Links 9/17/2020

This marine biologist wants to use the world’s toughest corals to save dying reefs CNN

Scientists find world’s oldest sperm in Myanmar amber Channel News Asia

Private equity owners pile on leverage to pay themselves divis FT

Almost 60 percent of business closures are now permanent, new Yelp data shows NBC

Does the WTO Matter Anymore? Bloomberg


A Wall of Smoke on the U.S. West Coast NOAA Earth Observatory


Bridging the Gap at Warp Speed — Delivering Options for Preventing and Treating Covid-19 and Up Is Down — Pharmaceutical Industry Caution vs. Federal Acceleration of Covid-19 Vaccine Approval New England Journal of Medicine

Trump disputes CDC director on vaccine timing, says ‘he made a mistake’ The Hill. The irony here is that with seven vaccines in trial, three in Stage Three, four in Stages One and Two, Project Warp Speed appears to be working as well as a Big Pharma project can work; moreover, the parallel development architecture was a good idea. But Democrats can’t say that, and Trump won’t. (Personally, my hope is that a dark horse project in a place like South Korea or Thailand turns out to be the winner, but that’s a separate issue.)

The Economic Case for a People’s Vaccine Boston Review

Biden: ‘We can’t allow politics to interfere with the vaccine in any way’ CNN

CDC Director Redfield suggests masks may be more effective than a coronavirus vaccine Yahoo News

Is the company with a 20-second coronavirus test for real? FT

Steve Bannon Is Behind Bogus Study That China Created COVID The Daily Beast


China urged to flex long-arm jurisdiction to protect its companies from foreign hostility South China Morning Post

China’s ‘hybrid war’: Beijing’s mass surveillance of Australia and the world for secrets and scandal ABC Australia

Nigerian opens China-built railway. Thread:

Whatever Happened to China’s Giant Piles of Abandoned Bicycles? Caixin

The Koreas

COVID-19 Has Crushed Everybody’s Economy—Except for South Korea’s Foreign Policy

“A real flood of bacteria and germs” — Communications Intelligence and Charges of U.S. Germ Warfare during the Korean War Medium

Indonesians caught without a mask forced to dig graves for Covid-19 victims CNN

Virus Cases at Dorms Add to Singapore Construction Woes Bloomberg

Myanmar races to build field hospital as coronavirus surge stretches health system Reuters


THE ANGRY ARAB: The Franco-American Designs on Lebanon Consortium News (Olga).

Under lockdown, Israel faces bitter start of Jewish New Year AP


Brexit: UK Tories agree deal on international law breach Deutsche Welle. “British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reached a deal with rebels from his own party that would give them a say on whether the UK should break international law in overriding its EU withdrawal agreement.” Everybody hold hands so we can jump over the cliff together!

Keir Starmer poised to cash in on Boris Johnson’s ‘catastrophe’ as Tories face extinction Daily Express

Joe Biden latest Democrat to warn UK over breaking Brexit deal Politico


Germany Offered U.S. $1.2B To Save Nord Stream 2 Seems low.


Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 11 Craig Murray. That the major venues like WaPo and the Times aren’t reporting on the Assange trial doesn’t bode well for the future of investigative journalism.

As British judge made rulings against Julian Assange, her husband was involved with right-wing lobby group briefing against WikiLeaks founder Declassifed UK. One big happy!

Joe Rogan Experience #1536 – Edward Snowden (video) YouTube (lyman alpha blob).


Move along people, move along. There’s no story here:

The Durham investigation:

Trump Transition

Trump flags concerns about Oracle-TikTok deal FT

DeJoy’s Postal Service policies delayed 7% of nation’s first-class mail, Senate report says Seattle Times

Top HHS spokesperson takes leave of absence after accusing scientists of “sedition” Axios

Barr blasts his own DOJ prosecutors, equates them to preschoolers and ‘headhunters’ NBC. Barr: “Name one successful organization where the lowest-level employees’ decisions are deemed sacrosanct. There aren’t any. Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it’s no way to run a federal agency.”

The Confederate Roots of the Administrative State National Review. From July, still germane; an interesting contribution to the “unitary executive” debate.


Biden believes he would have authority to impose national mask mandate as president CBS

Freedom Rider: Democrats’ Climate Change Lies Black Agenda Report

Boeing, Boeing…

The Design, Development & Certification of the Boeing 737 Max (PDF) House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. From the Executive Summary, the paragraph everybody is quoting:

This report was produced by Democratic staff of the Committee and is the culmination of the Committee’s investigative efforts assessing the costs, consequences, and lessons from the design, development, and certification of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft. The report reveals several unmistakable facts. The MAX crashes were not the result of a singular failure, technical mistake, or mismanaged event. They were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA—the pernicious result of regulatory capture on the part of the FAA with respect to its responsibilities to perform robust oversight of Boeing and to ensure the safety of the flying public. The facts laid out in this report document a disturbing pattern of technical miscalculations and troubling management misjudgments made by Boeing. It also illuminates numerous oversight lapses and accountability gaps by the FAA that played a significant role in the 737 MAX crashes.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Apple gave the FBI access to the iCloud account of a protester accused of setting police cars on fire Business Insider

A “Persistent Eye in the Sky” Coming to a City Near You? Common Dreams

Protests and Riots

Pennsylvania judge will likely reevaluate ‘unconstitutional’ $1 million bail set for Ricardo Munoz protesters USA Today

Military Police Leaders Weighed Deploying ‘Heat Ray’ Against D.C. Protesters NPR

Police State Watch

House Democrats Demand Investigation Into Claims Of Excessive Hysterectomies On ICE Detainees HuffPo

Imperial Collapse Watch

How the west lost Prospect (DJG).

Treating American Empire The Baffler. “The United States, as it is currently constituted, requires huge amounts of violence domestically (on the part of police) and internationally (on the part of the military) in order to function. The role of the therapist under these conditions thus becomes helping law enforcement and military personnel metabolize violence that is accepted, prima facie, as justified.” Wasn’t there a TV series about this? The Tenors? The Coloraturas?

Are the Forever Wars Really Ending? Patrick Buchanan, RealClearPolitics

Study: As Many As 59 Million Displaced By America’s War On Terror The American Conservative

Moral injury and the gap between the soldier and the state’s moral identity (PDF) Australian Army Research Centre.

