Links 9/13/2020

Mangrove loss has fallen dramatically, but the forests are still in danger WaPo. On mangroves, see NC here.

Avian botulism kills 40,000 birds, threatens millions more in Klamath Refuge San Francisco Chronicle (dk).

Rio Backed CEO After Blasts, Then Watchdog Investors Revolted Bloomberg

Frederick Soddy’s Debt Dynamics Economics from the Top Down

West Coast Wildfires

Video shows Clackamas County deputy fueling ‘antifa’ arson rumors Portland Tribune

Roaming Charges: Under Furious Skies Jeffrey St. Clair, Counterpunch (Carolinian).

44-year-old man charged with arson in an Oregon fire The Hill


Johns Hopkins researchers question controversial study linking Sturgis rally to COVID-19 spike CBS

Oxford and AstraZeneca resume coronavirus vaccine trial (free) FT

Nearly Half of Russians to ‘Never’ Vaccinate Against Coronavirus – Poll Moscow Times

Anders Tegnell and the Swedish Covid experiment (free) FT

Trump-Appointed CDC Officials Reportedly Meddled With Coronavirus Reports Forbes

Emails Raise Suspicions as to Whether the Bowser Administration Delayed and Finessed COVID-19 Data Before Moving Into Phase Two Washington City Paper

A Dentist Sees More Cracked Teeth. What’s Going On? NYT

From La Jetée to Twelve Monkeys to COVID-19 JSTOR Daily

Brazilian state of Bahia to test Russia’s vaccine, plans to buy 50 million doses Reuters


Chinese Military Calls US Biggest Threat to World Peace Bloomberg

US-China row over detention of 12 Hongkongers in Shenzhen escalates, as families seek city government’s help to bring group back South China Morning Post


Delhi Police Spreads Riots ‘Conspiracy’ Net, Drags In Eminent Academics and Activists The WIre

As Bali attempts to forge a new era, we need to stop spinning fables about it and listen to Balinese TravelFish


A new Great Game has begun in the Eastern Mediterranean Middle East Eye

The Growing Competition Between Africa’s Seaports Maritme Executive


Brexit: Boris Johnson, state aid and a ‘rushed’ treaty RTE (PD). “At one point, facial recognition for sheep was being considered along Northern Ireland border” [puts head in hands].

Adventures in Brexitland LRB


Radically transforming the EU economy – and how to finance it Anne Petttifor, Progressive Post

Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn; This Land: The Story of a Movement – review Guardian


On Blacklists and Russia “Hacking” American Democracy Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

Rurality, Drug Trafficking, and Violence Noria

Trump Transition

Virus bill blocked in Senate as prospects dim for new relief Associated Press

Trump announces ‘peace deal’ between Bahrain and Israel BBC. Again, if Obama had done this, the drums would be pounding to give him a second Nobel.

The Big Corporate Rescue and the America That’s Too Small to Save Pro Publica


How Trump Could Win The New Yorker

Project Lincoln:

Fact checking Biden’s claims on the trade deficit, auto bailout and his yearly income CNN

What If Democrats Just Promised to Make Things Work Again? The New Republic

State Level Races Offer Democrats Chance for Policy Wins in 2020 Teen Vogue

Rhode Island just got hit with a massive wave of progressive primary victories Alternet (jo6pac).


My defence of Julian Assange – a man I abhor. It ended badly the time they met yet PETER HITCHENS argues extraditing the WikiLeaks boss to the US violates British sovereignty, threatens press freedom and is nothing less than a politically motivated kidnap Daily Mail.

The Idea Behind WikiLeaks: Julian Assange as a Physics Student Consortium News

US demands hinder Spanish probe into alleged CIA ties to security firm that spied on Assange El Pais

Realignment and Legitimacy

How Conspiracy Theories Are Shaping the 2020 Election—and Shaking the Foundation of American Democracy Time. Mom’s groups:


QAnon Key Figure Revealed as Financial Information Security Analyst from New Jersey Logically (followed by Bloomberg).

12 Step American Collapse Program with Revolutions podcast host Mike Duncan (podcast) The Katie Halper Show. Nice get for Halper. Duncan makes a clear case against Trump, the man, the named individual. And then we get material like this:

[05:49]I don’t think that people ever recovered from 2008, and I think that then [they] have just been leveled by this second meteor strike. You know we had one, we were wobbling, and then we got blasted again by Covid.

Oddly, or not, there are no named individuals responsible for the failed “recovery” from 2008. (Also, if the 12 “steps” were listed, I missed on on my first listening.)

Crescendo 2020: ‘There’s No Reason Whatsoever To Expect Anything Resembling Calm’ Heisenberg Report (Re Silc).

10 Ways Trump Is Becoming a Dictator, Election Edition Stephen Walt, Foreign Policy

1 big thing: A screaming, spreading wake-up call Axios

Police State Watch

Wall Street Is Making Millions Off Police Brutality Vice. From June, still germane. “Police brutality bonds.”

Our Famously Free Press

Tape shows: ethically, CNN chief a little shaky Matt Taibbi

Sports Desk

Baseball’s One-Year-Only Playoff Race Is Getting Weird Defector. Deadspin’s fired staff. Give the good guys some clicks. And about those playoffs:

Guillotine Watch

Louis Vuitton Launches $961 Covid Face Shields Vanity Fair (Re Silc). Side coverage looks terrible. Glad they’re trying, though!

Class Warfare

An extraordinary summer of crises for California’s farmworkers National Geographic

A pandemic, a motel without power and a potentially terrifying glimpse of Orlando’s future WaPo

See Spot Scan: Ford Deploys Robot Dog WSJ

Symbolic Survival and Harm: Serious Fraud and Consumer Capitalism’s Perversion of the Causa Sui Project British Journal of Criminology. “It will be suggested that the acts of economic predation perpetrated by the men in the study represent attempts to escape anxiety through the avoidance of symbolic annihilation.” If this is true, there’s rather a lot of fraud going on just now. More than usual.

“Liberalism’s future now rests on a single question” New Humanism

What’s Wrong with Social Science and How to Fix It: Reflections After Reading 2578 Papers Fantastic Anachronism

Weekend History: When Fearsome ‘Pirate Cats’ Roamed the Upper West Side West Side Rag. From 2016, still germane.

Reggae Artiste ‘Toots’ Hibbert Has Died Jamaica Gleaner. Still germane:

Millions, billions around the world would still feel every word of the lyrics.

Antidote du jour (via)

Bonus antidote (SV):

I believe this is SV’s extremely literate cat, Hoople.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Savita

    David of Paris
    Thanks for everything you contribute here!
    I note gilet jaunes have recommenced
    Do you have any comments or feedback on the French series Bureau of Legends, aka The Bureau? The drip by drip experience you’ve shared over the years with us, of your working life,, suggests you’d have
    more than passing awareness of the content, professionally speaking. Apparently great effort was made for the bona fides.
    I’ve just started the French political drama Savages about an Algerian elected President of the 5th Republic . It’s good! Love to all from Sydney Aus.

    1. David

      That’s very kind of you.
      Unfortunately I have no personal experience of the world of the Bureau des Légendes. But people who have speak highly of it, as a peak-viewing programme that tries as hard as it can to be realistic. I’d encourage people to watch it – I think it’s easy to find the English-language subtitled version – and it makes a useful corrective to the standard anglocentric portrayal of intelligence issues. The fifth series is now out on DVD I think.
      I’d recommend it for two reasons. First, it is authentic in its treatment of government and politics, as far as I can tell, which is not something that every such series is. Second, it’s determinedly downbeat and un-melodramatic. Things go wrong, people make mistakes, the innocent get hurt and politics hovers over everything. There’s very little violence, but what there is, is swift and brutal, which I suspect is close to the truth. So yes, I’d encourage everyone to watch it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      People will need an incentive before getting aboard one of those birds. Especially after all those, you know, violent deaths. I have an idea. Boeing could offer each and every 737 MAX passenger a complimentary dose of Trump Covid vaccine.

      1. edmondo

        Better yet, just paint “Arbeit Mach Frei” on the side of the planes. Between Boeing, crazy passengers, the TSA and CV-19 your odds of surviving an airplane trip unscathed are infinitesimal.

        1. Alex Cox

          Let them be wildland firefighting planes!

          The MAX will never be safe for passenger use if the engines are too large and improperly positioned.

          So let the govt. buy Boeing’s entire inventory at a good price and convert them to water tankers. They will still be dangerous but our brave national guardsmen can receive a dollar bonus (like firefighting prisoners) for flying them.

          1. philnc

            No. Instead let the Government (they always favored a capital “G” in briefs and pleadings) stop buying product from an obviously incompetently led company, and then let Boeing go bankrupt. Maybe then a competitor that can step in that can actually keep its planes in the air. Hell, if we’re going to blow trillions on aircraft we don’t really need we might as well get some that can fly. Postwar military Keynesianism served its purpose putting a car in most garages and a chicken in every pot, but that seems to have morphed into merely fattening an already morbidly obese (in economic terms) oligarchical class. And yes, I realize that was probably its true purpose all along. Millions killed during the Cold War and its aftermath, with billions more consigned to poverty, all to enrich a very few at the top. War _is_ a racket, and Boeing has been one of its chief racketeers.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    I came across the MLK quote that seemed pretty apropos of the times:

    “Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.”

        1. fwe'zy

          Thanks Olga, I really liked this in the guardian link:
          Even in the days of Karl Marx or Charles Dickens, working-class neighbourhoods housed far more maids, bootblacks, dustmen, cooks, nurses, cabbies, schoolteachers, prostitutes and costermongers than employees in coal mines, textile mills or iron foundries. All the more so today. What we think of as archetypally women’s work – looking after people, seeing to their wants and needs, explaining, reassuring, anticipating what the boss wants or is thinking, not to mention caring for, monitoring, and maintaining plants, animals, machines, and other objects – accounts for a far greater proportion of what working-class people do when they’re working than hammering, carving, hoisting, or harvesting things.

          This is true not only because most working-class people are women (since most people in general are women), but because we have a skewed view even of what men do. As striking tube workers recently had to explain to indignant commuters, “ticket takers” don’t in fact spend most of their time taking tickets: they spend most of their time explaining things, fixing things, finding lost children, and taking care of the old, sick and confused.

          If you think about it, is this not what life is basically about? Human beings are projects of mutual creation. Most of the work we do is on each other. The working classes just do a disproportionate share. They are the caring classes, and always have been. It is just the incessant demonisation directed at the poor by those who benefit from their caring labour that makes it difficult, in a public forum such as this, to acknowledge it.

            1. fwe'zy

              Not attempting to address labor theory of value, sex work, or unpaid household labor etc. on an academic level.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Thanks for this link. I’m also looking forward to Graeber’s “foreword” to Kropotkin on mutual aid.

    1. LifelongLib

      Dr. King was a spiritual man as well as a political one. Some of the things he fought for can only be accomplished by spiritual means. I’m doubtful if he would have approved of using political means to (say) “root out racism”, a secular version of heresy hunting which like its predecessor involves opening windows into people’s souls. He had a more realistic view of what politics could accomplish.

  3. Wukchumni

    Video shows Clackamas County deputy fueling ‘antifa’ arson rumors Portland Tribune
    The video is amazing, some guy saw a photo of a gas can somewhere (he didn’t know where) and it escalated in 5 minutes time to the deputy claiming Antifa was the culprit for the fires in Oregon. All based on heresay and nothing more.

    It all stems from said coppers being militia symps, would be my guess.

    1. Susan the other

      I wondered about that. Hard to separate the arsonists from the real thing. But they did catch a guy in the act, or so I heard.

  4. Lou Anton

    Sweden and infection rates (FT article). I’ve charted infection rate per million here.

    They’re not doing anything special, their pattern is like ours. Fewer infections overall – yes, but their population is much more spread out. Why trending down at the same time as other European countries going up? Again, I think it’s geography and the lack of big cities ex-Stockholm, and that it’s not a tourist destination like France and Spain have been over the summer.

    Long story short, we and Sweden have taken the same approach. If they are a success, so are we (they’re not, we’re not). So what if rates continue to go down into the Fall? That’s awesome, and it’s also a perfect case of “Even broken clocks being right twice a day.”

    1. Carolinian

      we and Sweden have taken the same approach

      Not really. They never closed bars or restaurants or primary schools and I don’t believe mask use is widespread. They did ask the public to practice social distancing and the obedient Swedes did. Whereas in this country these days everything becomes political. Asking people to wear masks for their own protection and others is treated as some kind of conspiracy. Perhaps the Swedes are indeed showing that masks aren’t necessary but it’s not like it’s such a big imposition since you don’t have to wear them outside. And Americans, of course, are anything but obedient when it comes to social distancing and all else.

      1. ShamanicFallout

        Yes, I have friends in Uppsala and their kids have been going to school as normal. They are basically living a normal life. My favorite quote from the article- “In June, Tegnell described the rush to lock down in the rest of Europe and the US as “it was as if the world had gone mad”. You don’t say.

        1. clarky90

          “If there is a single defining characteristic of dystopian literature, it is the eradication of all individuality.”

          I have always found masked people to be unnerving……

          “Written in 1932, just before the fall of the Weimar Republic and on the eve of the Nazi accession to power, Ernst Jünger’s The Worker: Dominion and Form articulates a trenchant critique of bourgeois liberalism and seeks to identify the form characteristic of the modern age.”

        2. Tom Bradford

          “In June, Tegnell described the rush to lock down in the rest of Europe and the US as “it was as if the world had gone mad”. You don’t say.

