Links 9/15/2020

How the Warsaw Ghetto beat back typhus during World War II Ars Technica

159 Times People Couldn’t Believe Their Luck In Thrift Stores, Flea Markets, And Garage Sales (More New Pics) Bored Panda

Football Mad From the days I first started reading Amis fils – 1981 –  when he was just read as a a writer and not as a great man of letters. But boy, could the dude write!

Ending The War Against The Climate Movement Too Much Information. David Sirota.

Toronto International Film Festival 2020: When Icons Look Into The Mirror The Wire

Lukashenko seeks Putin’s help in attempt to survive mass protests Al Jazeera

How Algorithms Are Changing What We Read Online The Walrus

AI ethics groups are repeating one of society’s classic mistakes MIT Technology Review

Do We Have Victorians to Thank for Consumerism? Literary Hub

Hate the Sin, Not the Book The Atlantic


Hurricane Alley

Hurricane Sally Has Rapidly Intensified and Additional Strengthening Is Possible as It Crawls Toward the Gulf Coast Weather Underground


Bill Gates slams ‘shocking’ U.S. response to Covid-19 pandemic Stat

Hong Kong poised for human trials of nasal spray vaccine Asia Times

Coronavirus: vaccine scandals haunt China’s winter flu shot drive SCMP

Covid-19: Won’t be enough vaccines for whole world for 4 to 5 years, says Serum Institute chief Scroll

Don’t Let the Pandemic End a 100-Year-Old Soccer Legacy NYT

How the Aging Immune System Makes Older People Vulnerable to Covid-19 NYT

Covid-19 Test Maker Examines False-Positive Results in Nursing Homes WSJ

New York City’s Day of Reckoning Is at Hand Bloomberg

No, The Russians Aren’t About To Win The Coronavirus Vaccine Race American Conservative. I quibble with the assumption that it’s only the Russians who are cutting corners with vaccine development – if they in fact, indeed are.

Americans are raiding retirement savings during coronavirus pandemic CNBC

West Coast Wildfires

As dangers rise, many fear their California Dream is fading San Francisco Chronicle

Jerry Brown on a California Exodus: ‘Tell Me: Where Are You Going to Go?’ New York Times

US West Coast fires: Trump fans flames of climate row in California BBC

Sanders Says Climate Disaster Is Much More Expensive Than a Green New Deal TruthOut

Two major Antarctic glaciers are tearing loose from their restraints, scientists say Wapo


Johnson Intended to Break the Withdrawal Agreement Even Before He Signed It Craig Murray

Boris Johnson suffers rebellion over contentious Brexit bill FT

Julian Assange

WATCH: CN Live! Daily Video Report on the Assange Hearing–Day 5 Consortium News


The Race For an Obscure Texas Office Could Have a Lasting Impact on Climate Change Capital & Main

States plow forward with pot, with or without Congress Politico

Crowd aims ‘lock him up’ chant at Obama during Trump rally The Hill

Let’s Fret the Night Together NYT

Biden, Trump jockey over climate as wildfires overtake campaigns Al Jazeera

Scrutiny of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy intensifies Yahoo

Class Warfare

The Literary Scene in the Great Depression (and Today) Counterpunch

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

Eviction filings by big landlords surged after Trump issued ban Los Angeles Daily News

Welcome, Emerging Tech Policy Leaders! Charles Koch Institute

The Misguided Antitrust Attack on Big Tech WSJ. Exactly what you would expect Phil Gramm and Jerry Ellig to say.


Democrats Ignore US Military’s Refutation Of ‘Russian Bounties’ Story Caitlin Johnstone


Nine Former Police Officers Call Delhi Riots Investigation ‘Flawed’ The Wire

Hindi is not a language of knowledge anymore. Mediocrity has stifled its soul The Print

Reading the Evolution of Censorship and Sedition in India The Wire


US issues restrictions on import of Xinjiang cotton and apparel products, citing forced labour SCMP

Trump Transition

Why Trump Has Been Good For Europe American Conservative

The People v. Donald J. Trump Such wishful pearl clutching! Today’s amusement.

In defiance of Nevada governor, Trump holds indoor rally AP

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Pat

    Am I the only one who feels like there has been more considered coverage of Sanders in the last week than we saw through almost any week of the primary campaign? All with Straight forward headlines with no snark or not so hidden disapproval.

    Bitter? Me? Nahhhhh

        1. tegnost

          I see elite dems as similar to alcoholics. Bernie could stand between them and the bottle giving them good advice all day long but all that gets him is vicious attacks while the addict tries to get around him to, in this case, those beautiful green dollars. Anyone who knows, however, tells you that eventually you have to get out of the way and say “There’s the bottle you moron. Drink it to the bottom. Rock bottom.”

      1. Sheldon

        We gave him lots of money. Wall Street gave the DNC more to dump him. He endorsed Biden, like he did Hillary. To hell with him.

        1. Pelham

          I haven’t quite gotten to the point of saying to hell with him, for the reasons you cite. Almost. But not quite.

          If Biden is elected, Sanders will have to pull a rabbit out of his hat that we can plainly see in terms of leftward policy to confirm what he has been saying about nudging Biden. That’s highly unlikely.

          If Biden loses, Sanders will have to energize himself in ways he has so far shown no inclination to do. Another highly unlikely scenario.

          In either circumstance if he doesn’t at least credibly try to produce, then yes, we might do well to look to other figures more like Sanders circa 2016 — and not, I suggest, like much of the idpol-embracing progressive left.

        2. Cuibono

          yeah, to hell with the one politician who has done more to engage us all in left ideas than anyone in 50 years

          1. Guild Navigator

            Isn’t there a choice when playing The Master’s game to following The Master’s rules, when the Stakes are the life and death of hundreds of thousands or more?

          2. Eric Patton

            Why do you keep saying this? Bernie’s agreement carried the tacit assumption the DNC would play fair — at least to anyone with common sense. If I say to you, “I’ll support you if you beat me in the contest in which we are engaged,” that assumes you’re not going to cheat. Anyone who doesn’t understand that just isn’t that smart.

            As soon as you cheat, that negates my agreement. If you want to disagree, fine, but you ought to think about what you’re really saying if you do. They cheated, so not only should he not have endorsed Hillary, the act of doing so just made him look like a puss to a lot of people, which is why he lost so much support (particularly among older voters) from 2016 to 2020.

            You went to Harvard, you worked at Goldman Sachs for 24 years, you’re smart as hell — and yet I wonder what color the sky is in your world.

          3. HippoDave

            Sanders suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden on April 8, two months before Biden clinched the nomination (June 5). No one and no deal forced him to do that. He quit early.

    1. km

      The MSM coverage will turn on Sanders, the day after the election is decided, the day he is no longer useful.

      Doesn’t matter who wins.

        1. Aumua

          What do you mean “become” a nobody? The only place I ever see anything about Sanders is here, and that is probably because we were once so supportive of him, generally. The mainstream never mentions him or his base, same as ever. Of course when Biden loses you know damn well who is going to be front and center for taking the blame.

      1. vidimi

        they are already blaming him for not rallying enough of his supporters for biden in florida, i believe.

        the dems seem to want to win this thing in the courts, if at all. they have a lot of lawyers, but no ground game. and getting the greens off the ballot is gross.

    2. hunkerdown

      Of course! The bourgeois press speaks freely in praise as a signal that Sanders is no danger to them. The PMC are fully in with the fascists (as long as they get jobs administering it) yet deny it as any competent predator would.

  2. Livius Drusus

    Re: The People v. Donald J. Trump

    I remember when liberals wanted to bring George W. Bush and members of his administration to justice for doing things many, many times worse than what Trump has done so far. Now in the Trump era George W. Bush has been rehabilitated as a “good Republican.” I don’t know if this is just due to Americans having notoriously short memories or because there is something different about Trump. Undoubtedly, there is some truth to the first theory but I think Trump really represents something different.

    The best theory that I have read is that Trump represents the Back Row Kids beating the Front Row Kids. Trump and his followers represent the stereotype of the boorish underachievers from school. The fact that the political version of Mr. Kotter’s Sweathogs beat the overachievers and their queen was too much for the Front Row Kids to handle. A lot of this fantasizing about sending Trump to prison is about the culture war between different sections of America that now really do hate each other with a passion. You can say the same about Trump supporters who really thought or still think that Trump will send Hillary to prison. It seems to be less about policy and more about aesthetics, class, culture and tribalism.