Sports Desk

Big Ten football is back: What you need to know ESPN (Re Silc). “What was the most important factor in the Big Ten voting to play?” I can’t imagine….

Class Warfare

Stop Doomscrolling and Play a Board Game About Class Warfare The New Yorker

The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure Nick Hanauer and David M. Rolf, Time

You’re Right! You Are Working Longer and Attending More Meetings Harvard Business School

How Were 46 Million People Trapped by Student Debt? The History of an Unfulfilled Promise Counterpunch

The Future of Energy Adam Tooze, NYT

Where Will Everyone Go? Pro Publica. Climate migration.

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. SlayTheSmaugs

    Re Stop Doomscrolling and Play a Board Game About Class Warfare, I grew up with two other boardgames that seem much less witty but are still on point: Class Struggle, and Anti-Monopoly. The latter was about busting trusts (and oligopolies and monopolies) and the former, like the game in the article, started with the genetic die which locked you in to a status: worker, capitalist, professional, small businessperson, student, farmer. Only the capitalist or worker could win, the other four had to pick a side. On the nuclear war square, everyone lost. Most money at the end wins, game rigged. As a kid, the chance dice roll at the beginning was stuck with me most.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Monopoly is a game about class warfare. Don’t buy hotels. The rules say you can’t add game pieces, and there are too many hotels relative to the houses, (which are you going to lose?). You can add extra houses. Then you control housing and effectively hotels.

      The game takes 45 minutes if you play this way.

      1. Robert Gray

        I was a young teen when an older cousin revealed to me the secret of Monopoly, the unwritten rule that makes it all make sense. Just as in real-world monopoly capitalism, you have to cheat as much and as brazenly as you can get away with. Makes the game a lot more fun, especially if playing with people who haven’t been initiated into the arcana.

        1. j

          I played Monopoly with my brother and he always won. I thought the game was rigged so that the person who bought everything he could buy would win. Seems like “real life” to me.

          1. BoyDownTheLane

            There was a book published which broke the game down into a series of phases and mathematical formulas. At this state of the game, do X; at the second phase of the game, do y. etc.

            Myself, I learned to prefer the card game called Basra:

            A friend of mine, a Maronite monk with an interest in rowing and music composition, and I used to play 20 game sets while camping {with a fifth of Laphroaig] on the Boston Harbor Islands, on top of Mt. Greylock, and at the bottom of Jordan Pond.

      2. Adam Eran

        Don’t forget, Elizabeth Magie, who first invented a version of the game, also has rules called “Prosperity.” In Monopoly, only one person wins, and everyone else is bankrupt. In Prosperity (an illustration of Henry George’s principles), everyone wins. Google for yourselves for the Prosperity rules.

    2. IdahoSpud

      I have an awesome cold-war era card/spinner game called “Nuclear War”. It’s blisteringly sarcastic, in the vein of Dr. Strangelove.

      You start out being dealt cards that indicate your country’s population. The game begins when players draw strategy cards off the deck. Strategy cards include “propaganda”, which cause other players population to ‘denounce their form of government and defect to you’, weapon platform and nuclear bomb combinations, and “top secret” cards where ‘a blunder in your enemy’s germ warfare experiments causes them to lose 25 million of their own population’.

      Once a player moves decides to use nuclear weapons, the spinner comes into play – deciding randomly whether fallout kills additional millions, bomb shelters save a few million, missile launch fails, dud bomb, or a nuclear stockpile gets hit, tripling the yield.

      I used to think it was hysterically funny, in a dark Kubrick humor way. That was before there was an actual blunder in enemy’s germ warfare experiments.

      1. Jack Parsons

        “That was before there was an actual blunder in enemy’s germ warfare experiments.”
        Please continue?

  2. QuarterBack

    Re Active Denial weapons, it is the height of hypocrisy to be outraged that “officials weighed” (I.e but didn’t actually use) weapons that were called for, supported, funded, tested, equipped, and trained well over a decade of Congress and Executive administrations. If the long path to their existence hadn’t been tirelessly executed, there wouldn’t be a circumstance to “weigh” their use.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      What’s the point of having a heat ray if you can’t use it? Without actual field experience, we are leaving ourselves wide open to having our technology surpassed, further widening the Heat Ray gap.

      1. fresno dan

        September 17, 2020 at 8:39 am

        Madeleine Albright
        What’s the point of having this superb military heat ray that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Albright + Strangelove. Worried I was being obscure again. Shouldn’t have worried. I spend half of my time on this site wondering wth Amfortas and ambrit are referencing or trying to catch Lambert’s Shelley and Keats allusions. Wears an old man out, I tell ya.

          1. ambrit

            Albright + Strangelove = American Foreign Policy 1969 – 2001.
            I’ve read that Sellers based his rendition of Dr. Strangelove on Henry Kissinger.
            (You’ve had me going too!)
            Oh, would I find any useful information about wobbly telomeres on the site “Schrodinger’s Genome?”

      2. jef

        I see a great application for the Heat Ray in the fast food industry. They can heat up your order as you drive away.

        or after you eat it even.

    2. Lee

      By all means, clear the streets of protestors. Then the authorities will end up dealing urban guerrillas sniping at them from rooftops—the game of class warfare played for real.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the rooftops in question are considered low value rooftops on low value buildings in a low value neighborhood in a low value city, the authorities will simply “groznify” the rooftops, buildings, neighborhoods or cities in question.

    3. Brian (another one they call)

      A friend in the television business told me about their heat ray. They had their own in the station truck that went live to incidents for broadcast. When the crew got bored or were angered by the actions of their competition, they would point the transmitter at the offending party’s van and turn it on. They used to do it to each other apparently so that everyone was equally cooked or they got caught.
      High Power Microwave Fun. So if you feel yourself slowly warming past tolerable levels, look for a TV or spy truck first. If it isn’t there, you may want to get help. If it is, you might want to run away.

      1. ambrit

        And you definitely want to put down the six pack of Molotov cocktails!
        (As it says on the side of the box: “Riot responsibly!”)

      2. wilroncanada

        Brian (another)
        That was just Heat Ray Charles. If you tried to defend yourself blindly, without making sound decisions.he would break out his little Raylettes.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      With a little re-scaling design and a safety review those heat ray weapons could be a very useful tool for enhancing police interrogations. Most of the sticky legal issues around enhanced interrogations could be taken care of with a properly designed cocktail of drugs — drugs to encourage speech, induce fear, and discomfort, followed by a cocktail to block short term memory. The detained customer could be induced to forget the entire interrogation — perhaps to the point that their own previous revelations could be used to create a prisoner’s dilemma while holding only one prisoner.

