Magazine

Israel, Bahrain agree to establish full diplomatic ties Al Jazeera

Six Questions Looming Over the New Season in Europe NYT


Opinion: The COVID-19 pandemic is about to enter its most treacherous phase MarketWatch

French prime minister calls for prudence in order to avoid ‘general lockdown’ Euronews

Statistics, lies and the virus: Tim Harford’s five lessons from a pandemic FT

In Worst-Hit Covid State, New York’s Cuomo Called All the Shots WSJ

Lucy Kellaway heads back to school — anxiouslyFT

Hong Kong facing 13 new Covid-19 cases, reaches grim milestone of 100 deaths SCMP

New Research Shows Disproportionate Rate of Coronavirus Deaths in Polluted Areas Pro Publica

Now coronavirus rise spreads to the middle-aged: England is on the brink of losing control of Covid outbreak, warns SAGE adviser – as infections in the over-50s soar by 92 PER CENT Daily Mail

Seeking the causes of post-Covid symptoms, researchers dust off data on college students with mononucleosis Stat

Indoor Dining Returns Soon. Here’s Why Some Restaurant Workers Are Terrified. Grub Street. I was chatting on the ‘phone today to my foodiest NYC friend, and even she says she will eschew indoor dining for the foreseeable future. And this is a woman who has dined out several times a week for the last several decades. But she’s 70+, and has escaped the virus so far, and wants to preserve that state of affairs. She is keen on outdoor dining. But it will soon get cold in NYC.

Coronavirus: Avoid ‘party weekend’ ahead of new restrictions, public told BBC

Pubs and bars packed as Brits go on final blowout before new ‘rule of six’ Metro UK

England brings in more local restrictions as COVID-19 rate soars Reuters

Class Warfare

Revisiting the spectacular failure that was the Bill Gates deposition Ars Technica

Who Gets Hurt When the World Stops Using Cash NYT

From Hoovervilles to Trumpvilles: Homeless Crisis Deepens Counterpunch

Julian Assange

Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 8 Craig Murray

The Assange Trial, And Other Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix Caitlin Johnstone


India taps Iran as new options open up in region Asia  Times

Coronavirus: Why is Pakistan doing so much better than India? Scroll

Coronavirus: Inside the Indian company betting big on vaccines BBC


EU lawmakers to block EU-U.K. trade deal if Brexit divorce treaty not fully implemented – official Reuters

Refugee Watch

America’s war on terror that followed 9/11 has displaced 37 million people – this is the true cause of Europe’s refugee crisis Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

The Moria Catastrophe and the EU’s Hypocritical Refugee Policy Der Spiegel

New polling confirms the ‘Trump effect’: Americans increasingly love immigrants AlterNet. Hmm.


The ending of the Jamal Khashoggi case has left a number of questions – but it was always going to Independent. Robert Fisk.


Rent Control Advocates Ramp Up Electoral Efforts Capital & Main

Here’s how Joe Biden would combat the pandemic if he wins the election WaPo

The Memo: Trump needs more than his base Politico

Night and Day New York Review of Books

No obvious winners TLS

The Democrats’ Great Surrender On Foreign Policy American Conservative

ELECTION 2020: As Concerns Mount Over Integrity of US Elections, So Does Support for International Poll Monitors Consortium News

Biden is favored to win the election FiveThirtyEight 2016 redux?

Antidote du jour (via)

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Savita

    I don’t know how Rev Kev does it, with our East Coast Australia time zones, but I always feel like my comments disappear into a black hole catching you all the next day. A sincere thankyou to David and Clive and every single one of you I won’t name now, for responding to my query about Japanese perspective. I offered to my dance class last night, upon closing, about a perspective in Japan known as ‘The Bigger the Front The Bigger The Back’ offering it as some consolation and insight and perspective, amongst some challenging experiences. My teacher tasked me with learning more – learning the ‘back’ of this, so to speak. I first learn of it from Michio Kushi or George Oshawa writing on Macrobiotics. ( Oshawa is actually a surname he took, an interpretation on French, he turned into sounding like ‘ oh ca va’ ) So, hence my enquiry. I learnt more about Japan generally than about that world view or concep ( The Bigger the Front The Bigger The Back) t but thanks so much. My sharing with you in return – a documentary about dance. It’s about some contemporary dance crews preparing for an international competition. It’s highly revealing, for in that the film maker chose to follow the crews from the countries most established in the form, with the most likelihood of reaching the finals. Namely, Japan, the US, France, and Korea. The film is full of heart and sensitivity authenticity, honesty. I cry every time I see it, without fail, and I’ve seen it about 20 times. It’s well known actually in the right circles and very respected. You need no insight, appreciation or knowledge of dance to love this film. But the dance IS INCREDIBLE. You will find it on You Tube although it’s worth paying a little bit on youtube to get the better quality version and to of course support the independent film maker Benson Lee. It’s called Planet B-Boy. it’s so striking, the difference and distinction between the various nationalities, , their motivations ( radically different) their ego or lack thereof. What counts for them, whats important. It’s really a special film. Only about 90 minutes in length. Hint – wait for about 10 minutes into the film for it to really, properly get going. PS David I LOVE everything you share here, have followed your comments for years

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’d echo this – I’ve been busy the past couple of days and catching up this morning with the more interesting BTL contributions, and some of the comments were very illuminating. I’ve been reading up everything I can on Japanese topics for more than a decade and I’m still hopelessly at sea in understanding the country, fascinating though it is (and I’ve recently discovered that in its own way, South Korea has many similar mysteries for the outsider).

      To add, btw, to the film recommendations discussed in that thread, I’d add Mikio Naruse – an amazing film maker who has become largely forgotten, even by the Japanese. As he specialised in literary adaptions you get something of a double hit of culture when you watch some of his films, which are actually very accessible to a modern and non-Japanese audience, but also deeply ‘Japanese’ in one sense, maybe more so than the rather self consciously Japaneseness of Ozu and Mizoguchi.

  2. Wukchumni

    From Hoovervilles to Trumpvilles: Homeless Crisis Deepens Counterpunch

    I haven’t strayed far from my tether here, but a friend was up in Tahoe a fortnight ago and related that there were so many homeless camps along Hwy 99 which cuts a wide swath through the CVBB from Bakersfield to Sacramento, and keep in mind that you only see around 100 yards askance when you’re driving, who knows how many more ‘jungles’ aren’t visible out there?

    Before Covid, homeless were kind of our ‘untouchables’ in that cops really wanted nothing to do with said ‘caste-aways’, aside from taking all the belongings for ‘safekeeping’ in rather obvious attempts at making them go away. You don’t hear much in that regard anymore.

    Heretofore it was fairly easy to stereotype many of them, drink-drugs-mental issues-or a combination of all of the above, but the new crew coming in is going to be markedly different, as many will have had fairly stable and predictable lives previously. They will still have a sense of superiority over the old guard, to add to the milieu of the downwardly mobile stew being served us.

    1. Jr

      I was walking my dog this afternoon in Washington Square Park. As we moved onto a side street across from the park, I noticed a long line of men sitting and leaning against the building opposite us. At first my mind said “construction workers” because it’s not uncommon to see a big crew eating lunch like that.

      It took a second but it suddenly clicked: it was a homeless encampment. Bags piled up, bedrolls, people smoking cigarettes. None of that is new but this group numbered around 12 or so. It’s the largest I’ve seen in my neighborhood yet.

    1. paul

      What Craig describes explains the covid scare that broke out and subsided in just enough time to allow the prosecution to regroup from their disastrous (if it was heard by a jury) performance the day before.

      It’s noticeable that the Johnny Depp domestic case, bizarrely held in london, excited our journalists so much more.

    1. paul

      The notion that harford raises, that accurate recording and reporting is valuable, is of little use to numeric scavengers such as the english government’s superforecaster cummings.

      Data dredging in the service of presentational reality (and his many personal resentments) is his bag.

  3. Livius Drusus

    Re: Biden is favored to win the election.

    I think this is the key sentence from the piece: “However, don’t count President Trump out yet. He still has a roughly one-in-four chance of pulling off an upset.” I have to admit that things have tightened as of late and I am a bit surprised. I thought Trump would have a lower chance of winning given how terrible 2020 has been and that Trump is the incumbent and voters would punish him at the polls. But now the race looks closer even though if I had to bet I would still bet on Biden.

    Trump seems to have kept his base intact so he could win if he gets enough suburban moderates on his side or increases turnout among whites without college degrees, assuming he has not reached his ceiling with that demographic. Biden is a better candidate than Clinton though, so he might be able to pull it off in November. Biden’s big advantage is his connection to Obama. Biden is the “return to normalcy” candidate for those who want a return to Obama-era politics.

    I think the October surprise will likely be related to a COVID-19 vaccine. If it looks like one might be available in the near future it might help Trump by perhaps calming people down and taking heat from how he initially handled the crisis.

    1. voteforno6

      Would anyone trust any vaccine announcement coming from this administration, with how much Trump has already perverted the government to suit his own ends?

      1. Bandit

        Would anyone trust any vaccine announcement coming from a Democratic administration, with how much previous Dem administrations have already perverted the government to suit their own ends?”

        Funny how this statement is equally true. Watching the DNC and the larger Dem community act in the last 3 years only promises more of the same, whoever wins the election.

        As per the pandemic and the vaccine, how would Dems have acted differently, since the overall reaction has turned out to be a disaster for our and other economies of the world, minus Sweden of course?

        1. a different chris

          I don’t agree. The Dems are pretty good at the science thingy, actually. I would get a vaccine approved by a Biden government, but let everybody else get in line first for a Trump one.

          >has turned out to be a disaster for our and other economies of the world, minus Sweden of course?

          Uh, didn’t notice this…yeah you live in an inverted reality. Sorry I even bothered to answer.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            So, could you please explain how you think this whole “science thingy” works?

            Do you think Trump is in the basement with his White House chemistry set mixing up a magic vaccine potion to kill everyone in america, and that only joe biden can save us? Don’t you think that if Trump wanted to kill everyone in america who wasn’t going to vote for him so he could win reelection he’d have done it by now?

            You’d think he’d at least have gotten rid of nancy and chuck, adam sciff and jerry nadler, and strozk and page. Oh, and mueller.

            But I agree with you in one respect–I also wish you had not even bothered to answer.

          2. upstater

            If you think dementiacrats are good at science, read the above link “In Worst-Hit Covid State, New York’s Cuomo Called All the Shots WSJ”. Cuomo, in his typical fashion acted like a bully and a hack and ignored the massive evidence from Italy and Spain for strict measures. Tens of thousands of needless deaths lie on Andy’s doorstep.

            Obama made significant anti-science cuts in NIH funding as part of his austerity kick. Some of those cuts shut down long running Corona virus vaccine research.

            Assuming HRC was in office or even Biden, it is fanciful to think that an operation warp speed on a vaccine wouldn’t be under way. Optics and PR would apply polish to the same turd.

          3. Oh

            It’s the same crooked, corrupt and greedy pharmaceutical companies that will peddle the vaccine. Why would it be better under the DimRats?

            1. a different chris

              Now this comment is short and sharp and harder to counter than the other two.

              It would be better because the distractions of Trumpism would be gone. There are more (barely, admittedly) than one of those greedy/corrupt pharmaceutical companies so there will be some check on complete BS. I’m not a Capitalism Uber Alles person for sure, but it does have that particular strength when the contestants can’t just buy each other.

