Links 9/14/2020

‘I’ve never seen or heard of attacks’: scientists baffled by orcas harassing boats Guardian (Re Silc).

Mosquito Clouds Killing Deer, Cattle In Southwest Louisiana HuffPo. Aftermatch of Hurricane Laura.

‘Hundreds of thousands, if not millions’: New Mexico sees massive migratory bird deaths USA Today (dk). Citizen science:

More than 400 sealed ‘craters’ are ticking time bombs from a total 7000+ Arctic permafrost mounds Siberian Times

Bank of England tells insurers to step up climate change preparations Reuters

The appallingly bad neoclassical economics of climate change Steve Keen, Globalization (KF).

A Secret Recording Reveals Oil Executives’ Private Views on Climate Change NYT

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled NPR

Oracle wins bidding war for TikTok’s US operations FT (Furzy Mouse).

The V-Shaped Recovery Marches On Project Syndicate


Wildfires Can’t Hide from Earth Observing Satellites NASA. From the FIRMS (Fire Information for Resource Management System) mapping system, fires worldwide in the last 24 hours:

Thousands of wildfire evacuees present a public health challenge amid pandemic Los Angeles Times


Christine Lagarde: Economic, financial and monetary impact of COVID-19 pandemic, and post-crisis options for policies and tools (PDF) Bank of International Settlements

Not enough Covid vaccine for all until 2024, says biggest producer FT

Trump officials race against time to build massive vaccine tracking system Politico. Most software projects fail. OTOH, it’s hard to have much confidence in state systems, either. Rebuilding the airplane while it’s in the air is never fun.

US hospitals turn down remdesivir, limit use to sickest COVID-19 patients Channel News Asia

COVID Is Turning Out To Be Very Good For Bad Businesses DC Report

Understanding COVID-19 risks and vulnerabilities among black communities in America: the lethal force of syndemics Annals of Epidemiology

Snack, scratch in safety: New COVID-19 helmet brings comfort to frontline workers Channel News Asia

Q&A with Richard Horton (video) C-SPAN. Horton is editor of The Lancet.


Clarity welcome on Cultural Revolution South China Morning Post

China’s ‘purification’ of classrooms: A new law erases history, silences teachers and rewrites books Bloomberg

Hong Kong says will not interfere with Chinese law enforcement arrest of 12 residents at sea Reuters. Cutting off the escape routes.


Employer chews off man’s finger during scuffle over work in Delhi Times of India

Was health official Lav Agarwal right in saying India’s Covid-19 peak may never come? The Scroll


U.S. is in Middle East ‘to protect Israel’ not for oil, Trump says Mondoweiss

La messe est dite L’Express (Colonel Smithers). Google translation.


TUC: Chancellor urged to ‘stand by working families’ BBC

New Cold War

Belarus: Opposition protesters maintain pressure on Lukashenko Euronews

How America Plans To Sink Russian Submarines – Part I Awful Avalanche (part II).

Russia’s peasant history, once submerged, is brought back into the light Christian Science Monitor


Nora Dannehy, Connecticut prosecutor who was top aide to John Durham’s Trump-Russia investigation, resigns amid concern about pressure from Attorney General William Barr Hartford Courant

A Hacker Said He Had Proof the CIA Caused the Anthrax Attacks. They Had Him Arrested for Child Porn. Daily Beast

Trump Transition

Donald Trump’s conversations with Bob Woodward about coronavirus, Black Lives Matter and nuclear war CBS

With Executive Powers, Trump Can Legally Unleash Global Chaos The Nation. Absolutely deathless head: “Congress must never again assume presidents will be fundamentally decent folks.” Folks. If that’s the lesson liberal Democrats are learning, they’re starting from a pretty low baseline. Anyhow, if a Biden administration rolls back any executive powers, I’ll be very surprised. Obama certainly didn’t.


Competence is the test for populists Editorial Board, FT. This assumes, however, that the administrative apparatus of the State is a neutral force. It is not.

Here’s how Joe Biden would combat the pandemic if he wins the election WaPo. “Joe Biden has created a war-cabinet-in-waiting on the coronavirus pandemic, with major figures from the Obama, Clinton and George H.W. Bush administrations drafting plans for distributing vaccines and personal protective gear, dramatically ramping up testing, reopening schools and addressing health-care disparities.” Maybe. I do note that apparently there was no plan the Obama administration left in a drawer somewhere for the Trump administration to adopt, since this is all new:

Let’s Be Real: President Biden Would Probably Be More Hawkish Than Trump Caitlin Johnstone

Realignment and Legitimacy

Article Analysis: Law and (the Fascist) Order Nina Illingworth

Mouths gaping, conspiracy theorists rise up against… something Il Manifesto

Is This the Decline and Fall of the Kardashian Empire? Buzzfeed

Imperial Collapse Watch

The normal course of empire The Bellows. Comment:

U.S. Hegemony Could End In A Swarm Of Cheap Chinese Missiles The American Conservative

Army chief says service doing great, has ‘pretty much no problems’ Duffel Blog. Obviously not:

Robot dogs join US Air Force exercise giving glimpse at potential battlefield of the future CNN

Police State Watch

$100,000 reward offered in brazen ambush shooting of 2 Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies Los Angeles Times. We really need to wait for the full story, though; there’s a history here, and not just in Compton, though Compton’s history is bad enough:

KPCC Journalist Tackled, Arrested While Trying To Cover L.A. Protest NPR

How video chat fuels the American deportation machine The Verge. ICE detention centers.

Class Warfare

I have to pay back nearly $11K in unemployment benefits. How could this happen?

Homeless family’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance frozen due to lack of residential address NBC

Target’s Delivery App Workers to Be Paid by a Blackbox Algorithm Nationwide Vice

How tech billionaires’ visions of human nature shape our world The Conversation. “The ancient Greeks had a name for someone with the courage to tell truths that could put them in danger – the parrhesiast. But the parrhesiast needed a listener who promised to not to react with anger. This parrhesiastic contract allowed dangerous truth-telling. We have shredded this contract.”

A pain reliever that alters perceptions of risk Science Daily (LN).

Wisconsin Farmer Plants 2 Million Sunflowers To Make People Smile Patch

Antidote du jour (via):

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. Biologist

    Seasonal coronavirus protective immunity is short-lasting
    New study in Nature Medicine assessing duration of protective immunity to 4 long-time circulating human coronaviruses (not the one causing Covid-19).


    A key unsolved question in the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is the duration of acquired immunity. Insights from infections with the four seasonal human coronaviruses might reveal common characteristics applicable to all human coronaviruses. We monitored healthy individuals for more than 35 years and determined that reinfection with the same seasonal coronavirus occurred frequently at 12 months after infection.


    Caution should be taken when relying on policies that require long-term immunity, such as vaccination or natural infection to reach herd immunity. Other studies have shown that neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels decrease within the first 2 months after infection, especially after mild COVID-197,8, and we observed a similar decrease in anti-nucleocapsid antibodies of seasonal coronaviruses (Extended Data Fig. 6). However, antibodies are only one marker for immunity, which is probably also influenced by B cell- and T cell-mediated immunity. In our study, we monitored reinfections, which can occur only when protective immunity (cellular and/or humoral) is insufficient. We show that reinfections by natural infection occur for all four seasonal coronaviruses, suggesting that it is a common feature for all human coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Reinfections occurred most frequently at 12 months after infection, indicating that protective immunity is only short-lived.

    Link (open access)
    Edridge, A.W.D., Kaczorowska, J., Hoste, A.C.R. et al. Seasonal coronavirus protective immunity is short-lasting. Nat Med (2020).

      1. JMM

        I think it was expected. I remember reading this (or some similar article) at the beginning of this whole thing and I thought the chances weren’t that good. Everybody’s holding their breath until there’s a vaccine and then we can all go “back to normal”, as if the response to this delta event that was the covid-19 was another delta event (a vaccine that works and is long-lasting.) At the same time, I understand why it has to be sold that way.