    Again, using George W. Bush as an example, Bush and his allies arguably deserved to be prosecuted for lying us into a war but Bush was a “normal” Republican. Sure, Bush had the Texas cowboy act and often spoke poorly but he was still seen as a normal member of the political class. While there was a lot of anger directed at Bush I don’t recall it being anywhere near as intense as what we have seen with Trump, who again, in my opinion, has not been nearly as bad as Bush was.

    I was much more politically active during the George W. Bush years than I am now and my social circle was about half Republicans and half Democrats and I honestly do not recall there being this level of hatred and vitriol between partisans. There were some heated debates but nobody ended friendships over politics, at least in my experience.

    The only other theory that explains the difference is that maybe the growth of the internet and social media in particular has made political tribalism worse, which is probably true but I think that is only one factor operating here. Had Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or even Ted Cruz won instead of Trump, I still don’t think you would be seeing this kind of intense hatred and anger developing.

    1. apleb

      I totally agree that Bush II has done a lot more crimes than Trump so far. I differ with the Trump is exceptional part.
      I think there is a clear escalation ramp from Bush over Obama to Trump. The “other side” continously became shriller and and more deranged under all 3. Since the sides switched the administration again with Trump, those deranged from the Obama years got into power. And you see what kooks do when in government positions. Trump is only one of them, the people he brought in with him from the freak show are another big part for the horror show you see right now.

      I doubt this would change under Biden/Harris. Especially not when Joe has an increasing amount of senior moments.

            1. albrt

              But she might be more direct. More likely to solve the problem by pushing Joe out an upper story window, for example.

            1. petal

              The headline over at Breitbart right now(yeah yeah I know) is that Joe said “Harris-Biden Administration” at an event for military veterans this afternoon in FL:

              “The Harris-Biden administration will relaunch that effort and make it easier for military spouses and veterans meaningful careers, to ensure teachers know how to support military children in the classroom, and to improve support for caregivers and survivors so much more than we do now,” the former vice president added.

          1. LifelongLib

            Since when is the VP part of the administration at all? Guess I missed Johnson-Humphrey and Nixon-Agnew…

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I will claim ( without being able to offer any proof) that I was already thinking of something like this. What I was thinking of was .. . Joemala Bidarris.

    2. Watt4Bob

      It’s not a mystery.

      In the 1970s, the back row kids had a future that included a house, two cars, a snowmobile or two, and a boat.

      They could afford to send their kids to college, and go on vacations once in a while.

      What they’ve experienced since then is a slow motion catastrophe as the front row kids became rich, in part by sending the back row kids jobs, first to Mexico, then to China.

      Whether republican or democrat, America’s leaders have been front row kids, and they have very little appreciation, you could say they’re blind to the misery their mis-leadership has caused the back row.

      America’s riches have never been well distributed, but never before have the masses been expected to be happy with so little.

      1. pjay

        Right. And Trump knew how to harness this anxiety and resentment through his pseudo-populist shtick in a way his hapless Republican opponents never could, continuing this against Hillary. Though Trump’s populism isn’t real, the anxiety and resentment are. And as Thomas Frank has documented in his recent book, the real elite and the “front row kids” who serve them fear and despise populist sentiment.

        I also think Trump is, in his bumbling way, a real threat to the foreign policy Establishment, and that is where much of the intense elite hatred is coming from. Previous Presidential administrations have not posed such a threat to the Blob.

        1. JWP

          ” Though Trump’s populism isn’t real, the anxiety and resentment are.”

          Spot on. There’s much blabber in the media about how trump is unprecedented and ripping apart the GOP and politics. But you zoom out, he’s just another Norquist style puppet who does it in a different way. The end result of weakening gov’t institutions, mass subsidies for fossil fuel companies, and deregulation/ judge appointing in in full swing. Somehow, both sides have been duped into following his words and rallies and ignoring the gutting of the USPS, EPA, NOAA, USFS, etc. The harm done from his presidency will not be in the divisions between people, which just take a tactical leader to mend, but in the complete gutting of any oversight leading to ecological and economic collapse being sped up.

        2. neo-realist

          If he were a real threat to the foreign policy establishment, he wouldn’t have budgeted 55% of the federal budget for the FY 2021. A real maverick to the foreign policy establishment would have cut the military budget and got serious about spending the funds on building up the infrastructure as he said he would do. Filling the pockets of defense contractors has he has done so far is, for the most part, business as usual.

          1. Biph

            He’s threat to it because of his massive unpopularity with the rest of the world. It gets other countries looking to create an alternative to the petro-dollar which is a threat to US hegemony. His constant demanding of money from places that have US troops stationed in them is causing those places to respond with “You can leave” and if we do that reduces US jumping off points for invading other countries. His massive unpopularity means not only will other countries not jump in to join any military excursions but will actively work to undermine them. Trump has done more to end the empire than any other POTUS, although it’s not anything he’ll put in a campaign ad.

      2. km

        Money shot.

        Every winning candidate since arguably Bush 1.0 (“kinder gentler nation”) ran for office as a non-interventionist who would restore the middle class. Even Dubya promised a humbler foreign policy in 2001.

        Once inaugurated, each candidate morphed into a handmaiden to the moneyed interests at the expense of everyone else, not to mention, a foaming-at-the-mouth hawk.

        Remember when Obama was elected in 2008? Conservatives clutched their pearls and made dire predictions of imminent socialist dictatorship and peace breaking out. Every Team R apparatchik became an internet Alinsky expert. The collective freakout was even bigger when Trump was elected – and it wasn’t limited to one party. Formerly sober people bought wholeheartedly into a conspiracy theory so asinine that it would have embarrassed the 1962-era John Birch Society.

        What happened in both cases?

        Obama governed as a slightly more articulate version of Dubya, with a smattering of Identity Politics. The only “socialism” he brought was in the form of free money for his rich friends and a giant gimme for the insurance industry. Not only did he fail to end any wars, he gave us three more stupid wars. Four more, if you count Ukraine.

        For his part, Trump has governed as a meaner, stupider, more reckless, more dysfunctional version of Dubya. As a candidate, he was even more explicit, perhaps, in his promise to restore the middle class and end the wars. The less said about Trump’s actual record in office, the better.

        Bottom line: I don’t pretend to know how the process works, or even if it is the same for every president, but the results speak for themselves. I suspect without evidence that it is not a grand conspiracy, but rather something like what we saw in “Yes, Minister”.

        1. Pelham

          So since neither candidate will demonstrably make any effort to deliver for the Back Row Kids, the Nov. 3 choice for them boils down to just sending a message. With Biden it’s, “Yes, we’re willing to endure a return to our managed decline so long as the MSM cease their screeching about Trump.” With Trump, it’s, “Screw the PMC, the Deep State, the Democrats and their avocado toast brunch!”

    3. Pat

      I remember when Clinton was the back row kid. We even had sorority journalists writing about them spoiling the party and somewhat accurately stealing the furniture when they left.
      The current freak out is so much worse. Maybe because the Democrats didn’t have the guts to admit they lost and just make it about Trump. Maybe because so much of the press isn’t just following the freak out but marching at the head of the pack. There were a fair amount of the DC political and military industrial professionals leaking every infringement of the norm then, but now…
      Then Bush was elected and we got 16 years of the front row kids trashing the White House and the Constitution and almost everyone treating it as normal. The dissenting voices were largely treated as fringe and crazy whether it was MSNBC or Fox News cheering them on.

      We already have everyone telling us if Joe Biden gets elected, we will go back to those norms. The Pauls and Sanders and now AOC will once again get to be the cranks. The “adults” who have the right to trash the room will be back.

      And that will change only when the people once again get uppity and pick the wrong person on the ballot. But just as the Democrats shored up their system so that no one unapproved can get through, so will the Republicans. So we won’t see it quite as bad for awhile. My fear is it will last until the problems are so bad the “adults” run like the rats they are. I just don’t know what will be left.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        More than Hillary losing, the argument for the 3rd Way as loathsome as they are is they are guaranteed to win. Name are issue the Third Way has sacrificed or recount all the times they demanded the little people vote for a candidate who is with us except (guns, abortion, the economy, trade, and so forth). In the end HRC despite unlimited cash (before Russia, Team Blue blamed this), name recognition, and a clown candidate, she simply failed and demonstrated the vaunted political class who have demanded sacrifices all these years are frauds.