  3. QuarterBack

    Re “Trapped by student debt”, remember that Biden was pivotal in passing the laws exempting student loans from bankruptcy. Oh, BTW the headquarters of Sally Mae, just happens to be located off I-95 in the Great State of Delaware.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      When I first read your comment, I was going to ask how anyone considering the genesis of this problem could have forgotten joe biden’s creation of the current student loan / college tuition hellscape on behalf of his financial sector owners with his bankruptcy “reform” act of 2005.

      Then I read the article and found that all four of the authors conveniently have.

      At least they had the good sense not to blame Trump. They decided to blame the Bankruptcy Amendments and Federal Judgeship Act of 1984 instead. Nice try.

      The act of 1984 authorized the Judicial Conference to establish qualifications for bankruptcy judges and authorized the circuit councils to establish merit selection committees to recommend nominees for bankruptcy judgeships.

  4. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: “Apple gave the FBI access to the iCloud account of a protester accused of setting police cars on fire”

    I do not have an issue with the FBI getting a warrant for a suspects phone. None at all. Wow, that lack of education about operational security with these protestors is sad. Maybe it is because they are all still wrapped up in their identity that they feel the need to document every aspect of their lives. He was using Instagram? Really? This is why any movement will fail IMHO.

    Not only will this revolution be televised, it will have commercials interruptions as well.

    1. Milton

      I find it ironic that so call “Influencers” are anything but, when it comes to issues that actually matter.

      1. hunkerdown

        To preserve what mimetic power remained in that institution of vicarious glamour, they had to create a burgher class of celebrity between the aristocracy and the commoners, and give it a sizable and attractive measure of both the booty (as it were) and the labor of manifesting an ideal.

  5. timbers

    RE: Does the WTO Matter Anymore? Bloomberg

    “Over the past three years the U.S. has expertly poked at the WTO’s most vulnerable weaknesses and slowly rendered the organization ineffective in constraining President Donald Trump’s aggressive approach to trade policy.”

    Am I wrong?…but aren’t U.S. and European economic sanctions imposed for internal political reasons on Russia, also in violation of WTO rules? Didn’t that start under Obama? If so, why is the article saying Trump to blame for making WTO less relevant?

  6. Bob

    Big Ten

    Is it possible that our Dear Leader’s sudden interest in Big Ten football has anything to do with campaign contributions from very very wealthy gaming magnate in Nevada ?

    Of course players want to play. And Universities want to collect revenues. And beer companies want to sell beer.

    1. mike

      It is more simple. His followers and many of his detractors want to see football. Others were able to have major football games, both NFL and NCAA, with fans in the stands and don’t seem to be having any problems. That exposed the Big Ten administrators

      1. voteforno6

        Others were able to have major football games, both NFL and NCAA, with fans in the stands and don’t seem to be having any problems. That exposed the Big Ten administrators.

        After one week of play? I think that the jury is still out on whether they’ll have problems or not.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Not for the Virginia Cavaliers. Their first opponent, VPISU, had a huge outbreak.

          As for the NFL, I would think the concussion scandal would lead to everyone assuming the opposite of what anyone there says.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        I think mostly what we are seeing is the complete lack of backbone on the part on those who run our universities. When pushed, they always cave. And when, as in this case, pushed on all sides, they always cave to money/power. The “scientific” “reasoning” in this case – that the virus is under control, that rapid antigen testing is some kind of game changer, that they somehow have gained a rapid understanding of myocarditis in 6 weeks – is transparently untrue. But the combination of pressure from big donor alums, all that TV money being left on the table, and a lack of spine gets us here.

        FWIW, local officials here in Madison are not too thrilled with this decision.

        1. mike

          Local officials in Madison that condoned protests in the street are upset without regard for covid spreading? Oh Please, Political hacks grandstanding…
          Following the science…So far at the University of Wisconsin, they have ~2,500 positive cases and only 1 hospitalization. Most of the cases are experiencing no or very few minor symptoms. The football players face larger health risks all the time on the field than they do from covid.
          The damage done from these closures and panics far outweigh the health concerns of the virus. IT isn’t even close.

          1. Aumua

            At some point NC, you just don’t have the heart anymore to respond to the talking points, chase down the assertions or debunk the misinformation. At some point you realize no matter how diligently you put in the effort to bring the truth to light, that your opponent will simply come back next week with the same list of talking points, perhaps updated slightly. At some point it dawns on you that it’s just not worth it to fight this particular battle any more.

            1. ambrit

              Au contraire. I consider it an employment program. By constantly hitting back, we help assure that ‘mike’ and his ‘friends’ continue to get their weekly stipend from the “Koch Communications Fund,” or maybe the “Adelson American Attitude Adjustment Association.” (Instead if the ‘Five “I”s,’ it’s the ‘Five “A”s.’)
              Snark???? I am not sure. You be the judge.

        2. wilroncanada

          The virus is under control for the performing drones to be able to play circus for the plebes while their betters continue to rake in the loot. But those rapid tests for medical workers, school teachers and food plant workers? Heaven forbid; they’re too valuable for that.
          As for long-haulers which may show up among basketball and football players, who are in the age demographic it tends to afflict, there is no positive “proof” of any such ailment. It isn’t in the DSM infinite. Insurance for the victims among athletes? HaHaHa. Payable to team owners or university athletic departments.

        1. km

          Not sure that qualifies as “working with Trump”.

          Moreover, it’s not as if another house or Embassy building cannot be constructed.

          1. a different chris

            > it’s not as if another house or Embassy building cannot be constructed.

            In fact it would for sure be in the happy but really unlikely instance we stop fellating Bibi and his like.

            Spooks are spooks, like all crazies they expect everybody to act like them. So they think one minute after they left the Tel Aviv building it was “compromised” thus they wouldn’t move back to that particular building in any circumstance.

            1. ambrit

              Of course, the “new” building in Jerusalem can then be blown up by “nefarious malefactors.”
              This will not end well.