        I’m pretty sure we’re in this for the long term, though. There is no going back.

    1. rd

      I think the next big thing these researchers need to be looking at is severity of symptoms.

      The big challenge with Covid-19 is that it is novel, so many people get very bad symptoms as their bodies don’t know what to do with it. If past exposure (or a vaccine) can substantially reduce the severity of symptoms, so that it is the common cold, then it becomes far less important if you catch it again.

      Even if the flu vaccine is a good match, it still has only about a 50% chance of preventing the flu althogether. However, it is quite good in reducing the severity of it in the other 50% so that it is unpleasant, but much less likely to lead to death or long-term health effects.

      So if we can get a vaccine that means we don’t end up in the hospital or morgue, but we still end up in bed for a couple of days, I would view that as a success. Many vaccines are not as effective as the measles vaccine in essentially preventing infection altogether.

    2. Cuibono

      This hasakready been shown in prior studies.
      What matters imo now is how severe subsequent infections are

    3. Mummichog

      And for those interested in all things vaccine, this from “WHO’s Europe director Hans Kluge”:

      “However Kluge, based in Copenhagen, raised a warning finger to those who believe that the development of a vaccine will bring an end to the pandemic.
      ‘I hear the whole time: ‘the vaccine is going to be the end of the pandemic’. Of course not!,’ the Belgian said.
      ‘We don’t even know if the vaccine is going to help all population groups. We are getting some signs now that it will help for one group and not for the other,’ he said.
      ‘And then if we have to order different vaccines, what a logistical nightmare!
      ‘The end of the pandemic is the moment that we as a community are going to learn how to live with this pandemic. And it depends on us and that’s a very positive message,’ ”

      Three takes from me:
      1. He is indicating different vaccines may be needed for groups with different health variables. As he says, “logistical nightmare!” Not to mention, vaccine may be needed over and over again.
      2. In the context of “how to live with the pandemic”, Sweden may already have done that with much success and fewer consequences and civil liberty restrictions. One does wonder what the WHO intends to do about the Swedish and African anomalies if they continue. For instance, why would Sweden even need a vaccine?
      3. This seems to be out of the normal WHO messaging. Cracks forming in the vaccine wall?

      1. Cuibono

        Indeed “why would Sweden even need a vaccine?” given that they already sacrificed 10X as many people as their neightbors

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Just a data point from today’s morning spews that confirms again that this mf is goin’ down. CNN followed a decent report on Trump’s crazy indoor Nevada rally with yet another example of Trump/Republican perfidy: the delay of the sending out of absentee ballots in crucial Pennsylvania. The only problem was that they went to an actual reporter in PA who related that the delay had been caused by a judge’s temporary restraining order granted in a case filed by the DEMOCRAT Party to knock the Greens off the ballot.

    There are just some things Democrats prioritize above winning–even against Trump.

    1. cocomaan

      I said it before and I’ll say it again: my state of PA is going to make ’00 Florida’s hanging chads look like confetti. This state is completely unprepared for Election Day. Friends of mine cannot get their ballots. I am getting tons of things in the mail telling me I can apply for a mail in ballot, but in no way do I trust them. And I fully expect to be told at the polls that a mail in ballot has already been cast in my name.

    2. CitizenSissy

      Greetings from Montco (Philly burbs); when the ballots arrive, neighbors and I are carpooling to Norristown to hand deliver to voter services. And a hearty BS to Pennsylvania Republicans who are suing to block drop boxes.

      Many changes are long overdue to our archaic voting system; federalism has run amok.

      On a cheerier note, Mr. Thompson, the Wisconsin sunflower farmer, is a mensch. The post made my day.

      1. CPJ

        Delco (Philly burbs — Swarthmore) expatriate now in Bucks (Philly burbs — Newtownish). Given that PA Dems have been co-conspirators in egregious Republican-led gerrymandering efforts (Philly particularly), it’s difficult to determine which party actually benefits from drop box banishment. Republicans could simply stage another “Brooks Brothers riot” masquerading as Antifa, squeezing lighter fluid down the throats of these boxes along with a match for ballot flambe. It delegitimizes the election results, plays into Trump’s unhinged rants about election security, and provides a counter-narrative to Russian interference — no remote hacking or incendiary Facebook posts. Just leftist agitator adopting literally incendiary tactics.

        1. CitizenSissy

          Hey neighbor! The dropbox I used during the primary was staffed, and undoubtely remotely monitored. Hard to beat the gerrymandering Rohrschach test of the old district drawn to protect Republicans which stretched from Delco at the Delaware border to my Dad’s house at the Lansdale exit of 476. I don’t agree with you about equivalency – the maps were redrawn after a lawsuit contesting that, in a state with roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democratic voters, 13 of the 18 congressional members were Republican.

          Election Day on a Tuesday? In 19th-century America Sunday Sabbath, Monday travel, Wednesday market day in an agrarian society. IMHO we are long overdue for a update.

      2. Big Tap

        Also in Philly suburbs. Pennsylvania has the lowest minimum wage in U S. Legislators are bought and paid for by business interests. The state needs to have a referendum system so the public can vote to increase. That’s how New Jersey did it.

  3. jackiebass

    There has been a push for decades to give the president more power. The push went full steam during Bush II. Karl Rove led the charge. Part of the blame goes to congress because they let it happen. Both parties had the attitude if their party had the presidency, the president was given a free hand.Unless congress stands up to the president things will get worse. The Supreme Court also seems to be leaning toward a more powerful president.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that it was during the George Bush Presidency that the legal theory was advanced that in order to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States as required by oath, that the President had to be above and beyond the confines of that Constitution in order to do it. Sort of like being in the men in Black (“You’re no longer part of the System. You’re above the System. Over it. Beyond it.”) And it gets better. It was also pushed that the President had the right to delegate this overarching right to any number of subordinates below him right down to local officials. Not sure but John Yoo might have been pushing this idea.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I’m not sure it will matter. With the merger of the DNC and RNC (ambrit’s line) I’m more worried about overt 1-party rule. Installing The Kama Kameleon and Confused Gramps, that power couple that will hold awesome sway across more war, more China outsourcing, more globalism and technology totalitarianism, more Big Pharma and Big Prison and Big Insurance, with the great breadth of the entire media pimping along, all while being lectured to about Beautiful BrownThink, makes me wonder what would be left in 4 years time to try and rescue any semblance of pluralism, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion at all. The highest priests of BrownThink will not truck any deviation whatsoever from the One True Way, as transmitted to us by Saint Obama, Hilary of Clinton, Botox malpractice survivor Pelosi, Jeff Bezos, Sergei Brin, Jack Dorsey, Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon, Michael Bloomberg, and whoever the f*ck runs the biggest of big arms makers, plus a few brown female faces scolding us to take our soma. Those of us stuck in Dangerous RegularThink would not stand a chance to do anything except scurry in the shadows of such a hideous consensus with such hideous capabilities to ensure that nothing changes and all other voices are silenced. Resistance is futile, time to die, tombstone reads 1776-2020.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        I think the question needs to be what are tptb’s top 5 agenda items vs. how dry is that powder again?

        Trump is a known entity. Dramatically increases his audience’s dopamine levels. Makes members of the PMC pull out their hair and wail that nothing can be done! Look at how inequality has jumped from the fab Obama levels. Look at the toolsets his admins have been able to use with nary a bark, let alone bite, from the so-called resistance. That is highly impressive work product.

        Biden of course will be able to “compassionately” manage the decline (something Hills said she’d do) as someone must pay for all Trump’s indulgences even if said indulgences were granted by our saintly presidents & congress critters prior to year zero.