        Now, the modern day Millerites instead of going of readjusting don’t want to acknowledge all the waste in emotion and money that went to win what otherwise would be safe seats.

        Their devotion to complaining about the left instead of phone banking for their candidate is setting up for the recognition is.

      2. voteforno6

        Just because that’s how things went in the past, doesn’t mean that’s what will happen in the future.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Past success might not be indicative of future success, but past failure is usually not a sign of future success unless you have credible reasons why those might change.

      3. km

        I don’t recall the elites or the MSM hating the Clintons, At. All.

        On the contrary, most news coverage was favorable to the point of fawning.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Oh, the 1990’s really happened.

          To a large extent, Hillary’s cozying up toe the C Street cabal as a Senator was about preventing the 90’s from repeating. “But her emails” is a joke compared to how the 90’s went. You have to remember everything below the bridge by the DC zoo was uber conservative and they had grown accustomed to the pomp and circumstances only disrupted by that peanut farmer from 1969 to 1993.

          David Brock worked against the Clintons in this period until he realized his “lifestyle” wouldn’t quite fit in with the Evangelical structures W. Bush was putting into power.

          1. km

            If anything, the MSM coverage in the 1990s was about sweeping Clinton scandals under the rug, dismissing them, not bringing them into the open.

            How many times did we hear that Cattlegate was nothing, that perjury isn’t really perjury if the topic is sex, etc..?

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              If anything, the MSM coverage in the 1990s was about sweeping Clinton scandals under the rug, dismissing them, not bringing them into the open.

              Water is dry.

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          No, the elite pundits did not “hate” Bill Clinton in the 90s. They disdained him. They leaked and published cute little stories about his boorish Arkie staff, or, simultaneously, his snotty, too-young-to-be-respected staff. And his clumsy wife who didn’t bake cookies! They were busy re-creating the sneer factory they’d developed and thrived in during the Carter years. Then came the bimbo eruptions….. all of which helped to cement the view that he was far beneath the honor of his office.

          The later fawning that characterized Hillary’s rise was not matched by elite press behavior c. 1993. Key members of the old Beltway elite (Broder, Quinn) were gone, fading, or out to pasture by the early 2000s, and the whole tone had changed by ~2008.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            “This is our town,” says Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the first Democrat to forcefully condemn the president’s behavior. “We spend our lives involved in talking about, dealing with, working in government. It has reminded everybody what matters to them. You are embarrassed about what Bill Clinton’s behavior says about the White House, the presidency, the government in general.”

            The op-ed is a good refresher. Its why Pelosi votes for the Trump agenda but can tear up his speech.`

      4. ShamanicFallout

        The total domination of the American psyche by Trump is just incredible. Is he some kind of Jungian archetype that has activated and unleashed something in the collective ‘unconscious’? I have no hopes for either of the candidates but I kind of now hope that Biden wins just because I can’t take the Trump freakout for another 4 years. Imagine what that is going to look like

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          “Pat” linked to a Sally Quinn op-ed from the 90’s. Its all in there. Trump is simply the mask off.

        2. flora

          Oh, but I’ve seen the “vote our way or we’ll never stop harassing you” play. I’ve seen it in small areas – local attempts to eliminate civil service employee protections – and large. Harassing people to vote against their own economic or civil interests in the name of ending the harassment sometimes works, but it never works out well economically for the people who succumb to the harassment. Been there, seen that.

    4. The Rev Kev

      You wonder how people like the author will react if Trump wins again in November. I think that they will totally lose the plot. After Trump won four years ago, there was an article by this well to do guy in New York whose whole worldview had crumbled. As it happened, there was a repair guy in his apartment doing a job for him and the guy suddenly star to lose it when he realizes that he might be in the same apartment as a possible Trump voter. He was actually afraid for his life. So what happens if Trump gets over the line in several weeks time? China might decide to put the boot in by banning the exportation from China of all tranquilizers and the like to the US. You never know.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I remember that article. I felt like jumping right into the middle of it and telling that guy to get a [family blogging] grip.

        1. flora

          I have a couple of relatives like that guy – well educated and very successful – who act like small children having a tantrum whenever T comes up in conversation, and they are almost always the ones to bring T up as a topic. They’re in the grip of DTS, so the rest of us just nod and smile waiting for the storm to pass, as one does with small children or with temporarily deranged adults. Reasoning gets you nowhere with them, so nod and smile and change the topic.

          These are the same relatives who when younger would roll their eyes about that one uncle at family dinners who would always buttonhole people to deliver what ever “truth” he was sure of at that moment. They’ve become ‘that uncle’.

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      Shrub was beloved at the elite level. Hollywood actors disproved of him a bit, but outside of Olbermann, the Shrub worship was sickening. There was a reason Jon Stewart was the most trusted person in news.

      1. Off The Street

        When Jeb! (Jeb!!) was proposed, the farce finally became too much for people to accept any longer. The charade was just too ridiculous to continue.

        That was around the same time that we mere plebes were treated to the prospect of those Clinton and Bush, or Bush and Clinton, dynasties and altering administrations. As if we had no role or agency, and had to open wide for that castor or snake oil. Seemingly viewed as not much agency in these times, but not none, either.

      2. km

        I wouldn’t say that Dubya was beloved by elites so much as useful. He gave them the policies that they wanted.

        Compare the toadying MSM coverage of the Clintons with the much more detached coverage of Dubya.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Until Olbermann’s blowup, the GOP worship was wild.

          The rise of blogs wasn’t an accident.

          Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple. We’re not like the Brits. We don’t want an indoor prime minister type, or the Danes or the Dutch or the Italians, or a [Russian Federation President Vladimir] Putin. Can you imagine Putin getting elected here? We want a guy as president. -Chris Matthews of MSNBC

          That was back when MSNBC featured Tucker Carlson, Don Imus, Pat Buchanan…yep, it was a real Clinton love fest.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I would note many of the dopey Joe Biden comes to DC stories and meets rich people are really stories of Biden kissing butt of the local archons because they wielded media power. Bill Clinton didn’t do enough of this and brought doofuses like Carville who eventually slithered their way in, but they needed cable news to take off to really do it.

          2. km

            Newsflash – GOP aligned pundits like GOP president.

            That doesn’t speak to news coverage outside the talk show circuit

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Chris Matthews? Tip O’Neil’s henchman. That would Tip O’Neil, the former Speaker of the House. These are the hosts not just guests of MSNBC.

              1. flora

                That would be then Dem Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil who was agreeable to raising the SS retirement age from 65 to 66-67 and increasing SS fica taxes on then younger workers during the Reagan admin… all to pay for tax cuts for the capital gains crowd (hello, pete peterson)…er, create a SS trust fund. That Tip O’Neil. The daily comic strip ‘Shoe’ has a babbling (both sides of his mouth) character Sen. Belfrey that wears the same hair style as ol’ Tip. /heh

        2. Pat


          The infamous Sally Quinn editorial

          Then there was the fertile ground for the Starr investigation.

          I rarely agree with Hillary Clinton but despite the Cuomo on Covid sedate and controlled appearance the press coverage fed on every Starr leak. They couldn’t be bothered with actual investigative journalism, but they also couldn’t get enough of the bread and circuses battle being waged. There were some cheerleaders for the Clintons but most were looking for a kill. The only difference between then and early this year was the press didn’t even try to pretend to be sedate and detached with Trump.

          The fawning didn’t really happen until about year two of Hillary’s senate term.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            This is why all the “OMG Russia” and complaints that “the email story hurt her” stuff was obviously bs. The stories and outrage about the Clintons in the 90’s was completely off the wall. Of course, you would have to blame David Brock.

          2. flora

            an aside: The Starr investigation of C and pillorying of Monica, while terrible politics, managed to save SS from the then forming, bipartisan catfood commission. That came back later under the O admin, but it was derailed at the time. Odd how the MSM took almost no note of that forming attempt to gut SS and instead focused on the Starr circus.)