              1. tegnost

                Obviously they can and do buy whatever they want.
                Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and on and on and on…
                Democrats who thrive by buying the competition.
                The distractions of trumpism are just like the smoke outside my window…obscuring the real world.
                Barely more than one corrupt greedy pharmaceutical company?
                I’ll take your vaccine after every wall street trader as well as the entire congress and the executive takes it first. You can bet that those same people will demand that I take it first.

              2. Tom Stone

                Hillary Clinton made it very clear that passing the Trans Pacific Partnership with “Investor State dispute Settlement” as part of the deal would be her #1 Priority, followed by confronting Russia directly in Syria.
                The prospect of being sued for lost profits under ISDS would certainly have affected the US response to the pandemic

          4. Dirk77

            Actually, an FT article shows data that Sweden isn’t doing too bad. Not as good as it’s Scandinavian neighbors but better than other European countries shown, such as Spain. It could be particular to the Scandinavian temperament – but so could the relative success of its neighbors. Tegnell makes a good point that oscillating between lockdown and normal is worse than just enforcing rules that are good practices and living with them.

            1. Yves Smith

              Sweden has much lower population density than most non-Scandinavian nations and Swedes (and Scandinavians) maintain more social distance in normal interactions. Sot the RoE comparison verges on apples and oranges.

              Ignacio points out that the level of air travel is a big vector. Again. Sweden has no air hubs and is much less of a tourist destination.

              1. Dirk77

                Interesting. Ok, air travel either enhances infection between passengers, or flying spreads around already infected people, or both. Anyways, I had assumed that other European countries, except for the UK, had instituted tighter border controls by now. If not, then yes, apples and oranges. Though if you aren’t going to control the flux of infected incoming people coming in, I don’t see the point of lockdowns such as France appears to be doing now. As for population density, it of the city centers of Paris and Stockholm are 53k and 34k per sq mile, respectively. For the entire metro areas, the population densities are 2.5k and 0.9k per sq mile, respectively. So the relative population density varies from 53/34 = 1.6 to 2.5/0.9 = 2.8. For the whole countries, the population density ratio is 1.5. These ratios don’t seem to depart all that much from 1, but I recall in some statistic that an exponential figures in somewhere. Ok.

              2. Dirk77

                (Assuming my last post appears here) Correction: the relative population densities for the entire countries of France and Sweden is 5.4.

              3. drexciya

                It’s a bit more complicated than that. Stockholm, which is a relatively large city, has a high population density. One source noted, that the annual flu deaths in Sweden were lower in the previous year, compared to the neighboring countries. This seems to be a partial potential explanation why certain countries got hit harder, or not.

                Generally speaking, it’s extremely hard to compare countries with each other, since there seems to a really big number of variables. As usual, the media is spreading disinformation about Sweden being the bad apple. It’s just not that black and white.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          … would Dems have acted differently…..

          That coronavirus was “mishandled” early on by Trump and biden would have done it “better,” is one of the dems’ most cherished talking points.

          Since the precious few, handpicked reporters who have been allowed to “question” biden seem to have no interest, Bret Baier decided to ask aptly-named biden spokesperson, t. j. ducklo, what, in uncle joe’s 20/20 armchair hindsight, biden would have done.

          “I want to start with what the former vice president specifically would have done at the end of January had he received the briefing that we know now the President received January 28.”

          Elmer-Fudd-level hilarity ensues. Maybe the answer is “classified” and ducklo didn’t have the required clearance.

        3. voteforno6

          Here in the real world, Trump is still President, not the Democrats, and its his administration that’s horribly mismanaged the federal response.

          Also, here in the real world, Sweden has more deaths and hospitalizations than its Scandinavian neighbors, with a worse-performing economy. For all that, they still haven’t gotten anywhere close to herd immunity.

          You can imagine all you want how a Democratic administration would have handled this, but we still have to deal with how the Trump administration has handled this in the real world.

          1. Carolinian

            Sweden now has a deaths/1 million figure that is lower than the US and daily increase in total deaths that is, proportionally, less than the US. Of course you’ll probably say that’s because of Trump but that first statistic is also lower than UK, Spain, Belgium, Italy and several South American countries. And yes they are still worse than Norway or Denmark but then SC is worse than NC. Demographic and other factors do play a role even in regions that are side by side.


            And also yes the above is just a snapshot but then everything we know about this disease is still a snapshot so it’s premature to state with great certainty who is and is not to blame. What can be said is that predictions of untold disaster resulting from Sweden’s approach were off–in some cases wildly off.

            1. Heraclitus

              Sweden has both a sharply higher number of immigrants as a proportion of their population–25%, I think–than their Scandinavian neighbors. Covid-19 has been disproportionately visited on immigrants, but the Swedes don’t break out the numbers. In addition, Tegnell’s colleague, Dr. Johan Giesecke, pointed out in an early UnHerd interview that Swedish nursing homes are much larger than those in Norway, so if Covid takes hold, isolating patients is physically more difficult.


              The Swedes admit that they erred in not shutting down access to nursing homes sooner. The US erred in the same way, as did many other countries.

          2. jsn

            So flyover voters spent the second half of the Hallowed Obama-Biden Admin watching those sciencey Democrats preside blissfully over a deplorable mortality spike.

            In that world, whether it seems real to you or not, majorities have favored expanded Medicare, expanded Social Security and higher taxes on the rich, who they accurately perceive as urban Democrats (though they have no understanding of urban poverty and power dynamics) who profit from deplorable decline, since I was born in 1962. Yes, they have consistently supported those policies and still do when the question is framed honestly.

            They have watched the Democrats adamant pursuit of globalization even as it physically destroyed most of the country and experienced ObamaCare as a tax for lipservice: access only translates to care for those who can afford it.

            It is an accurate perception that the Democrats have dismantled all of the institutional protections for the erstwhile middle class while condescending to lecture it about moral virtues that account for nothing real.

            That the Republican establishment is ecocidal psychopaths probably doesn’t matter to the MAGA voter because the Orange One’s hot knife through the R Establishment butter four years ago is the only real political victory most of these voters can remember and the correctly again see the Benighted One struggling against the Blob, now firmly aligned with the Ds.

            Reality is really complicated and most Americans have had a bad experience of it for too long and are increasingly aware of the degree to which the Duopoly is all lies.

          1. eg

            It’s almost axiomatic that anyone whose post has any whiff of “but Sweden” isn’t conversant with the data relative to its neighbors.

            1. Cuibono


              and will be sure to have a dozen reasons why sweden would actually have been truly excellent if only…

    2. Lost in OR

      I think Trumps performance is less a reflection of Trumps performance than the horrid nature of his opponent. I can think of only one worse possible opponent, and she lost last time.

      1. timbers

        Another factor is – The Fed’s response to this Covid crisis has made it more clear to our governing folks that no matter what happens, the Fed will never, ever allow their wealth and asset values to be affected overall. The wealthy will never pay a price for Covid, recession, depression, lack of healthcare & housing for the non wealthy because the Fed will provide them with endless free trillions to protect them. Result? The wealthy governing folks realize they have no common skin in the game like the rest of us and have become even more complacent of common folk hardship. I believe the Fed QE powers were given it in response to the 2008 financial crisis. Now the Fed is using those emergency powers constantly and endlessly increasing it to benefit the wealthy. Same pattern as seen from eternal authorization to use military force in response to 9/11 & Iraq War.

        1. Lost in OR

          Regarding the Fed and QE, I recommend this podcast. (I’m having issues posting links on , I’m hoping this goes through. It’s a Bloomberg podcast “Odd Lots”). Paul discusses monetary policy vs. fiscal policy. He suggests we are moving away from dependence on monetary policy.

          Paul McCulley: We Are “Unambiguously” On The Verge Of A Profound Change In The Economy

          And Mark Blyth on the Open Source podcast. Mark is always great.

        2. Randy G

          Great summation, timbers.

          A lovely system of bloated socialism for the corporatocracy and fire, pillage, and scabies for the proles scrambling for crumbs far below.

          Amusing to read that Biden has no “ideology”: of course he does, exactly the same ideology as Trump, defend the rich at all costs. They just have different ‘sale’s pitches’.

      2. John k

        No, no, consider his vp choice, selected apparently for her ability to bring bank bucks, certainly not bc of her primary wins – nada – or delegate wins – same – or general voter appeal – 2% – or ability to bring in a swing state –
        At least klobuchar was much better on all of the above and was first of those that ran to support him.
        So the money is, as expected, more important to him than winning.

    3. Lou Anton

      I think the idea of “October Surprise” has been neutralized in 2020. It’s just “October” now.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Durham Report now scheduled for the end of September. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised, and I think large numbers of people are going to be angry that they’ve already voted by mail.

        1. The Historian

          I don’t think the Durham Report is going to have much influence on anybody. People believe what they want to believe on the Russia issue and nothing much, certainly not another report from DOJ, is going to make them change their minds..

          I think Woodward’s revelations, since he has them on tape, will have a greater effect on de-neutering any October surprise the Trump Campaign will roll out. Covid-19 is still the biggest issue in this country.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Somewhat glib to dismiss Russiagate — where literally nothing happened — as he said/she said politics.

            Bob Woodward, like all his other Deep State buddies, remains an unindicted coconspirator in the Watergate soft coup. As with Trump they could have gone with actual crimes/war crimes, but instead went with televised theatrics and perjury traps.

            Woodward, btw, was also responsible for me almost killing the Attorney General of Iowa, but that’s another story.

              1. Mark Gisleson

                Working with the Kennedy in ’80 campaign I had to drive to eastern Iowa to pick up Tom Miller, the state AG, to bring him back to Des Moines. It was late at night and Tom, after doing some reading, started giving me a book review of Bob Woodward’s ‘The Brethren.’

                Tom is blandly soft spoken. In no time at all I’d fallen asleep while driving 75mph but then the car hit the zip strip on the shoulder, I woke up and pulled back into my lane thereby saving Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s life!

                Not the first time I’ve saved others’ lives in this heroic manner, btw.

        2. Phil in KC

          I disagree that large numbers of people will be surprised. This is a fishing expedition that will come up with nothing of great significance. At best it will give Hannity and Limbaugh a fresh excuse to go over the same stories they’ve covered for almost four years. This will be in the same vein as Guiliani’s investigation into the Bidens, or Kobach’s investigations into voting fraud: sound and fury, signifying nothing.

          The best thing that could come out of this investigation is a revisiting of the Patriot Act’s provision for secret courts.

    4. The Rev Kev

      What happens if next month Trump offers M4A? Surprise! Would that have an effect on all those pretty charts? And what are the democrats going to say in response? ‘How are we going to pay for it?’ Because that is exactly what Biden told Sanders during the debates.

      1. a different chris

        And if Grandma had wheels she would be a bus…

        What happens if Trump suddenly turns into somebody that loves the environment… what happens if Trump suddenly turns into somebody really serious about peace in the world, what happens if Trump re-imagines the federal budge…

        We can do this all day. I’m not sure why we would, though. He isn’t going to suddenly change stripes after nearly 4 years of him being him.