        If only there was a “sleep” command for our real life Borg.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          TY, my theory of change is to kill one arm of the Leviathan while there still even ARE two arms presented to us. It feels a lot like a Last Stand to me, Trump is an incredibly flawed vessel but to me he still represents a dissenting voice to THAT. Recall who he has had to resist: the Republican Party establishment; the Wall St/Corporate/China outsource consensus; the unanimous and permanent media consensus of misinformation, bias, and opposition never before visited with such vitriol on a sitting president; and even a coup attempt by the opposition using the FBI and CIA. So he definitely has all the right people as enemies. I’m very unclear how people think they get *anything* by supporting Bush-era warmongers, the warmed-over stooges who gave us 8 years of Obama wonderfulness, the overwhelming majority of America’s billionaire class, the NATO/Atlanticist machine, and the entire crowd who think “nationalism” is somehow a dirty word. By contrast *there is a glimmer* that a round defeat could be swung to the advantage of those who believe that “Peace, Bread, and M4A” is a winning formula for the 99%. Install this beast and I think that possibility dies for a generation, not because it won’t be aired but because we will hear far and wide All The Very Reasonable People telling us we just can’t get there because deficits because Republicans because Russia because corporations and most of all because racism. In other words, the continuing illusion of representation. No thanks.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I find it interesting that (prior to the 2020 madness) many polities organized into two main camps: one generally for Capital and the other generally for Labor.

              I have this idea that the “right” balance can be struck when both are represented. An example might be the way German companies must have a union representative on the board. The company can only act if the interests of workers are at least aired and considered.

              I think it’s fair to say that in the U.S. the Republican Party can be counted on to represent the interests of corporations and Capital. Their theory is that the benefits of successful companies with lots of Capital eventually accrue to workers.

              In the past The Democratic Party could be seen to counterbalance this by lobbying for the interests of workers. Their theory was that Capital will never give anything to Labor unless they are forced to.

              But we have arrived today at a place where the Democratic Party has also fully embraced the needs of Capital. But they have sold this to their supporters by claiming that they still represent the needs of Labor. So people mistakenly believe that their interests are represented. This of course results in serial disappointment, time after time.

              So which is the imposter? Which one by their very existence and activities today forestalls and neutralizes any real opposition to Capital, all the while giving the illusion of representation of Labor?

              We have a one-party state. The needle in the society is pegged all the way over to the Capital side of the dial. The urgent need is to resurrect a natural and viable opposition to that. It’s also obvious that this is also now a manifestation of the 99% versus the 1%. And from a tactical POV I see a glimmer that if the Dems were to lose, unlike their 2016 loss there could be forced a reckoning about Why? And a recognition that Republican Lite is not a path to power.

  4. fresno dan

    With Executive Powers, Trump Can Legally Unleash Global Chaos The Nation. Absolutely deathless head: “Congress must never again assume presidents will be fundamentally decent folks.” Folks. If that’s the lesson liberal Democrats are learning, they’re starting from a pretty low baseline. Anyhow, if a Biden administration rolls back any executive powers, I’ll be very surprised. Obama certainly didn’t.

    There is no way to solve these problems before the upcoming election, but in many cases we are dealing with the long-term consequences of ignoring or degrading public services, and with the assent of Congress. The USPS, most notably, was financially crippled by a law, the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, that faced so little opposition in Congress that it passed the Senate by unanimous consent and the House via voice vote before being signed by President George W. Bush during a December lame-duck session.

    Republicans eager to privatize the Postal Service joined the Democratic cosponsors (Representatives Henry Waxman and Danny Davis) showing off their “anti–big government” chops to put the post office in a state of permanent financial crisis. Did the bill explicitly tell the president to manipulate mail service during an election? No. But it laid the groundwork for Trump’s actions. Members of Congress told in 2016 about what is happening in 2020 surely would have claimed that no president would ever do such a thing. Yet here we are.

    Whether through its failure to allocate the money needed to maintain physical infrastructure or its inability to see how fundamental services are vulnerable to political manipulation, Congress has not taken steps to protect the American public’s access to basic services and infrastructure from a malicious executive branch. It is past time to drop the assumption that future presidents will steward the nation’s resources in good faith. As uncomfortable as it is to admit, presidents and appointees may again use their powers in the crassest, most partisan, and most damaging way possible. The merging of the interests of the state and the personal political interests of the president cannot be undone by electing one pleasantly bland president who promises to be a good sport. The specter of Trump will keep haunting us.
    Congress has not taken steps to protect the American public’s access to basic services and infrastructure from a malicious executive branch.
    Uh, who is protecting the American public’s access to basic services and infrastructure from a malicious congress???
    The author seems unaware that his article appears to show that congress is much more responsible for these problems than the president, yet the author concludes its the president’s fault…
    The media is just too lazy to do any research to find out who is responsible for anything other than “The Administration”

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Congress has not taken steps to protect the American public’s access to basic services and infrastructure from a malicious executive branch.

      If only we could get rid of one bad apple then everything would be alright. I agree with you, fresno dan, on the whole malicious government players bit. But it’s way easier to follow the official narrative that the world reset to zero when Trump took office and that once he’s removed all things will be right in the world again. Well, except for those dopamine levels. What kind of distraction would need to rise to take Trump’s place? He is after all very very good at his job.

      1. hunkerdown

        We’re not as bad apples! We divide the badness up between us. No, not you, that would stunt your moral development because you can’t handle it. We’re Professionals!

        There you have the lie that makes being ruled possible.

  5. fresno dan

    U.S. Hegemony Could End In A Swarm Of Cheap Chinese Missiles The American Conservative

    The warning signs have been apparent for a long time now. However, this budding challenge has been lost as America has taken on foes that have no ability to challenge U.S. military buildups or overseas operations, masking the problem. For example, the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, various so-called war on terror campaigns using drone technology, the military campaign against the Islamic State, various air strikes against Syria—all showcase a U.S. military whose deployments were unchallenged or utilized weapons platforms where defenders did not have the range to strike back.
    Maybe its just me, but I don’t think one advances the cause of US hegemony* by using Syria and Afghanistan…
    * I’m not saying there should be US hegemony.

    1. Eustachedesaintpierre

      Similarities perhaps with the Brits mowing down natives with machine gun fire in North Africa & the ME prior to the first big one against those who could properly stand up for themselves.

      The sharpshooting Boers initially stood up very well for themselves – piles of British corpses at Spion Kop & elsewhere with holes in their foreheads.

      1. km

        The British invented the concentration camp during the Second Boer War, in order to deny the Boers a source of supply and to hold noncombatants as hostages.

      2. ShamanicFallout

        Reminds of the old IRA song “(Come Out Ye) Black and Tans”:

        ‘Come tell us how you slew
        Them poor Arabs two by two
        Like Zulus they had spears and bows and arrows
        How bravely you faced each one
        With your sixteen pounder gun
        And you frightened them poor natives to their marrow’

        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          & many of the troops involved would have been Irish, as was the case earlier at the battle of Waterloo when Wellington described the whole mix from the British Isles as the scum of the Earth.

          One of the most effective commandants of flying columns in Cork was a fella named Tom Barry who learned his trade in the British Army & even James Connolly joined up, but most likely as with many of the rest in an attempt to avoid starvation. The Irish also made up a large part of the Royal Navy & the man who according to some was most deserving of a VC at Rorke’s Drift was an Irishman.

    2. Billy

      Thank Joe Biden and the peace loving Democrats voting for and authorizing a string of losing wars in the Middle East. The Afghanistan invasion is now old enough to vote.

      Shouldn’t the U.S. follow and practice the Monroe Doctrine? That is, everything on this side of the Atlantic and Pacific is our turf?
      Imagine the mirror images of U.S. Naval operations in the Taiwan Straits occuring with Russian or Chinese Navies doing the same thing in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, off British Columbia, or The Gulf of Mexico, or the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes?

      The U.S. should mind it own f-ing business at home, like the Cuban Naval blockade as an example, but doing the same thing in the Red Sea against Iran?