          Yeah. New Zealand went mad and rushed to lock down like that and look, they had another case in the community today.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think it’s really irresponsible for governments not to be testing for SARS/2003.

          Here we are panicking over so many Covid 19 “cases”. The term brings to mind people struggling for their lives on ventilators…but 60% don’t even have any symptoms. And T-cell work shows that we may be dramatically undercounting infection…which hey presto would mean the death rate is much lower.

          But they really need to set their sights higher. If we had global testing for SARS/2003 antibodies right now (meaning you have been exposed to it) we’d get “cases” in around 50% of the world population. Think of the fun they’d have breathlessly reporting those one by one! As these SARS tests rolled out we could get graphs and hysterical politicians: Oh, noes, look at the number of “cases”! Look how the chart is rising! Are you terrified yet?

          So a nice handy way to destroy every last remaining civil liberty and smash rest of the entire economy, especially the Mom and Pop economy, into the ground. Go Team!

          And this would bridge the gap to the next panic-fest: Covid 20! Coming to a globe near you. Biden’s “science guys” can tell us what we must do: Step 1: Go immediately to the darkest and most isolated room in your house; Step 2: Apply duct tape firmly across your nose and mouth to completely seal off your breathing orifices; Step 3: Science!

          1. JBird4049

            Just because a person doesn’t show any outward signs of having COVID19 doesn’t mean that they don’t have serious internal damage from it. IIRC, it’s one of those diseases that can kill you even when it does not appear to be a serious infection.

      2. Adam1

        An interesting addition… vitamin D is continuing to prove to be a vital factor. A recent Israeli medical study indicated having low levels increased your odds of getting covid by 45%. Your odds of being hospitalized almost doubled. My understanding is that Scandinavian countries are very conscious of being so far north and fortify many foods with vitamin d. They have lower rates of vitamin d deficiency then most sunny Mediterranean countries. In the US nearly half of people are deficient.

        1. epynonymous

          I believe there’s a racial component to vitamin D deficiency in America.

          Missed that one in a previous list.

          Class, Occupation…

          1. JBird4049


            Being poor, trapped indoors, or non-white in the United States probably means being vitamin D deficient during the winter. That does mean more likely to get sick from something like COVID19.

            IIRC, Vitamin D in humans is produced using sunlight on the skin. The lighter the skin, the less sunlight is needed to get an adequate amount. IIRC, 15-20 minutes per day for the very pale. It also depends on the light’s strength. Of course, the darker the skin, the more sunlight is needed. Darker skin does offer greater protection from skin cancer. However, the need for vitamin D never goes away. This is why populations tend to become lighter skin the more north you go.

            This is why all those black, blue eyed Britons from thousands of years ago became White, blue eyed Britons. Too bad that little fact hasn’t caused mass strokes among the alt-right.

            If you are a poor or a black person in the Northern states, you are very likely to not get either enough sunlight or the right foods needed to avoid vitamin D deficiency during the winter.

            Also, in the United States dairy is a major source of vitamin D because Northern Europeans are descendants of often hungry farmers and herders who became lactose tolerant to survive. Most people are lactose intolerant including many people whose ancestors “immigrated” from West Africa.

    1. dougie

      Sad story, but I saw them in an opening slot for The Who, back in the 70’s. They were chased from the stage after two numbers by a deluge of thrown objects. Liquor bottles, and the like. Even though I am not personally a fan of reggae music, then or to this day, I found that to be a bit extreme.

      1. orlbucfan

        What stupid (family blog) holes! Unfortunately, yahoos like them are way too many. The morons had tickets which listed the opening acts. They didn’t pull that garbage behavior on Bob Marley!

      2. tongorad

        Toots and Maytals did a soulful & funky take on reggae. The Who are the very opposite of funky and soulful.

      3. neo-realist

        When black music acts opened for the Clash during their Bond’s International residency in NYC back in 1981, they faced similar derision – Grand Master Flash and Furious Five and the Bad Brains. At that point, the Clash had attracted much of the mainstream rock audience to their music and shows and they showed themselves to be very intolerant of anybody not white playing rock and roll or any other sort of music.

    2. chuck roast

      RIP Toots. I saw him in (the other) Portland a few years ago. What tremendous energy. He will always be remembered for two tunes in the movie and soundtrack of The Harder They Come…one of my personal epiphanies…including the incomparable Pressure Drop.

  5. Livius Drusus

    Re: How Trump Could Win.

    So it looks like Trump and the GOP’s future depends on increasing turnout among whites and Latinos without college degrees and socially conservative but non-churchgoing suburbanites, especially women attached to small businesses. This is really a significant development and will have a big impact on the future of American politics if trends continue. Trump might very well lose but Trumpism and the new GOP coalition that he helped to birth might be here to stay.

    Michael Lind argues that the two parties are already realigned with the Republican base being the white working class and the Democratic base being an alliance of upscale, college-educated whites and African-Americans. For now suburban moderates, Latinos and Asians are the main swing voters, but Lind thinks that eventually suburban moderates will end up in the Democratic camp and the Republicans will win more Latinos, although perhaps not a majority.

    Although the Democrats might win this year I think they would be foolish to count on demographic change to bring them automatic victories in the future. My guess is that many Latinos (and perhaps Asians) will go the way of European ethnics and become part of a continued “white” majority that won’t disappear as predicted. As the article in The New Yorker mentioned, many Latinos already consider themselves to be white even if political professionals don’t.

    Perhaps more important, however, is the class dimension. If the Republican base is going to be workers without college degrees and small business people then they will be the party of those losing out in the new economy. These are the people most threatened by recent economic developments which have been accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis. This makes stuff like the anti-lockdown protests much more understandable since these folks are taking it on the chin right now. Estimates of small business closures are really quite severe and unemployment is likely higher than official numbers suggest.

    On the other hand, the Democrats seem to be the party of the “wired” professional class, the type of people who can more easily transition to the New Normal of working from home and social distancing. If we visualize the Democratic coalition as an alliance of professionals and racial minorities (especially African-Americans) we can also understand the seemingly odd combination of corporate sector support for movements like BLM.

    1. Pelham

      Re the white majority not (conveniently) disappearing: Sometime back I skimmed over a study that concluded that if current birth patterns persist, white Christians in a few decades will begin to outnumber everyone else and by the end of the next century half the country will be Amish. It was no joke. And it might be rather a nice outcome.

    2. Billy

      “many Latinos already consider themselves to be white even if political professionals don’t.”

      Legal immigrant Latinos, having followed the ardous rules to become citizens, aren’t particularly favorable to illegal aliens jumping the line, nor to gangs in their neighborhoods, that’s the reason that many I have spoken with voted for and will again for Trump. Conservative blacks and the gang weary not in favor of the chimera of social workers versus defunding the police, also may vote for him.

      Harkening back to the New York dentist outlining the surge in broken teeth because of stress and bad home office posture, just wait until the week after Trump gets reelected to a second term.

    3. anon in so cal

      I think people who are familiar with Biden’s actual record will be unable to vote for him.

      Even if one started reading only now, Biden’s remarks are chilling.

      Stars and Stripes recently reported on Biden saying he would increase the military budget and does
      not favor withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. He vehemently condemned the token troop withdrawal in Syria.

      “Biden Says Stay in Mideast, Increase Military Spending

      Biden wants refocus on fighting Russia

      Former Vice President Joe Biden gave some of his first foreign policy-related positions in an interview with Stars and Stripes on Thursday, saying the “forever wars have to end” while seemingly ruling out any full-fledged withdrawals, arguing the US still has to worry about terrorism and ISIS.

      Biden said the ongoing US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria are so complicated he can’t promise a withdrawal. He also suggested he may increase military spending even beyond its current record levels as he shifts focus to what he believes should be the military’s priorities.

      The priorities, as are so often the case for the US, are fighting Russia, who Biden identified as a “near-peer” power. The US spends more than ten times the amount on its military annually that Russia does, and it is unclear in what way they are a “near-peer.”…..

      1. Billy

        Joe Biden
        Fresh solutions to the nation’s problems from a man who has spent nearly half a century promoting losing wars and bad ideas in the senate,

        backstopped by

        an adventuress who has never finished a job and got 2% of the votes
        in the last election?

  6. Martin Oline

    I can’t thank you enough for the link to The Lincoln Project. With all the bad news occurring daily, I needed a laugh as I’m sure we all do. I may bookmark it for future enjoyment.

  7. MartyH

    On the Times “Conspiracy Theory” story, no comment on the folks they quote. Having read the FISA court report, two IG reports, and a pile of FOIA documents and court-release material, it is hard to feel that we don’t finally have proof of the “Deep State Conspiracy Theory”.

    1. Off The Street

      The theme of that CNN story reinforces the David Mamet theory: Having to pretend not to notice.
      There is such overwhelming evidence of wrong-doing such as you note that it can’t be ignored much longer. CNN faces some challenges as to how to continue operating a business once their complicity and duplicity become known to wider audiences. A return to responsible, objective journalism can’t come soon enough.

      1. Lost in OR

        There has been overwhelming evidence of wrong-doing, complicity, and duplicity for as long as I can remember (the 70’s). The core constituency of every president has profound and unbending idolatry of that president irregardless of the blatant skullduggery. Overall, we’ve quarantined our minds into the silos that support our beliefs and trained ourselves to see only what we believe.

        I have two TDS friends that were glued to CNN during the drip-torture of russiarussiarussia. I was constantly aghast that they gave CNN and their guest “experts” any credibility. They DID NOT CARE that the same experts were responsible for the debacles of Iraq, WMD, the failures of 911, on and on all the way back to Ronnie Raygun.

        So now there is no official credibility anywhere and conspiracy theories are everywhere. The corona virus, the shutdown, and the treatments; the Democratic primary and the coming elections; the Fed, the govt, and the economy; russiarussiarussia; USA vs. the world; ANTIFA/Proudboys are setting the woods on fire.

        Here in the smoke-filled skies of Oregon, we’re experiencing the dissolution of the old reality. There is no unifying narrative. There is distrust and insecurity and socially distancing. And through it all, I’m sure my friends are getting their view of the world from CNN. And believing it. Somehow, I think they need to believe it. Cause what else is there?

        Either there is fog mixed in with the smoke here this morning or the AQI is up around 1000. At least it’s not orange. Many businesses have closed due to the air quality. It’s a surreal world.

        1. polecat

          That’s just how the anointed like it, courtesy of the see eye ay .. and their ‘brethren’ in harm’s – Big Media .. both the bs-lunker broadcasters, AND .. with increasing frequency, the internetters.

        2. Still Above Water

          In Portland, AQI is currently 507, humidity 97%. It’s foggy, and eerily quiet, as no one is going out in this stuff, not even protesters. A friend who lived in China for two years says “this is as bad as a bad day in China.”

          Our bad week began with freakishly high and dry winds, which blew down a lot of power lines, and started some of the fires. A buddy’s home weather station showed the humidity dropped from 50% to 11% in a couple of hours.

          On Thursday, it was supposed to be 91F when I got out of work, but it was 68F, and the sun hasn’t been seen since Thursday morning, leaving us unseasonably cool ever since. My wife turned on the heat yesterday. Looks like the AQI peaked last night at 529, and will start dissipating on Tuesday. Until then, we’re hunkered down, glad that we don’t live in the country, where several friends were forced to evacuate (thankfully we don’t know anyone who’s been burned out yet).

          Contrary to a comment made a day or two ago, this is highly unusual for Portland. I’ve lived here 28 years, and this is only the second time I’ve seen visible smoke in town (the first was a few years ago when there was a fire just east of Portland). We’ve occasionally gotten a whiff of smoky smell that drifted up from southern Oregon, or down from the Olympics or even British Columbia, but nothing more than a light haze. This is a smog thick enough to blot out the sun and cut visibility to a couple of hundred feet. I hope this isn’t the new normal.

    2. pjay

      Yet another “QAnon” story in the MSM to both scare their liberal readers and demean those ignorant rubes who could possibly believe in a “Deep State” coup. Complete with references to Richard Hofstadter, elite academics, and the goofy “conspiracy theories” of 19th century populists (calling Thomas Frank).

      Here’s a tale of two “conspiracy theories”: compare this fearmongering article to the one by Yasha Levine on Russiagate and PropOrNot in today’s Links. Which one scares you more?

      1. Billy

        What’s scary is that people actually go for that B.S.
        QAnon is however, ideal to help make foolish, mock and derail real criticism of the political and financial power structure by associating it with these clowns created to lead the rebellious masses into an intellectual box canyon.

        The alleged perpetrator…
        “prominent positions at both Credit Suisse and Citigroup”

        In 2008, the capitalists’ bailout was over $7 trillion dollars — half the value of everything produced in the nation in the preceding year. With a far larger looting ahead, would it not be worth their time and effort to crate a false front like QAnon to keep a potentially dangerous number of disaffected people distracted from real criticisms of finance and government power structures?

        Nice psychological operation. Now, who has a track record of doing that kind of thing?

        Search terms: Citigroup and the CIA

        First result:
        “One of Citigroup’s most senior Wall Street dealmakers, who left the US bank in February, is to take a senior role at an investment firm backed by America’s Central Intelligence Agency. In a major career switch, Peter Tague, the former global head of mergers and acquisitions at Citigroup, has re-emerged at a venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel…”

        At least they dropped the hyphens. Q-A-non might have been too overt.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          So “Qanon” is a sticky-ball decoy velcro-trap operation run by the Intelligence Industrial Complex to gather all the potential believers in one place for careful manipulation studies? For behavior-based “remote brain scans”?