        1. fresno dan

          a different chris
          September 12, 2020 at 9:12 am

          What if Trump was alive during WWII and could fly – how much affect would his bombing raids have upon the Axis powers war making capability?
          Trick question – Trump would avoid service due to bone spurs on his landing gear (i.e., feet)

          I thought for sure I could find the SNL clip where that question is asked about Eleanor Roosevelt, but I can’t :(

        2. Kurt Sperry

          This. The Trump hopium we sometimes saw expressed here—that he somehow would turn out to be a good guy or do something we all hoped he would—never had any factual basis. He was never going to be anything other than the fetid dumpster fire he is.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Completely agree. But, he can lie on his feet as well as a Tupelo used car salesman; he will say anything if he thinks it will close the deal.

            1. Wukchumni

              Some in the numismatic profession resorted to dealing with slimy telemarketers, as aged round metal discs were one of the ‘props’ they were selling (along with metric tons of gold, oil leases and other flim flammery) and our President greatly reminds me of their glib, say anything to make the sale in a bully fashion, while brushing aside would-be rejections by using the most expedient lie to defeat the possibility of them hanging up, having planted some prole deep in arrears financially from his hasty decision forced merely by using the right words and pressure-pressure-pressure.

          2. bob

            “The Trump hopium we sometimes saw expressed here”

            I wouldn’t call it that. I’d call it recognizing that trump is very good at playing crowds. He likes to win. The dems have been losing for so long they don’t recognize a winning issue. They pulled out all the stops to put Joe up front and kill that issue as quickly as they could.

            In the same theme as Nixon founding the EPA, which trump has been doing his best to now strangle. It’ll take a dem to completely kill it off, like Clinton and welfare.

          1. Chris

            Biden isn’t capable of change either. How the man could face down someone like Ady Barkan and say nothing helpful, or even encouraging, even the typical kind of political patter, is amazing. It told me everything I need to know about Biden this time around. He is the person his record says he is. He won’t be moved by any constituents. So the best to be had under a Biden administration is more of the same. The most realistic outcome would be more of the same and more war too. Hard pass :/

              1. bob

                The poll that showed that a majority of the electorate think that both Trump and Biden are unfit for the job gave me some hope in these down times.

      2. Wukchumni

        Rail Runner Joe will counter with free ponies & rainbow stew, upping the ante and causing an escalation in promises not kept.

      3. Noone from Nowheresville

        I don’t think M4A would be the lynchpin for most of the viewing audience. Obama already did that type of bait n’ switch show. Plus Medicare already has an infestation which needs to be dealt with.

        Besides this is a much different type of a semi-scripted reality program. The audience would need a much more direct and quick (as in people’s hands yesterday) quid pro quo ratings surprise. The overall show’s ratings are improving. Tensions, stakes are rising. I wonder what the writers have in store for us with mid-season cliffhanger.

      4. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        September 12, 2020 at 8:54 am

        What happens if next month Trump offers M4A?

        Considering Trump campaigned on ending Obama care (which hasn’t happened) and replacing it with something better (which hasn’t happened), I very much doubt that Trump would change his stated policy preferences. Of course, Trump can say anything and people can believe what they choose….

        “I would build a great wall, and no one builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great wall and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”
        I know I am enjoying the greatest, most beautiful wall ever built, paid for by Mexico…I imagine Trump’s M4A will be equally stupendous…

        1. The Rev Kev

          I don’t think that Trump personally believes in much except Trump and only Trump. He’s gotta know that after he loses power that he will have hundreds of lawsuits and prosecutions coming down on top of his head. Plenty of people will want his head on a silver plate. His only way to save himself will be to get himself elected for another four years.

          With so many Republicans switching sides, it is up to himself. So what can he offer? Only written M4A legislation that will await his signature on Inauguration Day. It would also serve to put the Democrats in the position of fighting against M4A in the middle of a pandemic. If a vaccine is not ready by November, it may be his only choice.

          1. John Wright

            But will Biden do a “don’t look back, look forward” as Obama did when Obama did not prosecute the US financial industry?

            Trump might enjoy losing to Biden and having more time for golfing/business rescue.

            A lot of the anger at Trump will dissipate when he loses and Biden hits the ground running.

            As Obama was quoted “One Democrat who spoke to Obama recalled the former president warning, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.” Speaking of his own waning understanding of today’s Democratic electorate, especially in Iowa, Obama told one 2020 candidate: “And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.”

            Trump might be a winner by losing in this race.

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            jeezus christ, what is with you people?

            Trump has withstood “hundreds of lawsuits and prosecutions” during his career and lost very few. I don’t think they scare him.

            And what are they going to “prosecute” him for–his taxes? Being president during a post office reorganization?

            bill clinton raped women. w. bush committed international war crimes. obama used his executive branch power to nullify a constitutionally valid presidential election and foment an attempted coup. And they’re all still out there walking around free as birds, being hailed as “great” men and “reverently” addressed as “Mr. President.” The democrats are out there now actively promoting plans to deligitimize any election they don’t win, fer chrissakes.

            If Trump loses this election, and the corrupt zeroes in this government continue to persecute him for having the audacity to crash THEIR presidency while the empire continues to crumble, the least of anybody’s worries will be Trump’s taxes or the post office.

            I predict that if he loses, they will have gotten what they wanted and within a few years it will be back to business as usual–politicians of every stripe coming to him or his heirs, palms up begging for “campaign contributions.” Yeah, good luck with that.

            1. Robert Gray

              > I predict that if he [Trump] loses, they will have gotten what they wanted and
              > within a few years it will be back to business as usual–politicians of every stripe
              > coming to him or his heirs, palms up begging for “campaign contributions.”

              Here’s a sick-making thought but you know it’s true. Trump is now 74 years of age. In a year, or 5, or 10, when he dies, Bill&Hill, Sleepy Joe, Nancy Pelosi, Schumer, every single one of them will line up at his state funeral. ‘Well, yes, we had some policy differences. But he was a fine man and a great American’. They did it for Nixon, FFS.

            2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

              When future scientists break down the effects of the TDS virus they will certainly remark that one of its effects was to kill enormous areas of grey matter in its victims. Similar to the Civd symptom where you can no longer distinguish hot from cold, TDS seems to remove the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy.

              1. P

                We’ve suffered under neo-liberalism for 40 years. After 4 years of Trumpism we are shooting each other in the streets. Yep I guess I’ve lost enormous amount of grey matter to notice.

                1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

                  Really difficult for me to imagine how months of top Dems openly urging on race conflict is somehow Trumps fault.

                  But it won’t matter, because the media and their pals in the FBI now select the president

          3. The Historian

            If Trump rolled out M4A, oh, yea, he would definitely win. That would certainly be enough to change my mind! But he has been promising healthcare reform for over 4 years now and still hasn’t come up with anything substantial. What do you think are the chances that he can come up with something in a month?

            1. marym

              M4A, like any public program, would require a competent bureaucracy headed by people with at least some degree of commitment to the mission. Even a Sanders presidency would face challenges in rebuilding and revitalizing the civil service as it has been depleted and privatized through multiple administrations. Trump and his appointees are trashing what remains of the federal bureaucracy. It’s unclear if he would understand that dilemma.

              Also, Trump spends a lot of time watching FOX and tweeting. It’s unclear if those sources have given him any idea either that M4A would be a good thing, or that his followers would think so.

              1. Katniss Everdeen

                Trump and his appointees are trashing what remains of the federal bureaucracy.

                Really. About half the country would say that “the federal bureaucracy” is “trashing” him.

                1. marym

                  Well, I was thinking of the day in and day out work and organizational structure of the civil service corps that delivers the functions of any public program. I don’t think “deconstructing the administrative state”* and M4A would be compatible goals.

                  Trump has appointed (or bypassed the appointment process to anoint) several layers of bureaucracy management for 3.5 years.

                  That he thinks anything own appointees or pre-Trump long-timers tell him that he doesn’t want to hear is evidence that he’s being victimized by the Deep State doesn’t mean it’s always true.

                  There are comments above challenging the Dems to produce “dream legislation” that would make a difference in people’s lives. How about the same challenge to Trump on providing legislation, or detailed executive proposals, or appointees who are qualified to work toward those ends on anything medical care, infrastructure, the opioid crisis – rather than making things worse, as in the postal service, the census, environmental regulations, workplace regulations.

                  * Some examples:

              2. John k

                His concern is that his followers aren’t enough, he has to bring in others, whether indies or dems.
                He might simply say, ‘I’ve considered the medical issues facing our country during the pandemic, and see what happens to people that lose their coverage bc they lost their job. If re-elected, and if m4a reaches my desk, I will sign it.’
                That by itself is pretty different from Biden’s promised veto.
                Of course insurance would hate even such a limited statement bc it brings m4a back into public discourse, no matter how much Biden, dems and Pelosi diss it.
                Regarding his followers, it’s just the upper class bit that already have coverage that don’t want it, others are desperate for it.
                Might be a game changer.

              3. bob

                “with at least some degree of commitment to the mission.”

                Why can’t we ever get some mission creep when we need it?

            2. Michael McK

              I suspect lowering the age of eligibility to 50 would be the winning move, and a far less unlikely one. It would cater to a crowd with many votes to be salvaged while providing a fig leaf of fiscal responsibility since not everyone would be covered.
              He could pull out the Koch funded study that showed it would save the economy money and chide the youth to eat better and exercise more.
              It would also encourage employment of the over 50 since some employers would save on their health plan bills.
              Of course that would leave the issue of the crapification of Medicare but at least there would be more people motivated to fight against it.

                1. Pat

                  Democrats offer lots of things before the vote. We don’t even have to go far back, think Public Option. On for Biden before Sanders caved, gone after.

                  If it is always on the agenda or they are in a position to put some force behind it – believe them. Otherwise put in the round file before they do

          4. Aumua

            Donald Trump’s a billionaire. Do you really think he’s going to suffer any major negative consequences of anything he’s done or said? He won’t.

            He’s also NOT offering M4A. Wishful thinking is all that is.

          5. Mikel

            The base Trump caters to is not for M4A and I don’t know of anyone around him that is for M4A. I don’t see him gambling away any support of M4A.
            And “legislation awaiting the signature” of a known liar? Please…

          6. Noone from Nowheresville

            Dangerous precedent going after a former president. If for more than show, it would be a major break for the Norms Fairy, especially when one considers the level and depth of “crimes” which can be put at his feet compared to others before him.

            If so, we are entering a new phase. Something to ponder.

          7. Procopius

            Biden has already said that if he was elected and an M4A bill reached his desk he would veto it. There is no way the Democrats will allow a good health care law to be enacted.

        2. Brian (another one they call)

          If I may guess, 15% of our economy is based on insurance, insurance investment. 10% is healthcare. Billions are made by these people keeping real people in bondage and not treating them anything like a human being. 10% of useless parasites sucking money that keeps a voting block in place that screams bloody murder anytime the suggestion of free health care for all. Most people have mutual funds that are weighted pretty well with insurance stocks.
          Count it up. It is so important for the parasites to get paid that they would never agree to allowing their fellow citizens the right to health care like in civilized nations. It is a reason why we are doomed. A great percentage of the people in this nation are prevented from health care. PREVENTED. Sorry for shouting, but when people get to the point when they have lost everything, do you really believe they will keep calm and carry on? Our nation has been destroyed by the 2 party system.
          Do remember what the black knight said; “Tis but a scratch”

          1. Roger Boyd

            Healthcare is 18% of US GDP, FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) is 20%, “Defence” is about 4%. Over 40% of US GDP open to rent seekers, parasites and outright fraud. Then add in the massively over-priced higher education sector. The US could easily afford M4A and free higher education by just cutting the most obvious crap out of these sectors.