    6. Carolinian

      Blame it on Newt Gingrich–at one point my congressman–and his scorched earth approach to political combat. While the establishment and the MSM were once advocates of “high Broderism” and the value of bipartisan comity, it was Gingrich who decided the way the Repubs would break long Dem control of the house was by attacking Dems as traitors, baby killers, high crimes committers etc. All of the Dem behavior during the Trump presidency including impeachment is straight out of the Gingrich playbook. Trump is to them what Clinton was to the 90s Repubs–fundamentally illegitimate (Clinton of course won without a majority because of Perot). Ironically Hillary called this “a vast right wing conspiracy” and then cooked up her own version after losing in 2016. And also ironically all this happened as the two parties moved closer in their actual policies, the famous “triangulation.” The smaller the stakes the bigger the conflict as everything becomes about personalities.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Not that Republicans were particularly not evil, but Gingrich took over party recruitment in the 80’s. The 90’s GOP wasn’t an accident or following Gingrich’s boorishness. They are a bunch of Trumps.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        And also ironically all this happened as the two parties moved closer in their actual policies, the famous “triangulation.”

        The differences are smaller for the country at large, but have any of Mittens campaign staffers had any book deals where they devote two chapters to writing jokes for the Al Smith Dinner? Who gets State Dinner invites? They have to get people to care somehow.

    7. km

      An in-law, born and raised outside the US, commented that she has never seen a country where the citizens hate each other so much and are as armed to the teeth and ready to fight.

      She has lived in five countries, FWIW.

      1. flora

        We’re the ‘exceptional nation’: pols and demagogues can whip people into ecstasies of hating their fellow Americans and there won’t be any consequences for that…(no riots… no main streets burned to ash… no talk of civil war)… because we’re the ‘exceptional nation’ that knows how to solve our civil and economic problems, making life better for everyone. Oh, wait, that was last century. /s

        1. hunkerdown

          If only we could get these people to aim higher in the rank order as a general rule. Tell them that only suckers, LARPers, and children playing video games fight infantry, and winners take aim at command.

    8. flora

      Bush and Biden are loved by neocons and neoliberals alike. Trump is hate by both.

      (With Trump in office there’s still no TPP, TPIP, or increasing belligerence toward Russia. That’s bad… very very bad. /s)

      1. pjay

        Yes. That Trump is so hated by both neocons and neolibs, who have now joined together in a new “Washington Consensus,” should give us a hint about *something*. But no time to think about that now. We must concentrate on getting rid of this most dangerous, terrible, fascist, authoritarian President in the history of the universe!

      2. Dalepues

        That’s really the thing, Trump being hated by the both the neos. Although I think he is probably more hated by the Neocons than the Neolibs. They hate Trump because he won’t attack Iran and he won’t move on Russia. Didn’t he try to pull troops out of Afghanistan and was prevented by Congress?
        Why doesn’t Trump campaign on that? He never brings it up…..

    9. fresno dan

      Livius Drusus
      September 15, 2020 at 7:44 am

      fresno dan
      September 14, 2020 at 8:31 pm

      One of these books is Neil Postman’s 1985 work Amusing Ourselves to Death.
      The subtitle of Postman’s book is “Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.” His thesis is simple: that what we talk about in the public square and how we talk about it is fundamentally shaped by the prevailing medium of communication. Different conversations will be had, different conclusions reached, and different value systems espoused in a society dominated by print as opposed to a society dominated by television.
      The TV commercial inculcates certain lessons in its viewers about how problems should be approached. “Among those lessons are that short and simple messages are preferable to long and complex ones; that drama is to be preferred over exposition; that being sold solutions is better than being confronted with questions about problems.” A citizenry that has been subliminally force-fed this approach to problem-solving over the airwaves for decades will inevitably carry it into the political sphere. The one indispensable talent that a politician needs to succeed in such a society is the principal talent that the current president has — a talent for marketing. No one cared about the fact that Marco Rubio had to explain to Donald Trump what the nuclear triad was live on stage during a Republican primary debate in 2016, because he was going to “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” and “BUILD THE WALL.” To Postman’s point about the potency of the moving image, the spirit of the president’s campaign in 2016 could have been gauged fairly accurately if all the voter ever did was watch his rallies with the sound off. The snarling, the finger pointing, the pugnacious demeanor. The propositional content of the president’s language hardly added anything at all. “In the shift from party politics to television politics, . . . we are not permitted to know who is best at being President or Governor or Senator, but whose image is best in touching and soothing the deep reaches of our discontent.” Whenever the president takes to the podium, the discontent of Red America is made manifest whether the sound is on or off.
      I think of all the predictions I have read, Postman’s has unfortunately been the most accurate. Imagine if you will Trump as president prior to cable “news” maybe as far back as the 1960’s, when the national news broadcast was 15 minutes long. With the paucity of video back than, what in the world would have made it to the screen? Now it is all Trump, all the time. Is nothing else important in the world?
      fresno dan prediction: even if Biden wins, Trump will have more air time in the Biden administration than Biden…

    10. Donald

      I think you are mostly correct, except that I think there was almost as much hatred for Bush then as for Trump now, at least in my circles. Liberals even pretended to care about war crimes. They definitely thought, with some justice, that Bush stole the 2000 election. They were also bitter towards Nader. They still are.

      In fact, what is fascinating about centrist liberals is that they hate Nader and Stein and Susan Sarandon and sometimes Bernie as much as they hate Trump. Bernie is seen as helping Biden now, so the hatred is less, but when he was running they hated him with a passion. I have seen people blame Nader for the Iraq War and then turn around and enthusiastically support Clinton or Biden, who actually voted for it and supported it for years. They don’t seem to sense any irony there.

      So fundamentally it isn’t about issues and never is, no matter what they might claim. Issues are secondary. Fundamentally it is about tribe or class. But you said it better than I could.

    11. UserFriendly

      It is so amusing that liberals have telegraphed in every way possible that Trump losing means Trump in jail and they are just shocked that he would be willing to rig the election.

    12. Glen

      Every President since Clinton has run on helping Americans getting crushed, and has governed by/for the elites and increased the crushing of middle America. Obama set the bar rather high on the “I’m a Progressive”, and then CRUSHED the middle class and Main St for the elites.

      Crimes of the elites (including Presidents) will not be prosecuted until the control of government is wrestled back from Wall St and the billionaires. That will be difficult as long as those same elites are able to keep the country divided in poor on poor conflicts. The MSM is doing an excellent job of stirring up derangement syndrome on both end of the political scales.

      1. hunkerdown

        Wrestled “back”? That’s a fiction. The USA was always an oligarchy, by intent and by design. The Framers’ would not have restricted the electoral franchise to feudal lords if they did not intend that to be the form of society they founded.

        The whole point of being an elite is not being held to an objective standard. To prosecute elites for their crimes in the same fashion as anyone else and with the same stakes is to erase their significance as elites, and to erase elitism itself. With any luck, we can restructure society based on virtue rather than predatory prowess. Which would be 200% good for the vast majority of humans, but make sure you know what you’re asking for.

  3. Party on

    At the end of June, 2020 the total debt outstanding in Canada (bottom line of the Statistics Canada credit market summary data table) was $9.319 trillion. At the end of June, 2019 the total debt outstanding was $8.447 trillion. In the 1 year period from the end of June, 2019 to the end of June, 2020 it increased by $872.4 billion. This is an increase of 10.3%.

    Update on the total (household, business, and all levels of government) debt numbers in Canada and the size of the Bank of Canada’s balance sheet

    1. JEHR

      I really think that the public debt of Canada is not something to worry about; however, the private debt of both households and financial institutions is very important to worry about. The Bank of Canada can pay for the deficit but who will help financial institutions which are in deep debt or households that cannot pay their debts?

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    I did notice this new item about Venus: “Astronomers find possible sign of life on Venus”:

    Traces of a rare molecule known as phosphine have been found in the hellish, heavily acidic atmosphere of Venus, astronomers announced Monday — providing a tantalizing clue about the possibility of life. Phosphine molecules found on Earth are primarily a result of human industry or the actions of microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments.