      Trump came right out and said the truth: Those losing wars are a winner for the Pentagon and Israel. Now he’s done it, they are going to really try to get him out of office…!

      1. LifelongLib

        Dunno why the U.S. wanted to replace the British Empire. We should have let Britannia rule the waves and just stuck with inventing things and making money.

  6. farragut

    Capybaras! When I was a teen, my family lived in the Panama Canal Zone (Dad worked for the US Govt). We’d go to Lake Gatun often, to fish, and I have fond memories of watching the adorable capybaras play at the water’s edge (as well as watching the manatees gliding gracefully under water). I have far fewer fond memories of the howler monkeys, which, if you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing them, sound absolutely terrifying (an apocalyptic, ‘I’m-coming-to-steal-your-soul’ kind of sound). If I recall, the Panamanian capys are about half the size of their South American brethren.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’d be willing to do an exchange program with any Capybaras region on a 1 for 1 basis with the Marmot Cong here, and while were at it, Giraffes would look splendid in the Giant Forest amidst the skyscrapers, how about an array of colors of Black Bears in exchange?


      The Ash Mountain main entrance to Sequoia NP is closed for the time being as the potential of the SQF wildfire creeps closer to us.

      The buildup to the main event is drawing nearer, as the ash and not quite burnt leaves and whatnot have left the ground looking like an everything bagel (i’ll have mine toasted-with butter) and talking to friends around town, one person found half of a burnt check from the region under fire recently, a toast dated check.

      The feeling is perhaps similar to knowing a hurricane or tornado is coming, just a matter of timing as spotting fires forage forward towards our position. The positive in our favor is we really don’t get much in the way of winds here historically, but that was and then and this is now rules may apply.

      1. Wukchumni


        Went to the Ladybug car campground in Sequoia NP on the South Fork which is the closest you can get to a fire 16 miles away as the crow flies but the Toyota doesn’t drive, and a friend who was the park botanist (we were on a hike one time and I asked him why be a botanist, and he answered curtly ‘plants don’t run away’ ha!) had the same idea as me in sussing out something wicked this way comes, and he started waxing poetic in regards to the new growth after the 2015 Rough Fire had obliterated the understory clogged with debris, then set free plants yearning to be.

        We were looking into the surroundings and not 50 feet from where you park your car is a clusterfunk so dense with ready to burns, that you couldn’t go any further into the abyss, impenetrable.

  7. jr

    Re: Chinese repression of teachers in HK

    “ The harm to Hong Kong’s reputation for educational freedom has been swift, with academic associations around the world ruling out the city for future conventions and seminars”

    I’m curious if there has been a similar kind of damage done to the US’s educational reputation by the Critical Bleery types currently obscuring the light…

    1. farragut

      If you squint while reading these opening paragraphs, it seems the authors could be discussing a nation much closer to home:

      With [the state’s] tightening control over [city], including passage of a new national security law, the country’s pro-democracy activists, politicians, journalists and others are facing [the Blob] determined to crush dissent. Perhaps the greatest threat from this new purge — one that will affect generations to come — is the increasing pressure on schools and teachers over what to put in the minds of students. Both activists and bureaucrats know that a nation’s soul is distilled in the classroom; history can be erased with the silencing of teachers and rewriting of textbooks.

      “A [city] art teacher going by the name “nickname” expresses his thoughts through pro-democracy doodles, which he shares online anonymously. He lost his teaching job after a complaint was made to the authorities.

      “They are turning education into a tool for controlling thought in [city]” said [person], a lawmaker representing the education sector who is vice president of the [city’s] Teachers’ Union. “There are a lot of cases of teachers being wronged, facing exaggerated accusations. I would describe it as political persecution.”

      1. jr

        Sheesh, you can practically lift whole blocks of paragraphs out of it verbatim. It’s rather chilling to see such similarities.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      There have been huge changes in education thanks to Covid and US/China relationships, I think it will be quite a while before the long term fall out becomes obvious. Studying in foreign universities now looks very unattractive for millions of prospective students worldwide, especially as they can sign up and do most of their attendance from home. We might just be witnessing the death of the entire ‘study abroad’ industry.

      Btw, the idiocy of the University of California in censoring a Professor over the use of the mandarin word nèige 那个 has been widely discussed on Chinese social media – its been portrayed as indicating an increasing hostility to Chinese students in the US.

      A random historical factoid – in the 1920’s the State Department warned the State of California repeatedly that laws discriminating against ethnic Asian students in schools was having a serious negative impact on the US’s influence in Japan, as it was being used by the militarists as part of a campaign to show that the US would never accept Japan as an equal. California ignored this, and many historians consider that this has a significant impact in helping the militarist factions gain full control in Tokyo in the 1930’s.

      1. anon in so cal

        That was USC (the University of Southern California) a private college and not the University of California.

  8. ProNewerDeal

    To add the C1A Anthrax story, why are no politicians (not even Gabbard/Sanders/Ron Paul when he was in office) nor Corporate Media bringing up questions that journalists like Whitney Webb are asking?

    Webb states the C1A is a state owned organized crime Mafia.

    Side note: Norway & Venezeula are Evil Socialists for using a state owned oil company & using its profits primarily for universal social programs in education & health. The USA is a Bastion of Democracy TM for having a state owned Organized Crime Mafia & using all of the profits for 0.1% criminal profits with occassional off-budget unfunded secret regime change wars like 1980s Nicaraguan Contra War. At least SOME of the private DTOs like Esc0bar/M3dellin Cartel would use SOME of their profits for social programs, like new public parks construction in Med3llin. Vito & Micheal Corleone, assuming their depiction is even somewhat similar at least 1 of the 5 NY Cosa N0stra Mafia families, put some of their profits into charitable programs.

    Is the C1A still profiting from the illegal drug trade, by protecting favored drug trafficking organizations (DTO) if nothing else so that the 2B2F Banks have a continual money laundering cash deposits? A UN official stated that in 2008 GFC for some months DTO money laundering was the only major source of new cash deposits into the 2B2F Banks.

    Is the C1A involved in underage s3x trafficking crime ring to blackmail for “intelligence” secrets? Why was US Attorney Acosta told to “not prosecute Epst3in, he is above your pay grade & belongs to intelligence agencies”.

    If the US has the most infitesimal amount of moral decency & American Exceptionalism TM, why doesn’t the US Ambassador to the UN introduce a resolution to ban to the use of state owned or funded underage s3x trafficking & p0rn? Surely this minimally low bar of human rights would be part of Universal Human Rights that all nations could abide by & endorse?

    For those that don’t object to immorality of taxpayer funding of an state owned Organized Crime Mafia, what about the angle of Fiscal Conservatives & Government Efficiency? Recall with Russiagate the “17 Intelligence Agencies conclude Russian Meddling”? 17 Agencies?!?! Why not 1 frickin agency & discontinue the other 16, especially when they proclaim Murica Cannot Afford TM even 1 MedicareForAll Agency! Or hell cut it half at least to 7 Mafia families, er I mean intelligence agencies in the Intelligence Community TM.

    1. rob

      what I remember about the anthrax attacks after 9/11 , is from what was reported back then, and of course “disappeared” ,in the media stream… Does it still fit?
      was the antrax sent to only ” democrat” types…while the republican types got something fake…. but since this happened after the democratic orbit types got the same type of packages… it was enough of a message.
      As an observer, I just assumed this was a “threat” to any uppity member of congress not to investigate 9/11, in any way other than what was “on the menu”.
      It was reported(not in the mainstream media) the type/ strain/ “fingerprint”? was identical to a strain that was kept at fort detrick, in maryland. The government denied it.
      A couple of years later,
      the gov’t said the anthrax did come from the lab, and first they charged one guy, stephen hatfield/// until he was lucky enough to prove himself innocent…
      then they charged another guy, bruce bivvins?sp. who luckily had committed suicide… and was found guilty….
      so now the major media companies can report that the case is closed and the guilty party has been found….
      Yet everyone learned not to ask how the twin towers were blown up… if the terror attack on 9/11 was a suprise..
      Architects and engineers for 9/11 truth had a great hour long video on pbs in colorado in @2011? At that point and still. there is no statute of limitations on murder…. and there are still puzzle pieces that fit together, to prove the official story is a conspiracy theory.