            PS. Some overlap on insurance and healthcare.

        3. Phil in KC

          If Trump were to suddenly endorse M4A, House and Senate Repubs would be silent, mainly. A few would push back. McConnell would never allow it to come on the Senate floor, much less to a vote. In short, it would be treated the same way a big multi-trillion dollar infrastructure bill would be (and has been) treated: a cynical joke.

          A few Dems would criticize his proposal as not going far enough, and thus not deserving of their support.

          1. Procopius

            A few Dems would criticize his proposal as not going far enough, and thus not deserving of their support.

            The rest would demand it be means tested.

      5. edmondo

        If Trump even says that he would offer M4A, I would vote for him. I wouldn’t believe him but at least I have a hope that it might happen. I got zero chances of getting it from OBiden

        1. edmondo

          The cherry on top would have to be watching Bernie Sanders tell us why we have to vote for Joe Biden because Trump’s M4A is no good.

            1. John k

              Of course he won’t believe him, first bc you couldn’t get a majority from either party in either house or senate to vote for it.
              But it would be a first for a sitting pres to say he’d sign it, more significant than a dem, and evidence of a seismic change between the parties. Trump promises help for the deplorable sin flyover, dems studiously ignore them. Trump brings troops home, Biden wants permanent presence. Imagine trump promises to sign m4a if it reaches his desk, Biden promises a veto.
              And trump hasn’t started any new wars in his first term, unique since Reagan.
              Anyway, it would be fun to listen to Bernie tell us why we can’t believe trump but should believe progressives will move Biden left. A joke for the vomitorium.
              And climate change? Fracken Biden or fracken trump? Pretty much a draw.
              IMO Biden is the greater evil, but not in a swing, I can throw my vote at the greens.

              1. Michael McK

                I think he could lower the age to receive Medicare by executive order.
                I too am voting green.
                I may well sign up with the California National Party soon (you can register to vote (or re-register) online at the Secretary of State’s website and type in “California National Party” in the space next to the ‘”other” box). Sadly they plan on using the US$ and keeping the US military to “defend” California, which does not seem very sovereign to me. I hope many Californian NCers join too and we try to change that, assuming they intend to be a party that reflects their membership.

                1. John k

                  Sounds odd, seems it means more spending, IMO up to Congress. certainly be fought in the courts.
                  But if it is true he could lower it to 1 year. Or better, one day.
                  Maybe declare a health state of emergency on account of the virus.

      6. Larster

        The Republican Senate would not go along with this. They will not even provide relief to the states.

        Re Durham, if there was anything there we would know by now, although Atty Gen Lumpy, will spin it as best he can. What it might do is give some Trumpies, who are desperately trying to prove that there judgement is not horrible, a reason to believe. The rest of us have already made our decision.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          The Durham investigation just seems like the Republican Russiagate analog. There’s probably even a Fox News Rachel Maddow analog out there cynically selling false hope for clicks and eyeballs.

      7. Cuibono

        What happens? Next thing you know you wake up and it’s time to get your sorry ass back to work so you can get health care insurance

    5. Roquentin

      I think Trump is being punished less at the polls for how 2020 has gone at least in part because Democrats don’t spend a lot of time saying what, if anything, they would have done differently. I’ve seen exactly one ad or Biden speech where Biden addressed it and he simply said he’d do a national mask mandate. Not a bad idea, as far as it goes, but when that’s all the supposed difference you’re offering I doubt it inspires much enthusiasm from voters. The Dems have done little or nothing in the way of championing more extensive COVID relief packages and stimulus checks/unemployment benefits, probably because their donors don’t want to keep suppressing wages.

      It’s not just COVID either. Biden’s response to the riots has been to do a softer “law and order” argument than Trump.

      1. pjay

        “I think Trump is being punished less at the polls for how 2020 has gone at least in part because Democrats don’t spend a lot of time saying what, if anything, they would have done differently.”

        Exactly. And it’s not surprising. What the hell *would* the Democrats have done differently? Aside from possibly *sounding* more polished and “sciency”? Certainly they would have gotten flack from Fox News and the QAnon crowd no matter what they did. But then Trump got this from the MSM and the liberal PMC — and I don’t recall the “Kenyan socialist” Obama being the subject of a rolling “soft coup” during his tenure. Trump cancelled the Iran deal and bowed more openly to Israel; Obama did Libya and Syria and Ukraine and… Domestically, no, Trump will not champion M4A. But one could argue that what Obama did, during a brief period of potential opportunity, was to sabotage any real health care reform for decades. Otherwise, the economic policies of both were basically to accelerate upward distribution even more. Regarding COVID; I’m not convinced the Democrats would have reacted much differently or shut things down much faster.

        Even in terms of pure rhetoric, Trump’s racist demagoguery was deplorable (no pun intended), but he was better in his economic populism, promise to get us out of endless wars, and seeming willingness for detente with Russia than the Dems neoliberal interventionism. The fact that the Dems were more likely to live up to their rhetoric on this score is not a selling point.

        So really, what would the Democrats have done differently? What *will* they do differently?

          1. Noone from Nowheresville

            And I’d add what are they doing differently during this national tragedy (not a crisis a crisis requires elites to feel pain). Dems hold the House and the purse strings.

            Yeah, yeah. Republican Senate and Presidency. I know I know. All fine and good. For argument’s sake, I’ll buy in to it. But if there’s a real difference to be had in outcomes, show me the dream legislation by having the House pass it now then soapbox the hell out of it as a starting point that there will be a real material difference in outcomes for the bottom 81% of the entire nation if the Dems sweep the election. Otherwise same ol’ same ol’. Slightly different journey but same basic destination.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > show me the dream legislation by having the House pass it now then soapbox the hell out of it as a starting point

              Yep. This would have had to happen before 2016, too. In fact, it would have given the Democrats something to run on other than “It’s her turn.”

            2. John k

              A great point. Like for instance pass Jayapal m4a bill, apparently better than bernies… oh, or 15/hr… or GND… what fantasies I have… Pelosi paygo would never allow a vote. In fact, to stop all such fantasies is why we’ve dnc picked Biden instead of Bernie.
              I really hope they hafta blame the deplorable peasants and Russia again. Let them wonder why Hillary and Biden promising no change From saint Obama’s policies just doesn’t seem to resonate with the unwashed. ‘So ungrateful, we did so much for them, spent trillions…’

            3. a different chris

              Well they wouldn’t be trampling all over the environment with a wall and ridiculous energy policies….but admittedly that’s really all I got.

              And the question was what they would actually do, and I got nothing. The environment, to continue on that subject, needs positive action not the Biden BS.

              So, I guess I have to hope for targeted means-tested something something for some wetlands?

        1. anon in so cal

          What will Democrats do differently?

          Biden wants to *increase* the U.S. military budget.

          He opposes U.S. troop withdrawals from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan.

          He wants Ukraine and Georgia in NATO.

          He wants Russia to “pay a heavier price.”

          “Biden said conditions in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are so complicated that he cannot promise full withdrawal of troops in the near future…..

          he said defense spending could increase in a Biden Administration.”

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          The Democrats would have gotten TPP and TTIP passed and signed. That’s something they would have done differently.

          About coronavid, its hard to know. Cuomo and deBlasio are core Democrats, after all. Why would national Democrats have handled the new corona any differently than those prominent NY Democrats did?

    6. Pat

      I think you are “misunderestimating” how bad the Democratic candidate and the Democrats in general have been in this. Short of not being as vulgar, try to come up with a list of effective Democratic responses and actions.
      As more and more people fall into a hole, and the wealthy get the help they demand, excuses and proclamations don’t really hold up. People who aren’t increasingly desperate may stay in denial. Sadly for Democrats that group is getting smaller and the increasingly desperate is getting larger.

      I will also note that it may be half assed but Trump has actually taken some ACTION.

    7. km

      I would say that Trump will lose, unless there is a wave of race-based unrest around election day, in which case, all bets are off.

      No doubt Team D has figured out the same thing and told their proxies to cool it.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Well, this woman did not get Team D’s memo, apparently.

        Video footage from inside the cabin of a plane shows an African-American woman belligerently refusing to let a flight attendant pass her in the aisle because of “white privilege”.

        “You need to understand, you don’t run America no more sweetheart,” she tells the blonde white woman before explaining how she once “slapped the shit” out of a “white bitch” for disrespecting her.

        What happens in Portland doesn’t seem to be staying in Portland.

        And then there’s the nfl.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          The NFL. Where the young men who actually do the work are damaging the whole enterprise…. by enraging MAGA-minded, well to do, middle aged sky box leasers and season ticket buyers. I’ve heard quite a few aging white MAGA types ranting about how they intend to break the league by withholding their money and patronage now that the players are allowed a little pre-game expression of conscience.

          They reckon they are vitally important to the league. Regular working stiffs rarely attend pro football games anymore. Even the “cheap seats” are too expensive for most would-be fans in most cities. And ordinary fans don’t have enough free time to attend much anyhow.

          Thing is, I have to wonder if the NFL isn’t finally letting their players speak out not in spite of, but because some serious coin is now at stake. Many franchises benefit considerably each season from tax breaks and direct payments, both largely drawn from the budgets of blue cities. All those furious, 50-something exurban season-ticket types who intend to desert the NFL now that it lets players kneel in public……. how much does their little bit of money actually match up anymore? The franchises may need to stay on the good side of the cities that subsidize them more than they need to keep top 10% fans happy.

          1. Oh

            The sky box leasers don’t use their own money – the corporations pay for it. The stadiums are built using public money and the profits go to the NFL franchaisees.

            1. orlbucfan

              The NFL makes its big $$coin off broadcasting. However, viewership has been very slowly declining in the last few years. No telling what the future holds.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Back in November of 2016 weren’t some pundits on TV saying that she had a 99% chance of winning so it was all over now? I guess that when the elections were held that they were left “Shattered”.

    8. anon in so cal

      “return to normalcy” :)

      translation: let’s start some new regime change wars.

      Hate him or love him, Trump is the first president since Reagan who has not started a new war during the first term. Is this the reason the entire National Security State and NeoCon Establishment want him gone, asap?

      Biden is already running to the right of Trump in several theaters including Venezuela:

      1. Procopius

        I guess supporting the terrorist guerrillas in Nicaragua doesn’t count as “war,” right? Even though they were partly financed by selling their cocaine in Los Angeles with logistical support from the CIA.

    9. drumlin woodchuckles

      Trump has a personal fanbase who will crawl through electrified poison-blade-tipped triple strand razor wire to vote for him.

      What does Kamalabiden have?

    1. farragut

      That’s excellent news; thx! Two numbers jumped out at me: a) they won a total of 8 primary races (!) on b) an 11% turnout?! Yikes.

      1. Big River Bandido

        11% is actually pretty high for a Democrat primary. Low turnout primaries are exactly why the right wing has such control of the so-called “party”. Their candidates have no popularity at all, but they control the machine.

        But this is also their Achilles heel, especially if you can sneak up on them, like AOC did with Crowley or as in this case where the organization campaign was under the radar. They can’t mobilize huge numbers of voters (banks can’t vote, and there’s no constituency for austerity). This leaves an opening for well organized “stealth” challengers.