          And also to discredit-by-association any fact-based theory of nasty groups of people within government or under government cover doing long-range planned-out nasty things to further a nasty agenda?

          “Operation Paper Clip” never existed. It is just a Conspiracy Theory. Like Qanon.

          1. Billy

            “careful manipulation studies?”
            More like send them on various wild goose chases while making them look foolish and turning off people that they might try to recruit to their cause and most importantly, the real cause of social and financial reform.

  8. ambrit

    The JSTOR article on “La Jette” et. al. is right to the point. It asks if we should not be worried more about the Dreaded Pathogen as much as the socio-political jockeying for power and influence surrounding the response to it.
    Many here have remarked on how our times abound with self-dealing and venal people in positions of power. The bungled response to the Dreaded Pathogen is a clear indictment of the dystopian nature of our present institutions. Simple self-interest has developed into an institutional threat to the public well being. No longer can old style thinkers claim that something from the realm of magical thinking such as “The Market” be trusted to advance the interests of society, even indirectly.
    I am beginning to think that the onset of the Dreaded Pathogen, no matter what it’s true origins turn out to be, is a major Black Swan event.
    Everyone “official” is talking about the “return to normal” lurking just around the next corner. Instead, we must begin the difficult task of defining a new “normal” with which we will have to live from now on.

      1. ambrit

        Let’s put in the front of an olde tyme tricorn hat! From what I’m reading now, the “normal” desired by the elites today is close to the social conditions of the 1700s!

  9. jlowe

    Climate deniers have been dosing us good with smoke particulates the last few days, in the inland Northwest. AQI at our nearest monitors (~4-5 miles away) are in the maroon “hazardous” band. Still, PM 2.5 concentrations outdoors are only 400 micrograms per cubic meter in air or around 10 percent of the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for respirable particulates. We’re getting to taste our air just like old-time factory workers.

    1. Charger01

      Yup. Last time it was this bad for this long was August 2017. Stay inside, rig up a box fan with a furance filter for fun, read a book/watch a movie until Monday. I’m going to dust off an old copy of Half Life 2 and see if it holds up.

      1. polecat

        Ah, to hell with it! I’m going to breath deep .. and wolf down some hotdogs.

        … might as well go full toxic …

      2. RMO

        “I’m going to dust off an old copy of Half Life 2 and see if it holds up”

        In my experience it does – though I only first played it when The Orange Box came out so I got there kind of late. Try playing it (and Half Life as well) after watching “Freeman’s Mind” on Youtube sometime.

      3. Aumua

        HL2 definitely holds up. Legendary game. Although I haven’t played it I have watched a playthrough of the recently released Half Life: Alyx, a VR game. Pretty cool.

  10. ambrit

    The Noria article about rural Mexican socio-economic realities is pertinent in that it shows how a failed state copes with it’s internal contradictions. As is pointed out, the rise in targeted violence is not strictly tied to illegal activities. Once established, such resorts to violence become rational responses to challenges to and among rural elites.
    Substitute the rise of armed militias in America for the emergence of “peacekeeping” militias, either ‘narco’ based or rural elite based, in Mexico and you see one major possibility for the future of American rural regions. American militias can easily ‘transition’ from being something wing nutters in the public perception to being needed and effective keepers of “law and order” in America’s marginalized populations.
    While many make a fetish of preaching the evils of the rise of fascism in America, and point to various political groups as the proto-fascists in America, few take heed of the fact that fascism is often supported and grows out of a general desire for the end of chaos and uncertainty in the society.
    Finally, let us also take note of the fact that authoritarian regimes arise from both the Right and the Left. I consider it a definite possibility that the final “official” iteration of the American Police State can arise out of either the Republican or Democrat political parties.

    Stay safe in these interesting times.

    1. Wukchumni

      Everything going on in Mexico stems from their long bout of hyperinflation from the late 70’s to 1993, when it went from 12.5 Pesos to the $, to 3,300 Pesos to the buck. Their answer was to drop 3 zeroes from the currency and introduce a new Peso. Currently using the old rate of exchange, it’s over 20,000 Pesos to the $, a far cry from the Peso being equal to the Dollar a little over a century ago.

      Savers got creamed, and what middle class there was, quite simply got wiped out.

      The Weimar hyperinflation lasted a little over a year and was obviously much larger (it was 4 Marks to the $ pre 1914 and many billions of Marks equaling a Dollar in 1923) but the effect was more of ripping off a band aid on a sucking chest wound not long after, versus over a dozen years of constant devaluation as what happened in Mexico.

      So far our almighty buck has held it together, although we’ve seen a similar hollowing out of the middle class as in Mexico, albeit in a different direction, as most aren’t just broke, but also in debt up the wazoo.

      The drug cartels utilize a cohesion of force and exhibited often gory violence to make the citizenry compliant to their demands, and this has been going on for some time now, the Mexican government unable to stem it, and we’ll see a similar dynamic with our rightist militias here, who are so hungering to be in charge and finally get to be the overseers of us, despite nobody really wanting that to happen, again along the same lines as the drug cartels down under.

      1. ambrit

        I have read that hyperinflation bouts are not random “acts of G–,” but deliberate decisions by governments. I would much rather a phased devaluation, spread out over several years, than a one time apocalyptic event. The stretched out event allows the population some time to adjust. The Financial Apocalypse shatters all sorts of civic and social bonds and fertilizes extremism. I still watch the energy markets for signs of the dethroning of the USD as the world reserve currency.
        As to the cartels deploying violence to enforce conformity, well, this is exactly what an “official” police force does, but with more pushback due to constraints on the use of lethal force. Since those constraints on the use of lethal force look to be dissolving here, I expect America to soon have an analogue of the Mexican “Narco” Cartels, the State’s ‘Forces of Law and Order.’

        1. Wukchumni

          Its funny, as all of the South American countries were hyperinflating in the 70’s & 80’s, Venezuela had a rock solid currency that defied the trend, and now most of said countries have somewhat stable currencies and the Bolivar is a complete basketcase.

          Civil Wars don’t help either, Yugoslavian currency rivaled Venezuela for worthlessness in the 90’s

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Can replay your comments for India, as the modern rupee was launched in 1948 at 1:1 with the US dollar. Quoted today at 73:1. No wonder they are “poor”.

            1. Wukchumni

              Why do you think so many Indians are into mellow yellow?

              I’d guestimate there are 1,000 Indian investors for every American investor, if not more.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Honest truth, Wuk.

                The Indian government set up their “e-gold” stuff, where they want people to turn in their gold and get a piece of paper in return.

                But problem problem: most of the gold is in the basement of temples. One temple has 20 tons of it. But the priests upstairs said “the program is interesting, but we do not own this gold. The gods do”.

                And the countries who went through The Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 get it too. Talk about losing 50% in a matter of days.

                ‘Murkans have been sheltered from the term “currency crisis” in the past…but those days may be slowly ending.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  “E-gold”? That is hilarious that. Had to go looking for a link on this brilliant idea. Yep, sounds legit-


                  Seem to recall that in New Zealand years ago there was a scheme where average people could go in and buy gold but the company kept the gold in a “safe” place. The guy relating this story said it created a stink when he actually demanded possession of the gold that he had just purchased but they had to relent. Well, wouldn’t you know it. That mob went bust when they sold more gold than they actually had and only insiders got their money back.

    2. Carla

      As usual, an excellent comment, ambrit. Thank you!

      With regard to following two points:

      “…few take heed of the fact that fascism is often supported and grows out of a general desire for the end of chaos and uncertainty in the society.”

      “I consider it a definite possibility that the final “official” iteration of the American Police State can arise out of either the Republican or Democrat political parties.”

      … I concur, 100%.

      1. ambrit

        Thanks! I see not only the “Trumpismo” possibility, although I’d imagine that Trump himself would be lukewarm to the idea, he is getting along in years, but also a “Harrisismo” possibility. She, on the other hand, is relatively young, and capable of the work necessary to establish and continue a “Dynasty” style regime. She also has the requisite ruthless ambition and contempt for ‘norms’ that real dictators usually possess. Her past performance shows a callous disregard for the public good and disdain for constancy that most successful narcissist politicos have.
        Another aspect of the Mexican experience that I found funny was that the Mexican “narcos” were originally rural based suppliers of illegal commodities. The American analogue is that the “narcos” in America sit on corporate boards and run big pharmaceutical production conglomerates. Their ‘enforcement militias’ happen to be supplied by the government.
        Stay safe!

        1. tongorad

          She, (Harris) on the other hand, is relatively young, and capable of the work necessary to establish and continue a “Dynasty” style regime. She also has the requisite ruthless ambition and contempt for ‘norms’ that real dictators usually possess. Her past performance shows a callous disregard for the public good and disdain for constancy that most successful narcissist politicos have.

          Granted I haven’t seen much, but Harris appears to have zero charisma, almost Hilary Clinton-esque in her managerial condescension. I can’t imagine her wowing anyone other than the PMC/Liberal crowd. Us deplorables? Not so much.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Yes and isn’t it instructive how little of that pesky “democracy” stuff was required to install The Kamala as president.

            I think some serious realpolitik is emerging from The Eastern White House, the 29-acre estate and mansion on Edgarton Pond Road in Martha’s Vineyard.

            The King Of Beautiful BrownThink surveyed the landscape and said “voting is so 2016, we’ve got ABC, NBC, CNN, Hollywood, Google, and Twitter, let’s ram this sucker home!”. With the poor addled frontman struggling to even read the teleprompter script during his “interviews”. Perfect.

            If we’re going to be absolutely (family blogged) over then I think at least we should take a minute to notice.

    3. Phillip Allen

      I agree that fascism can just as easily emerge under a Dem regime as a Rep one. In some ways, it might make the imposition of fascist rule more palatable. Consider the role of Clinton in ‘ending welfare as we know it’ and NAFTA, Obama’s abrogation of Constitutional guarantees and collusion with the banksters, etc.

      1. tegnost

        I see the dems I know excusing authoritarian rule by by claiming with exasperation that those stupid people are too stupid to know how stupid they are so it’s required that we must enforce the will of the smart people for the good of those stupid people. Think about how often these folks reference dunning krueger (imo incorrectly, I say it’s a business study that roughly paraphrased means if you hire 10 people, one of them will overestimate their own abilities, ie you hired 10 based on supposed qualifications so the starting point is of 10 qualified people, some number will overstate, in real life I see it used to claim all qualified people are good, unqualified people ((um, the hoi polloi)) are too stupid to know anything at all). I won’t make a list of the moronic things this qualified set believes and has stated in my presence, but it includes RRR, poor people should kill themselves (this is particular to the hillary set) and we should force front line workers to be vaccinated to protect the betters, whose lives are certainly more valuable.

        1. dcrane

          Worth keeping in mind that the advocates of Meritocracy believe it’s fine for a person’s lifetime fate to be largely determined by “choices” made in childhood – before even becoming legally responsible for their actions (doing what teacher says vs. too many spitballs).

      2. km

        Team D has one huge advantage – the MSM will greet anything Team D does with hosannas and shouts of praise, no matter how totalitarian.

        At least in theory, when Team R is in the White House, the MSM have to sort of do their jobs. In practice, what they do is just more Team D cheerleading.

      3. Michael

        Fascism is the merger of state and corporate power. We have been a fascist state for decades. Our police terrorize impoverished Americans. Our middle class is ovedient to corporate influence so that the police state does not control every aspect of their lives. Instead we allow corporations to control our scores, excessive interest, low wages and ubiquitous advertisements that gently force conformity. Our fascist system is inverted. I have never read his full work but Sheldon Wolin coined the term back in 2003.

        I do not think that Americans will ever truly see themselves. We are quite literally the people in the cave except our allegory revolves around pixels.

        1. ambrit

          Good point. Inverted or not, it still is a form of fascism.
          Mussolini and Hitler both started out as putative Socialists.
          A good new meme; Plato’s Screen.

      4. Cat Burglar

        Read the Walt article in Foreign Policy — go down his list of 10 Ways Trump Is Becoming A Dictator. Every one of them was trialed during the Bush and Obama administrations, and even further back than that. He does not even include the Cold War emergency powers every president possesses under legislation that is decades old.

        As a realist analyst, Walt has usually dispensed with Blob-style historical amnesia, so I was very surprised to see his exclusion of a historical dimension from his list. So he missed his target this time, though I usually find him reliable. A two-tier justice system is on the horizon? Things are really rigged now? I guess the 2008 crisis was outside his specialty.

        If only the problem could be solved by electing one party or the other! We’re into something much more serious than that.

        1. ambrit

          As you point out, this is a systemic disorder. The remedy will have to address the system in which our “Fearless Leader,” whomever he or she be next year, functions.
          Changing political parties in ascendancy is fairly straightforward. Changing how the ascendancy is apportioned is not.
          In purely political terms, “thinking outside the box” is liable to be labeled as treason.

          1. Cat Burglar

            And how. That is probably because “thinking outside the box” could identify the problem and suggest the remedy.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I know, for starters we could pretend it’s 1975 again and we were very concerned about the awesome concentration of power in the unelected intelligence agencies. A 2020’s Church Commission.

              Unfortunately they would get stuck on Day One. Let’s see, an outgoing president and party fabricated evidence to try and take down a sitting president in an attempted intelligence coup. Would that be A: Just politics; or B: a frontal assault on the very idea of democracy in our nation?

      5. Cat Burglar

        Trump is not a fascist, even though it is a term with a conveniently emotive charge to make if one is trying to organize opposition.

        Fascism is a system of one-party rule that organizes and controls all society through compulsory mass organizations for total mobilization in service to the state. Political scientists characterize it as corporatist because it conceives of society as a body composed of organs (the party-controlled unions, professional, youth, sports, and cultural organizations), not because of its closeness to corporations (though that is also true).