      1. Billy

        “was the antrax sent to only ” democrat” types…”
        It was an attack aimed at congressmembers who dared vote against or asked too many questions about the two year old Patriot Act they were supposed to vote for overnight without reading it so that we could quickly respond to the terroris’ who we are still looking for 19 MIC profitable years later…

        1. pjay

          Yes. The “terrorists” were strangely dumb enough to send it to those *resisting* the Patriot Act (guess they were trying to encourage America to toughen up). Even more strangely, when the source was confirmed as Ft. Detrick, the mainstream media demonstrated about as much investigative curiosity as a bag of rocks. Of course that was the case for the entirety of 9/11 as well. Case closed.

    2. km

      If we take the official story as true – every single person in the federal justice system, from Attorney General Bob Barr all the way on down to the lowest Bureau of Prisons flunky mopping latrines in a lockup in Alaska – everyone was either really really stupid and uninformed, or they had to know that, out of all the inmates in the federal correctional system, Epstein was the one inmate most obviously at risk of murder or suicide.

      Jeffrey Epstein is dead. Let that one sink in.

      Again, even if we take the official story as true – considering Epstein’s high profile friends, either the intelligence agencies, with all their surveillance powers and evident disregard for the Bill of Rights, either knew of Epstein’s proclivities and did nothing, or they didn’t know, which means that they are really really clueless. Hell, even *I* knew, and I don’t exactly run in Epstein’s crowd.

      Again, let that sink in.

      And that’s just what you gotta wrap your head around if you believe the official story with all its absurdities and contradictions. Frankly, it is easier to believe Warner Brothers cartoon shorts featuring a wisecracking rabbit than the official Epstein story.

      And that leads to some really disturbing places.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, that detention center Epstein was in is a corrupt shithole. Many Federal pens have gangs close to running the place.

        You assume far far too much. It probably have taken bribes or the right sort of threats to at most 4 people working there.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “How America Plans To Sink Russian Submarines”

    I guess that the Russians don’t stand a chance with their subs. Unless they take counter measures that is. How about swarms of drones that give off the same profile as a Russian sub heading every which way? Which is the real sub? Or how about kamikaze drones that home in on those detectors whether they are on the ocean bottom, in the air or aboard a ship. But here is a true story that makes me wonder about this article. if you ever want to mess with a carrier admiral’s head, just have a submarine surface in the middle of his carrier formation. And that is exactly what the Chinese did with one of their subs years ago so I assume that the Russian could do the same. So how did that sub get there without being detected by this super duper detector system? Just to underline this point, over the years US carriers have been “sunk” by allied submarines in exercises though this is usually covered up. So I am taking these article with a firm dose of sea salt.

    1. vlade

      I’m not sure you can say “it’s covered up”, as there’s plenty of it on the web. And it wasn’t a Russian submarine, it was Swedish one in 2005 – TBH, if a Russian sub showed up like that, I’m pretty sure it’d be all over media as the Russians would take videos, so the only way to hush it up would be to sink the sub

      1. The Rev Kev

        Never said that it was a Russian sub. And let’s just say that this info is not exactly hauled out in plain sight and you have to go looking for it. The French did the same feat and were told to shut up about it and the Aussies also sank a carrier in an exercise. Pretty sure that there are other examples but it is not common knowledge that it happens. Would you believe that the Viet-Cong once sank an American carrier during the Vietnam war but for real? How many people know that little historical tidbit.

        1. vlade

          No major (fleet) US carrier was sunk since 1945. It’s pretty hard to hide.

          USS Card was an escort, not fleet carrier, when it was comissioned in in WW2. So when sunk, it was over 20 years old, and fairly obsolete – because US carriers build in early 1940s were obsolete even by late WW2.

          And she wasn’t sunk in action but by a planted explosive in the harbour, with all of five casualties (or single digits, IIRC).

          1. The Rev Kev

            It’s still a win if it got sunk – in the same way that the CSS “Hunley” got the win sinking the USS “Housatonic” back in 1864 or Operation Mardonius in Norway in 1943. You have to give credit where it is due. As for the USS Card being 20 years old at the time, I see that the USS Nimitz is still operational. And it was commissioned before disco died. In 1975 in fact.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            Of course the essential point is that perception is all important – battleships were used in WWII with reluctance because of the fear of the blow to morale from any loss (especially after the loss of the Prince of Wales). The British, in particular, devoted enormous resources to understating the damage caused to some of their battleships early in the war, especially in the Mediteranean, in order to dissuade the Italians from being more aggressive. The loss of the USS Card was militarily irrelevant, but it was a huge boost to North Vietnamese morale when it was taken out.

            What matters less to US power projection is if the Chinese, or whoever, can sink a carrier, but the perception of the risk involved if a carrier is lost. I strongly suspect that many of these carrier killer missiles are chimera, designed to cause doubt and confusion among opponents. Making your enemy think you have a battle-changing weapon is a lot cheaper than actually designing and building one. Just as articles like the one linked is as likely to be designed to make the Russians (or Chinese) doubt whether or not their submarines really are invulnerable.

            The only certainty in war is that some of your most expensive weapons will prove not to work, and that some obscure pieces of technology will prove to be invaluable. In many ways, this doubt is important to peace, as the less sure politicians are that they can win a war, the less likely they are to provoke one. The real danger however is that they may think that ‘our enemy will have a new weapon in 2 years, so we must strike now while we are strong’.

            1. rd

              The loss of the USS Card is similar to the battle of Hue 1968 and the whole Tet Offensive. Militarily, either irrelevant or in the case of the Tet Offensive, a “loss” in the military battle column. However, it largely enabled them to win the war by showing they could inflict substantial damage anywhere apparently appearing out of nowhere. If you can infiltrate an entire division with weapons into a city and not a single person says anything during the prep period, you know you do not have the population on your side.

              1. Robert Gray

                > If you can infiltrate an entire division with weapons into a city and
                > not a single person says anything during the prep period, you know
                > you do not [???} have the population on your side.

                I think I get the point you’re trying to make but it seems maybe it got turned upside-down in the telling of it.

    2. Diego M

      That article doesn’t make any sense. Russia can destroy any ship in its seas with hypersonic missiles.

      The US has none.

      1. vlade

        TBH, for any of the major players no navy can safely operate in an enemy territorial waters (200nm), because the deployed fleet will run out of ammunition before the enemy runs out. You don’t need any fancy missiles or anything, just saturation.

        It’s been argued for a very long time now that the carrier task forces went the way of battleships, and only against a fundamentally weaker enemy they can achieve much, and even that may not work (depends on how good the enemy land AA defences are).

        For example, any US carrier TF caught in the Gulf should US go to war with Iran would very likely be a toast.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          In many ways, the carrier has been obselete as a front line weapon since the 1950’s, when nuclear submarines with long ranged homing torpedoes was (and remains) the main threat. In a conflict between the USSR and NATO, carriers would have been largely irrelevant. Even in WWII, the USN was often reluctant to let its carriers get anywhere near Japanese controlled waters or airspace, much to the chagrin of the Marines stuck in Guadalcanal without air cover at at least one point in that campaign.

          The dirty little secret of carriers is that for half a century they are not frontline weapons, but designed to bully lesser powers. They are for use for policing mid sized regional threats, not for confronting superpowers. This, I suspect, is one reason the Chinese are willing to devote enormous resources to building their own carriers.