    2. Swamp Yankee

      Very exciting, and a long time coming. That Rhode Island is essentially a one party state means that the division between the Berniecrat wing, and what you might call the Christian Democrats, the Catholic right-wing of the Rhode Island party, is a key cleavage. And there is no love lost between these two factions. A great thing for the Berniecrats and working Rhode Islanders.

      It’s an interesting state with interesting politics — it seems to go through periodic revolutionary upheavals — Dorr’s Rebellion in the 1840s, when the colonial charter is finally replaced with a state constitution; T.F. Green and the sweep of the Republican Party from power by New Dealer Dems in the 1930s.

      And hopefully today they’re profiting by those examples.

  4. Jesper

    About: The Moria Catastrophe and the EU’s Hypocritical Refugee Policy Der Spiegel

    A couple of thoughts about the article:
    -The call for solidarity is led by Luxembourg, the state which might be best described by the story of the Lux Leaks:
    Isn’t it a tiny bit rich to be both asking for solidarity from others while at the same time living off minimising tax-revenue for the very same others?
    -statistically speaking, what are the odds that a woman-refugee would be the one interviewed? Was it even odds that the one interviewed would be a woman or was a woman selected for the interview to fit a narrative?
    -this bit from the article:

    Soon, the grove was given a bleak nickname: “The Jungle.” There were hardly any toilets and women didn’t dare leave their tents at night for fear of being raped.

    seems almost written as an argument for not to let men from the camp come into EU. Or is it expected that the alleged perpetrators will change their behaviour once they are in the EU?
    -then this bit:

    fled the terror of the Taliban in Afghanistan by making her way to Greece via Turkey

    seems to be missing a few steps, as far as I know there is no border between Turkey and Afghanistan so someone going from Afghanistan to Turkey might have passed through a couple of countries on the way there. Possibly this might be explaining some:

    The article mentions Forced Solidarity, yes I agree, it might be time for just that and force the wealthy individuals in the world to show more solidarity and they should be forced to share their wealth. But I suppose that what the article is referring to is to force the somewhat poor to share with the very poor…

  5. Polar Donkey

    The restaurant I work at set up a station for outdoor dining, 6 tables. Not many people choose to sit there. After walking around downtown and interacting with panhandlers and many mentally ill people, customers just want to go inside. Homelessness and panhandling has exploded across the city. It has always been a large problem because of the high poverty rate, but like almost every other problem it has been cranked up to 11.

    1. Wukchumni

      Eating out is among riskiest activities during COVID-19 pandemic, CDC says

      In a study with 314 adults who were tested for COVID-19, the CDC found adults who tested positive for the coronavirus were about twice as likely than those who tested negative to have gone to a restaurant before getting sick.

      “Findings from a case-control investigation of symptomatic outpatients from 11 U.S. health care facilities found that close contact with persons with known COVID-19 or going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options were associated with COVID-19 positivity,” the CDC said.

      Of the 314 people tested, about half tested positive and half negative. The tests were at healthcare facilities in California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.

      Researchers asked each participant what they had done two weeks before getting tested for the coronavirus, including wearing masks or going to restaurants, bars, salons or gyms.

      Both people who tested positive and those who tested negative gave similar answers, except when it came to going to restaurants. The data show people who tested positive were significantly more likely to eat at restaurants in “any area designated by the restaurant, including indoor, patio, and outdoor seating.”

      1. Maritimer

        Recently, there are reports that Britain’s Eat Out To Help Out program also to the more jaded known as Pig Out To Help Out, has led to an increase in Covid cases since the program was a wild success. Folks went bananacakes and apparently exchanged aerosols. The humorous part of this was that folks really gamed the system like mini-quants figuring out how to max their take from the Nanny State. Also, lots of photos of the Chancellor serving up bangers ‘n mash to mooching customers. Rule Britannia!

        How much the scientists had to do with the design of Pig Out is unknown. Please respect your Emergency Health Officials.

        And not to be outdone by British idiocy, in my own jurisdiction as part of the Health Emergency, the Government instituted a Takeout Booze policy which the Booze Pushers and Hoteliers have lobbied for a long time. Trust the Science!

    2. JTMcPhee

      Isn’t it nice that us fortunate ones not yet stripmined by those above us on the Ladder of Success can still have our special islands of tranquility where we don’t have to see the waste products of the political economy we feed on?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Can those modestly fortunate ones still having their special islands of tranquility . . . turn those islands of tranquility into fortresses and foxholes and pillboxes of obstruction?

  6. timbers

    Regarding: From Hoovervilles to Trumpvilles: Homeless Crisis Deepens Counterpunch

    What homeless crisis? Briefly scanned headlines at CNN, MSNBC, FOX, NPR. Didn’t see any stories about homelessness.

    We might better spend our time thinking about how to make the stocks go up so the rich get richer and trickle down their money. Like Powell and Trump have been doing since…FOREVER. That way if there even is a homeless crisis, that will fix it. How about another corporate tax cut? Actually why do we even tax corporations? Because corporations are people except they don’t need healthcare or Social Security so they don’t burden society so they shouldn’t have to pay taxes.

    Someone should go on the TeeVee and say these things. Probably on the business programs. It would result in the same government polices but instead there would be more clarity about our polices. The first question asked at the Presidential debate btwn Trump and Biden should be:

    “Why should corporations have to pay taxes, when they are in fact people but don’t burden society with the need for healthcare and retirements such as Social Security?”

    The second question should ask each candidate if they are wearing a lapel or cuff links with a patriotic symbol like the American flag.

    That would help to clarify things in the minds of the voters.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Because corporations are people except they don’t need healthcare or Social Security so they don’t burden society so they shouldn’t have to pay taxes.

      Interesting that the larger ones get so many direct & indirect international, national, federal, state and local transfers though, isn’t it? The ultimate welfare Kingpin. Guess we’ll need a Daredevil to clean up society’s burden.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Smedley Butler would probably beg to differ with the “corporations ‘don’t burden society’ ” thesis. Vigorously.

        “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
        ― Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier

        1. fresno dan

          Katniss Everdeen
          September 12, 2020 at 11:32 am

          1. Great, GREAT link to Smedley

          2. There are two ways of looking at my link – Trump and his draft deferments OR that Trump is the only person in authority (I include media, generals, politicians, and billionaires) who acknowledges that the military is a racket, a scam, and that patriotism is a cover oft times for the most venal, cowardly, and lying SOB’s that there are and that America and its military are NOT pure unadulterated saints. Both are true – but almost no one in a position of power but Trump will bring up the fact that the military is not beyond criticism or how the United States has used the military foolishly or evilly.
          NOW, I was in the military. I don’t think I’m a bad person for having been in the military. Most countries have militaries. They have their place. But the unquestioning belief in the virtue, honesty, and altruism of the US military and their acolytes is rather naive, immature, and stupid. And Trump seems to be practically (the only republican as far as I know) public person who can make what are really very obvious and evident observations about the United States, and its military having done some very bad things. These are facts, and as facts they should not be controversial, yet there is a remarkable consensus to bury them and never, ever acknowledge them.

          EVEN in 2016 you had an EXTRAORDINARY number of the ruling class that would not admit what a disaster Iraq was. Incredible. Americans (or perhaps more accurately, their government) have a propaganda position or fairy tale that we have the world’s greatest military AND that we are the world’s most noble country. Despite going on 2 decades of being unable to defeat the taliban in Afghanistan and having undermined democracies and lawful governments many times.
          Being American and speaking only English, I am unable to ascertain if other countries live with as many whackadoodle delusions as in the United States.

      1. tegnost

        +1, a Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burthen to their Corporations, or the Banks (h/t Jonathon Swift with a nod to the modern age)

    2. Carolinian

      Didn’t see any stories about homelessness.

      Right. Of course during the Depression it was the people themselves who designated them Hoovervilles in response to “liquidate everything” Mellon and his boss. I’m not sure what magic wand Trump could wave to make the victims of neoliberalism and a financialized economy into citizens with a roof over their head. In highly Democratic California it is the state lege that is reluctant to take on the real estate lobby and of course in NYC real estate rules up to the point of making one of their own president.

      But surely once Trump is defeated all will be solved and we won’t dare call them Bidenvilles.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Wouldn’t it be nice if a diffuse generation of “rebel candidates” emerged and all took part in the following telegenic ritual . . . . not wearing flag pins. And as soon as a flag-pin wearer asks ” why are you not wearing a flag pin” , the rebel candidate can reply: ” Any scoundrel can wear a flag pin. . . . I see you have YOURS on.”

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Who Gets Hurt When the World Stops Using Cash”

    People are going to have to take care when talking about the use of cash during the pandemic going on. Lots of people started to use contact-less cards, even if they did not want to. Normally I always pay cash but for the first time in my life I was having to use my card in some places. The obvious conclusion is that we can eliminate cash and go all digital, right? I don’t know about the US but a few days ago I came across an article stating that in Oz, while the use of cash has plummeted, the use of cash surged by $11 billion. The reason is that people have decided that it would be wise to keep cash at home in case of emergencies and not depend on banks and digital infrastructure. People remembered that cash was, after all, a store of value independent of both electricity and internet networks-

    1. a different chris

      Hey, credit to BI as they actually didn’t just leave a number hanging there:

      >To be exact, the amount of cash currently in circulation has reached $94 billion, growing by $11 billion during the pandemic.

      I would have preferred “growing well over 10%” but good enough. $11billion is a rounding error in the US or Europe, so that total number is important.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Gotta remember that we are talking about a population of only 25 million people here so that $11 billion is significant. I think that that works out to an extra $440 for every man, woman and child in the country as an increase.

      2. Mummichog

        Get rid of cash and there is no backup Transaction System. Digital system goes down and that’s it, ballgame over. Cyberattack, EMP, etc. just takes it out.

        This should be completely obvious to the Elite. So obvious, in fact, that one wonders why they would want to put the Transaction System at risk by having no backup. The Oligarch who is in hard assets wins.

        I have seen quite a few of these cashless articles and none of the above has ever been mentioned. Very surprising.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perhaps that’s the goal of cashless society. Digitize all units of “money” and then crash the digi-system. Declare the digi-units of money to be evaporated annnnnnd . . . ” It’s Gone!”
          Just like the Harvard Gang evaporate the rubles of millions of elderly Russian pensioners.

    2. Pat

      And I have several small businesses that I patronize tell me that if I could pay in cash it would be better for them. Stated reason in one case was their vendors wanted cash. I am pretty sure it wasn’t that but the fees the card companies demand.

      1. td

        Coin shortage is a thing in the Toronto area, at least. We’ve taken to using cash in restaurants and car washes to help recycle and to give the wait staff some of the cash tipping back. The local pub is well situated with outdoor tables that get a consistent breeze off Lake Ontario so no worries, and I want them to stay in business because it’s walking distance.

        Also, eat, drink and be merry for Winter is coming.

    3. farragut

      I’ve used a credit card for 99% of my purchases for years, but I’m 100% against banning cash. Not only would the elimination of cash hurt the significant numbers of people who are un- or underbanked (that in itself is reason to support the use of cash), but it would allow Central Banks to: a) impose negative rates on digital accounts such as savings or checking accounts, and b) significantly reduce anonymity of transactions.