    This is very old news to “Easy Rider” fans who learned all about Venusian civilization as George explained things to Wyatt and Billy (video) with a little help from his plant guide. Note the reference to the Wobs’ answer to “Who is your leader?” on the occasion of the Everett Massacre.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Thanks for your comment. I meant to include this development in links, but was distracted by the doorbell, and simply forgot.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Hey, any excuse for an “Easy Rider” reference.

        BTW, the clip linked above was a short version. Here’s the full scene that includes George’s reference to “Venusians” along with his tale about their interbreeding with humans.

    2. cocomaan

      I personally think that the phosphine comes from surviving and procreating bacteria clinging to the probes we sent to Venus in previous decades.

      Extraterrestrial contamination!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        That would be wild.

        And who sent probes to Venus…dun sun dun…the Russians! What is Putin up to? He probably has a whole army there. We need more NATO bases and defense contracts.

          1. tegnost

            Only bezos and musk are qualified enough to lead this force…I find it necessary to volunteer them, and thank them for their service! So selfless… I’m tearing up.

    3. Lee

      There is the possibility of atmospheric microbial life. Probes will be sent to investigate. Maybe bring back samples. Could end badly.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      There was once intelligent life on Venus. The phosphine is a remnant from the chemicals their industries produced. Unfortunately they added too much CO2 to their atmosphere by burning the ample supply of fossil fuels they found deep inside their world. They knew this would damage their world’s climate but …. Too bad things got out of hand. Now it will be very difficult to find much evidence for their civilizations other than long-lived chemical compounds and strange deposits of materials that cannot be explained by any known geological or atmospheric processes. Evidence for the beautiful oceans and beaches they once enjoyed is as difficult to find as evidence of their great cities.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        But did they maintain a civil society and standards-based politics, by taking…say…a consensus-building bi-partisan incremental strategy to address issues without causing undue stress to industry and the managerial class?

        And, was brunch ever threatened?

        (I mean, before the brunch crowd managed to finally get the secret ‘ad astra’ project completed and ditched the place)

        1. vidimi

          people really tend to mis-use the word ‘incremental’, using it to mean things incrementally improving. the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything, things have incrementally gotten worse in every way. the proposed increments were the targets set out ten years ago and not a single one of them were met.

    5. shtove

      I recently watched a documentary (on American horror movies, I think) that said the final scene in Easy Rider was the first time Cletus-style deplorables appeared in US cinema. Followed by Texas Chainsaw and Deliverance.

    6. ewmayer

      Phosphine, Shmosphine – we knew already in the 1950s that there was life on Venus, and of a much more interesting variety than the single-celled stuff. Ladies and germs, I present for your Saturday-night-creature-feature abusement, one of the entries in my personal Movies we wish MST3K had done a razzing of list, The Queen of Outer Space (1958). (Not to be confused with the MST3Ked Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1956)).

      Plot summary: The three most chauvinistic men on Earth are selected as the crew of the first manned mission to the mysterious planet Venus. (Money was apparently tight in the Venusian exploration program, because the space suits they wear are recycled from the genuine 50s SciFi classic Forbidden Planet). When they get there they are imprisoned by the masked-to-cover-hideous-Darth-Vader-like-facial-disfigurement evil queen Yllana of Venus, a planet whose men have mysteriously died in a “revolt”, which caused Queen Yllana’s facial scarring (as a result of which she hates all men), and left only mini-skirted young lovelies to run things. We soon find out that wicked, naughty, evil Queen Yllana intends to destroy the Earth with a supercalafragilistic beta disintegrator ray her scientists have developed. Luckily our boys get help from friendly scientist-babe Talleah (played by Zsa Zsa Gabor, who at one point explains pithily that “Vimmen vill never be ‘appy vizout men…”), and after much intrigue, mini-skirted young lovelies running about carrying man-threatening sparkly spears, a brief appearance by a giant spider-like creature and some explosions, the evil queen gets hers and our lads get plenty of smooches from the grateful Venusian lovelies. Definitely a camp classic – even watchable without an MST3K-style treatment (but by all means, feel free to do one yourself.)

  5. Jesper

    The Assange situation… Suppose that Trump pardoned Assange, what would happen next? Would there be shouts about ‘Quid pro quo’? The ‘quid pro quo’ being Assange goes free in exchange for disproving the story of the Russian hack of the DNC. Would such a deal only benefit Trump personally or would there also be some justice?
    For the record, my personal belief is that the DNC emails were leaked and did not come to Wikileaks from some Russian hacker. Maybe I am wrong and in that case such a deal would be a travesty.

    1. Jessica

      Oh, most definitely, there would be shouts about quid pro quo. There would even be much clutching of pearls. But they would be untrue and Trump would have done more for freedom of the press then however many of his predecessors.
      I don’t think he has it in him to defy our anti-democratic elites this way. If he had that kind of spine, he would have pulled the troops out of Afghanistan and dared the Democrats to be the war-mongers opposing him.

        1. pjay

          Glenn Greenwald had a very interesting 3 minute segment on Tucker Carlson’s show the other day. In what appeared to be a coordinated effort, Greenwald was allowed to make a rapid-fire pitch for an Assange pardon based mainly on how much it would allow Trump to stick it to his Democratic Russiagate enemies. Given the venue, it seemed a pretty obvious appeal directly to Trump.

          I don’t think Trump will do anything here. If he did, he would get tremendous blowback from the intelligence community and its media assets. That Daily Beast article would be nothing compared to the media firestorm that would follow an actual pardon.

          1. Jesper

            I’d have some slight hope that even controlled media assets would find it difficult to actively argue for reversing a decision to set a journalist free, it comes across (to me at least) as being very different compared to silently and/or passively supporting a decision to keep him locked up.
            But it is a very slight hope and the blowback would probably be too severe so you are probably right.

    2. Carolinian

      You are not wrong. But given that the Trump administration is zealously trying to extradite and prosecute Assange and lock him away for life it’s hard to see a pardon on the horizon. Assange’s biggest hope seems to be that, once extradited, the US courts will stand in the way of this unprecedented persecution.

      1. neo-realist

        If they judge shop for a Trump appointed hit person on the courts, I’ll bet Assange’s fate is sealed.

    3. RabidGandhi

      So your idea is that after a decade of torture by UK authorities, Assange should turn in his source in exchange for a pardon?

      What are you the good cop to James Lewis’s bad cop?

      1. Jesper

        Amazing coincidence in your choice of words about building probability models :-) I am in fact doing a bit of a career-pivot now and pivoting towards big data and statistical analysis to build predictive/probability models :-)
        Compared to the first time I was studying statistics at university level (about 30 years ago) the tools available now are amazingly easy to use and a lot more powerful than I expected. Possibly even so easy to use that the career-opportunities in the field might be limited.

        1. JP

          The human mind isn’t built to perceive reality. The best we can do is to perceive danger, real or imagined, and act accordingly. Most of the advancements in the frontiers of scientific thinking have been the results of building and testing models. To believe is a crazy way to seek to protect oneself from perceived danger, of mortality or impairment in the afterlife in the case of religion.

          The success of models is testing or back testing, in your case, for predictive accuracy. I think the possibilities are endless but a career choice probably depends on your expertise with the information you are accessing. As you say the new tools are incredible. I am not into data crunching but I witnessed finite element analysis obliterate the need for forth order approximations in structural models.

          1. Jesper

            I am fairly sure that I do not understand all that you are saying.
            What I can say is to even attempt to build a model to predict a rare event happening within a complex system with unknown number (but many) dependent variables is in my opinion a fools errand. The number of mesaured outcomes and datapoints needs to be very large and even then the uncertainties would be significant. Not only due to the risk of GIGO but also due to risk of flawed assumptions.
            Belief in models and the belief in the accuracy of extrapolating from models is also a belief. & lets not forget that there is an implicit belief in the honesty and the competence of the model-builders, that belief in the honesty and the competence has at times been misplaced. Retractions are being made even after researchers have supposedly independently verified the validity of the research.

            I used the word belief for the case in hand as I’ve not gone through all the evidence at hand. There is one statement from one who knows what happened, possibly he is lying and if so then I do not know his reasons for lying. Then there is the statement from the other side, from agencies who would benefit directly if their story would be true. As is then my belief is that the data was leaked, possibly I am wrong and I would like to think that I have an open mind and would change my mind if evidence was presented to show that I was/am wrong.