          The threat to them therefore is not weapons designed and used by Russia and China – they’ve had carrier killers (i.e. submarines) for decades. The threat is the proliferation of the type of cheap and cheerful ballistic missiles and high speed torpedoes developed by Iran and others. The Houthi’s have shown that weapons like this can be very effective, even in the hands of a ‘primitive’ force.

          1. FFA

            > In many ways, the carrier has been obselete as a front line weapon since the 1950’s,

            I partly agree. In WWII carriers were essential to control of the high seas and attacking a defended shore was a desperate and bloody gamble. Then there were suddenly no opponents capable of trying to take control of the seas from the US.

            What changed however, was the design of the aircraft, they became short range airplanes that spent most of their time bombing people on land. These aircraft are much more expensive as well, a modern carrier may cost less than the planes it carries.

            The US Navy is now developing longer range fighters and drones, and has quietly reduced the number of usable carriers for the time being.

            While submarines are the prime offensive weapon (and the US has a lot of long range submarines) they don’t help with using the sea. No number of submarines will enable Britain to import the food and raw materials we need for example. To protect transport links you need weapons to take on submarines.

            In another sub-thread you’ve mentioned the uncertainties of going to war with technologies and tactics that haven’t been tested against each other – comparisons to the 1910s or 1930s and the likelihood of miscalculation pretty much write themselves. Also, politicians forget that in war everything is at risk.

            The other big problem is that, while we’ve spent two decades focused on chasing pickups in the desert, the Chinese and the Russians have been preparing for high-intensity war.

        2. Gc54

          I suspect that a carrier sacrifice will be all that’s needed to escalate to tactical nukes “for revenge”.

    3. Tinky

      And of course it’s far worse than that from an American military standpoint, given that Russian subs have missiles capable of traveling thousands of kilometers. How much ocean do the related “strategists” imagine would need to be covered in order to be safe from such subs?

      Good news! Andrei Martyanov has done the math (bold emphasis mine) for a recent post:

      As TASS reports from Army-2020, Defense Ministry sources confirmed that starting from already laid down improved pr.885M SSGNs Voronezh and Vladivostok, subs of this type will be armed with advanced Kalibr (3M14) land attack missiles with the range of more that 4,000 kilometers (in Russian). For professional this means only one thing–“strategic ASW” becomes just a fancy term for sale on Capitol Hill and if current 3M14 with the range of 2,500 kilometers was bad enough, new range of 4,500 kilometers makes the area which will be required to be searched a teeny-weeny 3.14 x 4,500^2 which is around 63.5 million square kilometers

      1. Olga

        Thanks for Martyanov’s link. He has the training to understand these things, and does not mince niceties in his assessments.

      2. Bill Smith

        In the 1960’s the Soviet Yankee SSBN had missiles with a range of 2,400 km. in the 1970’s the Delta’s had missiles with slightly longer ranges.

        The point of getting the longer ranges on the Deltas was so they didn’t have to enter the Atlantic from Soviet bases. It wasn’t to increase the size of the search box.

    4. FFA

      I think submarines already use decoys. The main barrier to deploying swarms of them is probably the ratio of surface area (and drag) to volume (and fuel) in small vehicles. If you could make decoys that were simultaneously small, cheap, fast and long-ranged the seas would be brimming with them.

      The blog author seems unfamiliar with sonar and submarine hunting (even more so than myself) so I’ll offer the potted history that I received: For most of the Cold War NATO forces could find and track Soviet submarines with passive sonar, using sonar arrays towed by quiet submarines and frigates and sonobuoys dropped from aircraft. This is because Soviet submarines were noisy.

      The problem was, to a large extent, a quality control problem and fixing it required cultural and organisational changes from top to bottom – which is often the way with QC. In the 1980s the red submarines finally started getting quieter, not as quiet as the western subs but quiet enough that you couldn’t pick them out from the background noise at long distances.

      A fortunate outbreak of peace meant NATO didn’t have to face large numbers of these new submarines and western countries developed low-frequency [1] active sonars.

      These sonars have been in the news because they are loud at the frequencies that are most useful for mid range navigation and communication. This is bad news for any whales or dolphins who are close by when one fires up without warning and so navies are now required to survey the area before using these sonars in training.

      A high-intensity naval war, on the other hand, would be so terrible for the environment in so many ways that the use of these sonars would be lost in the noise (sorry).

      [1] High frequency sound is strongly absorbed underwater and so, to detect submarines at a decent range, the new sonars had to be at lowish frequencies.
      In English the term ultra-sound usually refers to frequencies too high for humans to hear, above roughly 20kHz. The author’s usage of the term may well work in Russian, and yes, his English is much better than my non-existent Russian.

    5. David

      This is pretty incoherent, I’m afraid, and it completely misses the most important point. The issue isn’t force projection or combat between surface ships, or even standard submarines. This is about nuclear missile submarines, and most, if not all, of these are in Murmansk, near St Petersburg, and have been for decades. For all that time, they have come out on patrol regularly, and for all that time western navies have tried to track them, so that, in the event of a war they could be sunk before they could launch their missiles. And of course, the Soviets (now the Russians) try to do the same thing to western submarines out on patrol. The normal method used by both sides is tracking by attack submarines, since, unlike with a surface ship or an aircraft, the target doesn’t know it’s being followed. During the Cold War, Soviet submarines had a reputation for being extremely noisy and relatively easy to detect. Given that they now have many fewer resources, it would make sense for them to invest in acoustic cladding and other noise reduction technologies: a missile submarine that nobody can detect is a much better deterrent. In any case it’s hard to imagine what the point of surface combat would be in some hypothetical war.

    6. Mikel

      Seeing the smokey patterns from fires and wildfires, I can’t help but think about the existence of nukes and all of their fallout.
      And we are in total Clown World that can even think about war.

    7. Bill Smith

      The article is pretty much useless. Western ASW has greatly atrophied from what it was and it wasn’t’ that great to begin with. The US is trying to bring it back up to a higher level than it has been for the last 2 decades or so.

      If the Seawolf is in that area, it isn’t for ASW work.

      How do we know the number of vessels in that area is any greater than usual?

      I don’t know what you mean by ‘covered up’ in regard to a sub getting in amongst the carrier escorts as it’s been in the media from a number of incidents over the years. One thing not known about those incidents is if the carrier battle groups escort submarines (if they had them with them at the time) had detected the Chinese sub that got near the Kitty Hawk, for example.

    8. Jr

      Years ago in EVE a new expansion was introduced that allowed the players to access extremely difficult star systems inside wormholes.

      There were AI ships in there that were +hard+ to beat down. Whole fleets were lost. But the rewards were great so there was a lot of high powered players in there. Lots of expensive ships.

      However, in order to let lower skilled players explore the wormholes, the developers created these tiny solar sailed shuttles you could hop around in that were too small for the AI’s to target. However, players ships could. You could glide along admiring the new graphics but watch out for a real ship…

      So this stranger starts messing with this small gang who has a small space outpost inside one of these wormholes. Harassing them on public comms, spying on them and letting them know he knew, stuff like that. It was obvious he was in a cloaked ship and knew how to use probes to find stuff. This is usually how a campaign to take you down starts so they were scared. They came to hate him.

      So one day they are going at it and they start to chat and before you know it they are all pals, the gang and the stranger. Laughing it up together. He offers to “fleet” them, or let them join his fleet, and they will all go kill some robot together. Good times and good money. The gang goes and gets into their battleships and dreadnoughts. Very expensive ships.

      So they join his fleet and warp to his position. Probably planned on blowing him up. But the stranger was in one of the special shuttles and had deliberately positioned himself deep inside an AI stronghold. The robots ignored him and opened up full force on the gangs ships when they dropped in. They lost hundreds of billions of credits in around 2 seconds along with rare modules, etc. Their fleet was gone. Within an hour the stranger’s gang had moved into the system and began to dismantle their shields, probably had possession of their several hundred billion credit space castle in another hour or two.