        But thinking of the threat of authoritarian control now as fascist clouds our vision with a historical ghost, when we need the clearest sight possible to take accurate analytical aim. The behemoth constructed in this country since World War 2 is unprecedented in power and reach, and while historical comparisons are useful sometimes, it is something new. The methods of social control it uses are much different than fascism.

        It looks like elites will attempt to control most people through relative deprivation (permanent austerity), global distribution of production sites into international chains (so no one place can shut down production), and use of the media to create segmented politically deliverable demographics when needed. Meanwhile, a global information network will deliver the data to control it, and the surplus can be distributed to the elites. No need for costly mass organizations, and the serfs can just be recruited or inexpensively let die off as needed. That, and not fascism, seems to be what is emerging from a system of constant political default to the most powerful interest in each instance. It can be advanced by either main party.

    4. Livius Drusus

      All it takes is a state of exception to promote fascism. A state of exception can be any emergency, whether a terrorist attack, rioting or even a pandemic. I am not only worried about American fascism coming from civil unrest but also from the COVID-19 crisis. I am worried that even with a vaccine and treatments people will demand that exceptional measures continue for the ostensible purpose of public health and the government and powerful private actors, most likely Big Tech, will be happy to oblige.

      As you wrote, authoritarianism can come from the Right or the Left and lately I have been shocked by the creeping authoritarian tendencies of both. I have noticed both online and in real life more people saying good things about authoritarian regimes in other countries. There really does seem to be a push back against liberalism. As someone who sees freedom and civil liberties as foundational issues this is disturbing. Liberalism has plenty of problems but I would rather live in an imperfect liberal society with civil liberties and personal freedom than even the most efficient authoritarian state.

      1. ambrit

        Enlightenment values are my touchstones as well.
        What we are witnessing is an assault on Enlightenment and Reason. This is not a trivial challenge. Lives are at stake.

    5. Carolinian

      can arise out of either the Republican or Democrat

      Yeah no kidding. If some of us seem agitated about recent protest violence it’s because going around smashing windows (Kristallnacht), spraying graffitti (reminiscent of brownshirts marking Jewish businesses), shouting down restaurant customers and forcing them to make a BLM salute seem like behaviors that are more reminiscent of a fascist past than wearing MAGA hats. As Taibbi has pointed out there’s even a racial theory to justify all this. It doesn’t mean we have anything like the situation of 30s Germany and without a doubt there’s plenty of thuggishness on both sides. But many of the behaviors are there perhaps because cults act like cults whatever the ideological stripe. Some of us would say that the problem with the country is not so much about political theories as that it has lost its Age of Reason origins. Sure the founders dumped tea in Boston Harbor but they were tremendously smart people who thought about what they were doing. There’s no plan to anything that is going on these days other than factionalism–something else that the founders, at least theoretically, claimed to fear.

      1. montanamaven

        The “conservatives” that I know and live amongst are just that i.e. conservative. In Montana , they are really more “libertarian” i.e. freedom loving. They want to be left alone. If there’s a crisis like a fire or a death, the neighbors pitch in to help move people’s belongings or finish the dead rancher’s haying. They don’t like to be told what to do, but they are slow on the trigger. They would never shoot somebody in the back. My guess is that if Trump loses, they will burrow down again and do what they have done before i.e. admit they lost and ride out the calumny of the snooty elites. My guess too is that if Trump loses, the authoritarian bullying instincts of antifa and whoever is behind BLM will feel emboldened and go on even more rampages. And, of course, the Dems will be oh so glad to start bombing brown people in other countries without a hint of shame. Sad.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          I’m not clear on how you can worry about the “authoritarian bullying instincts” of one side only with Krystyn’s Trump tweet just below your post. The rabid freak out and tendency to violence on the right is quite as mad and vile now as that of any assortment of coastal wokists.

          1. neo-realist

            Exactly, unless they consider individuals like James Alex Fields and Kyle Rittenhouse to be examples of the “good people” that Trump refer to.

        1. Cat Burglar

          Tracey is on to something, something like the way a really powerful system can recuperate the opposition to it.

          Here is a way to use the small revolutionary, anarchist-influenced far left as a lever to gain power in a contest between political parties for control of the state. I doubt there are real formal connections between antifa and the Dems, but there are networks of contact that can connect wildly different interests tactically. In foreign policy, you can see how the US has used Al-qaeda in Syria as a cat’s paw. In the 2016 elections, you can see how Clinton called in the political chips from nominally progressive organizations to crush the Medicare For All threat.

    6. polecat

      or various North American states, with or without ‘Police’ in their current form …

      There is no guarantee that the U.S. will remain ‘united’ going forward. I have the unfunny feeling that the warranty on constitutional republicanism is about ready to expire!

        1. polecat

          We .. or I, as in the royal usage .. would greatly prefer to abide by what those enlightened, if imperfect, eighteen century gents cobbled together .. after perhaps shedding some recent detrius/rot that most certainly wasn’t part of the game plan – bloated military, and various other ‘complex’ities tacked, so that ‘we’ collectively – and in the main, have a truly functional federal gov. .. that’s been restrained to a manageable level, but yet mostly does right for the public – rather than for itself – which is basically what we’re faced with now – a quasi-late stage Rome!
          And like that sclerotic, rusting empire, the shock of the new, up-n-coming heathens, with a Caesar all their own .. might be one for the ages.

          *Almost seen on a billboard in a future near you : Vote KHAN!!! – Vote for the Superior Intellect

    7. anon in so cal

      Speaking of authoritarian regimes….

      Biden was a promoter of “Plan Colombia” aka murderous, “failed drug war policies used as cover to destabilize democracy in South America, and arming right wing death squads so openly that Congress had to force it to stop with an amendment.”

      Biden bragged: Biden: “I was one of the architects of Plan Colombia”
      ( iron-fisted militarization plan)

      “Peace-building was completely sapped from the document by Biden, whose vigorous wheeling-and-dealing ensured 80% of $7.5 billion plan went to Colombian military”

      Hillary Clinton effectively extended this program–applied it to Mexico, as her Plan Mérida. Many argue that it led to increased levels of violence.

      “Hillary Clinton’s Dark Drug War Legacy in Mexico

      Clinton’s State Department overlooked human rights abuses and corruption while keeping a lucrative flow of contracts moving to U.S. security firms working in Mexico.”

    8. Aumua

      Finally, let us also take note of the fact that authoritarian regimes arise from both the Right and the Left. I consider it a definite possibility that the final “official” iteration of the American Police State can arise out of either the Republican or Democrat political parties.

      True about authoritarian regimes, but for clarity’s sake, fascism is a far right phenomenon only. On a related note, the Democrats and the Republicans are both right of center these days.

  11. Krystyn Podgajski

    Trump said he intentionally downplayed the severity of the coronavirus in public, saying he didn’t want to cause panic.

    Suburban voters are pouring into the Republican Party because of the violence in Democrat run cities and states. If Biden gets in, this violence is “coming to the Suburbs”, and FAST. You could say goodbye to your American Dream!

    He seems selective in what kind of panic he wants to cause. If there is anyone form the Democratic Party reading this, don’t you think that would make a great ad?

    1. anon in so cal

      February 13 – Top Biden advisor Ron Klain: “We don’t have a COVID-19 epidemic in the US but we are starting to see a fear epidemic. Kudos to [Mayor Bill de Blasio] (and others) for standing against that.”

      February 20 – Biden Public Health Advisory Committee member Dr. Zeke Emanuel: “People recognized that this is a serious public health problem requiring serious attention and that it could become a much more serious health issue. But, at the moment, most people are thinking that there may be a bit of an overreaction by many, maybe even our own country. If you look at the numbers dispassionately, there are just over 1,000 cases outside of China. Half of them are on that cruise ship in Japan. So, considering the world’s population of more than 7 billion people, that’s not a lot.”

      To say nothing of the MSM as late as late February.

      July 2020 The WHO still does not acknowledge the role of aerosols in the transmission of coronavirus.

    1. Romancing The Loan

      I see Logically appears to be a foreign company – Lambert keeps noting how strangely incurious our own domestic news agencies etc. seem to be as to Q’s identity. Not to be too foily, but is it only me who associates IT for banks with intelligence agencies? That the user agreements appear to facilitate collecting lots of data on who, exactly, is reading the stuff is certainly interesting. That he appears to be skimming a piddling $3.5k a month in donations might be a strike against that theory though.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Yeah, the paltry Patreon funding combined with the relative “nobody” status of the d0xxed guy suggest that QAnon is an amateur hour production that caught a lucky break rather than a spook mindf***.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Rio Backed CEO After Blasts, Then Watchdog Investors Revolted”

    They should have keelhauled those SOBs. They had several options but chose the quick and dirty method of dynamiting those 46,000 archaeological caves which can never be gotten back. For what they would make from that expansion, they could have spent the money removing the whole damn caves somewhere safe but did not bother. Mining companies in Australia are often a law onto themselves and this has been true for a very long time. But this time they went too far. You will probably find that all those executives were only thinking of their bonuses and that is all that they considered. That Jean-Sebastien Jacques certainly would not have cared. Even after being given the boot-

    ‘Treated as a good leaver, JS keeps between 50 and 70 per cent of 700,000 performance rights under his Long Term Incentive plan. Based on Rio’s historical vesting rate and the current share price, that is a golden parachute worth between $17.5 million and $25 million. Jacques also gets STI shares worth $6 million and no matter when he ultimately finishes, another 12 months’ fixed pay of $2.6 million.’

    And for this French dude, it wasn’t personal. It was just business. If the Lascaux Cave in his native France was next to a mine, he would dynamite it as well for a bonus. Unadulterated capitalism at work here. The only good thing to come out of this is far more tougher laws about such sites but it does not bring back those caves.

    1. a different chris

      Well to be fair that’s good pay for a “French dude”, but our American Masters of the Universe would consider that kind of “pay to go away” an insult.

      You can’t even plow over pristine hardwoods and build a half-decent third/fourth mansion for that.

    2. ambrit

      Someone needs to find out who made these decisions and “liquidate” them. Show the boardrooms that there are alternate ‘enforcement mechanisms’ to the moribund “official” ones available.

  13. jefemt

    That photo of the As stadium, fire smoke sky… cardboard impostors. Wow. That might become a photo of the Century?

    1. edmondo

      Probably. It’s historic. When was the last time that they had that many “people” in the stands?

      I think these same audience might show up on the Mall when Trump is sworn in for his second term.

    2. griffen

      I think it’s a candidate for any “best” of 2020 as it were. If only a plague of locusts were super imposed !

      I wish MLB well for current relevance now that NBA conference finals are getting set and king football returns in force.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s a weird form of bread (as in excessive player salaries) and circuses (cardboard cutouts of fans) but you go with the late stage empire you have-not the one you want.

    3. Michael

      How bout they outfit each impostor with a wifi passcode that you can purchase for the right to use during the game. Each fan could then cheer or boo and the stadium might regain some realness.

      With a sound background in place, the organist can reappear and lead the charge!

      Might as well sell the Kissin Cam on the Jumbotron as a product too. And virtual tours of the dugout.

    4. Glen

      Note to Middle Class America: You will be replaced by a cardboard cutout.

      The Federal government – We are going to let you die from sickness, lose your job, lose your business, have your home burned/blown to the foundation, get evicted. We don’t need you anymore. We have bailed out Wall St and the billionaires. You are on your own, replaced by a cardboard cutout.

  14. TiPs

    Unfortunately (?) I read the article “What’s wrong with social science” before reading the “study” in the journal of criminology(“symbolic survival”), so I couldn’t take the latter seriously….

    1. hunkerdown

      What did that comment gain for you? Symbolic significance and recognition, and therefore the survival of your symbolic self. Own goal duly recorded! ;)

      Besides, studies aren’t experiments.

  15. Chris

    On the conspiracy moms (and dads!) front I can add some anecdata. We’re seeing the same thing in the well to do areas of DC/MD/VA. There are lots of parents focusing on the “hidden” child kidnapping and sex abuse scandals that “no one is talking about.” These beliefs seem to map on to other conspiracy minded topics like Covid being a hoax, the potential vaccine being too dangerous until “other people have taken it”, and “Trump (or Biden) won’t accept the election results and will declare something something end of life as we know it”…it is getting crazy out there. Maybe if these people were in financial distress or had real problems to worry about they wouldn’t be fixated on these things?

    1. ambrit

      I’ll suggest that the “Conspiracy Moms” movement is a displacement mechanism for the existential fear pervading this demographic. They are anticipating being the “next to go” and cast around for some “cause” of the problems that is shadowy and out of their control. Conspiracy Theories give people something that they can focus on rather than their angst.

      1. hunkerdown

        Yes. Veblen identified the stay-at-home wife in the normal American marriage of 100 years ago as a leisure class, as the top vicarious consumers of the family unit (and certainly this was so, however exaggerated, in the world of the sitcom or the network TV advertisement). Like any other established class, they fear losing their status (symbolic identity), not so much because it’s high, but because it’s exclusive and they’re in it. More than the goodies, they fear the loss of exclusive power that, among other things, enabled them to consume those goodies, and their connection to the group who has set themselves to a code of futile consumption.

        Counterfactual myths are a fairly common means of establishing group cohesion and excluding outsiders. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that groups of people are shared lies.