  7. The Rev Kev

    ‘China’s ‘hybrid war’: Beijing’s mass surveillance of Australia and the world for secrets and scandal”

    Saw this story on the telly the other night and it was as exasperating to listen to then as it is to read here now. Maybe I should translate the title here. Let’s try this – “Country that is part of alliance to spy on the world is shocked, shocked that other countries spy as well.” Everybody spies on everybody. That way, you can avoid unnecessary surprises – like Pearl Harbour. The stuff listed here is amateur stuff compared to what Facebook does. In fact, the Chinese would be safer as they are not trying to screw around with your emotions-

    This story is part of an anti-China campaign by Scotty from Marketing. About a week or two ago, there was a story of how two of our intrepid reporters in Beijing ducked into our Embassy for protection and were whisked out of the country back home to safety. Very dramatic stuff. It only came out later that this was probably in retaliation for our spook organization raiding the homes of two Chinese journalists here in Oz. The stupid – it burns.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Notice that he only attacks States where the opposition party are running them? I think that he is peed off because the Grand Final of his beloved football is being held up in Queensland and he can’t get here because of the quarantine restrictions. He’s a sad, sad strange little man.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Matters not. Australia is the laughing stock of the world…or maybe “the crying stock” is more accurate. Leading the world in the ratchet up to the Permanent Police State, smashing peoples’ car windows to force them to wear masks, arresting them (under which law, again?) if they don’t:

          The CDC says masks “may help”. May help. I know, let’s arrest people for other things that “may help” reduce deaths. Underinflated tires? Off to jail you go. Too much fatty food on offer? Close that fish and chips shop immediately. Stay in your home for 115 days, until all your tires are inflated, all the fatty foods are off your shelves, and a super contagious virus that cannot be eliminated is, well, eliminated. With a death rate of .003215% (26M population, 832 deaths).


    1. Norm de plume

      ‘Country that is part of alliance to spy on the world is shocked, shocked that other countries spy as well’

      A country that bugged new nation Timor-Leste’s cabinet office (Timor, FFS!) so it could more easily steal the oil the poor boogers needed to get out from under Indonesia and make a start on nationhood. Right neighborly, eh?

      ‘The stuff listed here is amateur stuff compared to what Facebook does’

      It just looks amateur Kev. That kind of legerdemain requires evilly sinister bad to the bone-ness. So it has to be the Russians.

  8. a different chris

    >Name one successful organization where the lowest-level employees’ decisions are deemed sacrosanct.

    Um, Toyota? Isn’t it true that any employee can stop the entire line in Japan with the pull of a cord?

    Name one good leader whose lowest-level employees felt the need to start making decisions, Mr. Barr? He ain’t in the mirror, sir.

    1. mike

      nonsense. At Toyota they can stop the line for an immediate safety concern or because they have a philosophical difference in how the company is run? Lower level employees should follow direction from their senior employers or find new employment. Otherwise it becomes too difficult to assign accountability.

      1. a different chris

        It’s a decision. It is sacrosanct. It brings a hard and expensive stop to the core business function.

        That was the question and I answered it.

        I actually agree with the rest of your not-so-enlightening response, as I actually do and have worked for companies of all sizes from startups to my own business to world-spanning organizations. Note I have more than once on this blog said Fauci should just quit, for example for exactly your reasons.

        Any comment on my second observation, that Barr simply sucks eggs and that’s why lower level employees have “philosophical” differences? Somebody like Fauci can go into comfortable retirement, but other people have other considerations (children, parents to take care of, alimony hey it is DC after all!) and can’t just bag it so they find themselves doing things they probably shouldn’t.

        Shorter me: I didn’t say it was a good thing, I said it was an expected result of leadership incompetence.

        1. mike

          Wow. that is something. You agree with my “not so enlightening response”. It is hard to enlighten the dim… I mustn’t be up to the task

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          It sounds to me like Barr wants Political Commissars to direct the DOJ. The Trump Admin has or wants Political Commissars in charge of several ( at least) departments and agencies.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I don’t like Barr much. At the same time, are we really saying that we can elect a President who doesn’t get to change policy within the Executive Branch? I see the need for a Civil Service, but are Federal Prosecutors really civil servants? I don’t think so. They have prosecutorial discretion, hence are innately political.

      2. Cú Chulainn's Third Eye

        Lower level employees should follow direction from their senior employers or find new employment.

        That’s not how Demming rolled, and it’s not what he taught the Japanese industrialists in the 1950s.

      3. Anthony G Stegman

        The FBI agents and others in the Justice Dept work principally for the American people. They don’t work for the Attorney General. William S Barr also works for the American people, though he seems to think he works for Donald J Trump. William S Barr should be renamed William Disbarred, with the necessary steps taken to disbar him.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’m all for this formulation. And I’m sure the FBI agents and Justice Department staff, directed by the outgoing president to fabricate evidence to sabotage the incoming president and thus overturn the result of the election, were “working principally for the American people”.

          Mm-hmm. Like Watergate, only worse.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The FBI agents and others in the Justice Dept work principally for the American people

          Show me where it says that in the Constitution. Then, please explain what “work principally for the American people means,” along with how much work “principally” is doing.

      4. JP

        Mike, May you should familiarize yourself with the work and influence of Deming on post war manufacturing in Japan. Deming pioneered bottom up quality control and management for US war powers manufacturing during WW2. It was very successful for the duration of the war but the US reverted to authoritarian top down control ASAP when the war was over. However his process took root in Japan and is a good part of why they went from making toys in the 50’s to dependable cars that blew the doors off the Detroit domestic lock. Then they did the same for TV’s and so on.

        It turns out senior employers should take direction from the people on the floor who actually know the work and the product.

    2. Tomonthebeach

      Apparently Barr, a lawyer by training, has (like Trump) never read a book about leadership. If he had, he might have encountered evidence that empowered workforces often produce things faster, better, and cheaper. Empowerment builds teamwork, teamwork creates empowered cultures, and empowered cultures sustain motivation through unanimous ownership of the project.

  9. Frank

    “That the major venues like WaPo and the Times aren’t reporting on the Assange trial doesn’t bode well for the future of investigative journalism.”

    It also doesn’t bode well for the present or recent past.

    Really I think investigative journalism hasn’t been important to the American press for a long time.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think this is more than just the weakening of the press and budget issues. The big newspapers still have staff to allocate to big stories when they make the choice. I think not covering the trial is quite a deliberate policy. When you read of how the Guardian became pretty much a mouthpiece for British intelligence over the last few years its hard to think that its not pressure/quid quo pro arrangements.