    9. Anonymous

      In the old days, for submarines, the Mediterranean was the barrel and the 6th fleet surface ships were the fish.

  10. ProNewerDeal

    fwd Ralph Nader editorial

    I would like to a study comparing the campaign promises track record going back to at least Reagan.

    Pope of Hope & Change 0bama has to be among the worst, promising Public Option, ending the Iraq War, & most transparent whistleblower-friendly Admin. I wish I had been aware of & reading the wise that diagnosed 0bama as a fraud from 2008 or before, such as Prof Adolph Reed.

    ConManD0n is 6th-grade level ConMan. 0bama has his MS in Mendacity Administration, a high-brow ConMan. “You can’t fool all the people all of the time” but 0bama fooled a much higher percentage & for a longer time than the obvious ConManD0n.

    1. Synoia

      To me it was obvious that he was full of BS, when he went absent in the first summer of his presidency, and emerged in the fall with our current monstrosity and not medicare for All..

      1. barefoot charley

        You didn’t have to see any more than the sources of his billion dollar campaign funding: first Chicago’s LaSalle Street, which proved his worth, then Wall Street.

        I’m often right, but Obama gave me my only instance of being congratulated for being right–years too late–about him. I’ve wondered why my turd in the Hopium punchbowl was memorable only once.

  11. Wukchumni

    Is This the Decline and Fall of the Kardashian Empire? Buzzfeed
    Sure, the KKKK was big in it’s day, and lets face it, those of us raised when mom & dad had 4.7 kids in the pre-pill era, all knew that one family where the kids all had first names starting with the same letter. It took a certain kind of lack of imagination, but to have the same initial for a last name as well took it to a different level of hoping the kids looks can overcome their shortcomings nearer to their ceilings in the office upstairs.

    Congrats to the clan and may you fade away into obscurity like the horrid King Family Christmas tv shows of my youth.

    Please permit me to torture you with this sample from late in the year of the summer of love…

    1. a different chris

      I have been with great annoyance avoiding the Kardashians for more years than I can count. MSN, Yahoo, skip skip skipskipskip. Actual news, please?

      I was so happy to hear about said Decline and Fall, I finally found myself eagerly clicking on a Kardashian story.

      And I found I couldn’t even stomach working my way thru that. What a bunch of idiots their fans are, what a bunch of useless protoplasm they are. I so hope they are gone but
      a) will take me awhile to believe it
      b) they will be replaced by somebody equally obnoxious

      I swear their popularity is a better signal of the decline of Empire than anything in the well-written and thought-out Bellows piece.

    2. Off The Street

      My theory about the K family, dreamt up while in jammies and robe, and in need of more caffeine, is that the Forbes cover story about one of the spawn becoming ultra wealthy is based on fraud. Hence, new lower profile.

      Mistakes were made, revenues were overstated, nothing to see here folks, oh, look, a shiny object in tinsel town.

      1. Pat

        Word is that Mama K, didn’t get that their popularity had been dropping ratings wise and decided to play hardball with E. The network realized they were getting as much bang from the reruns as they wanted and that showering even more money on the Klan was a waste so they walked.

        With any luck, the followers on Twitter and Instagram will soon figure out they are being had and will also bail once the television platform is history.

        Unfortunately with the rise of “influencers” that may take awhile.

  12. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “The V-Shaped Recovery Marches On”
    What V-shaped recovery? Is the U.S. experiencing a V-shaped recovery? If so, the recovery passed me and my town by.

    Restaurants in my state opened for indoor dining. The schools are opening — sorta — and more people are out and about. My first inclinations are to hunker down further and watch for the next upturn in the infection rates.

    1. Laputan

      That was a very evidence-free piece. Some analysts (or hype men in the modern vernacular) are projecting 15% growth in Q3 after a 30% decline in Q2? Well, then I guess we’re pretty much back to normal.

      It sounds like the author is counting his chickens a little too soon given that we’ve seen very little of the protracted effects of shuddering businesses, mortgage and other debt delinquencies, reduced revenue for state and locals, and a sclerotic federal govt that refuses to acknowledge the situation outside of their ivory towers. Our growth rate trend line may very well come to resemble a “V” – if you’re looking at it up-side down.

      1. a different chris

        And what’s even funnier is how math challenged they are.

        If you lose 30% in the first half of the year then grow 30% in the second half, you ain’t back to where you started by a long shot.

        And that’s twice the projection.

      2. epynonymous

        A linguistic history of econ euphamism in the US.

        “panic” “depression” “recession” “recovery”

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Tank traps, acid bottles, rope nets, etc. Never underestimate the ability of a clever and resourceful opponent, especially one defending their home and family. Consider the effectiveness of fertilizer or mother-of-satan based IEDs triggered by throw away cellphones.

      1. hunkerdown

        There’s a lot of processing power and communication gear distributed widely under the Internet of Shit Things banner, just begging to be repurposed. “Alexa, blow up the invaders.”

        But, in the case of highly-articulated, agile sources of kinetic energy like robo-rotts, or really any controlled effect, it’s usually more gainful to disrupt nearer the control than the effector, where possible. Aim for joints and sensors.

    2. Off The Street

      Wondering, did the writers and producers at Black Mirror get any back-end points from their creepy killer robot dogs? CIA and other spook interaction with Hollywood could cover MI-6, too. Maybe In-Q-Tel should get a production credit. /s

    3. Billy

      A bolo made of a piece of rope, another piece half as long, tied in the middle with small concrete weights used for rebar to rest on at the ends, about $3 of material in my estimation, easily twirled and thrown, would tangle up the legs of the robots. Then you move in for the kill with a sledge hammer or can of spray paint for the cameras/sensors.

  13. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: Wildfires Can’t Hide
    The map shows a lot of fires in Africa, South America and elsewhere in the world. Why is there so little news about these fires? Is there a lot of news somewhere that I’m missing or skipping over?

  14. The Rev Kev

    “A Hacker Said He Had Proof the CIA Caused the Anthrax Attacks. They Had Him Arrested for Child Porn.”

    I use to half-believe these sorts of stories until I read an article by a journalist that had gotten into someone’s bad books. It got to the point that she could see changes to her written work on screen or even text being deleted just after she wrote it. She had a friend examine it who was into tech and the guy reported back that in an obscure location, that he had found three official documents all marked Top Secret. The implication is that you would read about this journalist being raided by the FBI and after an examination of her laptop, they found classified information for which she would be charged with. Game, set and match.

  15. Carolinian

    Spain’s version of “Trumpvilles.” Blame it on Blackstone?

    For many people, squatting is a desperate last resort, while for some it is a lifestyle choice or a political statement. Barcelona, which is ground zero of Spain’s squatting phenomenon, attracts squatters from all over Europe. In recent years, more and more young locals — including many with jobs — who have been priced out of the rental market or who simply don’t want to pay the inflated rents have also turned to squatting.[…]

    In recent years, enterprising criminal gangs have begun specializing in locating and breaking into vacant apartments. Once they find a place, they quickly change the locks and rig the apartment to the neighbors’ gas, water and electricity supplies. They then “sell” the flat to a squatter, or group of squatters, for between €1,000-€2,000.

    The article says that the large number of empty, bank owned properties encourages the trend and complicates police intervention. However this might not work here. A homeless person was surreptitiously living in a house in my neighborhood and the owner, a woman, showed up one day and shot him (he lived).

  16. Kenny Kagan

    re: Hacker, CIA and Anthrax
    You really should watch American Anthrax 1.5, it’s 15 minute montage of CSPAN and news clips documenting the shifting narrative of the anthrax scare after 9/11 over the following years.

    I always thought there was something very fishy about it!