      While claiming a ban on cash would reduce fraud (this would undoubtedly be true), I’d like to see any nascent persecution of fraud begin with the seemingly daily & obvious white-collar fraud we read about (ie, TBTF, anyone with a resume which contains time spent at “Goldman Sachs”, insider trading performed by members of Congress, etc.), before focusing on fraud involving untraceable cash payments.

      Regarding anonymity, I certainly don’t have anything to *hide* in my purchases. I simply don’t see the need for Big Brother to *know* what I purchase.

      Going back to negative rates on cash, there’s an alarming paper by Ken Rogoff which he presented to an NBER conference in April 2014, titled “Costs and benefits of phasing out paper currency”. It’s 14 pages long and well worth your time. I’ve saved a copy to my PC, but can’t seem to find the link to include here; apologies. In the paper, Rogoff discusses the main advantage of eliminating cash: CBs impose negative rates on digital accounts. In addition, he also discusses other options besides negative rates, to facilitate the velocity of money. Some of them are downright scary and should, rightfully, increase your blood pressure or even tempt you to pick up arms to protect your ability to use your hard-earned monies as you–not the Govt–see fit.

      1. td

        Rogoff is pretty consistent about thinking up ways to make life hard for the poor and represents the part of the chattering class who are unthinkingly oblivious to hardship. Having spent some time in my misspent youth as an itinerant labourer, I always carry some coinage for some meaningful handouts to anyone who actually looks in need of it. It is lucky to give to a begger, according to some religious figures.

        In any case, doing away with cash catches a few offenders, but oppresses millions.

      2. campbeln

        Couldn’t agree more! Like you, I too have used my credit card or electronic transfers nearly 100% of the time for years and bristle at the suggestion of getting rid of cash for the reasons you describe.

        I read reporting at the time of the Rogoff paper but it sounds worthwhile to hunt down. Negetive rates alone pushed the BP up.

        As to the “catching fraud” angle… give me a break. They’d prosecute 100,000 waiters and flee market hawkers and ZERO drug kingpins or gun runners…

        1. a different chris

          Add me. I usually have like 7 one-dollar bills in my wallet, but for reasons well laid out by farragut the very thought eliminating cash make me woozy.

          How does Rogoff get anybody to ask him anything beyond directions to the bathroom at this point?

      3. The Rev Kev

        I think that Ken Rogoff just carries the water for monied interest. About a decade ago, he came out with a paper with Carmen Reinhart that was used by governments by bring in austerity based on their conclusions. Millions suffered doing this that never had to and I am sure that Mark Blyth would have said a lot about this. But then a student got ahold of their Excel charts and discovered that their work was total bs that verged on fraud. But Rogoff, instead on being laughed out of his profession, still gets to come out with all these pronouncements-

      1. Anonymous

        1) personal safety.
        2) electronic commerce.
        3) deposits are risk-free up to $250,000 (per account) via government-provided deposit guarantees.
        4) automatic record keeping.
        5) the need for direct deposit ability.

        But let’s have monetarily sovereign governments provide such services* to all citizens as an inherent right of citizenship so that no citizen need ever patronize usurers or be limited to grubby coins and paper Central Bank Notes, aka “cash.”

        But yeah, SOME cash on hand is wise.

        *FOR FREE up to a reasonable account limit.

  8. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Update from Oregon:

    The Wildfires are causing havoc with the Manufacturing Process of several factories.

    Where I work, it smells like smoke. Everywhere.

    Hillsboro and Banks look eerie with the haze blocking the sun. It was especially chilly this morning. Not that I have any problem with that.

    Going from Hurricanes in New Orleans to Wildfires in Oregon…

    Mighty suspicious this happened during the worst outbreak of Portland protests in quite a while if ever…




      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        I have a “real” job now so I don’t like to post about it often so I don’t get fired…yayyy Social Media NOT

        Went to a Veterans Hiring Fair at the Superdome and landed a pretty dang good factory job in Oregon!

        But I miss Nola so much I’ve been back 3 times already in 7 months…June then August and last week!

  9. a different chris

    This throw away “everybody agrees” phrase in the TLS article caught my eye:

    >Douglas also explores the ways in which Trump has undermined the credibility of the press and judiciary

    Trump is horrible, but as most commenters on this blog keep pointing out – he’s the stench, not the rot.

    The press and judiciary have undermined their credibility all by themselves, a project all but finished by 2016.

  10. Art

    So football started up again and fans are allowed into the stadium? I pay very little attention to pro sports, but I thought baseball and basketball were at least not allowing people into the stadia to watch. NFL exceptionalism I guess. Loud booing seems like a good way to spread the covid.

    1. Wukchumni

      I think the NFL having a token amount of fans will backfire on them, as it sends the wrong message in that in the Chiefs game the other day, attendees were way too close to one another, and masks? I saw a precious few.

      There’s also the aspect that it just looks horrible, as if you were at a meaningless game late in the season, with both teams going nowhere fast. The kind of contest where you can pick up a $90 seat for $20.

      That said, here’s to the red, white & blue crew just south of Upper Canada with the rightpaw from Firebaugh.

      1. Billy

        Why are people wasting perfectly good money to crowd together in public, at massive ticket prices, to watch a bunch of hideously overpaid and glorified field hands throw a ball back and forth?

        The sooner pro sports of all kinds die, the better it is for all members of our society, except genetic freaks with long muscles that stake their entire future on ball.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          They were underpaid before they were overpaid.*

          The difference is called a UNION.

          *Arguable about most of the players (non Pro Bowl) given the very real CTE future that awaits many of them.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Maybe Obama could go in an get them to accept a future committee. At the appropriate juncture of course. When the conditions are right. After conditions have been met. In the fullness of time.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Oregon officials concerned wildfires could be a ‘mass fatality incident’ after they burn more than a million acres”

    Thought of a way that they can look for these casualties. Remember after Florida’s Spring break someone published a map of the US showing in gold trails everywhere the people in Florida had scattered to? And that this was done by tracking their mobiles? They could track mobiles in Oregon as there are only a little over four million people living there and look for those mobiles that just dropped off the network and where they were. I’m sure that the NSA would have the technology to make this possible by filtering the data. Let them do some good for a change.

  12. Quentin

    Woodward now tells us that eight months ago he heard from the horse’s mouth, Donald Trump himself, that Corona was very dangerous and basically spread through the air. But Woodward speaks only now when he’s flogging what must be his 100th book. He remained silent as Trump and his government were playing down the danger and contradicting the evidence of airborne transmission. So wasn’t it very responsible and helpful of Woodward to keep the truth under wraps. His behaviour deserves condemnation, to say the least, as by making the it known he would definitely have influenced the response to the pandemic positively, helping save lives. But no, you know because of $$$$ and renown and admiration by the people who count for sticking it to Trump.

    1. pasha

      quentin, i call a “both-siderism” foul. trump has taken an oath to uphold the constitution, and failed miserably. woodward merely has a conscientious duty to tell the truth. to do so, he spent the nest months fact-checking.

      trump, on february 7 — three days after the impeachment vote in the senate, his popularity peaking — told woodward that the virus was at least five times more fatal than a “strenuous” flu. but there were only 12 confirmed cases at that point, no deaths; who would have believed woodward?

      twenty days later, when there were only 214 covid deaths total, trump told him it killed children as well. revealing the trump lie would have meant nothing at that point.

      shortly thereafter, states started going on lockdown. revealing the tape wouldn’t have had much impact then, either.

      woodward took the time to gather evidence and make a case. dropping his book just before the election is brilliant

    1. The Rev Kev

      This is really starting to sound like America’s version of Australia’s ‘black summer’ – red skies, mass evacuations, towns destroyed. You would think that Trump or Pelosi would jump a plane and go visit these States but I have not heard of anything along these lines happening yet.

      1. Keith

        I suspect you also need to factor in the hype scenario, too. Is it really as bad as they say and/or worse than another fire season? Being it near Portland, it does give better media access and the city was already in the news.

        From a personal perspective, the fires two or three years ago were worse in terms of air quality in the region.

        Lastly, this is an election year and Oregon is already owned by the Democrats, so no need for a politician to waste there time there. No real benefit from a national election standpoint.

        1. Tim W

          Well yes, it is as bad as ‘they’ say. It’s hard to envision how air quality could be any worse. For us it’s much worse than two years ago. We’re here right in Mr. St. Claire’s backyard. Can see Newell Creek Canyon from the front step (though not the specific fire he references strangely). In terms of acreage, property damage and pretty much any other metric 2020 is worse.
          Politics be damned. It’s just bad.

        2. occasional anonymous

          Yes, it is that bad. There’s a significant chance my town still exists only because the weather changed and the dry winds driving the spread stopped.

        3. The Rev Kev

          Gotta be bad. There was that article of how 500,000 people are being evacuated in Oregon alone the other day. As their population is only a little over four million people, that means that one in every eight people are being evacuated. If the same ratio held true for California for example, then that would mean five million people being evacuated in that State.

      2. Brian (another one they call)

        There is no political will to help us here in Oregon. We vote for the demo’s on the west side of the mountains and they vote for the repubs on the east side. There is some overlap of course, but the west side has all the population. There is no need to treat with us because we are predictable in the election so they wouldn’t waste their time on us.
        They took our firefighting capabilities and sent them to guard opium crops in Afghanistan. They may have another reason they state but it is pretty certain by now that this is why we are there. I believe the quiet history of opium was a big reason for staying in indochina for as long as we did. Any commodity that means money for the barons is fair game and America steals it if we can’t buy it for less than fair value from any other nation.
        I have looked at our senators records. They speak of privacy and jobs and make all the right noises. But they don’t do anything. They did nothing when Obama was in power and nothing now. How many of you have figured out your congress people never really deliver anything for you?

        1. Carolinian

          Funny after all our years of occupation Afghanistan is still the number one opium producer. Makes one foily.

          Good luck in Oregon.

          1. lordkoos

            From what I can see US troops literally do guard the opium crop in Afghanistan. The Taliban had completely eliminated opium farming when they were in power.

          2. The Rev Kev

            When the Taliban ran Afghanistan opium production had been zeroed out by them. Some sort of religious edict. But since it has been occupied, it is now the number one opium producer in the world I believe. Must be embarrassing for some of those troops down the track as in ‘What did you do in the war, daddy?

      1. newcatty

        Same hopes here for call West coast people’s. Here in northern AZ it is gray skies, especially in the south. We have family in southern CA. I pray for their safety always and that the skies will clear.

        This song has been singing in my mind today. Though not really relevant to the California dream of those who migrated there in the past decades, it seems evocative (and ironic) of this time of a sadness that is in the hearts of those who are in or witnessing the fire’s smoke and burning.

        All the leaves are brown
        And the sky is gray
        I’ve been on a walk on a winter’s day
        I’d be safe if I was in LA.
        California dreaming on such a winter’s day.

        Stopped into the church I passed along the way
        Well, I got down on my knees
        And I pretend to pray.
        You known the preacher likes the cold
        He knows I’m gonna stay

      2. lordkoos

        Here in central WA we are safe, as long as we don’t go outside and breathe. I’m sitting inside running the air filter, which I originally bought so I could sleep better in hay fever season, it’s turned out to be a wise purchase as it keeps the air in the house clean.