        1. ambrit

          You said it better than I could. I didn’t think of Veblen, even though we had to read him in our High School Civics class. (Our American History teacher had us read de Tocqueville, and some of both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers.) No ‘teaching to the test’ for us. All tests were essays in those classes.
          [I remember the time my European History teacher marked one of my essays with; “Lots of facts, but you seem to have missed the point. C+”]

      2. Deschain

        Someone needs to let them know that Jeffrey Epstein honorably committed suicide and therefore there is nothing to worry about.

      3. pjay

        I’ll further suggest that such fearmongering stories by the MSM might displace the “existential fear” pervading the Time readership demographic, and perhaps provide some “cause” for the possible catastrophe to come. After all:

        “All this madness contributes to a political imbalance. On the right, conspiracy theories make Trump voters even more loyal to the President, whom many see as a warrior against enemies in the “deep state”… On the left, however, conspiracy theories often weaken voters’ allegiance to Biden by making them less likely to trust the voting process. If they believe their votes won’t matter because shadowy elites are pulling the country’s strings, why bother going through the trouble of casting a ballot?”

        Those devious, Evil Rooskies! (Note: Rooskie manipulation is *not* a conspiracy theory; Time magazine told me it was fact.)

      4. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m coming around to the idea its not dissimilar to the “we have to protect the unborn babies” while doing nothing. 51% of white women voted Trump. Its about perceived gains from tax cuts. The “disappeared” kids don’t need more money for schools. They are “disappeared” and unseen, so there is nothing to be done but worry and faster police response times to question the dark skinned person who was in the neighborhood.

        They can’t say they want to flaunt the rules and lord it over others. Its the public excuse for the behavior of the woman with the unleashed dog in New York from a few months back.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      I don’t think it’s really anything new or novel. Remember the “satanic cults” child abuse conspiracy hoax and how mainstream it became? I think even Oprah was selling that crazypants CT on her show.

      1. ambrit

        Didn’t Oprah also sell a crazypants CT to the effect that this Obama character was going to bring us all to Jesus using “Hope and Change?”
        There are all sorts of delusions floating about the Psychosphere. It’s an equal opportunity phenomenon.

        1. polecat

          And the digital ether only amplifies that phenomenon, equal as it may seem, to the point of severe distorted reverberation! .. which, if not carefully mindful of, could leave one in a lasting partisan fog, as is experience by much of the public.

      2. Aumua

        In some sense the current QAnon affiliated #savethechildren movement is a rebirth of the “satanic panic” of the 80’s. Indeed satanic ritual abuse, including drinking the blood of kids/harvesting their adrenal glands is a key element of the current “cabal” conspiracy theory. Their all Democrats, of course, the higher ups of this satanic cabal.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      If people don’t want other people to believe somebody else’s “lies,” they probably shouldn’t tell so many of their own.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “What If Democrats Just Promised to Make Things Work Again?”

    Before they promised that, they would have to demonstrate their ability to do so in States that the Democrats already control and have a lock on. That way, they could point at States like that and say ‘Look how well we are running that State. We can do the same for the whole country!’

    So how well is California going these days?

    1. Wukchumni

      So how well is California going these days?

      We’re going broke individually along with every county counting a lot less coup via taxes-combined with much lessened services on account of no do re mi, suffering from a lack of tourist bucks, have 3 million acres of scorched land (so far) and realistically 1 out of 5 are unemployed with no prospects, but other than that it looks like smooth sailing from here out, although maybe holding donkey shows in Sacramento would help out the bottom line?

      1. ambrit

        Knowing you, you refer to the infamous “Tijuana Donkey Shows,” right? Which means that Third World conditions have migrated north from Mexico.

    2. antidlc

      “What If Democrats Just Promised to Make Things Work Again?”

      Because it would be an admission that they are part of the problem.

      Won’t happen.

      My cynical 2 cents.

    3. JTMcPhee

      What do “working things” look like?

      There’s been no real time when the “things” that people at large seem to value as markers of a “working political economy” as far as i can remember. “Good times” off the run-on of industry after a global war with one country making out like a bandit while 3/4 of the planet mumphed along in semi-post-colonial desperation while corporations and a few individuals siphoned out all the extractable wealth does not seem to meet the criteria, at least to me.

      Just another idiot slogan that can be wrapped around a fraudulent brand, far as I can tell.

      1. polecat

        They’ll just grab and run away with the mokes mirage-filled ball ..yelling back – “So Long, you Stupid Chumps!”, as they dribble with their reddish comrades-in-arms.

    4. Noone from Nowheresville

      It’s been a multi-decade bipartisan dismantling of government and institutions at every level. The bureaucracy functions smoothly where it’s meant to function. Everywhere else “users” will be meet with obstacles, hurdles, means-testing, proof gathering and time sinks.

      Really hard to re-create competence and systems once they have been stripped down and the barbarian horde (as opposed to the angry mob) has been let in to loot the place.

    5. drb48

      “The trick is, though, that such a focus would BE revolutionary, as it would necessitate a massive reinvestment in the state’s capacity and a complete rejection of neoliberal ideas about the role of the state.”

      And the neolibs running the party aren’t about to do that, so that ain’t happening.

  17. Bandit

    “Symbolic Survival and Harm: Serious Fraud and Consumer Capitalism’s Perversion of the Causa Sui Project”

    Psycho babble rationale for greed, greed and more greed as a basis for sociopathic predation. Faux (as in fake) scientific psychological analysis of a basic, universal motivation to rip off other people, institutions, whatever, whether for money, position or power; a prerequisite for being a dominant politician. No doubt this will end up in the American Journal of Psychiatry as a newly minted disorder. Hopefully there will be drugs to control this debilitating condition.

    1. hunkerdown

      Interesting that you portray a relatively mild indictment of capitalist culture and a sampling of its effects as a Mamet-esque call to predation as a moral duty.

      Read your Veblen. And read the articles before commenting.

      1. Carolinian

        Mamet-esque call to predation as a moral duty

        Well he did come out for the little people in The Verdict (as writer) but that was a long time ago.

    2. polecat

      I don’t know .. I mean, I get the feeling that many AJP members are in on the scam, essentially claiming that politically induced ‘outrage’ is a disorder well worth ‘treating’ .. at whatever the cost .. to the outraged!

    3. jef

      Didn’t read the whole report but they are close as I see it. Mankind’s greatest fear and hence greatest motivator is pain, suffering, and death. That usually extends friends and family too but not always. There is only one thing in this world as we have structured it that addresses this universal fear and that is money.

      I used to run with the “movers and shakers”, the monied crowd and I can tell you for a fact that there is no such thing as enough. The other universal truth is that money always goes away. If you aren’t making it you are losing it. Hang around these folks and you will hear numerous tales of how so and so lost everything, frequently it has nothing to do with something they did. Funny how the way they get rich has everything to do with them but how they lose it is not.

      Not saying greed does not exist but I firmly believe that it is not the primary, or most common motivator for a lot of the behavior we right off as such. It is the very real desire to never find yourself in a position where you simply do not have enough to avoid the bad things that happen to those without.

      Until we address this dynamic we will continue to have people doing ANYTHING for money!

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Yes. The very real desire to never find yourself helpless is the key driving factor behind most of what’s identified as ‘greed’ in social-political discussions. In the media and in venues like NC comments. Even when it’s tipped over into true greed – into never have enough territory – the motivation comes from this stark fear. Of being helpless and subject to abuse.

    1. edmondo

      Love the last sentence of the article:

      “That’s why we’re trying to figure out what our strategy is.”

      You all might wanna avoid Southern AZ until we figure out what our game plan is.

      1. montanamaven

        I’m looking at Tucson to get out of the Montana cold. So I might try a road trip when it gets cooler. Maybe by then the college thing will have calmed down. Some colleges have put all their positive cases into one dorm and made the students make their own meals.
        Montana State is in Gallatin County and the cases were really spiking in July, but now they seem to be under control and school has been open since end of August. When I got to Montana from NY in early April, there were 550 cases in Montana and now there are 9,000. Most cases were in the summer and now are concentrated in Eastern Montana. Most of the cases are people 20-29 years old. Montana Covid Map
        Gallatin County
        Total Active Cases: 67
        Total Recovered: 1,083
        Total Deaths: 3
        Total Confirmed Cases: 1,153

        1. ambrit

          The Wild Card will be how many of the ‘recovered’ cases will become re-infected this fall and winter.
          There is still a lot we don’t know about this pathogen.
          It also stokes fear. An older professional woman I have occasional converse with literally turned away from me and began doing something else when I bought up the subject of the coming second wave of the coronavirus. (Now, one could say that she was just displaying good sense to ignore a Cassandra. I am encountering more and more people who are acting on the assumption that the Pandemic has already run it’s course and ‘normalcy’ is now returning.)
          It is times like that that depress me, not merely from personal ego reasons, but also from the lack of rationality in evidence.

          1. edmondo

            I thought it was me. Everyone here thinks the worst is over. Covid 19 is basically over. OMG. They have no idea what’s coming.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              True! Also true of SARS, see my post above. This is a “crisis” we could think our way out of. If it wasn’t so good for selling news clicks, dismantling civil liberties and pesky small business competitors, and trying to force a change to a different president, that is.

  18. Democrita

    The link under sports titled Deadspin’s Fired Staff describes in nice detail what has happened to journalism everywhere these last few decades, how the money men destroy the product because they neither understand it nor care about it.
    Capitalists extract value, not create it.

    1. John Wright

      I wonder if there ever was a USA journalism “golden age”.

      I remember the Vietnam War coverage and the media fell in line with the government spin until very late in the war.

      MSM coverage of the drug war and the Cold War/communism has also been favorable to the US government for many decades.

      For the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, the same media support happened, and by continuing to employ the war spinners, the USA media showed its compromised nature.

      It may have always been what an automotive writer claimed in an old automotive “newsgroup” about 25 years ago.

      Someone asked why there seemed to be limited criticism in automobile magazines of cars that later were viewed as turkeys.

      The automotive writer mentioned the true content is the advertising, the filler is the news/editorial coverage, similar to Chomsky’s criticism.

      Maybe the vaunted “free press” that spoke truth to power was never there to a large extent.

      The assertion of press independence may have served the purpose of building credibility with the media consuming populace.

      We may be in the golden age of journalism right now.

      Sites such as Nakedcapitalism serve up many differing points of view that we never saw when we were restricted to print/broadcast.

      1. JBird4049

        There were many, many more journalists working for newspapers and networks that thought having a good news organization was good for both prestige and profit. All backed by a lucrative ad based system of revenue.

        It had plenty of problems including being captured by TPTB, but it was so much larger that it had the capability to do, and sometimes did, deep reporting. With the large papers of note reduced to just being the NYT, the WaPo, and maybe the LA Times with all three being not captured by neoliberalism and IdPol, but also not as well funded as before, in a country of over 300 million people that is not true now.

        The broadcasts shows are similiarly reduced to a few like CBS’ 60 minutes and PBS’ NewsHour with similar problems.

        The local news is just about gone.

        1. Wukchumni

          There is the potential for so much more news now, as newspapers were down to 1 a day (in olden times sometimes there’d be 3 issues a day) and if a story broke after the fishwrap came out, it’d have to wait until tomorrow, and TV news would be on it like stink on excrement. We can’t wait 10 seconds now if a story breaks, and quick assumptions are a given.

          Nobody really knew all that much back then when it came to breaking stories, my mom & dad were in HK when the 87′ stock market crash came, and my dad was really nervous and called and asked what I knew, and the fact was I knew nothing essentially, like everybody else.

        2. polecat

          It does appear that local news, as such, seems to only push whatever the Big Wire klaxons (Reuters, A P, and their foreign conterparts ..) crank out (read mucho propagando ..) or local/regional stories which lack enough depth to make any sense out of .. or consists of vacuous fluff!

          The villains .. disguised as the noble owners, more and more .. are the Big Corpse and PE/hedgefunds!
          – The same ones that own Congrease, along with the 3-letter folks.

        3. Michaelmas

          What JBird4049 said. Real reporting used to exist, it’s mostly all gone now. Google and Facebook have eaten up close to 80 percent of the ad revenues that news organizations used to exist on.

          Investigative journalism — any kind of real reporting — takes time and money. Frequently, it also p*sses off somebody with money. So even back in the day good editors always needed serious persuasion to invest in it.

          To give you some kind of metric, when Alan Ruisbridger was editor of the GUARDIAN and wanted to prove that Murdoch’s NewsCorp reporters were ‘tapping’ phones — including phones of the Royals — he hired the top investigative reporter in the UK for a whole year at top money and put him on the job.

          Nobody would — or could — do that these days.

          Furthermore, the kids coming out of J-school these days are amazingly ignorant and incompetent, most editors always were good-for-nothing lower-level PMC types, and there’s absolutely no competent fact-checking. I see the most extraordinarily ignorant factual mistakes in the NYT, Bloomberg’s, and even trade publications like MIT Tech Review.

      2. tongorad

        I wonder if there ever was a USA journalism “golden age”.

        I think this qualifies:

        The Labor and Radical Press
        1820-the Present:

        By the end of the 19th century, working-class newspapers proliferated in cities across the country. Between 1880-1940, thousands of labor and radical publications circulated, constituting a golden age for working-class newspapers.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “See Spot Scan: Ford Deploys Robot Dog”

    It makes you wonder where this is all going eventually. If you have an economy where you only need about 10% of a population doing any work while AI and robots do all the rest of it, what happens then? Who can afford to buy all the products and services that these robots turn out? For average workers will that mean that it will be just a gig economy with people eating from hand to mouth? And just what will this economy look like? Just Uber drivers, hookers and waitresses? How can such a country function and not be brittle? How much buy-in will each consumer-slash-citizen have to their country anymmore? I am seeing other uses of robots that look so much like Black Mirror’s Metalhead and I wonder if they will be used to “keep order”-

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Kev; The first thing I read about the rise of non thinking machines was “Player Piano” by Vonnegut. It has remained ingrained in my memory about the disease of robotry to control a population. I always loved the prole side of the fence of course. The poverty was palpable as was freedom.