      1. vidimi

        indeed. i think it must have been explicitly made clear that either the guardian fall in line, or harding, rusbridger, and the like would be sitting in the chair assange is now sitting in. it was, after all, the guardian which failed to edit out the names in the leaks, not wikileaks.

      2. Pelham

        Agreed. Certainly the NYT and WaPo could cover the proceedings. Having worked at major newspapers, I’d like to know whether any reporters have suggested coverage and been rejected. As Matt Taibbi has noted, it’s generally C-minus minds that make the big decisions at news organizations.

        1. pjay

          Right. But as he has also pointed out, there is a lot of self-censorship and group-think among ambitious employees who want to keep moving up.

  10. a different chris

    >The Design, Development & Certification of the Boeing 737 Max

    Meanwhile, Netflix has apparently (I haven’t looked yet) started airing their Challenger documentary.

    Man I’m afraid to step outside, anymore. Yeah it technically wouldn’t make any difference but I think it’s better to not see it coming!

  11. vidimi

    Regarding a COVID vaccine, I don’t think one will be developed that is any more successful than an influenza vaccine. The data so far suggest that COVID survivors can be infected a second time, so any immunity would be fleeting. While prevention is almost always preferable to the cure, in this case it might be better to focus on the latter.

    1. Ignacio

      I think that, with time, the effort has potential to greatly improve vaccine development since there are many platforms and vaccine design approaches being developed (not necessarily the first wave of vaccines being tested). A lot of money and effort is being invested and in the long run this will also help flu vaccine development. My worry is if money is cut too soon when we only have a mediocre but still working vaccine.

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        I believe you have just demonstrated that the rush to produce is a boondoggle. We know they are going to be paid in taxpayer funds before the vaccine is created and success is not necessary to reap great piles of digital dollars. And we know that we will be charged an excessive amount for the privelege of repaying the boondoggler for the product, their R&D, the CEO’s vacation homes, the boards travel on private jets for 20 years, the improvement to the executive lounge…..
        Whether it works or not, whether it kills or not, whether it is a placebo or not.
        all is well going with plan A.

        1. Maritimer

          Bullseye, Brian. Big Pharma has lots of Financial Engineers to game the vaccine racket for them. They will do what is best for BP not the public. The object it to game the system, do God’s Work just like Blankfein.

          I learned long ago that the first principle of Government Ripoff, is Start The Hole In The Ground. That is, just get the Scam on the move with the Government committed to it and all will be very, very well for the Scammers. A semester at Pentagon University would be a good start on mastering this art.

          I have posted a number of times that three of the major vaccine developers are Criminal Organizations! Apparently, in our criminogenic society, this is no problem. Party on with the Pharma Perps.

          And today, a new twist. Da Fauch said that more folks will need to be vaccinated if the efficacy of the vaccine is low. Imagine you buy a car and Salesman Fauch tells you, you will need more insurance depending on how much the car falls apart. Voila, a successful business model.

          Big Tobacco, Big Pentagon, Big Agribiz, Big Tech, Big Finance….move over Big Medicine is on the move.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I think that, with time, the effort has potential to greatly improve vaccine development

        I hope so. I mean, what if the next virus isn’t a warm-up, like this one, but really bad?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If the next virus kills millions, then this one will look like a warm-up from which nothing was learned, and upon which no preventive or mitigative action was prepared.

        1. Fritzi

          While almost 200.000 dead are bad enough, globally seen it is clear that we got off relatively easy, this time.

          I always like to say that it was kind off a testrun.

          The next next virus IS certain to come, and it very easily could be much more lethal.

          COVID showed all the many chinks in our armor, the rot that has made nations and healthcare systems and economies more vulnerable and less resilient and effective at doing their jobs helping people where truly needed.

          If we were to learn the right lessons from it, we truly could in a way ne grateful to Covid (including of course for being nowhere near as deadly as it so easily could have been).

          A warning shot, might be a good term to describe it as well.

          But I am pessimistic.

          I think we will learn either no lesson, or worse take all the wrong things away from it, so we will be even more arrogant, deluded and corrupt the next time.

          1. mike

            I fear we are crying wolf. We are still being inundated with panic despite the virus (at least for now) not being particularly dangerous. The whole thing has been hopelessly politicized. So, next time when it is more serious, people are not going to listen to the so called experts.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Would be great if Lambert would chart deaths instead of “cases”. I thought that was what mattered. I thought that was the reason we were told we needed to completely destroy the economy. The reason we were told that a 23% decline in GDP was “worth it”. The reason that hundreds of thousands of Mom and Pop business were shuttered by government decree. The reason that all our airlines, hotels, arts, sports, and restaurants were euthanized.

              Either that, or also include SARS/2003 “cases” and Influenza 2018 “cases”. Why not throw in TB while you’re at it. And HIV. Maybe the government can issue industrial strength Glad Wrap, so each citizen can wrap themselves and their loved ones. They can poke a hole to breathe…so long as the hole has a mask over it, after all, the CDC says masks “may help”.

              1. wilroncanada

                It seems to me that permanent or long-term disability may be just as important in the end. Most countries do no want, and cannot handle, more disabled people. Which is why I suspect that most countries will not, in the end, recognize what are now called the “long haulers.”
                The dead may be better off having died quickly, rather than those who live, but in future will become the new lepers.

    2. rusti

      The data so far suggest that COVID survivors can be infected a second time, so any immunity would be fleeting.

      The researchers and MDs on the podcast “This Week in Virology,” which I found through NC comments, emphasize the difference between protection against infection and protection against disease. All the vaccines are aiming to protect against disease, which means that you can get infected but the carrier should be asymptomatic or get only mild sickness if the vaccine is effective.

      For the case of the Hong Kong patient who was reinfected, I believe he was asymptomatic for his second infection but was caught in the airport screening, which might indicate that he had fairly good protection from disease after his first infection.

      I think there have been other cases of reinfection where someone had a very mild infection the first time and then got properly sick the second time. I think Ignacio speculated that those were cases of Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE).

      If there is someone properly qualified to make these distinctions, I’ll be happy to be corrected.