  17. Olga

    Back when literature mattered:

    “But he wrote about the upstream neuroses polluting the water from which we all drink today (though the wiser ones among us spit it out). He explored hypocrisy, self-delusion, and oikophobia. He wrote about lassitude, vapidity, and loss of spirit. He covered a class of people who insisted they were miserable, and were, but only because they were determined to overlook their blessings and be steered by their worst impulses. He nailed the oblivious moneyed classes who were so bored and disgusted with themselves that as revolutionary forces lurked just outside their property, they proclaimed that a fresh start might be a tonic.”

    Other writers are also mentioned.

  18. The Rev Kev

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

    I know exactly what Biden would do as President. First he would fob off all the experts into Task Forces for the first coupla months to keep them out of his hair. Then as first priority, he would put together a commission to examine America’s response since the pandemic started. I have actually seen mention of this suggestion. The purpose of this would not be to understand what has been happening but to discredit the Republicans with “revelation” after “revelation” for most of the first year. Call it “Covidgate”. It will be a change from Russiagate or the new Chinagate but it will be just as relentless. And the pandemic will continue its merry way while all this is going on. Meanwhile, Kamala the Cop will be organizing a huge crackdown in a law and Order campaign on the streets to the approval of all the ‘good people’ so that they can have brunch uninterrupted.

      1. John k

        Maybe, but historically the reps pass tax cuts, the dems just make them permanent. It’s a ratchet racket.
        And his mgr said the quiet bit out loud, the cupboard is bare, no doubt expressing donor views… enough already for the lower classes.
        So IMO no significant new spending in 2021 no matter who wins, time to tighten belt. And if so, that means the delayed depression arrives. More layoffs, end of bonus unemployment and extensions, delayed evictions/ mortgage moratoriums no longer delayed leading to loose instead of tight real estate markets… everything’s primed to go.

  19. km

    RE: NYT, Global Chaos, etc.:

    How much long must these things go on before we recognize that we are ruled by sociopaths?

  20. Carolinian

    Re Louisiana’s cattle killing mosquitoes–I fully expect to be found lying next to the lawn mower in my front yard some summer day, covered with mosquitoes. There have been suggestions, from time to time, that eradication via gene altered sterilized male mosquitoes would be a good idea. Environmentalists though have objected to this Frankenstein-ish meddling with nature. Still, maybe we could bend the rules just this one little time….

    1. polecat

      Got suckered into believing that Babylon Bee article re. the reward stripping from Schindler’s List, only to be given to Brokeback Mountain.
      Felt rather sheepish, once I realised who the ‘source’ was.

      Not too far from the truth though, considering .. so yeah.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “How tech billionaires’ visions of human nature shape our world”

    You could almost reword this as follows-

    ‘How sociopathic billionaires’ visions of human nature shape our world’

    And I think that this would be closer to the truth. Look how Bezos treats his workers or Musk or Thiel or any of them. They are some of the worst people out there and if they did not have their wealth, they would have sooner or later done stuff to get themselves arrested and imprisoned.

    1. flora

      Those guys have too much power and control, unrestrained and unregulated control, over technologies we depend on as much as we depend on electric utilities and roads. Who made them king to decide what’s best for everyone else?

      The link is worth reading for the ideas of utopian vs tragic outlook and the importance of democratic control. The closing para Lambert quotes is very good.

  22. Synoia

    Employer chews off man’s finger during scuffle over work in Delhi

    The rich have bee eating peasant for centuries. /s

  23. southern appalachian

    The normal course of empire, Ryan Avent in The Bellows-

    Reminded me:
    “There is no such thing as society” and “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help. ” Seeds planted a while back, way I came to think of it. No society, nothing to serve or worth serving other than in a mercenary capacity.

    Everything becomes transactional. Trump seems an obvious outcome of ideas that captured the entire American political class a while back. Almost everyone, anyway.

    1. hunkerdown

      “As a taxpayer”, where Avent clearly meant ownership class member, and is taking the neurotic English maximalist notions of ownership for granted. Let’s see if Avent bothers worrying about landowners conspiring against “their” field hands.

      “If you spend enough time at that company and thrive within it, then your association with that company begins to become a defining part of your identity” And he thinks this is a good thing!

      No, this article isn’t even close to any good. It’s a call to uphold bourgeois values so that the bourgeoisie can survive symbolically. How about no.

    1. hunkerdown

      Yeah, that Steele dossier was pretty good too huh?

      To find anything published by yet another turn-key anti-China pro-neoliberal “think tank” “credible” is dubious, to put it mildly. Noise and distrust drive people into the supposedly no-trust-required Market™. That’s what these think tanks exist for.

      In this case, hate medical care and love jingoism. A gibbet for every single neoliberal, I pray every day.

    1. hunkerdown

      To paraphrase another timeless comedian, “Life is a whim of several trillion monomers to be you for a while.”

  24. jef

    “How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled”

    I have been talking about this for 30 years or so. It wasn’t just big oil either. With the US economy being over 70% consumer spending and 90% of consumer products either made of plastic or are packaged in plastic, the plastic trash issue had the potential to collapse the US economy. Virtually every industry and political spectrum even the chamber of commerce were behind the recycle lie.

    The recycling/ removal of carbon from the atmosphere is equally a lie for many of the same reasons but also a lot more and the consequences are infinitely more dire.

    1. Maritimer

      This is a very visible, Global Racket. Part of the sell is touchy-feely, goody-goody helping the Planet.

      Back in the 90s when this Racket was launching there was a book called Giants Of Garbage. This might be a template for the Big Pharma racketeers of today. Do “good works” and go Global.

      In my rural area, this recycling racket was inflicted upon the taxpayers. Every week two weeks, two massive diesel trucks, at $200,000 each go through my area and collect lemon peels, teabags, tater skins, etc. in one truck and regular sorted garbage in the other. There is no density out here so this recycling has never paid and, in fact, because of the energy lost by low payloads is a net polluter.

      One of the more humorous aspects of this is that when first incorporated, they sent round inspectors to reject your muck if not in compliance. The car used was a GOLD JAGUAR! indicating the usual patronage. Hey, I’m a Recycling Enforcer. This car was never seen again after locals chatted up a storm about it.

      My biggest complaint is that, in my jurisdiction, no attempt is made to stop the use of all this packaging and garbage at source, the BB stores, Stupormarkets, etc. If it is not generated in the first place, you do not have to collect and recycle it!

      So, lesson for me is when Big Cartel Corrupt Corporations are offering me a global solution to a problem, I shrink in horror.

  25. rd

    “A pain reliever that alters perceptions of risk”

    I think it is going to be a while before acetominophen relapces alcohol as the drug of choice to achieve these two endpoints.

  26. Mikel

    RE: Oracle / Tik-Tok

    Somehow, I think it’s Spotify and other music streaming sites that could really capitalize on a similar app.

  27. Kurt Sperry

    If these reports of police gangs like “The Executioners” are true, the only possible use these dirtbag cops could serve to advance public safety is as target practice. Violent criminals within law enforcement are 1000x more dangerous than they would be as ordinary criminals outside the force.

    It’d be nice if there were a legal remedy for these criminal gangs, but the police have painstakingly built a system where there is no judicial remedy.

  28. anon in so cal

    >Bird migration fatalities

    From one of the linked tweets:

    “We have very little data, but suspect that the west coast fires, in combination with the local cold front we experienced last week, has altered the migration patterns of many migrants. On top of that, there is little food and water available here in the Chihuahuan Desert. (7/9)”

    Been thinking how treacherous the smokey skies are for birds. This is the height of fall migration with millions flying south every night….

  29. hemeantwell

    The article on the risk-encouraging effect of acetaminophen is sorta interesting, but there is NO reporting of effect size. What this means is that you’ve tagged acetaminophen with that property with only the scantiest of empirical grounds.

    This is part of “thinking like scientists” that is really “thinking like scientists writing in the hopes their study will go viral.” Success!

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