        30 miles from here the air quality is literally off the charts with air particulates at 500 ppm. In our town it’s 350 ppm – anything over 300 is rated as “dangerous” air quality. WA, OR and CA are almost completely covered by thick smoke.

          1. judy2shoes

            We just hit 500 on one of our air quality monitors (I’m in Spokane). Not looking forward to tomorrow.

  13. chuck roast

    Re: Rent Control Ordinances

    Lately I have been thinking about things like a Mansion Tax to pay for our new high school and rent control ordinances…being that I am a renter an all. When I lived in DC the rent control ordinance was a big help to my life. But it seems to me that most discussions around these ordinances concern permitted amounts of annual rent increases and whether or not a tenant is on a fixed income. These are crucial matters, but I’m trying to figure out how one would establish a fair base rent. Perhaps the way to do it would be to base the initial rent on the property tax.

    For example, lets say an apartment/condo/house is valued by the tax assessor at $200,000 and the annual property tax is $3,000. If the rentier charges the renter $1,000/month plus utilities he makes a profit of $9,000 per annum. For this he pays upkeep/repairs, grass cutting, whatever. The owner flips the unit for $300,000. The tax assessor may put the $300K in the books as the property tax value and lower the mill rate. In any case the property tax will probably remain around $3K/annum. Now the new owner, both a beneficiary and victim of the asset bubble, will want a return for his investment…the return will come in the form of a substantial rent increase for the tenant.

    A standard rent control ordinance would serve to put a damper on the asset bubble and keep the tenants rent within bounds. There is a symmetry between the rentier and the tenant. My concern is; in a situation where rents are out of control to begin with, how do you establish what is a fair rent? The rentier doesn’t care what the rent is as long as he can pay the nut and make a tidy profit. The tenant doesn’t want to pay 50/60% of his income on rent. Any ideas on initially structuring a rent control ordinance including establishing a fair base rent would be welcome.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      The owner’s costs in addition to property tax and maintenance include the mortgage payment, home insurance, and (if a condo or part of a hoa) the monthly condo assessment.

  14. Drake

    “Chiefs, Texans booed as racial justice stand sparks outrage AP”

    Rich woke celebrity SJW pandering gets put to a test before real people on live TV and hilarity ensues.

    Who’d have thought “White people are the devil” wouldn’t resonate with a football audience?

    Also a little weird that the referenced article capitalizes all occurrences of the word “Black”, as in “so and so, who is Black”.

    1. marym

      According to the link there were few boos, it wasn’t during the anthem or anything about the troops, and there was no reference to anyone being the devil. Also: “real people” ???

      1. voteforno6

        They’re only allowed to dance for his entertainment…no expressions of humanity are allowed on the part of the athletes, apparently…

        1. Drake

          If I were tuning in to watch multi-millionaires dance, then I’d want to watch them dance rather than lecture me about their struggles, but thanks for reading my mind, apparently.

          1. wilroncanada

            They’re not dancing for you. They’re dancing for the multi-billionaires who own them. So watch, or not. Whether you watch or not, you might eventually realize that the multi-billionaires own you too.

        2. Drake

          And your “expressions of humanity” are little more than celebrity group-preening, corporate PR, and anti-Trump culture war. The people having it forced down their throats expressed their reaction in what should be considered a snap poll.

      1. occasional anonymous

        There’s actually currently a very stupid war going on between different outlets and style guides about the subject. Some only capitalize black, others capitalize both black and white.

      2. Drake

        I was giving them the benefit of the doubt that it was a technical issue coupled with poor quality control. Now it seems like it comes right out of the “Principles of Newspeak”. Add AP to the list of propagandizers I’ll never trust again.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      It’s the preferred nomenclature, dude.

      Black American or Black for short denotes those whose ancestors were taken by force from their homes and brought here to be bought and sold as property.

      Embedded in a system whose laws denied them the most basic rights—such as any claim to personhood, the fruits of their labor, freedom of movement, maintenance of family ties, property ownership, or education—and legitimized horrific acts against them—such as being raped, branded, whipped, beaten to death or hung—they were effectively stripped of their humanity.

      Their descendants have over nearly 400 years evolved a unique cultural identity defined both by the traumatic legacy of slavery and by their struggle to rise above it. The historical circumstances and forces that shaped their culture do not apply whatsoever to African Americans, a distinct population of voluntary immigrants of more recent vintage.

      Some Black scholars and activists have been identifying as such for a while for accuracy and as a way of reclaiming their own particular history and culture. Recently, maybe post-George Floyd, the media seems to have picked up on this and the usage is gaining currency.

      There seems to be a reluctance to capitalize “white” because it evokes White Supremacy. Me, I put it in quotes since it’s a fiction anyway ;-)

      1. occassional anonymous

        No, actually it wasn’t any sort of universal practice to capitalize it until the media decided it needed some woke nonsense to virtue signal about.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Maybe try slowing down and reading for comprehension? Strawmanning doesn’t cut it: “some Black scholars…” does not assert a “universal practice.”

          And historical events are not “woke nonsense.”

            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              like the name of every other distinct culture in the world?

              Again, please read for comprehension.

              1. HippoDave

                “Black” isn’t a distinct culture in the world. Nor “White” nor “Red” nor “Yellow”.

                Sorry to notify you of this, colorist.

                1. ChiGal in Carolina

                  The descendants of slaves in America are a distinct culture with a unique history and they choose to turn the color thing on its head by self-identifying as Black.

      2. Eric Patton

        It’s the preferred nomenclature, dude.

        This is your response? Nice use of the passive voice, by the way.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          That was a reference, to one of the canonical texts* of this blog.

          You’re out of your element, Donny.

          *the big Lebowski

  15. John

    Could not agree more. My cash and my passport ready to be snatched at a moments notice, albeit an American Passport appears to be devalued at the moment..

  16. marym

    Today from the NC Attorney General in response to a Trump tweet:
    Josh Stein @JoshStein_
    “NORTH CAROLINA: Do NOT do what the President directs. To make sure your ballot COUNTS, sign and send it in EARLY. Then track it ONLINE with BALLOTTRAX. Do NOT vote twice (it’s a felony), or waste your time, or unnecessarily risk exposure to more people.” (Thread)

    Yesterday from the CO Secretary of State in response to a mailing from the USPS:
    Jena Griswold @JenaGriswold
    “I just found out the @USPS is sending this postcard to every household and PO Box in the nation. For states like Colorado where we send ballots to all voters, the information is not just confusing, it’s WRONG…

    Secretaries of State asked @USPS Postmaster General DeJoy to review a draft before election information was sent to voters to ensure accuracy. But he refused. Now millions of postcards with misinformation are printed & being mailed to voters.” (Thread)

  17. Pelham

    Re immigrants: Interesting, that new poll. However, what about the decades of polling that indicated Americans wanted less immigration? Instead, they got more. And now recent immigrants make up such a large portion of the population they’ve managed to tip the polling in favor of yet more immigrants.

    In this case, the policy of continuing the lashings until attitudes improve has actually worked. Unfortunately.

    1. a different chris

      >And now recent immigrants make up such a large portion of the population they’ve managed to tip the polling

      Got numbers to support that assertion? NC isn’t a “make things up because they make me happy” zone.

  18. Samuel Conner

    mirabile dictu, someone on the Biden team has noticed that the cupboard is not as bare as previously thought.

    It would be nice if it could also be noticed that the Fed has the power to control interest rates and the shape of the yield curve. Small steps on the way to an accurate, MMT oriented, understanding of Federal finances.

    Of course, “execute their agenda” admits of multiple readings, some not favorable.

  19. DJG

    After a day of patriotic gore and eternal remembrance and U.S. resentment, today’s posting of the article by Patrick Coburn on the U.S. war on terror is a corrective. He estimates 37 million refugees.

    And to quote:
    “Even leaders as dim-witted as David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and Hillary Clinton should have foreseen the politically disastrous consequences of these wars. They generated an inevitable refugee and immigrant wave that energised the xenophobic far right across Europe and was a deciding factor in the Brexit referendum of 2016.”

    Indeed. I won’t invoke the law of unintended consequences. What we are seeing is the venality and incompetence of an elite.

    1. David

      Ah, but he is, quite reasonably, supposing that these people ever worry about consequences. That’s a boring way of looking at things (“what will happen if we do this?” vs “what will happen if we do that?”) and leads to tedious, banal answers: it’s sometimes called “consequentialism” for that reason. It’s also what Weber called the “politics of responsibility”, which used to be what every government felt obliged to practice. It’s much more exciting to run with what Weber called “the politics of ultimate ethical ends”, in other words, how can we do the Right Thing ™, whatever the consequences. This mindset allows to you to run rampant around the world, killing and destroying, because your heart is pure. As long as you’re doing the Right Thing ™, consequences don’t matter. I don’t mean they are of less importance, I mean they are literally not relevant to the discussion. In 2011, the only question was, shall we help to overthrow this despicable man Ghadaafi? The fake philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy convinced President Hollande that the answer was yes. Once a sacred moral duty like that was identified, consequences were literally of no importance. Even today the BHL-ists argue that if you talk about the consequences, you must therefore be a supporter of dictatorship and murder.

      1. newcatty

        It is more than likely wrong to think that the overthrow of Gahadaafi was done with any thought that is was to do “the right thing”. Ends justify their means and are devoid of any ethics, morality or decency. Every one of these unethical and cruel leaders know Exactly what the consequences will be for the peoples of the countries they ransack and destroy. This is justified as “collateral damages”. The people who die, or are maimed or become refugees are not of any importance. Remember Albright said something like thousands of children who died in Iraq was worth it.

        1. Wukchumni

          The real reason for taking down Gaddafi, was mellow yellow and the threat of a gold-backed currency. Can’t have an honest competitor when your fiat currency backed by nothing is dishonest as the day is long…

          The Threat of Libya’s Oil and Gold to French Interests

          Though the French-proposed U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 claimed the no-fly zone implemented over Libya was to protect civilians, an April 2011 email [archived here] sent to Hillary with the subject line “France’s client and Qaddafi’s gold” tells of less noble ambitions.

          The email identifies French President Nicholas Sarkozy as leading the attack on Libya with five specific purposes in mind: to obtain Libyan oil, ensure French influence in the region, increase Sarkozy’s reputation domestically, assert French military power, and to prevent Gaddafi’s influence in what is considered “Francophone Africa.”

          Most astounding is the lengthy section delineating the huge threat that Gaddafi’s gold and silver reserves, estimated at “143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver,” posed to the French franc (CFA) circulating as a prime African currency. In place of the noble sounding “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine fed to the public, there is this “confidential” explanation of what was really driving the war [emphasis mine]:

          This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).

          1. occassional anonymous

            I know you’re not going to pay attention to this, because it’s been brought up before and you always ignore it. But the way you aggressively refuse to actually listen to anything MMT has to say is immensely frustrating.

            You also completely ignore the actual history of money revealed by Graeber and Hudson, as well as all the historical episodes that don’t fit your goldbug narrative.

            You’re a broken record on the subject of money, and I’ve mostly taken to simply ignoring you on anything related to the subject. You have shown zero willingness to learn; you’ve already decided what you ‘know’ to be ‘true’ and you’ll stick to it, come hell or high water.

            1. skippy

              It is a dilemma because it diminishes rigor and gravitas on other topics due to bias conflict E.g. saying something which might hold true in general, but is used as a wedge to further the gold standard social* agenda.