    2. Basil Pesto

      I’ve been loosely sketching out a satire in the near future where an engineer is tasked by his board with creating robot consumers, as the human kind are thin on the ground. The robots don’t make anything, just buy things.

      1. Wukchumni

        Some casinos have done away with dealers and in their place robotic machines handle the mundane task of separating the punters from their money.

        How much longer before gamblers send machines in their stead, to lose for them?

      2. Michaelmas

        Basil Pesto: …a satire in the near future where an engineer is tasked by his board with creating robot consumers, as the human kind are thin on the ground. The robots don’t make anything, just buy things.

        You might as well know what you’re going up against if you’re serious. Starting with ‘The Midas Plague’ in 1954 by Frederik Pohl (of Pohl and Kornbluth, authors of the 1950s classics THE SPACE MERCHANTS and GLADIATOR-AT-LAW), SF writers have been writing variations on this theme for nearly seventy years at this point.

        Pohl said he even found an MIT economics class using his story as a text during the 1980s. The story also made it into an anthology, THE SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME vol 2.

        In Galaxy magazine 1954 —

        Pohl got a whole book of variations out of the theme —

        And other SF writers are still running new riffs on it. I read one last year, ‘The Discreet Charm of the Turing Machine’ by Greg Egan, which was pretty good.

  20. CuriosityConcern

    My yarn diagram on Qanon is that it is at the very least a two-fer:
    1. Dilute energy, attention and disgust from the real Jeff Epstein perpetrator list.(I’ve never waded into the Q cannon so I don’t actually know if there is any discussion of Jeff E therein)
    2. Energize a base that wouldn’t have been energized otherwise. Sure is easier and cheaper than policy addressing our current problems.

    1. diptherio

      On your first point, there seems to be surprisingly little discussion of JE in QAnon circles. They’re much more concerned with Hillary and Huma eating children (yes, really). I think the reason they don’t seem to focus on JE et al. is because it’s clear that his client list was a bipartisan affair, and QAnon is strictly anti-Democrat. The clearly partisan nature of Q is why I tend to think that it’s a particularly nasty variety of political ratf***king from some Repub operatives.

  21. Wukchumni

    The choking smoke here is quite reminiscent of when I was 8 years old growing up in LA with smog so thick I couldn’t see the San Gabriel mountains but a few days a year, even though they were 20 miles or so from my front doorstep with a stellar view, in theory.

    We did something about it, and things took awhile to do away with the awfulness that the society of that era had meekly accepted as just one of those things we’d have to live with, but in the end despite a heck of a lot more people living there presently, the smog problem was alleviated greatly.

    Do we have the same fortitude to tackle the issue of rampant wildfires before they begin, by doing something radically different, as in what we accomplished with catalytic converters and other environmentally minded measures?

    1. Carolinian

      There was a time when you couldn’t spend a day in NYC without having to wipe a layer of soot and pollution off your face at night. Righties who think environmentalism is all a plot are living in Vidal’s United States of Amnesia.

      1. Wukchumni

        What’s amusing is that the righties love to blame ‘extremist environmentalists’ for any woes, and meanwhile, the Sierra Club is more busy pre-canceling it’s founder than anything else, a useless organization that reached it’s apogee eons ago and needs to be put out to pasture.

      2. Harold

        You had to wash your hands if you stuck them out of the window. There would be flakes of greasy soot all over them.. No wonder there was no outdoor eating & none of the buildings had terraces.

    2. Keith

      I think it is a matter of political disfunction. Where I live in central WA, they seemed to learn from ~2017 when we got hit by fires in the more residential areas. They have been pretty aggressive with controlled burns. This year, when a fire was start at my neighbor’s property, they were good about responding and returning to ensure it stayed out. My area, we go to highly extreme fire risk by April and stay that way to October.

      Bigger fight, though, is to stop building in the forests and such. Good luck with that. Govt still haven’t figured out how to stop building in flood zones in hurricane alley and along the Mississippi.

      This year, la nina brought us the smoke, but fire issues have not arisen.

        1. JBird4049

          Not quite. Many California towns and cities have spread into forests and grasslands. The worse the housing crisis is, the more they spread from their original more compact, safer, cores in cleared areas or near water.

          People do have to live somewhere and have spread out into the outer, more isolated neighborhoods, apartments, shacks, former vacation homes, and off narrow roads. This includes the growing homeless encampments. This last I never really expected to expect of my home state while growing up. Life does have its little surprises, don’t it?

          I can tell you from personal experience that the town of Santa Rosa does have a core of asphalt and concrete, with that large ugly mall, and the smaller shopping centers, but the houses and apartments eventually merge into the very forested hills and then to the many small clumps of houses. Aside from the ugly center, there are trees and grass everywhere, connected directly to the forests and the even greater expanse of grassland.

          One can debate what is the town and what is the wild-land, but it’s almost just semantics as any very large fire will only be slowed by the streets and highways. San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose are all big and concreted and asphalted enough to be safe. Someplace like Mill Valley or Sausalito, not so much.

          1. furies

            Much of California then should be classified as “wildlands”.

            All of this country used to be such.

            More concrete, more asphalt makes us safe?

            1. JBird4049

              More of downtown LA, but up north? Please no.

              I know that many people like La La Land, but every time I get down there, I feel like I’m in a soulless movie lot with the Pod People; more relevant to your question, it is just a layer of either bland or ugly over concrete and asphalt.

              Even if it never burns, why would I want to live in such a purgatory?

    3. Glen

      There have been raging fires up and down the west coast of the US, in Siberia, and the Amazon this year. In prior years, it included Canada, and Australia. I’m hunkered down in Puget Sound with smokey skies, and the rest of my family hunkered down in parts of Washington, Oregon, and California. It seems obvious that climate change is very real and we need to do something about it, but Trump thinks it’s a fraud, and Pelosi makes jokes about it.

      It’s especially disheartening that many in Oregon think it is BLM arsonists. Sure, there are arsonists, always have been some around I guess, but arsonists don’t magically make fires go from nothing to 100,000 acres in days, or light fires all around the world because of protests in Portland. This is going to become more poors vs. poors violence which keeps the elites from doing anything real to fix real problems.

    4. fresno dan

      September 13, 2020 at 10:55 am

      Sometimes things do improve. I remember when I was a child it was impossible except for a few clear winter days to be able to see the Security bank building (the tallest building in Fresno for many years) in downtown Fresno from Shields and Blackstone, a distance of about 5 miles. When I came back to Fresno 40 years later, I happened to be at Shields and Blackstone in the summer, and and I could see that building as clear as if it were on my HDTV.
      We have to remember that we can fix things if we want to fix things…

  22. Huey Long

    FYI, I was out yesterday and I stumbled upon a high concentration of Biden lawn signs in tony Montclair NJ.

    Aside from Montclair, no Biden signs at all in NE NJ.

    1. Phil in KC

      The Trumpsters aren’t doing yard signs, they’re doing parades with cars decked out in flags displaying the Trump 2020 logo, the Thin Blue Line flag, USA flag, and sometimes a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. We have a big Trump caravan rally scheduled in Kansas City for the 26th of this month. The route will be through midtown, a neighborhood home to many a college-age youngster. So we can expect a little back-and-forth between the motorists in the parade and the opposition on the sidewalks. This will be lovely.

      1. Yves Smith

        I dunno. I see Trump signs here in the most Trump-loyal state, and not a single Biden sign, despite Doug Jones (Dem) signs nearby running 3:1 to Tommy Tuberville signs.

        1. Phil in KC

          Democrats would likely be delighted to see Jones retain his seat, but flabbergasted should Biden win the state. Thanks for the on-site report!

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn; This Land: The Story of a Movement – review”

    I know that it is the Guardian but Jee-zuz. There was not one mention of how the Blairites were constantly leaking and doing everything in their power to destroy their Party’s electibility. They were quite content to cripple their own Party in order that they could seize back the remnants. This is not a conspiracy theory. On Election Night in the last UK election, you actually had Labour Party players cheering at the loss of each seat to the Conservatives and were filmed doing so. The Blairites are like the Democrat’s DNC. They will literally see the Party destroyed before being forced to give up any control of it. Working on the inside to change the Party in either country is just a fool’s errand.

    1. harry

      Guardians gonna Guardian…

      Its history now. But of course, this particular Jewish “antisemite” is unlikely to be voting Labour again any time soon.

  24. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: the alexishaines tweet

    Don’t discuss money, politics, and religion. To a certain extent, I feel like like conspiracy theories give people license to put out their views without being able to get nailed down. Its not dissimilar to the national debt concerns. The person who says they are voting Republican over this really means they are worried a black person could get healthcare, but they can’t say it out loud. Almost 4.5 million people voted for Donald Trump in 2016 in California. Its not hundreds voting for Trump. Maybe there is a tendency to assume its all those ignorant hillbillies. I mean its the car dealers and people who own boats, but people interact with them. They seem nice, so how can they vote for Trump? If Hollywood was so progressive, why do actors have a union?

    I can’t believe Nixon won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him. This became an apocryphal quote or maybe she said but it wasn’t recorded. Her actual quote is different.

    The other side is the triumphalism of the victorious in smdp districts has silenced many but the lunatics. Then with safe districts, no one ever speaks out for fear of being ostracized. A part of the 50 State Strategy was to convince people winning is possible. If they think its a lost cause, there is no point.

    Going back to the conspiracy theories, its not dissimilar to blaming Nader voters for Gore’s loss. There are so few. Blaming Republicans or even Democrats who voted for Shrub means blaming neighbors known for mowing their lawn.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Going back to the Qanon conspiracy about the missing children aspect of giving license to Trump voters to say they are Trump voters. Its not really dissimilar to reliable Republican voters droning on about the unborn babies. The obvious hypocrisy and lack of help for mothers and children has removed some of the noise from the discourse. Its really not dissimilar. They need a reason to say why they are voting GOP even if they don’t mean it.

  25. Phillip Allen

    A rare thing, I was out and about the other day and can share the following electoral anecdotes. On the main highway in Canton, CT, I saw the first genuinely impressive Biden sign display so far, with maybe 200 feet of frontage with Biden signs in a row. The Town or perhaps regional Democratic Committee has also taken a prominent storefront for a headquarters, with enormous signage in their windows. The Town of Canton is predominately a PMC enclave in Hartford County. I did not get into the residential parts of Canton to see what that looks like. Admittedly, I don’t get out much unless I’m on foot, so my view is necessarily restricted. It does seem to me that the street presence of campaigns is very different from previous years.

    In my town, the Town of Winchester – a couple of towns to the west of Canton – yesterday saw the first campaign rally of the season in our Town Green. A Trump rally, attended by some 50 people (a big crowd for a political rally in this place), with drummers (fife & drum-type drums, no kumbaya hand drumming, please), flags, banners, signs, and if anyone had a mask they weren’t wearing them. Winchester is much more working class and has far more poverty than Canton. The visible support for Trump is widespread. Support for Biden remains mostly invisible. There are some truly disturbing rows taking place in the Town-related Facebook sphere, and people signalling they are prepared to defend a Trump victory (or prevent Biden’s) with armed presence in the streets. Interesting times.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this local report on the two campaigns and their different audiences. I think this Andrew Sullivan book review of Freddie DeBoers’ book “The Cult of Smart” is relevant. (I’m reading The American Conservative and Sullivan now in addition to Taibbi and others, who’d a thought it. Strange times we live in.)

      And the core of his new book, “The Cult of Smart,” is a moral case for those with less natural intelligence than others — the ultimate losers in our democratic meritocracy, a system both the mainstream right and left have defended for decades now, and that, DeBoer argues, gives short shrift to far too many.

      Boiled down, he describes the ‘left’, or more accurately both Dems bigotry toward the less educated and credentialed. There are several placed in the essay I had to stop myself from assuming that he was dressing up a new darwinism and just keep reading to understand what he was saying. (I tripped over my own prejudices against certain words and had to keep them in check as I read.) Anyway, I think it’s relevant, so I’ll leave this link.

      Much shorter: I’ll never be a concert pianist no matter how much I practice. That doesn’t make me a worse person than a concert pianist.

      1. flora

        adding: there are many kinds of intelligence. Sullivan’s essay and the book focus on academic intelligence, book smarts. The error is in equating academic intelligence with all intelligence, as if intelligence outside the college track isn’t intelligence. That’s a mistake. Or maybe that’s the mistake they’re attacking.

        1. Pelham

          I tend to agree that there are many kinds of intelligence, although I’m not convinced of this and I wonder how useful some varieties of intelligence might be.

          However, the impulse to defend less measurably intelligent people by saying they may be intelligent in other ways — while possibly justifiable — leaves aside the question of whether they deserve to live lesser lives or deserve less political representation because they might be lacking in this department.

          If we agree they don’t deserve less on this basis, then we urgently need to rethink how society can be massively reordered to give them their due. BTW, I highly recommend the everyone read Sullivan’s piece in full. And then keep it mind if you (like me) have the good fortune to be able to work safely from home during the pandemic and only occasionally interact with low-paid essential workers who literally risk their lives everyday to keep the country from falling apart.