    3. juliania

      Masking is a prevention. And one theory has it that even if some virus particles elude the mask, it might be that a low dose of virus produces what could be called a ‘poor man’s vaccine’. Worth considering. It certainly boosts my own morale when wearing my mask out in public.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Germany Offered U.S. $1.2B To Save Nord Stream 2” ‘Seems low.’

    Yeah, about that being low. There would be a reason why Germany does not want to sink too much money into this. So imagine that the fleet necessary for Germany to import gas from the US had already been built. Along with the port facilities and networks as well that is. Right about now the US would be telling Germany that so sorry, sending gas right now is impossible because of Hurricane Sally. And as soon as we repair the damage, we will start sending you gas again. Too bad about your economy though.

    1. Olga

      Yeah, sounds more like extortion money – in which case, the sum could be acceptable.
      Had a subversive thought that what if – just what if – the Navalny thingy is just theatre… The Russian chess players and pragmatic German businesses got together and devised a plan to occupy some not-well-wishers’ attention by a manufactured scandal. Many angry words flow back and forth.
      The reality is not important, as long as it generates bad press for Russia. And while all scream novichok/vladichok, the NS II gets quietly finished.
      Everybody saves face!

        1. The Rev Kev

          Could be true. Merkel does have a reputation for not being decisive and waits for problems to solve themselves. One factor not mention is the Russians. More specifically, Navalny was in a Russian hospital for a coupla days. You can bet that they gave him a whole battery of tests and took samples left, right and center. It was the British chemical warfare establishment at Porton Downs near Salisbury that identified Novichok in Navalny. So if the Germans say we have the samples that prove it and will show the world, then the Russians will reply that their samples show no trace when it should be more concentrated. And that the DNA identifies it as Navalnys. Oops.

        2. Maxwell Johnston

          That was a fun read; thanks for posting it. My guess is that Frau Merkel is playing for time, expecting that when the USA plunges into post-election disarray she will quietly oversee NS 2’s completion. But it seems Navalny is eager to return to Russia. Things could get interesting.

    2. Ignacio

      This gem from the article ‘The United States views Nord Stream 2 as further undermining Europe’s energy security by giving Gazprom another pipeline to ship its natural gas to European markets.

      If someone could explain to me in plain English why a new pipeline undermines EU energy security I would feel grateful.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Grasping at straws stage of empire. The US was never very good at the rationale part at least out of official mouthpieces. Hollywood does the heavy lifting. The empire is accidental because so much of it was acquired by the collapse of the colonial powers and then the USSR. The simpler explanation is the EU would be too reliant on a single originating source. To a certain extent, yes, this is true. The US alternative source is no reliable alternative. Two Russian pipelines is better than one because if one is knocked out for any reason the other is still running. Two originating sources would be better.

        I don’t know about the EU, but rationally, the only real security is autarky. 100% renewables and transmission lines with grid upgrades. Damn the pipelines. “National security” is a farce outlined by the Smedley Butler.

        1. Ignacio

          The message relies in our ignorance. The agreements for ntl. gas supply through pipelines are not plain vanilla contracts. These are carefully crafted so that the parts cannot use them as political weapons, unless willing to pay a very high cost.

          1. a different chris

            Yup. And further (not picking on valued commenter NTG here!):

            >the EU would be too reliant on a single originating source.

            But Russia would quickly become reliant, I would claim arguable greater, on Euros gleaned from said source. Every business is effectively owned by its customers, with the unfortunate exception of the US Medical Industry.

            1. apleb

              Russia has 2 customers: Europe and China. Europe pays better tho.
              Germany has only one supplier real soon now.

              This is not in favour of the customer here. Also it only works if the customer can stop buying. German households need their gas in winter and so does the oversized german chemical industry. There is no substitution.

      2. IdahoSpud

        I have no dog in the race for or against the Nordstream 2 pipeline, but with regard to energy security, there is always the threat of being cut off from a fuel supply that you have become highly dependent on. This is typically initiated over political differences – certainly no possibility of that in the case of Nordstream /s.

        It’s entirely possible for energy security to become energy insecurity overnight. Recent history provides a few examples of this.

          1. apleb

            While I agree with you that there needs to be more than one source, your example doesn’t prove it, in fact it is the main reason there is NorthStream 2 in the first place!

            It was Ukraine who stole gas, who threatened basically to cut Europe off. This is why NS2 is going through the baltic sea: no transit country can come between russian gas and its customers.

            1. IdahoSpud

              Apparently you completely overlooked my central point.

              If you think that Europe’s energy dependence on Russia cannot or will not be used at some point in time to exert potentially malign influence, I have a bridge that you might also like to purchase!.

              1. apleb

                There already are two pipelines from russia to western europe. And the one through ukraine will be obsoleted by NS2.
                And please read my comments more carefully before you respond.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I suspect Germany was just playing around with that offer. It would be very easy to make the money available for a project that 2 or 3 years down the line fails because, say, it couldn’t get past environmental regulatory requirements or some such issue. As the relevant regulations are from the EU level, Germany could easily blame Brussels or the judges for the problem.

      In any event, its already officially EU policy to expand LNG capacity in the interest of allowing some price arbitrage and competition (and additional supply security) within the gas market, which only makes sense if there is public subsidy (LNG can never compete with pipeline gas for cost). There are quite a few proposed LNG terminals around Europe, but so far as I know all of them are stuck in limbo because of the low price of gas and dropping demand relative to forecasts.

    4. apleb

      Right now Germany imports its natural gas from Norway/Russia/Netherlands in roughly a 40/40/20 split. Netherlands already is a net gas importer for 2 years, Norway will follow in the 2020s or so. There is no more gas in the North Sea. It’s empty.

      So where will Germany get its gas from? Only leaves Russia and to only depend on a single source is not a good idea.
      So building LNG terminals is eminently sensible, no matter the cost or the NS2 pipeline. It’s to keep the russians honest, even when it’s only a drop in the bucket.

      As for the US not delivering: no one sane would even want US LNG unless it’s cheap which is a big big if. Fortunately countries like Qatar are the pioneers of LNG and love to sell now that there is no pipeline through Syria. That is the point of a LNG terminal: its gas cost a lot more, but you can get it from any source, unlike a fixed pipeline.

  13. cocomaan

    “The Confederate Roots of the Administrative State”

    Thank you so much for posting this article, really cool stuff.

    Seems to show that the growth of an unelected administrative state comes with perceived (or real) shortages and pressures of wartime or whatever resembles wartime.