            I’d never ever build a predictive model for a situation like this. There are probably people willing to pay a lot of money for such a model and the value from that prediction would be similar to this:
            A cover for a decision already made and there is no denying that such cover has value.

            Having seen the buzz-word heavy environment of big data, it is filled with bosses like the one in Dilbert then I think I might prefer doing the boring but still needed COBOL.

    4. pasha

      if Assange is pardoned or if extradition is denied, the u.k. will likely prosecute him under the “official secrets” act. an attack on journalism, for sure, just different courts

  6. jr

    Re: Killer Robot Dogs with Killer Robot Fleas

    Yikes. I imagine a “Cloverfield” style tactic where a robot dog pack releases clouds of these into the air. Each one carries a micro gram of some deadly toxin.

    You would need EMP mosquito nets.

      1. jr

        I do recall the darts now…although they appear to lack thermal, chemical, and audio sensors. There were important differences in the tech in Dune and the standard sci fi scenarios I understand. The clockwork thingy is cool.

        That hair though, wow, it’s exhilarating…

      2. shtove

        Every month I have to swat away a swarm of media gnats pumping out novichok revelations. “Bite me!” (I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds defiantly American.)

        1. Jr

          It means “Bite (my genitalia)!” or “FU!”

          Why someone biting your genitalia is considered desirable is uncertain.

  7. John

    However out of line with reality Trump’s claims of vast wealth may be, he still has too much to ever go to prison in this day and age. Conjure this: not only is he not going to prison he is never going to go away. He will be shouldering his way before cameras and microphones even if they have to be brought to his bedside.

  8. Jessica

    Part of the intense reaction against Trump is because he is more than willing to throw many of the technocrats and narrative managers under the bus. He does this on behalf of other elements of the elite, but it wins favor from those who have been hurt by those technocrats and narrative managers.
    The credentialed meritocrats cannot forgive him for encouraging the unwashed masses to disrespect them. Launching an unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq, Bush can be forgiven for that, but going against the virtue of the meritocrats, that is unforgivable.

    1. Off The Street

      There has been an undercurrent in American sentiment against various types of elites and unresponsive institutions since time immemorial.

      One not-too-distant example, in the area of film, is Fun With Dick and Jane. If you haven’t seen it, select the original with George Segal and Jane Fonda. A key scene involves robbing the phone company, to the accompaniment of cheers, as everyone hates the phone company. These days, everything in DC may as well be the phone company.

      Bonus, totally unrelated except for the title characters. Some readers may be old enough to have read those Dick and Jane books.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “50 Times People Couldn’t Believe Their Luck In Thrift Stores, Flea Markets, And Garage Sales (More New Pics)”

    That is a fascinating article that and I like how different things appeal to different people. So does anybody recognize the items at #45 at all? If not, here it is-

    Probably some leftovers from a 1980s Halloween.

    1. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      September 15, 2020 at 10:19 am

      I scarcely recognized a young Alec Baldwin (before he changed his face).

    1. Lee

      Youth is wasted on the young. But not for long in some cases.

      “Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse.”

      And because I have too much time on my hands I learned the following:

      While associated with James Dean, this quote was penned by author William Motley, in his book and film, Knock on Any Door, of which Dean was a great fan. Motley died in 1955. His Wikipedia bio contains the following passage:

      “Motley was criticized in his life for being a black man writing about white characters, a middle-class man writing about the lower class, and a closeted homosexual writing about heterosexual urges. But those more kindly disposed to his work, and there were plenty, admired his grit and heart….Chicago was more complicated than just its racial or sexual tensions, and as a writer his exploration was expansive….”

      Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      Our local rag here quotes the NYT as saying 7 of the 20 communities in the US with the fastest growing rates of COVID infection are sites of UW campuses – Madison, Green Bay, Lacrosse, Eau Claire, Whitewater, Platteville, and Oshkosh. Oops. I guess the positive spin is that at least we aren’t drinking alone!

  10. Wukchumni

    Jerry Brown on a California Exodus: ‘Tell Me: Where Are You Going to Go?’ New York Times
    In our case, that would be Exeter, Ca. The cats are way pissed off, and 3 out of 5 urinated in their carriers, to add to the joy of leaving.

    Got the mandatory evacuation order for some parts of town yesterday afternoon, as the SQF wildfire keeps yarding closer with a series of spot fires as the advance guard.

    Sequoia NP finally came to their senses and closed it down, and the skies above look a bit pissed off from all the particulate in it’s embrace.

    Anybody know any effective rain dances?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Jerry Brown talks like a true Democrat. Sky high rents in places like LA and San Fran, hordes of homeless people, chocking smoke and fires – and he says “Tell me: Where are you going to go? What’s your alternative?” That’s like Bill Clinton telling voters years ago after all that they had done to them that they had to vote democrat as they “had nowhere else to go”.

    2. JP

      I am the last resident on the mountain. My wife and neighbors left days ago. It turns out the “mandatory evacuation” is not. You do not have to leave but if you do you will not be able to get back in.

      I decided that I had plenty of options to retreat if fire was eminent. So I have been cutting and wetting for the last two days to save my house. There is a good vantage point just up the road where I monitor the progress of the fire. It is also where CDF and the NF also monitor. They have been my company and provided agency information that is not possible to get on the spotty online releases.

      I did not sleep Sunday night as I watched the flames progress through Balch Park and start across the face of Moses Mtn. The fire started down my drainage and I got pretty nervous. My car is packed and there is no chance of being trapped if I don’t try to cut it too close. We have an under ground cellar but space is limited. I packed some more irreplaceable stuff in there and checked my lookout point hourly. Luckily the wind turned north toward Three Rivers, where you live, and is now headed for Garfield Grove to destroy some more venerable Sequoias.

      Yesterday they backburned my drainage and stopped the progress. The fire started down the north fork of the Tule but they will backburn that and the wind will carry the front up towards Dillonwood. Last night I got some much needed sleep. As for now the danger is abated if not past. I will stay vigilant. Don’t know when they will let residents back in and when I will see my wife.

      1. Wukchumni

        A friend related that the Dennison ridge is now on fire, and too bad about the Garfield Grove, one of the steepest of all Sequoia groves and clogged with downed wood. It’ll be interesting to see what it looks like post-fire. Virtually every Sequoia of size has some burn scars on it, will over a century of no fires make it into an inferno up high in the canopies?

        Stay tuned….

        Next stop will be Hockett Meadow, which is a tiny little nothing in an otherwise sea of trees surrounding it, and then it’ll make it’s way to Mineral King with really nothing to stop it, as everything has to be pretty much defended through the air, and what’s the point with these spot fires racing ahead to claim new territory.

        Glad there’s nobody there, as the place is a fire trap’s fire trap, all that will be lost is about 110 iconic cabins, some dating from the early 20th century. A nightmare scenario had MK having 500 people trapped on the one 25 mile long road in which often has room for only 1 1/2 cars, so there’s that.

        It is of small consideration the idea we’re insured on both properties-as it’ll take forever to rebuild, but it does allow for some peace of mind for the time being, as an unquenchable foe rages forward, content on consolidating gains while seeking out new terra fir(e)ma.

            1. Wukchumni

              Thanks for the kind thoughts.

              Garfield Grove has few level places to camp, and the primo spot is one known as ‘Stonehenge’ and it’s about 200 feet from the trail and hidden away behind a circle of sorts consisting of 10 boulders around 5-6 feet tall, with 5 Sequoias of good size in your midst. One of my favorite ‘time shares’. It’s a few hundred yards to water which is perfect, because the mossies aren’t into dry camping.


                1. Wukchumni

                  We sometimes get rain in October but as of late more like around Thanksgiving, which puts paid to the wildfire season.

                  Exeter, Ca. where we’re hanging out had an interesting distinction for a short spell after WW2, in the town had the most millionaires on a per capita basis of any city in the country.

                  Largely on the profits from frozen orange concentrate, used extensively throughout the war.

                  They flat-top cut all the citrus here so as to give vast orchards the look of a never ending pool table

        1. JP

          Incredible that you have fire insurance at MK. You must be grandfathered in.