          1. fwe'zy

            Intelligence is a tricky topic because our conventional understanding of it measures how well a person fits into the jobs of that period. I don’t know how important mental object rotation will be in a social well-being society, but it certainly won’t be a high stakes matter whether one grew up in a social unit that supported/ needed development of that ability. Epigenetics, nature, nurture, privilege, all of that.

      2. km

        Intelligent people are at least as prone to cognitive dissonance as their less intelligent brethren.

        Especially as so much of knowledge work really consists, not of discerning truth, but symbol manipulation.

      3. fwe'zy

        I attended grad school in a state that is geographically not so southern, but culturally very southern, with a cosmopolitan “edge.” I witnessed a “parade” where the entering class dressed as “white trash” and lampooned that demographic mercilessly. It struck me as a primeval exorcism rite.

      4. fresno dan

        September 13, 2020 at 11:26 am

        And the core of his new book, “The Cult of Smart,” is a moral case for those with less natural intelligence than others — the ultimate losers in our democratic meritocracy, a system both the mainstream right and left have defended for decades now, and that, DeBoer argues, gives short shrift to far too many.

        This isn’t a merely abstract question for him. He has grappled with it directly. As a school teacher he encountered the simple, unavoidable fact that some humans are more academically gifted than others, and there’s nothing much anyone can do about it. He recalls his effort to teach long division to a boy who had managed to come a long way socially (he’d gone from being a hell-raiser to a good student) but who still struggled with something as elemental as long division: “At one point he broke into tears, as he had several times before … I exhaled slowly and felt myself give up, though of course I would never tell him so. I tried to console him, once again, and he said, ‘I just can’t do it.’ And it struck me, with unusual force, that he was right.”
        Most people who like me think I’m pretty smart. Yet I couldn’t do calculus if my life depended on it.
        I don’t think people choose to be smart, or can choose, anymore than someone chooses to see or be blind. I do think the vast majority of people can basically understand the vast majority of things correctly, except when there are scoundrels who get richer by assuring that people don’t understand.
        We give aid to those physically handicapped – and some handicapped will earn more than non handicapped people. And we understand that one’s physical body limits one’s possibilities – Michael Phelps didn’t win gold medals solely due to practice, and Lance Armstrong had certain physiological attributes that advantaged him.

        Not everybody can code, no matter how much time they spend at computer school. But everyone can have enough money to have a decent life, if we understand that we can have that if we choose to have that – if only we are smart enough

        1. flora

          Indeed. And reining in the power of monoplies would help almost everyone, no matter their level of book smarts.

          This is a very bad sign for engineers and technologists, because it means that employers increasingly have market power over skilled workers. Yet another reason to break up Google, FB, Amazon, etc, so that there are more places to work.

          Smarts vs entrenched power, including political power is no contest. (The pols never mention this because their wealthy donors prefer not to mention it.)

    2. Jomo

      And your comment reveals the reason there are not more Biden signs and that is the violent nature of many Trump supporters. I would like to put up a Biden sign to counter the Trump signs I see, but I would probably have my property attacked in some manner. ( I voted for Bernie in the primaries in 2016 and 2020, so all you Biden haters back off.) I guess it’s a degree of moral cowardice on my part, but the haters here are so pervasive it’s like living in an occupied country. It’s not worth the abuse to express oneself politically if you live in a red county and hold a minority view.

        1. furies

          Same where I live, Jomo.

          Awhile ago I bought 2 bumper stickers for my beater truck, v “Everybody does better when Everybody does better” Paul Wellstone

          and “Socialism or Barbarism” That would draw adverse attention I realize now.

          I’m already in trouble with the local Republican matriarch–we’ve had a series of hours long phone conversations…she gobbles up NRA crap, The Heritage Foundation etc etc and really her arguments consist parroting rhetoric. She wanted to know why anyone would support Bernie. !

          The last hours long convo, I left her with Adam Curtis’ “Century of the Self”. Also a lecture by Michael Hudson. I’m not sure why I even try but I keep on trying…

          The Q child-napping thingy is big here too.

          That Civil War vibe has me pretty concerned. (the list of concerns is getting pretty long)

      1. Oso_in_Oakland

        Jomo, I hadn’t thought of this (trumperos vandalism or worse), should have been obvious, thank you.

  26. marym

    Re: Trump’s “peace” deal

    The linked post speculates a bit on the deal as a potential start of an Arab-Israel alliance against Iran.

    Anyway, if Obama had done this years into his presidency and been hailed as a peace maker, someone would have reminded the hailers of the drone wars. (Link) (Link – check comment @ May 24, 2013 at 2:44 pm!! though sadly that link no longer works)

    Justin Amash @justinamash
    “Antiwar President Donald Trump has launched more air and drone strikes in Somalia over just the last year than Barack Obama did over all eight years, and about as many strikes per year as GWB and Obama combined and totaled from 2002 (war’s start) to January 2017 (inauguration) Sep 12, 2020” (Link)

    Meanwhile, in domestic peace keeping news:
    Aaron Rupar @atrupar
    “Trump on a purported antifa sympathizer who allegedly killed someone in Portland being killed by federal forces: “This guy was a violent criminal, and the US Marshals killed him. And I’ll tell you something — that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution.”” Sep 12, 2020 (Link)

    1. fresno dan

      September 13, 2020 at 11:05 am

      I share your frustration. I made a comment yesterday about how Trump at a gathering played an anti Vietnam war song, has noted the US does bad things, talks about how bad Iraq was, and getting out of Afghanistan. Really, nothing anybody in reality should be able to disagree with.
      But Yemen goes on, US troops are still all over the Mideast, and the problem with Trump is that it is 99.9999 (there are not enough pixels in the universe to type out the true number of “9/s”) TALK. Trump is the proverbial barroom loud mouth who has a solution to every problem. Being president means you must have the knowledge and will to turn your talk into action.
      Trump can make anti war statements that some people will latch onto because “hopium” while others know that either he can’t or won’t actually implement anything to stop the MIC – its just chattering. Trump gets to have it both ways – he understands the American public has the memory of a goldfish.
      AND perversely, the media paying more attention to his words than his deeds plays right into Trump’s hands….

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        To you and marym: everybody knows Republicans are 100% pro business and are war mongers. What we thought we knew, that took an awful lot of wind out of an awful lot of sails, was that the party opposing those things was not actually against them at all any more. They had a handsome young black man who took the helm in the midst of a crisis that had the Republicans absolutely on their knees, gifted an historic opportunity and a supermajority to do what Dems had always done: fight back against big business and fight back against the war mongers.

        Instead said Democratic leader extended the wars and chose Wall St over Main Street at every opportunity.

        So no wonder people today are confused. And someday soon a party will come along promising “Peace, Bread, and Land” and will win in a landslide.

        1. marym

          The point of my comment and links was that although there was “hope” invested in Obama and the Democrats, there were, among people likely to be critical of Republican policy, those who also criticized Obama and the Democrats as their failures became apparent.

    2. Aumua

      The retribution thing is pretty scary stuff, coming from a president speaking directly to his more virulent and very well armed followers/supporters, who see him as a literal religious figure, sent by God to save America from evil democrats and/or leftists.

        1. Aumua

          I’m not sure if I would characterize this as a red herring, a straw man or a false equivalency. Maybe it is some combination, but regardless of the relative levels of irrationality here, Rachel Maddow is one person while the Patriot/Militia/QAnon contingent have representatives in pretty much every town. That’s why I say Trump’s actions here in whipping them into a frenzy are much more scary than Maddow’s brand of hysteria.

          1. Yves Smith

            I think this is a category error. Maddow is a quasi cult figure, and she does have extremely loyal adherents (if nothing else among Hillbots).

            And I also think you are smoking something pretty strong re the extent of QAnon etc presence. Noise and muscle are two different thing, and I suspect QAnon will be revealed to have a big time bot/paper tiger element and will be revealed to have far fewer followers than the hype would have you believe.

            I am here in the heart of the Deep South and even here, there are a lot of liberals who stay quiet but have a lot of influence in the business community despite the state being Deep Trump terrain. They are still outnumbered but they punch above their weight in this town.

            And there’s no visible Patriot etc presence here in Birmingham, the biggest city here and the state’s commercial center. Admittedly that may have to do with the medical industry being the biggest employer, followed by finance. We have MUCH MUCH MUCH bigger turnout for BLM, among whites as well as PoC and none I can recall here for those right radical groups.

            1. Aumua

              As you note, there are many overlapping spheres of influence and ideology here. QAnon in particular is hard to pin down but it has tentacles that reach into a wide variety of other spheres. It is a fundamentally online phenomenon, whose birth and base of operation is entirely on the Internet. It’s also a fuzzy line of who is a “follower”. A lot of people are taking on some these ideas without knowing where they come from. I have observed this in my circle of friends multiple times over. There is an organized and concerted effort of far right groups to ensnare susceptible minds and draw them in to their movements, and the QAnon conspiracy theory is but one of the “hooks” they are using.

              Maybe it is an overstatement to say that there is an active alt/far-right contingent in every town, but you can’t deny that we are seeing heavily armed nationalist rallies in multiple cities lately and when Trump says “There has to be retribution” to these folks, I feel it should be cause for concern. Call me crazy.

  27. Jr

    I literally couldn’t finish the WaPo article about Orlando. For one, I lived in Orlando for years and I know the area the writer is describing. It’s like a cartoon world, lights and buzzers and whistles etc. but one street away are hovels.

    Just as problematic was the fact that WaPo even felt they had any business reporting on such misery. Someone should stop them. They helped cause this misery. For them to stand back and scream “Fire!” when they started it and for me to just accept them as the medium of this information is a kind of shared madness…

    None of the above is rational.

    1. Basil Pesto

      It’s like a cartoon world, lights and buzzers and whistles etc. but one street away are hovels.

      The Florida Project is a very good film that captures this exact milieu evocatively

    2. dbk

      I read it and it was heart-rending (there’s also an 8-min. video presentation of the story). The minute I started watching, I recognized that strip of Kissimmee and sure enough, it was where “The Florida Project” was filmed. The family featured in the story actually left the Star Motel for a week at a “real motel,” the Magic Castle, which is where the film was shot.

  28. Alex Cox

    The RTE article is weirdly misleading regarding the definition of state aid. The only example it gives is one where the Italian government wants to give financial support to a Russian company trading in Italy.

    State aid has nothing to do with the nationality of the company in question. It is a pejorative term used by the European Commission to describe a national government giving financial or other assistance to its own domestic industries. The EU/EC are ideologically driven by neoliberalism and privatization mania. Banning state aid is a way to stop the UK renationalizing the railways, say, or putting further money into a state-owned network.

    From a socialist viewpoint, or a perspective of national sovereignty, state aid can be a very good thing indeed. It has nothing to do with assisting Russian companies.

    1. Clive

      Yes. In the interpretation used by the EU Commission, you can do as much state aid as you like provided it is done on a “commercial basis”.

      So, for example, my local authority can try to replace, say, private contractor Suez for household waste and recycling and take it back in-house (into the public sector in other words). But it would not be able to increase the cost base by improving working conditions for labour, benefits, final salary pensions etc. and pass that additional cost on to service users because Suez could “do it cheaper”. The public sector can only use state aid to join in a race to the bottom with the “free market”.

      EU state aid rules prevent a Johnsonian implementation of crony capitalism. But they also outlaw any possibility of socialism, too. They ensure and enshrine neoliberalism.

      And, of course, what are rules if not meant to be broken. But it all depends on who is doing the asking e.g.,energy,2213.html

    2. Neil Carey

      I think that the Italy/Russia example was given in the context of Northern Ireland. Aid given to a company in the North by the UK would also thus benefit the parent company trading from the UK into the EU. After all the article is discussing The Northern Ireland Protocol, that said, I do think that it was a clumsy example.

  29. rowlf

    Today I got a text message on my work phone: “Hey! It’s Rebecca with VoteAmerica. The November election is coming up! Can I send you a link to help get your GA mail-in ballot request started?”

    Nope. No way. I’m voting in person (Yeah Lambert!) and I always thank the poll workers for their service.

    (Also in Georgia, if you vote in person you get a cute “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker. I like saving mine and giving them to my European friends to put on their work laptops.)

    Georgia voter sticker

    1. fresno dan

      September 13, 2020 at 12:07 pm

      1st – your right, that Georgia voter sticker is terrific!
      2nd – I’m voting in person, because the CA voter package is so complicated and full of instructions, I am terrified that I will screw it up somehow and invalidate my vote. I’m retired so there are plenty of periods during the day when there aren’t that many people at the polls.
      3rd – us in person voters are a self praising bunch – you won’t hear how wonderful you and everybody else there are simply for being there, except at the Oscars…and maybe the Grammy’s….

  30. semiconscious

    re: Anders Tegnell and the Swedish Covid experiment (free) FT

    how has not doing a formal lockdown (something which had never been done anywhere before now) suddenly become an ‘experiment’?…

  31. Michael Hudson

    I was glad to see the article about Soddy. Economists who like Vol. III of Capital also like Soddy. My mentor Terence McCarthy introduced me to Soddy in 1961, and I bought all his books (including his physical chemistry books). He was indeed very influential among a self-selected few for some decades. I urge everyone to read his Wealth, Virtual Wealth …. That obviously is the inspiration for my own economic model.

    1. Susan the other

      Yes, me too. Soddy seemed free of preconceived ideas about debt as in our financialized mess. And he makes very good sense. Total sense. As does Ann Pettifor. Although the is working from a current perspective – one that needs to get around the same goofy ideas Soddy had to circumnavigate. She seems to be advocating a well analyzed mutualized financial institution (I’d call it credit insurance; not debt) to go around and get around all the bickering in the EU about who is a spendthrift and who can be a wholesome risk. I didn’t follow all her details. But the gist of her comments are very MMT in the end. And I’d just like to know where the idea came from that responsibility for “debt” rests solely on the shoulders of the destitute? That’s just another totally outrageous extraction simply because it is possible.