    Reminds me of The Emergence in the sci fi book A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge (a book recommended on here by Yves). They were a technocratic slave state based on their perceived need for control in the face of emergency, as opposed to the freewheeling Queng Ho. Eventually, freedom leaked into their slave state society through osmosis, because freedom is infectious.

    1. edmondo

      I wonder if Bernie has a blurb on the back cover exhorting us to buy it? He’s quite the Establishment Man lately.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      ‘A Promised Land’

      The effer is going to justify his lack of positive accomplishment by casting himself as Moses and doing a poor imitation of MLK.

      1. JBird4049

        Barack Obama even hinting at being another Martin Luther King, Jr. would be a lie, an insult, and politically boorish propaganda as well.

        Even Bernie Sanders faced arrest and injury by the police for protesting Jim Crow. MLK faced that, plus heavy spying and abuse, and finally got a bullet for his efforts. What exactly has Obama done besides campaigning on a lie and supporting the whole corrupt system?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

          This is the last series of speeches. I think he started giving a version about a year before he was assassinated. This is the last paragraph. Obama is trying to claim he started the work. What an ass.

          Secondly, let us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. Now, we’ve got to keep attention on that. That’s always the problem with a little violence. You know what happened the other day, and the press dealt only with the window-breaking. I read the articles. They very seldom got around to mentioning the fact that one thousand, three hundred sanitation workers were on strike, and that Memphis is not being fair to them, and that Mayor Loeb is in dire need of a doctor. They didn’t get around to that. -so familiar. You can see why the powers that be love to whitewash this guy. This is about the press in an era where the papers weren’t all owned by a few conglomerates.

  14. Off The Street

    Russiagate and cell phones, what a demoralizing situation. Reading through that mess makes one wonder whether anyone in DC is not corrupt, and if everything is like CalPERS, National Edition.

    Now, does the current administrative and judicial apparatus have the capability to address and prosecute what appears to be willful and wanton misconduct? If not, then how do citizens have any faith whatsoever in their government? What good are they, then, and why pay taxes, for what?

    It is Constitution Day. Will that be honored more in the breach?

    1. km

      Seems that every day here is Chernobyl Day. Before Chernobyl, nobody in the Soviet Union, at least nobody of influence and authority, really believed in the system or the ideals of socialism. The system still had fearsome powers of repression, but it used them less and less overtly. So mostly what people did was go along and pay lip service, and at the same time, they got what they could get while the getting was still good.

      Chernobyl was the icing on that cake. The powers of repression were there on full display, but not even the KGB could hide the obvious fact that that the Soviet government was corrupt, cynical, and worst of all – manifestly incompetent.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Good analogy.

        What the U. S. seems like to me is a scene toward the end of “China Syndrome” after Jack Lemmon has been killed and the reactor is about to go China Syndrome. The pipes are shaking violently back and forth, cracks are appearing, steam is escaping.

        Unless Wilford Brimley rises to save us at the last minute, this sucker’s gonna blow.

        1. Wukchumni

          The collapse is going to be quite something when she blows…

          I’m closely related to Jack Lemmon, by the way.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Now, does the current administrative and judicial apparatus have the capability to address and prosecute what appears to be willful and wanton misconduct?

      No. Obama and Holder jettisoned that both for bankers (the Crash) and the intelligence community (torture; warrantless surveillance). Bush prosecuted Enron. Reagan prosecuted S&L’s. To be fair, the results of Obama’s policy of non-accountability strengthened his party,

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Whatever Happened to China’s Giant Piles of Abandoned Bicycles?”

    ‘The coronavirus has sparked a revival in bike-sharing in China as people remain wary of public transport. And the surviving companies have vowed to be responsible for the “whole lifecycle” of their vehicles. When they have to scrap them, they’ve also found a variety of novel ways to recycle them. Mobike and Yuue discovered that disassembled frames and parts make interesting designer chairs and lamps. Mobike also turned the rubber from 7,800 old tires into the surface for a running track in a town in Shaanxi province. And a Myanmar philanthropist bought used bikes from Chinese company Ofo and Singapore’s Obike and donated them to local schoolchildren to help them get to class.’

    Imagine a world where most companies would be responsible for the “whole lifecycle” of their product. It would force them to make high-quality products to save themselves money in the long run. I read a study a few years ago that when people in America went shopping (not food items), that within 6 months about 90% of those purchases would no longer be in that household. Under a “whole lifecycle” doctrine that would have to change radically – and for the better. High-quality products, mandatory recycling, less plastic, no sending your garbage to third world countries. Yeah, I could buy into that.

          1. jef

            Why muddy the waters? It is a known fact that the US economy is 70% consumption. The rest of the world struggles to do what ever they can make something for Americans to consume.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        Jef, Why should any industry be profitable?

        I think that’s a real question that needs to be asked about our system. A lot of exploitation and environmental damage is done in the name of quick profit with little long term accountability. Heck short term accountability. If someone’s quick profit or casino capitalism mechanism is stripped away, what type of system are we left with? Could our culture exist without the power hierarchy?

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Under lockdown, Israel faces bitter start of Jewish New Year”

    The ultra-Orthodox have been ignoring a lot of the recommended virus precautionary measures which has led to the areas that they live in becoming hot-spots for the virus. The article makes plain that this is exactly what happened. When the government attempted to lock down those areas, the ultra-Orthodox then charged the government with being, I kid you not, antisemitic. And now the whole country has to go into lockdown once again with the new outbreaks. There must be times when secular Israelis think that it might be worthwhile to bring in all the Palestinians to Israel and send the ultra-Orthodox and lockdown violators out to the the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in their place.

    1. JEHR

      There must be times when secular Israelis think that it might be worthwhile to bring in all the Palestinians to Israel and send the ultra-Orthodox and lockdown violators out to the the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in their place

      I like this picture you painted!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > There must be times when secular Israelis think that it might be worthwhile to bring in all the Palestinians to Israel and send the ultra-Orthodox and lockdown violators out to the the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in their place

        We could call them… pioneers? Settlers1

  17. marym

    New CDC Guidance for Reopening Schools Creates Color-Coded Risk Scale

    “The guidance, which state education chiefs, school district superintendents, principals, teachers and others have been clamoring for since the spring, comes more than a month after millions of children, mostly across the South, returned to schools…

    According to at least one early analysis [from Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute] of the CDC guidance, nearly 90% of people in the U.S. live in counties that fall into the two highest risk categories for reopening schools. The release of the guidance, which recommends aggressive thresholds, reignited a wave of criticism over the lack of federal guidance and left many wondering how many schools would have decided not to reopen for in-person learning if officials had this guidance earlier.”