              * yes a moral construct with all the attendant historical baggage.

              P.S. Rev has in the near past affiliated himself with this perspective also but has gone quite on the subject when broached.

            2. Wukchumni

              I tend to ignore the pre-history of money which Hudson & Graeber based so much on, as I see few central banks getting ready to go back to the Sumerian future with tally sticks and the like, getting ready for a much beloved debt jubilee, when in reality with the advent of actual money, has never happened since.

              You see i’m an expert on actual money, and it served mankind well in it’s 2500+ years of existence, and yes I have no regard for MMT as all it would do is perpetuate unlimited amounts of fiat money conjured out of the ether, is that what will save us from ourselves-the ability to live far beyond our means and keep polluting the Earth and allowing more of us to over-populate an already overburdened planet in the midst of fairly drastic climate change?

              We’re already neck deep in Military Monetary Theory which came through with pick a number-say $20 trillion since 9/11 to keep the war machine lubricated and running, and what did it get us really?

              Now MMT proponents want the same thing, albeit with joe 6 pack & jane chardonnay being the recipients.

              Doesn’t that strike you as absurd?

              1. skippy

                “i’m an expert on actual money”

                Too understand – anything – you have to consider the scope of it and in context over its entire time line.

                What you just said above is akin to using real, sound, natural, et al to vindicate a perspective about what you think money is or should be. This is accented by the suggestion that in your opinion that it worked for 2,500K years, something IMO is presented without substantiation.

                YS and others here have pointed out that most of the problems stem from not money, but its administration, same holds true during your preferred time period E.g. don’t think soft or hard money changes how neoliberalism functions, but yes lets focus on the thing and not the agency.

                Lastly how a multidisciplinary issue is condensed into ascribing all blame on an inanimate thing is a curious proposition. You need to back up what you say Wuk, like the people you just rubbished do, loud booming voice are not a substitute.

    2. Skip Intro

      Certainly having the EU weakened by a flood of refugees is the last thing the US would want. You know how they hate far-right groups in Europe!

  20. anon in so cal

    >Biden’s response to Covid…hard to believe Biden would have done or would do a better job.

    Blurbs from the Biden campaign:

    February 27 – Top Biden advisor Ron Klain: “Here’s one more thing everyone should do. They should, tonight, go down to Chinatown in their city and buy dinner or go shopping there. What we see inevitably, what we’re seeing already, is … people staying away out of needless fears about coronavirus.”

    February 29 – Biden Public Health Advisory Committee member Dr. Zeke Emanuel: “So, the public, running out and getting a mask is not going to help.”

    Democrats bashed Trump based on Woodward’s report that Trump knew the coronavirus was airborne but didn’t inform the public. What if Trump had said that back in January or February? What would have been the establishment reaction?

    As recently as July 2020, the WHO refused to acknowledge the role of aerosols in the transmission of coronavirus:

    1. ChristopherJ

      Thank you, mate. Did the whole lot, depressing to see so many ‘clean’ biomass generators in US, burning your own forests. Adding tires to make the fire hotter, all along side homes and people. What a sick culture we have created where this can be allowed to happen.

      Most people surveyed at the beginning gave us lots of time, thousands or millions of years. Some got it closer, imo, less than 5, the way we are going.

      Gasoline from trees? Machines that ‘render’ whole animals in to fuel? Madness

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      Yup, many thanks for the link. Been meaning to watch it.

      I have been in this business for over 20 years (now semiretired), and there’s nothing fundamental to disagree with there, factually. Moore has tended to err on the side of hyperbole in his past films, but Gibbs didn’t.

      Renewables is only ‘economically competitive’ when operated at scales that require cheating (e.g. mass deforestation in place of burning actual wood scrap, brobdignagian composite turbine blades that last 15 years if you’re lucky, batteries that are a devils brew of heavy metals, ethanol that consumes more than a gallon of diesel to raise and process into a gallon equivalent of biofuel, etc.).

      And all these perpetual motion machines in turn are pushed forward by the usual financialized frauds, ultimately relying on subsidies and tax dodges voted out of the public purse by pliant officials riding the Green bandwagon.

  21. rowlf

    One of the local militia groups had their two helicopters out and flying today. They have a vintage Bell AH-1 Cobra and a Bell UH-1D Huey they keep airworthy at a local airport and sell rides to raise money for their group. They definitely sound different than the military Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawks, CH-53s and Boeing CH-47 Chinooks that cruise around on training flights or the medical evacuation helicopters in the area. The two civilian helicopters have ADS-B so they are easy to track on flightradar24 to see when they are coming into waving distance.

    The ADS-B is also useful for seeing when aerobatic airplanes are flying nearby. Often if you wave to them they will pop smoke and perform a few maneuvers.

      1. rowlf

        About three or four years ago some of the recently manufactured veterans got together and filmed themselves firing at ground targets from helicopters in this state. I think this might be somewhat legal if you are in private airspace but I haven’t been able to find the videos anymore so maybe someone took them down. These same type of folks got themselves kicked out of several public and private ranges for practicing squad tactics, so now they meet on private property.

    1. Carolinian

      And militia? Or just military aircraft nostalgia junkies? If you get a ride on the Huey do they fire up “Ride of the Valkyries”?

      1. rowlf

        And militia? Or just military aircraft nostalgia junkies?

        A friend/co-worker worked on their aircraft on the side so it is hard to tell. Last I heard from him a few months ago was he went all anti-vax and moved to rural property in Minnesota.

        I’m partial to the song “Marching Through Georgia” but I think that may draw fire.

        1. Carolinian

          The last time we had an air show at our downtown airport (2 or 3 years ago) there was a Huey and
          Cobra that were said to have come from Atlanta. It’s probably the same ones. I had assumed they were from an Army Reserve base but it must have been these private people.

          I doubt if any self described militia have the smarts or the inclination to maintain military aircraft. There are of course non political groups that are very much into restoration and nearby Greenville would get annual visits from a B 17 and B 24. I’m not a member of a militia (promise!) and really love seeing these old planes.

          1. rowlf

            My father goes to an airshow in west New York every year and they have groups that show up in WW 2 era clothing. The US folks show up in uniforms that are probably larger than what was issued in the 1940s, there are some weirdos in Heer and Luftwaffe gear, and the one fruitcake in an Imperial Japanese Army outfit every year.

            Other than that it is good to see and talk with the aircraft owners. I am an aircraft mechanic and since my father has a very extensive library the technical side of owning and maintaining old aircraft is very interesting to me.

            To tell the truth, I am not sure how the local Georgia group has ex-mil aircraft as the Eisenhower administration decided that ex-mil aircraft be de-mil’d to prevent a special country in the Middle East from getting surplus aircraft. Some owners buy several de-mil’d hulks and put the parts together.

  22. edmondo

    Sen. Bernie Sanders is privately expressing concerns about Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, urging Biden’s team to intensify its focus on pocketbook issues and appeals to liberal voters, the Washington Post reports.

    Poor Bernie.” I lost my integrity and all I got for it was a lousy ‘Joe is my friend’ t-shirt.”

    It’s a damn shame.

    1. Wukchumni

      Would ‘the night of the long steak knives’ (2nd prize in Glengarry Glen Ross) have happened if Covid had been taken more seriously @ that juncture, or did it not really matter, as they had to get rid of Bernie by any means possible?

      1. Pat

        I think one of the things they held over him was no mail in voting, remember they demanded in person voting UNTIL Sanders dropped out.

        So my bet is “no family blogging way”.

        For me the bigger question was impeachment delayed if they had been paying attention or were they aware and didn’t care…

    2. John k

      Privately expressing…
      Bc Obama took away his public speaking privileges. Can’t rock the boat… privately push Biden left is all he can do. All I can do is piss in the wind… damn pants wet again… I’m sure he sees Biden and forever dem wars as the lesser evil, I don’t. And that’s being generous, not thinking his main concern is maintaining all his friends and minuscule clout in the senate.

  23. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for the article from Scroll on comparatively high reported case rates of Covid-19 in India vs. its neighbor, Pakistan. In addition to the caveats mentioned concerning lack of data comparability due to differences in testing and reporting, it is difficult to separate correlation from causation. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that India has much higher levels of air pollution in the form of greenhouse gas emissions at roughly 8.9x that of Pakistan, consistent with an annual GDP that’s roughly 8.6x that of Pakistan. India is also more densely populated than its neighbor and the median age of the population of India is over six years older than that of Pakistan. In terms of potential transmission vectors, annual international arrivals are considerably higher for India than for Pakistan. India’s policy of forced internal migration of many of its poor from cities to rural villages early in the pandemic likely also played a role, as the writer noted. Too, there are significant cultural and social differences between the two nations that could contribute to the variance.

    In casual conversation with a contract pilot for Qatar Airways a few years ago, he said that he disliked flying to India because of the increased likelihood of contracting respiratory illness. This was well before Covid-19 made an appearance on the global stage.

  24. Cuibono

    Hong Kong facing 13 new Covid-19 cases

    that this is newsworthy says a LOT.

    If a city of millions got DOWN to these numbers in the USofA now THAT would be newsworthy

    1. lordkoos

      I’m surprised to see a mere 100 cases referred to as “grim” when the New York City area (which has about the same population as HK but with less density) has had over 10,000 deaths if you count all the boroughs.

  25. Wukchumni

    Failed monsoons in Az the past couple years, astoundingly dry in California after just one bad crop of snowfall this past winter, and the PNW drying out quickly too.

    Everything points to the potential of a lengthy drought in the west, and a lengthening of the wildfire season.

    I was served notice in January 2014 in the middle of our 5 year long drought when a conflagration named the Soda Fire broke out at 7,000 feet in the High Sierra. It ended up burning through close to 2,000 acres.

    This was in an area which should’ve had 5 feet of snow on the ground in the winter, welcome new normal!

    The Soda Fire, burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness in Sequoia National Forest, continues to burn despite snow and rain.

    The fire was discovered in mid January and has continued its spread towards the north and east despite rain and snow that fell earlier this month.

  26. Vander Vieira de Resende

    About Patrick Cockburn piece.

    Well, there is no doubt about Cockburn’s main argument of the uninformed view of the reffugies by the “metropolitans”, but there is, maybe, a problem with the figures in relative terms.
    Would be interesting to compare the numbers with the world population of each time.
    Let us see what an informed person would easily do.
    Compare only the case of the partition of India, with Pakistan and Bangladesh, alluded by Cockburn.

    1950 -Partition of India in Pakistan (~14.000.000 IDP) and Bangladesh (east bengal) (~10.000.000 IDP)- Considers the world population of the time: around 2,5 billion
    ~24.000.000 /~2584034261 – 0,93% of the world population of the time was IDP, only in relation to the partition of India.

    Now, Consider the relation to the world population in 2020 – ~7794798739/ ~37.000.000. ~0,47% of world population of the time in the 8 most virulent conflicts)

  27. Wukchumni

    UFC* 86

    Main Card:

    Antifa (1-2-0) versus Proud Boys & assorted outlier militias (2-1-0)

    2 go into the octagon, er internet-both claim the other is responsible not only for starting the conflagrations, but also controlling the wind machine which stirred things up so much after ignition.

    Pay Per View

    449 ppm AQI
    549 ppm AQI (HD)

    *Ultimate Firebug Championship

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