  32. JWP

    Re ; Defector Article

    Very happy to see the old Deadspin folks working for themselves. I loved their work at deadspin and read it daily, especially Drew Magary’s stuff. PE screwed them over and it’s great to have them back in prime form, on their own terms. Keep the links coming, they do deserve those clicks!

  33. Carolinian

    Excellent links today–lots to read. On Wikileaks/Consortium

    WikiLeaks is an idea that can’t be stopped. Most major news organizations have now each implemented their own version of WikiLeaks’ “Secure Drop Box” — digital equivalents of the ability to leave a grey envelope on a park bench. But whilst these techniques are new, the principles behind them are old

    So those major news organizations must be breaking lots of inside scoops on business and government corruption, right?

    Wrong. Their dropboxes are full of messages dropping a dime on Trump. Most of the rest goes into the round file. Even Wikileaks itself ran into trouble making party with the Guardian as their MSM outlet. And now after years of suppressing Assange personally TPTB seem to have concluded that platforms themselves are the problem and must be censored. Unfortunately what Assange really inspired was blowback of the worst kind. In the end he may function less as example and more as martyr.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You would have to be nuts to send sensitive information to a main stream media’s “Secure Drop Box” as a coupla time now that MSM reporters have betrayed those people and reported them to the government for sending them that information.

  34. Billy

    An extraordinary summer of crises for California’s farmworkers
    National Gegraphic, which sold out to their advertisers and heartily endorsed Genetically Modified Agriculture, specifically designed to be drenched in Roundup and other Monsanto/Bayer patented pesticides that cause farmworker cancer, genetic and birth defects, is hardly a credible source of sympathy for farmworkers.

    Search these terms for the ultimate in Yellow Journalism.

    “national geographic are GMOs safe?”

  35. Man in the Woods

    The Smokey Bear/Lorax dialectic has been a disaster for our forests. And little that anyone is proposing will do anything to change any of this. It is all far too little and way too late.

    The timber industry is not configured to do what needs to be done. And professional environmentalists’ calls to return to what they like to pretend aboriginal fire use might of been like will, under current conditions, amount to criminal neglect.

    When Trump said that our forests needed to be “raked” he was basically right, although I doubt he and few listening to him understood the scale of what is to be done.

    Imagine 500,000 field-workers, under the supervision of 10,000 ecologists, working nearly year round, for the next thirty or forty years. This could produce enough of a thinned mosaic on the landscape to allow for a return to a natural fire regime on perhaps a quarter of our forest land west of the Mississippi. Think something like the CCC, but free from market forces and environmental lawsuits, and equipped with eminent domain authority, fifty thousand chainsaws and a thousand of heavy-lift drones.

  36. Wukchumni

    The faraway SQF Fire got a lot more real this morning, with ash & burnt leaves a few inches long falling here, giving the ground the look of an everything bagel. The conflagration is at least 25 miles away, which gives you an idea of winds aloft and their ability to move particulate matter around.

    1. wilroncanada

      Those winds aloft moved a lot of the particulate matter more than 1000 kilometers west over the Pacific when blowing offshore, then north and more than 1000 kilometers back onshore to cover most of southern British Columbia for the past several days. Vancouver has a couple of times recently, topped the scale of the worst air quality in the world.
      When we lived in Nova Scotia some years ago, major fires in boreal forest in northern Quebec blew southeast to cover the Annapolis valley, where we were living, for about two weeks. Climate knows no boundaries.

    2. Jr

      I bought two of these for my GF and I when the protests started, perhaps they could be helpful should the fires grow closer:

      1 hour of clean air and heat protection for your face. They also sell fire proof gloves and blankets. Best of luck.

  37. Michael McK

    Re Q:
    I sent the following the the author of the ‘can you believe what the rubes think?’ Q article in TIME:

    Thank you for mentioning the damage to society done by addiction to social media algorithms.

    I am not at all a Q person, as a matter of fact, I fear your critique could actually reinforce some people’s mistrust of TIME as a reliable news source, helping create more Qtips.

    Specifically, in the context of understanding the Q issue, you fail to mention Jeffery Epstein. As it turned out, he was an international intelligence linked teen sex trafficker for the elites. It went on for years being known about but not reported on by “mainstream” media or meaningfully prosecuted. A former President is strongly implicated. The Qtips know this. There has been no uproar in the pages of TIME or even an insight in this article that there is room for delusional conspiracy theories to take root in the age of Epstein. They also know Trump publicly commented on Epstein’s behavior in the 90’s and the dubiously lax prosecutor was in his cabinet, so Trump is hardly a bulwark defending the kids but they choose to ignore that because, politics.

    By not honestly and vigorously confronting the Epstein issue, as painful as that may be for many important people, you provide fertile ground for crazy talk about tunnels for harvesting children’s blood etc.

    1. fresno dan

      Michael McK
      September 13, 2020 at 2:28 pm
      One can hardly watch American TV without being inundated with the innumerable police shows with how wonderful, brave, fearless the police and prosecutors are in bringing to justice sex traffickers. Or how many laws are passed about stopping sex trafficking, monitoring sex criminals, and advancing sex crime victims rights.
      I guess this is what gets me most about American life – the hypocrisy. So many police, prosecutors, judges knew perfectly well what was going on in the Epstein case, and yet only articles in Florida newspapers thought how Epstein was treated was a travesty when the truth came out years later. AND another thing – the open and transparent US legal system – EXCEPT WHEN IT ISN’T…
      And when the prosecutor responsible for the travesty is asked, his answer that it was due to being told to drop it because of intelligence agencies is BIZARRELY uncontroversial, as well as the fact that there is no serious investigation into Acosta. What is going on – or more accurately, what is NOT going on???
      I am very skeptical of conspiracy theories, but there are ONLY two explanations: the highest levels of the US government uses sex trafficking to advance its agenda, or all the incessant yammering about child sex trafficking is all hot air and this country doesn’t care if sex trafficking happens or not* I actually tend toward the second – the US is built on the hype and false claims of advertisers, including the claims that this is the best country.
      * exceptions and exclusions ALWAYS exist if you are rich enough in the good ol USA

  38. Billy

    The Star Motel story:

    Rose Justino, and the others are victims of the elite’s low wage “competition” that has flooded the country with cheap immigrant labor that makes it impossible for service workers to unionize, let alone demand a liveable wage

    Without that albatross around less educated Americans’ necks, labor would be more scarce, wages would be higher and there would be more low cost housing available.

    “Just doing the jobs that Americans won’t do—at the shitty wages offered.”

    Once a new generation grows up thinking that $9 hour, tattoos, pitbulls and degeneracy are good enough, the oligarchs won’t even need more illegals.

    The Middle Class, a dream they can’t remember.

    1. Wukchumni

      Tattoos are my way of adding up a young adult’s visible net worth, sometimes its in the tens of thousands.

      The average age of a immigrant toiling in Ag here is 45. Not as if younger immigrants are all that interested in taking their place.

      1. Billy

        “Immigrant; Legal or illegal?”

        How about raising wage levels for ag work? Or, reinstitute the Bracero Program that legally imports farm labor and pays them only once they get back home.

        “11.1 million illegal immigrants lived in the U.S. in 2014. Somewhat surprisingly, only a small portion of those 11 million work as farm labor. According to the latest Farm Labor Survey, the number of hired and contract farm workers ranges from about 800,000 in winter to 1.1 million in the summer.”

        The other 90+% work, and lower wages, in every other trade and service.

        Wait until the PMC jobs are offshored via the pandemic excuse.

        Once I built a website, made it run,
        Made it race against Time,
        Once I built a website, now it’s done
        Brother can you spare a dimebag?
        Once I built a tower to the sun
        Brick and rivet and lime
        Once I built a tower, now it’s done
        Brother can you spare a dimebag?

        Once in Armani suits
        Gee, we looked swell
        Full of that techbro doodle de dum
        Half a billion views went slogging through ad-hell
        Then our fortunes fell…

        1. Wukchumni

          “Immigrant; Legal or illegal?”

          Does it matter really?

          I’ve never seen a non Hispanic working the fields & orchards, and it isn’t as if there is a vast group of white folks all excited about taking their jobs away from them, whatever the pay is.

            1. tegnost


              for yucks you can compare with this chart…something seems to have happened in 1990 regarding foreign workers that strangely coincides with a reduction in the wage share of productivity…(hint we’re doing a lot more work with undocumented workers to the considerable benefit of, well
              take a gander at the 1990 to present era in these charts regarding said wage share…


              Data sourced from

              1. Billy

                Yes it “does matter.” The illegals have absolutely no stake in this country, often work for cash, pay no taxes, but use public schools, infrastructure and send or take most of their money home which robs our local communities of it. Even Cesar Chavez organized border patrols to keep them out to help raise farm wages.

                “before he started the union and fought against illegal immigration, he was opposed to the bracero program, which legally imported cheap, disposable labor from Mexico at the expense of American citizens (of Mexican and other origins) who had been working in the fields. Pawel quotes Chavez as saying, “It looks almost impossible to start some effective program to get these people their jobs back from the braceros.”

                Congress ended the bracero program in 1964, and the next 15 years were the salad days, as it were, for farmworkers — until illegal immigration became so pervasive (despite Chavez’s efforts) that workers lost all bargaining power.”


                Tegnost, how dare you deflate the man’s mantra!

                1. fwe'zy

                  “often work for cash, pay no taxes, but use public schools, infrastructure and send or take most of their money home which robs our local communities of it.”

                  The “legal entity” paying them cash and evading taxes is doing the same thing from the other side. Undocumented people pay sales tax. Documented or native-born people also cache money offshore or invest it globally. Locals keeping money in the community is an illusion. Teaching children in public schools expands our hegemony and produces better workers / consumers, not least by helping their parents to negotiate the challenges of assimilation. Infrastructure use facilitates production and consumption, which benefit society.

                  The employers and their predatory precarity are more to blame.

                2. Oso_in_Oakland

                  you’re right, you illegals have absolutely no stake in this country. you take, and take, and pollute. and unlike indigenous people from mexico, you are unwilling to work hard.
                  set aside your racist ignorance, billy. you’re on native land and you trashed it.

    2. fwe'zy

      You are not wrong about immigration being expressly used to suppress wages and labor power. My own family was allowed here to do that. So was yours! Open borders under capitalism are indeed a Koch objective.

      As for $9/hr etc, there is a need for standards of living to shift into less pump-n-dump culture. BUT this “shared pain” needs to be actually shared by more than the poor and working people. In our state of hyperabundance, the pain will mostly be emotional as opposed to physical privation. It will be nowhere near a Long March except for the grisly part where the bourgeoisie is dispossessed.

      Now as to furriners: is it really rational to prefer to be whipped by your own “kind”? Better to beggar the process of accumulation than to beg for a white landlord to evict you.

  39. DJG

    As Bali attempts…. Travelfish, author and photog Julia Winterflood.

    Refreshing, in spite of everything. I have a read a few articles about the debate currently going on in Venice, Italy, which also suffers from too many tourists with too little commitment to the history and culture of the site. It is intriguing to see arguments much like the arguments of the Venetians coming from the Balinese. It is also good to “listen to the Balinese,” because, like the Venetians, no one seems to recognize that there are locals with strong connections to their places of residence who have good ideas about what will make life better. And another AirB&B rental down the road isn’t what will make things better.

    1. Lindsay Berge

      I spent a couple of weeks in Bali many years ago, visiting temples, attending performances of the Ramayana and Mahabharata in dance and music, listening to rehearsals by Gamelan orchestras, washing in the communal baths, eating at small local restaurants, and impressing my hosts with my beautiful batik sarong.
      One outstanding memory is of the ubiquitous newly-built mosques and the obvious resentment shown towards them by the native Balinese (at least when only I was nearby). Also constantly finding small military bases when walking down side roads. I had the strong impression that the tourists were, as long as they behaved in a friendly and respectful manner, less of an issue than the Javanese who were imposing religious and cultural changes on the Balinese. Tourists at worst got drunk and noisy, behaved boorishly, and went home leaving some money behind.

  40. Dalepues

    Although I cannot read the Wapo article on mangroves, I would like to contribute some additional information on this subject. I spent a week in Amapala on Isla del Tigre in the Golfo de Fonseca, Honduras for a week in 2008. The area is truly beautiful and from a small boat it appears unspoiled. The inner, irregular reaches of the gulf are covered in vast mangrove forests of several varieties.Three countries have a claim on Golfo de Fonseca, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Honduras has established an immense shrimp farming industry on their portion of the gulf. You can google Golfo de Fonseca, Honduras, and see the shrimp farms all along the edge of the mangrove forests.;;

  41. anon in so cal

    Chilling comments from Biden’s foreign policy advisor Antony Blinken, Looks as though Biden would be right back to supporting Queda and Nusra Front terrorists in Idlib, etc…..

    By way of George Szamuely, on Twitter:

    “In case anyone has any doubts that a Biden administration will re-launch Obama’s insane regime-change war on Syria. Here is Biden’s key foreign policy adviser, Antony Blinken.

  42. VietnamVet

    The picture of the A’s baseball game in the time of fire and plague tears the facade off and shows the real 2020 America. Government has collapsed. Managers and players are risking illness and toxic air for the sole purpose of making money for their owners and getting a cut.

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