    1. James Herriot

      I think this back to school drive, and the denialist / anti-mask psy-op are just 2 of the strategies our owners are using to try to ‘get this over with’, so they can get their full money’s worth out of their livestock again as soon as possible. Even if that means shedding many of the weaker, more useless (to them) among the herd along the way.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Homeland Security had four colors for Terror threats: Green, Blue, Yellow, and Orange. Under Orange they issued a warning that included advice for people to be sure they had enough duct tape and plastic on hand to seal the windows and doors of their houses.

      Maybe they can merge that with this color system, so people know what to do until this super contagious virus that cannot be eliminated is eliminated.

      And I feel that we need a brand new government department to deal with these virus issues. Just like The Department of Homeland Security was created atop the FBI, CIA, Federal, State, and Local law enforcement, we need a Czar heading a new DNBC (Department of National Bio-Compliance). Citizens found not to have the DMAAL (Daily Minimum Acceptable Antibody Levels) to the CLEP (Current List of Enforceable Pathogens) can be removed from the general population until they are brought into compliance.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        And tattooed with images of the micro-organisms for which they don’t meet the standards, I suppose….

  18. Billy

    How the west lost

    What a great short, concise and coherent read of history that is.

    The line that most resonates with me was
    “Perhaps the greatest lesson of the period after the last Cold War is that in the end, a stable and healthy polity and economy must be based on some minimal moral values.”

    Not getting into bible or torah thumping, nor Ten Commandment hooey, but
    it does seem that places that embrace and codify a lack of morality are the most vulnerable and have recently lost the most as the Potemconomy has imploded, for example look at the economies and local governments of Las Vegas, built on gambling, or San Francisco, built on attracting, enfranchising and celebrating the nation’s social failures, as well as the most avaricious.

    1. hunkerdown

      What does libertinism have to do with corruption, other than that all aristocracies are permanently and irreparably both, and that leisure classes exist? Stop reading whatever crap neolibcon talking points you predictably repost without intent of discussion and start engaging with real material. How about something German? They know how to put things together. Veblen’s theory of the leisure class would be a great place to start.

    2. CuriosityConcern

      Your argument is that because gay people live in SF that it’s economy is crashing during a pandemic?

    3. CarlH

      I have lived in and around SF for a good portion of my life. I do not know what you are talking about here and it smacks me as unfounded and close to hysterical.

  19. Pelham

    Re Bannon and allegations of engineered Covid: Well, yes, the source casts a big black pall over the allegations. But is there any truth here nonetheless?

    I believe it was back in June that Bret Weinstein appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast and said much the same. He explained that Covid probably did originate with bats. But typically viruses from animals need to evolve extensively before they can infect human beings. And then transmission occurs exclusively between animals and people for a very long time before the virus evolves again to enable it to transmit from one human being to another.

    It’s this latter crucial and quite lengthy step that Covid-19 entirely skipped over, indicating that it was engineered, Weinstein says. So yes, there’s no smoking gun to indicate that the Wuhan bio-weapons lab was the origin. But the evidence of the virus itself and the extremely unlikely scenario that it evolved overnight for human-to-human transmission is strongly suggestive, is it not?

    Also, what about those very early reports from Chinese scientists that cited the Wuhan lab? Didn’t some of those guys disappear? Finally, Steve Bannon certainly has deep dark motives for casting a blanket of suspicion over China. No doubt. But don’t the Wuhan-lab-origin deniers have motives of their own — such as preserving US corporate investments and business in China while smoothing the runway for Biden’s election and further US sellouts to China? Come on, man.

    1. kareninca

      I have a close friend who is one of the very smartest people I know. He is a tenured full professor (with chair) in the biology department at a top two university; he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He spends a lot of his time reviewing journal articles, and although virology isn’t his field he is fine at following articles on the topic and does. He thinks it is simply obvious that covid was an accidental lab release. I actually haven’t asked him if he thought it was engineered.

      I’m not saying this as evidence that it came from a lab. I’m saying it as evidence that it is not only stupid or paranoid people who think so.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Did ebola evolve extensively before jumping from something to people? And immediately then be able to jump from person to person?

  20. juliania

    Thank you for adding to links the Craig Murray report on the trial of Julian Assange. There is very interesting information from important witnesses in yesterday’s account. Needs to be read in full.

    1. JP

      Back burning on this side of Dennison ridge was very successful in saving our little neighborhood. Unfortunately what ultimately spared us was the wind changing from easterly to southerly and blowing it right into the national park. I think CalFire is looking for it to come across the north flank of Dennision. They have dozers working on Blue Ridge as their best chance of containment. As I am typing this my wife says two more D6’s just went up Blue Ridge. I don’t hear any aerial activity. Maybe because it is just too smoky for visibility or maybe just less millionaires second homes then Doyle Springs.

      Most of the CalFire guys are great and informative and somewhat lost. We tell them where they are and give them cookies. I had only one control freak ask me what I was doing here. I told him I live here. He informed me I was under mandatory evacuation orders. I said that doesn’t mean what it says. He said he didn’t want to have to take care of me and the fire both. I told him I could use a chainsaw and shovel just as well as he could. Then we changed the subject

    2. JP

      Late update:

      Right after my post CalFire pulled into my driveway. They have designated the road I live on as a fire line and intend to initiate back burns from here. Also the westerly cleared the smoke so I can see the fire progressing down the ridge from Moses coming towards us. It is moving slowly as the wind is against it and is moving down slope. Also the front appears to be progressing down the north fork of the Tule, also slowly. At the same time we have moist westerly and a 20% chance of rain or dry lightning. they may start back burning tomorrow. The bad news for you is I see a lot of smoke on the north side of Dennison.

  21. Bruno

    Anatol Lieven, in his otherwise interesting essay, wrote:
    “Then again, Marx himself made exactly the same mistake in his portrayal of a permanent socialist utopia after the overthrow of capitalism.” So Marx, who explicitly maintained that he wrote “no cookbooks of the future,” portrayed a socialist utopia?

Comments are closed.