          My observation of oak forest conflagration is the core trees look cooked but the trunks bud out in the spring. I can’t speak to the conifer populations. Fire is part of the cycle in the Sierra. If the fires don’t clear the understory of fir encroachment they will choke out new Sequoia growth. That said, fire suppression in the national forest for the last 100 years has contributed to a huge fuel load and ladder fuels causing the rapid crown runs that are spreading this fire. If the fire is hot enough it will destroy everything but we are seeing lots of whole oak leaves, mostly scorched, but some green, pieces of charred cedar bark and some fur ends falling out of the sky. I think the flame front moves up some of the steep canyon walls so fast it just blows the leaves off and doesn’t do too much damage. Well again, the oaks can survive but the pines, I think, regenerate from seed.

          MK is a cul de sac but you could always hoof it up Saw Tooth and escape the fire. Run don’t walk.

          1. Wukchumni

            Yes, we’ve noticed the same thing here, scorched black oak leaves of decent size that have traveled nearly 20 miles in the air to get to us.

            There was a fire in 3R a few years back that raced up a steep hillside full of oak trees and none of them were all that affected by a raging fire that took out everything else, they tend to be survivors~

            The Paradise fire was almost all pine trees, whereas they’re rare in the foothills, advantage us.

          2. Wukchumni

            I’ve written of the Eden Fire and how perfect it was handled by NPS-only monitoring it by air-not taking any human action in slowing or stopping the progress of what started as one of those lightning strike sleeper fires, got up enough ‘steam’ to resemble a locomotive going nowhere fast, and eventually burned through nearly 2,000 acres and into the seldom seen Eden Grove of Giant Sequoias-which need fire for regeneration, along comes a potent Thanksgiving storm and a few feet of snow later, less distinguished-more extinguished.



            With a whole lot of luck and the will to wind the SQF fire east (no not really it’d be almost due north-but like I could resist?) of Eden, it could run into a burned out in 2018 cul-de-sac of sorts full of sumo wrestler looking trees forming a formidable fireproof fence, fume oh arigato.

      2. Wukchumni


        There’s an interesting resignation when it comes to stuff and aside from photographs, passports, important documents and a week’s worth of clothes, backpacks, skis & boots, everything else got left behind. I’ve done a good job of clearing burnables from around our house and well beyond, but if you aren’t there to fight a pesky little nothingburger flame, it can easily get the upper hand in a hurry.

        It’s almost like going to the dump and getting rid of everything you own, weirdly cathartic.

        Luckily my most cherished item is memories, which are pretty much fireproof.

    3. Lost in OR

      We’re dancing our hearts out up here in Oregon, to no avail. Forecasts were for rain yesterday, postponed to today, and now predicted for Friday. I could see clouds this morning and our AQI is down to 300 though. Woohoo!

      Lemme know if you find something that works.

      1. Wukchumni

        I was told the Watusi has some promise, and maybe if somebody had a watering can and doused a dancer in such a fashion, it might become a starter storm?

        1. furies

          We have a rain rock at the local town museum…an heirloom from the Shasta Indians. I will perform the required ceremony for all of us here in Cali-Oregon-Washington-Brazil-Siberia and hopefully that predicted rain will pour forth so we can all get some rest.

          Good luck everybody~

      2. Andrew Thomas

        My stepson and his family left Springfield on Saturday, drove through smoke on I-5 to Portland, and managed to get to Louisville with 3 separate plane rides. 22 month old son, wife 6 months pregnant, AQIs north of 500 vs. Covid and 9 hours in airports and on planes. Feels something like survivor guilt now that they can all breathe. A very hard choice, but the right one, I think. Step-daughter and husband and animals still trying to tough it out in Portland. Gahh.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Do We Have Victorians to Thank for Consumerism?”

    Probably not although the Victorians did seem to believe that adage that nature abhors a vacuum. it really comes down to technology. As an example, take a look at the simple nail. In times past a blacksmith would have to make them one at a time. By the time of the Victorians came around you could have them by the gross. Things that in previous times would have to be hand made and would be expensive were now being turned out in quantity and were cheap.

    I had an ancestor that was a Scottish weaver but his job was replaced by industrial looms which turned out materials by the metric ton. We ourselves have seen a minor example of this with computers which were rare and extremely expensive but through technology are now small and compact so that you can carry one in your hand. It was no wonder that the rise of the people of the new middle class in Victorian times sought to fill their homes with such items as they could afford to do it now but it also showed that they had “arrived.”

    And you can bet that how some people complain that poor people have mobiles and TVs, there would have been the wealthy elite in Victorian times complaining how this middle class could afford stuff that once only they could have afforded.

    1. Pat

      Considering the bar set by Presidents over the last 50 years, he really wouldn’t have to do much to leap over it.

      We haven’t had a true pro labor President in my lifetime. Some were less hostile, but supportive…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think it was in Politico, but at one of the 2010 Team Blue House strategy meetings with the electeds, one of the Congressman said they should bring up the minimum wage increase they voted for. Pelosi had to tell the Congressman he wasn’t in Congress when they voted for it.

        For all we know, Biden have realized the bar is very low.

  12. jr

    Re: Bloomberg NYC article

    I’m no fan of DeBlahsio for sure, he’s putting my sister’s life at risk after all, but what exactly do they expect him to do? If Trump is punishing blue cities by withholding funds, aren’t the mayors hands tied? This is not to say things would be done properly with full funding, God knows what that would actually be since it’s austerity all the time, but it’s hard to fault him for something out of his hands.

    Of course, it’s Bloomberg, so they offer standard neoliberal “solutions” involving empowering wealth even further. They have the luxury of lobbing impossible situations at people and laughing when they stumble on them. What do they care? It’s all just fuel on the fire sale.

    1. Romancing The Loan

      I read the underlying complaint and it seems more or less reliable, although the hysterectomies part isn’t the main focus – they have a (named) nurse and a bunch of inmates there saying that their private prison is filthy, doesn’t protect them from COVID, doesn’t give the inmates decent medical care, and when the female inmates do get reproductive healthcare they’re referred to one particular sterilization/hysterectomy-happy doctor who is quick to do procedures on them with questionable informed consent.

  13. Annus Horribilis

    Grain of salt: Gen MacKenzie also said there were no American casualties after the Jan 8 Iranian missile strike, when, in fact, there were more than 100 traumatic brain injuries, 35 evacuations. If you can’t trust the US military, you can’t trust the US military. At least as early as June 28, NBC reported that sources found no evidence of actual payment. Then again, covert action means any funds would necessarily be attributed to a plausible cover story. Russia did declare itself a “guarantor” of the unsuccessful Taliban peace talks in Qatar. How does that work? Also, EUCOM is tasked with Russian affairs, not USCENTCOM.
    At any rate, things have gotten completely out of hand because the scope of Congress’s authorization of force in Afghanistan is extremely wide. Imagine USCENTCOM killing what it believes to be Chechen hawaladars for the Taliban, but EUCOM believing the hawaladars are Russian agents under cover identities. The situation could escalate quickly given the US is in central Asia for the long haul [the hardest fight is the fight on the way to the fight, hence the US’s constellation of overseas bases] and Russia compelled to deliver a proportional response. Preferring exchanges, not killing each other’s foreign service officers is a hard rule for US-Russian relations.

  14. ChrisAtRU

    Football Mad

    Haha! Thanks for this today, JLS!

    The tortured relationship between the English national team and all its fans, but especially those of the more erudite variety is a subject which could fill entire libraries!

    I remember being on a Virgin train from Birmingham to London sometime in the early oughties. England had just lost to (or perhaps drawn with) [some team that England should have beaten by five goals!] and a solitary, inebriated soul stood at one end of the carriage talking to himself so all could hear. He went on and on about what went wrong, likening the timing of passes to the timing of trains; he bemoaned an overly defensive formation –” … anyone can park the bus! It doesn’t take a genius to put ten men in the box!”

    People largely ignored him, but the figure he cut was that of a beleaguered intellectual football-lover – surrounded as it were by no one who understood or sympathized with him (except perhaps yours truly).

    1. ShamanicFallout

      That Amis piece is a ‘same as it ever was’ for the English fan. It’s always about the manager. But never about the players, the style of football that the English play, etc. There is a reason that the English national teams are not good, and it’s not the managers. English players are technically and tactically nowhere near the elite of the game- Brazil, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Argentina, even Holland for gawd’s sake. And they never have been. ’66 was a truly one-off.
      I remember Steve Mcmanaman talking about how he was trying ‘clever’, creative things in training one day and the old English boys were laughing at him and ‘taking the p*ss’ out of him. What do the English players value? “Blood and guts’. Getting ‘stuck in’. Glorious losing (although ’82 wasn’t even a glorious loss. Just a fizzle). Is this a cultural thing?

      1. shtove

        Pretty much the same applies to England’s rugby union team. Its depth of selection should mean it beats all comers, but it consistently falls before teams from the southern hemisphere, who get up to all sorts of jiggery-pokery and fancy stuff. And the same circular firing squad for post mortems as in soccer.

        Yet players (and managers) for those sports are drawn from markedly different social backgrounds: soccer from state school, rugby from private (aka. “public”). The one successful rugby manager, Clive Woodward, who famously professed a business management style, had a stab at soccer, but was soon shown the door.

      2. ChrisAtRU

        ;-) … again, this topic could be discussed ad infinitum

        From my vantage point, I blame the English sporting press to a fair degree for a lot of the building up of unrealistic expectations. Football permeates to a far deeper place in England, much more than cricket and rugby. Fans of cricket and rugby have long ago abandoned perpetual designs of international glory – even though England has achieved more recent success in both sports; but with football, said designs remain. The press also engages in pushing the “great English gaffer hope”, which I think is a bit silly, given the state of the international game. Sadly, fans need only look to Germany and France to feel the sting. Funny, you should mention Mcmanaman – he’s one of the few English players in recent times who had success abroad (in Spain with Real Madrid, no less). Your anecdote nailed what I think is a problem with England’s place in the global game – not enough diverse influence on English footballers. Dissenters will say that the Premier League features enough international coaches and players to suffice, but it’s not the same as say building a French team where three players play in England, four play domestically, two play in Germany and two play in Spain. The training pitch for a French national team becomes a pool for wondrous exchange. In England, it’s far less so, and this makes a difference whenever England plays better teams internationally. Here again, the English sports press fails with their frequent harping on “too many international players”. IMO England needs the opposite – to get more English players abroad, so a national team can reap the benefits that other squads gain by having players from diverse foreign leagues.

        1. ShamanicFallout

          Well said. And that’s exactly why I mentioned the McManaman anecdote. But who could forget this famous one from Ian Rush (though actually Welsh, but well immersed in the ‘English game’ at Liverpool) when he went to Juventus in Italy: “I couldn’t settle in Italy- it was like living in a foreign country’ Can’t argue with that!

    1. John k

      For the most part we dont need new laws. We need a pres to enforce existing law. And stop looking forward, not back… cops look back all the time on common crime. Looking forward means I’m going to ignore white Collar crimes. Thanks, Obama.

  15. Person

    Just read a fascinating piece from Curtis Yarvin, notorious monarchist and neoreactionary. (Despite his abhorrent anti-democratic views, he often presents solid analysis and interesting lateral thinking, so I like to keep him in my RSS feeds.) Descriptive constitution of the modern regime.

    This part really drew my attention:

    Suppose these containment elections are terminated. The System takes off its mask. It fires all its politicians. It cancels the Republic. It operates without its human face. Would this make the System stronger, or weaker?

    It would be weaker. The potential of populist democracy would still exist, without any device to contain it. Formal elections are not the only kind of election. If elections did not exist, informal elections could be invented. These elections might be effective.

    An election is a contest of display in which one side demonstrates to the satisfaction of both that it is stronger than its opponent, giving the weaker side an incentive to concede without escalating. Formal elections also work because they are habitually obeyed; but politics remains a special case of war. The informal and military origin of electoral power is the power of the majority to intimidate the minority with a mere headcount. And this headcount also gives the majority the self-confidence to prevail.

    A street demonstration, which is also hard to count, accomplishes the same result. What is a demonstration, but a demonstration of potential force—not a mob, but a potential mob? A demonstration is a street election. Its count is not as accurate as a ballot; but attending a demonstration is a stronger demonstration of a will to fight. Ultimately an army is just a well-trained, well-equipped, well-led demonstration.

    Since it’s still kind of a free country, the Vandals have ways to reliably count their own heads. These ways might not involve either the government or the street. Any credible census is a crude, improvised, uncontained election which might work all too well. Call it a “pitchfork election.”

    This kind of improvised direct democracy is a dangerous design. A crowd that knows its own power is as sovereign as it gets, and the sovereign crowd is the H-bomb of regime change. It can end as well as in Prague, or as badly as in Paris.

    Historically, has anyone tried to organize this kind of “people’s election” or “people’s referendum” on a regular basis? General polling is similar to this, of course, but the framing is off. Even if such a vote had no real bearing on the direction of official governance, a recurring formal election-like referendum on important issues, with results issued to voters in a formal bulletin, could draw attention to the distance between voter preference and actual policy. Ideally there would be printed ballots, “I voted” stickers, the whole shebang. Of course, this would need to be run by an organization other than a political party or wealth-backed NGO, and the organizing group would need to plan ahead for all kinds of dirty tricks and attempts at capture. Not sure this would be possible, but it sounds lovely.

    1. Person

      To add to my thought experiment: you could even hijack existing voting infrastructure to implement this, since voter rolls are public.

    2. hunkerdown

      > An election is a contest of display in which one side demonstrates to the satisfaction of both that it is stronger than its opponent, giving the weaker side an incentive to concede without escalating.

      When all you have is predation, everything looks like prey. Yarvin’s scared that the shooting zoo’s gonna close up. At least he’s paying attention. His analysis seems alright, from a predator-prey perspective. Of course he writes from the perspective of a hopeful future top predator, mirroring the Marxists on the late 8chan’s left boards, but his aims are questionable, and he doesn’t have advice for the prey. I suppose we have to fill that in.

      It’s a lot easier to sabotage elections than to hold them, unfortunately for us.

      1. Person

        I agree, and would add that unfortunately motives such as his are common enough that they “infect” the system, just as passwords would be unnecessary if everyone were honest. He is excessively pessimistic even for my standards (not everyone is a purely selfish “rational” robot!) but I think he is correct about how the structure of the system prevents reform, given the presence of predators in every institution, as well as the pressures that can cause even good people to choose poorly when given access to power.

  16. jr

    The Department of the Weird:

    Japanese military ordered to carefully observe UAP’s when spotted:

    Then an interview of Cmndr. Fraver of “Tic-Tac” video fame being interviewed by this scientist Lex Fridman. Fridman isn’t a great interviewer but he is an honest one and Fraver discusses what happened that day as well as a lot of jet fighter pilot stuff in the first third of the show. He talks about how pilots have to think and just as importantly not over think the field of play, the symbiosis between pilots and AI’s, and elite pilot culture. If you don’t care about the fact that we are probably being observed, at a minimum, by non-terrestrial beings with advanced technology, stay for the jet pilot talk:

    1. Andrew Thomas

      If you are out there, please come down and just take over. Washington, every state Capitol, the whole shmear. We will welcome you as liberators. To coin a phrase.

  17. Maxwell Johnston

    Re “Why Trump Has Been Good for Europe”: I found the tone of this article to be incredibly arrogant and offensive. Whatever Erdogan’s faults, he enjoys genuine popularity and his government seems to be reasonably competent. As for the EU living high on the USA’s subsidies (“military power, medical innovation, medical supplies…..and imports of American blood”), this is just ridiculous.

  18. JWP

    Here’s the GOP plan if they retake the house. Nothing says paramilitary like 1.75 billion in increased police funding including “equipment.”

    The biggest irony in this is the healthcare section which is nearly interchangeable with Biden’s plans. The leftward shift in hc is going to leave both parties out to dry. Also of not is the drying up up conservative talking points. “jobs” “balanced budgets” “freedoms” “free market” are losing their appeal to the latest generation.

  19. occasional anonymous

    “Hate the Sin, Not the Book The Atlantic”

    The fact that this even needs to be said is testament to a widespread problem with many young people. The woke frequently vocally refuse to engage with anything written before about 1990.

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